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Europe in "shock & disbelief" over US withdrawal from Afghanistan

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Europe:

What has been the European reaction to what's happening in Afghanistan?

Well, I think shock and disbelief is the appropriate expression for it. Shock and disbelief over the Americans just cutting out running, although you might argue that we should have seen it coming. And then, of course, a lot of long-term questions that will play out over time. Can the United States be relied upon, right or wrong? That question is going to linger for quite some time.

Are the EU nations prepared to accept Afghan refugees?

Well, the priority at the moment must of course be those that have worked for our forces, our development efforts, our embassies, and to get them out. As otherwise, Europe already has a substantial number, as a matter-of-fact Afghans are the number one nation when it comes to regular migration. Last year our figures for 2020 was 34,000 coming in. There are nearly 150,000 of them in Germany, there are 30,000 in Sweden. This is to compare with single digit thousand numbers in the US. So there will be an enormous effort to try to help displaced refugees in the region, and then the somewhat more managed global handling of the refugee issue will be called for.

Biden's speech on Afghanistan ignores serious failures; Afghan refugee crisis

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on President Biden's Afghanistan speech, the Afghan refugee crisis that will follow the Taliban takeover, and booster shots in the US.

What did you think of President Biden's speech on the Afghan withdrawal?

Two things. One, I thought he made a very compelling case for why the United States needed to leave when we did. The reduction in US troops that already happened under Trump, the strengthening of the Taliban, the difficulty of any expansion, I get all of that, but it was, listening to it as if the last 72 hours hadn't happened. He said that, "this is on me, the buck stops with me," but didn't talk really about any of the serious failures and how they could have occurred on the ground in Afghanistan. And there's a lot to answer for there. So I certainly don't give high marks to the speech, if I'm being honest with you. I'm doing my best.

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UNHCR chief: Why the world’s biggest nations have done so little to help refugees

The three largest economies in the word, the United States, China and Japan take a tiny fraction of the refugees compared to that of far poorer countries. Ian Bremmer asks UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi why that's the case and how to change it. "The backlog of asylum claims in the US is astronomical," Grandi tells Bremmer. "It's by far the biggest in the world" Their conversation was part of an episode of GZERO World.

Watch the episode: UNHCR chief: How the pandemic has upended the lives of refugees

The refugee crisis that has displaced 80 million people worldwide

80 million people. That's one percent of the world's total population. It's also the number of displaced people in the world today and the highest number since World War II. And it's a crisis that's been raging long before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. How did we get here and what we can do about it? The UN's top advocate for refugees, High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, has some answers. In fact, his passion for helping the world's most vulnerable has come at a cost. He recently tested positive for COVID-19 himself.

Watch the episode: UNHCR chief: How the pandemic has upended the lives of refugees

What makes the UN’s top refugee advocate, Filippo Grandi, the angriest?

"All over the industrialized world, the refugee issue has been manipulated for political reasons…it has become popular to say 'Let's get rid of them. Let's send them away. Let's not rescue them at sea.'" The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, has faced an uphill battle in getting the leaders of the world to care about refugees for years. But, he says, the recent increase in the politicization of refugees as disease-carrying hoards truly makes his blood boil. Not only, he says, because it's morally wrong, but also because it's not an efficient way to handle the problem. His conversation with Ian Bremmer was part of a new episode of GZERO World.

Watch the episode: UNHCR chief: How the pandemic has upended the lives of refugees

What gives the UN’s top refugee advocate hope?

"I think that there are still positive forces, there are still leaders in the world who think in the right way, but…it's very 50/50." The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, has plenty to keep him up at night but when it comes to the fate of refugees in a post-pandemic world, it's not all doom and gloom. The refugee situation in Sudan and South Sudan, he tells Ian Bremmer, is one cause for hope. Their conversation was part of a new episode of GZERO World.

Watch the episode: UNHCR chief: How the pandemic has upended the lives of refugees

UNHCR chief: How the pandemic has upended the lives of refugees

When the pandemic first took hold earlier this year, refugees around the world braced for the worst. Tightly packed camps with poor hygiene seemed like viral hotspots in waiting. But these nightmare scenarios largely did not come to pass, or at least haven't yet. Even still, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi (who recently contracted the virus himself) tells Ian Bremmer in this week's episode of GZERO World that the coronavirus has upended the lives of millions of refugees in countless ways. Countries that were already limiting their number of refugees closed up their borders entirely. And today, as nationalist sentiments and straight-up xenophobia become ever more prevalent, 80 million people, or one percent of the world's population, find themselves displaced.

The Rescue Situation

The worst time to have a global crisis of diplomacy is during a global crisis of refugees.

In today's show, David Miliband, the president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, talks about humanitarian aid in an age of polarization and the countries who are getting it right.

P.S. They're not the ones you'd expect.

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