What We're Watching: A New Arms Race

A New Arms Race – The US and Russia have now both officially pulled out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). A key piece of the global arms control regime constructed by Moscow and Washington during the Cold War, the INF Treaty prohibits land-based missiles with ranges between 300 and 4,000 miles. The US signaled its intention to pull out last year, saying Russia was violating its terms, and noting that China isn't even party to the pact. Now Moscow has bolted as well, and we are watching, with no small degree of unease, to see whether this prompts a new global arms race. Remember the 1950s civil defense drills in New York? We don't either, but these photos from the era are chilling.


A New Wiosna (Spring) in Poland? An openly gay LGBT activist is leadinga new leftist party breaking ground in conservative Poland. Robert Biedron, a former mayor from the Western border town of Slupsk, hopes that the upcoming European parliamentary elections in May can be a springboard for his Wiosna (Spring) party to launch a domestic political movement. He has growing support among young city-dwellers disenchanted with the conservative nationalism of Poland's ruling Law and Justice party. But Wiosna may struggle to expand its base in Europe's most Catholic nation. We're watching to see whether a political spring has sprung for Poland.

What We're Ignoring:

Curbing Germans' Need for Speed Germans love driving fast almost as much as Americans love their guns. It's no surprise then that a recent proposal to limit speeds on the country's famously freewheeling Autobahn (to an oozing 75mph) didn't go over well. Proponents of the idea say it would close one-fifth of the current gap in Germany's 2020 carbon emissions goals. But when a German transport minister imposed similar restrictions in the 1970s, they lasted just four weeks. We're ignoring this story because we're confident Germans will put their foot down – and then speed off into the sunset.

Trump-Churchill comparisons – A new report suggests 60 percent of President Trump's day is consumed by unstructured "Executive Time," much of which is spent watching cable news, reading newspapers, and making phone calls. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich responded to the report by comparing the president's habits to those of the famously misanthropic UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill. We're ignoring the comparison though because Churchill wrote 17 books during his lifetime and won World War II.

Imagine losing your child in their first year of life and having no idea what caused it. This is the heartbreaking reality for thousands of families each year who lose a child to Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID). Despite decades-long efforts to prevent SUID, it remains the leading cause of death for children between one month and one year of age in developed nations. Working in collaboration with researchers at Seattle Children's Research Institute and the University of Auckland, Microsoft analyzed the Center for Disease Control (CDC) data on every child born in the U.S. over a decade, including over 41 million births and 37,000 SUID deaths.

By pairing Microsoft's capabilities and data scientists with Seattle Children's medical research expertise, progress is being made on identifying the cause of SUID. Earlier this year, a study was published that estimated approximately 22% of SUID deaths in the U.S. were attributable to maternal cigarette-smoking during pregnancy, giving us further evidence that, through our collaboration with experts in varying disciplines, we are getting to the root of this problem and making remarkable advances.

Read more at Microsoft On The Issues.

William Hague: What is my prediction for the election?

Well, I think that conservatives will definitely have a bigger lead in votes over the Labour Party than at the last election, two years ago. Now that should give them a majority in the House of Commons. But then there will be tactical voting between Labour and Liberal voters against the Conservatives. And there are many undecided people at the last minute. So, I would go for a small conservative majority, maybe around 20 seats, which is also what some of the most sophisticated pollsters have said.

David Miliband: Who do you predict will win the UK elections?

I'm very careful about predictions, especially about the future, as someone famously said. The polls are pretty clear that this has been a dismal campaign, an unpopularity contest in all sorts of ways in which the lesser of two evils is perceived by the voters to be a conservative vote. So, the polls are giving a range of possibilities from a hung parliament right through to a large conservative majority. Obviously, I don't know who's going to win. My tour around the country last week gave me a real sense, a yearning really, for a better choice, for better choices, for more fronting up by the parties, because both parties have done a job of avoiding some of the hardest choices. And so, I predict that whoever wins, there are some very difficult choices ahead. And the sooner that politics is about what you're asking for as well as what you're offering. As Tawney said, after Labour lost the 1931 election, "we offered too much and asked too little." The sooner politics is about shared endeavor, the better for the country.

After a months-long investigation into whether President Donald Trump pressured Ukraine's president into investigating his political rivals in order to boost his reelection prospects in 2020, House Democrats brought two articles of impeachment against him, charging him with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Click here for our GZERO guide to what comes next.

In the meantime, imagine for a moment that you are now Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority leader and senior member of Donald Trump's Republican Party. You've got big choices to make.

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Trump gets his deal – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced yesterday that Democrats will back the USMCA, the US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement that will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement. Crucially, the bill will also have support from the nation's largest labor union. This is a major political victory for President Trump, who promised he would close this deal, but it's also good for Pelosi: it shows that the Democrats' House majority can still accomplish big things even as it impeaches the president. But with the speed of the Washington news cycle these days, we're watching to see if anyone is still talking about USMCA three days after it's signed.

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