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Biden's UN speech avoids China mention; US lifts travel restrictions

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week with a look at US President Biden's UN General Assembly speech, eased US travel restrictions, and Canadian PM Trudeau's election gamble.

How did President Biden's first address to the United Nations General Assembly live go?

It was okay. I thought it was very notable that China was not directly mentioned at all. So my mother used to say, if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything. Did say that the US didn't want to be in a "Cold War". That's notable, because a lot of people out there are pushing in that direction in the US and in China. Certainly it was all about multilateral leadership. The Americans want to do more. We want collective leadership. We care about values. We care about democracy, but increasingly not seen as credible by a number of Europeans, as well as by the developing world, particularly when it comes to Afghanistan, COVID, and climate. Can't just say the words, have to have a pathway to get there. It's getting more challenging for the Americans. This is a tough UNGA meeting.

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Does the UN have any actual authority?

76 years after the United Nations was founded, amid an unending pandemic and growing climate and refugee crises, today's UN Secretary-General António Guterres has stark words for member nations: "In our biggest shared test since the Second World War," Guterres says, "humanity faces a stark and urgent choice: a breakdown or a breakthrough." But if something as immediate and catastrophic as a deadly pandemic can't spark a renewal of global cooperation, then what can? On GZERO World, Ian Bremmer explores the question: if the United Nations doesn't have the authority to force its members to take drastic measures to avoid global catastrophes, what is it actually good for? (Quite a lot.)

Watch this episode of GZERO World with Ian Bremmer: UN Sec-Gen: Without trust, catastrophe awaits

​Is the US abandoning NATO in Afghanistan?

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here. Welcome to your week. Got a Quick Take for you. Wanted to talk a little bit about Afghanistan. The United States has announced, and not for the first time, that we will be leaving, ending the 20-year war. Detractors calling it The Forever War, and with good reason: it is the longest war that the United States has in its history ever fought, spending over a trillion dollars conservatively. Estimated well over 2000 American servicemen and women dead, over 40,000 Afghan civilians dead, and well over 70% of Americans want out, want to end the war. So you can understand why President Biden wanted to make that decision. You understand why former President Trump wanted to make that decision.

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No, Joe Biden, America is not back. It will take time.

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi everybody, Ian Bremmer here, kicking off the week as we head into spring. And I thought I'd talk a little bit about where US foreign policy is and is not heading.

We keep hearing from President Biden and the Biden administration that the United States is back. And certainly when you talk about the fact that the United States is rejoining and recommitting to a lot of institutions like the nuclear agreement on START, five-year extension, trying to get back into the Iranian nuclear deal, Paris Climate Accord, World Health Organization, where there's been a lot of criticism of late from Secretary of State Blinken saying the Chinese are all over that, and were writing basically the report that came out from the WHO, my God, that's a hit, but they're still engaging with WHO as they should. Internationally, that means that the level of diplomacy looks a little bit more normal than it did under the Trump administration, but that's not the United States is back.

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What we learned, and didn’t, from (virtual) Munich

A year ago, the annual Munich Security Conference was the last major international event to take place before the world locked down following the appearance of a mysterious new virus in Wuhan, China. Close to 2.5 million COVID deaths later, world leaders again gathered on Friday, this time virtually, to discuss the future of global cooperation, particularly between the US and Europe, in the post-Trump era. Here are a few takeaways.

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Watch our expert panel on reasons for hope in the COVID crisis

Watch the recording of GZERO Media virtual Town Hall, "Reasons for Hope: COVID and the Coming Year," presented in partnership with Eurasia Group and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Our panel discussed the road ahead in the global response to the COVID crisis. Will there be more multilateral cooperation on issues like gender equality moving forward from the pandemic?

Watch the event recording here: https://www.gzeromedia.com/townhall

Our moderator, CNBC health care correspondent Bertha Coombs, along with Ian Bremmer, president of Eurasia Group and GZERO Media, and Mark Suzman, CEO of the Gates Foundation, spoke with distinguished experts on three key issues:

Heidi Larson, Director, The Vaccine Confidence Project

  • How will COVID vaccines be distributed safely?

Minouche Shafik, Director of London School of Economics & Political Science

  • How has the pandemic disproportionately impacted women?

Madeleine Albright, Chair, Albright Stonebridge Group and Albright Capital Management; former US Secretary of State

  • What is the opportunity for global cooperation emerging from this crisis, and what are the greatest political risks?

Friday, December 4, 2020
12 noon EST/9 am PST/5 pm (17:00) GMT
#GZEROTownHall

Is NATO evolving fast enough to adapt to an ever-changing world?

How does NATO's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg think his organization should adapt to a rapidly changing world? "The most important thing we can do is to make sure that we have strong international institutions. And that NATO remains a strong alliance, both militarily and politically." The fact that Stoltenberg stressed the importance of political evolution for a military alliance like NATO may indicate how much the modern battlefield has changed since the fall of the Berlin Wall. He spoke with Ian Bremmer on an episode of GZERO World.

Watch the full episode: Will NATO adapt to emerging global threats?

Moving Multilateralism Forward: Madeleine Albright, Caroline Kennedy, and John Frank discuss with young adults

Watch: "Moving Multilateralism Forward," an intergenerational dialogue between Madeleine Albright, former US Secretary of State; Caroline Kennedy, former US Ambassador to Japan; John Frank, Microsoft Vice President of UN Affairs; and four current and former students of the Marble Hill School for International Studies in the Bronx, NY. These veteran diplomats and young minds discuss the future of multilateralism, the unprecedented challenges facing the international community, the power of young people in leading change, and the promise that technology has to be a force for good.

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