Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week on World In :60.
What should we expect from Xi Jinping's visit to Saudi Arabia?
A lot more investment. The Chinese expect themselves to be one of the last men standing in terms of global energy demand for fossil fuels. The Saudis, of course, the cheapest major producers out there, think in the transition they'll be the last man standing in terms of supply, and that really aligns these countries much more than with the United States over the medium- to long-term. I'm also really interested in any conversations about security because behind the scenes, the Chinese have been talking to a lot of countries about where they might put their first military base in the Middle East. The whisper is Oman. Something to watch out for going forward.
And sticking with China, what might the relaxation of its zero COVID policy look like?
Well, I mean, incremental until we start to see much larger numbers of the Chinese elderly getting vaccinated. Those numbers are way too low for the over 80-year-old crowd, but it's close to a mandate what the Chinese are planning on finally implementing by the end of January. Until then, I think it's going to be more willingness to allow people to have more targeted quarantines and lockdowns for shorter periods of time, more flexibility, and more people are allowed to travel, how people are allowed to live on a day-to-day basis, but still plenty of popular anger about the fact that their lives are becoming inconvenienced dramatically by all of these lockdowns and slowdowns. And, of course, supply chain impact on Chinese economic growth.
Is Ukraine taking the battle to Russia?
Yeah, we saw that with Kerch Bridge and the ability of the Russians to link directly to Crimea. Now, we see it with three different Ukrainian drone strikes against Russian bases, one of which deep in Russian territory, not so far from Moscow. That really does show a growing Ukrainian military capabilities with all the support from NATO going forward. From Russia's perspective, it justifies Russian attacks against Ukrainian critical infrastructure. It's not a game changer at this point, but it certainly shows that the impact that this war is having on both sides, Russian economic impact long-term, Ukrainian civil and human impact long-term, is growing, and growing, and growing.