Background Briefing: April 3, 2022


Today’s Hungarian Election as a Test Case For America’s Democratic Future

We begin with today’s election in Hungary which has outsized significance, particularly for here in the U.S. since the Republican party and their propagandists like Tucker Carlson and right wing organizations like CPAC see the future of the GOP entrenched as a one-party state following the illiberal model created by Hungary’s Orban. Joining us is Kim Lane Scheppele, a Professor of Sociology and International Affairs in the Woodrow Wilson School and the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University. From 1994-1998, she lived in Budapest, doing research at the Constitutional Court of Hungary and teaching at both the University of Budapest and at Central European University, where she was a founding director of the Program in Gender and Culture. After 1989, Scheppele studied the emergence of constitutional law in Hungary and Russia, living in both places for extended periods. Her latest book is 9/11 and the Rise of Global Anti-terrorism Law: How the U.N. Security Council Rules the World and we discuss her article at The American Prospect, “How Hungary’s Orban Turned the Ukraine War to His Own Advantage.”


The Russian Philosophers and Intellectuals Who Influence Putin’s Thinking

Then we examine the Russian philosophers and intellectuals who influence Putin’s thinking such as the anti-Semetic ultra-nationalist Alexander Dugin and the former admirer of Hitler and Mussolini Ivan Ilyin and Lev Gumilev whose theory of “passionarity” Putin embraces as bio-cosmic energy and inner force for Russian development on a march with an infinite genetic code. Joining us is Marlene Laruelle, the Director of the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies; Director, of the Illiberalism Studies Program and Research Professor of International Affairs at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University where she works on the rise of populist and illiberal movements in post-Soviet Eurasia, Europe and the US. She explores how nationalism and conservative values are becoming mainstream in different cultural contexts and focuses on Russia’s ideological landscape and its outreach abroad.


Instead of Finding More And More Oil and Gas, We Should be Investing in More Clean Energy

Then finally we assess who is going to blink first in the standoff between Germany and Putin who is demanding the Germans pay for Russian gas in roubles which the Germans consider blackmail. Joining us to discuss how we are having the wrong debate which is about finding more and more oil and gas as opposed to kicking the habit and turning to clean energy and renewables is David Victor, a professor and the Center for Global Transformation Endowed Chair in Innovation and Public Policy at the University of California San Diego. He also co-directs the Deep Decarbonization Initiative, which focuses on real world strategies for bringing the world to nearly zero emissions of global warming gases and was a convening lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and is the author of a number of books including Natural Gas and Geopolitics, The Collapse of the Kyoto Protocol and the Struggle to Slow Global Warming, and Global Warming Gridlock: Creating More Effective Strategies for Protecting the Planet.