It’s easy to see where the priorities of the CBS This Morning hosts are. Now that Joe Biden will soon be president, the network journalists on Monday hyped a new report naming political polarization against the Democrat as the “top global risk for 2021.” In case you were wondering about COVID, the global pandemic that has killed 1.8 million people so far, it was only number #2. Corona just edged out climate change at #3.
Introducing the Eurasia Group’s Ian Bremmer, co-host Tony Dokoupil worriedly cited the new report: “It says that the greatest risk is political polarization right here in America and the way it could affect Joe Biden's presidency.” COVID was disposed of in 4 seconds (out of a 5 minute and 12 second story). Dokoupil noted it’s second place status: “Second is the long-term effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.”
Worrying about partisanship destroying the country wasn’t a big concern when journalists provided non-stop negative coverage for Donald Trump. However, Dokoupil fretted:
You say in the report, the most powerful also the most divided and unequal country on Earth, certainly amongst the industrialized democracies. Second year in a row something happening in America occupied the top position, the top risk in the world. What does that say about the trajectory of our country?
But COVID? Don’t worry about that anymore.
A transcript of the segment is below. Click “expand” to read more.
CBS This Morning
8:17 AM ET
TONY DOKOUPIL: A new annual report released this morning reveals the top global risks for 2021. Every year Eurasia Group, that’s a political risk research and consulting firm ranks the top ten geopolitical risks we are likely to face in the new year. The report says, let's go in reverse order. Third greatest risk is climate change. Second is the long-term effects of the coronavirus pandemic. And it says that the greatest risk is political polarization right here in America and the way it could affect Joe Biden's presidency. Ian Bremmer is the president and founder of Eurasia Group and he joins us now. Ian, good morning to you. So these risks that you point out in the report, based and size, the imminence and likelihood of them happening. Typically the information is focused towards businesses and even governments. But let’s try to boil it down for people and their everyday lives because there are concerns there as well. I want to begin there. You say that Joe Biden’s presidency will be a, quote, “asterisk” presidency, the first of its kind.
What do you mean?
IAN BREMMER: Like A-Rod or Roger Clemens, Barry bonds, put an asterisk over it, oh, that record doesn't count. Almost half the country that’s going to see Joe Biden as not a legitimate president. This is playing out right now with, I mean, not just President Trump but you've got Ted Cruz and majority of Republican elected officials in the Senate and the House that are saying that they're going to vote against the will of the people, the will of the electors in the United States. That's unprecedented.
We’ve never had that happen before.- this is a time when you really need the U.S. government to be functioning well, because we have this massive crisis. You have a need for the government to legislate, to respond, to deal with the needs of the average American. The country's not been this politically divided in our lifetimes. It's not been this economically unequal. That really, given the size of the U.S. economy globally, it's impossible not to have that as risk number one this year.
TONY DOKOUPIL: You say in the report, the most powerful also the most divided and unequal country on Earth, certainly amongst the industrialized democracies. Second year in a row something happening in America occupied the top position, the top risk in the world. What does that say about the trajectory of our country?
BREMMER: Well, I started the firm back in 1998. The U.S. Had never been on top before, and that's because historically political institutions in the United States were stronger. They were seen as much more legitimate, but when you think about the ability of the Americans to stand up for our system, the average American does, indeed, think that the institutions are increasingly rigged against them. That representative democracy doesn't work. I would make the argument today that the average Chinese believes more in the China dream, because of the expanse of the middle class there, than the average American believes in the American dream. That doesn't mean people want to live in China. They'd much rather live in the United States but no one around the world looks at the U.S. and says, “I wish my political system would run like that. That undermines the ability of the United States to provide leadership on trade. Or to lead by example around the world. Makes a lot more difficult for those of us here.
DOKOUPIL: Ian, I want to dig a little bit more deeply into the report. Number six on your top ten list of risk, global data reckoning. You mention something there about foreign adversaries getting personal data on Americans or people in other countries and then blackmailing. Can you expand on that?
BREMMER: Sure. I mean what we know is that over the course of this last year, the Russian government has been involved, been inside of hundreds of institutions, both the U.S. government as well as private sector, and were grabbing all of that data. We don't know what they're planning on doing with it, but we know they're vastly adversarial to the interests of the United States, our citizens and our government.
DOKOUPIL: Do you think it could result in blackmail?
BREMMER: There's a reason why. Rep grinder? The app allowing men to hook up, in the United States and a Chinese company was going to buy it and we stopped them from national security purposes. Because there was a feeling a lot of people in Congress on that app for example. We don't want the Chinese government having that data. When the foreign adversary gets private data that's a problem. Right? We don't want that.
DOKOUPIL: Also you mention in a section on cybersecurity that China has a super computer may make eventually passwords obsolete? We don’t have much time, but that worried me.
BREMMER: Well, the fact that -- quantum computing a lot of people in AI believe that's potential to get rid of all crypto security, and the fact of the matter is that there are two technology superpowers in the world today. One is the U.S. One is China. We as Americans are not used to having parity with another big country. It’s going to be a challenge.