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Russia Losing In The West | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Russia losing in the West

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi everybody, Ian Bremmer here. Happy Monday to you. It is summit week, particularly summit week as it involves the United States and core allies starting right now with the G7, began on Sunday in Germany, and then moving on to the Madrid Summit in Spain. Certainly the most important NATO summit that we've had in decades, but more broadly, this is the United States and advanced industrial democracies coming together in response to a major global crisis on the European continent. And in some ways to the "Western order", which is of course the Russian invasion of Ukraine. As we look at these summits, it's very clear that when you talk about individual leaders of the countries, they're looking pretty weak. I mean, given both the state of the economy, which of course makes a lot of citizens pretty angry, irrespective of whose fault it is or isn't, and also plenty of domestic challenges on top of that.

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Israeli PM Naftali Bennett speaks next to Foreign Minister Yair Lapid at the Knesset in Jerusalem.

REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

What We're Watching: Bennett throws in the towel in Israel, Petro wins in Colombia, Macron loses majority in France

Israel faces fifth election in three years

Israelis are headed to the polls, again, for the fifth time in just over three years. After almost two months of being on the brink of collapse following a number of high-profile defections that made it lose its parliamentary majority, the fragile eight-party coalition government led by PM Naftali Bennett is set to disband. In the coming days, Bennett and his main coalition partner, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, intend to dissolve the Knesset (parliament) and call a fresh election in October or November. Lapid will serve as caretaker PM once Bennett steps down, but Bennett will retain the Iran portfolio as part of the power-sharing agreement. Former PM Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, who now heads the opposition, celebrated the demise of an unwieldy government whose members could pretty much only agree that they didn't want him as prime minister. Bibi, for his part, is (surprise!) gunning for a return to power despite being on trial for corruption. Will his rightwing Likud Party win enough seats and allies to cobble together a majority to form a government, or will Israel's political deadlock continue with no end in sight?

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French President Emmanuel Macron at a polling booth during the first round of French parliamentary elections

Ludovic Marin via Reuters

What We're Watching: France's final round, ISIS leaders caught

Voters decide Macron’s future

On Sunday, France’s election season comes to a close with the final round of parliamentary elections. The big question: Can President Macron’s Ensemble! Party win a majority of the National Assembly’s 577 seats? If so, or if it gets close enough that a few willing partners from other parties can lend votes on individual pieces of legislation, then he’ll have a chance to advance his ambitious reform agenda. If not, his second-term plans will quickly stall. Macron’s best hope is that a few right-wing voters fearful of potential victory for Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s leftist coalition will limit the number of seats it’s able to win, and that a few leftist voters who adamantly oppose far-right opposition leader Marine Le Pen will back Macron’s centrists for control of seats since there’s no left-wing candidate. Macron has long pledged to boost the government’s financial health by pushing the standard retirement age from 62 to 65. But without at least a near-majority, Macron and his prime minister will struggle even to pass basic reforms meant to cut government spending and help businesses weather tough economic times.
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People participate in the March for Our Lives on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

What We're Watching: US gun-control deal, Indian protests, Macron's majority, Biden goes to Saudi

US Senate reaches compromise on guns

On Sunday, a group of 20 US senators announced a bipartisan framework on new gun control legislation in response to the recent wave of mass shootings. The proposal includes more background checks, funding for states to implement "red-flag" laws so they can confiscate guns from dangerous people, and provisions to prevent gun sales to domestic violence offenders. While the deal is much less ambitious than the sweeping ban on assault weapons and universal background checks President Joe Biden called for after the massacre in Uvalde, Texas, it's a rare bipartisan effort in a deeply divided Washington that seeks to make at least some progress on gun safety, an issue on which Congress has been deadlocked for decades. Biden said these are "steps in the right direction" and endorsed the Senate deal but admitted he wants a lot more. The announcement came a day after thousands of Americans held rallies on the National Mall in the capital and across the country to demand tougher gun laws. Will the senators be able to turn the framework into actual legislation before the momentum passes?

