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UK’s new COVID strain problematic but economic pain is a greater risk

Ian Bremmer discusses the World In (more than) 60 Seconds:

Number one, what's the story with the new COVID strain in Britain?

Well, I mean, it's a mutation. Apparently, it is equally combatable by the vaccines that we've developed, and I've heard that directly by some of the people that are running those companies. So, it's not a concern about the ability that we have to stop the disease once we get vaccinations, thank God. But it is a problem in terms of how much more quickly the virus can be transmitted. Now, in the United Kingdom, they do an awful lot of testing, especially compared to many countries in Europe, and they have found an extensive amount of this new strain, which has led them to bring the UK into Tier 4, as they call it, which means basically Christmas is canceled. No one's going anywhere. Everything's locked down. That also has meant that a lot of countries have suspended travel to the United Kingdom, which I understand, but we've already seen some of this new strain in Italy, for example. I suspect it's going to pop up in a bunch of other countries in the continent. If it's everywhere, do you really want the additional pain economically?

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Leading health journalist Laurie Garrett on COVID lessons learned from Japan

When it comes to preparedness for this global crisis, Japan had a key advantage—a universal healthcare system that provides medical attention to all at no or low cost to the patient. But there were other cultural and institutional factors at play, as Pulitzer Prize-winning health journalist Laurie Garrett explains. The video is part of a limited "Japan in 60 Seconds" series produced in partnership with the Consulate General of Japan.

This video is sponsored by the Consulate General of Japan.

Biden's controversial Defense pick may need bipartisan support

Jon Lieber, Managing Director of the United States for the Eurasia Group, shares his insights on US politics this week:

First question. Why is Biden's nomination of Lloyd Austin for Secretary of Defense controversial?

It's controversial because Austin has not been out of the military for the required seven years that are needed, under the National Security Act of 1947, to ensure civilian control over the Department of Defense. As a result, he'll need a waiver from Congress in order to serve. This would be the second waiver that Congress has approved in the last four years with the first one coming for Trump's Secretary of Defense, General Jim Mattis. That was justified at the time because Congress was a little concerned about President Trump and really wanted somebody with a steady hand like Mattis on the till. But Biden has other options, including Michele Flournoy, who has a lot of supporters in Capitol Hill. And so, you're seeing some Democrats suggest they may not be willing to give a waiver this time. Austin may require a lot of Republican votes in order to get confirmed.

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Barrett hearing reflects Supreme Court polarization; predicting US voter turnout

Jon Lieber, who leads Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, offers insights on the latest in US politics:

What has been most revealing to you about the Amy Coney Barrett hearing so far?

Well, what was interesting about them to me was how nakedly political they are. Normally, you have at least the pretense of probing the justice's judicial philosophy, trying to figure out where they stand relative on the political spectrum. But here, you know, the Republicans know they have a vote, so it's largely been cheerleading. And the Democrats have been running what looks like a political campaign, asking questions about the Affordable Care Act, bringing up constituent stories of people who are going to be affected should the Supreme Court knock it down in a way that just is really unusual for Supreme Court. I think that just reflects the polarization of the court and political polarization more generally.

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Why Trump won't debate Biden or make a decision on stimulus

Jon Lieber, Managing Director of the United States for the Eurasia Group, shares his insights on US politics this week:

Why wouldn't the president want to debate Joe Biden?

Well, I think the president does want to debate Joe Biden, but he wants to do it on his terms. He wants an in-person debate where he can try to dominate and overwhelm Biden and push him into having what looks like a senior moment, to help make the case that Joe Biden is too old to hold office. The Commission on Presidential Debates has offered a virtual debate where they can mute Trump's microphone and that's the format just doesn't really work for him. So, probably this debate is canceled. We'll see what happens with the third.

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Interview with ECB's Christine Lagarde, behind Europe’s united economic COVID response

In an extended interview with GZERO World, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde joins Ian Bremmer to explain how European nations were able to overcome political divisions and act quickly to prevent an all-out economic catastrophe on the continent.

How Europe mounted a united economic response to the pandemic

Ian Bremmer looks at how 27 nations in the European Union were able to put aside decades of inter-continental grievances and come together to aggressively and almost immediately respond to the economic toll wrought by the coronavirus. One person, in particular, played an outsize role in bringing about that unlikely outcome: Christine Lagarde.

Watch the episode: Christine Lagarde, Leading Europe's United Economic Pandemic Response

Unity against COVID: Economic relief & success of the EU’s pandemic response (so far)

How was it that after decades of infighting, European nations were able to come together so quickly on an economic pandemic relief package? "I'm tempted to say because of COVID-19…because the triggering factor for the crisis was not the banks…not the bad behavior of some policy-makers somewhere in the region. It was actually this teeny tiny little virus..." European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde tells Ian Bremmer how a microscopic virus spurred the greatest show of international unity in years.


Watch the episode: Christine Lagarde, Leading Europe's United Economic Pandemic Response

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