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What they’re thankful for

What they’re thankful for

Tomorrow, millions of people will gather around dining tables across the United States to celebrate Thanksgiving – a day traditionally reserved for food, football, and reflecting on life's blessings. There'll be turkey and stuffing. And pie. But also: political conversations with relatives. To get you ready, we've imagined what some of the most important world leaders are thankful for this year:


Donald Trump: Mueller, the Ukraine scandal, impeachment proceedings. It's been a miserable year. Ok? Thankfully the economy is very, very strong – unemployment near 50-year lows, and just look at the stock market. Record highs! Senate Republicans will never vote to impeach me with the economy humming like this. So much to be grateful for, America! All thanks to me. You're welcome! Enjoy!

Vladimir Putin: On New Year's Eve I will mark 20 years in power in Russia. I am thankful to have made Russia great again after the humiliation by the West in the 1990s. I'm grateful for the internet and social media, which help me sow confusion and undermine my rivals; but most of all, this year, for the US withdrawal from Syria, which has confirmed Russia's status as a major power broker in the Middle East.

Xi Jinping: Yes, my economy is slowing. Yes, Hong Kong is a mess. And those leaked files on Uighur detention camps are terrible for China's overseas image. But I'm still the country's most powerful leader since Mao, with an ability to invest and mobilize state resources that few, if any, Western leaders can match. Thank goodness for that.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan: Gratuitous Turkey reference on Thanksgiving, huh? Ok, I'll play. Like Vlad, I'm grateful that Trump withdrew those troops from Kurdish-controlled northern Syria: without that I'd never have been able to clear the buffer zone I need to resettle millions of Syrian refugees who are causing me political headaches.

Boris Johnson: I couldn't have asked for a weaker opponent in next month's general election than my friend, Jeremy Corbyn. Three years of Brexit omnishambles should have voters lining up to punish my Tory Party when they hit the polls on December 12, but the Labour leader's hard-left policies and fence-sitting on Brexit have given Remain voters a difficult choice. If I can maintain our comfortable lead in the polls, we'll be out of the EU, with a deal, by January. Then the real negotiations over the UK's future relationship with the EU can begin. Thanks, Jeremy!

Theresa May: I'm so thankful I no longer have to deal with this.

Carrie Lam: I'm thankful that once my term is up, or Beijing finally lets me resign, no one can force me to run for Hong Kong chief executive again. Staying in Hong Kong might be tough. Maybe I can apply for one of those new UK skills visas.

Mark Zuckerberg: Sorry, this content is not available to our community right now. This year Priscilla and I have decided we'll only be sharing what we are thankful for with a small group of family and friends in an encrypted WhatsApp chat.

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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