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tv   Fareed Zakaria GPS  CNN  October 31, 2021 10:00am-11:00am PDT

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this is gps, the global public square. welcome to all of you from the united states and around the world. i'm fareed zakaria, coming to you live. today on the show, world leaders gathered in rome this weekend to discuss economic recovery, climate change, the fight against covid-19 and more. what were the successes and failures. i'll ask a man who let a g20 effort to rescue a global economy successfully the last time around. >> a global plan for recovery and reform -- >> former prime minister gordon
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brown. then it has been two months since the yatd completed its withdrawal from afghanistan. i sat down with the lead negotiator of the peace deal, america's former special envoy, zalmay khalilzad. >> nobody is happy with the final phase of the withdrawal. >> what went wrong, and what's next for afghanistan? i'll ask him. finally, democrats have been scrambling for months to finalize president biden's $1.75 trillion spending bill. the biggest roadblock has been how to pay for it. i'll talk to a leading expert with a theory that says the big price tag is really not a problem. but first, here's "my take." have we witnessed another "sputnik" moment?
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"the financial times" reported china tested a hypersonic missile this summer, though china denies this. general mark milley, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, compared the test to the soviet union's "sputnik" launch during the cold war. i don't know if it's quite a "sputnik" moment, but i think it's very close to that. >> general milley should dust off his history books. the chinese trip has nothing in common with "sputnik" and saying so feeds a dangerous paranoia growing in washington these days. to recall, the soviet union launched "sputnik," the first manmade satellite to orbit the plan in 1957. both the u.s. and ussr had been planning to launch in face for years and the fact moscow got there first was a huge shot no americans. coming in the wake of multiple, powerful nuclear tests, soviet powers, the united states acknowledged, was ahead. hypersonic missiles, on the other hand, are very old news.
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hypersonic missiles, on the other hand, are very old news. a hypersonic missile travels at five times the speed of sound. starting in 1959, the united states and the soviet union deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles that traveled around 20 times the speed of sound. even germany's v2 rockets, first launched against paris during the last phase of world war ii, flew at close to hypersonic speeds. cameron tracy, a stanford scientist and expert on the topic, has pointed out hypersonic weapons are neither faster nor stealthier than icbms. by the way, that chinese missile missed its target by 24 miles. as fred caplan, author and journalist wrote, perhaps they tried to nullify america's vast system, but that system, as he points out, is an expensive white elephant that failed three of its last six tests despite hundreds of billions of dollars that have been spent on it to
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date. perhaps that's why the pentagon hasn't even tested the system since the spring of 2019. and even if the system had perfect aim, it could still be rendered useless with small asymmetrical measures like simply firing two missiles at the same time. alas, don't expect science and facts to have much sway in this discussion, that's because there's now a bipartisan consensus in washington. we're coming dangerously close to a new cold war. for the pentagon, it's an opportunity, raising fears about a huge and tech-savvy enemy is a surefire way to guarantee vast new budgets that can be spent countering the enemy's every move, real and imagined. the move goes beyond washington. foreign affairs published an essay by the scholarist and famous realist who captured lawmakers engaging china the
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last four decades. he predicts our active encouragement of a peer competitor will lead to a new cold war that could get hot and even nuclear. but realist logic only gets you so far. the high priest of realism, kenneth waltz, often predicted once the cold war ended and japan had gotten strong, it would throw off the shackles of dependence on america for security and acquire nuclear weapons. he himself predicted in 1990 as the cold war ended, nato would collapse and europe would become a cockpit of warring states as it had been before the cold war. he believed many european states, chiefly germany, would likely acquire nuclear weapons. none of these predictions have come to pass. in fact, the european union has grown tighter and stronger in the decades after the cold war, and they remain nonnuclear. i raise this to make the point, mishhimer looked at only one of the great forces that motivates states in the international system, power politics. but there are other like
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economic interdependence. the world today thoroughly enmeshed with a complex global economic system where war would hurt the aggressor nearly as much as the victim. there have been almost no land grabs since 1945, the most notable exception being russia's annexation of crimea in 2014. this amounts to an almost unprecedented disrespect for borders. in addition, nuclear deterrence has raised the stakes, making countries far more cautious about launching a great power war. the task of american foreign policy is to recognize the traditional power politics can indeed deter chinese expansionism, while also recognizing the ways in which interdependence might constrain it. the u.s. should make an effort to deploy both tools. this approach will certainly prove far more complicated to implement than scare-mongering and chest-thumping, but it is precisely the one that is likely
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to keep the world at peace and prosperity. go to for a link to my "washington post" column this week. and let's get started. ♪ earlier today, the g20 leaders tossed coins into rome's trevi fountain. tradition says those who do so will return to rome. good for them, but on the actual agenda this weekend were key issues like the global economy and the fight against covid-19. and today's events are all about climate change before the leaders jet off to the cop26 climate conference in scotland. joining me now from scotland is gordon brown. when he was the british prime minister in 2009, he hosted a g20 that made great progress in healing the then-broken global economy. gordon, welcome.
