Background Briefing: December 23, 2018
A Regional and International Response to Trumps Impetuous Pull-Out from Syria
We begin with the regional and international reactions to President Trump’s impetuous withdrawal from Syria announced on Twitter which has led to the Secretary of Defense resigning in protest along with the special presidential envoy for the global coalition to counter ISIS, Brett McGurk. Lina Khatib, the head of the Middle East Program at Chatham House in London joins us to discuss how Trump has removed the cork in the bottle in a dangerous neighborhood poised for more war and bloodshed while on the broader strategic landscape, he is making unilateral concessions without getting anything in return. We will discuss the reaction from allies who were not consulted and are now alarmed that the last adult in the room General Mattis is quitting in disgust, and get an assessment of what is likely to follow the withdrawal of the small American footprint of 2,000 troops holding in check the Assad regime, the Iranians, the Russians and the Turks. And while it is apparent that Trump does not care about what is best for the U.S. in terms of national security and for international relations in terms of global leadership, since he seems to be only interested in protecting his increasingly tenuous political future by pandering to his base, we will look into what pressure and influence can be brought to bear by allies and the domestic opposition, particularly from senate Republicans who are alarmed by Trump’s erratic moves and Mattis’s departure.
Over Half of Americans Are Alarmed by Trump While His Base Loves That Hes Sticking It to the “Liberal Elite”
Then, with the government now shut down and with federal workers not getting paid over Christmas, we will speak with Richard Parker, who teaches economics and public policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. The co-founder of Mother Jones who serves on the editorial board of The Nation, he joins us to discuss the paradox of America’s deepening political divide in which a majority of Americans are unsettled by Trump’s incoherence, ignorance and reckless amateurism, while a minority see the chaos and dysfunction as a fulfillment of why they voted for an insurgent to disrupt the political establishment and punish the “liberal elite”.
The Author of “Ruth Bader Ginsberg: A Life”
Then finally we speak with Jane Sherron De Hart, the author of the new book “Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Life”. With the 85 year-old Supreme Court Justice recovering from surgery to remove cancerous nodules from a lung, we examine the private, public, legal and philosophical aspects of the rich and extraordinary life of the 107th Supreme Court Justice, now a new pop culture icon, notorious RBG, who at the moment, many Americans are praying has a swift and complete recovery.