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No MBS-ing

No MBS-ing

Today, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (known to many in the West as “MBS”) visits the White House at the start of a two-and-a-half-week tour of the US. His objectives, as he prepares to take over from his father as king later this year, fall into three main categories — geopolitics, optics, and business.


Geopolitics: US-Saudi relations soured under President Obama, though President Trump has ushered in a period of somewhat warmer relations — and more sword dancing and glowing orbs. But as MBS prepares to take power in what could be a contentious succession, he’ll want to know where Riyadh’s most powerful traditional ally stands — not least on key foreign policy challenges like the Kingdom’s (ruinous) war in Yemen, the blockade of Qatar, and the challenge of Iran’s growing regional influence.

Optics: The 32-year-old crown prince needs to convince American politicians and businesspeople not only that he’s serious about radically transforming and liberalizing Saudi society over the next decade, but that he can do it without upending social and political stability in the world’s largest oil exporter.

Business: Attracting American investment is critical for MBS’s economic reform plans, so after doing the Beltway rounds, the crown prince will hit the road to meet with corporate and investment executives across the US. Among other stops, he’ll see Amazon and Boeing in Seattle, take a swing through Silicon Valley, and meet with film industry executives in Los Angeles.

(Ok, fun time — what’s the best Saudi remake title you can give us? My pal @rajakorman comes out swinging with Fast and Furious 8, featuring all women drivers. You?)

Empathy and listening are key to establishing harmonious relationships, as demonstrated by Callista Azogu, GM of Human Resources & Organization for Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), an Eni subsidiary in Abuja. "To build trust is very difficult. To destroy it is very easy," says Callista, whose busy days involve everything from personnel issues to union relationships. She sees great potential for her native Nigeria not only because of the country's natural resources, but because of its vibrant and creative people.

Learn more about Callista in this episode of Faces of Eni.

For the world's wealthiest nations, including the United States, the rollout of COVID-19 vaccine has been rocky, to say the least. And as a result, much of the developing world will have to wait even longer for their turn. Part of the challenge, World Bank President David Malpass says, is that "advanced economies have reserved a lot of the vaccine doses." Malpass sat down with Ian Bremmer recently to talk about what his organization is doing to try to keep millions around the world from slipping deeper into poverty during the pandemic. Their conversation was part of the latest episode of GZERO World.

Saturday will mark the beginning of an historic turning point for European politics as 1,001 voting members of Germany's Christian Democratic Union, the party of Chancellor Angela Merkel, hold an online conference to elect a new leader.

Here are the basic facts:

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For the first time in twenty years, extreme poverty around the world is growing. How does the developing world recover from a pandemic that has brought even the richest nations to their knees? David Malpass, the President of the World Bank, is tasked with answering that question. He joins Ian Bremmer on GZERO World to talk about how his organization is trying to keep the developing world from slipping further into poverty in the wake of a once-in-a-century pandemic.

Joe Biden wants to move into the White House, but the coast isn't clear. He may need some bleach.

Watch more PUPPET REGIME here.

The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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