Background Briefing: June 11, 2018


Could North Korea Play the US Off Against China?

We begin with the meeting between President Trump and the North Korean dictator due to take place in one hour from now and explore the possibility that Kim Jong-un could put himself in the position of playing China off against the U.S. in the way that Nixon’s meeting with Mao during the Cold War enabled the U.S. to play China off against the Soviet Union. A former deputy secretary of defense and a member of the Deputies Committee of the National Security Council, Rudy deLeon, a senior fellow with the National Security and International Policy team at the Center for American Progress, joins us to discuss how a nuclear deal with North Korea could be negotiated if the U.S. and its allies know so little about what North Korea has in terms of weapons, nuclear facilities and delivery vehicles. We also assess the role of China and South Korea behind the scenes and going forward if a deal is to be struck. And since Trump has done little to no preparation compared to Nixon, we will analyze what Kim Jong-un has won so far and what he might want out of a deal which Trump appears eager to make up front without paying much attention to the details that will have to follow.

Could Starting a Trade War Backfire on Trump?

Then with Trump attacking Canada’s Prime Minister again on Monday in tweets from the summit in Singapore, we speak with Matt Golda Professor of Law who teaches international trade law at Fordham University who held an appointment within the Executive Office of the President as Deputy Assistant Trade Representative for North America. He joins us to examine whether insulting close neighbors and long-standing allies could degenerate into a trade war.  And while Trump is obviously playing to the “Rust Belt” for the mid-terms and 2020 and using the “national security” rubric against Canada to avoid input from Congress, if reciprocal tariffs start escalating in a tit-for-tat trade war, the stock market could tank and backfire on Trump.


The Supreme Court OK’s Purging Voters If They Miss One Election

Then finally we look into the 5 to 4 decision on the Supreme Court by the conservative majority to break a bi-partisan tradition and side with the Trump Administration to uphold a controversial Ohio voter purge to remove voters from the rolls if they fail to vote in one election. A nationally-recognized expert on election law, Richard Hasen, the Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of California, Irvine joins us to discuss his article at Slate “Sonia Sotomayor’s Dissent in the Big Voter Purge Case Points to How the Law Might Still be Struck Down”.