While authorities investigating the deadly mass shooting in Buffalo, New York suggest the suspect was indoctrinated with racist propaganda, the case renews discussions about a range of crises in the US, including white supremacy, online extremism and structural racism.
Author and political scientist Ian Bremmer, who has a new book on global threats, said the attack also shows how the country has neglected what he called the “most dangerous” crisis right now — “the inability to understand and contain disruptive technologies.” such as artificial intelligence, cyber-attacks, online disinformation, drones and even quantum computing.
“These technologies, we’re not even starting to tackle them,” Bremmer said on CBS Mornings on Tuesday.
“The fact is, the United States today is the most politically divided and dysfunctional of the advanced industrial democracies,” he said.
Saturday’s shooting in a largely black neighborhood is under investigation as “a hate crime and an act of racially motivated violent extremism,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said over the weekend. Eleven of the 13 people killed or injured were black.
Authorities said thePayton Gendron, wanted to kill as many black people as possible and is said to have described himself in an online post as a white supremacist.
But unlike other crises, Bremmer said, the threat of white supremacy doesn’t seem to raise the same level of concern in America.
“It doesn’t seem to be much of an urgent problem for the average American because most of the people it affects severely are disenfranchised,” he said. “It kind of reminds me of crack cocaine as a crisis in the ’80s and ’90s. We all knew it was a big deal, but it was ‘downtown’. And could it hurt the people in power? really care?”
“When we had nuclear weapons, we said, ‘We have to control that. It’s too dangerous.’ And in 75 years we’ve done a pretty good job,” said Bremmer.
Another example is the climate crisis and lack of concern of two or three decades ago.
“We all knew the science about climate, but we weren’t going to do anything about it until it started hitting California, and Italy and Australia. And now we’re responding,” he said.
Bremmer, the founder and president of Eurasia Group, outlines these and other crises in the book “The Power of Crisis: How Three Threats – and Our Response – Will Change the World.”