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Navalny's health and US-Russia tensions

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi, everybody, Ian Bremmer here, kicking off your beautiful spring week from New York City. A little Quick Take. I thought I'd talk today about Russia, going to be in the news this week. Putin doesn't like it when they're out of the news for too long, certainly plenty going on between the US and Russia right now.

I'd say, first of all, to start off, the relationship is in the toilet. We know this. It is the worst it's been since the early '80s. That was true even under Trump. Trump and Putin personally had a pretty good relationship, but Trump wasn't able to get anything really done for the Russians, because both the Republicans in Congress, key members of cabinet under Trump, massive amount of constraints on what Trump could actually do, whether it's trying to bring Russia back into the G7 or recognize Crimea as a part of Russia, or remove or reduce sanctions. None of that actually got done. In fact, the relationship deteriorated over the four years.

But now we've got Biden and the focus is of course, more on human rights. The focus is more on climate change, which means that Russia as a massive energy exporter and particularly in terms of their influence on Eastern Europe and Western Europe on the downstream for gas delivery, for example, something that Biden is much more focused on. So a lot more pressure on the Russians, and the Russians don't care. Their willingness to hit back and show that the Americans are not willing to take any significant risks to constrain the Russians is also fairly significant. And this is playing out in a number of ways.

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Armenia comes close to military coup; political turmoil in Georgia

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

Is there a military coup ongoing in Armenia?

Well, it isn't a military coup as of yet, but it's not far from it either. This is the turmoil that is resulting from the war with Azerbaijan, which Armenia took a large death loss. What happened was that the head of the armed forces asked for the prime minister to resign. That was not quite a coup, but not very far from it. Now, the prime minister sacked the head of the armed forces, there's considerable uncertainty. Watch the space.

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Georgia Senate election is a game changer for Biden; Trump's effect on GOP's future

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

First question. What do the results of the Georgia Senate election mean?

Well, this is a real game changer for President Biden. He came into office with the most progressive agenda of any president in modern history and the Republicans controlling the Senate were prepared to block all of that. That meant no education spending, no healthcare spending, very little green energy spending and probably no stimulus spending, further COVID stimulus spending this year. Now the Democrats seem to have a majority in the Senate, as well as the House of Representatives. All of that can get done as well as tax increases in order to finance it. The concern now for the Democrats is overreach that could lead to backlash. They have very thin majorities in the House, and the trend has been that in the first midterm for a new president, you almost always lose seats in the House. Democrats can't really afford to lose too many. That may cause them to moderate some of their plans.

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