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Vladimir Putin, and other Iowa winners (and losers)

Vladimir Putin, and other Iowa winners (and losers)

After a day and a night (and most of a day) of technical difficulties, lousy communication, and general bewilderment, the Iowa Democratic Party finally released a batch of caucus results yesterday. With results in from 71% of Iowa's precincts, Mayor Pete Buttigieg has so far won the most delegates, followed by Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Joe Biden. We will know more over the course of the day, but right off the bat, here are three winners and three losers.

Winner #1: Pete Buttigieg who proved he can win an election outside of South Bend, Indiana, and a primary at that (OK, a caucus.)



Winner #2: Vladimir Putin When the infrastructure of American democracy fails, nobody loves it more than the President of Russia. To be clear, there's no evidence of any hacking in Monday's Iowa Caucus – but there doesn't need to be. Colossal electoral screw-ups like this make Americans doubt the legitimacy of their own institutions and bolster Putin's longstanding gripe that no one should be taking democracy lessons from Washington.

Winner #3: Michael Bloomberg The media mogul and former New York City mayor has made $60 billion off of communications technology that, unlike the Iowa caucus app, actually works. The Iowa fiasco may also help his strategy of skipping the early small-state primaries to focus on larger ones later on. True, he's polling in the single digits, but now he's doubling down on spending, and a poor showing by establishment centrist candidate Joe Biden clears some space for him.

So much for the winners. Now to those on the other side of the gym.

Loser #1: Joe Biden, who finds himself up against a wall early, after an unexpectedly weak fourth-place showing. He could still bounce back – he is highly competitive in a number of upcoming primaries including Nevada (Feb 22), South Carolina (Feb 29), and several Super Tuesday states (March 3) – but unless he starts winning soon, Smokin' Joe is going to look more like Joe Smokin'.

Loser #2: The Democratic Party. The party's incompetence on Monday night created an international embarrassment that Republicans will easily exploit. President Trump has already asked voters whether they'd entrust their health care system to people who can't count the number of people in a gym. His son suggested Democrats had fixed the results to hide a Bernie Sanders victory. That's a charge that some Sanders supporters might believe, given evidence that party officials tried to tip the 2016 nomination process away from Sanders toward Hillary Clinton. All of which makes the Dems look unfit and deeply divided at the worst possible moment.

Loser #3: Iowa. Why are Iowa Democrats and Republicans allowed to hold the first nominating contest every four years? Because that's how it's been done for decades. That might end after this year. For one thing, this wasn't Iowa's first screw-up. In 2012, Iowa Republicans declared Mitt Romney their winner before explaining two weeks later that votes had been miscounted and Rick Santorum had actually won. What's more, Iowa's demographics don't match the nation's well, and its caucus process is starting to look a little quaint. After years of complaints about the state's privileged status, Monday might just be the last straw.

Khant Thaw Htoo is a young engineer who works in Eni's Sakura Tower office in the heart of Yangon. As an HSE engineer, he monitors the safety and environmental impact of onshore and offshore operations. He also looks out for his parents' well-being, in keeping with Myanmar's traditions.

Learn more about Khant in the final episode of the Faces of Eni series, which focuses on Eni's employees around the world.

On his first day as president, Joe Biden signed a remarkable series of executive orders. Boom! The US rejoins the Paris Climate Accord. Bang! The United States rejoins the World Health Organization. Pow! No more ban on immigration from many Muslim-majority countries. Biden's press secretary reminded reporters later in the day that all these orders merely begin complex processes that take time, but the impact is still dramatic.

If you lead a country allied with the US, or you're simply hoping for some specific commitment or clear and credible statement of purpose from the US government, you might feel a little dizzy today. The sight of an American president (Barack Obama) signing his name, of the next president (Donald Trump) erasing that name from the same legislation/bill, and then the following president (Biden) signing it back into law again will raise deep concerns over the long-term reliability of the world's still-most-powerful nation.

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"There needs to be a dramatic and deep reduction in the amount of debt on the poorest countries. That's clear." As the world's poorest nations struggle to recover from a devastating pandemic, World Bank President David Malpass argues that freeing them of much of their debt will be key. His conversation with Ian Bremmer is part of the latest episode of GZERO World.

Listen: Renowned tech journalist Kara Swisher has no qualms about saying that social media companies bear responsibility for the January 6th pro-Trump riots at the Capitol and will likely be complicit in the civil unrest that may continue well into Biden's presidency. It's no surprise, she argues, that the online rage that platforms like Facebook and Twitter intentionally foment translated into real-life violence. But if Silicon Valley's current role in our national discourse is untenable, how can the US government rein it in? That, it turns out, is a bit more complicated. Swisher joins Ian Bremmer on our podcast.

Ian Bremmer discusses the World In (more than) 60 Seconds:

Biden's first scheduled call with a world leader will be with Canada's Justin Trudeau. What's going on with the Keystone Pipeline?

Well, Biden said that that's it. Executive order, one of the first is that he will stop any construction or development of the Keystone Pipeline. This is of course an oil pipeline that would allow further oil sands oil to come to the United States. The infrastructure is significantly overstretched, it's led to backlogs, inefficiency, accidents, all the rest, but it also facilitates more energy development and keeps prices comparatively down if you get it done. So, there are lots of reasons why the energy sector in Canada wants it. Having said all of that, Trudeau, even though he's been a supporter of Keystone XL, let's keep in mind that he did not win support in Alberta, which is where the big energy patch in Canada is located. This is a real problem for the government of Alberta, Canada is a very decentralized federal government, even more so than the United States. The premier of Alberta is immensely unhappy with Biden right now, they've taken a $1.5 billion equity stake in the project. I expect there will actually be litigation against the United States by the government of Alberta. But Trudeau is quite happy with Biden, his relationship was Trump was always walking on eggshells. The USMCA in negotiations ultimately successful but were very challenging for the Canadians, so too with the way Trump engaged in relations on China. All of this, the fact that Trump left the nuclear agreement with Iran, the Paris Climate Accords, WHO, all of that is stuff that Trudeau strongly opposed. He's going to be much more comfortable with this relationship. He's delighted that the first call from Biden is to him. And it certainly creates a level of normalcy in the US-Canada relationship that is very much appreciated by our neighbors to the North.

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The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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