LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE QUIET PROFESSIONALS

LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE QUIET PROFESSIONALS

This Friday morning, somebody is going to win the Nobel Peace Prize, and if you’re the betting type, chances are you think that somebody is South Korean President Moon Jae-in, possibly along with his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong-un. Donald Trump is also considered a favorite – even President Moon has said the US President deserves the award for helping kick-start the process that has led to a fragile détente along the 38th parallel.


Awarding the peace prize to any combination of these three men would be controversial to say the least. Granting it to Kim would mean giving one of the planet’s most ruthless despots one of its most coveted prizes. Giving the nod to Trump would imply an endorsement of his controversial America First foreign policy. And while all three leaders can claim some credit for this year’s diplomatic opening, the work remains unfinished. The thaw is tentative and there is a long way to go between here and the goal of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula.

Not that the Nobel committee is above awarding people for unrealized accomplishments: Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres, and Yitzhak Rabin won in 1994 for opening the way to a Middle East peace that never materialized. Another South Korean President – Kim Dae-jung – won in 2000 for an earlier effort at rapprochement between North and South that didn’t last. And who could forget that in 2009 the committee bestowed it on the recently-inaugurated (and somewhat bemused) US president Barack Obama for, well… just being Barack Obama.

Here’s another idea: the Nobel committee could look beyond the headline-grabbing choices in favor of a candidate few people have heard of. That’s also happened before. Think of Shirin Ebadi, Iran’s first female judge and a longtime advocate for women and children’s rights, who got the nod in 2003. In that case, the committee was hoping the award would “reduce tensions between the Islamic and Western worlds” and signal support for Iranian reformers. In addition, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and Médecins Sans Frontières are among the international organizations awarded the peace prize in recent years to highlight their diligent, largely behind-the-scenes work on some of the world’s most pressing problems.

The refugee crises unfolding in North Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and parts of South and Central America, the conflicts in Syria and Yemen, and transnational issues like cybersecurity are creating new challenges to peace. And there are plenty of people and organizations doing their best to help that would benefit from the added political heft and fundraising clout that a Nobel Peace Prize can bring.

Honoring the quiet professionals who work largely outside the limelight on one of these issues would be a strong political statement at a time when it’s increasingly difficult to distinguish global politics from reality TV. And it might encourage more young people to learn about and take up the difficult work of making the world a safer, more peaceful place.

 

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The European Union is, for better or worse, the most ambitious experiment in human history in institutionalized multinational cooperation. Its success depends on the willingness of its members to abide by its rules.

In recent years, the populist-nationalist governments of former Communist bloc members Hungary and Poland have flouted some of those rules in order to boost their own popularity with citizens suspicious of the EU's liberal values on issues like immigration and minority rights. In response, the EU has scolded these "illiberal" governments and threatened forceful action – so far without much effect.

The fight between EU institutions and Poland and Hungary has escalated.

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Ian Bremmer is joined on GZERO World by artificial intelligence scientists Kai-fu Lee, who recently wrote about how AI will change the world over the next two decades, precisely to talk about AI's future. After this week's Facebook debacle, how can we align interest to regulate AI-driven algorithms? Will AI steal all our jobs? And what should we do to learn from AI to improve our lives before it gets smarter than us?

Watch this episode of GZERO World with Ian Bremmer: Is a robot coming for your job? Kai-fu Lee explains AI

US elections officials have always persuaded losing candidates that they've, ahem, lost. Now it's worse because there's a new paradigm, according to former DHS and Election Assistance Commission official Matt Masterson, policy fellow with the Stanford Internet Observatory. Candidates that won't accept defeat regardless of the margin or evidence of fraud, he says, are undermining trust in the system — and election officials are ill-equipped to deal with this problem.

Matt Masterson made these remarks during a live Global Stage event, Infodemic: defending democracy from disinformation. Watch the full event here: https://www.gzeromedia.com/global-stage/virtual-events/disinformation-is-a-big-problem-what-can-we-do-about-it

Who's most responsible for spreading misinformation online? For Ginny Badanes, senior director for Democracy Forward at Microsoft, the problem starts with those who create it, yet ultimately governments, companies and individuals all share the burden. And she's more interested in what we can do to respond.

Ginny Badanes spoke at a live Global Stage event, Infodemic: defending democracy from disinformation. Watch the full event here: https://www.gzeromedia.com/global-stage/virtual-events/disinformation-is-a-big-problem-what-can-we-do-about-it

Some of the worst sectarian clashes since Lebanon's 15-year civil war (1975-1990) broke out in Beirut this week between supporters of Hezbollah and Amal, both Shiite political parties, and Christian, far-right Lebanese Forces. Shiite protesters were rallying against the state probe into the Beirut port blast, which occurred last year. They say authorities were singling out Shiite politicians for questioning and blame. In this video, watch Ian Bremmer's conversation with Lebanese journalist and author Kim Ghattas on GZW talking about the future of Lebanese politics and sectarianism in the county after the after the blast. It was originally published on August 19, 2020.

In Lebanon, "a majority (are) united in wanting a different future, a future that is non-sectarian, that is non-corrupt, that provides prosperity, justice, dignity for people," journalist Kim Ghattas told Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

In this interview, Ghattas discusses the opportunity that could arise from the tragedy of the Beirut explosion which killed 200 and injured thousands more. The Lebanese are "fed up" with the militant group Hezbollah, she tells Bremmer, and want to strive for a government that better resembles the diversity and cosmopolitan nature of its citizens.

Watch the GZERO World episode: Lebanon Post-Blast: Rage in the Streets of Beirut.

Some of the worst sectarian clashes since Lebanon's 15-year civil war (1975-1990) broke out in Beirut this week between supporters of Hezbollah and Amal, both Shiite political parties, and Christian, far-right Lebanese Forces. Shiite protesters were rallying against the state probe into the Beirut port blast, which occurred last year. They say authorities were singling out Shiite politicians for questioning and blame. Below is our original piece on the Beirut port explosions published on August 5, 2020.


The twin explosions at Beirut's port on Tuesday were so powerful that the aftershocks reverberated as far as the Eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus, 150 miles away. The specter of fire and smoke was such that many suggested on social media that Beirut had experienced a nuclear blast.

In the days ahead, more details will come to light about why a deadly cache of materials was haphazardly stashed at a port warehouse, and why Lebanon's government failed to secure the site. So, what comes next for crisis-ridden Lebanon?

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Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, shares insights on US politics:

What does it actually mean to cut $1 trillion from the Democrats' $3.5 trillion social spending bill?

President Biden has proposed one of the most ambitious expansions of federal spending in recent memory. If he gets everything he wants, it would probably be the largest expansion of government since the Great Society, but he's not going to get everything he wants. Democrats have basically said they cannot do all $3.5 trillion in spending. They're probably going to end up around $2 trillion. So what gets cut? Well, we don't know yet. There's kind of two ways to go about this. They could either cut the number of programs that have been proposed, doing fewer things with more money on a permanent basis, or they could try to do more things, each program getting less money and potentially doing them on a temporary basis. So, a future Congress would have to extend it. What does this mean for you? Well, a lot of the money in here is designed to go directly to families, either in the form of cash payments, through the tax code, the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit, or subsidies for things like child care, early childhood education, and community college. And if you cut these things back, it means less money is going to go out the door to the American people. It also means less tax increases to finance it. So the implications of what's being proposed could actually end up being a big deal for a lot of Americans who would qualify for benefits under these new programs.

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