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The Power of Crisis–A Conversation with Dr. Ian Bremmer

Dr. Ian Bremmer, President, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media; Concordia Leadership Council Member 
Matthew Swift, Co-Founder & CEO, Concordia

With the war in Ukraine dominating foreign policy discussions over the past year, Matthew Swift, Co-Founder & CEO of Concordia, asked one of the world’s leading geopolitical thinkers to break down the situation for the audience. Dr. Ian Bremmer, President of Eurasia Group & GZERO Media, and Concordia Leadership Council Member, explained that Russia appears to be losing and in the process committing war crimes. Europe will suffer this winter in the cold but their resolve will strengthen over time. Increasingly, Russia will function more as a rogue state like Iran and will be the principal threat for Europe for a generation. Putin has lost China as an ally and relies on support from Iran, Belarus, and North Korea instead. Bremmer considered this invasion to be one of the worst geopolitical judgments by any leader since the Soviet Union collapsed. Ukraine will be defined by this conflict for many years to come.

Dr. Bremmer continued that Europe has demonstrated a willingness to accept pain in order to punish the Russians. Putin’s war has uncovered a startling unity among the European Union, a revitalized NATO, and a U.S. more aligned with the rest of the world, stating that the leadership of the U.S. under President Biden has been ambitious and significant. 

Turning the focus on the U.S., Swift asked Dr. Bremmer to rate the strength of American democracy today. Bremmer said that while the dollar is at a 20-year high, our democracy seems to be faltering. He noted the role of the media in keeping the focus on Donald Trump and looking backward, and treating users as commodities rather than providing information. This kind of top-down ownership benefits authoritarians. Finally, the discussion moved to China, where strategic ambiguity is no longer an option and Democrats and Republicans are united on a more hawkish approach to the nation.

Key takeaways & next steps:

  • Putin’s ill-advised war in Ukraine has led to a more unified Europe and a revitalization of American leadership. 
  • The U.S. is facing a tail risk of constitutional crisis in the next election so vigilance is required.
  • As Russia retracts into a rogue state, China is rising as the preeminent threat to democratic interests globally.

“When we talk about the strength of American democracy, we do have to talk about both components. We have to talk about wealth and capabilities, in addition to what the government actually does.


Dr. Ian Bremmer, President, Eurasia Group and GZERO Media; Concordia Leadership Council Member

“When people talk to me about their fears or concerns of what is happening in the U.S., I would always come back and say I don’t think that would ever happen here, yet over the last couple of years it seems like there’s a lot of unsettling things taking place.”


Matthew Swift, Co-Founder & CEO, Concordia