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One year since Jan. 6 insurrection; why Trump endorsed Viktor Orbán

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week on the anniversary of the January 6 Capitol insurrection, Trump's endorsement of Viktor Orbán, and Novak Djokovic's avoidance of vaccination rules.

A year later, what should we call the Jan. 6? A coup attempt? A riot? An insurrection? Domestic terrorism?

I think I'd go with an insurrection, since it was the former president, sitting president of the United States who had not been re-elected, claimed he was re-elected, and called on his supporters to march on the Capitol building, and didn't stop them when they occupied it illegally. The whole “Hang Mike Pence” thing does imply insurrection. Doesn't imply domestic terrorism. Very few of them were trying to engage in political violence, though I think certainly, a few were. And a riot by itself doesn't really hit it.

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The world’s worst COVID outbreak (for now)

Right now, only one region of the world is reporting an increase in new daily COVID cases. Here's a hint: it's one of the places where vaccines are, for the most part, easiest to get.

It's Europe. According to the World Health Organization, the region last week notched a 7 percent uptick in new daily infections, the third week in a row that infections rose there.

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What We're Watching: Viktor Orbán's rival, Pakistan's Taliban making moves, abducted Americans in Haiti

Can this guy defeat Viktor Orban? Hungary's opposition movement of odd bedfellows has finally settled on the person they think has the best chance of defeating PM Viktor Orbán at the ballot box: Péter Márki-Zay, a politically conservative small-town mayor from southeastern Hungary, who beat out left-leaning European Parliament member Klara Dobrev in a weekend poll. Márki-Zay has a lot going for him: as a devout Catholic and father of seven it will be hard for the ultraconservative Orbán to paint him as a progressive threat, even as Márki-Zay reaches out to reassure left-leaning groups that he will protect LGBTQ rights. What's more, Márki-Zay has little political baggage: until recently he was a marketing executive. But can the relatively inexperienced Márki-Zay keep the various opposition factions happy? The stakes couldn't be higher: since taking power more than a decade ago, Orbán has deliberately made Hungary into an "illiberal" state, cracking down on the press, undermining the rule of law, and clashing with the EU. Bonus: if Márki-Zay stays in the news, you get to say "Hódmezővásárhely" the name of the city he currently runs.

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The EU takes a swing at Poland and Hungary

The European Union is, for better or worse, the most ambitious experiment in human history in institutionalized multinational cooperation. Its success depends on the willingness of its members to abide by its rules.

In recent years, the populist-nationalist governments of former Communist bloc members Hungary and Poland have flouted some of those rules in order to boost their own popularity with citizens suspicious of the EU's liberal values on issues like immigration and minority rights. In response, the EU has scolded these "illiberal" governments and threatened forceful action – so far without much effect.

The fight between EU institutions and Poland and Hungary has escalated.

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Is Hungary in for an "anyone but Orbán" election?

Viktor Orbán, Hungary's far-right populist prime minister, likes to shock people. It's part of his political appeal. Orbán has proudly proclaimed that he is an "illiberal" leader," creating a frenzy in Brussels because Hungary is a member of the European Union.

It's been over a decade since the 58-year old, whom some have dubbed the "Trump before Trump" became prime minister. In that time he has, critics say, hollowed out Hungary's governing institutions and eroded the state's democratic characteristics.

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Fighting for democracy in Hungary and Hong Kong

Former Obama adviser Ben Rhodes sees parallels between Hungary's politics and what happened in the US under Trump, and believes the EU has been too lenient towards Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's autocratic tendencies. Rhodes, who met with democracy activists in Hungary and Hong Kong when researching his book, "After the Fall: Being American in the World We've Made," observes that Hungary's opposition groups have been strengthened by banding together to form a united front against corrupt politicians. There's less reason for hope in Hong Kong, says Rhodes, and one reason is that the US never made it a priority. "At every stage of the last 30 years, a commercial interest, or a security interest, or a geopolitical interest was always above what our interests were on an issue like Hong Kong," Rhodes tells Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

Watch the episode: Is American democracy in danger?

Why anti-democratic movements in Europe and the US are remarkably similar

Political movements that promote authoritarian leaders and anti-democratic governments have gained significant ground in Eastern Europe in the past twenty years. And according to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Anne Applebaum, it's a trend that goes beyond that specific region. "This will sound very bizarre, but the trajectory of events and the nature of political debate in Poland is amazingly similar to the United States, the kinds of arguments that people make, the, the level of polarization… you can see this impulse to destroy and undermine the institutions of democracy everywhere." What is the appeal of such movements and what has the pandemic done to expand their influence?

Applebaum and Ian Bremmer take on those questions on GZERO World, which began airing on US public television stations nationwide on Friday, March 5. Check local listings.

Watch the episode: Authoritarianism's Enduring Appeal: Anne Applebaum Discusses

Authoritarianism’s enduring appeal: Anne Applebaum discusses

Across the world, from the Philippines to Hungary to Venezuela, nations have embraced authoritarian rule in recent years, in many cases with significant popular support. What is the enduring appeal of authoritarianism, what has the pandemic done to accelerate its growth, and how susceptible is the United States to its sway? Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Anne Applebaum joins Ian Bremmer on GZERO World to investigate the allure of these anti-democratic movements and to shed light on their unlikely champions.

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