GZERO Media logo

SMALL COUNTRY, BIG STORY: MALDIVES EDITION, VOL. 2

SMALL COUNTRY, BIG STORY: MALDIVES EDITION, VOL. 2

Last weekend, there was a presidential election in the Maldives, a nation of about 400,000 people who live on 1,192 islands and 26 coral atolls in the Indian Ocean. Little attention was paid before the vote because observers, both inside and outside the country, assumed that President Abdulla Yameen -- a strongman who has worked hard to build relations with China -- would win, even if he had to cheat.


Surprise: He lost. Another surprise: He accepted defeat, perhaps because the result wasn’t even close.

Voters who cast ballots for opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih were probably motivated mainly by frustration with corruption in Mr. Yameen’s government and his firm crackdowns on dissent. The US and EU had even threatened sanctions in response to his habit of jailing critics.

But the broader interest in this story centers on the growing regional rivalry between China and India. As we wrote in February, the Maldives have historically allied with India, but Yameen had tilted the country toward China to win investment in infrastructure, particularly in support of tourism, an economic lifeline for this small country. Most of those tourists now come from China. Beijing, for its part, sees the Maldives as a key piece of its broader strategy to establish friendly ports for its ships – both commercial and military – across the Indian Ocean.

India, fearful of expanded Chinese influence, had backed opposition candidate Solih. Before the vote, exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed, pushed from power by Yameen in 2012, called on New Delhi to intervene to prevent the current president from stealing the vote. Some in India urged their government to answer the call. (Back in February, Nasheed requested an outright Indian invasion.) The opposition’s resounding victory rendered all of that unnecessary.

But before we score this a lasting win for India, remember that China still has long-term advantages here. The Maldives still need Chinese money and Chinese tourists to grow its economy, and Beijing will surely try to use that as leverage for its broader Indian Ocean aims.

And don’t forget there’s no nation on Earth in greater danger from rising sea levels caused by climate change. According to National Geographic, the average elevation in the Maldives is just four feet above sea level, and the country’s highest peak stands just under eight feet above the water’s edge. We’re only half kidding when we wonder if the Chinese, who are pretty good at raising land from the sea elsewhere, might have a solution…

Carbon has a bad rep, but did you know it's a building block of life? As atoms evolved, carbon trapped in CO2 was freed, giving way to the creation of complex molecules that use photosynthesis to convert carbon to food. Soon after, plants, herbivores, and carnivores began populating the earth and the cycle of life began.

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

On Tuesday night, you can finally watch Trump and Biden tangle on the debate stage. But you TOO can go head to head this evening... with your fellow US politics junkies.

Print out GZERO's handy debate BINGO cards and get ready to rumble. There are four different cards so that each player may have a unique board. Every time one of the candidates says one of these words or terms, X it on your card. First player to get five across wins. And if you really want to jazz it up, you can mark each of your words by taking a swig of your drink, or doing five burpees, or donating to your favorite charity or political candidate. Whatever gets you tipsy, in shape, or motivated, get the bingo cards here. It's fight night!

GZERO Presidential Debate Bingo Sept 29 2020 card 1

Download Bingo Card 1

GZERO Presidential Debate Bingo Sept 29 2020 card 2

Download Bingo Card 2

GZERO Presidential Debate Bingo Sept 29 2020 card 3

Download Bingo Card 3

GZERO Presidential Debate Bingo Sept 29 2020 card 4

Download Bingo Card 4

Print and enjoy strongly! Don't forget to tag us @gzeromedia when you share the cards (and your success) on social media.

The long-simmering conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over a region called Nagorno-Karabakh erupted over the weekend, with more than 50 killed (so far) in the fiercest fighting in years. Will it escalate into an all-out war that threatens regional stability and drags in major outside players?

More Show less

Join us tomorrow at 11 am ET for a GZERO Town Hall livestream event, Ending the COVID-19 Pandemic, to learn about the latest in the global hunt for a COVID-19 vaccine.

Watch here at 11am ET: https://www.gzeromedia.com/events/town-hall-ending-the-covid-19-pandemic-livestream/

Our panel will discuss where things really stand on vaccine development, the political and economic challenges of distribution, and what societies need to be focused on until vaccine arrives in large scale. This event is the second in a series presented by GZERO Media in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Eurasia Group.

Apoorva Mandavilli, science & global health reporter for the New York Times, will moderate a conversation with:

  • Lynda Stuart, Deputy Director, Vaccines & Human Immunobiology, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Rohitesh Dhawan, Managing Director, Energy, Climate & Resources, Eurasia Group
  • Mark Suzman, CEO, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Gayle E. Smith, President & CEO, ONE Campaign and former Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development

Add to Calendar


Sign up here to get alerts about future GZERO Media events.

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.

More Show less
UNGA banner

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's Newsletter: Signal

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

UNGA Livestream