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Ian Bremmer says U.S. must address extremism, polarization online

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As authorities investigating the deadly mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, suggest the suspect was indoctrinated by racist propaganda, the case is renewing discussions on a series of crises in the U.S., including white supremacy, online extremism and structural racism.

Author and political scientist Ian Bremmer, who has a new book on world 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, cyberattacks, online disinformation, drones and even quantum computing.

"These technologies, we're not even starting to address them," Bremmer said Tuesday on "CBS Mornings."

"The fact is the United States today is the most politically divided and dysfunctional of the advanced industrial democracies," he said.

Saturday's grocery store shooting in a largely Black neighborhood is being investigated 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 who were either killed or wounded were Black.

Authorities said the 18-year-old suspect, Payton Gendron, wanted to kill as many Black people as he could and allegedly 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 spark the same level of concern in America.

"It doesn't seem to be a really urgent problem for the average American because most of the people it's hitting are seriously disenfranchised," he said. "It sort of reminds me of crack cocaine as a crisis back in the 80s and 90s. We all knew it was a big deal, but it was 'inner city.' And did the people who were in power really care?"

"When we had nuclear weapons, we said, 'We've got to contain that. It's too dangerous.' And over 75 years, we've done a pretty good job," Bremmer said.

Another example is the climate crisis and the lack of concern from two or three decades ago.

"We all knew the science on climate, but we weren't going to do anything about it until it started hitting California, and Italy and Australia. And now we are responding," he said.

Bremmer, who is the founder and president of Eurasia Group, outlines those and other crises in the book, "The Power of Crisis: How Three Threats — and Our Response — Will Change the World."

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