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Ian Bremmer: Risk of Nuclear Crisis In 2022: Too High | Asia Society | GZERO Media

Ian Bremmer: Risk of nuclear crisis in 2022 is too high

The White House believes that there is a 20% chance of another Cuban Missile Crisis "in the next eight weeks" with Russia, Ian Bremmer said at an event at the Asia Society in New York on Monday. While Bremmer doesn't see as high a chance that Putin would risk using nuclear weapons, he added, "Either way, those numbers are way too freaking high." The even bigger risk, he points out, is that not enough is being done to manage the unprecedented danger from Russia in the medium term.

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Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro gives a press statement in Brasilia.

Reuters

What We’re Watching: Bolsonaro's broken silence, Iranian attack plans, Bibi’s return, Colombia & Venezuela’s lunch date

Bolsonaro lets his friend say the hard part

In a prepared and combative statement lasting less than two minutes, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday did not concede the election he lost on Sunday. He also failed to congratulate — or even mention — his opponent, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Instead, he welcomed ongoing nationwide protests by pro-Bolsonaro truckers, saying they’re the result of a “feeling of indignation and injustice about how the elections were conducted.” He cast himself as a person who plays by the constitutional rules and said he was proud to have stood for freedom of markets, religion, and expression. “The right has truly risen in Brazil,” he said. After Bolsonaro walked off without taking questions, one of his closest allies stepped up to the podium to say Bolsonaro had in fact authorized him to begin the presidential transition. As that legal and logistical process gets underway, we are watching closely to see how far Bolsonaro pushes the popular protests to try to gain political leverage. Bolsonaro lost to former President Lula by the narrowest electoral margin in Brazil’s modern history. Buckle up.

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Brazil's outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro votes during the election runoff in Rio de Janeiro.

Bruna Prado/Pool via REUTERS

What We’re Watching: Bolsonaro’s next move, China’s forever zero-COVID, Iran’s public trials

What’s Bolsonaro gonna do?

Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro will speak publicly on Tuesday for the first time about the presidential election, which he officially lost on Sunday to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva by just under two points. Unlike in some other countries — ahem — Brazil’s unified electronic system counts all the votes at once, on the day of the election, and that’s that. But the right-wing Bolsonaro has spent months casting doubt on the credibility of that system itself, repeatedly hinting that he might not accept the result if he loses. Meanwhile, his supporters have cried foul at heavy-handed efforts by courts and electoral authorities to police fake news in the run-up to the vote. Truckers who support him have already blocked roads in 20 of Brazil’s 26 states. Some analysts fear a January 6 insurrection or worse, given Bolsonaro’s cozy ties to the military. Does he really think he can overturn the result? Probably not. Is he crazy enough to try a coup? Doubtful (really). But can he create an awful lot of chaos as a way of bolstering his political capital ahead of his upcoming role as leader of a powerful opposition that now controls congress? Surely. The results are in, but the streets are waiting: your move, Jair.

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A view of drones during a military exercise in an undisclosed location in Iran.

Iranian Army/WANA handout via REUTERS

Hard Numbers: Ukraine hits Iranian drones, Lula still leading, Japan needs stimulus, Chad bans opposition

70: Ukraine's military has shot down 70% of Iranian-made drones launched by Russia since mid-September. The drones are one of several reasons the war is having unexpected spillover effects in Middle Eastern politics.

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GZERO Media

Israel, Iran, and the metastasizing war in Ukraine

Wars tend to spread, infecting parts of the world far from the frontlines and the Ukraine conflict is no exception.

The global economic ripple effects of the war in Ukraine – from the world’s sharpest “hunger pains” since World War II to soaring inflation and energy crises – have been clear for months.

The news that Iran has now become deeply involved in Russia’s war effort, by supplying the Kremlin with “suicide drones” for the bombardment of Ukrainian targets, has ricocheted deep into the Middle East, raising tough questions for one state in particular: Israel.

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A cross-industry strike movement brings together several thousand people in the streets of Lille, France.

Reuters

What We’re Watching: Macron’s challenges, Xi’s power play, Iran’s scarfless athlete, Ethiopia’s gains in Tigray

Walkouts put Macron on the spot

France’s notoriously strike-o-phile public sector unions called a nationwide walkout on Tuesday, demanding higher wages in response to high inflation. The move, which mainly affects public transport and trains, comes amid weeks-long strikes by workers at major oil companies and nuclear plants. Although inflation in France has softened compared to other Western European nations, the country is still seeing its fastest price increases since the mid-1980s. For President Emmanuel Macron, who was reelected in April, the strikes and protests are a taste of the troubles he may face in the coming months. His 2023 budget is caught in a parliamentary crossfire as MPs on the right and left try to cram in more spending and larger tax increases than Macron wants. Meanwhile, winter is fast approaching, with uncertain consequences for the French public’s energy bills – though the Parisian parkour set is doing its graceful best to address the problem every night. And Macron is still aiming to push through a major — and deeply unpopular — pension reform before next spring.

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Starlink logo seen on a mobile device with Ukraine on a map in the background.

STR via Reuters Connect

Is Musk hedging his bets on Ukraine?

Elon Musk’s Starlink is the most prominent of a new generation of low-Earth orbit satellite networks making a name for themselves this year by providing internet service in conflict zones and other geopolitical hotspots. Instead of using a handful of expensive-to-launch high-altitude satellites, these networks deploy thousands of cheaper low-orbit systems. This type of network may still be more expensive to use than terrestrial cables, but it allows operators to beam the internet into places with limited infrastructure on the ground to support it.

We asked Eurasia Group expert Scott Bade to explain how these networks are being used and what the implications are.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives for the opening ceremony of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in Beijing.

Reuters

What We’re Watching: China’s Communist Party Congress kickoff, fire at notorious Iranian prison

Xi’s security signaling

The long-anticipated 20th Chinese Communist Party Congress kicked off Sunday with a two-hour speech by President Xi Jinping, who is all but assured to secure a norm-defying third term that could see him lead the party and the military until at least 2027. At the conclusion of the plenum on Oct. 22, the party will tap a new 200-member central committee, a politburo, and a seven-member Politburo Standing Committee. Xi, who for years placed China’s economic agenda at the heart of public pronouncements, focused much of his address on China’s security standing. Indeed, he doubled down on commitments to reunify Taiwan with the mainland, saying that “resolving the Taiwan issue is the Chinese people’s own matter,” adding that Beijing wouldn’t tolerate “protectionism and bullying” by other nations – widely seen as a nod to Washington. What’s more, Xi called on the Chinese to “be ready to withstand high winds, choppy waters and even dangerous storms,” a reference, some analysts say, to Xi’s anticipation of an eventual military confrontation with Washington over Taiwan. Crucially, Xi also said that he’ll keep in place – at least for now – the zero-COVID policy, which is partly responsible for sending the global economy into a tailspin. Decisions made during the event will tell the world what signal Xi wants to send about his future plans for the country.

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