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What Happens If Russia Nukes Ukraine? | The Risks & Consequences | GZERO World

What happens if Russia nukes Ukraine?

How should the US respond if Russia uses a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine?

Unlike strategic ones, tactical nukes are not subject by signed treaties, so all bets are off, New York Times national security correspondent David Sanger tells Ian Bremmer on GZERO World. Independent agencies don't inspect them so we don't know very much about their size, range, effects, or pre-launch prep.

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How the Ukraine Paradox Explains Putin's Nuclear Calculus | GZERO World

Putin's nuclear calculus and the Ukraine Paradox

Immediately after Russia invaded Ukraine, the odds of Moscow using nuclear weapons were low because it seemed likely they'd overrun the country with conventional weaponry. New York Times national security correspondent David Sanger credits NATO.

"Without the NATO support, I don't think the Ukrainians would have held on," Sanger tells Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

But now, he warns, we're dealing with the 'Ukraine Paradox': the more successful Ukraine gets, the more likely Vladimir Putin will consider using non-conventional weapons. Will that include nukes? Perhaps.

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Putin & Geopolitical Catastrophe | GZERO World

Putin and geopolitical catastrophe

What do Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin have in common?

"They're very different characters, but a similar rule applies, which is when somebody tells you who they are, you should listen," New York Times journalist Peter Baker tells Ian Bremmer on GZERO World, for the first time in front of a life studio audience. Baker co-authored a book on Putin with The New Yorker staff writer Susan Glasser, and the pair now have a new book out about the Trump presidency.

One thing that bothers Glasser when people talk about Putin is whether or not he'll accept an off-ramp to deescalate from the West. He won't.

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Emergency workers during an emergency response drill to simulate the aftermath of a dirty bomb explosion outside Madrid.

REUTERS/Andrea Comas

What We’re Watching: Fact vs. fiction in Ukraine, Petro vs. Big Oil in Colombia

Information wars in Ukraine

The Russian and Ukrainian governments are working hard to persuade the world that the other side is planning to commit an atrocity. The Kremlin has claimed more than once in recent days that Ukrainian forces intend to set off a so-called “dirty bomb” as part of a plan to bolster Western support for Kyiv and add pressure on Moscow by blaming Russia for the attack. Ukrainian and Western officials warn that Russia has invented this story to hide its own plans to use banned weapons and that Russian forces are planning a radioactive “terrorist act” with material stolen from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant it continues to occupy. This is a reminder of two things. First, both sides know that information remains a powerful weapon of war. Second, international monitors are badly needed on the ground inside the war zone to separate fact from fiction. Russia’s credibility with Western governments is now close to zero, but nothing can be taken at face value during the active phase of a war.

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A combination picture shows Chinese leaders Xi Jinping, Li Qiang, Zhao Leji, Wang Huning, Cai Qi, Ding Xuexiang, and Li Xi.

REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

What We’re Watching: Xi the all-powerful, Sunak the frontrunner, Shoigu the (nuclear) warmonger

All the secretary-general’s men

As expected, Xi Jinping was "re-elected" to a third term as secretary-general of China's ruling Communist Party on Sunday, a day after its 20th Congress wrapped up in Beijing. (The tightly scripted event had a bit of drama when his predecessor, Hu Jintao, was escorted out for “health reasons” as Xi looked on.) More importantly, the CCP unveiled its new seven-member Politburo Standing Committee, now made up entirely of Xi loyalists.

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Annie Gugliotta

Another nuclear showdown?

Sixty years ago on Friday, Maj. Richard Heyser took hundreds of photos of suspicious installations in the Cuban countryside from a US spy plane. Close inspection of the photos back in Washington revealed that the Soviet government, then led by Nikita Khrushchev, had secretly installed missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads over 90 miles of ocean to hit targets across much of the United States. You can hear audio recordings of the initial White House discussion of this threat here.

Over the following days, the White House and Kremlin found themselves looking for ways to avoid nuclear war. The crisis was resolved when a deal was reached that pulled the Soviet missiles from Cuba and later withdrew US missiles from Turkey.

Today, a Kremlin leader has created a new crisis. A Russian invasion has produced a military stalemate in the south and east of Ukraine. President Vladimir Putin has warned that nuclear weapons remain an option for Russia if he believes his country’s national security is threatened. Other Russian officials and allies have issued more explicit threats. President Joe Biden has invoked “the prospect of Armageddon” and spoken about lessons from the Cuban Missile Crisis that might help avert catastrophe today.

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How Close Are We To A 2nd Cuban Missile Crisis? | World In :60 | GZERO Media

How close are we to a second Cuban Missile Crisis?

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

Will China's Communist Party Congress be a game changer?

I wouldn't call it a game changer, but I think there are a lot of people out there that are hoping that there's going to be loosening of the zero-COVID policy. They're hoping that there's going to be more of an opening in terms of state control of financial institutions and technology, sort of state-owned enterprises after Xi Jinping gets his third term. I see no reason to believe that. If anything, there's more consolidation of power. There are more loyalists around him and top party positions, and as a consequence, he can do more of what he wants, which is what we've been seeing over the last few years. So I think it's actually going to be a lot more consistency as opposed to a game changer, but that's my view.

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OPEC+ Cutting Oil Production | World In :60 | GZERO Media

Elon Musk buying Twitter would be good news for Putin

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

Why is OPEC+ cutting oil production? Why is the US unhappy about it?

Well, unhappy about it because it's 2 million barrels a day off the markets, and that means higher oil prices. Why is OPEC+ cutting production? Higher oil prices. They used to say they liked 80, but now that it's been 90, 100 to 120 for a while. They like 90, 100, 120. So, they're pushing it up. I don't think it has anything to do with politics. I don't think it has anything to do with the midterm elections in the US. I think it has a lot to do with the Saudis and the Emirates and the Russians. Yes, part of OPEC+, they've got similar interests on this and they're still talking as a consequence, going to make life a little bit more difficult for the average consumer at the pump. That's what we're talking about. Big question is, do the Iranians still move ahead with an Iranian deal? I would say no, but by the way, they're the one country that you'd expect that would've recognized the annexation of the Ukrainian regions and the North Koreans did. The Iranians did not. Let's watch what happens over the next few days. It's an interesting one.

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