Background Briefing: October 16, 2019
Trump Melts Down as Our Foreign Policy and National Security Breaks Down
We begin with Trump’s meltdown today in a White House meeting with Speaker Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Schumer in which according to Pelosi, the president had a meltdown calling her a third-rate politician in what Schumer described…“This was not a dialogue, it was sort of a diatribe. A nasty diatribe, not focused on the facts.” Frances Brown, a fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace who recently served as director for democracy on the White House National Security Council staff under the Obama and Trump Administrations, joins us to discuss her article at The Washington Post “I worked for both Obama and Trump. Here’s what their language says about their presidencies”. We look into the breakdown of our foreign policy and national security structure at the top and assess the damage already being done in northern Syria as well as going forward since the president does not listen to advice or follow protocols and no longer has any “adults” around him to curb his erratic instincts and ignorant impulses. And while today’s shattering of the usual decorum in the Oval Office between the heads of government in the executive and legislative branches that remains civil regardless of their party affiliation, Trump’s outburst does not come as a surprise, but the fact that he apparently lost it over the Syria resolution and is having meltdowns as he feels more and more pressure, is hardly reassuring since he has the nuclear button close at hand.
Was Last Night’s Debate a Sideshow with Impeachment the Main Event?
Then we speak with David Graham, a staff writer at The Atlantic who covers political and global news. He joins us to discuss his latest article at The Atlantic, “The Democratic Primary is Now a Sideshow” and we examine whether last night’s Democratic presidential candidates’ debate was eclipsed by the ongoing drama over impeachment with 12 candidates on a crowded stages arguing for hours over everything but impeachment when it is not out of the realm of possibility that they will not be running against the person they were all denouncing, Donald Trump.
The Author of “Shatter the Nations: ISIS and the War for the Caliphate”
Then finally we speak with Mike Giglio, the author of the new book just out, “Shatter the Nations: ISIS and the War for the Caliphate”. He has reported extensively on the conflicts in Syria and Iraq and spent five years based in Istanbul as a foreign correspondent for Newsweek and BuzzFeed News. Having interviewed many captured ISIS jihadis, he is able to explain who these fighters, now escaping thanks to Donald Trump’s reckless treachery, are, what makes them tick and how many regretted joining the caliphate shortly after answering the call as “holy warriors”.