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>> hello. >> you have been -- you have been urging that the g20 take active measures to close the vaccine gap that you call immoral. 60% to 70% of the developed world is vaccinated. 3% to 5% of africa is vaccinated. and yet no great measures came out of the g20 on this front. why do you think they're not moving in this direction? as you point out, hundreds of millions of vaccines are actually expiring and will be used by no one. >> yep, we could lose 100 million vaccines just wasted passed the use-by date by the end of the year if we don't transfer the vaccines from the global north to the global south, who is desperately in need of them. what's happened at the g20 understood we need 40% vaccination in the poorest countries by december.
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there are more donations being given, but what we need is an operational plan, a time for delivery, month-by-month airlifts out to the places that need them the most. it's a military operation to the scale that hasn't been considered yet that we need. and i hope as a result of the communique we'll get late this afternoon this urgency is recognized and we can do something about it. nobody is safe until everybody is safe. we've got to vaccinate the rest of the world if america and the west is going to be safe at the same time. >> vladimir putin says that part of what's going on here is protectionism and vaccine nationalism, or else we would have a system of sort of registering and giving a stamp of approval to the russian vaccines, the chinese vaccines. is he right? >> he's right about nationalism. i think he's wrong about expecting russia just to get a clean bill of health until its
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vaccine's been approved. the most important thing is that we realize that we need a joint effort here. between canada, america, the european union and the united kingdom, there are more than 200 million, perhaps even 300 million vaccines lying unused. and that's even after taking into account boosters in every country, the young people vaccinated in every country, that is the extent of overordering and basically the g20 has got a monopoly on the supply of vaccines and it's got to release them in the rest of the world is to be vaccinated. we've got international organizations, and they're trying their best and i applaud them, but they don't have control of the vaccine supply. the g20 countries have got to release these vaccines and release them now. this is probably the biggest public policy failure of our times, because when you hoard vaccines in one part of the world and deny them to the rest of the world, it is indeed a moral outrage, but it's something you can do something
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about with proper coordination. >> let me ask you, gordon, about the other big issue that many say is a policy failure on climate. the economists call cop26 the great copout. paris has established a target, but now it seems to me the great challenges establishing mechanisms by which countries will meet these targets of getting to lower emissions, probably that means a carbon price or carbon tax in the developed world, and it means some green subsidies in the developing world to wean them off coal. how do we get there? >> well, there are two policy failures that could happen here. we're going to get agreements on coal. we're going to get agreements on electric cars. we're going to get agreements on forestry. the 2050/2060 net zero carbon emission target will be
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announced. what we're missing is two things. first, as you say, we've got to ratchet up the commitments of each country during the 2020s, otherwise we'll never get to the 1.5 degrees we need to be at. equally, you have to help developing countries, the same as vaccination, you have to give them financial support to enable them to do the mitigation and adaptation. it's a tragedy that after 11 years we promised this $100 billion financing to the poorer countries 11 years ago and we never reached it. we've got to reach it this week, and i believe there are special measures that could be taken and i have been suggesting an innovative finance facility, alongside many others, that could get us beyond the 100 billion and much beyond the 100 billion but that's got to be done with the trust of the developing countries that the west will particularly deliver on its promises. >> do you think at the heart of these failures, the rise of
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nationalism, protectionism, is the lack of american leadership? because after all, certainly, there's no other country that can fill it right now. >> i think president biden has led on global taxation. he's putting forward proposals on climate and on vaccination, but i think what's really happening here is america is used to acting unilaterally in what used to be a unipolar age, and american has now got to lead at multilateral action in a multipolar age. there's no use harkening back to an age where you can say something and it's going to be done. you have to bring other people along with you. and that didn't happen, as you know, over afghanistan, but it did happen over this climate summit and it could happen over vaccination, the two big public policy failures of our time. yes, i look to american leadership, but it's america leading a multicolateral approach in a multipolar era.
