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US aid for Israel & Ukraine hangs in the balance
TITLE PLACEHOLDER | Ian Bremmer | World In :60

US aid for Israel & Ukraine hangs in the balance

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

Will the House pass the Senate-approved aid package for Ukraine and Israel?

Well, certainly not if the Freedom Caucus and the Speaker of the House have anything to say about it. So, I mean, as of today, what the Senate has passed with a lot of Republicans on board looks dead in the House. But of course, the ability to jam the House and force them to accept something or there's no government funding, that is a game of chicken that we've seen before and the Senate may well continue to be ready to play. So it is not dead yet, but aid is looking challenging. And let's be clear, irrespective of what happens for 2024, it's going to be very hard to get any more aid for the Ukrainians going forward. And everybody is deeply aware of that reality.

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10 images that captured 2023

With 2023 in our rearview mirror, here are some of the images that defined the tumultuous year: from Fulton County, Georgia to Gaza City,

Feb. 5: Spy Balloon Downed

Feb. 5: Spy Balloon Downed

Credit: Sipa USA via Reuters

Sailors assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group 2 recover a Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon off the coast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Feb. 5, 2023.

Feb. 10: Earthquake shakes Turkey and Syria

Feb. 10: Earthquake shakes Turkey and Syria

Credit: Umit Bektas/Reuters

An aerial view shows damaged and collapsed buildings in the aftermath of a deadly earthquake in Hatay, Turkey February 10, 2023.


March 23: France protests pension changes

March 23: France protests pension changes

Credit: Alain Pitton/NurPhoto via Reuters

Riot policemen stands amid clouds of tear gas as more than 70,000 people protest in Toulouse against French President Emmanuel Macron’s attempt to raise the national retirement age and change pension benefits. March 23th 2023.

May 6: King Charles III coronated

May 6: King Charles III coronated

Credit: Stefan Rousseau/Pool via REUTERS

King Charles III waves as he leaves the balcony of Buckingham Palace, London, following his coronation, May 6, 2023.

Jun. 7: Canadian wildfires

Jun. 7: Canadian wildfires

Credit: REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

People ride bicycles at 6th Avenue as haze and smoke caused by wildfires in Canada blanket New York City, New York, U.S., June 7, 2023.

Aug. 24: Trump mugshot

Aug. 24: Trump mugshot

Credit: Reuters

Former U.S. President Donald Trump in a police booking mugshot released by the Fulton County Sheriff's Office, August 24, 2023.

Sept. 25: Milei’s chainsaw

Sept. 25: Milei\u2019s chainsaw

Credit: REUTERS/Cristina Sille

Argentine presidential candidate Javier Milei holds a chainsaw next to Carolina Piparo, candidate for Governor of the Province of Buenos Aires, during a campaign rally, in Buenos Aires, Argentina September 25, 2023.

Oct. 7: Noa Argamani kidnapped

Oct. 7: Noa Argamani kidnapped

Nova music festival attendee Noa Argamani reaches out to her boyfriend, Avinatan Or, as they are kidnapped by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7, 2023.

Oct. 9: Gaza’s children bombed

Oct. 9: Gaza\u2019s children bombed

Credit: IMAGO/Medhat Hajjaj/apaimages via Reuters

A child at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City rests after surgery, having been wounded in an Israeli attack. October 9, 2023.

Oct 23: Afghanistan's historic Cricket World Cup win

Oct 23: Afghanistan's historic Cricket World Cup win

Credit: ANI via Reuters

Hashmatullah Shahidi celebrates Afghanistan's victory against Pakistan. Oct 23, 2023

What will 2024 bring? Make sure to subscribe to the GZERO Daily newsletter to keep up.

GZERO 2023 music playlist

It was a bumpy year, so bump and groove your way into the New Year with our 2023 playlist! We scoured the charts from Buenos Aires to Beijing for songs that captured the zeitgeist, from Ice Spice to Fela Kuti — and make you wanna boogie.



Playlist tracks

Inflation - “Expensive shit” by Fela Kuti

French protests – “Paris is a bitch” by Biga*Ranx

West African coups - “Soldier Take Over” by Yellowman

Milei elected - “Desesperada” by Sara Hebe

European migration - “Desaparecido” by Manu Chao

Politics in general - “Liar’s Dub” by Max Romeo

Climate change failure - “Sogno otro mundo” by Apres la classe and Manu Chao

Struggle between Mexico government and drug cartels - “La People” by Peso Pluma

Nigerian election - “I Told Them” by Burna Boy

Xi Jinping wins historic third term as Chinese president - “Paint the Town Red” by Doja Cat

25th anniversary of Good Friday agreement - “Jackie Down the Line” by Fontaines DC

War in Ukraine - “Heart of Steel” by Tvorchi

Power Barbie - “Barbie World” by Nicki Minaj & Ice Spice

George Santos - “Banned in DC” by Bad Brains

UAW/SAG strikes - “Never Cross a Picket Line” by Billy Bragg

China economic weakness - “Made in China” by Higher Brothers and Famous Dex

Ukraine - “Running Up That Hill” by Kate Bush

Rise of AI - “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 1” by The Flaming Lips

Colombia’s new drug policy – “Don’t Sniff Coke” by Pato Banton

US telling on India for killing Hardeep Singh Nijjar – “Exposing me Remix” by FBG Duck

Elon Musk unravels – “Where Is My Mind?” by Pixies

Chinese spy balloon – “Somebody’s Watching Me” by Rockwell

Biden-Xi meeting – "Bad Idea Right" by Olivia Rodrigo

The Black Sea grain deal – "Is It Over Now? (Taylor's Version) by Taylor Swift

Biden runs for president (again) – “Never Gonna Give You Up” – By Rick Astley

Putin survives Prigozhin revolt -- "Houdini" by Dua Lipa

Putin to Lukashenko – “Lil Boo Thang” by Paul Russell

North Korea fires more missiles for attention – “I’m Just Ken” by Ryan Gosling

2023's biggest winners and losers in global politics

THE WINNERS

Putin

To be fair, things aren’t great for Vladimir Putin – NATO is still stronger, and his economy is weaker than it’d be if he hadn’t invaded Ukraine. But from a low bar, 2023 was a clear winner for the Russian strongman. Ukraine’s vaunted counteroffensive failed to impress, Western attempts to cap the price of Russian oil faltered, and even an insurrection by his warlord-in-chief only seemed to make him stronger. Putin heads into 2024 happily watching the US Congress squabble over further aid for Ukraine, and who knows, next Christmas might just come early for the Kremlin if Donald Trump can win the US election in November.

Trump

Speaking of which, at the top of this year, the twice-impeached Teflon Don looked like he’d be getting fitted for a prison jumpsuit rather than filing campaign papers. But the bevy of state and federal legal cases against him – some of which were hard for non-lawyers to make sense of – only fired up his base. As a result, he’s not only miles ahead of any GOP challengers for the 2024 nomination, some polls also show him outright leading Joe Biden, who has suffered with voters because of perceptions of his age, inflation, a migration crisis at the southern border, and his controversial handling of the Gaza war.

India

This year, India eclipsed China as the world’s most populous country, defended its title as the fastest-growing major economy, and even landed a spacecraft on the moon. At the same time, PM Narendra Modi used his country’s 2023 presidency of the G20 and his deepening ties with the US to position himself as a vitally important diplomatic bridge-builder between the wealthy G7 countries and the developing nations of the so-called Global South. Popular at home, increasingly influential abroad, and with a flag on the moon to boot, Modi – who faces elections in 2024 – has guided his country to a winner of a year.

Nicolás Maduro

It was a feliz 2023 indeed for the strongman of Caracas. Most of the world quietly stopped supporting his erstwhile rival Juan Guaidó (remember him?), and rising global oil prices forced Washington to rethink its financial stranglehold on Caracas, offering oil sanctions relief in exchange only for some spotty promises that Maduro will hold a free and fair presidential election next year (fat chance.) By the end of 2023, an emboldened Maduro was even feeling frisky enough to threaten to invade his neighbor Guyana.

