GZERO Media logo

An Olympic Letdown Awaits Us On Korea

An Olympic Letdown Awaits Us On Korea

Lots of swooning coverage of the Olympics this week. A heartwarming story of how humanity’s shared love of sport can transcend geopolitical differences on the Korean peninsula, and so on. Call me a curmudgeon (I’ve been called worse), but I’m not buying it.


Even if there is some warming of North-South ties, it’s hard to see how that will loosen the basic, intractable deadlock over North Korea’s nuclear program.

To review, Kim Jong-un’s primary motivation for having nuclear weapons, as best we can tell (and we could be wrong, but do tell us why) is to deter the US from ever attempting “regime change” in the North. Saddam Hussein and Muammar Qaddafi haunt Kim’s dreams, if he has dreams.

That won’t have changed after the Games. In fact, none of the following will have changed:

  • Kim will still want a nuclear-tipped ICBM that can hit Washington, and is racing like hell to get one he can test.
  • The US will still be sworn to stop him, but tighter sanctions still won’t be enough to make Kim cry uncle (he kills uncles, actually).
  • An increasingly exasperated China still won’t fully choke Kim out, because doing so might cause his regime to collapse, inviting chaos on the peninsula.
  • And as Willis told you, the option of a US limited military strike against the North is probably a horrible idea.

Gold medal for anyone who can tell us how this ends other than: Kim gets his bomb, and the world learns, uneasily, to live with it — but how long can North Korea last after that?

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.

On his first day as president, Joe Biden signed a remarkable series of executive orders. Boom! The US rejoins the Paris Climate Accord. Bang! The United States rejoins the World Health Organization. Pow! No more ban on immigration from many Muslim-majority countries. Biden's press secretary reminded reporters later in the day that all these orders merely begin complex processes that take time, but the impact is still dramatic.

If you lead a country allied with the US, or you're simply hoping for some specific commitment or clear and credible statement of purpose from the US government, you might feel a little dizzy today. The sight of an American president (Barack Obama) signing his name, of the next president (Donald Trump) erasing that name from the same legislation/bill, and then the following president (Biden) signing it back into law again will raise deep concerns over the long-term reliability of the world's still-most-powerful nation.

More Show less

Renowned tech journalist Kara Swisher has no doubt that social media companies bear responsibility for the January 6th pro-Trump riots at the Capitol and will likely be complicit in the civil unrest that may continue well into Biden's presidency. It's no surprise, she argues, that the online rage that platforms like Facebook and Twitter intentionally foment translated into real-life violence. But if Silicon Valley's current role in our national discourse is untenable, how can the US government rein it in? That, it turns out, is a bit more complicated. Swisher joins Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

"There needs to be a dramatic and deep reduction in the amount of debt on the poorest countries. That's clear." As the world's poorest nations struggle to recover from a devastating pandemic, World Bank President David Malpass argues that freeing them of much of their debt will be key. His conversation with Ian Bremmer is part of the latest episode of GZERO World.

Listen: Renowned tech journalist Kara Swisher has no qualms about saying that social media companies bear responsibility for the January 6th pro-Trump riots at the Capitol and will likely be complicit in the civil unrest that may continue well into Biden's presidency. It's no surprise, she argues, that the online rage that platforms like Facebook and Twitter intentionally foment translated into real-life violence. But if Silicon Valley's current role in our national discourse is untenable, how can the US government rein it in? That, it turns out, is a bit more complicated. Swisher joins Ian Bremmer on our podcast.

The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's Newsletter: Signal