Background Briefing: December 29, 2021


Background Briefing’s April 28, 2021 Broadcast on China and the Middle East With Veteran Diplomat Chas Freeman

In this last week of the year between Christmas and the New Year as the year comes to a close, we are looking back on Background Briefing’s coverage of the major stories and issues of the year 2021. Today we examine the major foreign policy events of the year 2021 as a new Cold War with China appeared to be brewing and tensions with Russia were on the rise along with America’s longest war in Afghanistan coming to an ignominious end. Beginning with China on April 28, 2021 we spoke with veteran diplomat Chas Freeman who was Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and the former Director for Chinese Affairs at the U.S. Department of State and the principal American interpreter during President Nixon’s opening to China in 1972. We discussed how China and Russia are growing closer as strategic partners militarily, diplomatically and economically and in a worst case scenario, if Russia were to go to war against Ukraine, China might take advantage of the U.S’s distraction by moving on Taiwan.


An August 26, 2021 Broadcast with an Analysis of Biden’s Afghanistan Withdrawal From a Marine Who Served There

Then on the Background Briefing broadcast of August 26, 2021 we covered the bombings at the Kabul airport in which 13 U.S. Marines were killed and 15 injured along with over 100 Afghans killed including Taliban guards. Earlier on Tuesday President Biden had warned that ISIS-K was seeking to target the airport making the case that “the sooner we can finish, the better”, but that did not stop the predictable storm of Republican criticism. Joining us was Adam Weinstein, a Research Fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft and a former Marine who served in Afghanistan. We discussed the murky relationship which on the surface has the Taliban an enemy of the Islamic State, but nevertheless the Taliban did empty the jails letting terrorists free. With 100,000 now evacuated ahead of next Tuesday’s deadline, we assessed what can be done to get the remaining 1,000 Americans out, some school children from San Diego whose parents ignored State Department warnings not to travel to Afghanistan. 


Background Briefing’s October 12, 2021 Broadcast With Fiona Hill on Her Journey From the Coal House to the White House

Then finally we discuss the deteriorating U.S. relations with Russia and go to the Background Briefing broadcast of October 12, 2021 when we spoke with Fiona Hill, a senior fellow in the Center on the United States and Europe in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution. She recently served as deputy assistant to President Trump and was senior director for European and Russian affairs on the National Security Council from 2017 to 2019. And from 2006 to 2009, served as national intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasia at The National Intelligence Council. She is co-author of Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin and The Siberian Curse: How Communist Planners Left Russia Out in the Cold. Her latest book is There Is Nothing for You Here: Finding Opportunity in the Twenty-First Century and we discussed her concern that we are at a really critical and very dangerous inflection point, and if Trump makes a successful return to the presidency in 2024 on the back of a lie, a fiction, American democracy is done.