Background Briefing: February 17, 2022


Rumors of War Intensify as Putin Has No Reason to Invade Ukraine

We begin with the heightened anticipation of war in Ukraine expressed by President Biden as U.S. Intelligence dismisses Putin’s recent pledge to withdraw forces as a fake redeployment as more Russian forces are poised to attack. Joining us to discuss why Putin would attack given that he is able to destabilize Ukraine now and could do so indefinitely, is Gregory Treverton, a Professor of the Practice of International Relations and Spatial Sciences at the University of Southern California who has served in government for the first Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, handling Europe for the National Security Council, and was chairman of the National Intelligence Council from 2014 to 2017. His books include Dividing Divided States, Beyond the Great Divide: Relevance and Uncertainty in National Intelligence and Science for Policy and he joins us to discuss how much Putin has backed himself into a corner. He argues that since Putin is impetuous, anything is possible, but Putin has absolutely no reason to invade Ukraine and the last thing Germany wants is for Russian gas supplies to be cut off by sanctions.


How Effective Would Sanctions be Against the $2 Trillion in Russian Capital Flight Abroad?

Then we look into how effective sanctions would be against Russia and its $2 trillion in capital flight parked abroad, at least $150 billion of which is Putin’s. Joining us is James Henry, an economist, lawyer and investigative journalist who has written extensively about global banking, debt crises, tax havens and economic development.  The former chief economist at McKinsey & Co., he is the co-founder with David Cay Johnston of the new investigative reporting news service and is the author of Blood Bankers.


The Nationwide Attack on School Boards

Then finally we examine the nationwide attack on school boards as the Republicans, now the Party of trolling and culture wars, are unleashing Trumpsters who are showing up at school boards and election boards to intimidate officials and drive them out of office. Joining us is Kevin Kumashiro, an internationally recognized expert on educational policy, school reform, teacher preparation, and educational equity and social justice. The former dean at University of San Francisco’s School of Education, his books include Troubling Education and Teaching toward Democracy and we discuss the school board recall election in San Francisco and the extent that right wing interests are using Asian-Americans in their efforts to undermine and abolish affirmative action.