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Quick Take

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi everybody. It is the last day of the Trump administration. Most of you, probably pretty pleased about that. A majority of Americans, though not a large majority, but certainly a majority of people around the world. And given that that's a good half of the folks that follow what we do at GZERO, that counts to a majority. And look, I ought to be clear, when we talk about the Trump administration and their foreign policy legacy, "America First" was not intended to be popular outside of the United States. So, it's not surprising that most people are happy to see the back of this president. But I thought what I would do would be to go back four years after say, what are the successes? Is there anything that Trump has actually done, the Trump administration has done that we think is better off in terms of foreign policy for the United States and in some cases for the world than it would have been if he hadn't been there? And I actually came up with a list. So, I thought I'd give it to you.

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Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi everybody. Ian Bremmer here, and it is the last full day of the Trump administration. Extraordinary four years, unprecedented in so many ways. I guess the most important feature for me is how much more divided the United States is, the world is, as coming out of the Trump administration than it was coming in. Not new. We were in a GZERO world, as I called it well before Trump was elected president. The social contract was seen as fundamentally problematic. Many Americans believed their system was rigged, didn't want to play the kind of international leadership role that the United States had heretofore, but all of those things accelerated under Trump.

So perhaps the most important question to be answered is, once Trump is gone, how much of that persists? It is certainly true that a President Biden is much more oriented towards trying to bring the United States back into existing multilateral architecture, whether that be the Paris Climate Accord, or more normalized immigration discussions with the Mexicans, the World Health Organization, the Iranian Nuclear Deal, some of which will be easy to do, like Paris, some of which will be very challenging, like Iran. But nonetheless, all sounds like business as usual.

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Khant Thaw Htoo is a young engineer who works in Eni's Sakura Tower office in the heart of Yangon. As an HSE engineer, he monitors the safety and environmental impact of onshore and offshore operations. He also looks out for his parents' well-being, in keeping with Myanmar's traditions.

Learn more about Khant in the final episode of the Faces of Eni series, which focuses on Eni's employees around the world.

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi everybody. Ian Bremmer here on the beginning of this extraordinary week, with the United States dominating international news, and the way we think about the future of the global order. You can say we dodged a bullet last week though. We are certainly not through the political crisis in the United States. Certainly, I also think about how it could have been a lot worse. How close we were to the vice president, his family, members of Congress, getting injured or killed. Frankly in terms of the election, if the house had turned to the GOP, and it was close to doing so, how the election response to a Biden win could have been contested much more easily, and you then have indeed a constitutional crisis. Or if the vote was much closer than it was, as opposed to the seven million and significant electoral count difference, about how the president could have been more successful, in his consistent efforts to overturn the outcome.

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Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

What a crazy day. A historic day and not one that you really want to have in your memory with the United States facing domestic insurrection, terrorism. Thousands of people converging on the Capitol and the seat of the legislative branch of government after having been stirred up with disinformation and fake news by the president, President Trump and his supporters this morning. I will be very clear that the violence that we have already seen is the responsibility of the president directly. And we've never in our lives, the last time you had an election like this was in 1876 and still the transition was handled more responsibly.

You've never had a sitting president actually work to undermine the outcome of a free and fair election. And that is exactly what occurred. And it was interesting, very late, but nonetheless, Senate majority leader McConnell came out just a few hours ago and said that President Trump's efforts to overturn the electoral vote was a threat at the heart of democracy that should not be supported. And yet, nonetheless, you could still get more than a dozen sitting, GOP senators and a majority of sitting GOP members of the house to support President Trump, knowing full well that the election had not been stolen. That indeed Biden had won a free and fair election. But because President Trump's influence over the voting base of the Republican Party so outweighs that of any other Republican figure, they were prepared to go with him even after he lost the election, even as a lame duck president. And that's the problem.

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Watch: Ian Bremmer with your last Quick Take of 2020. 2021, just around the corner. We know it's going to be better. I mean, not immediately. It's going to take some time. We're still in the teeth of this crisis. But 2021 feels like many of us are going to emerge from crisis. And that is a positive thing. The idea of going to work every day, sending your kids to school, just being normal, being a little bit more normal, something that I wish for all of us as soon as humanly possible.

Back to the news of the day: I was so disturbed to see this citizen journalist get four years in prison in China for reporting on what the Chinese government was doing in Wuhan in terms of the scale of the pandemic, the crackdown and the rest. She's been on hunger strike for some time. The sentencing came down just a few hours ago. All of three hours in the courts, such as they are. We know no rule of law, no independent judiciary in China. And don't you dare go after the official narrative. That is frowned upon to say the least.

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Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi, everybody. It's Christmas week. God, we need it. Great to see you and a little quick take to kick us off this last full week of 2020, getting through on fumes this most, most challenging year. First, obviously happy to finally see a deal come through almost a trillion dollars in relief that is desperately needed in the United States. People complaining that $600 checks aren't going to do very much. And I agree, it's kind of pathetic, especially in the context of what other advanced industrial democracies have been doing for their working populations around the world, but it's better than zero, which is where we were.

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Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hey everybody, Ian Bremmer here. Yet another week of your Quick Take. What the hell is going on?

Well, first, I mean, the news that we really didn't want to hear, these massive cyber attacks, almost certainly from Russia against the Department of Treasury, Department of Commerce and other places. So what do we make of this? Well first of all, this is not about timing to hit right before Biden becomes president. These attacks have been going on for months, we only just found out about them so they've been engaged. We could have found out after the election, before. The Russians were, in this case, they didn't know if Trump was going to win or not. They did it anyway. I think what's more relevant is that there are just an enormous number of vulnerabilities that the United States has in all of its critical infrastructure.

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