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OTHER INTERESTED ONLOOKERS: THEIR WANTS AND WORRIES

OTHER INTERESTED ONLOOKERS: THEIR WANTS AND WORRIES

Over the past twelve hours, all eyes have understandably been on Trump and Kim, but there are three other key players whose interests are at play. Here’s what each wants and worries about:


CHINA: More than anything, Beijing wants peace in the neighborhood as it seeks to increase its strategic and economic clout in Asia at Washington’s expense. Any diplomatic process that reduces the prospect of war or promises a reduction of US forces on the peninsula is a win that China will cautiously support. The biggest danger for Beijing — aside from a diplomatic collapse that puts peninsular war or regime change back on the agenda — is that the Kim-Trump relationship goes too well in a way that enables Pyongyang, an unwieldy but still valuable client state, to seek alternatives to Beijing’s patronage.

SOUTH KOREA: No one has hustled the diplomacy harder than South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Seoul, which lives under constant threat of North Korean bombardment, has the most to gain from a normalization of relations between North Korea and the United States. Reducing the security threat from the North and opening the way to economic opportunities above the 38th parallel would be huge wins for Moon, and most South Koreans are in favor of a formal peace treaty between the two nations. Moon’s got two big concerns: first, that in a bid to win Kim’s confidence, Trump cuts back the US security umbrella for South Korea too quickly for Seoul’s comfort (Trump’s concession on military drills, for example, caught the South Koreans by surprise); second, that he gets caught in the middle of an unconventional diplomatic process driven by two unpredictable leaders that ultimately falls apart.

JAPAN: Tokyo is the US’ closest ally in the region, though these days that doesn’t mean what it used to — just ask the Germans or the Canadians. Tokyo wants to see an agreement that cools tensions on the peninsula, and it has its own interests in securing the return of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea decades ago. But Japan doesn’t have a seat at the table here, and Tokyo worries that Trump may ultimately cut a deal that puts America First while leaving Japan out in the cold: say, by accepting a commitment from Kim to freeze testing of long-range missiles that can hit the US, but without scraping his short-range missiles and other chemical and biological weapons that could still threaten Japan. ​

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Learn more about how carbon created life on Earth in the second episode of Eni's Story of CO2 series.

As we enter the homestretch of the US presidential election — which is set to be the most contentious, and possibly contested, in generations — Americans are also voting on 35 seats up for grabs in a battle for the control of the Senate. The 100-member body is currently held 53-47 by the Republican Party, but many individual races are wide open, and the Democrats are confident they can flip the upper chamber of Congress.

Either way, the result will have a profound impact not only on domestic policy, but also on US foreign relations and other issues with global reach. Here are a few areas where what US senators decide reverberates well beyond American shores.

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On September 23, GZERO Media — in partnership with Microsoft and Eurasia Group — gathered global experts to discuss global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic in a livestream panel. Our panel for the discussion Crisis Response & Recovery: Reimagining while Rebuilding, included:

  • Brad Smith, President, Microsoft
  • Ian Bremmer, President and Founder, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media
  • Jeh Johnson, Partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP and former Secretary of Homeland Security.
  • John Frank, Vice President, UN Affairs at Microsoft
  • Susan Glasser, staff writer and Washington columnist, The New Yorker (moderator)

Special appearances by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde, and comedian/host Trevor Noah.

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Jon Lieber, who leads Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, offers insights on the Supreme Court vacancy:

Will Senate Republicans, who stopped a Supreme Court nomination in 2016, because it was too close to an election, pay a political price for the change in tactics this time around?

Not only do I think they won't pay a political price, I think in many cases, they're going to benefit. Changing the balance of power on the Supreme Court has been a career-long quest for many conservatives and many Republicans. And that's why you've seen so many of them fall in line behind the President's nomination before we even know who it is.

At this point, do Senate Democrats have any hope of stopping President Trump from filling the ninth seat on the Supreme Court?

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In a special GZERO Media livestream on global response and recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media president Ian Bremmer discussed the difference between Europe's unified approach to economic stimulus and the deeply divided and political nature of the current conversation in the US. While initial stimulus support was bipartisan, there is little chance of Democrats and Republicans coming together again ahead of the November 3 presidential election. "It's red state versus blue state. President Trump's saying that coronavirus isn't so bad if you take the blue states out. He's president of the blue states, you can't take the blue states out," Bremmer told moderator Susan Glasser of The New Yorker.

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Panel: How will the world recover from COVID-19?

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