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1968

1968

Next Wednesday will mark the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s murder in Memphis, Tennessee. It’s the first of several coming dates that remind us of the shocks of ’68, a landmark historical moment when the rush of momentous events spun people and governments off their feet.


It was an extraordinarily tumultuous year for the United States.

  • In January, North Korea captured a US surveillance ship, igniting a confrontation that that lasted nearly a year.
  • A week later, North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces launched the Tet offensive, the Vietnam War’s pivotal moment and a dramatic demonstration of the limits of a superpower’s power.
  • In March, President Lyndon Johnson announced he would not seek re-election.
  • In April, King was assassinated, and dozens of US cities faced the so-called Holy Week Uprising, the most intense moment of social unrest in the US since the Civil War.
  • In June, leading presidential candidate Robert Kennedy was murdered in Los Angeles.
  • In August, the Democratic Party’s National Convention descended into violent chaos in Chicago.
  • In November, Richard Nixon was elected president.

Of course, 1968 saw upheaval far beyond the United States.

Should this reminder of past turmoil give us comfort that the world is now a safer place? After all, US politics is now wildly dysfunctional, but it isn’t plagued with murder. Xi Jinping has amassed tremendous power, but China has changed, and the risk of Cultural Revolution chaos is not what it was. The Czech Republic and Poland have their problems, but now they’re democracies. Russia is governed by Cold Warriors, but it lacks Soviet military power and ideological influence. Ireland’s border creates headaches for Brexit negotiators, but Catholics and Protestants are not at war.

Or… does the unclear international balance of power, widening gaps between haves and have-nots within rich and poor countries, and the inability of governments to keep pace with the human implications of technological change mean that today’s troubles have only just begun?

Empathy and listening are key to establishing harmonious relationships, as demonstrated by Callista Azogu, GM of Human Resources & Organization for Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), an Eni subsidiary in Abuja. "To build trust is very difficult. To destroy it is very easy," says Callista, whose busy days involve everything from personnel issues to union relationships. She sees great potential for her native Nigeria not only because of the country's natural resources, but because of its vibrant and creative people.

Learn more about Callista in this episode of Faces of Eni.

For the world's wealthiest nations, including the United States, the rollout of COVID-19 vaccine has been rocky, to say the least. And as a result, much of the developing world will have to wait even longer for their turn. Part of the challenge, World Bank President David Malpass says, is that "advanced economies have reserved a lot of the vaccine doses." Malpass sat down with Ian Bremmer recently to talk about what his organization is doing to try to keep millions around the world from slipping deeper into poverty during the pandemic. Their conversation was part of the latest episode of GZERO World.

Saturday will mark the beginning of an historic turning point for European politics as 1,001 voting members of Germany's Christian Democratic Union, the party of Chancellor Angela Merkel, hold an online conference to elect a new leader.

Here are the basic facts:

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For the first time in twenty years, extreme poverty around the world is growing. How does the developing world recover from a pandemic that has brought even the richest nations to their knees? David Malpass, the President of the World Bank, is tasked with answering that question. He joins Ian Bremmer on GZERO World to talk about how his organization is trying to keep the developing world from slipping further into poverty in the wake of a once-in-a-century pandemic.

Joe Biden wants to move into the White House, but the coast isn't clear. He may need some bleach.

Watch more PUPPET REGIME here.

The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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