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Migrants walk along a railway line after they have crossed the border from Serbia into Hungary.

Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Podcast: Survival is success: IRC’s David Miliband responds to “double crisis” in Turkey & Syria

Transcript

Listen: As the world watches the aftermath of the recent earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, we are confronted with a sobering reality: delivering aid in a region rife with conflict and political instability is an immense challenge. On the GZERO World podcast, Ian Bremmer and David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, discuss the dire situation in Turkey and Syria —especially in the northwest of Syria, where delivering aid remains an uphill battle.

As if the pre-existing crisis wasn't enough, the earthquakes have worsened the situation, leaving people without medical care as the region deals with a deadly cholera outbreak and freezing winter temperatures. Meanwhile, in Turkey, the earthquake has sparked a debate about corruption and poor governance, with the response likely to become a major issue in the upcoming election. Right now, the most urgent need is ensuring aid and humanitarian assistance continue to reach the people who desperately need it.

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A precarious metal boat carrying 40-50 migrants across the Mediterranean from Africa.

Reuters

Europe plays the blame game over asylum-seekers

“There had been landings but never a tragedy like this,” the mayor of Cutro, a southern Italian town, said after a boat carrying an estimated 200 migrants splintered into pieces on Sunday after hitting rocky terrain.

At least 63 people, including children and at least one newborn, were found dead, while 80 migrants, all adults, survived. Dozens remain missing. Most of the migrants came from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran, having crossed the tumultuous sea from Turkey.

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People fleeing Ukraine are seen after crossing the Ukrainian-Polish border.

Beata Zawrzel via Reuters

What awaits Ukrainian refugees?

War coverage often focuses on enigmatic leaders, such as Angela "wir schaffen das" Merkel, a rugged (shirtless) Vladimir Putin or this week’s internet sensation, Volodymyr Zelensky. Articles are dedicated to battlefield tactics, strategy, and even the length and shape of negotiation tables, but less is said of the millions of civilians caught in the crossfires.

In the past week, many have fled from Ukraine to neighboring countries. The media have focused on the European Union welcoming Ukrainians with red carpets, bucking the anti-immigrant tide that’s swept the continent in recent years. But it's worth digging deeper. What exactly has the EU committed to, and where might this all be heading?

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Taliban 2.0: Afghanistan on the Brink (US AWOL)
Taliban 2.0: Afghanistan on the Brink (US AWOL) | Journalist Ahmed Rashid | GZERO World

Taliban 2.0: Afghanistan on the Brink (US AWOL)

Few people know more about the Taliban than journalist and author Ahmed Rashid, who wrote the book on the group — literally.

In the months after 9/11, his critically acclaimed 2000 study Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil & Fundamentalism in Central Asia became a go-to reference as the US geared up to invade Afghanistan and knock the militant group from power.

Now, twenty years later, with the US out of Afghanistan and the Taliban back in charge, Ian Bremmer sat down with Rashid to learn more about the Taliban today in a GZERO World interview.

How much has the group changed since the days of soccer-stadium executions, television bans, and blowing up world heritage sites? How should the rest of the world deal with them?

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The Taliban may crack down harder if Afghan people protest, warns journalist Ahmed Rashid
Taliban May Crack Down Harder If Afghan People Protest, Warns journalist Ahmed Rashid | GZERO World

The Taliban may crack down harder if Afghan people protest, warns journalist Ahmed Rashid

Will the Taliban be able to maintain control over the entire country of Afghanistan if the ongoing hunger and economic crisis worsens?

Civil disobedience is likely to expand from women's protests to widespread unrest, said journalist Ahmed Rashid, especially if humanitarian aid only reaches the hands of Taliban loyalists and the country’s urban elites.

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Europe in "shock & disbelief" over US withdrawal from Afghanistan
Europe in “Shock & Disbelief” Over US Withdrawal From Afghanistan | Europe In :60 | GZERO Media

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
Biden’s Afghanistan Speech Misses the Mark | Afghan Refugee Crisis | World In :60 | GZERO Media

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
UNHCR Chief: Why the World’s Biggest Nations Have Done so Little to Help Refugees | GZERO World

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

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