"US/China relations have been plummeting. Pretty much everything is getting worse," Ian Bremmer tells viewers in this week's episode of GZERO World. In this commentary on the current state of play between the two global powerhouses, Bremmer breaks down the chess game that could be leading to a new Cold War: Travel between the two sides is restricted. Trade and tech competition abound. Beijing is consolidating control over Hong Kong and threatening Taiwan, while its internment of Uighurs has grown more severe. Meanwhile, Europe and developing nations alike are left with a very difficult choice.
What We're Watching: Modi plays to his base, US visit to Taiwan irks China, Colombia arrests ex-leader
Modi riles up his base: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday set the first stone for a new Hindu temple to be built over the remains of a Mughal-era mosque in Uttar Pradesh state. The site, in the town of Ayodhya, has been disputed for decades by Hindus and Muslims, but the Supreme Court last November ruled, based on archeological findings, that construction of the temple could begin. The ruling dismayed many of India's 180 million Muslims, who worry that Modi — who was accompanied at the ceremony by Mohan Bhagwat, an ultranationalist Hindu activist whose followers helped to destroy the old mosque amid a wave of sectarian violence in 1992 — wants to replace India's secular foundations with his more explicitly Hindu vision of the country's identity. Although months ago Modi saw sizable protests over a controversial new citizenship law that discriminated against Muslims, he has so far proven to be extremely resilient and remains widely popular in India.
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Would Joe Biden be better for Taiwan than Donald Trump? Global affairs columnist Frida Ghitis says he would be, in an op-ed entitled "Can Taiwan Survive a Second Trump Term?" in Washington Post Opinions and Outlook, but the reality is more complicated. Ian Bremmer and Eurasia Group's Kelsey Broderick explain why in the latest edition of The Red Pen.
For decades, China has claimed exclusive sovereignty over the South China Sea, citing a 1947 map. But five other countries — Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam — also lay claim to parts of it, and in 2016 an international court struck down Beijing's arguments. Now, for the first time, the United States too has officially supported that ruling. Here's a look at who claims what in one of the world's busiest waterways.
Over the past few years, we've seen three major emerging powers take bold action to right what they say are historical wrongs.
First came Crimea. When the Kremlin decided in 2014 that Western powers were working against Russian interests in Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops to seize the Crimean Peninsula, which was then part of Ukraine. Moscow claimed that Crimea and its ethnic Russian majority had been part of the Russian Empire for centuries until a shameful deal in 1954 made Crimea part of the Ukrainian Soviet Republic. Americans and Europeans imposed sanctions on Russia. But Ukraine is not part of NATO or the EU, and no further action was taken.