Hell of a Party, Guys!

Hell of a Party, Guys!

What does an evangelical judge accused of pedophilia have in common with a one-time anti-Apartheid hero who faces 783 counts of corruption? Both Roy Moore, the failed Republican candidate for Senate in Alabama, and Jacob Zuma, freshly-ousted leader of South Africa’s ANC, are at the center of deep internal divisions within their respective political parties. Those parties aren’t the only ones in power that are suffering deep internal divisions right now…


The Republicans: Since the late 1960s the GOP (Grand Old Party, as it’s known in the US) has united social conservatives and economic liberals, but now the party is under fire from within as former Trump strategist Steven Bannon leads a “populist, nationalist, conservative revolt” against party leaders. Trump and Bannon, who runs the ultranationalist media “killing machine” Breitbart, endorsed Roy Moore, so his loss was a setback. But look for this GOP fissure to be a defining theme in the 2018 midterm elections and beyond.

The ANC: The reformist union-leader-turned-businessman Cyril Ramaphosa has just won a hotly contested race to lead the ANC into the 2019 presidential election. As Willis wrote last Friday, this outcome leaves current President Jacob Zuma, who faces hundreds of corruption and racketeering charges, dangerously exposed to prosecution. Ramaphosa’s victory is a win for the more investor-friendly faction of the ANC. But Zuma’s faction won’t simply accept a defeat that leaves him in real legal jeopardy. The ANC infighting has only just begun.

The Tories: The UK’s traditional conservative party is deeply divided over Brexit — some members want the UK to keep close economic ties with the continent even after it leaves the EU, while others favor a sharper break that gives the UK greater economic flexibility. This divide is crippling Prime Minister Theresa May’s ability to reach any deal at all with Brussels before the clock runs out on Brexit talks…

Brazil’s PSDB: Brazil’s largest center-right party is split over support for scandal-wracked president Michel Temer’s market-friendly reforms. Younger members say steer clear, while older heads want to work with him so his PMDB party will support a PSDB candidate in next year’s presidential election. New PSDB leader Geraldo Alckmin has sided the party with Temer for now, but the deeper divisions will persist, weakening the party as the presidential campaign heats up.

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Iran has vowed to avenge Sunday's attack on its Natanz nuclear facility. Tehran blames Israel, which — as in the past — has neither confirmed nor denied it was responsible. And all this happens just days after indirect talks on US plans to rejoin the 2015 Iran nuclear deal resumed in Vienna. What the Iranians do now will determine the immediate future of those negotiations, a Biden administration priority.

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Ian Bremmer shares his perspective on global politics this week on World In 60: J&J vaccine woes, Blinken warns China, Fukushima water and a large rabbit.

How will the pause of Johnson & Johnson vaccine affect the overall pandemic fight in the United States?

Yeah. Right at it, right? Well, we heard that the FDA has suspended vaccines from J&J because of blood clots. They found six in seven million cases. It's kind of like the suspension of AstraZeneca in Europe. It's likely only going to last for a few days. It's a very small percentage of the total number of vaccines that are being jabbed right now into the arms of Americans. It's not going to really slow America's ability to get everyone vaccinated, but it is going to create more vaccine hesitancy. People at the margins will say, "Is this safe? They said it was fine. Now they're saying it's not okay." I understand why there's enormous caution on the part of the FDA, but I wish, wish, wish the communications had been a little softer around all of this. Also will be a problem in terms of export, as J&J is going to be a piece of that. And again, others around the world will say, "Well, if I don't get Moderna, if I don't get Pfizer, I'm not sure I want to take it at all." So all of this is negative news, though I would still say the United States this year is looking really, really good among major economies in dealing with pandemic.

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750 million: While struggling with one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the world right now, India has approved Russia's Sputnik V COVID vaccine. Moscow has a deal in place to produce 750 million doses of the shot in India.

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In recent weeks, both Pfizer and Moderna have announced early phases of vaccine trials in children, and Johnson & Johnson also plans to start soon. If you know a kid who wants to learn about vaccines, how they work, why we need them, this story is just what the doctor ordered.

Watch the episode: Vaccine nationalism could prolong the pandemic

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi everybody. Ian Bremmer here. Welcome to your week and I've got your Quick Take and thought I would talk a little bit about where we are with Iran. One of the Biden administration's promises upon election was to get the Americans back into the JCPOA, the Iranian nuclear deal. As of last week, negotiations are formally restarted, and pretty quickly, in Vienna, they're not direct. The Americans and Iranians are both there, but they're being intermediated by the Europeans because they're not yet ready to show that they can talk directly to each other. That's Iran being cautious in the run-up to their presidential election coming this summer. But the movement is there. So far the talk has largely been about sequencing the Iranian government, saying that all of the sanctions need to be removed before they're willing to go back into the deal, because the Americans after all, unilaterally withdrew from a deal that the Iranians were indeed adhering to, and the inspections did confirm that.

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Ukraine is once again in a tough spot.

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Andean aftermath: Two big weekend elections in South America produced two stunning results. In Ecuador's presidential runoff, the center-right former banker Guillermo Lasso upset early frontrunner Andrés Arauz, a leftist handpicked by former president Rafael Correa. Lasso will take power amid the social and economic devastation of the pandemic and will have to reckon with the rising political power of Ecuador's indigenous population: the Pachakutik party, which focuses on environmental issues and indigenous rights, is now the second-largest party in parliament. Meanwhile, in a big surprise next door in Perú, far-left union leader Pedro Castillo tallied up the most votes in the first round of that country's highly fragmented presidential election. As of Monday evening it's not clear whom he'll face in the June runoff, but three figures are in the running as votes are counted: prominent neoliberal economist Hernando De Soto, rightwing businessman Rafael López Aliaga, and conservative Keiko Fujimori, daughter of the country's imprisoned former strongman. Meanwhile, in the congressional ballot, at least 10 parties reached the threshold to win seats, but there is no clear majority or obvious coalition in sight.

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