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Paige Fusco

Europe plans for Putin & Trump 2.0

Signal spoke with Eurasia Group Vice Chairman Gerry Butts about Europe’s future given the uncertainty created by both Russian aggression and America’s volatile politics. This interview was edited for length and clarity.

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Snake Island (1856 painting)

Carlo Bossoli/CC license

Why the battle over Ukraine’s Snake Island matters for the world

One of the most important battles raging in the Russia-Ukraine war is over Snake Island, a tiny, craggy, uninhabited speck of land in the Black Sea, off the southwestern coast of Ukraine.

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Putin attends a meeting with Senegal's President and African Union chair Macky Sall in Sochi.

REUTERS

Are the West’s efforts to isolate Russia doomed?

In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the US and Europe have launched a concerted campaign to punish Russia economically and isolate it politically. The West wants to send a strong message to other powers that might be tempted to violate the so-called rules-based international order. But many developing countries across Asia, Africa, and Latin America are reluctant to go along, blunting the effectiveness of this campaign. We spoke to Eurasia Group expert Christopher Garman to better understand the reasons for their skepticism, and what the consequences are likely to be.

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Putin looks on during his meeting with the Lebanese president at the Kremlin in Moscow.

REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Is NATO expansion bad for Russia?

For the first time in nearly two decades, NATO just got a lot closer to Russia’s borders. At a summit in Madrid on Wednesday, alliance leaders formally invited Sweden and Finland to join, ending more than half a century of neutrality by both countries.

At the same time, the alliance adopted a new strategic plan in which Russia has gone from being the West’s “strategic partner” to its “most significant threat.” And to underscore the point, NATO is putting more than 300,000 troops on high alert against Russian aggression.

Looks pretty bad for Vladimir Putin, wouldn’t you say? Well, let’s consider a few perspectives.

Yes, of course it’s very bad. NATO’s border with Russia has just doubled to more than 1,600 miles, and those two new members are no strategic slouches. Sweden and Finland are both highly advanced militaries with decades of experience keeping a close eye on Russia, especially the Finns.

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NATO Summit: Most Important Summit Since the Wall Came Down | World In :60 | GZERO Media

NATO Summit most important post-Berlin Wall

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

First, what is the significance of Japan and South Korea's presence at the NATO summit?

First of all, this is by far the most important NATO summit we've seen since the Wall has come down. Japan and South Korea, a very big deal. Trilateral meeting with President Biden, the two American allies most important that have a dysfunctional relationship, fundamentally dysfunctional on the global stage, and increasingly they are trying to align Kishida, the Prime Minister, and Yoon, the President of South Korea, trying to make that happen. Also, we're increasingly seeing a transformation of NATO to not just being a North Atlantic Alliance, but increasingly taking on global security issues. China's more of a focus. Asian allies, more of a focus. Keep in mind, New Zealand and Australia also there.

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G7 and EU leaders gather for a group shot at Schloss Elmau castle in Germany.

REUTERS/Lukas Barth

What We're Watching: West gets tough(er) on Russia, protests rock Ecuador, Qatar pushes Iran nuclear talks

Western leaders up the ante

Leaders of the G7 — the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Canada — have ended their gathering in the Bavarian Alps, and all of them, including non-NATO member Japan’s prime minister, have arrived in Madrid for a NATO summit set for June 28-30. The agendas for both gatherings have included a range of topics, but none more urgent than collective responses to Russia’s war in Ukraine. There will be more announcements this week on how best to impose heavy near- and longer-term costs on Russia by banning the import of Russian oil and possibly imposing a price cap on the small volumes of Russian oil Western countries still buy. But Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky will continue to warn that Ukraine can’t afford a protracted war and that his military needs powerful weapons ASAP to beat back slow-but-steady Russian advances in the Donbas region. The US has promised to deliver an advanced air defense system. Russia has responded to these gatherings by renewing long-range artillery strikes on Kyiv and other cities, including a missile strike on Monday that hit a shopping mall with more than 1,000 civilians inside.

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Russia Losing In The West | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Russia losing in the West

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi everybody, Ian Bremmer here. Happy Monday to you. It is summit week, particularly summit week as it involves the United States and core allies starting right now with the G7, began on Sunday in Germany, and then moving on to the Madrid Summit in Spain. Certainly the most important NATO summit that we've had in decades, but more broadly, this is the United States and advanced industrial democracies coming together in response to a major global crisis on the European continent. And in some ways to the "Western order", which is of course the Russian invasion of Ukraine. As we look at these summits, it's very clear that when you talk about individual leaders of the countries, they're looking pretty weak. I mean, given both the state of the economy, which of course makes a lot of citizens pretty angry, irrespective of whose fault it is or isn't, and also plenty of domestic challenges on top of that.

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Ukrainian kids celebrate International Children's Day In Krakow, Poland.

Beata Zawrzel via Reuters Connect

War, reforms & bureaucracy will decide Ukraine’s EU bid

It’s at war for its survival, yet Ukraine’s candidacy for European Union membership has just been endorsed. While success would be a game-changer for Kyiv, getting there won’t be easy, given the required internal reforms, international bureaucracy, and shifting geopolitics.

The European Commission is clear that Ukraine must carry out serious reforms to join the bloc, but some tough questions need to be answered. Does Ukraine deserve to be an EU member? What about the stringent process and requirements? Is there a natural tie-in to NATO membership? And what are the politics at play, given that Moldova, another former Soviet republic Russia considers to be in its sphere of influence, has been approved, while Georgia has not.

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