Background Briefing: November 26, 2018


Could This Be the Week the Indictments Drop?

We begin with what could be a very eventful week with rumors swirling that Robert Mueller may drop indictments at the end of this week and speak with David Halperin a senior fellow at Republic Report who was a special assistant for national security affairs to President Clinton and counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee. He joins us to discuss how Donald Trump, the weak strongman in the White House who acts as though he is increasingly under siege, is lashing out like a frightened bully. We will assess whether Trump’s hatchet-man Whitaker will try to stop Mueller and the setbacks for democracy and the rule of law around the world Trump is causing on the foreign policy front as he indulges dictators and murderers while dissing allies. With the daily trampling of democratic norms and Trump’s crude assault on dignity and decency, what stands out as almost inexplicable is the possibility that in spite of all the wreckage, Trump could be reelected in 2020. With that in mind we will examine what possible leadership could emerge among the Democrats offering a narrative for the majority in opposition that Americans can coalesce around.

Is Trump’s Embrace of MBS a Death Sentence for Yemen?

Then we look into the extent to which Trump’s unconditional embrace of the murderous Saudi Crown Prince MBS will curtail or undermine efforts by Secretary of Defense Mattis and Secretary of State Pompeo to bring about an end to the disastrous war in Yemen started by MBS. Sheila Carapico, a Professor of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Richmond and author of “Arabia Incognita: Dispatches from Yemen and the Gulf”, joins us to discuss the need for humanitarian intervention and a diplomatic effort to end the agony and the starvation of children which may also allow the Saudis to get out of the quagmire they have created.


The Unsustainable Costs of War

Then finally Neta Crawford, a Professor of Political Science at Boston University who is the lead author of a new report at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University, “Costs of War”, joins us. We discuss how the U.S. has spent six trillion dollars on wars that have killed half a million people since 9/11 and how the high costs of war and war-related costs pose a national security concern in themselves because they are unsustainable. Furthermore with the U.S. military operating in 76 countries, there are no comprehensive strategies to end the wars and deal with other pressing national security priorities.