Month: February 2019

Background Briefing: February 28, 2019


Nuclear Powers India and Pakistan Go to the Brink with Nobody Minding the Store in Washington

We begin with tensions between two nuclear powers India and Pakistan following an escalation in response to a suicide bombing that killed over 40 Indian troops in which Indian warplanes bombed Pakistani territory, then Pakistan shot down one or two Indian aircraft capturing a pilot. An expert on India and Pakistan who speaks and reads Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi, Christine Fair, a Professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University and author of “Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army’s Way of War” joins us to discuss how the real crisis was not in New Delhi or Islamabad, but in Washington where nobody was minding the store to de-escalate the crisis which fortunately has been dialed down with Pakistan’s Prime Minister announcing the captured pilot’s release. We will look into Trump’s ego-driven foreign policy the priority of which is to fulfill campaign promises no matter how ridiculous like the wall Mexico was supposed to pay for. In this case it is his campaign promise to get out of Afghanistan which he is expecting the Pakistanis to help make happen by brokering a “peace” deal with the Taliban on Pakistan’s terms before the 2020 elections which will sell out the Afghans, reward the Taliban and make a mockery of the U.S. investment and sacrifice in Afghanistan.


Netanyahu Faces Serious Charges

Then we speak with Dr. Guy Ziv, a professor at American University’s School of International Studies and director of the Israel Security Project, an online repository of statements by Israeli security experts who favor a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. The author of “Why Hawks Become Doves: Shimon Perez and Foreign Policy Change in Israel”, he joins us to discuss the indictments of Prime Minister Netanyahu on serious bribery and breach of trust charges which could impact the April election since Netanyahu is facing a serious challenge from the left with the former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz in coalition with the popular centrist Yair Lapid.


The Diplomatic Train Wreck in Hanoi

Then finally we assess the diplomatic train wreck in Hanoi following the collapse of Trump’s second summit with Kim Jong-un which abruptly ended in spite of the love affair Trump proclaimed he was having with the ruthless dictator. Sung Yoon Lee, a Professor of International Affairs at the Fletcher School of Diplomacy at Tufts University joins us to discuss his article at The Hill “Trump checks Kim Jong Un’s Hanoi peace ploy” and what steps are likely to follow this reality check to Trump’s magical thinking that he could charm Kim with the art of the deal.