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#Winners and #Losers - Snow White and Amb. Huntsman

Ian Bremmer

Originally published by Ian Bremmer on LinkedIn: #Winners and #Losers - Snow White and Amb. Huntsman

The Week in Thankless Jobs

Winner: Jon Huntsman—the former Utah governor and ambassador to China was tapped to be Donald Trump’s ambassador to Russia. Good to have a serious grownup like Huntsman join a team that includes Defense Secretary Mattis, National Security Advisor McMaster, and NSC star Fiona Hill in keeping US-Russian relations on a constructive track. Trump chose wisely. 

Loser: Sean Spicer—Spicer’s worst week to date, which says a lot, after Trump’s wiretapping allegations went public this week. When asked whether he had seen any evidence to corroborate Trump’s accusation, he simply responded “No, that’s above my pay grade.”

The Week in Travel Bans

Winner: The travel ban—compared to the trial run, version 2.0 of the ban received a relatively smooth rollout. Then again, we’ve reached the point where avoiding outraged mobs at JFK airport qualifies as a political win. #StillaMuslimBan

Loser: Israel—the Knesset passed a travel ban of its own this week, prohibiting activists who have championed divestment and boycotts against Israel from entering the country. Banning people for their country of origin (religion) is bad enough; banning them for their political views breaks new ground. #UppingTheAnte 

The Week in Calling People Nazis

Winner: Chrystia Freeland—the Canadian foreign minister (and former Moscow bureau chief for the FT) made clear this week that Moscow intends to discredit her and her country by fabricating stories that her Ukrainian-born grandfather was a Nazi collaborator. She made the comment right after announcing a two-year extension of a Canadian military training mission in Ukraine. #MeAndThisArmy

Loser: Turkey—citing security concerns, the German government cancelled planned pro-Erdogan rallies intended to drum up support among the 1+ million Turks living in Germany that are still eligible to vote in Turkey’s April referendum, Erdogan responded: "I thought that Nazism was over in Germany, but it turns out that it is still going on.” #AuthoritarianRelativism 

The Week in Veils

Winner: Nike—announced this week that it will be releasing the Pro Hijab for female Muslim athletes in the spring of 2018. Sports really can rise above politics. #JustDoIt

Loser: Italy—local officials in the northern region of Liguria are considering a proposal to ban women in Islamic face veils from hospitals. Officials couched the proposal in feminist terms, but one has to wonder how feminist it is to ban women from receiving medical treatment because of the way they dress. #KindOfObvious

The Week in Political Transitions

Winner: Donald Tusk—Poland’s former prime minister was reelected with near unanimity to the presidency of the European Council. The only country not to vote for Tusk? Poland and its euroskeptic, nationalist PiS party. #PettyPiS

Loser: Park Geun-Hye—Following accusations of corruption that led to her impeachment by parliament, the country’s constitutional court upheld the ruling this week, making her the second leader of a G20 country to be ousted in the last year (the other is Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff). #DemocracyWorked

Ian Bremmer is president of Eurasia Group, foreign affairs columnist at TIME and Global Research Professor at New York University. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook.