Background Briefing: June 7, 2021


Competing With China Without Conflict

We begin with the rare bill Senate Democrats and Republicans agree on which is expected to pass handily on Tuesday, an injection of a quarter of a trillion dollars in government support for private industry to improve the U.S.’s competitive edge with China in semiconductors, artificial intelligence, robotics, quantum computing and other advanced technologies. Scott Kennedy, Chair in Chinese Business and Economics at the Center for Strategic and International Studies who has been traveling to China for 30 years and is the author of The Business of Lobbying in China, joins us. We discuss this unusual agreement that has Republicans voting for government subsidies, spurred on by a fear that a failure to act now would leave the U.S. dependent on its biggest geopolitical rival. We also assess how competition with China could be managed constructively without necessarily having to resort to conflict. 


Results in Mexico of an Election in Which 96 Politicians and Candidates Were Assassinated

Then we go to Mexico City for the results of Congressional elections over the weekend, the culmination of a campaign season that has seen 96 politicians and candidates assassinated following a change in strategy by President Lopez Obrador who came to power promising “hugs, not gunshots.” Joining us to discuss the results and VP Harris’s upcoming meeting with Lopez Obrador on Tuesday is Guadalupe Correa Cabrera, a Professor at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University and the President of the Association for Borderland Studies and the author of Los Zetas Inc.: Criminal Corporations, Energy, and Civil War in Mexico.


Netanyahu Incites Violence That Could Lead to a January 6-Style Attack

Then finally we examine the incendiary and volatile politics in Israel as Prime Minister Netanyahu borrows from Trump accusing the opposition government about to replace him of fraud as Shin Bet, Israel’s FBI, issues a rare warning that mob violence incited by Netanyahu could result in a January 6-type of lethal uprising. Gershom Gorenberg, an historian and journalist who is a columnist at The Washington Post and a senior correspondent with The American Prospect and author of Shalom, Friend: The Life and Legacy of Yitzhak Rabin, joins us to discuss Netanyahu’s history of using incitement for political gain.