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.

Okuafo Pa means good farmer in the Twi language of West Africa. Hence, the naming of the project reflects the value of good farming and the rewards it brings to the people of Ghana. The Okuafo Pa Project will support Ghana's sustainable development by promoting socio-economic growth and sustainable business models.

Watch to learn how Eni is helping youth to develop agricultural knowledge and skills.

Iranians head to the polls on Friday to vote for president, and it appears a foregone conclusion that hardliner Ebrahim Raisi, the nation's top judge, will win.

Outsiders, and many Iranians, roll their eyes at the predictability of this vote. Iran's Guardian Council, a dozen clerics and judges who answer only to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, has cleared the field for Raisi by ruling all of his credible challengers ineligible. The fix is in, and Iranians are now preparing for a moment when anti-reform conservatives, those who oppose social change inside Iran and deeper engagement with the West, will for the first time ever control the country's presidency, parliament, courts, and much of the media.

But simmering beneath the cynicism and predictability of this event is a deepening anxiety over Iran's future as it enters a potentially momentous period in the Islamic Republic's 42-year history. The Supreme Leader, in power for 32 years, is now 82 years old. Very few people know the true state of his health. Even if he outlives Raisi's presidency, which could last four or eight years, preparations for a historic, uncertain, and potentially dangerous leadership transition will intensify soon.

More Show less

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Europe:

After Biden's first visit, do his European allies feel that America is back?

I think they do. Wasn't particularly surprising, we've heard that message before. But now it was, sort of more concrete issues. I'm not certain there was, sort of major, major, major progress. But there was the beginning of a dialogue on trade and technology issues with Europe, clearly on security issues with NATO, and quite a number of other issues with G7, and general satisfaction with the outcome of the meeting with Putin. So, altogether good.

More Show less

Listen: Former US Ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder weighs in on US President Joe Biden's first trip abroad, which included a very important first stop at the G7 summit in the United Kingdom, and the way forward for the US and its closest friends. Did he convince allies that "America is back" and ready to resume its leadership role in global affairs? And if so, does it even matter if Americans still need to be convinced that US engagement in the world is vital? Daalder speaks with Ian Bremmer on the GZERO World podcast.

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.

Jon Lieber, Managing Director of the United States for the Eurasia Group, shares updates on recent policy developments:

With the Supreme Court's recent decision, is the Affordable Care Act here to stay?

Yes, this was the Court's third ruling on the Affordable Care Act upholding its constitutionality. This challenge was brought by Republican attorneys general who argued that the repeal of the individual mandate tax undermined the court's previous justification for allowing the law to stand. They were unsuccessful, yet again. And the political salience of the Affordable Care Act has really diminished in the last several years, with Republicans moving on to fight other issues and the Court signaling very strongly they don't want to get involved in overturning this piece of legislation. The Affordable Care Act will be here at least until Congress wants to legislate on it again.

More Show less

Iranians head to the polls on June 18, in what's widely perceived to be a foregone outcome. Analysts predict that popular disillusionment with Iran's political class will make this one of the lowest turnout elections in Iran's post-revolution history. According to one poll taken by the Iranian Students Polling Agency, as few as 42 percent of the eligible voting population is expected to show up. We take a look at contemporary Iran's demographics, and how this year's vote turnout might compare to previous elections.

Latin America needs vaccines: The World Health Organization has called on the G7 countries that pledged to donate a billion COVID vaccine doses to the developing world to prioritize Latin America, with WHO officials pointing to the fact that out of the top 10 countries with the highest COVID death tolls per capita over the past week, nine are in Latin America, where many health systems are overstretched and vaccines are scarce. This call comes as Latin America's COVID death toll has surpassed 1 million. Cases and deaths are soaring in Argentina and Colombia, for instance, while Brazil has fully vaccinated just 11 percent of its population despite recording the world's second highest death toll. Even Chile, which has carried out Latin America's most successful vaccination campaign to date, has been forced to delay reopening due to a recent surge in infections among unvaccinated younger people. The WHO says prioritizing the region for vaccine donations makes sense in order to stop large sustained outbreaks that may spur potentially more infectious COVID variants that'll cross borders and wreak havoc in populous states. Most of the donated shots will be distributed through the COVAX facility, which is a problem for countries like Venezuela, shut out from COVAX because of payment problems.

More Show less

3: China has launched three astronauts into orbit in its first space mission since 2016. The astronauts will spend three months aboard the country's new space station, demonstrating China's resolve to become a space power following successful earlier missions to collect soil samples on the Moon and land a wheeled robot on Mars.

More Show less

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter, Signal

GZERO World Podcast

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal

GZERO World Podcast

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal