Background Briefing: June 15, 2021


A Plan to End the Standoff Between Ukraine and Russia to Avoid a Wider War

We begin with President Biden’s summit meeting tomorrow in Geneva with Vladimir Putin who Biden characterized today as a “worthy adversary” and explore the possibility of the two leaders dealing with a flashpoint between Russia and Ukraine over the Donbas which could lead to a wider confrontation between Russia and NATO.  Anatol Lieven, a senior research fellow on Russia and Europe at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft joins us to discuss his new paper at the Quincy Institute, “Ending the Threat of War in Ukraine: A Negotiated Solution to the Donbas Conflict and the Crimea Dispute” and whether Biden is using the issue of corruption in Ukraine as an excuse to deny Ukraine entry into Nato which would provoke a furious response from Russia. With Russia having gone on full nuclear alert recently, clearly there is a need for both sides with the world’s largest nuclear arsenals to negotiate an agreement to lessen the possibility of nuclear war by accident or design. 


With 600,000 Deaths by Covid in the U.S., Deadlier Strains are on the Horizon

Then with the U.S. having passed the threshold of 600,000 deaths from the Covid pandemic, we speak with Andrew Noymer, an epidemiologist and professor of Population Health and Disease Prevention at the University of California, Irvine. He joins us to discuss how vaccines have reduced the daily death rate from 3,000 per day in January to about 375 per day now and the serious nature of the Delta variant as well as the long term complications from Covid that has about a quarter of those infected having lasting side effects. 

The White House Unveils its First National Strategy to Fight Domestic Terrorism

Then finally we assess the White House’s first national strategy to fight domestic terrorism unveiled today by the National Security Council which goes to lengths to be bipartisan in characterizing the administration’s approach to combatting domestic terrorism as “ideologically neutral” even though white nationalists, militias and Neo-Nazis pose the greatest danger. David Schanzer, the Director of the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security at the School of Public Policy at Duke University who was the Democratic staff director for the House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security, joins us to discuss proposals to deal with disinformation, misinformation and conspiracy theories in a social media environment that nourishes domestic terrorism.