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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, Finland's President Sauli Niinisto and Sweden's Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson pose after signing a document during a NATO summit in Madrid, Spain.

REUTERS/Violeta Santos Moura

What We're Watching: Turkey backs off, Texas migrant tragedy, bombshell Jan. 6 testimony, Iran woos BRICS

Turkey opens NATO door to Finland and Sweden

The first day of the NATO Summit in Madrid brought concrete results. Turkey, Finland, and Sweden came to an agreement that addresses Ankara’s security concerns and paves the path to Finland and Sweden joining NATO. The Nordics’ joint bid for membership, inspired by Russian aggression in Ukraine, was at the center of the summit’s agenda. Accession demands consensus, and Turkey had raised objections, making security-centric demands from Stockholm and Helsinki that threatened to slow the process. In response, Sweden and Finland have suspended a 2019 arms embargo against Ankara and agreed to cut assistance to the People’s Protection Units, an armed group affiliated with the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, Turkey’s enemy. Some of Ankara’s requests still need to be discussed, but Turkey is walking away from its veto option, swinging the doors open to Finland and Sweden’s membership in NATO. Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, has said the expansion doesn’t threaten Russia but warned that Moscow would respond to any extension of military infrastructure into that region.

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Biden Wants Saudis to Increase Oil Production & Russia Out of OPEC+ | World In :60 | GZERO Media

Biden could get Saudis to push Russia out of OPEC+

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week on World In :60.

What does Biden hope to come from his trip to Saudi Arabia?

Well, first he hopes he isn't smashed by progressives in his own party after saying when he campaigned that he wanted to make Saudi Arabia into a pariah internationally. Traveling to Saudi Arabia and visiting with Mohammed bin Salman doesn't do that, but of course, $120 plus oil doesn't do that either. Look, I think it's sensible for him to go. I'm glad he's actually making the trip. In particular, he wants to see the Saudis increasing their oil production beyond present announced quotas to reduce the price. It's impacting Americans at the pump with record levels right now. He'd love to see Russia thrown out of OPEC Plus. I think that's plausible and beyond that, the possibility that Saudi Arabia and Israel would formally open diplomatic relations, an extension of the Abraham Accords which was one of the biggest accomplishments in foreign policy of the Trump administration. Biden's completely aligned with that and I think he's going to try to push on that. So, I do think there will be some direct takeaways from this trip that'll be positive for the Biden administration.

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GZERO Media

Will Biden say sorry to MBS?

Bizarre marriages of convenience dominate the geopolitical landscape: Russia and China; Iran and Venezuela; Israel and Turkey. The list goes on.

When President Biden came into office, he said he wouldn’t give a “blank check” to the world’s autocrats, including those associated with longtime US allies.

As part of his human-rights focused foreign policy, Biden rejected any dialogue with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), the 36-year-old de facto Saudi leader who’s credited with big reforms like allowing Saudi women to drive. He’s also overseen acts of incredible brutality, including the murder of dissident-journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the scorched-earth military campaign in Yemen.

But two years in and ample crises later, Biden is ready to sit down for a face-to-face with MBS next month in Riyadh. Why the massive about-face?

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Boris Johnson Is Likely To Face Another No-Confidence Vote Soon | World In :60 | GZERO Media

Boris Johnson is likely to face another no-confidence vote soon

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week on World In :60.

Boris Johnson survives no-confidence vote, but are his days as prime minister still numbered?

Yeah. On balance, I think you're still going to see another no-confidence vote. The rules in the Tory Party executive committee say you can't, but they can change the rules. And because the vote was this close and because there is such opposition with the scandals that he continues to drive, I think the likelihood that you end up with another no-confidence vote in coming months is actually pretty high. So on balance, yeah, I still think his days are numbered. He's holding on by a thread. Good news though, is that he's less likely to cause trouble over Northern Ireland-Ireland border given how weak he is right now. So the Europeans at least are resting a little easily.

