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Niall Ferguson: Blame bureaucrats, not leaders, for mismanaging disasters

When a government fails on disaster response, Stanford University historian Niall Ferguson says we often point the finger at the wrong person: the president — even if he's Donald Trump — instead of the mid-level bureaucrats who're actually responsible for most decisions. "When people are inclined to blame the person at the top, on closer inspection the point of failure is not there," Ferguson tells Ian Bremmer in the upcoming episode of GZERO World. Check local listings to watch on US public television.

Haitian president's killing reflects unprecedented rise in violence

Ian Bremmer shares his perspective on global politics this week:

What do we know about the assassination of Haiti's president?

Well, we know it's not making an awful lot of news the assassination of the leader of a country, because Haiti's a tiny economy. It's incredibly poor, it's been devastated by natural disasters and also by general lawlessness in the country. And over the last month, gang violence has become historically unprecedented. The police have been unable to maintain law and order in the streets, in most of the cities or sort of, major towns in Haiti. You've had thousands of Haitians displaced. You've had dozens of civilians killed and then overnight a gang entered the personal residence of the president. Again, police and presidential guard unable to stop them and he's dead. And his wife, the First Lady is in the hospital. It's a pretty staggering situation and obviously, some international support, some peacekeepers could be useful on the ground. Aid by itself is not going to do it right now.

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Can Brazil (and Bolsonaro) recover from a crippling year?

Jair Bolsonaro had a Trump-like rise to power to become the president of Brazil, but some of the same attributes that got him elected have contributed to the many economic, political and public health crises plaguing his country. In addition to the COVID pandemic, Brazil is still suffering from the impact of its worst ever recession which began in 2014. Bolsonaro promised to turn that around—but economic growth remains low and unemployment very high. As for the Amazon, its rapid deforestation accounted for one third of the destruction of the world's tropical forests in 2019 alone. Bolsonaro is up for reelection next year, and it's going to be an interesting campaign. The likely challenger is Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva, who is as far left as Bolsonaro is right.

Watch the episode: Brazil on the brink

Brazil's awful year: does the buck stop with Bolsonaro?

Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Brazil's former president and elder statesman, spoke frankly with Ian Bremmer about how ill-equipped Brazil's government has been to manage multiple crises. "It's obvious that the government is not managing quite well...by denying truth. It's impossible to deny that the people are dying," Cardoso said in an interview on GZERO World. He also discussed the political division plaguing his country. "I'm more cautious than normal political men are. I have been president, so I know that it's not simple, but it's difficult to explain how it was possible for the president [Bolsonaro] to seem so indifferent with respect to the pandemic."

Watch the episode: Brazil on the brink

Brazil on the brink

Latin America's largest economy has endured years of economic hardship, a barrage of political scandals, and one of the worst pandemic death tolls in the world. So where does Brazil go from here and how much longer can its president hold onto power? Former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who remains one of the most influential political figures in the country, joins Ian Bremmer to discuss Brazil's increasingly divided society, the potential fate of its current far-right leader, the prospects of his most likely challenger (known to all as "Lula") the climate crisis in the Amazon, and the country's complicated relationship with China.

Brazil's own Godzilla vs Kong

Brazil's economy is a shambles. COVID is still raging. The Amazon is aflame. But despite all that, president Jair Bolsonaro fears only one thing: the coming clash with an old nemesis that'll make King Kong vs Godzilla look like child's play by comparison.

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China overhauls Hong Kong elections; Brazil & Turkey under pressure

Ian Bremmer discusses Hong Kong's election changes, Bolsonaro's latest cabinet reshuffle, and Turkey's economic problems on World In 60 Seconds.

China has overhauled elections in Hong Kong. Now what?

Well, now nobody that would be in the democratic opposition would really want to run for election in Hong Kong because it's just a titular body that serves mainland China. There is no more one state, two systems policy in Hong Kong. The UK, the United States are angry about it. We've put some sanctions on individual leaders, but that's about it. And China increasingly integrates the small Hong Kong economy into the mainland, and it's considered a domestic sovereign issue. Sorry, it kind of sucks if you're from Hong Kong, and there's not much work we can or are going to do about it.

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World leaders are freaking out about the US vote too

You think you've been in a knot about Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Arizona? Spare a thought for the leaders of Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Germany and.... Facebook!

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