Background Briefing: March 15, 2022


The Change in German Attitudes to Russia and Three Prime Ministers Show up in Kyiv

We begin with President Biden’s decision to attend a NATO summit in Brussels next week on March 24 and the arrival by train in Kyiv today of three prime ministers from Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia who showed up in a city under siege and bombardment by Russia. Joining us is Thomas Berger, Professor of International Relations at Boston University who specializes in German Politics, International Relations and Comparative Government and Political Culture. He is the author of War, Guilt and World Politics After World War II and Cultures of Antimilitarism: National Security in Germany and JapanWith Germany now buying American F-35 aircraft and joining in punitive sanctions against Russia, we will look into the change in German public opinion towards Russia, and change in sympathies for Putin in the former East Germany as well as within the business community who are going along with sanctions. We assess whether the long-standing German policy of Change Through Trade has run its course.


Many Republican and a Few Democratic Hawks are Animated by the War in Ukraine

Then we look into how the war in Ukraine is animating many Republican and some Democratic hawks and how Biden will navigate the building pressure to escalate America’s intervention in Ukraine which is limited by the concern that direct clashes with Russians could lead to nuclear war. Joining us is Jacob Heilbrunn, a Senior Editor at the National Interest, a columnist for The Spectator and the author They Knew They Were Right: The Rise of the Neocons. Previously, he was an editorial writer for the LA Times and a senior editor at The New Republic and we discuss his article at The New York Review of Book, “The Hawks Ascending.”


As Oil Prices Dip, Price Gouging and Profiteering Continues

Then finally, with oil prices hurting consumers amid questions about price gouging and profiteering we speak with Alan Zibel, research director of Public Citizen’s Corporate Presidency Project who previously covered financial services regulation and housing for the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires. We discuss his article at Public Citizen, “Oil and Gas Are Fueling Our Wars. They Cannot Be the Solution to End Them.