Day: July 22, 2020

Background Briefing: July 22, 2020


Fascism Comes to America

We begin with fascism coming to America in the form of Donald Trump and William Barr’s federal stormtrooper who are being dispatched to Chicago and Albuquerque. In following the fascist dictator playbook of being the arsonist then the fire brigade to provoke chaos then, posing as the champion of law and order, extinguish the Reichstag fire he has lit,  Trump and Barr appear ready to burn the house down to save Trump from an electoral defeat. Federico Finchelstein, a Professor of History and Latin American Studies at The New School whose books include from Fascism to Populism in History and A Brief History of Fascist Lies, joins us to discuss his article at Project Syndicate with Jason Stanley, “The Fascist Politics of the Pandemic”. Having studied how fascist juntas take over democracies in Latin America, Federico warns us that even in America in spite of its democratic traditions, we cannot be complacent. As stormtroopers acting under orders from Chad Wolfe, the acting head of DHS who is a former lobbyist with no law degree or law enforcement or military experience, violate their own oaths to protect and serve, they are breaking the law with their unconstitutional actions. If their own unions do not warn them, eventually the law will catch up to them. Meanwhile as The New York Time columnist Tom Freidman points out, Trump has turned the “wag the dog” scenario on its head and instead of having a little foreign war to distract from the president’s domestic problems, Trump is starting a war in America itself in a desperate bid to shore up his sagging poll numbers.


An Escalating Tit-For-Tat With China

Then with the State Department ordering the closing of the Chinese consulate in Houston, we speak with Orville Schell, the Director of the Asia Society’s Center on U.S.- China Relations and author of Wealth and Power: China’s Long March to the 21st Century. He joins us to discuss the likelihood of an escalating tit-for-tat as China engages in a more aggressive diplomatic posture and intensifies its campaign of theft of intellectual property, while the lack of leadership in the U.S. is emboldening Xi Jinping to take over Hong Kong and threaten Taiwan and India.


What Will a Post-Trump GOP Look Like?

Then finally we speak with Daniel Drezner, a Professor of International Politics at Tufts University and a regular contributor to The Washington Post where his latest article is “Thinking about a post-Trump GOP”. The author of The Toddler-in-chief: What Donald Trump Teaches Us About the Modern Presidency, he joins us to point out that even if Trump crashes and burns, his cult of personality will command significant loyalty from the MAGA base that Trumpism will influence GOP primaries and the party’s future leadership.