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NATO Summit: Biden's uncertain future worries US allies
NATO Summit: US allies focus on Biden's uncertain political future | World In :60

NATO Summit: Biden's uncertain future worries US allies

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week on World In :60.

What are you watching for at the NATO summit?

Well, first and foremost, it's how all of these allies are responding to a very real political crisis in the United States. US, of course, the country they rely on for leading NATO, by far the biggest military power in the world, their principal ally. And they now know that the likelihood that Biden is going to be able to win, is a lot lower than it was the last time they saw him. And they've been seeing him. They saw him at the G7. They saw him in Normandy. They saw him, you know, at the United Nations and some in bunch of bilats and and everyone I've spoken to, says that they're not all confident that he can win. They certainly don't think he can serve out four more years. And they're deeply worried, especially because what a Trump administration might mean for them, with the exception of Viktor Orbán, almost all the NATO allies are very worried. They know that NATO, the EU, the war in Ukraine, all of that much more uncertain if Trump were to come back as president. So that's what I'm watching for and see how that plays out.

How will the UK's new PM, Keir Starmer, lead Britain?

Economically, not all that different. He's focused unusually for labor, focused on a pro-growth policy. He's promised that he isn't going to raise the major taxes like income tax and VAT. And so, he will probably find some more money in things like inheritance tax, he’s going to try to get more private sector investment into the economy. Certainly, wants to have a consistent policy on Ukraine, consistent policy on the United States as the previous conservative governments. Big change will be tried to reestablish stronger relations with the European Union and particularly Ursula von der Leyen, expected to get the nod for another five years running the EU. Keir Starmer spent a lot of personal time working on that over the past months.

As a Russian missile struck a children's hospital in Kyiv is there still no end in sight for the war in Ukraine?

No, no, there's no end in sight. in fact, while that was happening, Narendra Modi, the Indian PM was being quite friendly in Moscow on his visit with Putin. This is a partner of the United States. Putin feels like right now, especially if Trump is elected that his bet on this invasion in Ukraine will work out well for him. And that is not what NATO allies want Putin to be thinking right now. There's been success in getting them a lot of support, the Ukrainians, over the course of the last six months, and certainly they're going to have more money over the next year. But longer term, there's a huge question about how that plays out. And Putin is showing impunity right at the beginning of the NATO summit by sending all those missiles at civilian targets, including sick kids in Ukraine. Not a surprise. but still pretty sickening.

UK's new PM Starmer aims for closer EU ties
TITLE PLACEHOLDER | Europe In :60

UK's new PM Starmer aims for closer EU ties

Carl Bildt, former prime minister of Sweden and co-chair of the European Council on Foreign Relations, shares his perspective on European politics from the Adriatic Sea.

How will the new UK Prime Minister Keir Starmer reset relations at home and abroad?

Well, I think overall there's going to be a lot of continuity in terms of foreign and security policies. They've already sent the defense secretary to Kyiv to say that if anything, it's going to be even stronger support. But in terms of Europe, it’s going to be a new nuance and new attempts. The new foreign secretary, David Lammy, has already been to Germany, he's been to Poland, he’s been to Sweden, and he's talked about a European pact, foreign and security issues, cooperating more closely. And he's been invited to a meeting with all of the foreign ministers. So that's where we are likely to see, some change in the months and perhaps years ahead.

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In global elections, incumbents are in trouble
Global elections: Challenges for incumbents worldwide | Ian Bremmer | Quick Take

In global elections, incumbents are in trouble

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi everybody. Ian Bremmer here and a Quick Take to kick off your week. Lots going on especially big elections. We have the France results. We have the UK results. We have the Iran results. We have a lot of uncertainty of course, here in the United States. My big takeaway is this is a horrible time to be an incumbent.

It's really challenging and what a huge reason for it that people aren't talking about, because it's already way in the rearview mirror is the pandemic. If I'm talking to you right now, your life was really changed by the pandemic in ways that you never would have expected before, right? I mean, we all had to deal with social distancing and masking and vaccine and not only that, but of course, the global economy seized up and people also stopped moving around for like a couple of years. An enormous amount, trillions and trillions of dollars were spent and that got us through an incredibly difficult time. But on the back of that, you suddenly have no more money that's being thrown at everyone, and you've got inflation that comes from, all of a sudden, the supply chains moving and demand moving. You know that these are costs that people are paying, that people no longer have those checks that were coming in during the pandemic, and those savings have been deployed already if you're working or even middle class. And people are moving again, people are moving not just from city to city, but also around the world. So migration is really picking up. And you really don't want to be the leader who's holding the bag when that happens. That's absolutely a big piece of what happened in France. It's a big piece of what happened in the United Kingdom, South Africa, India.

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Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer and his wife Victoria Starmer walk outside a polling station during the general election in London, Britain, on July 4, 2024.

REUTERS/Claudia Greco

Brits say bye-bye to Tory rule

British voters put a new spin on the Fourth of July today, freeing themselves from 14 years of Conservative rule. Labour won in a historic landslide, making party chief Keir Starmer the United Kingdom’s new prime minister.

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Britain's Labour Party Leader Keir Starmer addresses the start of the National Annual Women's Conference, ahead of the start of Britain's Labour Party annual conference, in Liverpool, Britain, October 7, 2023.

