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US, NATO, & EU condemn China's Microsoft hack; Pegasus spyware leak

Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director at Stanford's Cyber Policy Center, Eurasia Group senior advisor and former MEP, discusses trends in big tech, privacy protection and cyberspace:

The US, NATO, and the EU have all condemned China for its hack of Microsoft Exchange servers. What happens next?

Now, the joint statement sends a strong signal, but there are operational steps that need to be clarified. Firstly, why was it possible to hack Microsoft servers at all and how to close the gaps to make software more resilient? Additionally, governments making statements condemning China or others are well-advised to attach consequences to such attributions. Sanctions of the economic, financial or immigration type, as well as restrictions on state-owned enterprises, should all be on the table. Certainly, clear criteria need to be there with regard to responsible behavior and the application of international law in cyberspace.

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Merkel and Johnson will discuss post-Brexit relationship

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Europe:

What are Angela Merkel and Boris Johnson going to talk about when they meet this week?

Well, I guess they need to start discussing a relationship post-Brexit. It was five years ago, and the relationship is still dominated by sort of Brexit-related issues. The uncertainty over the Northern Ireland protocol is a cloud over the relationship, but there are also common issues. Needless to say, the pandemic is still with us.

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What We’re Watching: China vs Australia, Kashmir talks, EU’s Putin FOMO

China-Australia trade row continues: In the newest installment of the deepening row between China and Australia, Beijing has launched a complaint against Canberra at the World Trade Organization over tariffs placed on three Chinese exports: wind towers, railway wheels and stainless-steel sinks. Australia says it was caught off-guard by China's suit — the tariffs have been in place since 2014, 2015, and 2019 — and that Beijing didn't go through the regular WTO channels nor pursue bilateral talks before filing the complaint. It's the latest move in a game of tit-for-tat: last year, Beijing slapped tariffs on Australian products like wine and barley, a massive blow to Australia's export-reliant economy. Since the Chinese crackdown on Australian wine, sales have fallen from AU$1.1 billion ($840 million) to just AU$20 million, prompting Australia to recently challenge Beijing's move at the WTO. China-Australia relations have become increasingly fraught over a range of issues including trade, Chinese spying, 5G, and Australia's call for a global probe into the origins of the pandemic.

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What We're Watching: France's regional elections, the Taliban's gains, Sweden's government falls, NYC goes to the polls

Le Pen and Macron falter in regional elections: This weekend's regional elections across France were a massive blow for both President Emmanuel Macron and his La République En Marche party (LREM), as well as for his rival Marine Le Pen and her far-right National Rally party. Le Pen, who has been soaring in the polls in recent months ahead of presidential elections in May 2022, was hoping her party would win a state-wide race for the first time, but National Rally failed to pull through even in conservative regions like Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, where exit polls suggest that the center-right Republicans party, which has been almost irrelevant in recent years, will likely come out on top. Macron's LREM also performed terribly, taking just 10 percent of the vote nationwide. Macron and Le Pen tried to nationalize the regional polls by focusing on country-wide issues like COVID and immigration, but extremely low voter turnout makes it hard to draw broader conclusions. A second round of voting will take place next Sunday (two rounds of voting are conducted unless parties win more than 50 percent of the vote) and the National Rally is hoping for a comeback.

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Will Marine Le Pen's rebrand help her win?

Many people know a few basic facts about Marine Le Pen, head of France's far-right National Rally party. They know that she is the daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder of her party's predecessor, the National Front, known mainly for xenophobia and anti-semitism. They know that she is firmly anti-immigration and adopts a harsh view of what she calls "the rise of Islamism." Marine Le Pen has built a political identity based on these appeals.

But recently, Le Pen has tried to rebrand her image in order to win votes ahead of France's upcoming presidential elections in April 2022. What is Le Pen trying to change, and how might this impact her electoral prospects?

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French politics heat up over "civil war" letter

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective on Europe In 60 Seconds:

What's the issue with the letter in France talking about the "civil war"?

Well, I think it is part of the beginning of the French election campaign. We have some people in the military encouraged by the more right-wing forces, warning very much for the Muslim question. That's part of the upstart to the election campaign next year. More to come, I fear.

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US donates vaccines to India; Macron v Le Pen; EU tourism

Ian Bremmer answers this week's questions on the biggest stories in global politics:

The United States says it will now donate 60 million COVID doses. Who are they going to?

Well, they're not COVID doses, because we don't want to give people coronavirus. They're vaccines. It's AstraZeneca, which we don't need in the United States. We haven't even approved yet. They are somewhat less effective than Moderna and Pfizer, but they're damned effective and you should take them, and they're going almost exclusively to India. And that is fully appropriate because India, we know about 350,000 cases a day. In reality, if you look at the positivity rates and level of disclosure, it's probably five to 10x that. This is by far the largest epicenter of the coronavirus crisis to date in the world. But they're not going to be getting these doses until probably June. And meanwhile, they're under very serious trouble right now. And there's a lot of recrimination, central government, local governments. The US has been slow. We should've made this announcement frankly a month ago, but I'm glad we're doing it.

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European soccer’s civil war

Early this week, it took barely 48 hours for a multibillion-dollar separatist movement in European football to collapse. Twelve of the continent's richest clubs formed the Super League, a breakaway pan-European tournament from the world's biggest annual sports competition: the UEFA Champions League. In response to furious backlash from fans, players, managers, other clubs and governments, the project has been put on hold. But the very contentious issues that prompted the split in the first place remain unresolved.

While the dust settles, let's examine why the Super League's founders are so at odds with everyone else with a stake in European soccer, including some divisions with political undertones.

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