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What We’re Watching: US Olympic boycott threat, Myanmar junta delays vote, US resumes aid to Palestinians

Will the US skip the 2022 Olympics? The Biden administration and its allies are reportedly discussing the possibility of a coordinated boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Although the State Department almost immediately tried to walk back its own previous statement, the move would be an act of protest over allegations of China's vast human rights abuses in Xinjiang province. Skipping the games is a big deal, symbolically at least. The last time the US did so was in 1980, when America boycotted the Summer Olympics in Moscow in response to the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan a year before. But practically speaking, do boycotts have a real effect on anyone besides the athletes who miss a shot at gold? That's a thornier question. Regardless, there are many ways to define "boycott" — the US could — and likely would — do as little as simply keeping its top diplomats from attending. China, for its part, has threatened a "robust response" to any efforts to snub the Beijing games.

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Colombia's humanitarian gesture for Venezuelan refugees merits US support

Ian Bremmer shares his perspective on global politics on this week's World In (More Than) 60 Seconds:

Number one, why did Colombia's president grant legal status to 1.7 million Venezuelan migrants?

Well, because they have them, first of all. Because given the extraordinary economic collapse and the human rights abuses of Venezuelans under the Maduro presidency, not to mention the coronavirus crisis making their lives even worse, they've been fleeing, and most of them have ended up in Colombia. Not providing legal status means they can't work, means they have no path for a future. Some of them have even fled back to Venezuela or returned to Venezuela, and again just shows just how critically difficult their life has been. It's a humanitarian gesture of pretty staggering degree. It makes an enormous difference in the lives of these people. Think about how the United States under Biden now preparing to accept 125,000 refugees per year, up 10 times from what it was just a year ago, the world's most powerful country. The wealthy countries never get overwhelmed with refugees the way the poorest countries do. It's states in Sub-Saharan Africa and it's South and Southeast Asia and it's Latin America, and in the Western hemisphere, it's been Colombia.

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Israel-UAE relations & the Abraham Accords are not at risk under Biden

In a Washington Post op-ed, commentator Hugh Hewitt states his concern that President Biden will continue his streak of policy reversals in the Middle East, specifically regarding the peace deals that Trump brokered in his final year in office. But in fact, Biden has consistently supported the Abraham Accords, even during the heat of the presidential campaign. Ian Bremmer and Eurasia Group analysts Jeffrey Wright and Sofia Meranto take out the Red Pen to point out that Hewitt may be overreacting to Biden's recent freeze on a fighter jet deal to the UAE.

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What We're Watching: Putin's next move, jabs for Palestinians, Wine goes to court in Uganda

What next for Navalny? Thousands of protesters supporting jailed Russian dissident Alexei Navalny braved an overwhelming police response on Sunday, turning out in more than 80 cities across the country to demand his release from prison. It was the second protest to occur in the two weeks since Navalny was jailed after his return from Germany, and more than 5,000 people were arrested nationwide. The intensity of the police response shows the Kremlin is taking no chances with the protesters, even though their numbers are still relatively small — nowhere near, say, the hundreds of thousands who poured into the streets of Belarus' capital last fall. And it's hard to imagine Vladimir Putin agreeing to release Navalny under pressure from the streets. In fact, it looks like his kangaroo courts are gearing up to lock up the nettlesome anti-corruption crusader and throw away the key. Europe and the US have threatened action if that happens, but sanctions against Russia have proved ineffective in the past. Lacking a political party in a system that is rigged for the party in power anyway, Navalny only has the streets: can they really shake things up enough from below that power starts to crack at the top?

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Vaccine politics and human rights

More than 32 million COVID shots have now been administered globally, raising hopes that the light at the end of the tunnel is now in sight.

The US has vaccinated 3 percent of its total population, while the UK is nearing a solid 5 percent inoculation rate. In Israel, which has been hailed as a vaccine success story, almost 24 percent of people have already received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine.

But while many countries are able to glimpse the outlines of a post-COVID world, there is a huge population of people who are being left out entirely. Refugees, as well as displaced, undocumented, and stateless people around the world remain ineligible for inoculations and vulnerable to the coronavirus.

We take a look at three case studies where powerless populations are being left in the lurch.

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How a Biden presidency would approach the Middle East

If candidate Biden wins the presidential election will his approach to Afghanistan be all that different from President Trump's? Will he try to breathe life back into the Iran nuclear deal? Will he advocate for the Palestinians in a way that the Trump administration has not? And would he be able to revive America's image in the Middle East as being an "honest broker" (or was that perception ever really there in the first place?).

Anne-Marie Slaughter, who served as a top State Department official under President Obama, takes on all those questions in a lively interview with Ian Bremmer. The conversation was part of the latest episode of GZERO World. The episode begins airing nationally in the US on public television this Friday, October 23. Check local listings.

Has Jared Kushner Turned his Back on the Palestinians?

As the White House announces a historic deal between Israel and the UAE, Ian Bremmer talks to the chief architect of the Middle East strategy for President Trump—his senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner. In the conversation, Bremmer challenges Kushner's assertion that the US is trying to give the Palestinians a fair offer and asks if Arab nations have walked away from the Israel/Palestine conflict. As in January, Kushner continues to insist that Palestine has a "fair" and "great" offer for peace, saying: "this deal may be the last opportunity [the Palestinians will] ever have."

Watch the episode: Jared Kushner on Middle East peace & pandemic in the US

What happened to Israel's annexation plan?

For those who follow the Israeli-Palestinian conflict closely, July 1 has long been a date to watch. After the Trump administration presented a blueprint for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians earlier this year, Israel's emboldened Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would start the process of annexing parts of the West Bank starting on July 1. That day has now come and gone, but...nothing happened. Why?

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