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Podcast: American democracy is in danger, warns Ben Rhodes

Listen: Ben Rhodes, a former Deputy National Security Adviser to President Barack Obama, joins Ian Bremmer to talk about the state of American democracy in the 21st century. Trump, he says, cannot take all the blame for the US's fall from grace on the global stage. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the 2008 financial crisis and disinformation on social media have all played a big role too. What will it take to get America back on track and restore the country's place in the world as a beacon of democracy?

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Democrats need to be united to pass $3.5 trillion budget plan

Get insights on the latest news in US politics from Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington:

What are the details of the Democrats' proposed $3.5 trillion budget blueprint?

Well, the Democrats this week in the Senate Budget Committee agreed to move forward with the plan to spend $3.5 trillion spread out over about 10 years on a huge portion of President Biden's Build Back Better Plan. This comes on top of a bipartisan agreement, at least in principle, on another $600 billion in physical infrastructure, which is roads, bridges, tunnels, repair, broadband deployment and a whole bunch of other physical infrastructure spending that Republicans and Democrats agree they want to do but aren't clear on how they want to pay for. But on the $3.5 trillion in spending, this is a lot of new social services, it's extending a number of tax subsidies that are going to low-income families and families with kids as part of the American Rescue Plan, which was the Biden stimulus bill that passed earlier in the year. It also includes money for two years of community college, universal preschool, and expands Medicare to cover things like dental benefits and other things that Medicare currently doesn't pay for.

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Biden and Merkel will talk China strategy; Cuban economic crisis

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week from Washington, DC, with a look at the upcoming Biden/Merkel meeting, Haiti in crisis, and the ongoing protests in Cuba.

Biden is hosting Angela Merkel in Washington this week. What's on the agenda?

Most important is going to be China. That's not what the headlines are right now. They're all talking Nord Stream and cybersecurity and all that. But the reality is Biden wants to coordinate China policy with his top allies. He's had a lot of success with Japan. He's had success with South Korea. Those are the first two leaders to have been invited to Washington. He's probably going to have some success with Angela Merkel as well, because there is increasingly backlash against Xi Jinping and his efforts to consolidate a Chinese model, vaccine nationalism, lack of transparency on origins of the crisis, and all this kind of stuff. Technology hits, not allowing companies to IPO abroad. The Germans are angry too. And I think that is going to be the top issue they discuss.

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Biden’s executive order cracks down on Big Tech and protects consumers

Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director at Stanford's Cyber Policy Center, Eurasia Group senior advisor and former MEP, discusses tech policy in the United States and the new White House executive order with no less than 72 competition enhancing measures.

How will Biden's executive order crack down on big tech?

The answer is in almost every way. The order clearly seeks stronger antitrust enforcement with specific provisions on data and the impact of its assembling on privacy. The order asks for new rules on surveillance from the FTC but will also allow for assessments of not only future but also past mergers. And that is important because the very wealthy, very powerful tech companies are known to buy up competitors that they may fear, and through those mergers grow their data piles. So, the executive order must cause concern in Silicon Valley. The order goes on to restore net neutrality, which is crucial for smaller companies and noncommercial websites. And the position of consumers improves with the possibility to have products repaired or to see others doing that, which is a practice that is often banned today. So once these various measures are in place, the public interest, innovation, consumer rights, and privacy protection should be better safeguarded from abuse of power by big tech.

Can President Biden convince the average Joe that foreign policy matters?

President Biden may have convinced American allies that the US is back, but will It be difficult for him to convince his fellow Americans that engaging in the world is vital to protect interests at home? Former US ambassador Ivo Daalder believes that the COVID crisis has shown Americans that global problems can become local problems quickly. According to a Chicago Council poll, two-thirds of Americans believe that it is important for the US to play an active role in global affairs. Being involved is "no longer a luxury," Daalder told Ian Bremmer on GZERO World. "That's why a foreign policy for the middle-class is actually a pretty good slogan when you think about it, because it's trying to sell engagement, solving problems together with your friends and partners around the world, as a means to helping you achieve what you want every day - which is to have a good job that pays enough to take care of your family."

Watch the GZERO World episode: Has Biden convinced the G7 "America is back"?

Takeaways from President Biden’s first G7 summit

If the US is really back, as President Biden keeps saying, what is it back to do? That was one of the biggest questions at the G7 summit in the United Kingdom last weekend, the first stop on the first trip abroad of Biden's presidency. The G7 tackled the world's biggest problem by pledging to donate 1 billion doses of the vaccine to COVAX, with 500 million of those coming from the United States. Taxes, climate change, China, and Russia were on the agenda, too. Biden's trip went better than Trump's last big outing, to be sure. Ian Bremmer recaps this year's historic G7 meeting.

Watch the GZERO World episode: Has Biden convinced the G7 "America is back"?

Biden looks to Europe (and beyond) for help to contain China

Former US ambassador Ivo Daalder calls Biden the "most Atlanticist" president since George HW Bush. Daalder defines Atlanticism as looking towards Europe first when problems arise. Getting not only the Europeans but also Asian leaders on board is vital in order for Biden to stand up to China effectively, Daalder tells Ian Bremmer in an interview on GZERO World. "It's no longer enough to be Atlanticist. You can't do your entire foreign policy engagement only with Europe. What you really need is you need a Northern American, Asian, European advanced democratic alignment."

Watch the GZERO World episode: Has Biden convinced the G7 "America is back"?

A short history of the G7

President Biden's first G7 Summit as America's President also marks the first time those world leaders have gathered in person since the start of the COVID pandemic. Want to know a little more about the group, and why it exists in the first place? You came to the right place. We're called GZERO, after all!

The G7 actually began as the G6, when the leaders of France, West Germany, the USA, Japan, the UK and Italy met in a Chateau outside of Paris to squabble their way out of an oil shock and financial crisis. They had so much fun they agreed to do it every year. They even let Canada join the party in 1976, making it the G7.

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