People willing to play Golf in Saudi Arabia

At first, it seemed inconceivable. Surely the whispers about Saudi Arabia offering golfers hundred-million-dollar contracts to defect to the desert were just fairway gossip, right? But Riyadh made it real when the Saudi-backed upstart LIV Golf absorbed the 107-year-old PGA Golf Tour in June. Critics said the Saudis were just “sportswashing” away an awful human rights record, but supporters said it was time to bust the PGA’s stuffy old monopoly. Meanwhile, the greens look even greener as prize money grows, and even the last-place finishers in LIV tournaments can take home $120,000!

THE LOSERS

AI Cassandras

In March, Elon Musk and a group of artificial intelligence leaders published an open letter warning that AI systems posed “profound risks to society and humanity” and called for a “public and verifiable” six-month pause in “the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4.”

It didn’t happen. Increasingly complex and powerful AI systems may indeed pose existential dangers for the human race (alongside their tremendous benefits), but a global pause in any form of technological progress – let alone one this pervasive, powerful, or flat-out entertaining – is impossible to enforce. For the Ancient Greeks, it was Cassandra’s fate to be ignored. But wasn’t it also her destiny to be correct? 2024 will be a huge year for AI.

Benjamin Netanyahu

The wily rightwinger returned to power in Israel late 2022 despite his ongoing legal troubles, but it’s been downhill since. All summer, he faced massive protests over his plan to weaken Israel’s courts. Then, the biggest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust occurred on his watch, prompting fierce domestic criticism of the failures of intelligence and strategy that enabled Hamas to attack on Oct. 7. Israeli society broadly supports Bibi’s stated aims of defanging Hamas and bringing home the hostages (two goals that may in fact be in conflict), but a majority of Israelis still want him to resign.

Migrants on the move

This year the political winds began to shift swiftly against migrants and asylum seekers seeking new lives in the world’s leading economies. In the EU, the number of migrants neared levels not seen since the Syrian refugee crisis in 2016, boosting anti-immigrant politicians and forcing the EU to tighten asylum rules in a long-debated migration policy reform. Meanwhile, in the US, record numbers of undocumented migrants crossed the southern border, empowering Republicans in Congress to hold up funding for Ukraine for tighter border policies. Expect tough talk on migration to play well in the EU Parliament elections next June and the US presidential election in November.

Imran Khan

The hugely popular former Pakistani Prime Minister – who was ousted in a no-confidence vote in 2022 – went from looking like he might sweep back to power in elections this year to being locked up in prison, forced to use an AI replica to get his message out. He was imprisoned in August on corruption charges that he and his followers say are bogus, and the elections that were supposed to return him to power were postponed until next year. His legal troubles may keep him off the ballot entirely. Still, he remains an immensely potent force in Pakistani politics, making a 2024 comeback impossible to rule out.

People who opposed coups in Africa

On the heels of coups last year in Mali and Burkina Faso, this year saw governments deposed in both Niger and Gabon. Niger’s democratically-elected government was overthrown by soldiers from the presidential guard in July. Similarly, Gabon military officers seized power in August, unseating the longtime president shortly after he was declared the winner of a contested election. The recent coups come amid a larger trend of increasingly frequent coups in the region – nine over the past three years – which have harmed economic well-being and raised concerns about regional security.

​The very biggest losers: Anyone who didn’t subscribe to the GZERO Daily Newsletter

A no-brainer right here. Anyone who wasn’t getting the Daily in 2023 lost out on the best daily dose of global politics that’s out there – delivered right to your inbox with insight, kindness, and humor. The good news is you can still subscribe – sign up here, and you’ll already be a 2024 winner before the year has even begun!


Israel-Hamas war: Hostage release doesn't mean the end is near
Israel-Hamas war: Hostage release doesn't mean the end is near | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Israel-Hamas war: Hostage release doesn't mean the end is near

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here and a Quick Take to kick off your week. And yes, we are back to the Israel-Gaza war and it is at least a little bit of good news with some hostages finally being released over a month and a half from when they were originally taken. That has gotten us some Palestinian prisoners released, some humanitarian aid allowed into Gaza and a ceasefire for a few days. And indeed, looks like it will now plausibly be extended for another day or two as more hostages are being let go.

Got to give Qatar a lot of credit here for playing a role in negotiating between Israel and Hamas. Not an easy thing to do. Qatar, an ally of the United States, the biggest military base on the ground, but also a government that has allowed the political leadership of Hamas to live inside their territory in peace and security as they have Taliban leadership for years. And that proves to be useful for both the Americans and the Israelis, more on that later. But is this potentially the beginning of the end of the war? And on that front, I think we have to say absolutely not for a few reasons.

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Why the Israel-Hamas war is so divisive
Why the Israel-Hamas war is so divisive | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Why the Israel-Hamas war is so divisive

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Ian Bremmer here and a Quick Take to kick off your week. And more from the Middle East, the story that continues to dominate the headlines.The story that continues to dominate the headlines. And right now, foreign ministers from across the Middle East and the Muslim world, including the Palestinian foreign minister in Beijing and soon to be in Moscow and soon after that, to be in London and Paris to talk about efforts to contain and end the war in the Middle East. The Chinese foreign minister calling for an immediate ceasefire, also calling for a two-state solution, agreeing with the Americans on the latter, not agreeing with the Americans on the former. This is an environment where pretty much everybody involved is trying to get an end to the fighting except the United States, which is the most important ally, the critical ally of Israel.

And the Israelis intend to continue their military strikes until they feel like they have destroyed Hamas on the ground. And that means not just in Gaza City, but also it means in the south of Gaza. This is causing difficulties inside the United States with stronger opposition inside the Democratic Party, especially among young people where Biden is under water wanting a much more balanced, much less pro-Israel policy. And Republicans who on balance think that Biden has been too soft in his support for Israel. This means that Biden's at 40% approval right now, the lowest of his administration to date. And it's hard to see this getting any better any time soon. I think that the Israelis are clearly having military successes on the ground in Gaza. And when you talk to the generals, they feel like they're on the timeline they want to be. They are finding the tunnels, finding the militant leaders, able to go after with impunity, those that are there. Of course, the very fact that Hamas is fighting inside a civilian area, that they have tunnels underneath schools and hospitals, and that's where they're putting the hostages. And we've seen those videos now that are confirmed and where they're putting their military equipment makes Hamas responsible for a lot of the civilians that are getting killed, but also makes the Israelis responsible in the global environment for not being able to take out Hamas unless they put massive numbers of civilians at risk.

And so what you have is the Israelis winning, at least tactically, the military battles on the ground, whether one can destroy Hamas or extremist militarism against Israel through bombing and a ground war is another longer question. But losing the information war where around the world and including in the United States, there is just a lot more sympathy increasingly for the Palestinians. Only six weeks after the worst terrorist attacks, the worst violence against Jews anywhere in the world since the Holocaust. That is the reality.

And, you know, it's very different in this regard than covering the Russia-Ukraine invasion, where, first of all, the Ukrainians were winning the information war and also it was very clearly a black versus white struggle. I mean, these were, you know, not that the Ukrainians are Democrats and didn't have problems with corruption, but they were minding their own business. They wanted to join NATO. True. That's a decision that is made by a sovereign country. But they weren't threatening Russia. They weren't invading Russia. They were doing nothing to Russians in the Federation. And that was even true despite years of annexation illegally by the Russians of Ukrainian territory. So it was very clear when the Russians invaded Ukraine that the Russians were at fault and that the question is how can you respond to that? It was black and white.

In the case of Israel and Palestine, it is very clear that Hamas is responsible for October 7th. That's clear. But it's also clear that the Israelis have engaged in a lot of illegal actions in taking Palestinian territory on the ground in the West Bank and continue to occupy territory that is not theirs that nobody thinks is theirs and not prepared to do anything about it. It's also clear that the Israeli government had been supporting Hamas in undermining the Palestinian Authority and in refuse thing to consider a two-state solution under Netanyahu and his far right coalition. So, I mean, it's not black and white. There are different shades of gray. There are you know, it's very easy to say that Hamas is a terrorist organization and that means they should be destroyed and Netanyahu is a bad leader and that means he should be voted out. But there's no equivalence between these two leaders. But saying there's no equivalence doesn't mean that one is good and the other's bad. Here we are talking about different shades of illegal activity and we're also talking about different shades of behavior that is causing immense amounts of responsibility for human suffering.

And you can't simply say that Hamas is only responsible for all the people that are getting killed. You can't say that. You can say they're mostly responsible because they're the ones that have the hostages. They're the ones targeting the civilians. They're the ones putting civilians in harm's way. But certainly the Israeli Defense Forces deserve some culpability for their willingness to, you know, have a siege and not allow in humanitarian aid. And their willingness to engage in attacks that are going to take out some militants, but are going to risk the lives of far more civilians. And, you know, how do you balance that? Is it 90:10 Hamas responsible? Is it 70:30? Is it 80:20? I'm not sure I care, you know, doing a percentage as I am in recognizing that we have to describe the nuance. We have to be reasonable in not trying to play one side off as purely responsible and guilty and bad, that the only way this is going to lead to peace is if Hamas is removed, if they are destroyed as a terrorist organization. Number one. If there are prospects for peace for Palestinians to have livelihoods in Gaza and the West Bank going forward, and if Netanyahu and his far right coalition are removed from office, those things are all necessary antecedent conditions before we can have stability in the region.

That's where we are. So it's not an easy conversation. It's a nuanced conversation. It's one that makes almost nobody satisfied and happy in a way that on Russia and Ukraine, it was very easy to be on team Ukraine, even though they frequently lied about stuff in terms of propaganda and support of the war. And their government wasn't 100% clean and isn't 100% clean. But it's still very easy to say the Ukrainians deserve their territory back. It's much harder in this environment on Israel-Palestine to put your thumb on one side of the scale, you have to have a broader conversation if you want to be accurate and if you want to have peace. And that's where we are, and that's part of the reason why it's been so damn difficult to get peace in the Middle East for decades and decades, why the Americans, like many others, have kind of given up on it in favor of just trying to create stability with everybody else. And that worked to a degree. But now we see it wasn't enough. And so we're going to have to go back yet again in one of the most challenging geopolitical missions that we face in the world today.

So that's it for me, but I'm sure we'll be back to this real soon.

Should Israel have waited before invading Gaza?
Should Israel have waited before invading Gaza? | GZERO Media

Should Israel have waited before invading Gaza?

Could Israel have waited longer to start its war in Gaza?

On GZERO World, Ian Bremmer asked former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak if Israel had fallen into a trap in the way it’s fighting the war against Hamas. In the last month, there’s been a shift away from sympathy for Israel in the wake of October 7th and a growing criticism of its tactics in Gaza. Thousands of Palestinians have been killed by Israeli airstrikes, hundreds of thousands more have fled their homes, and Israel’s total blockade has prevented desperately needed humanitarian aid from reaching civilians.

Barak believes that Israel could have gotten more aid in sooner but also says that it’s determined to destroy Hamas, arguing that waiting longer would have put them at a disadvantage militarily. But the former prime minister does concede that Israel’s current government needs to be realistic about what they can achieve in Gaza.

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Dealing with Hamas: What a former hostage negotiator learned
Dealing with Hamas: What a former hostage negotiator learned | GZERO Media

Dealing with Hamas: What a former hostage negotiator learned

What's it like to negotiate directly with Hamas?

On GZERO World with Ian Bremmer, Alex Kliment spoke with Gershon Baskin, a hostage negotiator who's dealt directly with Hamas, about the 240 estimated Israeli hostages being held captive in Gaza, what it will take to bring them home, and how to find common in tough negotiations. When Baskin secured the 2011 release of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli solider held captive for 5 years, he developed a relationship with Ghazi Hamad, a Hamas leader who’s currently a spokesperson for the war in Gaza.

“The main thing that worked in the past was time,” Baskin tells Kilment, “[Hamad and I] spoke more than a thousand times. In the end, it was the trust that developed between us that enabled us to expose all our cards.”

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