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The Goals of the West & Putin | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Authoritarian Russia's lies and the risk of escalation against NATO

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi everybody, Ian Bremmer here. And a Quick Take for you starting off the week. Once again, we're 10 weeks in and I wish I had something, anything good to say about the war in Ukraine. I'll find something for you by the end of this, but most of the signals are really heading negatively and very quickly.

The Russians are taking more territory in Donetsk and Luhansk, the focus of this second phase of their special military operations as they call it. The Ukrainians, having said that, are ramping up their attacks inside Russia. And we're seeing a lot of sabotage, a lot of fires, some strikes across the border. One of the explosions in a tank regiment was outside of Moscow. So this isn't coming from Ukraine directly, but maybe it's sympathizers inside Russia.

We're not, of course, hearing anything from the Russian government explaining any of this, nor should we expect to. Looks like the Russian army chief of staff was actually injured by a Ukrainian strike while he was on the front lines, but on the Russian side.

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Has Biden ditched the environment?

Back in 2020, candidate Joe Biden vowed to be the greenest president in the history of the United States. This was not a nod to his political coming of age – the soon-to-be octogenarian has been around the block – but rather a reference to Biden’s super ambitious climate agenda.

Fast forward 15 months, and Biden, facing an unprecedented energy crisis, has been accused of doing an about-face on climate, veering into drill, baby, drill territory to encourage more oil production to boost dwindling global supplies.

Promises made, (some) promises kept. Focused on uniting a divided Democratic Party upon taking office, Biden vowed to go big on climate change mitigation. He followed through immediately with a series of executive orders, first rejoining the Paris Climate Accords ditched by his predecessor, realigning the US with nearly 200 countries that agreed to cooperate on keeping global warming levels below 2 degrees Celsius.

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Biden wants Putin out | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Biden wants Putin out

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: For God's sake, this man cannot remain in power. You heard it. I heard it. We all heard it. It was not a part of the formal remarks. Biden's comments closing his trip to Europe while he was in Warsaw, Poland, not so far from the Ukrainian border, was immediately walked back by White House aides. "No, it doesn't mean that President Biden or the United States has a plan or is going to take Putin out. It's not regime change." Political opponents domestically jumped all over him saying, "He's going to start World War III." Emmanuel Macron, sensing a political opportunity, said it wasn't responsible, promoting himself as the guy that can do diplomacy.

It is not a call for regime change. The United States is not trying to actively remove Putin from office. There is no capacity to do so, a man who is an authoritarian leader with a large military capability and a whole bunch, thousands of nuclear warheads at his disposal. This is the same United States that refuses to do a no-fly zone or to send troops to defend Ukrainians getting massacred. Why? Because it doesn't want to risk direct military confrontation with Russia. There's no difference here with not having a policy of regime change. That's fairly obvious. But, and this is important, Biden does want Putin out.

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EU/NATO Summits Intensify Support for Ukraine | Europe In :60 | GZERO Media

EU/NATO summits intensify support for Ukraine

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Doha on European support for Ukraine.

Is European support for Ukraine holding up?

I mean, the answer is, very distinctly, is yes. There was a remarkable, you can call it the summit of summits, in Brussels on Thursday, where we had, first the NATO summit with President Biden as well, we had the G7 summit and we had the EU summit with President Biden as well. There's never been, to my knowledge, any summit of summits of that particular sort. And that took place on the day, one month after President Putin started his aggression against Ukraine. Sanctions are being intensified. Weapons deliveries to Ukraine are intensified. The thing that worries the Europeans somewhat is, of course, energy dependence and energy prices. And you've seen a lot of people coming to--quite high up--at the moment Doha in Qatar, in order to secure supplies of natural gas and other energies in order to get Europe off its dependence, or the dependence of some of the country's, on natural gas from Russia.

That will happen as well. So support, certainly holding up.

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