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Does the Taliban even need US recognition?

Back in August, when the Taliban took over, we asked whether anyone in the international community would recognize them. Now it looks like things are heading that way.

This week, the Kremlin hosted a summit with the Taliban that was attended by China, India and Pakistan, as well as all five Central Asian Republics.

The domestically-focused US, however, wasn't there. The US continues to maintain that the Taliban can't be trusted. But does it matter? In 2021 does a Taliban-led government even need American recognition to function and thrive?

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What We're Watching: North Korean bluster, EU aid for Afghanistan, Tigray offensive

What We're Ignoring

Kim Jong Un's "invincible" military: North Korea's supreme leader is desperate for American attention these days. At the same time he's showing the South a little more love, Kim is lashing out at the US, now vowing to build an "invincible" army to defend his country from American hostility. The supreme leader, who just two weeks ago tested his first hypersonic missile, is doubling down on his strategy of getting more — and more powerful — weapons to convince President Joe Biden to stop ghosting him and return to the negotiating table. But it hasn't worked so far, and unless Kim has a bigger ace up his sleeve, the talks will remain frozen — as will North Korea's hopes of getting the US to lift economic sanctions in place because of Pyongyang's nuclear program.

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Can Biden gain back the trust of US allies?

After four long years of Donald Trump's bull-in-a-china-shop approach to foreign policy, Joe Biden says: America is back. But was it actually true? Some major foreign policy snafus so far have thrown America's renewed global standing into question. The French government had such high hopes for the Biden folks that AUKUS felt like such a betrayal. A botched US withdrawal from Afghanistan facilitated the near-instant Taliban takeover after 20 years of American occupation. The next true test to America's global standing will be COP26 , the most consequential climate summit since Paris in 2015, because leaders are now looking to avoid environmental catastrophe. China, the world's largest carbon emitter, must be on board. Ian Bremmer explores the question: is America's credibility irreparably damaged no matter what Biden, or any future president, says or does?

Watch this episode of GZERO World with Ian Bremmer: Biden's rocky start on foreign policy

Biden's legacy rests on pandemic leadership (not Afghanistan mistakes)

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week with a look at the US Senate hearing on Afghanistan, French President Macron's popularity, and China's hostage diplomacy.

As top US military officials testify right now on Capitol Hill, just down the road, do you expect the Biden administration to suffer any long-term consequences for its botched Afghanistan withdrawal?

The answer is yes, but at the margins. I still think Biden will be most remembered overwhelmingly for how he handles the pandemic as well as for the three trillion plus dollars that will likely, but not certainly, get passed to pay for infrastructure and improve the social contract in the US. On both, he has been taking hits. Certainly the former has not gone well in terms of the pandemic response and on balance, I still think that means that the House in midterm elections is going to flip fairly solidly Republican. Means that they understand they have a narrow window to get policy done. Okay. That's it.

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Rory Stewart explains why Afghanistan could become a new hotbed for global terrorism

Former UK diplomat Rory Stewart says the world is safer today than it was 20 years ago, but that terrorists still pose a threat to international security. Victories for jihadists in Iraq, Syria and now Afghanistan could ultimately lead the world towards more global terrorism. As if the Taliban retaking Afghanistan wasn't enough of a blow, the ISIS-K attack on the Kabul airport may be a sign that the country is on its way to become a safe haven for terrorist groups yet again.

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US now at most isolationist stage since WW2, says former UK diplomat

How has America's withdrawal from Afghanistan affected the US-UK "special relationship"? For former UK diplomat Rory Stewart, the hasty pullout without consulting close allies is only the latest example of the US — under first Trump and now Biden — being at the most isolationist stage on foreign military interventions since World War II. "It's a very, very awkward, odd moment. I mean, we, can we rebuild from it, but it's been a very shattering, disappointing moment." Watch his interview with Ian Bremmer on the latest episode of GZERO World.

Watch the episode: Is America Safer Since 9/11?

Former Central Bank Governor Ajmal Ahmady discusses Afghanistan's perilous future

Ian Bremmer speaks to exiled Afghan Central Bank Governor Ajmal Ahmady on his own harrowing escape and the perils that await the very much aid-dependent country's economy now under Taliban control.

Calamitous withdrawal from Afghanistan was a crisis of Biden’s own making

Joe Biden has been looking for a way out of Afghanistan for decades, and regardless of how ugly things get, he's not turning back. After Trump reached a deal with the Taliban in 2020 to end the war, Biden decided to stick with the arrangement, overruling his own generals. Ian Bremmer explains that while he agrees with Biden's decision to get out, he did not foresee the incompetence of the execution. In that sense, the last few weeks have constituted the greatest foreign policy crisis for President Biden to date, and one that was largely self-imposed. Ian looks at four key failures led to this disaster on GZERO World.

Watch the episode: Afghanistan, 2021: Afghan & US military perspectives as the last soldier leaves

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