All They Want For Christmas

All They Want For Christmas

Not everyone celebrates Yuletide, sure. But now that the White House is #winning its war against the “War On Christmas”, people everywhere can solicit Santa. We peeked at some of our favorite world leaders’ private missives to Saint Nick.


Donald Trump: Dear Santa, as you know, nobody knows more about giving gifts than I do, billions and billions of gifts, and if the media weren’t so dishonest you would probably, and so by the way you are welcome for the fact that it’s ok to say Merry Christmas again, but you are waging economic aggression on America by hiring elves instead of Americans.

Rodrigo Duterte: Dear Santa, Now that China is sending me weapons, I don’t need your help to eliminate all naughty boys from my list any more. Thanks.

Vladimir Putin: Dear Santa, if we don’t get what we want in 2018 we’re giving Wikileaks a copy of every letter you’ve ever received.

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador: Dear Santa, I don’t ask for much. Just keep Donald Trump right where he is until July 1.

Edward Snowden’s Cat: Dear Santa, help.

Nancy Pelosi: Dear Santa, please give us more to work with than evangelicals accused of pedophiliac sexual misconduct, otherwise we’ll probably still be snowed under in 2020.

Paolo Gentiloni: Caro Babbo Natale, come stai? Can you send me 4 stars this year instead of 5?

Recep Tayyip Erdogan: Dear Santa, I don’t believe in you, but the Christians do — please gift them the impression that I am leader of the Muslim world.

Kim Jong-un: Dear Santa, please give me more credit for stuff that Russia is getting all the credit for.

Xi Jinping: Dear Santa, you and I are both out of business if Trump follows through on this trade war stuff. Can I interest you in a new belt or road?

Two Black women hugging, with one woman pictured smiling

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What We’re Watching: Biden and Putin chat, Scholz takes the reins in Germany, Remain in Mexico returns, Pécresse enters the French fray, Suu Kyi learns her fate

World War III or nah? US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin are set to speak by phone on Tuesday, as the crisis surrounding Ukraine gets dicier by the day. Russia has massed more than 100,000 troops along its border with the country, and the US is warning that Putin is gearing up to invade soon, though the underlying intel isn’t public. No one is quite sure what Putin’s up to with this stunt. Is he trying to pressure Kyiv into moving ahead with the lopsided (but probably best possible) Minsk peace accords of 2015? Or is the Kremlin seeking a broader NATO commitment not to expand further? Or does Putin actually want to invade Ukraine? Either way, Biden has his work cut out for him. Putin is clearly more comfortable risking lives and money to preserve a sphere of influence in Ukraine than the West is, so the US president has to be careful: don’t set out any red lines that NATO isn’t willing to back, but also don’t push the situation into a broader war that no one (ideally) wants.

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Few people know more about the Taliban than journalist and author Ahmed Rashid, who wrote the book on the group — literally.

In the months after 9/11, his critically acclaimed 2000 study Taliban became a go-to reference as the US geared up to invade Afghanistan and knock the militant group from power.

Now, twenty years later, with the US out of Afghanistan and the Taliban back in charge, Ian Bremmer sat down with Rashid to learn more about the Taliban today in a GZERO World interview.

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Demonstrators hold flags and placards as they march to protest against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions and the mandatory vaccination in Vienna, Austria, December 4, 2021.

40,000: At least 40,000 people joined protests in Vienna on Saturday against new lockdowns and vaccine requirements, the second week in a row the city has seen mass demonstrations of this kind. Amid a surge in new cases, the Austrian government announced that a nationwide vaccine mandate would come into effect on February 1.

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The Graphic Truth: Who misses tourism the most?

Countries that rely hugely on tourism and travel dollars have already been reeling from the pandemic, as lockdowns and new COVID variants cause people to avoid airports and stay home. Now the omicron variant is scuttling holiday travel plans that many were hoping would infuse fresh cash into their struggling economies. So who is most concerned about these disruptions to the tourism industry? We take a look at economies that saw the biggest boost from tourism dollars from 2008-2019, and how that changed in 2020 as a result of the pandemic.

Ian Bremmer interviews economist Larry Summers on GZERO World. Summers served as the Treasury Secretary under President Clinton and as the Director of the National Economic Council under Preisdent Obama. He sounded the alarm bell about inflation back in February 2021 when few people were talking about it. Part of the reason prices are rising so much today, Summers says, is because the Biden administration made the political decision to do "too much stimulus," a big mistake in his view. Summers discusses how supply chain problems are also contributed to the highest levels of inflation in the US in 30 years.

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The Women’s Tennis Association this week decided to suspend all tournaments in China, over doubts that the country’s star player Peng Shuai is safe and sound. Peng recently disappeared for three weeks after accusing a former Vice Premier of sexual assault. Although she has since resurfaced, telling the International Olympic Committee that she’s fine and just wants a little privacy, there are still concerns that Peng has been subjected to intimidation by the Chinese state.

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Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Europe:

How is Europe dealing with new omicron version of the pandemic?

Well, I mean the big issue isn't really that one, the big issue if you see the havoc that is created in several European countries at the moment is the delta. The delta is making impressive strides, particularly in countries that have a slightly lower vaccination rates. So that's the number one fight at the moment. And then we must of course prepare for the omicron as well.

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