What We're Watching: Japan wants to jail Ghosn's American helpers

What We're Watching: Japan wants to jail Ghosn's American helpers

Japan seeks arrest of Americans who helped Ghosn escape: Japanese authorities have issued arrest warrants for three Americans suspected of helping former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn flee the country while he was awaiting trial on charges of financial wrongdoing. You might recall Ghosn's dramatic escape back in December, where he walked out of his home in Tokyo, turning up a day later in Lebanon. The Japanese claim that the three US citizens – including a former US special forces soldier– smuggled Ghosn onto a plane by hiding him in "portable luggage." The three Americans are believed to still be in the Middle East. Japan and Lebanon have about a month to decide whether Ghosn will be extradited back to Tokyo, but Beirut generally doesn't hand over its nationals to foreign governments.


"International crisis" looms in northern Syria: After a weeks-long offensive that has displaced hundreds of thousands of civilians, Syrian government forces have captured the town of Maarat al-Numan in Idlib province, rebel forces' last stronghold. The town, held by opposition fighters since 2012, controls the long road linking Damascus to Aleppo, and is critical to Bashar al-Assad's plan of consolidating power across Syria. The dire humanitarian situation in Idlib has worsened as sustained air strikes have forced some 20,000 people to flee their homes there in the last two days alone. The US special envoy for Syria warned Thursday that around 700,000 displaced civilians from northwest Syria are now on the move to the Turkish border, which he says, could create a full blown "international crisis."

What we're really watching, like on TV:

Pandemic: Worried about coronavirus? Great time to check out the new Netflix docuseries "Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak," which explores the world's preparedness to deal with a potential influenza pandemic. Spoiler: experts say a new outbreak is inevitable, and that the world isn't prepared to handle it. Besides its freakish resonance for the moment, Pandemic introduces viewers to everyday heroes on the frontlines of managing and researching epidemics, like these scientists working tirelessly to develop a universal flu vaccine.

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.

More Show less

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.

More Show less

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.

More Show less

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.

More Show less

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?

More Show less

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...

More Show less

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter, Signal

GZERO World with Ian Bremmer. Watch episodes now

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal

GZERO World with Ian Bremmer. Watch episodes now

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal