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Are America’s days as a model of democracy truly over?

American power was indisputable in the 20th Century. The US helped win two World Wars, developed a resilient economy, and in 1991 emerged from the Cold War as the sole global superpower. But today the country is facing unprecedented polarization. Its behavior in recent decades has left many asking: Has the US become less of a blueprint for success, and more of an example of what NOT to do in the world?

Headlines about police brutality, a botched COVID response, daily mass shootings: America isn't living up to its status as a "shining city upon a hill." Ian Bremmer examines the question: has the American Century come to an end?

Watch the episode: Is American democracy in danger?

Social media’s responsibility in American politics

Former US Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes argues that one of the biggest issues in American political discourse at the moment is the lack of regulation on social media platforms. Americans believe fake news, not because they are all crazy, but because this information is being effectively presented to them as though it is fact. Biden should work with Big Tech to regulate social media, Rhodes tells Ian Bremmer on GZERO World, because the situation is worsening. "Part of what's different is the way in which social media and technology has literally made it possible for a very large chunk of this country to live in an alternative reality."

Watch the episode: Is American democracy in danger?

Is American democracy in danger?

American power was indisputable in the 20th Century. The US helped win two World Wars, developed a resilient economy, and in 1991 emerged from the Cold War as the sole global superpower. But today the country is facing unprecedented polarization caused, in part, by wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the 2008 financial crisis and the amplification of disinformation on social media. On GZERO World, Ian Bremmer asks former Obama Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes whether the American Century is truly over, or if there's anything we can do to restore the country's reputation as a "shining city upon a hill."

Joe Biden's presidency: biggest surprises, successes and mistakes so far

What surprised Jane Harman, former US Congresswoman (D-CA), most about Joe Biden's presidency? "Number one, he's much more hands-on as a leader than I fully understood. It's coming out now how he runs his meetings and what he does. But number two, and I love this, he's really enjoying the job." Harman, a nine-term member of Congress who served for decades on the major security committees in the House of Representatives, notes that Biden's stint as Vice President was no guarantee of how he would perform. "I think sitting behind that desk, and having the buck stop with him is very different. And I think he fills out the job very well."

In an interview with Ian Bremmer, Harman says Biden has a dimension that none of his four predecessors had, because of his experience in Congress and in foreign policy. She also shares her perspective on Biden's biggest successes as well as some mistakes he's made.

Biden’s executive orders are “not enough,” says Jane Harman

Executive orders are "not enough" for a president trying to tackle America's most difficult problems, said Jane Harman, the former ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. "We can't have the government run by executive order… An executive order is the tool of choice in the last three presidencies because Congress has been so difficult, impotent, dysfunctional and doesn't do much." Harman made her comments as part of an interview with GZERO Media that was also sponsored by Microsoft, about the role of the government and companies in cyber-security.

"Beyond SolarWinds: Securing Cyberspace," a Global Stage live conversation on cyber challenges facing governments, companies, and citizens, was recorded on May 18, and was held in collaboration with the Munich Security Conference as part of their "Road to Munich" series. Sign up for alerts about more upcoming GZERO events.

Israel-Palestine violence explodes: what happens next?

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here. Happy week to you. I thought we would do a quick take as we often do talk a little bit today about the latest in the fighting between the Israelis and the Palestinians, still going on. Thousands now of Hamas' rockets raining down on Israel, hundreds of Israeli air sorties, also tanks and artillery hitting Gaza, as well as some violence locally in the West Bank and a fair amount across Israel Proper between Arabs and Israeli Jews living in the country.

I'm pretty optimistic at this point, if you can even use that word, that this is not going to escalate further in the near term. In other words, this doesn't become a ground war. A couple of reasons. First, the Israeli defense forces over the weekend put out a statement showing how much they had already done to degrade Hamas' military capabilities. And historically, they don't do that until they're ready to show success and wrap up their military operations in relatively short order. So that implies a quick pivot, at least to opening negotiations with the Palestinians as to a ceasefire.

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Will Biden's spending bring inflation back from the dead?

The US federal government is gearing up to spend a lot of money these days. So far, to cushion the blow of the pandemic, Washington has already parted with $5 trillion in the form of direct payments to households, forgivable loans to businesses, and other support including aid to state governments. And more is coming.

President Joe Biden has proposed another $4 trillion in federal funds for physical and "human" infrastructure, some of which would create income support and social spending programs that would last well beyond the pandemic.

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Why ‘America first’ means “America involved”

What's the biggest foreign policy misconception that Americans have about the US's role in the world? According to international relations expert Tom Nichols, too few Americans believe that the US, in fact, has a critical role in the world, and that the things Americans enjoy, from cheap goods to safe streets, are made possible because of American global leadership. "Americans have become so spoiled and inured to the idea that the world is a dangerous place that they don't understand that the seas are navigable because someone makes them that way. They don't understand that peace between the great powers is not simply like the weather, that just happens," Nichols tells Ian Bremmer. Their conversation is featured on an episode of GZERO World, airing on US public television – check local listings.

Watch the episode: Make politics "boring" again: Joe Biden's first 100 Days

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