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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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Children hold an indigenous flag at a Black Deaths in Custody Rally at Town Hall in Sydney, Saturday, April 10, 2021.

AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

Hard Numbers: Oz buys Aboriginal flag, Malawi vs corruption, ISIS human shields, Boris the party animal

14: The Australian government paid $14 million for the copyright of the Aboriginal flag so that anyone can display it without fear of being sued. Indigenous artist Harold Thomas created the flag 50 years ago as a protest image; since then, it has become the dominant Aboriginal symbol and an official national flag.

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What We’re Watching: Russian and NATO intentions, US strikes Syrian prison, UAE-Houthi escalation

Russian and NATO intentions. To prepare to meet a perceived military threat, planners try to understand both the intentions and the capabilities of the other side. Russia says it does not intend to invade Ukraine, but NATO planners can see it has built the capability for an attack by amassing 100,000 troops near the Ukrainian border. In response, the alliance has decided to underline its own capacities. On Monday, NATO announced it had put troops on high alert and ordered the reinforcement of Eastern Europe with additional ships and fighter jets. It has beefed up defense of the Baltic states and is publicly mulling the idea of deploying more troops to southeastern Europe. NATO commanders hope this shift in the alliance’s own capabilities will send Moscow a clear message: Any aggressive military action taken by Russia will come at a steep cost for Moscow. The UK government claims to have exposed a Russian plot to install a pro-Kremlin leader in power in Kyiv in hopes of forcing Russia to abort any such plan. The perceived Russian threat has also reinvigorated debate within Sweden and Finland about possible membership in NATO for those countries. In sum, both sides have boosted their capabilities, and bystanders are considering doing the same. It’s Russian and NATO intentions that Ukraine, and the rest of us, will be watching.

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How Should the Taliban Handle ISIS? | GZERO World

How will the Taliban handle ISIS and other terrorist groups?

Though the Taliban is now in control of Afghanistan, terrorist groups still operate freely throughout the country. Among them is ISIS-Khorasan (or ISIS-K), which was created in 2015 by disaffected members of the Taliban who pushed for a more hardline approach to Islam.

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Ian Bremmer Explains: US National Security in the 20 Years Since 9/11 | GZERO World

US national security in the 20 years since 9/11

Ten years after the 9/11 attacks, many people hoped that the death of Osama Bin Laden would signal an end to America's role as the de facto world police. Instead, 20 years later we are seeing the impact of US national security policy play out once more in Afghanistan. The Taliban is now back in control, a local ISIS group has claimed responsibility for the bloody attack on August 26, and big questions remain about what America's war there actually accomplished. America's image abroad has been hurt by high civilian casualties to torture and abuse at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, while policies implemented in the US in the name of security included huge (and at times even illegal) surveillance dragnets of US citizens and gave law enforcement unprecedented powers. But the United States has avoided another catastrophic 9/11-style attack on our soil. On GZERO World, Ian Bremmer explores the question: is the US actually safer today than before the towers fell?

Watch the episode: Is America Safer Since 9/11?

With US Out, Will Afghanistan Become a Greater Terrorist Threat? | GZERO World

With US out, will Afghanistan become a greater terrorist threat?

While the US has gotten a lot better at counter-terrorism since 9/11, many bad guys are still out there — and the Taliban victory in Afghanistan has given them a huge morale boost. "They will see this as they did, indeed, the ISIS victories in Syria and Iraq, as a sign that they're on their way back," says former UK diplomat Rory Stewart. "Whatever we think about Afghanistan, nobody should be concluding that there are no terrorist threats." Watch his interview with Ian Bremmer on this episode of GZERO World.

Watch the episode: Is America Safer Since 9/11?

Trump's Foreign Policy Legacy: The Wins | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Quick Take: Trump's foreign policy legacy - the wins

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi everybody. It is the last day of the Trump administration. Most of you, probably pretty pleased about that. A majority of Americans, though not a large majority, but certainly a majority of people around the world. And given that that's a good half of the folks that follow what we do at GZERO, that counts to a majority. And look, I ought to be clear, when we talk about the Trump administration and their foreign policy legacy, "America First" was not intended to be popular outside of the United States. So, it's not surprising that most people are happy to see the back of this president. But I thought what I would do would be to go back four years after say, what are the successes? Is there anything that Trump has actually done, the Trump administration has done that we think is better off in terms of foreign policy for the United States and in some cases for the world than it would have been if he hadn't been there? And I actually came up with a list. So, I thought I'd give it to you.

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National Security Before and After the Trump Era | Jeh Johnson | GZERO World

National security before and after the Trump era

What is the number one national security priority that will land on President Biden's desk on January 20th? That was a question Ian Bremmer posed to former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Jonson. Another: What did President Trump do to strengthen the United States' homeland security? Their conversation was part of the latest episode of GZERO World.

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