Background Briefing: February 22, 2022


Has Putin Become Even More Hawkish Than His Sycophantic Coterie?

We begin with President Biden’s imposition of sanctions against Russian banks, elites and family members in response to Putin’s move to claim sovereignty over two eastern provinces of Ukraine and speak with Simon Shuster, a reporter for Time Magazine based in New York City, by way of Moscow, Kyiv and Berlin.  He has previously covered Russia and the former Soviet Union for Reuters, The Associated Press, The Moscow Times and Foreign Policy, and we discuss his latest articles at Time, “The Untold Story of the Ukraine Crisis” and “Putin’s Moves Toward War in Ukraine Show How Dangerous He Has Become.” Having spent time with Ukraine’s President Zelensky at the front and interviewed Putin’s close friend the pro-Russian oligarch under house arrest in Kyiv, Simon is afraid Putin has become even more hawkish than his close coterie on display as supplicants and sycophants in Monday’s staged National Security Council meeting in the Kremlin.


How Trump’s GOP Mirrors Putin’s United Russia Party

Then we examine how close today’s GOP mirrors Putin’s United Russia Party and speak with Mike Lofgren about his article at Common Dreams “Vladimir Putin: the Authentic Leader of the Republican Party: Forget Trump, it was Putin who built the ideological template for the GOP.” Mike spent twenty-eight years working in Congress, the last sixteen as a senior analyst on the House and Senate Budget committees and is the author of the New York Times Bestseller, The Party Is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless and the Middle Class Got Shafted. We discuss how Putin and Trump’s GOP both stand for nothing except taking care of oligarchs while trolling, engaging in culture wars, whitewashing history and blaming the opposition for acts of domestic terrorism.


Biden Warns of a Spike in Gas Prices as He Sanctions Russia

Then finally, with Biden today expressing concern over rising gas prices as he imposed sanctions on Russia, we speak with Amy Myers Jaffe, Research Professor and Managing Director of the Climate Policy Lab at the Fletcher School at Tufts University and the former David M. Rubenstein senior fellow for energy and the environment and director of the program on Energy Security and Climate Change at the Council on Foreign Relations. Her books include Natural Gas and Geopolitics: From 1970 to 2040, Energy and Security: Toward a New Foreign Policy Strategy, and Energy’s Digital Future: Harnessing Innovation for American Resilience and National Security. We discuss her recent article at The Conversation, “Can the US find enough natural gas sources to neutralize Russia’s energy leverage over Europe?