Uncoordinated Global Coronavirus Response; Kim Jong-un; US Immigration

What's the coronavirus update? Is there global coordination yet fighting this pandemic?

Global coordination is completely absent. There is a level of harmonization from the central bank governors because they are mostly technocratic and independent. And because they all basically hail from Western advanced industrial countries. The Chinese don't have a convertible currency. So, it's a wholly different story, monetary policy.


Otherwise, fiscal policy is not oriented in coordination. It is certainly not what the emerging markets, the developing world, is going to need soon. The G20 and G-7 meetings so far have accomplished very little, on that front. But most importantly, a complete lack of coordination on the medical side, in terms of testing, metrics, even things like the contact tracing, really needed across the West. France says they want to start their own, but they've got privacy issues with Apple right now. Need the private sector and the public sector, at the very least, coming together on the tech fixes. That should be the easiest thing to do. You want one system. We've got every country at best, coming up with one for their own.

Even inside the United States, there's a lack of coordination. President Trump comes up with, "here is what phase one, phase two, phase three looks like." Then you've got a bunch of states around the United States saying, "we're going to open up even before phase one is in place." Not what you would have expected, but that's where we are.

What do you make of reports that Kim Jong-un is extremely unwell?

He's not that old. If he dies, there's probably not a good succession plan in place. I want to assume, his younger sister would take over since she's the one that has been given much more significant authority, big roles across the North Korean state government. But, might there be an internal military coup? One doesn't know. Danger in a country like this is, whenever the leader is sort of not there, whether it's out of the country or under surgery, the potential for a, you know, a hostile response internally is real. It's clearly very dangerous when the world's most totalitarian state, one of the only ones that still exists now, with virtually no intel, even from the Chinese on what's going on inside, and suddenly the leader might be gone. The people that will suffer the most on the back of this will be the North Koreans themselves. Hard to imagine that that would lead to military activities that would threaten stability in South Korea or Japan. But that doesn't mean that you would have, if he were to die, the question of the disposition of their nuclear weapons and material, whether the military would all act in coordinated fashion. Those are real concerns and one of the reasons nobody wanted them to have nukes to begin with.

And then finally, how will the US suspending immigration change the status quo?

Not very much. Trump makes announcements like this and then there are all sorts of exceptions. There are lots of immigrants you need. The State Department just a few days ago said they want more immigrants and they're going to make it easier for them to apply, if they can be a part of the health care response to coronavirus. We desperately need more people doing contact tracing. People involved in that I suspect we'll also be welcome in terms of immigrants. I suspect that there will be exceptions made for people that are able to pay large sums of money to get visas that way. So, first, not many people traveling right now. Generally, all sorts of quarantine, about 60% of the global population under lockdown.

Secondly, not going to have much real impact. There'll be exceptions. But of course, what Trump wants to do is give something that his base really loves and at the same time, if he agitates international alliances, he doesn't really care. That's a longer-term problem and it's one he doesn't think matters very much. So, unfortunate from my perspective, because you don't need to undermine alliances that have already gotten weaker over the past years. But Trump's view is those relationships don't add to very much in terms of American influence and power. And he's been consistent in the way he's acting, the way he's felt, and policy on that.

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The European Union is, for better or worse, the most ambitious experiment in human history in institutionalized multinational cooperation. Its success depends on the willingness of its members to abide by its rules.

In recent years, the populist-nationalist governments of former Communist bloc members Hungary and Poland have flouted some of those rules in order to boost their own popularity with citizens suspicious of the EU's liberal values on issues like immigration and minority rights. In response, the EU has scolded these "illiberal" governments and threatened forceful action – so far without much effect.

The fight between EU institutions and Poland and Hungary has escalated.

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Ian Bremmer is joined on GZERO World by artificial intelligence scientists Kai-fu Lee, who recently wrote about how AI will change the world over the next two decades, precisely to talk about AI's future. After this week's Facebook debacle, how can we align interest to regulate AI-driven algorithms? Will AI steal all our jobs? And what should we do to learn from AI to improve our lives before it gets smarter than us?

Watch this episode of GZERO World with Ian Bremmer: Is a robot coming for your job? Kai-fu Lee explains AI

US elections officials have always persuaded losing candidates that they've, ahem, lost. Now it's worse because there's a new paradigm, according to former DHS and Election Assistance Commission official Matt Masterson, policy fellow with the Stanford Internet Observatory. Candidates that won't accept defeat regardless of the margin or evidence of fraud, he says, are undermining trust in the system — and election officials are ill-equipped to deal with this problem.

Matt Masterson made these remarks during a live Global Stage event, Infodemic: defending democracy from disinformation. Watch the full event here: https://www.gzeromedia.com/global-stage/virtual-events/disinformation-is-a-big-problem-what-can-we-do-about-it

Who's most responsible for spreading misinformation online? For Ginny Badanes, senior director for Democracy Forward at Microsoft, the problem starts with those who create it, yet ultimately governments, companies and individuals all share the burden. And she's more interested in what we can do to respond.

Ginny Badanes spoke at a live Global Stage event, Infodemic: defending democracy from disinformation. Watch the full event here: https://www.gzeromedia.com/global-stage/virtual-events/disinformation-is-a-big-problem-what-can-we-do-about-it

Some of the worst sectarian clashes since Lebanon's 15-year civil war (1975-1990) broke out in Beirut this week between supporters of Hezbollah and Amal, both Shiite political parties, and Christian, far-right Lebanese Forces. Shiite protesters were rallying against the state probe into the Beirut port blast, which occurred last year. They say authorities were singling out Shiite politicians for questioning and blame. In this video, watch Ian Bremmer's conversation with Lebanese journalist and author Kim Ghattas on GZW talking about the future of Lebanese politics and sectarianism in the county after the after the blast. It was originally published on August 19, 2020.

In Lebanon, "a majority (are) united in wanting a different future, a future that is non-sectarian, that is non-corrupt, that provides prosperity, justice, dignity for people," journalist Kim Ghattas told Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

In this interview, Ghattas discusses the opportunity that could arise from the tragedy of the Beirut explosion which killed 200 and injured thousands more. The Lebanese are "fed up" with the militant group Hezbollah, she tells Bremmer, and want to strive for a government that better resembles the diversity and cosmopolitan nature of its citizens.

Watch the GZERO World episode: Lebanon Post-Blast: Rage in the Streets of Beirut.

Some of the worst sectarian clashes since Lebanon's 15-year civil war (1975-1990) broke out in Beirut this week between supporters of Hezbollah and Amal, both Shiite political parties, and Christian, far-right Lebanese Forces. Shiite protesters were rallying against the state probe into the Beirut port blast, which occurred last year. They say authorities were singling out Shiite politicians for questioning and blame. Below is our original piece on the Beirut port explosions published on August 5, 2020.


The twin explosions at Beirut's port on Tuesday were so powerful that the aftershocks reverberated as far as the Eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus, 150 miles away. The specter of fire and smoke was such that many suggested on social media that Beirut had experienced a nuclear blast.

In the days ahead, more details will come to light about why a deadly cache of materials was haphazardly stashed at a port warehouse, and why Lebanon's government failed to secure the site. So, what comes next for crisis-ridden Lebanon?

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Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, shares insights on US politics:

What does it actually mean to cut $1 trillion from the Democrats' $3.5 trillion social spending bill?

President Biden has proposed one of the most ambitious expansions of federal spending in recent memory. If he gets everything he wants, it would probably be the largest expansion of government since the Great Society, but he's not going to get everything he wants. Democrats have basically said they cannot do all $3.5 trillion in spending. They're probably going to end up around $2 trillion. So what gets cut? Well, we don't know yet. There's kind of two ways to go about this. They could either cut the number of programs that have been proposed, doing fewer things with more money on a permanent basis, or they could try to do more things, each program getting less money and potentially doing them on a temporary basis. So, a future Congress would have to extend it. What does this mean for you? Well, a lot of the money in here is designed to go directly to families, either in the form of cash payments, through the tax code, the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit, or subsidies for things like child care, early childhood education, and community college. And if you cut these things back, it means less money is going to go out the door to the American people. It also means less tax increases to finance it. So the implications of what's being proposed could actually end up being a big deal for a lot of Americans who would qualify for benefits under these new programs.

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