Day: April 21, 2022

Background Briefing: April 21, 2022


The Gap Between the German Government’s Promises and What They are Not Delivering to Ukraine

We begin with the gap between rhetoric and action as the German government led by Chancellor Scholz talks a good game about an “historic change” in a 180 degree shift away from the policy towards Russia of “Wandel durch Handel”, change through trade. However, promises of imposing sanctions, arming Ukraine and boosting military spending are all being slow-walked with no heavy weapons or air defense systems delivered to Ukraine at all. Joining us is Anna Grzymala-Busse, a Professor of International Studies in the Department of Political Science, the Director of the Europe Center, and Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute at Stanford University. Her research focuses on the historical development of the state and its transformation, political parties, religion and politics, and post-communist politics and her books include Redeeming the Communist Past: The Regeneration of Communist Successor Parties, Rebuilding Leviathan: Party Competition and State Development in Post-Communist Europe, and Nations Under God: How Churches Use Moral Authority to Influence Politics. We discuss her article at The Los Angeles Times, “What will it take for Germany, Europe’s heavyweight, to stand up to Russia?” and the gap between the German public’s outrage at what is happening in Ukraine and the lack of leadership from Scholz’s Social Democratic Party and Germany’s President Steinmeier, who Zelensky recently made clear, is not welcome in Kyiv.


Putin’s Nuclear Saber-Rattling With the Launch of His Satan 2 ICBM

Then we look into Putin’s nuclear saber-rattling and his statement on the launch of the Satan 2 ICBM that “This truly unique weapon will strengthen the combat potential of our armed forces, reliably ensure Russia’s security in the face of external threats, and will provide food for thought to those who in the heat of frenzied aggressive rhetoric try to threaten our country,” Joining us is Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists where he provides the public with analysis and background information about the status of nuclear forces and the role of nuclear weapons. He previously was a consultant to the nuclear program at the Natural Resources Defense Council and also was a Senior Researcher with the Nuclear Information Unit of Greenpeace International.


What is Going on with The Manhattan DA Who Shut Down the Trump Probe Which he Denies

Then finally we assess what is going on with the new Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg Jr. as the grand jury investigating Trump is about to disband and a key witness Michael Cohen is expressing frustration at Bragg for shutting down the case even though Bragg insists, without providing evidence, that the probe into Trump is continuing. Joining us is Rebecca Roiphe, a Professor of Law at New York Law School who studies ethics and history. She was previously assistant district attorney in Manhattan and her work examines the country’s tradition of prosecutorial independence, particularly with regard to the President’s power to control the Department of Justice.