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Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin space flight & the new space race

Ian Bremmer shares his perspective on global politics this week with a look to outer space, in a special edition of (Out of The) World In 60 Seconds:

Was today's Blue Origin space flight a big deal for humankind, or just a big deal for Jeff Bezos?

I'm not sure the space flight itself was such a big deal for humankind, but I do think the advances in space technology, which are increasingly stepping up, they're much quicker. I mean, reusable rockets that land exactly where they took off. That's very different from the space shuttle a couple of decades ago, and very exciting in terms of the ability to not just engage in space tourism, but explore both what's outside of our Earth and beyond. So yeah, I think the fact that's being driven by the private sector is a big deal for the United States, a big deal for the planet. I, having said that, the planet that we're right now all on, is the one that matters, I think, the most to everybody for the foreseeable future.

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The geopolitics of the Middle East shake up

How have geopolitics in the Middle East changed over the last few decades, and what does it mean for the Biden administration's strategy in this region? Like the two presidents before him, Joe Biden is eager to shift focus and resources away from the Middle East to China and the growing competition it presents. But there are some loose ends to tie up first in the Middle East, to say the least. Ian Bremmer explains on GZERO World.

Watch the episode: Is the US Misjudging the Middle East's Power Shifts? Vali Nasr's View

Podcast: Is the US misjudging the Middle East’s power shifts? Vali Nasr's view

Listen: "Pivot to Asia." It was the catchphrase floating around Washington DC's foreign policy circles in 2009 when President Obama first took office. And yet twelve years later, the Middle East continues to consume the attention of the United States' military and diplomatic efforts. Now President Biden is determined to change that, and to turn Washington's attention to Asia once and for all as he moves to confront a growing China. But according to Johns Hopkins University Middle East Scholar Vali Nasr, President Biden's approach to the Middle East will have to adapt to the once-in-a-generation power grab occurring between Iran, Israel, and Turkey while Arab nations in the region increasingly lose influence.

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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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Quick Take: Trump's foreign policy legacy - the wins

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi everybody. It is the last day of the Trump administration. Most of you, probably pretty pleased about that. A majority of Americans, though not a large majority, but certainly a majority of people around the world. And given that that's a good half of the folks that follow what we do at GZERO, that counts to a majority. And look, I ought to be clear, when we talk about the Trump administration and their foreign policy legacy, "America First" was not intended to be popular outside of the United States. So, it's not surprising that most people are happy to see the back of this president. But I thought what I would do would be to go back four years after say, what are the successes? Is there anything that Trump has actually done, the Trump administration has done that we think is better off in terms of foreign policy for the United States and in some cases for the world than it would have been if he hadn't been there? And I actually came up with a list. So, I thought I'd give it to you.

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What We're Watching: UK's second wave, UAE-US eye arms deal, China's plans for Tibet

UK's new COVID restrictions: In a last-ditch effort to avoid another national lockdown, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Tuesday sweeping new restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country that could last up to six months, including limits on the number of people that can attend social gatherings. Warning that the country has reached "a perilous turning point," Johnson said that similar measures would soon be extended to Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The PM's announcement comes as his government struggles to battle what he now admits is a second wave of the coronavirus. The UK now has the fifth highest death toll in the world and a steadily rising caseload. The new restrictions represent an about-face for the British government, which has been criticized for walking back its earlier calls for workers to return to the office. Will Johnson's move be enough to flatten the (second) curve?

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Quick Take: Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe steps down

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

We've got coronavirus still going on, you wouldn't know that from watching the American media right now. A lot more focus on social violence, on Kenosha, on Portland, but certainly coronavirus.

And the pandemic remains by far the most important issue, both for the United States and globally, not only because there are over a 180,000 dead in the US, but also the extraordinary economic impact and the fact that it is going to stay with us and have such a big impact on lives of the average Americans, on lives of the average citizens globally as we fight to reopen economies, get people back to work, get kids back to school, get a vaccine, or vaccines, that we can trust and we can take. And it's important to understand that even though the election is going to distract us maximally and hopefully engage us maximally over the coming two months and more, because I don't think it's over on November 3rd, that that's still we are dealing with the biggest crisis of our lifetimes and it's going to be with us for a lot longer than this election.

Having said that, getting away from the United States a little bit, there's a lot of news happening. And I thought I talk about a couple of those things. One is that the longest standing prime minister in Japanese history, Shinzo Abe, is stepping down, the second time he has stepped down for health concerns. This time, I would say it is for good. The good news is that Japan is very stable. The Liberal Democratic Party is very entrenched. There's not a lot of inequality in Japan. There is not a lot of individual upset or dissent with the idea that elections are rigged, or institutions are illegitimate.

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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

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