GZERO Media logo

Hard Numbers

0 and 0 and 0: The State Department has spent zero of the $120 million that has been allocated since late 2016 to counter foreign efforts to meddle in US elections or sow distrust in democracy. Furthermore, zero of the 23 analysts working in the department’s Global Engagement Center — which has been tasked with countering Moscow’s disinformation campaign — speak Russian. A departmental hiring freeze means zero of the computer experts needed to track foreign cyber-activity will be hired any time soon. Unless this is some kind of judo move or Jedi mind trick, it’s hard to see how this bolsters US defenses against election meddling in this fall’s midterm elections or beyond.


13: German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who over the weekend secured a fresh mandate as head of a grand coalition, has been in power for 13 years. During that time Japan has had eight prime ministers, Italy has had seven, and Australia six. France, Argentina, and South Africa have each elected four different presidents during that span, while the US, Turkey, and Brazil have each gone through three. If there is a single German word for “outlasting your political counterparts” we would like to learn it.

58: Since the electoral season in Mexico officially began last September, 58 politicians have been assassinated, or nearly 10 every month. Security is a critical issue as Mexicans head to the polls for a pivotal presidential election this summer.

82: In a Pew survey conducted last fall, 82% of Italians said they distrust parliament, and an equal share said the national economic situation is bad despite recent improvements. About three-quarters of Italians said politicians don’t care what ordinary people think — not surprisingly, the anti-establishment parties did molto bene in the elections over the weekend.

1 billion: Chinese venture capital investment into Latin America jumped to $1 billion this year, up from a paltry $30 million in 2015, according to data collected by Preqin, a market research firm. China’s investment in Latin America has until now focused overwhelmingly on infrastructure and natural resources, but startups, particularly in tech, are a new focus as China’s state and private investors expand their economic presence in the region.

Meet Alessandra Cominetti, a recipient of MIT Technology Review Magazine's Innovators Under 35 award. As a lab technician at Eni's Research Centre for Renewable Energy in Novara, Alessandra has devoted her career to finding new solutions and materials to optimize solar energy. Much like the serendipitous encounter that resulted in her employment, her eagerness and willingness to try new things allowed her to stumble upon a material for the creation of portable solar panels.

Watch her remarkable story on the latest episode of Faces of Eni.

"If [the election] is very close and it ends up in the courts, that kind of protracted situation I think will lead many Americans to believe that it was an unfair election." Rick Hasen, election law expert and author of Election Meltdown, lays out some of the worst-case scenarios for Election Day, ranging from unprecedented voter suppression to dirty tricks by foreign actors. The conversation was part of the latest episode of GZERO World with Ian Bremmer. The episode begins airing nationally in the US on public television this Friday, October 30. Check local listings.

"No election is conducted perfectly, and elections have all kinds of problems.We're going to have more problems because we're running an election during a pandemic." Election law expert Rick Hasen cautions that both campaigns could misconstrue honest mistakes in the administration of this week's national election as nefarious acts. The integrity of the election, he warns, could be compromised by human error and the unprecedented challenges posed by a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. Hasen's especially concerned about key states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan. His conversation with Ian Bremmer is part of the latest episode of GZERO World.

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective on Europe In 60 Seconds:

With COVID increasing in France, Germany, Spain, and elsewhere, has Europe lost control of the pandemic?

Well, I wouldn't say lost control, but clearly it is a very worrying situation. With COVID increasing virtually everywhere, we see a new wave of semi-lockdowns... it's not as bad as it was in the spring... with the hope of being able to contain the surge during the month of November. Let's wait and see.

More Show less

An extended conversation with Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former top State Department official under President Obama and the CEO of the think tank New America. Slaughter spoke with Ian Bremmer about how a "President Biden" could reshape US foreign policy.

UNGA banner

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's Newsletter: Signal