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What We’re Watching: Chinese Karaoke and May vs. May

Patriotic Chinese Karaoke – In response to Trump's tariff war, China's leaders have tried for months to keep things civil. No need to fuel a fire they might not be able to contain by directing state-run media to broadcast insults and threats toward Washington. Their approach now appears to be changing. Last week, Communist Party mouthpiece People's Daily promoted the following slogan on social media: "Talks, sure! Fight to the finish! Bully us, think again!" Last Friday, a singable Chinese propaganda song turned up on mobile messenger WeChat. Its message—"Feel bitter hatred for the enemy… If the perpetrator wants to fight, we'll beat him out of his wits"—has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times. There's even a music video that goes with it. Looks like the Chinese may be digging in for a long fight.

What Comes After May? - The news this morning is that UK Prime Minister Theresa May could not survive the month of May. Repeated failure to win a majority in the House of Commons for her Brexit plan has finally done her in, and she announced this morning that she'll step down on June 7. Who has the charisma and grit to take on this seemingly impossible job? And who will succeed her? Here's one idea. #TimeForLarry

What We're Ignoring: Mini-Trump and North Korean Insults

The Next Donald Trump – In the past few days, we've learned that the president's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr, has secured a book deal and may be mulling a run for mayor of New York. Your Friday author is convinced he's readying a future run for president. Who has the audacity, charisma, mastery of the rally, and media manipulation skills to become the next Donald Trump? We're pretty sure it's NOT Donald Trump Jr.

North Korean Insults – In response to an unflattering reference to Kim Jong-un during a recent campaign speech, North Korea's official news agency says Joe Biden is a "snob bereft of elementary quality as human being" who is "self-praising himself as being the most popular presidential candidate." Biden's candidacy, according to the North Koreans, "is enough to make a cat laugh." We're not betting on Biden quite yet, but this just feels gratuitous, even by North Korean News Agency standards. (Remember when Kim Jong-Un took on William Shakespeare?)

Bank of America's $25 million jobs initiative provides Black and Hispanic-Latino individuals access to skills and training needed for jobs of the future. Learn more about the initiative, which involves partnerships with 21 community colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Hispanic Serving Institutions.

Two weeks ago, Russia secured a deal to build a naval base in Sudan, its first new military facility in Africa since the end of the Cold War. The accord is a major milestone in Moscow's wider push to regain influence, and income, on a continent where the Kremlin was once a major player.

But with the ideological and military contests of the Cold War long over, what is Moscow doing in Africa today?

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Iran's nuclear tug-of-war: Hardliners in Iran's parliament passed a bill Tuesday suspending UN inspections of its nuclear sites and giving the go-ahead to massively increase uranium enrichment unless the US lifts its sanctions by February. Iranian president Hassan Rouhani opposes the measure, saying it would be "harmful" to diplomatic efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with the incoming Biden administration in the US. But Iran's parliament doesn't actually need Rouhani's approval to pass the law, and regardless, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei will have the final say on policy – as always! If the law is passed, it will immediately raise the stakes for Biden, who takes office on January 20. Both he and Rouhani say they are keen to resume dialogue in hopes of reviving the nuclear deal, which President Trump walked out of in 2018. But just days after the architect of Iran's nuclear program was assassinated (likely by Israel with the US' blessing) the hurdles to even beginning those talks are rising fast.

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"China is angry. If you make China the enemy, China will be the enemy." This was the message recently conveyed by a Chinese government official on the intensifying row with its Asia-Pacific neighbor, Australia.

China-Australia relations, steadily deteriorating in recent months over a range of political disputes, reached a new low this week when Beijing posted a doctored image on Twitter of an Australian soldier holding a knife to an Afghan child's throat. Beijing's decision to post the fake image at a hypersensitive time for Australia's military establishment was a deliberate political provocation: beat Canberra while it's down.

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19.4: The Lebanese economy, waylaid by financial and political crises on top of the pandemic, is set to contract by a crippling 19.4 percent this year, according to the World Bank. Next year things hardly get better, with a contraction of 13.2 percent coming in 2021.

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Reasons for Hope: COVID and the Coming Year. Watch on Friday. Dec 4 2020 12 noon - 1 pm ET

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