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Afghanistan: the potential pitfalls of an unconditional US troop withdrawal

For two decades we've wondered how and when America's longest war would end. Now Joe Biden has announced that all US troops will be out of Afghanistan by September 11, 2021. While it's a political victory with obvious benefits, there are real risks involved in President Biden's decision. Afghanistan could quickly fall back into the hands of the Taliban, which would be a disaster for the citizens of that country and a danger to the US.

Watch the GZERO World with Ian Bremmer episode.

George Floyd Police Reform Bill unlikely to pass Senate

Jon Lieber, Managing Director of the United States for the Eurasia Group, shares his insights on US politics:

With the conviction of Derek Chauvin, will there be a George Floyd Policing Reform Bill?

Unlikely right now. It's possible, but there's a big divide between Republicans and Democrats over the issue of eliminating qualified immunity. Democrats want to get rid of it. Republicans want to keep it in order to make sure that cops aren't exposed to too much liability while they're on the job. And to get anything done in the Senate, you need 60 votes, which would, of course, require 10 Republicans. So, conversations are likely to be ongoing, but this issue went nowhere during the Trump administration because both sides decided they wanted something, to make something political out of it, and I don't think that much is going to change now.

Why did President Biden flip-flop on the refugee cap?

President Biden promised during the campaign that he would lift President Trump's refugee cap from 15,000 to its old level of 65,000. But with a surging migrant crisis on the southern border, Biden decided this wasn't a priority and changed his mind a little bit on undoing the refugee cap. The administration announced this last Friday and there was a lot of pushback from migrant and refugee advocates against them for doing so. They later that evening flip-flopped again and said that sometime in May they were going to announce a new policy that would satisfy most of their allies on the left. But the issue of the border is still a big one for President Biden, one that's been dormant for quite some time. But with a surging number of children in particular rising on the southern border, it's not going to go away.

Will Washington, DC become the 51st state?

I'm standing here on a street corner in DC and I think the answer is probably also unlikely. And the reason is similar to the George Floyd Bill, that you cannot get 60 votes in the Senate to pass this. You'd have to eliminate the filibuster and even if you did that, it's unclear today if there are 50 Democrats in the Senate who would favor doing so. The House has now passed the bill multiple times to make DC a state, but the outlook in the Senate is just not that good. Stay tuned, because this is going to be a really important political issue throughout the year, especially as the Democrats look at the likelihood they might lose the House of Representatives next year.

The "global obsession" with controlling women’s bodies

When asked what most surprised her when she became the UN's top global advocate for gender equality, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka didn't hesitate. "The obsession about controlling women's bodies is really something that also shocked me when I got to the UN." The constant objections she fielded around women's rights and reproductive rights, regardless of where in the world they were coming from, was not something Mlambo-Ngcuka was prepared for. And that's especially true, she says, for the United States.

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Autocrats, alternative facts & dystopian futures

It's a fact that can be hard to swallow: even the most brutal of dictators can be democratically elected. Many voters, it turns out, like autocrats. So how popular are anti-democratic movements in some of the world's strongest democracies? More so than you might think. And it's a trend that's growing.

Watch the episode: Authoritarianism's Enduring Appeal: Anne Applebaum Discusses

How China & Russia exploit civil unrest as democracy’s failure

A tried-and-true argument that autocrats frequently make to their constituents isn't so much that life is amazing at home, but that it's just as bad elsewhere. That's according to Pulitzer Prize-winning author Anne Applebaum, who joins Ian Bremmer on GZERO World to unpack the enduring allure of authoritarianism around the world. "Everything that goes wrong inside the United States or in Scandinavia or in Southern Europe is immediately beamed back to Russians in the form of state propaganda," Applebaum says.

Watch the episode: Authoritarianism's Enduring Appeal: Anne Applebaum Discusses

Authoritarianism's appeal when democracy disappoints

What is so attractive about authoritarianism? Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Anne Applebaum argues it has to do with a fundamental civic disillusionment. "The drive towards authoritarianism for the last 100 years resulted from people who feel some kind of disappointment with democracy." It can be a political disappointment or a personal one, Applebaum argues, that pushes people away from democratic institutions. And it's a trend that has only grown in recent years in some of the world's oldest and strongest democracies, including in the United States.

So how do governments make the case for democracy? That's the subject of Applebaum's interview with Ian Bremmer on GZERO World, which began airing on US public television stations nationwide on Friday, March 5.

Watch the episode: Authoritarianism's Enduring Appeal: Anne Applebaum Discusses

Why anti-democratic movements in Europe and the US are remarkably similar

Political movements that promote authoritarian leaders and anti-democratic governments have gained significant ground in Eastern Europe in the past twenty years. And according to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Anne Applebaum, it's a trend that goes beyond that specific region. "This will sound very bizarre, but the trajectory of events and the nature of political debate in Poland is amazingly similar to the United States, the kinds of arguments that people make, the, the level of polarization… you can see this impulse to destroy and undermine the institutions of democracy everywhere." What is the appeal of such movements and what has the pandemic done to expand their influence?

Applebaum and Ian Bremmer take on those questions on GZERO World, which began airing on US public television stations nationwide on Friday, March 5. Check local listings.

Watch the episode: Authoritarianism's Enduring Appeal: Anne Applebaum Discusses

Podcast: Authoritarianism’s Enduring Appeal

Listen: From the Philippines to Hungary to Venezuela, countries across the world have embraced authoritarian rule, in many cases with significant popular support. What is the enduring appeal of authoritarianism, how susceptible is the United States to its sway, and what has the pandemic done to accelerate its growth? Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Anne Applebaum joins Ian Bremmer to discuss.

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