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Paige Fusco

Under-the-radar European elections

Over the past year, the biggest story in European politics has been its remarkable unity in response to crises. The EU plan for COVID recovery and the response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have been much more cooperative and effective than the sometimes-ugly debates over managing the sovereign debt crisis of 2009-2010 or the migrant crisis of 2015-2016.

But political pressure is building on the continent. Inflationary pressures, exacerbated by continuing supply-chain disruptions, higher food and fuel costs provoked by the war, and ambitious plans to redraw Europe’s energy map and spend more on defense are stoking public fear that it’s all too much at once. How these concerns play out domestically in a few key countries could impact European unity and progress moving forward.

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Macron's Speech Weakens The West | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Macron's speech weakens the West's unity against Putin

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi, everybody. Happy Monday, and a Quick Take to start off your week. I am Ian Bremmer. And the latest in the Russia war. Over the weekend, French President Emmanuel Macron, calling on NATO, the international community, as we occasionally call it, though a narrower version thereof, not to humiliate Putin and Russia in the war. And furthermore, Macron saying that he is willing to, interested in, wants to, facilitate negotiations after the fighting concludes between the West and Russia. There's a lot going on here.

I consider it a problematic public statement because it implies that the West is not holding together well. And therefore, that if Putin can hang on, that there is more of a divide to take advantage of that there wasn't really in the first two, three months of the fighting since February 24th. I will say that privately, the German government is very much of a piece with the French government in wanting to try to find a way to bring the war to an end as soon as possible. And if that means sort of giving up some negotiating space to Putin and pressuring the Ukrainians to give up some additional territory beyond what was taken before February 24th, then so be it.

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Jean Luc Melenchon poster at French leftist movement La France Insoumise's (LFI) headquarters in Paris.

Reuters

What We're Watching: Macron has a left problem, Japan's nuclear option, the election no one cares about

Japan embraces nuclear to wean itself off Russian energy

Russia's war in Ukraine is pushing notoriously slow-moving Japan to make unusually swift policy shifts. In mid-March, Tokyo gave up its decades-long effort to negotiate with Russia over the return of the disputed Kuril Islands. Now, it's ready to ditch Russian energy, which resource-poor Japan needs to keep the lights on. (Tokyo joined Western sanctions against Russia but has not yet banned imports of Russian oil and natural gas.) PM Fumio Kishida announced Thursday that Japan will restart its mothballed nuclear reactors — a big deal because nuclear power is a highly sensitive topic in the only nation to suffer an attack with atomic weapons. Also, a tsunami caused in 2011 the Fukushima disaster, the world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl. That led Japanese public opinion to sour on nuclear, but now a majority support Kishida's plans, which also aim to help the country become carbon-neutral by 2050. Interestingly, the announcement comes just days after a top Japanese investor confirmed a $21 billion natural gas project in Siberia despite uncertainty over Russian sanctions and fears that Russia will cut off Japan first.

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In 1992, supporters of abortion rights mingle with abortion opponents at a State House rally marking the 19th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision legalizing abortion.

Reuters

What We're Watching: Roe in trouble, Russia Victory Day, ISIS-K terrorizes Afghanistan, Macron vs the left

US Supreme Court reportedly set to overturn Roe vs. Wade

The US Supreme Court is set to overturn the landmark abortion rights decision of Roe vs. Wade, according to a leaked draft of the decision reported by Politico late Monday. The draft, written by Justice Samuel Alito, explains the court’s apparent plan to reverse the 1973 ruling, noting that “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start” and that it’s time to “return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.” If true, this means the court is siding with Mississippi in its push to ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. While SCOTUS drafts do not always reflect final decisions, Eurasia Group’s lead US political analyst Jon Lieber believes the draft is a sneak peek of what’s to come. “Court watchers seem to think the document is a legitimate draft, and given the makeup of the court it sure reads like the majority decision I expected to see,” Lieber says. “So I think this is both real and reflects the reality that Roe vs. Wade will be overturned this year."

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