Day: December 2, 2019

Background Briefing: December 2, 2019

Will NATO’s 70th Anniversary Be a Celebration or a Conflagration?

We begin with the meeting outside of London on the 70th anniversary of NATO which has America’s allies spooked that, instead of it being a celebration, there may be an explosion from President Trump who is still smarting at a recent remark by France’s President Macron that “we are currently experiencing the brain death of NATO.”  An expert on NATO and the E.U., Daniel Kelemen, the Jean Monnet Chair and Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University, joins us to discuss his article in today’s Washington Post “The E.U. is supposed to promote democracy. So why do anti-democratic politicians thrive within it?” We discuss the likelihood that the leaders of Turkey and Hungary will come under some criticism for their embrace of Russia and their coziness with Putin, but since both Erdogan and Orban are despots who Trump has favored with White House visits, it is unlikely Trump will criticize them but instead it is likely he will go after America’s traditional allies like France and Germany. And while Trump will be in the U.K. until Wednesday and will be returning to Washington with his impeachment underway before the House Judiciary Committee, we will assess whether he will give his friend Prime Minister Boris Johnson a boost ahead of the December 12 elections in the U.K.


Bullock Exits but Will Not Pick up a Senate Seat for the Democrats

Then we speak with Harold Meyerson, an editor-at-large at The American Prospect where he has an article “The Battle in Seattle: A look back at the origins of the 21st century left. He joins us to discuss the exit today from the Democratic presidential race by Governor Steve Bullock of Montana who, in spite of concerns that the crowded field is tilted too far to the left, was not able to hold the center and get any traction. However Bullock could pick up a much-needed 4th senate seat in Montana for the Democrats in 2020, but unlike Hickenlooper in Colorado, he has ruled that out.


The Brutal Crackdown by Iran’s Corrupt and Cruel Clerics

Then finally we investigate reports coming out of Iran of a brutal crackdown by the regime’s Revolutionary Guards Corps on demonstrators in cities across the country with hundreds shot down and thousands more jailed. Abbas Milani, the Director of Iranian Studies at Stanford University who taught at Tehran University’s Faculty of Law and Political Science, joins us to discuss the widespread anger at the regime’s corruption and cruelty as economic conditions grow dire for middle class and poor Iranians while the cronies of the clerics and the IRGC enforcers siphon off the country’s wealth.