"We have to maintain our humanity": an interview with Ian Bremmer "We have to maintain our humanity": an interview with Ian Bremmer

"We have to maintain our humanity": an interview with Ian Bremmer

    NHK World
    Special Affairs Commentator
    Renowned political scientist Ian Bremmer is known for his work with governments and multinational corporations. But in a Skype interview with NHK World’s Doden Aiko, he shared his thoughts on how to manage the coronavirus pandemic on an individual level.

    Every year, Bremmer's consulting firm, Eurasia Group, publishes a list of what it deems to be the world's top ten risks. The report for 2020 included increased tension between the United States and China, and isolationism in Europe. It also said the world was due another recession.

    Bremmer says he sees the coronavirus pandemic as the first crisis in the G-Zero world, his term for a global system in which there is no dominant power. He believes there is no country willing or capable of assuming a leadership role, now that the US under President Donald Trump has surrendered its position.

    The global response to the pandemic has been fragmented, which Bremmer says is natural in a G-Zero World. Trump played down the threat of the virus despite warnings from experts. The G7 could only agree on debt relief to developing countries in mid-April, by which time the pandemic was already devastating the global economy. Meanwhile, some EU countries have imposed export bans on medical goods and implemented border controls, as they look after themselves instead of the wider international community.

    Japan's Prime Minister Abe Shinzo briefed the other leaders on his government's efforts against the virus, including an economic package and the expansion of the state of emergency to cover the whole country.

    Bremmer says he fears this tendency toward tribalism will only increase amid the pandemic, which will in turn make responding to the health challenges posed by the virus even more difficult.

    In his work, Bremmer advises governments and corporations on how to respond to and limit the effects of challenges on a global scale. But during our conversation, he talked about what we can do as individuals, how people like me, who are neither in government or business, can maintain our humanity amid this crisis, and achieve peace of mind. His advice? "Get a dog."

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