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>> gordon brown, thank you for those wise words. >> thank you. next on "gps" -- the man who works for both trump and biden in negotiating with the taliban before they took kabul. zal khalilzad. he resigned from his department post, and you will hear from him next. yes, please! neuriva. think bigger. ♪ ♪ there are beautiful ideas that remain in the dark.
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wealth is watching your business grow. worth is watching your employees grow with it. principal. for all it's worth. in september 2018 president trump named zalmay khalilzad to be his special representative for afghan reconciliation. president biden kept him on to continue negotiating with the taliban. and then in august the taliban took kabul, essentially completing its takeover of afghanistan.
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two weeks ago, he sent his resignation letter to secretary of state blinken. the ambassador who wrote a book called "the envoy" joined me for a debrief about what exactly happened at the end of america's longest war. welcome zalmay khalilzad. >> well, thank you. it's great to be with you again. >> so let's start with the agreement that was negotiated with the taliban, you negotiated it under donald trump. trump's own national security adviser, general mcmaster said this was a surrender agreement. was it? >> no. the president, president trump, decided, after trying what mcmaster had put in place to escalate the war in afghanistan, give the military, the authorities to do whatever it would take to put us on the path to victory, and he came to a
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judgment that we were not winning, we, in fact, were losing ground. and, therefore, he decided the war was too costly financially given the change in the world, the rise of china, that $40 billion a year spent in afghanistan was not appropriate given his evaluation of the importance of afghanistan. so, therefore, he wanted to withdraw, and i was asked whether i could take the lead in negotiating an agreement not only to ensure a peaceful withdrawal of our forces, but also assurances on terrorism from the talibs and at my urging and secretary pompeo's support, to see if we can get the afghans to negotiate with each other as part of an agreement for a new government that will end the afghan war as well. >> so this is a very important thing that i think many
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commentators have said and americans i think generally do think, which is why couldn't we have just stayed on? a number of people have said, look, we only had 2,500 troops in afghanistan a few years ago. things seem to be fine. no americans were being killed. >> right. >> but you say that situation was not sustainable. >> that situation was a result of the agreement with the taliban, that they wouldn't attack us as we were withdrawing and the withdrawal was in phases. phase one to come down from about 15,000 fighters, soldiers and 20,000 contractors that were supporting the afghans and our forces to 8,600, and then from 8,600 we came down to 4,600 and then 2,500 before president trump left office. i think if we had told them we're not withdrawing, we are staying at 2,500, the war
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between us and the taliban would have restarted and then i believe the military would have come and said, in order to be able to protect ourselves, to prevent further taliban progress on the battlefield, we would need more forces. >> and it's fair to say in your judgment, and looking at the facts on the ground, over the last five years the taliban was winning and we were losing? >> over the past seven years actually that the taliban were winning, they were making progress, we were losing ground. and this is when we had 15,000 or more, so the question that i have for general mcmaster and other critics as to after 17, 15, 16 years, billions of dollars, why was that the case that we in fact were militarily losing ground each year and that the option was either to
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escalate it and maybe try something very different -- and some numbers were in order to win, we needed 400,000, 500,000 troops given the size of afghanistan and its population -- or stay at the smaller number, the war goes on, no victory, perhaps the if the numbers were low, even losing more ground. and the president of the united states -- two presidents, not only one. maybe three if you include president obama, that thought they were not willing to escalate that much, and they thought what we were doing was not sustainable. >> there were charges made that even if you had to withdraw, the biden administration mishandled the withdrawal badly. do you think that that's a fair criticism? >> well, nobody is happy with the way the final phase of the withdrawal happened with the rush of the population out of fear because a lot of people, including many in the
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government, argue that the taliban moves into kabul, there would be a bloodbath destruction of kabul, what happened in the '90s could be repeated, so there was fear as the taliban were coming into kabul. and then there was an opportunity where a message spread across afghanistan like wildfire that anyone who can make it to the airport will be taken to the united states. so you had this massive rush of thousands and thousands of people to the airport and with though scenes. nobody was of the view this was very positively done. in terms of the logistics of getting everybody out, there's no suggestion that any other power could do what we need, but if you look at the totality, it was obviously very undesirable. >> next on "gps," i will ask ambassador khalilzad about the
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and now for more of my interview with the former u.s. special representative for afghanistan reconciliation, zalmay khalilzad. ambassador, you were in doha negotiating with the taliban. >> right. >> and you had a plan, which would have been kind of an interim government, a phased transition, a coalition of different forces in afghanistan.
