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What We're Watching: German Politicians vs the Internet

AKK – Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer ("AKK"), the leader of Germany's ruling Christian Democratic Union and Angela Merkel's choice to succeed her as Chancellor, has called for regulation of political opinions on the internet during election campaigns. Her proposal came in response to a German YouTube star's viral video that accused the governing party of failing to address climate change. Her idea has provoked intense criticism, in particular from free speech advocates. Not a good look just after her party took a hit in the European Parliament elections. We're watching to see how much damage she's inflicted on her political future.


Netanyahu on the Clock – Today is the deadline for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form a coalition government following last month's elections. If he fails, Israel might face a repeat vote for the first time in its history. The stakes are especially high for Netanyahu, who faces indictment on corruption charges. If he can form a government, he can try to pass laws that would give him immunity from prosecution while in office. For the moment, the ultra-orthodox and ultra-nationalist parties that are Netanyahu's likeliest potential coalition partners are still holding out in hopes of winning policy concessions.

What We're Ignoring: Bad Maps in East Africa

Fatwas on the Greenback – There are many ways to manage a currency crisis. Religious scholars in Pakistan have declared a fatwa against the hoarding of dollars in order to stop people from buying the US currency as fears rise that Prime Minister Imran Khan's cash-strapped government will soon devalue the Pakistani rupee. We're skeptical a fatwa will be enough to solve this problem.

Ethiopia's New Maps – Ethiopia's foreign ministry has said it's sorry for any "confusion and misunderstanding" after publishing a map of Africa on its website that erased neighboring Somalia by incorporating its territory within Ethiopia's borders. It's a touchy subject, given wars between the two countries in the 1960s and 70s and Ethiopian intervention inside Somalia in more recent years. But those who see something sinister at work should consider that the map also shows the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo as a single country, and it doesn't show South Sudan at all. In other words, the Ethiopian foreign ministry may just have really bad mapmakers.

Carbon has a bad rep, but did you know it's a building block of life? As atoms evolved, carbon trapped in CO2 was freed, giving way to the creation of complex molecules that use photosynthesis to convert carbon to food. Soon after, plants, herbivores, and carnivores began populating the earth and the cycle of life began.

Learn more about how carbon created life on Earth in the second episode of Eni's Story of CO2 series.

As we enter the homestretch of the US presidential election — which is set to be the most contentious, and possibly contested, in generations — Americans are also voting on 35 seats up for grabs in a battle for the control of the Senate. The 100-member body is currently held 53-47 by the Republican Party, but many individual races are wide open, and the Democrats are confident they can flip the upper chamber of Congress.

Either way, the result will have a profound impact not only on domestic policy, but also on US foreign relations and other issues with global reach. Here are a few areas where what US senators decide reverberates well beyond American shores.

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On September 23, GZERO Media — in partnership with Microsoft and Eurasia Group — gathered global experts to discuss global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic in a livestream panel. Our panel for the discussion Crisis Response & Recovery: Reimagining while Rebuilding, included:

  • Brad Smith, President, Microsoft
  • Ian Bremmer, President and Founder, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media
  • Jeh Johnson, Partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP and former Secretary of Homeland Security.
  • John Frank, Vice President, UN Affairs at Microsoft
  • Susan Glasser, staff writer and Washington columnist, The New Yorker (moderator)

Special appearances by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde, and comedian/host Trevor Noah.

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Jon Lieber, who leads Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, offers insights on the Supreme Court vacancy:

Will Senate Republicans, who stopped a Supreme Court nomination in 2016, because it was too close to an election, pay a political price for the change in tactics this time around?

Not only do I think they won't pay a political price, I think in many cases, they're going to benefit. Changing the balance of power on the Supreme Court has been a career-long quest for many conservatives and many Republicans. And that's why you've seen so many of them fall in line behind the President's nomination before we even know who it is.

At this point, do Senate Democrats have any hope of stopping President Trump from filling the ninth seat on the Supreme Court?

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In a special GZERO Media livestream on global response and recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media president Ian Bremmer discussed the difference between Europe's unified approach to economic stimulus and the deeply divided and political nature of the current conversation in the US. While initial stimulus support was bipartisan, there is little chance of Democrats and Republicans coming together again ahead of the November 3 presidential election. "It's red state versus blue state. President Trump's saying that coronavirus isn't so bad if you take the blue states out. He's president of the blue states, you can't take the blue states out," Bremmer told moderator Susan Glasser of The New Yorker.

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Panel: How will the world recover from COVID-19?

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