Background Briefing: March 30, 2022


What Territorial Division of Ukraine Might Emerge From Peace Talks

We begin with Russia’s claim it is withdrawing troops from around Kyiv which apparently is not happening and the gloomy outlook expressed by Russian diplomats after a second day of peace talks with the Ukrainian delegation in Turkey. Joining us to assess what kind of territorial division of Ukraine might emerge from a peace agreement is Gerard Toal, a Professor of Government and International Affairs at Virginia Tech. He is the author of a number of books including Bosnia Remade: Ethnic Cleansing and Its Reversal and Near Abroad: Putin, the West and the Contest over Ukraine and the Caucasus. Taking into account concerns that Putin’s advisors are not telling him the bad news, Gerard predicts that either Putin will get to keep Crimea and the Donbas with a land bridge between the two or have to settle for the territories he controlled before he invaded his neighbor.


Hungary’s Orban Avoids the Taint of His Toxic Pal Putin Ahead of Sunday’s Election

Then with Putin’s pal Hungary’s PM Orban facing an election on Sunday, we examine how Orban is managing to avoid being tainted by the toxic Putin as this kleptocrat and autocrat who controls Hungarian media which does not allow the opposition to appear or campaign, is running slightly ahead in the polls. Joining us is Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a Professor of History and Italian Studies at New York University and a cultural critic who is an internationally acclaimed historian, speaker, and political commentator whose latest book is Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present. She recently founded Lucid, an online publication about threats to democracy, abuses of power, and how to counter them, and we will discuss her article at CNN, “Orban’s juggling act with Putin and Europe faces a key test.”


Climate Catastrophes in Australia Which is Led by a Global Warming Denier

Then finally we address the record-breaking catastrophic floods in Australia which is led by a PM who does not believe in global warming and speak with Paul Ehrlich, the Bing Professor of Population Studies Emeritus and the president of the Center for Conservation Biology at Stanford University. He is the author of the best-selling book, The Population Bomb: Population Control or Race to Oblivion as well as Killing the Koala and Poisoning the Prairie: Australia, America, and the Environment and The Annihilation of Nature: Human Extinction of Birds and Mammals, and his latest book, Jaws: The Story of a Hidden Epidemic.