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NATO Summit: Biden's uncertain future worries US allies
NATO Summit: US allies focus on Biden's uncertain political future | World In :60

NATO Summit: Biden's uncertain future worries US allies

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

What are you watching for at the NATO summit?

Well, first and foremost, it's how all of these allies are responding to a very real political crisis in the United States. US, of course, the country they rely on for leading NATO, by far the biggest military power in the world, their principal ally. And they now know that the likelihood that Biden is going to be able to win, is a lot lower than it was the last time they saw him. And they've been seeing him. They saw him at the G7. They saw him in Normandy. They saw him, you know, at the United Nations and some in bunch of bilats and and everyone I've spoken to, says that they're not all confident that he can win. They certainly don't think he can serve out four more years. And they're deeply worried, especially because what a Trump administration might mean for them, with the exception of Viktor Orbán, almost all the NATO allies are very worried. They know that NATO, the EU, the war in Ukraine, all of that much more uncertain if Trump were to come back as president. So that's what I'm watching for and see how that plays out.

How will the UK's new PM, Keir Starmer, lead Britain?

Economically, not all that different. He's focused unusually for labor, focused on a pro-growth policy. He's promised that he isn't going to raise the major taxes like income tax and VAT. And so, he will probably find some more money in things like inheritance tax, he’s going to try to get more private sector investment into the economy. Certainly, wants to have a consistent policy on Ukraine, consistent policy on the United States as the previous conservative governments. Big change will be tried to reestablish stronger relations with the European Union and particularly Ursula von der Leyen, expected to get the nod for another five years running the EU. Keir Starmer spent a lot of personal time working on that over the past months.

As a Russian missile struck a children's hospital in Kyiv is there still no end in sight for the war in Ukraine?

No, no, there's no end in sight. in fact, while that was happening, Narendra Modi, the Indian PM was being quite friendly in Moscow on his visit with Putin. This is a partner of the United States. Putin feels like right now, especially if Trump is elected that his bet on this invasion in Ukraine will work out well for him. And that is not what NATO allies want Putin to be thinking right now. There's been success in getting them a lot of support, the Ukrainians, over the course of the last six months, and certainly they're going to have more money over the next year. But longer term, there's a huge question about how that plays out. And Putin is showing impunity right at the beginning of the NATO summit by sending all those missiles at civilian targets, including sick kids in Ukraine. Not a surprise. but still pretty sickening.

UK's new PM Starmer aims for closer EU ties
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UK's new PM Starmer aims for closer EU ties

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How will the new UK Prime Minister Keir Starmer reset relations at home and abroad?

Well, I think overall there's going to be a lot of continuity in terms of foreign and security policies. They've already sent the defense secretary to Kyiv to say that if anything, it's going to be even stronger support. But in terms of Europe, it’s going to be a new nuance and new attempts. The new foreign secretary, David Lammy, has already been to Germany, he's been to Poland, he’s been to Sweden, and he's talked about a European pact, foreign and security issues, cooperating more closely. And he's been invited to a meeting with all of the foreign ministers. So that's where we are likely to see, some change in the months and perhaps years ahead.

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Keir Starmer Downing Street Leader of the Labour Party Sir Keir Starmer with his wife Lady Victoria Starmer arrives in Downing Street to take the keys to No10 after an audience with King Charles lll as he becomes the UKs Prime Minister after winning yesterdays General Election and taking control after 14 years of Conservative rule.

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British opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer attends a Labour general election campaign event, in Norton Canes, Britain July 2, 2024.

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Britain's Labour Party Leader Keir Starmer addresses the start of the National Annual Women's Conference, ahead of the start of Britain's Labour Party annual conference, in Liverpool, Britain, October 7, 2023.

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Who is Keir Starmer?

Keir Starmer will likely become the UK’s prime minister not long after the July 4 election. Over nine years in parliament, he’s helped shift the Labour Party from the ideological rigidity of theJeremy Corbyn era onto a path and platform that can win enough centrist voters to take power.

On Thursday, Starmer introducedhis party’s latest manifesto with a pledge to help Britonscreate wealth: “If you take nothing else away from this today, let it be this,” he told a mostly enthusiastic audience. “We are pro-business and pro-worker. A plan for wealth creation.”

With its de-emphasis on big spending initiatives, some will compare Starmer to former Labour PM Tony Blair. But Blair was a sunnier and more charismatic figure. Starmer, who left work as a human rights lawyer to pursue politics in 2015, must make a virtue of his reputation for seriousness, caution, and a focus on practical means for attaining tangible gains. His own working-class roots help him connect with working-class voters.

As he admitted in arecent interview, “I’ve achieved less as a politician than I have at any other time in my life.” That’s why, he says, he wants to lead a government rather than the opposition.

Starmer is also the biggest beneficiary of voter exhaustion with 14 years of Conservative Party dominance. As a result, we’ll soon know even more about him.

Labour Party leader Keir Starmer and Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak debate, as ITV hosts the first head-to-head debate of the General Election, in Manchester, Britain, June 4, 2024 in this handout image.

Jonathan Hordle/ITV/Handout via REUTERS

Sunak vs. Starmer face off on the debate stage

Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer, leader of the opposition Labour Party, squared off Tuesday night before Britain’s general election on July 4.

Who are they? Starmer is a human rights lawyer turned politician who has taken the Labour Party from very left-wing to more centrist over the last four years.

Sunak, meanwhile, is the fifth PM in the last 14 years of Conservative rule. He called last month for the upcoming election, knowing he had to call it before the end of the year – and hoping to ride a positive wave of news about falling inflation.

On the debate stage, both candidates shouted over each other about taxation, immigration, the National Health Service, the war in Gaza, and climate change.

Sunak, whose campaign has been trailing Labour by double digits for the last six months, was on the attack. He hammered home the potential costs of Labour’s plans to improve the NHS and schools which he claimed would "put everyone's taxes up by 2,000 pounds." Starmer didn’t deny that he would raise taxes, but he called the 2,000 pounds figure ridiculous and clarified that he would not raise income tax or National Insurance social security contributions.

Starmer was calm throughout, likely because his chances of winning increased the night before when Nigel Farage — a far-right Brexiteer — threw his hat in the ring as the head of the Reform Party, which will inevitably pull votes away from the Tories.

Who won? 51% of viewers polled said they thought the prime minister performed better, while 49% preferred Starmer.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak delivers a speech calling for a general election outside No. 10 Downing Street, in London, Britain, on May 22, 2024.

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