Day: February 15, 2022

Background Briefing: February 15, 2022


Could Ukraine Become Finlandized?

We begin with Putin’s statements after his Kremlin meeting with German Chancellor Scholz today that he was withdrawing some troops and that of course he does not want war, going on to say there was a precedent for a war in Europe with NATO’s war against Serbia which Scholz pointed out was a response to Serbian genocide against non-Serbs to which Putin replied genocide is happening in the separatist Donbas region against ethnic Russians by Ukraine. Joining us to discuss whether we are on the brink of war or not is Joshua Shifrinson, a Professor of International Relations with the School of Global Studies at Boston University, an affiliate of MIT’s Security Studies Program, and a fellow with the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars. His research focuses on U.S. grand strategy, the durability of NATO, U.S. relations with its allies during and after the Cold War, and the rise of China. He is the author of Rising Titans, Falling Giants: How Great Powers Exploit Power Shifts and we look into his recent article at the Washington Post, “Acting too aggressively on Ukraine may endanger it — and Taiwan” and assess whether we are heading for not just the one Cold War that we have with Russia, but a second Cold War with China too.


The Danger of Ukraine’s 15 Nuclear Power Reactors Being Struck or Their Back-up Power Cut Off

Then we investigate a little-understood but massive disaster that a war in Ukraine could unleash if any of Ukraine’s 15 nuclear power reactors were struck or their back-up power cut off and speak with Bennett Ramberg, who was a foreign policy analyst in the Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs at the Department of State during the George H.W. Bush administration. He is the author of Nuclear Power Plants as Weapons For The Enemy: An Unrecognized Military Peril and we discuss his article at Project Syndicate, “The Risk of Nuclear Disaster in Ukraine.”


How to Reverse the Democrats’ Loss of Working-Class Voters

Then finally we speak with Stanley Greenberg, who was a pollster to President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, South African President Nelson Mandela, and more. He is a founding partner of Greenberg Research and the co-author with James Carville of the New York Times bestseller It’s the Middle Class, Stupid! His latest book is RIP GOP: How the New America Is Dooming the Republicans, and we discuss his article at The American Prospect, “Democrats, Speak to Working-Class Discontent: It’s the one way to mobilize Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians, not just white workers.” With all hands needed on deck to save American democracy, he makes the case to reverse the Democrats’ loss of working-class voters and that there is no time for strategists who look down on or rule out voters.