Meet Alessandra Cominetti, a recipient of MIT Technology Review Magazine's Innovators Under 35 award. As a lab technician at Eni's Research Centre for Renewable Energy in Novara, Alessandra has devoted her career to finding new solutions and materials to optimize solar energy. Much like the serendipitous encounter that resulted in her employment, her eagerness and willingness to try new things allowed her to stumble upon a material for the creation of portable solar panels.
Watch her remarkable story on the latest episode of Faces of Eni.
October 29, 2020
"If [the election] is very close and it ends up in the courts, that kind of protracted situation I think will lead many Americans to believe that it was an unfair election." Rick Hasen, election law expert and author of Election Meltdown, lays out some of the worst-case scenarios for Election Day, ranging from unprecedented voter suppression to dirty tricks by foreign actors. The conversation was part of the latest episode of GZERO World with Ian Bremmer. The episode begins airing nationally in the US on public television this Friday, October 30. Check local listings.
Joe Biden has vowed to radically change the US' approach to foreign policy and international diplomacy should he win next week's election.
But a lot has happened in four years under Donald Trump that could impede Biden's ability to simply return to the status quo ante. How different would US foreign policy really be under a Biden presidency? What will the two-term former vice president likely be able to change, and what's bound to remain the same, at least for now?
<p><strong>Quick fixes.</strong> </p> <p><strong>Climate.</strong> Biden has said from the get-go that on "<a href="https://medium.com/@JoeBiden/statement-from-vice-president-joe-biden-on-the-anniversary-of-the-paris-climate-accord-c8328db863bd" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">day one" </a>he would reenter the Paris Climate Accord that the Trump administration abandoned back in 2019, a move that left global powers scrambling as to how to tackle climate change without the world's second largest <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/rrapier/2019/12/04/the-worlds-top-10-carbon-dioxide-emitters/#632c33872d04" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">emitter </a>of carbon and largest economy. </p> <p>The US' official exit only occurs on November 4, a day after the US election, and therefore, Biden could readily recommit to the treaty without having to make up for much lost time (though there are some <a href="http://blogs.law.columbia.edu/climatechange/2020/03/11/returning-to-paris-the-next-u-s-ndc/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">compliance</a> issues he would need to address).</p> <p><strong>US allies. </strong>Should he win in November, one of Biden's key policy priorities will be repairing damaged alliances, particularly with European partners. (In 2018, for example, German Chancellor Angela Merkel <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-merkel-usa/merkel-says-europe-cant-rely-on-u-s-to-impose-world-order-idUSKBN1KA1F9" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">said</a> "we can't rely on the superpower of the United States.") To do so, Biden could readily fall back on deep <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/05/us/politics/joe-biden-foreign-policy.html" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">relations cultivated </a>during his two terms as vice president. </p> <p>Indeed, to counter Russian aggression, Biden says he will <a href="https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/united-states/2020-01-23/why-america-must-lead-again" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">seek</a> to bolster NATO, not only economically, but also by reinforcing the United States' commitment to its shared values. </p> <p><strong>Iran nuclear deal. </strong>Withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal was one of Trump's signature foreign policies. Biden, on the other hand, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/13/opinions/smarter-way-to-be-tough-on-iran-joe-biden/index.html" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">says </a>he will rejoin the accord and resume direct negotiations with Tehran on the condition that "Iran returns to strict compliance with the nuclear deal." </p> <p>While notionally — with the backing of US allies like Germany and France — this process seems achievable in the near term, Biden's plan still relies on the Iranians playing ball. For its part, Iran has its own elections coming up next summer, and as journalist <a href="https://www.gzeromedia.com/us-election-seen-from-iran-a-rare-window-of-opportunity" target="_self">Negar Mortazavi recently told GZERO</a>, the future of diplomacy between the US and Iran is also largely contingent on whether Iran's (anti-American) hardliners prevail at the polls in 2021. </p> <p><strong>Harder to shift.</strong></p> <p><strong>Trade.</strong> Biden has said repeatedly that Trump's erratic trade policy has disaffected <a href="https://www.gzeromedia.com/a-referendum-for-the-whole-world-global-voices-on-the-us-election" target="_self">allies like Canada, Mexico and Europe, </a>and deterred China from making concessions in general. The former VP says he will work with allies to get China in check. But as the global economy suffers its worst recession in decades — while<a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/18/economy/china-q3-gdp-intl-hnk/index.html" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"> China's economy </a>continues to recover, putting it ahead of other global heavyweights— Beijing isn't likely to stop playing hardball anytime soon. At the same time, even if Biden is committed to reducing tensions with Beijing by eliminating some tariffs on Chinese goods imposed by Trump, walking back on $360 billion worth of dues is never going to be a cakewalk.</p> <p>Meanwhile, while <a href="https://www.gzeromedia.com/bidens-trade-strategy" target="_self">Biden believes </a>in global economic integration, he has to <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/28/business/economy/democrats-biden-trade.html" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">contend</a> with the Democratic party's dominant pro-labor progressive wing, which would likely complicate his administration's efforts to rejoin multinational treaties like the <a href="https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/what-trans-pacific-partnership-tpp" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Trans-Pacific Partnership.</a></p> <p><strong>North Korea and arms control. </strong>While President Trump has held three face-to-face summits with Kim Jong-un in recent years, relations between Washington and Pyongyong are as tense as ever. Biden says he will rally allies — as well as China — to reengage the North in denuclearization talks. However, Kim has shown very <a href="https://www.npr.org/2020/10/10/922618623/kim-jong-un-puts-new-missiles-on-display-at-military-parade-in-north-korea" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">little willingness</a> to do so, and North Korea has in fact recently <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-sanctions-un/north-korea-has-probably-developed-nuclear-devices-to-fit-ballistic-missiles-un-report-says-idUSKCN24Z2PO" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">made progress</a> in developing nuclear weapons that could strike US territory.</p> <p>While at this stage, Biden has little leverage with the North, he can — and likely will — renew America's commitment to broader <a href="https://www.gzeromedia.com/the-start-of-the-end-for-arms-control" target="_self">arms control</a> by extending the New START treaty — a 2011 deal limiting long-range nuclear weapons between the Kremlin and the Obama administration that expires next February — <em>without preconditions.</em> (So far, the Trump administration has <a href="https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/09/24/trump-putin-russia-new-start-nuclear-arms-control-u-s-allies-worry-trump-administration-might-let-key-nuclear-treaty-with-russia-die/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">failed to reach an agreement</a> with Moscow on terms for the extension.) </p> <p><strong>Bottom line:</strong> Leaders are always constrained by the actions of those who came before them. In this particularly tumultuous global moment, what Biden <em>want</em>s to do and what he actually <em>can</em> do will be divergent agendas. </p>
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On Wednesday, November 4 at 11a EST, we're gathering a panel to discuss "What Just Happened" with the US election. GZERO Media's Ian Bremmer, Tony Maciulis and Alex Kliment will be joined by The Washington Post's Karen Attiah and Eurasia Group's Jon Lieber. Watch live at: gzeromedia.com/gzerolive.
Decision 2020: What Just Happened? Wednesday, November 4, 11a EST/8a PST
- Ian Bremmer, President, Eurasia Group and GZERO Media
- Karen Attiah, Global Opinions editor, The Washington Post
- Jon Lieber, US Managing Director, Eurasia Group
- Alex Kliment, Senior Editor, Signal & Chief PuppetMaster, GZERO Media
- Tony Maciulis, Head of Video, GZERO Media (moderator)
Bookmark this link to watch live: gzeromedia.com/gzerolive
Add to your calendar:
Jon Lieber, Managing Director for the United States at the Eurasia Group, shares his perspective on a special US election edition of US Politics In 60 Seconds:
So, we're about five days out from the election right now.
And the story of this week has been the remarkably steady polling lead for Joe Biden that he's had for months now. The other big story is the turnout, massive amounts of turnout. 100% of the 2016 vote already cast in Texas. 60% nationwide votes already cast. We are headed for record shattering turnout, could be around 155 million Americans voting.
On election night, what are we watching for?
<p>First thing we're watching for is, does Trump win Florida? If he loses Florida, Florida counts quickly, we may know the results late in the night on Tuesday. If Trump loses Florida, then he really doesn't have a path. If he wins Florida, the next state we're going to be looking at is Pennsylvania. Right now, he's down by six votes, six points there. But if he has a lot of turnout for rural White voters, which is his base, it's possible he can turnout a victory. You also have the Supreme Court indicating that they're willing to re-look at Pennsylvania's election laws, even after the deadline because a state court in Pennsylvania said that votes in the mail that are received up to three days after election night could still be counted.</p><p>The Supreme Court may overturn that ruling. Another state to watch, Arizona. A Biden win there would be the end of the road for Donald Trump. They also count relatively quickly. They'll be finishing by 10:00 PM Eastern time when they start reporting. A lot of experience with vote by mail. Another thing to watch on Tuesday night is going to be the Senate results. A Biden presidency is effectively going to be stopped in its tracks if Republicans continue to hold the Senate.</p><p>So, it's really important for Democrats that they win, if they want to achieve anything next year. So, states that we're watching, Arizona, Colorado likely to flip to Democrats. And then they need two of Maine, North Carolina, Montana, and Iowa, all of which are very, very close races right now. Probably they pick up votes in Maine, seats in Maine, North Carolina and Iowa. And that will be enough for the majority.</p><p><strong>The other big question is, do we know on Tuesday or how long after that day do we have to wait until we find out? </strong></p><p>That's a real wild card. Florida, Arizona count quickly, like I said. Pennsylvania counts pretty slow. If there's a protracted battle and it comes down to Pennsylvania, you're going to see a lot of legal wrangling over those last few votes. However, Biden's lead there is pretty big right now. Six points in the polling averages, which makes it less likely you have a disputed outcome. </p>
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