GZERO Media logo

Hard Numbers

300: It will cost $300 billion to rebuild Syria, according to the UN. Even as the carnage continues, Iran and Russia are already quietly waging an uncivil war to get in on those lucrative construction contracts.


55: A majority of global executives (55%) say protectionist policies would benefit domestic businesses by helping them compete against global rivals. In part this reflects increased competition from Chinese firms, which are advancing globally with firm state backing that businesses in other countries often lack.

7: Railway police in China nabbed 7 criminal fugitives since beginning the use of facial-recognition glasses to screen passengers during the Lunar New Year travel rush. Developers of the glasses say they can identify individuals from a database within one-tenth of a second. Would you trade a ticket scan for a facial scan?

2.6: South Korea will pay $2.6 million to cover travel, lodging, and cheerleading expenses for North Koreans attending the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. Money well spent? Maybe not. South Koreans are lukewarm on the North-South Olympic goodwill show, and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un will still want a nuclear ICBM after closing ceremonies.

Zero: Not a single US state saw improvement in its physical, financial, or social health last year, according to the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index. Red states and Blue States are both seeing gray these days — and that will play in the mid-term elections this fall.

Visit Microsoft on The Issues for a front-row seat to see how Microsoft is thinking about the future of sustainability, accessibility, cybersecurity and more. Check back regularly to watch videos, and read blogs and feature stories to see how Microsoft is approaching the issues that matter most. Subscribe for the latest at Microsoft on the Issues.

On Wednesday, Joe Biden will become president because eighty-one million Americans, the highest tally in US history, voted to change course after four years of Donald Trump's leadership. Like all presidents, Biden and his vice president, Kamala Harris, take office with grand ambitions and high expectations, but rarely has a new administration taken power amid so much domestic upheaval and global uncertainty. And while Biden has pledged repeatedly to restore American "unity" across party lines — at a time of immense suffering, real achievements will matter a lot more than winged words.

Biden has a lot on his agenda, but within his first 100 days as president there are three key issues that we'll be watching closely for clues to how effectively he's able to advance their plans.

More Show less

We're only a few weeks into 2021 and that 'fresh new start' that so many had been hoping for at the end of 2020 has not exactly materialized. But what gives World Bank President David Malpass hope for the coming year? "The promise of humanity and of technology, people working together with communication, where they can share ideas. It allows an incredible advance for living standards." His wide-ranging conversation with Ian Bremmer was part of the latest episode of GZERO World.

It wasn't pretty, but we made it to Inauguration Day. These last four years have taught the US a lot about itself — so what have we learned?

More Show less

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.

More Show less
The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's Newsletter: Signal