Day: February 16, 2020

Background Briefing: February 16, 2020


In Spite of Pompeo’s Gloss, Estrangement Between the US and Europe

We begin with the contrasting assessments of the state of relations between President Trump’s United States and its European allies with Germany’s President offering a gloomy appraisal of the state of relations while Secretary of State Pompeo offered an upbeat portrayal of American leadership in his speech at the Munich Security Conference claiming “the West is winning, and we’re winning together”. Joining us from Germany is Daniela Schwarzer, Director of the German Council on Foreign Relations whose research focuses on European foreign policy and transatlantic relations. We discuss the theme of this year’s conference, “Westlessness”, a reference to a world order in which international institutions have a diminishing role and one in which after seven decades of leadership in European and American security, the U.S. under the leadership of Donald Trump is retreating into an “America First” isolationism and that Making America Great Again appears to be happening at the expense of neighbors and partners. We also look into the secret meeting Secretary of State Pompeo had with Russia’s Foreign Minister Lavrov which the State Department did not publicly disclose either before or after the meeting, and tension between the U.S. and Europe over China’s Huawei making inroads into the 5G infrastructure in Europe in spite of American efforts to dissuade Europeans from using the Chinese tech giant’s product for fear of a back door for data to be vacuumed up by Chinese intelligence.


The Growing Rift Between Between Centrist and Progressive Democrats

Then we speak with Richard Parker, who teaches economics and public policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and was the former managing editor of Ramparts and a co-founder of Mother Jones and now serves on the board of The Nation. He joins us to discuss the growing rift between the centrist wing of the Democratic Party and the progressive wing as supporters of Bernie Sanders see Mayor Bloomberg as an interloper buying the election with his billions while centrists who see Bloomberg as a possible savior from electoral defeat, see Bernie’s socialist label as a gift to Trump and the Republicans.


 A Portrait of a Rising Political Leader, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Then finally we examine the secrets of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s success and the vital role that she could play in social media to counter the Russian and Trump trolls in the coming election along with motivating young voters to show up at the polls to confront climate change and growing inequality. Caroline Fredrickson, the president emerita of the American Constitution Society who served as a special assistant to the president for legislative affairs joins us to discuss her latest book, just out, The AOC Way: The Secrets of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Success.