What We're Watching & What We're Ignoring

WHAT WE'RE WATCHING

Theresa May's Next Gambit – After the historic defeat of her Brexit bill almost a month ago, the British prime minister has been scrambling to come up with a new plan. Yesterday, she delivered an update to the House of Commons on her efforts to renegotiate with the European Union, which have, somewhat predictably, proven fruitless. For now, May is playing a high-stakes game of chicken, hoping the EU will make concessions to assuages hardline Brexiteers at home before the March 29 exit date. But she could also quickly pivot toward a much softer stance, opting to maintain close UK-EU trade relations, if it presents the only clear way forward. We're watching to see how the UK prime minister plays her next big move.

Ivan Duque at the White House – Colombia's president will meet Donald Trump in Washington tomorrow, and Venezuela is top of the agenda. No country is more affected by Venezuela's meltdown than neighboring Colombia, which has already absorbed over a million refugees. The US has staged humanitarian aid for Venezuela in Colombia, but National Security adviser John Bolton's recently revealed chicken scratches about "5,000 soldiers to Colombia" has raised the prospect that something more serious is afoot. Duque and Trump will also discuss the contentious case of Jesus Santrich, a prominent FARC militant and drug trafficker whom Washington wants Bogota to extradite. The catch? Extraditing the notorious guerilla leader might violate the terms of Colombia's 2016 peace deal with the FARC.


WHAT WE'RE IGNORING

India's Highly Sped Up Trains – Over the weekend, India's railway minister tweeted out a video showing the country's "first semi-high speed train…zooming past at lightening [sic] speed." The Vande Bharat Express has reportedly exceeded 180 kilometers per hour in tests. That's way below the 250-plus kilometers per hour achieved by the world's most advanced high speed rail lines, but it's a step forward for India's clunky rail service. Still, we're ignoring this attempt to burnish India's industrial development credentials, because the video appears to have been doctored to show the train moving at double the speed of the original footage.

Europe's Weltpolitikfähigkeitsverlustvermeidungsstrategie – For those in the back, that's German for a "strategy to prevent the loss of the capability to shape world affairs." We're ignoring this made up word, coined by the British historian Timothy Garton Ash at a kickoff event for the upcoming Munich Security Conference. Yes, the world order is disintegrating. No, we don't know who will pick up the pieces. Sure, Brexit will diminish the ability of both the UK and the EU to shape world affairs. But you try saying Weltpolitikfähigkeitsverlustvermeidungsstrategie three times fast. Bet you can't.

Ken Burns discusses Muhammad Ali's background and how the journey of boxing's greatest champion is just as relevant today—in sport, culture and beyond.

"He is speaking to us with a kind of force and clarity...that to me is just so enduring." - Ken Burns

No country in the Western Hemisphere is more closely associated with disaster and misery than the Caribbean nation of Haiti. Its latest upheaval centers on news that the country's top prosecutor wants Haiti's prime minister to answer questions about the murder of the president in July. Haiti is again locked in a power struggle among competing factions within its ruling elite.

Why is Haiti still so poor and disaster-prone?

More Show less

For Michael Chertoff, former US secretary of Homeland Security from 2005 to 2009, the fact that America has not experienced a single attack by foreign terrorists since 9/11 proves that the US was "successful" in its strategy to prevent terrorism. That "was not [an] accident and there was a deterrent effect to be honest — had we been lax, more would have tried." Although he admits the US government wasn't transparent enough about the intelligence it was collecting, Chertoff credits US intelligence agencies with helping to foil the plot to blow up airplanes mid-air from Heathrow to the US in 2006. The US mission in Iraq, or what came after was not clearly thought out, according to Michael Chertoff, who served as the Secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security under George W. Bush. The Iraq war made it difficult to focus on the US mission in Afghanistan and absorbed resources that could have been used more effectively elsewhere, he said.

Watch the full episode: Is America safer since 9/11?

Listen: In a frank interview on the GZERO World podcast, António Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General, speaks with Ian Bremmer at the UN ahead of the annual General Assembly week. Guterres discusses COVID, climate, the US-China rift, and the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan, and does not mince words when it comes to the dire state of the world. "We are standing at the edge of an abyss," Guterres warns. COVID is "defeating" the global community and a climate catastrophe is all but assured without drastic action. Amidst this unprecedented peril, there remains a startling lack of trust among nations. And yet, there is still hope.

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.


"Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still." — Harry S. Truman

The former US president's warning feels particularly prescient as world leaders prepare to gather at the 76th United National General Assembly in New York City, the first such in-person event in over 18 months. The importance of apt leadership in determining societies' ability to cope — and survive — has been on full display since COVID-19 enveloped the globe, decimating communities and killing some 4.5 million people.

More Show less

As the 76th UN General Assembly gets underway, dealing with the pandemic is still the top priority for world leaders. But for John Frank, vice president of UN Global Affairs at Microsoft, COVID is not the only major challenge the world faces today.

One of them — included in the UN Secretary-General's new Common Agenda for strong, inclusive pandemic recovery — is a different way to measure economic growth beyond the traditional productivity-led GDP model by taking more into account the cost of pollution, one of the main causes of climate change.

More Show less

For UN Secretary-General António Guterres, the pandemic has made the world even more divided than it was before COVID. That's especially true on climate, in his view, because rich and poor countries simply don't trust each other anymore. If we want COP26 to succeed, Guterres says we must rebuild that trust — or face the consequences of inaction. "If you are on the verge of an abyss, you must be careful about your next step." Watch his interview with Ian Bremmer on the latest episode of GZERO World.

"Pandemic" was the most used word of 2020. "Delta" looks set to inherit this year's title.

Vaccination rates are ticking up slowly. Governments aren't talking to each other enough. Parts of the world are back to normal, while others are still locked down.

Have we actually made any progress since the COVID-19 outbreak?


Unfinished Business: Is the World Really Building Back Better?

Wednesday, September 22nd, 11am ET/ 8am PT

Our speakers:

Special appearance by António Guterres, UN Secretary-General.

Visit gzeromedia.com/globalstage to watch on the day of the event.

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter, Signal

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal

UNGA 76: Vaccines, climate, crises

Coronavirus

UN Chief: Still time to avert climate “abyss”

GZERO World Clips

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal