Background Briefing: August 14, 2019


Like Tiananmen, Xi Jinping’s Patience Is Being Tested

We begin with the markets tanking over a looming trade war with China triggering a global recession and the growing showdown in Hong Kong between the young protesters and the mainland Communist Party rulers who may crackdown with more force, particularly since the leader of the free world Donald Trump has signaled to his pal Xi Jinping that he has no interest in defending democracy and is not concerned about human rights abuses. One of the world’s foremost experts on China’s language, culture and people, Perry Link, who edited the “Tiananmen Papers” and was blacklisted by the Chinese government in 1996, joins us to discuss the op-ed at The New York Times by Ai Weiwei he just translated, “Ai Weiwei: Can Hong Kong’s Resistance Win?” We assess whether Xi Jinping, who is neither educated or worldly and is reverting to Maoism, will run out of patience in the face of this challenge from Hong Kong’s protesters to the authority of China’s Communist Party and crack down as the leadership did at Tiananmen in 1989. In the meantime they are using propaganda and provocateurs to portray the pro-democracy protesters as thugs while blaming the unrest in Hong Kong on U.S. meddling. But since Hong Kong’s “one country – two systems” model was meant as a trial run for unification with Taiwan, the Taiwanese are becoming increasingly wary of joining the mainland to be consumed like the Tibetans, the Uighurs and possibly the citizens of Hong Kong, by the omnipresent authoritarian machinery of Chinese Communist Party rule.


Pelosi Warns the Brexiteers No Trade Deal If You Undermine the Peace Accord With Ireland

Then we speak with Thomas Wright, a senior fellow of the Project on International Order and Strategy and Director of the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution. He joins us to discuss the move by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to warn the Brexiteers led by the U.K’s new Prime Minister Boris Johnson that the much-promised trade deal with the U.S. they think will make up for the catastrophic loss of European markets as they crash out of the E.U. on October 31, will not happen if the Good Friday peace deal with Ireland is undermined by a hard Brexit.


The Democratic Presidential Candidate’s Eyes Are on the Wrong Prize

Then finally we assess whether the many senators among of Democratic presidential candidates who are running for vice president and others in the crowded field, will come to their senses and run for the U.S. Senate where many like John Hickenlooper, Beto O’Rourke and Steve Bullock have a much better chance of winning. Harold Meyerson, a columnist at The Los Angeles Times and an editor-at-large of The American Prospect where he has an article “Why Democrats Can’t Pick One of the Many Senators for Veep”, joins us to discuss how much the Democratic presidential candidate’s eyes are on the wrong prize.