Background Briefing: February 4, 2021


Biden Outlines His Foreign Policy at a Decimated State Department

We begin with President Biden’s speech at the State Department today in which he announced “America is back” and declared that “diplomacy is back at the center of U.S. foreign policy.” He also said the U.S. will end its support for offensive operations in Yemen and appoint an envoy to negotiate an end to a war that has caused what the U.N. described as the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.  Charles Kupchan, a professor of International Affairs at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service who served on the National Security Councils in the Clinton and Obama White Houses and is the author of Isolationism: A History of America’s Efforts to Shield Itself From the World, join us. We discuss the relief amongst our allies that the ruin of Trump and his America First erratic amateurism is over and that although Biden made it clear his priority is to shore up America’s middle class and deal with the crises at home, there will be a foreign policy that stands up to despots at the same time deals pragmatically with adversaries on arms control and other issues.


The GOP Defends a Dangerous Ignoramus to Pander to Its Base

Then, with today’s vote in the House to remove the QAnon Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene from the Education and Budget Committees, we speak with Jesse Walker, a senior editor at Reason magazine and about his book The United States of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Theory.  We discuss House Minority Leader McCarthy’s attempt to have it both ways in defending Liz Cheney’s conservatism while not alienating the Trump base of the GOP which embraces conspiracy and anti-democratic violence.


At the Heart of All the Crises We Face, Is Our Crisis in Education

Then finally we speak with Henry Giroux, a world renowned educator, author and public intellectual about his article at Truthout “Downplaying Trumpism is Dangerous” and his latest book, just out, Race, Politics, and Pandemic Pedagogy: Education in a Time of Crisis. Henry makes the point that along with our crises from Covid, an economy in freefall, and our democracy under threat from Trump and his stormtroopers, above all we have a crisis in education, given how many Americans believe the kind of ignorant conspiracies and fascist perfidy of the Marjorie Taylor Greenes echoed and amplified by Fox News.