Background Briefing: June 14, 2020


Trump’s Misuse of the Most Diverse Class of West Point Cadets as Campaign Props

We begin with Trump’s use of the military at West Point as a campaign prop at a time when he is being rebuked by the nation’s top military leaders. As Commander-in-Chief, Trump has utterly failed to protect and defend the United States since we are losing more Americans from the pandemic than from all the wars since World War 11.  With at least 250,000 of our citizens expected to die and over 2 million now infected from a virus he willfully ignored and is now pretending does not exist, it is astounding he has any support in this country given that on his watch we have seen the greatest number of infections and deaths in the world for which our leader takes no responsibility as he wishes the problem away. An African/American military veteran Malcolm Nance who has over 33 years of experience in counterterrorism and intelligence operations and is the author of The Plot to Betray America: How Team Trump Embraced Our Enemies, Compromised Our Security, and How We Can Fix It, joins us to discuss Trump’s commencement address of puerile patriotic jingoism before the most diverse group of cadets ever assembled at a time of racial strife and national awakening to injustice and inequality. Given Joe Bidens’s warning that Trump may not leave the Oval Office if he is defeated in November, we assess how far this career criminal and traitor will go in colluding with his case officer Vladimir Putin to hold onto power and avoid jail.


The Militarized Mindset of Policing in America

Then with Donald Trump itching to use the military to route demonstrators in Seattle and yet another killing of a black man by police in Atlanta, we look into the militarized mindset of policing in America where mostly minority citizens are seen as insurgents in what one of the earliest theorists of urban warfare Major Ralph Peters describes our inner-cities as “citadels of the dispossessed and irreconcilable”, we speak with Stuart Schrader, Associate Director of the Program in Racism, Immigration and Citizenship and a Lecturer at Johns Hopkins University. The author of Badges Without Borders: How Global Counterinsurgency Transformed American Policing, he joins us to discuss his article at The Washington Post “When police treat protesters like insurgents, sending in troops seems logical” and his article at The Guardian “The Founders of modern policing quelled foreign uprisings. ‘Demilitarizing’ police will be harder than taking away their tanks.”

Shifting the Focus from Jihadist Terrorists Abroad to Right-Wing Terrorists at Home

Then finally we speak with Steven Simon, who was senior National Security Council Director of Counterterrorism in the Clinton White House and senior National Security Council Director for the Middle East and North Africa in the Obama White House about his paper at The Quincy Institute “19 Years Later: How to Wind Down the War on Terror“. The co-author of The Age of Sacred Terror and The Next Attack, a two volume history of the war on terror before and after 9/11, he joins us to point out how out of proportion our focus on combatting jihadist terrorism abroad is with the damage they are capable of inflicting on the homeland where dangerous white nationalist and neo-Nazi terrorism is on the rise thanks in part to Donald Trump’s championing of Q-Anon and other far-right fringe groups.