Background Briefing: February 25, 2019


Hawks Running Trump’s Venezuelan Policy Could Spark Civil War

We begin with the dangerous Trump strategy of weaponizing humanitarian aid to Venezuela in support of the opposition to turn the Venezuelan military against the Maduro government. With no signs that the corrupt leaders of the military are about to break with Maduro but with growing concerns that the confrontations over aid stuck on the borders could spark a civil war, we speak with Christopher Sabatini, a professor at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and the founder and executive director of the new research non-profit, Global Americans. He joins us to discuss Trump’s demagogic use of Venezuelan “socialism” in 2020 campaign political attacks against Bernie Sanders to divide Democrats and Vice President Pence’s hawkish stance at his meeting with opposition leader Juan Guaido in Columbia today. With Trump Administration hawks John Bolton, Elliot Abrams and Marco Rubio running our Venezuelan policy, today’s warning by Senator Chris Murphy might foretell a forthcoming tragic U.S. foreign policy blunder like the Iraq intervention; “Venezuelans didn’t just lurch into humanitarian crisis. The aid is being sent there now as part of a regime change strategy. Many are hoping that it will be the match that lights a civil war against Maduro”.


A Possible People’s Vote in a New Brexit Referendum

Then we go to the U.K. and speak with economist Stephany Griffith Jones, Emeritus Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies at Sussex University and Associate Fellow at the Overseas Development Institute in London and author of “The Future of National Development Banks”. She joins us to discuss the pending loss of 10% of the U.K’s GDP if the Conservative government crashes out of Brexit on March 29 and the announcement that Jeremy Corbyn the leader of the Labor opposition is prepared to back the people’s vote in a new Brexit referendum.


Controversy Over the Best Picture Academy Award

Then finally we examine the controversy over “The Green Book” winning best picture at last night’s Academy Award ceremony as opposed to Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman” and speak with an expert on popular culture and its impact on civil rights issues, Rashad Robinson, the Executive Director of ColorOfChange. He joins us to discuss the positive side of diversity on display at the Oscars as well as the reasons why some African Americans familiar with the actual Green Book in the Jim Crow South might have wanted Spike Lee’s movie to win.