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instead what we got was the complete collapse of the kabul regime, the taliban's total takeover. >> right. >> why did that happen? >> well, i believe there were two reasons for it. one was the gap between the two sides, the afghan side was large. part of the blame goes to the afghan government and taliban, and part of the blame goes to the taliban on the government's side. there were grand miscalculations of the elite in kabul that they thought the united states would never withdraw from afghanistan. they thought we're close to china, pakistan, russia, iran, who would want to leave there? so they didn't move when they should have moved. and second, i think president ghani miscalculated about the strength of his armed forces. we thought we, the united states, was holding them gak from fighting the war the way
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the afghans would fight it. and even if he left, which we didn't believe, he would be freer to fight. he was, i think, intransigent wanting to stay in power and didn't make the compromises that was necessary. the talibs were also the other intransigent elements but their calculations turned out to be better. >> they were winning. >> they knew that the president wanted to leave so they knew time was on their side, and their intransigence was, if we wait, the balance will shift in our favor and we'll get better terms. so i think the problem was on both sides. >> but ghani's sudden departure also caused that collapse, right? >> no doubt. >> suddently the taliban realized they didn't have to share power. >> well, as the balance began to shift, because initially many districts fell to the taliban
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without the real serious fawad, and then provincial provinces fell to them, as provincial kabul i tried one more time to get inclusive government other than power balancing earlier but the balance shifted so much to say they would be dominant but they would want their republic to be part of it and they would negotiable for two weeks and then there would be a peaceful transfer while president ghani would be president, and then he would turn over power to this new government. and the talibs agreed not to enter kabul. in fact, they had some units there that they withdrew. but he had agreed to it. also some of his close aides told me he even videotaped a message to the afghan people that was supposed to be broadcasted that night, but then he then went away. it's possible it was fear that the talibs might not honor it, that he might get caught. but whatever the reason, he abandoned his country and
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abandoned many close aides. once the government disintegrated and there were law and order concerns, that the banks would be raided, the taliban then went in. >> when you look at the taliban now, people say they're the same -- some people say they're worse because 20 years of fighting, that it is a bloody, vengeful, quasi terrorist organization. >> yes and no. i think it's hard to make the case that they are the same. first, afghanistan is not the same, which has to be stated very clearly. millions now have gone to school, to university, men and women. kabul, which was a dead city, now 5.5 million people city, totally transformed. and now the struggle is between talibs and this --
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>> new afghanistan. >> -- new afghanistan. who's going to win in the struggle that is now between afghans? the talibs are allowing education, although elementary and to college and private schools, women and men are going. they're not interfered with. they have allowed the high school education for girls in four or five provinces. they want to separate them -- >> segregated. >> segregated. they're getting ready and they say to allow the rest and the same will be true of universities. press is relatively free. if you watch afghan evening news, as i do, and there is very tough engagement of the taliban leaders by the media. women anchors, at the same time cell phones all over, interaction with the world. i think the taliban was some of more of the same, others have
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changed, and they're adjusting to change in afghanistan. >> as an afghan-american, somebody who spent so much time in this, how has this left you feeling? >> well, i'm not happy about that i did not succeed to respond to the very understandable human aspirations of the afghan people, their yearning for peace. i tried my very best to bring the two sides to negotiate on a roadmap to respond to the aspirations of the people, what has been at war for 40 years. so that struggle goes on, struggle for -- not as many afghans are dying now, but struggle for an inclusive afghanistan where ruler and urban afghans, more islamic, less religious in terms of politics, can come to some agreement on a formula that
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respects the differences that exist, and that's the challenge for the talibs, the challenge for our policy. i recommend that we use the leverage that we have, which is considerable, to negotiate the roadmap for the future of afghanistan. a detailed roadmap, written that would reflect the consensus of the taliban because there are different factions, but once you have it in writing, the record generally is that they go along in terms of implementing it. >> ambassador khalilzad, it's a pleasure to have you on. >> thank you. it's great to be with you. next on "gps," much of the coverage about president biden's bill focuses on the price tag. but does the cost even matter? a surprising answer from a famous economist when we come
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let's get this done. that's what president biden said before heading to the g20 in rome. he wanted congress to pass his proposed $1.75 trillion climate and social spending bill and $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill . both have had their price tags halved and they're still hand-wringing over how much they cost. but does the cost really matter? stephanie kelton is professor of economics and public policy and author of "the deficit myth." welcome, stephanie. one of the things you have talked about in your book is that when we think about this question of are we spending too much, will this kind of deficit spending cause problems like inflation, you say it's as if the last 30 years of history didn't happen. tell us what you mean by that. >> well, fareed, for so many
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years we have been taught to think about government deficits as something that's inherently irresponsible. maybe in a time of crisis, like after the financial crisis and great recession or during the covid pandemic, we make allowances and we say, well, okay, we have to run some deficits because it's a moment of crisis. but in more normal times we're told deficits are something we ought to strive to avoid, that governments ought to balance their budgets, that they should respectfully balance a budget like a household, that deficits are dangerous because they do things like driving up interest rates, making our long-term debt unsustainable, producing a slower growing economy, putting us at risk of national bankruptcy, insolvency, turning greece like we saw in 2010 with many countries in europe struggling with debt. so we have been taught deficits
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are something that's inherently dangerous and risky, and i think for the last 30 years, as you said, really should cause us to rethink a lot of that. >> and explain what you mean by that, that we have been going through -- we've been spending, we've run up large deficits. countries like japan have run up huge deficits and no inflation. >> yes, japan's been running large fiscal deficits for the last three decades, and you're right, with little inflation to show for it. the u.s. has been running fiscal deficits basically my entire life, with the exception of really four years during the clinton presidency. and, you know, we have just witnessed in the last 18 months or so congress commit about $5 trillion to fighting the pandemic, supporting the economy and what did we end up with? we ended up with the shortest recession in u.s. history. so we have demonstrated the
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power of fiscal policy, what it is possible to do, lifting nearly half of all of the kids in this country out of poverty, supporting families, supporting small and large businesses, protecting this economy through the pandemic, and it works and it works without producing all of the negative consequences that we've been taught to associate with deficits. >> what about the argument that now you are seeing inflation? larry summers has argued that right now because of really the covid relief spending that was in his view too much, you are seeing inflation. someone, i should explain, does support a lot of the social spending and infrastructure bills, but he feels like all of it together is producing inflation and the numbers do seem to be ticking up, right? >> well, look, one of the first things that we teach students in their very first economics course is not to confuse correlation with causation.
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yes, we had two things happen. we had a huge increase in fiscal support. so large government deficits that have supported the economy and pulled us out of a recession very, very quickly. and, yes, we have higher-than-normal inflationary pressures. not just here in the u.s., fareed, but, of course, around the world. so you can look at these two things and say they're happening alongside one another, therefore, it must be evidence the government has pushed too far with fiscal policy. that in fact the spending is creating the extra inflationary pressures we see today. i don't think that's right at all. if you look at what -- let's say the san francisco federal reserve bank, they've got a research staff. some of their researchers just within the last two weeks published a study asking this exact question, how much of the current inflation we're experiencing can we trace to the $1.9 trillion covid relief package that was passed in march?
