Background Briefing: April 14, 2022


Russia Threatens and Warns Finland and Sweden Not to Join NATO

We begin with threats and warnings from Russia directed at Finland and Sweden, two neutral countries now seriously considering joining NATO because their citizens are alarmed at Russia’s barbaric destruction of Ukraine and want the common defense and Article 5 protection that NATO offers. Joining us is Derek Shearer, who served in the Clinton administration as United States Ambassador to Finland and is currently a Professor of Diplomacy and World Affairs at Occidental College and the Director of the McKinnon Center for Global Affairs at Occidental College. We discuss his article at The Washington Monthly, “As War Rages in Ukraine, Finland Offers Answers” and explore what “Finlandization” actually means since many compare a possible end to the war in Ukraine with the treaty the Soviet Union forced Finland to accept after the Hitler-Stalin pact opened the way for a Soviet invasion in the 1939-1940 “Winter War” in which the underdog fought bravely as the Ukrainians are doing today, but had to make territorial concessions and accept neutrality during the Cold War.


Elon Musk Wants to Buy Twitter For $43 Billion Then Bring Back Trump

Then we look into the possibility that Elon Musk, who already has a 14.9% stake in Twitter, could buy the popular platform outright for $43 billion and then bring back Donald Trump as the “free speech absolutist” has hinted he will do. This already has the rabid Republican cheer squad of Jim Jordan and Lauren Boebert over the moon saying Musk will “Make Twitter Great Again”. Joining us is Victor Pickard, a Professor at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania where he co-directs the Media, Inequality & Change Center. He is the author of America’s Battle for Media Democracy: The Triumph of Corporate Libertarianism and the Future of Media Reform and his latest book is Democracy without Journalism?: Confronting the Misinformation Society. We discuss his article at The Nation, “We Can’t Let Billionaires Control Major Communications Platforms.”


Does the NYPD Need More Than 3,500 Transit Cops and Its $11 billion Budget?

Then finally we speak with Ryan Cooper, Managing Editor at The American Prospect and the Cohost of the Left Anchor podcast and the author of the new book, How are You Going to Pay for That? Smart Answers to the Dumbest Question in Politics. He joins us to discuss his article at The American Prospect “Blame Police When They Fail Horribly: New York cops bungled their response to mass shooter” and how in spite of failures, the Mayor of New York is calling for more transit cops above the already 3,500 and more money for the NYPD which has a budget of almost $11 billion, more than Ukraine’s military budget.