Day: October 17, 2018

Background Briefing: October 17, 2018


How the Saudis Buy Washington, DC

We begin with the enormous financial clout Saudi Arabia wields in Washington through lobbying firms who then pass on the money to politicians, retired senior government officials and think tanks.Dr. Ben Freeman, the Director and Founder of the Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative at the Center for International Policy who is the author of “The Foreign Policy Auction”, joins us to discuss how presumably now the Saudi lobbyists are working overtime, along with President Trump, to defend the indefensible as the whole world, with the exception of the White House and Fox News, is appalled at the brazen butchery of Jamal Khashoggi apparently ordered by the Saudi Crown Prince. With some Washington lobbying firms dropping their lucrative Saudi client, we examine how, after shelling out millions and having exerted enormous influence in Washington for decades, Saudi spending in 2017 was nearly three times what it was a year earlier. And we will assess whether the vocal outrage at Saudi behavior coming from prominent Republican senators will have an effect on Trump’s efforts at a cover-up since the Congress can exert its authority on arms sales and possibly impose sanctions on the kingdom to pressure the King to ditch his son the Crown Prince who Senator Graham described as “a wrecking ball”.


Will Erdogan Release the Evidence or Bury It at the Behest of the Saudis and Trump?

Then we speak with Max Hoffman, the Associate Director for National Security and International Policy at the Center for American Progress whose research focusses on Turkey and the Kurdish regions. He joins us to discuss if and when the Turks will release the audio and video evidence they have been leaking which they claim are recordings of the actual torture, murder and dismemberment of the Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. We assess what leverage President Erdogan might be using over the Saudis and what would prompt him to either release the evidence or bury it in a secret deal with Trump and the Saudis.


Globalization as the Enemy of Social Democracy

Then finally we speak with John Judis, Editor at Large of Taking Points Memo whose latest book just out, is “The Nationalist Revival: Trade, Immigration, and the Revolt Against Globalization”. He joins us to discuss his article at The New York Times “What the Left Misses About Nationalism” and argue that as long as corporations are free to roam the globe in search of lower wages and taxes, and as long as the United States opens its borders to millions of unskilled immigrants, liberals will not be able to create an equitable society free from the anxieties of obtaining healthcare, education and housing.