REUTERS/Phil Noble

Who is Keir Starmer?

Keir Starmer will likely become the UK’s prime minister not long after the July 4 election. Over nine years in parliament, he’s helped shift the Labour Party from the ideological rigidity of theJeremy Corbyn era onto a path and platform that can win enough centrist voters to take power.

On Thursday, Starmer introducedhis party’s latest manifesto with a pledge to help Britonscreate wealth: “If you take nothing else away from this today, let it be this,” he told a mostly enthusiastic audience. “We are pro-business and pro-worker. A plan for wealth creation.”

With its de-emphasis on big spending initiatives, some will compare Starmer to former Labour PM Tony Blair. But Blair was a sunnier and more charismatic figure. Starmer, who left work as a human rights lawyer to pursue politics in 2015, must make a virtue of his reputation for seriousness, caution, and a focus on practical means for attaining tangible gains. His own working-class roots help him connect with working-class voters.

As he admitted in arecent interview, “I’ve achieved less as a politician than I have at any other time in my life.” That’s why, he says, he wants to lead a government rather than the opposition.

Starmer is also the biggest beneficiary of voter exhaustion with 14 years of Conservative Party dominance. As a result, we’ll soon know even more about him.

Labour Party leader Keir Starmer and Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak debate, as ITV hosts the first head-to-head debate of the General Election, in Manchester, Britain, June 4, 2024 in this handout image.

Jonathan Hordle/ITV/Handout via REUTERS

Sunak vs. Starmer face off on the debate stage

Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer, leader of the opposition Labour Party, squared off Tuesday night before Britain’s general election on July 4.

Who are they? Starmer is a human rights lawyer turned politician who has taken the Labour Party from very left-wing to more centrist over the last four years.

Sunak, meanwhile, is the fifth PM in the last 14 years of Conservative rule. He called last month for the upcoming election, knowing he had to call it before the end of the year – and hoping to ride a positive wave of news about falling inflation.

On the debate stage, both candidates shouted over each other about taxation, immigration, the National Health Service, the war in Gaza, and climate change.

Sunak, whose campaign has been trailing Labour by double digits for the last six months, was on the attack. He hammered home the potential costs of Labour’s plans to improve the NHS and schools which he claimed would "put everyone's taxes up by 2,000 pounds." Starmer didn’t deny that he would raise taxes, but he called the 2,000 pounds figure ridiculous and clarified that he would not raise income tax or National Insurance social security contributions.

Starmer was calm throughout, likely because his chances of winning increased the night before when Nigel Farage — a far-right Brexiteer — threw his hat in the ring as the head of the Reform Party, which will inevitably pull votes away from the Tories.

Who won? 51% of viewers polled said they thought the prime minister performed better, while 49% preferred Starmer.
UK Prime Minister Sunak's push for early election will hardly boost his chances
UK Prime Minister Sunak's push for early election will hardly boost his chances | Europe In :60

UK Prime Minister Sunak's push for early election will hardly boost his chances

Carl Bildt, former prime minister of Sweden and co-chair of the European Council on Foreign Relations, shares his perspective on European politics from Halmstad, Sweden.

Does the decision by Norway, Ireland, and Spain to recognize Palestine as an independent state further increase the isolation of Israel?

Not necessarily, but it does further reinforce the determination that is there throughout the international community, I would say, that it's only a two-state solution that over time, can bring peace and stability to the troubled region of the Middle East. In that sense, of course, Prime Minister Netanyahu and his resistance to move towards a two-state solution is increasingly isolated in the global community. And this particular decision is a further sign of that.

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and US President Joe Biden face a summer of discontent.

A summer of discontent

Facing elections and down in the polls, Joe Biden and Justin Trudeau have a lot of bogeys on their radar, but three are starting to stand out: the election call in Britain, Labor strife in Canada, and the rising and potentially self-defeating political popularity of tariffs.

1. Rishi Sunak’s Soggy Snap Election Surprise: Comeback Miracle or Cautionary Tale for Incumbents?

After 14 years of Conservative rule in Britain, Labour now has a chance to take the helm. Beleaguered Prime Minister Rishi Sunak held a rain-drenched (read: pathetic) fallacy of a media conference yesterday to announce a surprise July 4 general election. Why did he do it? Most analysts expected Sunak to drag it out until late fall, giving himself at least two years as PM – 14.8 times longer than the wilting 49-day head-of-lettuce term of Liz Truss, who Sunak replaced in 2022. They were wrong. The Tories are down 20 points in the polls, so when Sunak saw inflation finally fall to the target rate of 2.3% – a rare win – he reckoned it wouldn’t get much better in the months ahead. A summer election could mean low voter turnout, which usually helps the incumbent.

Joe Biden and Justin Trudeau are watching closely. Both are also incumbents facing low polling numbers and an electorate that believes (facts be damned) that things are worse than ever. If Sunak can somehow turn it around – and that’s a big “if” – it would answer a core question: Can falling inflation rates reinflate incumbent popularity? Will people ever believe things are getting better? Biden and Trudeau hope so.

Sunak’s July 4 election will likely end in ashes, not fireworks, for British conservatives, but Biden and Trudeau will pick through the coals and see what they can learn from the fire.

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