Day: August 15, 2018

Background Briefing: August 15, 2018


Trump, with Erdogan’s Help, is Driving Turkey Into Chaos

We begin with the wreckage that Donald Trump’s ego-driven erratic personality is causing on the world stage as back home in the domestic arena he tweets out racist insults at his former protégé and further divides and embarrasses the United States.  An expert on Turkey, Nicholas Danforth, a senior policy analyst in the national security program at the Bipartisan Policy Center, joins us discuss the deteriorating economic and political situation in Turkey which is being inflamed by two autocrats Trump and Erdogan who are butting heads and refusing to back down. We discuss how the only winner so far as tensions mount between two NATO allies is Russia, and Putin will be able to take advantage of the situation by not just improving relations and building ties with Turkey, but have a free hand to move against Idlib province and conquer the last opposition holdout in Syria. And while Erdogan has weakened Turkey’s economy from cronyism, corruption and mismanagement, Trump’s open threats and his tariffs aimed at damaging Turkey’s economy now has even those Turks who loathe Erdogan and the direction he is taking the country rallying around the flag and blaming Trump for the collapsing lira. But the greater danger is that this key country at the crossroads between Europe and Asia could be split apart by the reckless personal pique of our ignorant bully in the White House who is lashing out at a former friend he now hates.


America Under the Vulgarian Trump Resembles Italy Under the Scandal-Plagued Berlusconi

Then continuing that theme we look into the split from love to loathing as Trump’s former protégé Omorosa turns on him with a tell-all book “Unhinged” which has her former mentor lashing out with racist rants calling her a “lowlife” and a “dog”. Ruth Ben Ghiat, a Professor of History and Italian Studies at New York University and a cultural critic who writes about fascism, war, racism, authoritarian rulers, propaganda and the politics of images, joins us to discuss how America under the vulgarian Trump is beginning to resembles Italy under the scandal-plagued Berlusconi.


An Assessment of the Status of America’s Longest War

Then finally with recent military gains by the Taliban and setbacks for U.S.-trained Afghan government forces, we assess the status of America’s longest war with Thomas Barfield, a professor of Anthropology at Boston University who is the President of the American Institute of Afghanistan Studies. He joins us to discuss Trump’s disengagement from a war that has claimed 2,300 U.S. soldiers, another 20,000 wounded, over 110,000 Afghans killed and has cost more than a trillion dollars of taxpayer money so far.