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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.

The role of the public library has evolved over time. As we move online at an even faster rate, knowledge, entertainment and opportunities for education and employment are found on the internet. Those living in well-connected, affluent places may have come to take internet access for granted. But there is a digital divide in the U.S. that has left people at a disadvantage – particularly since the arrival of COVID-19.

Finding ways to overcome that divide in a sustainable, community-led way could help bring the benefits of the internet to those who need it most. One solution is to use technologies such as TV white space to facilitate wireless broadband – as Microsoft's Airband Initiative is doing. To read more about Microsoft's work with public libraries, visit Microsoft On The Issues.

Who does Vladimir Putin want to win the US election? Given the Kremlin's well-documented efforts to sway the 2016 vote in Donald Trump's favor, it's certainly a fair question. And while there's no solid evidence that Russian interference had any decisive effect on the outcome four years ago, the Trump administration itself says the Kremlin — and others — are now trying to mess with the election again.

So let's put you in Vladimir Putin's size 9 shoes as you weigh up Donald Trump vs Joe Biden while refreshing your own personal PyatTridsatVosem (FiveThirtyEight) up there in the Kremlin.

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"The 'American exceptionalism' that I grew up with, the 'American exceptionalism' of the Cold War…I do think has outlived its usefulness." Those words coming from Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former top State Department official under President Obama, indicate how much the world has changed in the past few decades. Her conversation with Ian Bremmer is part of the latest episode of GZERO World.

Watch the episode: How a "President Biden" could reshape US foreign policy

Less than a week out from Election Day, 66 million Americans have already cast their ballots, and many of those are people who are voting "early" for the first time because of the pandemic. In fact, the early vote total alone this year is already equal to nearly half of all ballots cast in the 2016 general election, suggesting that 2020 turnout could reach historic levels. Most important, however, is how things are playing out in key battleground states where the outcome of the US election will be determined. In Texas, for instance, a huge surge in early voting by Democrats this year has raised the possibility that a state which has been won by Republican candidates since 1976 could now be up for grabs. Here we take a look at early voting in battleground states in 2020 as compared to 2016.

In a national referendum on Sunday, Chileans overwhelmingly voted in favor of a new constitution. But, why are people in this oasis of political stability and steady economic growth in South America willing to undo the bedrock of the system that has allowed Chile to prosper for so long?

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