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in other words, is larry right? is larry summers right that that is what has been driving a lot of the inflation we're currently experiencing? what they found is the answer is unequivocally no, that this year, that spending will add something like 0.3 percentage points to the inflation index that the federal reserve cares most about and that next year it will add about .2% to inflation. in other words, it is practically negligible. and what we're dealing with are supply chain and reopening, the pressures related to those kind of challenges are pushing inflation higher, but it doesn't appear that it is correct to say that the government pushed spending too far. >> and what about the long-term issue of entitlement spending, medicare, social security all going -- people say, look, we're facing a future where spending is going to take off, so we have
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to be careful today. >> look, we have commitments that we have made to retirees, to dependents, to the disabled in the form of social security, and we have commitments that we have made to people receiving medicare. and so there are two separate questions here, right? one is can the federal government afford -- >> stephanie, i'm so sorry. i'm so sorry, i realized i got the timing wrong. we are out of time. we're going to have you come back and talk about all of this more. i just want to give one thought, leave viewers with one thought, which is the spending is over ten years. it's important to keep in mind, and it's about $3 trillion. american's gdp over that ten years will be about $300 trillion. and we will be back. which leaves us to wonder, where does it go? does it get tangled up in knots? or fall victim to gravity?
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and now for the last look. america's hottest new exsport not an iphone or a social media app, it's an idea, the big lie. it has found a receptive consumer in president jair bolsanaro of brazil. for months he's been contending that brazil's electronic voting system, which delivered bolsinaro a decisive victory in 2018 is somehow in danger of turning up fraudulent results in the country's presidential elections next year.
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as with donald trump's lie, there is absolutely no evidence to support this claim, but that has not stopped him from repeating it in rambling live addresses on social media, at rallies and in interviews to brazil's conservative nut outlets and he has been even more aggressive than trump in peddling his lie. this summer he championed a constitutional amendment that would use a paper ballot to back up the electronic sis tempts as the ap reported, three supreme court justices said this would merely provide opportunity for baseless fraud claims. in july bolsonaro issued a threat to lawmakers saying if the elections weren't clean they wouldn't work at all. in august congress deterred the measure. on september 7th, the 1299th anniversary of brazil eats independence, pobolsonaro calle
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for rallied and ratcheted up the narrative saying there were three options, getting arrested, getting killed or victory. as noted 150 lawmakers, former heads of states and former ministers from 26 countries issued a joint statement raising fears that the september 7th rally could turn into an insurrection. on the day itself, tens of thousands of supporters thronged the streets of sao paulo addressing a crowd there where bolsonaro claimed only god would remove him from power. thankfully whatever his intent, the event did not turn into a repeat of the january 66th capitol riot. it's not coincidental that this push comes at a time when bolsonaro's popularity is at a record lie and he trails in the opinion polls. his opponent, former president did a sulfa, that bolsonaro is
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so closely following donald trump's 2020 script should not surprise us considering he's used the support of prominent figures in trump world. steve bannon said recently that brazil's election was the second most important in the world, predicting that solsonaro would win unless the election was stolen by the machines, and donald trump himself endorsed bolsonaro in a statement issued on tuesday claiming the brazilian leader and he were great friends. now the affinity between the two leaders is well-established. bolsonaro has been called the trump of the tropics but with the big lie the brazilian leader is emulating the most dangerous aspect of donald trump's presidency and post-presidency, eroding trust in the most basic tenet of the democratic system, the one without which it cannot survive, flow and fair elections. thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. i'll see you next week. stry®, is a walk through your history.
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thanks so much for joining us this sunday. i'm fredericka whitfield in atlanta joined by my colleague chris cuomo in rome. we begin with breaking news. president biden is set to hold a news conference in the next hour officially wrapping up the final day of the g-20 summit. we'll bring you the president's speech live as it happens. earlier he held meetings on the global economy and supply chain issues pledging a u.s. commitment to reinforce stockpiles and prepare for