Day: August 18, 2021

Background Briefing: August 18, 2021


The UAE Welcomes the Afghan Ex-President Ghani Carrying $169 Million in Cash

We begin with Afghanistan’s former president Ashraf Ghani being welcomed in the UAE where he is reported to have arrived with $169 million in cash. Sarah Leah Whitson, the Executive Director of Democracy for the Arab World Now, DAWN, joins us to discuss the outsized role the Emiratis play in U.S. foreign policy through intermediaries like the child sexual predator George Nader now serving 10 years for sexually exploiting children. He funneled $3.5 million from the Emirati royals to help elect Trump while the chair of Trump’s inauguration Tom Barrack who just got indicted, was the intermediary through which the UAE dictated Trump foreign policy.  We also discuss the story in the AP that the UAE is hosting black sites for the Chinese in which they imprison Uyghurs and Chinese dissidents and look into how authoritarian regimes like Turkey, Russia, Venezuela and China use Interpol Red Notices to arrest political activists abroad. It’s worth noting that the UAE helps finance Interpol with a recent donation of $54 million which was equal to all of the contributions from the other 194 members and the UAE hosted Interpol’s General Assembly in 2018.


The Myth of the Moderate Republican

Then we speak with Peter Dreier, Distinguished Professor of Politics at Occidental College and author of The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame. He joins us to discuss his article at Talking Points Memo, “There’s No Such Thing as a Moderate Republican” and how Republicans are using the recent bipartisan Senate infrastructure bill as an example of how both sides can get things done in order to prove there is no need to scuttle the filibuster rule.


Will Booster Shots in the U.S. be at the Expense of the Rest of the World?

Then with President Biden today recommending that vaccinated Americans receive booster shots starting in September, we look into whether the call for vaccine booster shots in the U.S. is at the expense of the rest of the world which prompted Dr. Michael Ryan, the executive director of the W.H.O.’s health emergencies program, to say booster shots amounted to handing out “extra life jackets to people who already have life jackets, while we’re leaving other people to drown without a single life jacket.” Jon Cohen, a correspondent with Science Magazine who writes about vaccines and vaccine hesitancy, joins us to discuss booster shots as well as the anti-science activities of the governors of Florida and Texas in worsening the spread of the Delta variant.