AGE OF AQUARIUS: A NEW MIGRANT DRAMA DAWNS FOR EUROPE

AGE OF AQUARIUS: A NEW MIGRANT DRAMA DAWNS FOR EUROPE

Last week, the Italian government closed its ports to a ship carrying hundreds of migrants and refugees — including women and unaccompanied children — from North Africa. After a few days in limbo, Madrid signaled that the boat, named the Aquarius, could dock in Spain. Fellow Signalista Willis Sparksdrops in to guide you through the various facets of this complex story:


The man in Rome who decided to stop the ship is Matteo Salvini, leader of Italy’s right-wing Lega party, which now governs the country alongside the anti-establishment Five Star Movement. As part of that coalition, Salvini, who won millions of votes by pledging to deport hundreds of thousands of people, is Italy’s Interior Minister.

Let’s look at Salvini’s decision from both sides:

Argument 1: shut our doors

  • Italy has already accepted hundreds of thousands of migrants and isn’t getting enough support from the EU to manage the strain. Leaving aside Spain’s help in this case, Italian officials say Spain and France have done little else. Germany, Sweden and others have taken many migrants, but other EU states — particularly in Eastern Europe, won’t take any.
  • Accepting boatloads of migrants encourages others to risk their lives to reach Europe, exacerbating political problems and creating more humanitarian emergencies at sea.
  • Accepting migrants makes “people smuggling” a profitable business.

Argument 2: open our arms

  • Migrants are human beings, and they deserve our help.
  • Many of these migrants are endangered children who didn’t choose to take the perilous sea voyage themselves.
  • Under international law, ships at sea must help any vessels in distress. The country responsible for operations in that area has first responsibility for rescue. The law makes clear that governments don’t get to decide which drowning people to save and which to simply leave offshore.

Although the flow of Middle Eastern and North African migrants by land into Europe has fallen significantly since reaching one million people in 2015 — the Balkans have thrown up barriers, while the EU agreed to help Turkey house and feed migrants who’d otherwise head onwards to Europe — Italy continues to face boatloads of desperate people arriving by sea routes from North Africa.

While Spain stepped in this time around, it won’t be long before another boat arrives at Italy’s increasingly unwelcoming shores and a crisis starts anew.

In a year unlike any other, Walmart made meaningful change by placing nature and humanity at the center of our business. We invested in our workforce by hiring more than 500,000 associates, including people displaced by the pandemic. And through education, training and upskilling, we promoted more than 300,000 U.S. associates to jobs with greater responsibility and higher pay. Read more in our 2021 Environmental, Social and Governance report.

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here from sunny Nantucket and going to be here for a little bit. Thought we would talk about the latest on COVID. Certainly, we had hoped we'd be talking less about it at this point, at least in terms of the developed world. A combination of the transmissibility of Delta variant and the extraordinary misinformation around vaccines and COVID treatment means that we are not in the position that many certainly had hoped we would be today.

The United States is the biggest problem on this front. We are awash in vaccines. Operation Warp Speed was an enormous success. The best vaccines in the world, the most effective mRNA, the United States doing everything it can to get secure doses for the entire country quick, more quickly than any other major economy in the world, and now we're having a hard time convincing people to take them. The politics around this are nasty and as divided as the country, absolutely not what you want to see in response to a health crisis.

More Show less

If your country had suffered decades of crippling corruption, wouldn't you want to prosecute those responsible? Of course you would. On Sunday, almost 98 percent of Mexicans who voted in a national referendum on this subject said, in so many words: "Yes, please prosecute the last five presidents for corruption!"

The catch is that turnout was a dismal 7 percent, meaning the plebiscite fell way short of the 40 percent turnout threshold required for its result to be binding.

More Show less

The COVID delta variant — which first surfaced in India earlier this year — is spreading rampantly throughout every continent, and is now the most dominant strain globally. But low- and middle-income countries, particularly in regions where vaccines have been scarce, are bearing the brunt of the fallout from the more contagious strain. We take a look at the 10 countries now recording the highest number of daily COVID deaths (per 1 million people), and their corresponding vaccination rates.

China tackles delta: China is the latest country to express serious concern over the highly contagious delta variant, after recording 300 cases in 10 days. Authorities there are trying to trace some 70,000 people who may have attended a theatre in Zhangjiajie, a city in China's Hunan province, which is now thought to have been a delta hotspot. Making matters worse, a busy domestic travel season in China saw millions recently on the move to visit friends and family just as delta infections spiked in more than a dozen provinces. Authorities have enforced new travel restrictions in many places, including in central Hunan province, where more than 1.2 million people have been told to stay in their homes for three days while authorities roll out a mass testing scheme. The outbreak has reached Beijing, too, with authorities limiting entrance to the capital to "essential travelers" only. Indeed, the outbreak has raised fresh concerns about Chinese vaccines' protection against delta, though many experts say they are still at least 55 percent effective in preventing serious illness.

More Show less

It was a weird series of events. Belarusian sprinter Kristina Timanovskaya took to Instagram to lament that her country's Olympic Committee had registered her for the 4x400 relay event at the eleventh hour (because a fellow participant had failed to pass drug screenings) despite not having trained.

More Show less

100: A scorching heat wave has caused more than 100 wildfires across Turkey's Mediterranean and Aegean coastline in recent days. Scientists say that dry conditions induced by climate change have helped spread the fires, which have already killed eight people and caused mass evacuations from tourist hotspots.

More Show less

Alcohol. It's a dangerous drug that has ruined countless lives and derailed many a global summit. But it's also humanity's oldest social lubricant, a magical elixir that can fuel diplomatic breakthroughs, well into the wee hours of the night. As Winston Churchill once quipped, "I've taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me." On GZERO World, we take a deep dive down the bottle and examine the role alcohol has played in society, politics, and global summitry—from the earliest hunter-gatherer days to that memorable Obama Beer Summit in 2009. Joining Ian Bremmer is philosopher Edward Slingerland, whose new book Drunk: How We Sipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way Into Civilization makes a compelling, if nuanced, case for alcohol's place in the world.

Also: since alcohol isn't the only social drug, a look at the state of marijuana legalization across the US and around the world.

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter, Signal

GZERO World with Ian Bremmer. Watch episodes now

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal

GZERO World with Ian Bremmer. Watch episodes now

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal