What We’re Watching: America Rules the Waves & An Istanbul Do-Over

US warships steaming toward Iran – A US aircraft carrier group is now headed to the Middle East following warnings from Washington that Iran and its proxy forces have given "troubling and escalatory" indications of a possible attack on US forces in the region. It's not immediately clear what these indications are, but we're certainly watching for any dangerous escalation in US-Iranian military tensions. Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw the US from the Iranian nuclear agreement.

The Istanbul Do-Over – Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wanted another chance to win local elections in Istanbul, and he'll get one on June 23. A Turkish court ruled on Monday that a previous vote, which the opposition won by a margin of about 14,000 votes out of more than 8 million cast on March 31, must be re-run. We'll be watching not only for the new election result but for how Erdogan, the opposition, and residents of Istanbul react to them – if you call a do-over, you better be sure to win when it's done over, right?

What We're Ignoring: The UK's Newest Royal & A Deep, Deep Hole

Baby Sussex – The Signal team sends hearty congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex—that's Prince Harry and Meghan Markle for all you Americans—on the birth of their first child, a boy. But given that this kid is only seventh in line of royal succession, he better be doing card tricks by Thursday or we won't have much further interest in him. (Trivia fans: per our friend Dave Lawler at Axios, seventh in line to the US presidency is Attorney General William Barr — how's that for an expert weaving of news flows?)

Jumping down the deepest hole on Earth – You probably know that there was a Cold War race to the moon, but less familiar is the fierce scramble to the center of the Earth. By the time the USSR fell, Soviet scientists had drilled the deepest hole in the planet, more than 7 miles under the Siberian tundra, in an unfinished bid to reach all the way to the earth's mantle. The Kola Superdeep Hole has been capped since then, but Japanese scientists now want to take the plunge. We are doing our best to ignore this extraordinary story, because we fall down WAY too many fascinating rabbit holes in our line of work as is...

This time last year, world health experts were speculating about why Africa appeared to have escaped the worst of the global pandemic. Younger populations? Natural immunity created by exposure to past viruses? Something else?

They can stop wondering. Africa is now in the grip of a COVID emergency.

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Listen: Stanford historian Niall Ferguson joins Ian Bremmer on the GZERO World podcast to talk about the geopolitics of disaster. Throughout human history we seem to be unable to adequately prepare for catastrophes (natural or human-caused) before they strike. Why is that? And as we emerge from the greatest calamity of our lifetimes in the COVID-19 pandemic and look to the plethora of crises that climate change has and will cause, what can we do to lessen the blow?

Subscribe to the GZERO World Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your preferred podcast platform to receive new episodes as soon as they're published.

Get insights on the latest news in US politics from Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi barred two Republican members from serving on the Jan. 6 commission. What's going on?

Well, the Jan. 6 commission was designed to be a bipartisan commission, taking input from members from Democrats and Republicans. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had the opportunity to make recommendations but the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, could always veto those recommendations. In this case, she did, saying no to two members, Jim Banks and Jim Jordan, both of whom are strongly aligned with President Trump and who voted against certifying the election results in 2020. The Republicans for the most part see the Jan. 6 commission as an opportunity to score political points against them, and the Democrats say this is going to be a fair, non-biased, and nonpartisan investigation into what happened on Jan. 6, starting with a hearing next week with some of the police officers who were involved in the battle with the protesters inside the Capitol.

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In his New York Times op-ed, David Brooks says the US is facing an identity crisis — protecting liberal and progressive values at home while doing little to stop autocrats elsewhere. But has the US really abandoned its values abroad just because it's withdrawing from Afghanistan? Ian Bremmer and Eurasia Group analyst Charles Dunst take out the Red Pen to argue that the US can advance democracy without being the world's sheriff.

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When the Tokyo Olympics begin on Friday, Japan watchers will be following more than just the performance of Japan's star athletes, including tennis star Naomi Osaka. They will also be tracking the political fortunes of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who is taking a big gamble by staging the event — amid a raging pandemic — in the face of strong and longstanding opposition from the Japanese public. What are the stakes for Suga, particularly with elections on the horizon? Eurasia Group senior analyst Ali Wyne explains.

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YouTube pulls Bolsonaro's rants: Google-owned YouTube pulled down a series of videos on the channel of Brazil's populist President Jair Bolsonaro, accusing him of spreading misinformation about the pandemic. YouTube removed more than a dozen clips for touting quack cures for coronavirus or claiming, in defiance of scientific experts, that masks don't reduce COVID transmissions. Last year, Twitter and Facebook also removed some content from Bolsonaro's feeds for similar reasons. But critics say that YouTube's move is too little too late, because Bolsonaro has been spreading misinformation about COVID since the pandemic began. Many Brazilians hold him personally responsible for the country's abysmal pandemic response, which has led to almost 550,000 deaths, the second worst toll in the world. Will YouTube's move change Bolsonaro's message? His weekly address to the nation, where he converses not only with government ministers but also various conspiracy theorists and loons, is broadcast on YouTube. Surely he doesn't want to risk losing that — or does he?

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Boycotts! Bans! Protests! Drugs! Think you've got gold medal knowledge about politics at the Olympics? Test what you know with this special Tokyo Olympics Quiz. And to stay current on all the latest political stories at the Games and around the world, subscribe here to Signal, our daily newsletter. Now, without further ado, the first question is...

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