US readiness for coronavirus; US-Taliban peace & Afghanistan's future

Ian Bremmer's perspective on what's happening in geopolitics:

Separating the politics from policy, is the US ready for a coronavirus pandemic?

The answer is clearly no. Because so much of the medical supplies and the pharmaceuticals, the supply chain comes from China. The country that was hit hardest by coronavirus. Their supply chain has been radically disrupted, which means as this comes to United States and expands as it almost surely will, you're going to see shortages. Add that to fake news and the potential for panic buying and stockpiling and a bigger economic hit is greater than we would like it to be.

How real is the US-Taliban peace agreement and what is the road ahead in Afghanistan?

Two very different questions. It's very real in the sense the Americans are looking to engage with the Taliban. A very good conversation, as President Trump said, to get the Americans out of Afghanistan after 20 years of fighting, nearly. The longest war in American history. Those troops are starting to withdraw. And I think that there's a good chance that you're going to get most, if not all of them out over the course of the next year, plus. But that doesn't mean peace on the ground. The Taliban certainly not disarming. And the engagement between the Americans and the Afghanis has not involved the Afghan government. That's a serious problem for the people that are going to end up getting governed, a lot of them, at least by the Taliban. Last time that happened, it was one of the most repressive regimes of the world. That's kind of what we're heading back to.

Civil rights activist Janet Murguía joins the 'That Made All the Difference' podcast to discuss her upbringing as the daughter of immigrant parents and how that experience informs her life's work advocating for Hispanic-Latino civil rights and battling systemic inequality.

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It's the decision that could kickstart intra-Afghan dialogue, and pave the way to ending the US occupation in Afghanistan after 20 bloody years.

On Sunday, after days of deliberations that involved thousands of Afghan delegates packing into one tent (what's COVID again), President Ashraf Ghani agreed to release hundreds of Taliban prisoners from government jails. The move opens the way to intra-Afghan dialogue under a deal that the US brokered directly with the Taliban earlier this year.

The Trump administration has touted this development as a major step towards peace, but after nearly two decades of war, the relevant players are still miles apart when it comes to laying out a common vision for the conflict-ridden country. What do they all want?

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Just days after an explosion tore through the heart of Beirut, journalist and born-and-raised resident Kim Ghattas describes where she was when the blast happened - and what she actually thinks was the cause. This episode of GZERO World with Ian Bremmer begins airing Friday, August 14 on US public television. Check local listings.

"Go ahead, take it," President Putin says to you.

"Take what?" you ask.

"This Covid vaccine," he continues, turning a small syringe over in his hands. "It's safe. Trust me. We… tested it on my daughter."

Would you do it? Russian President Vladimir Putin is betting that a lot of people will say yes. On Tuesday he announced that Russia has become the first country to register a COVID-19 vaccine, and that mass vaccinations will begin there in October.

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20.4: The UK economy is now officially in a recession for the first time in 11 years, after British economic growth plunged by 20.4 percent quarter-on-quarter from April to June 2020. The quarterly decline — attributed to the economic crisis fueled by the coronavirus pandemic ­— is double that of the US and second only to Spain's in Europe.

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