Background Briefing: May 10, 2022


The Philippines’ Strongman Problem With the Return of the Marcos Kleptocracy

We begin with the strongman problem the Philippines seems to have with the return of the Marcos kleptocracy in the form of the former dictator’s son Bongbong who won in a landslide together with his Vice President Sara Duterte, the daughter of the current president who has brutally undermined democracy and human rights. Joining us is Lisandro Claudio, an intellectual and cultural historian of the Philippines who teaches South and Southeast Asian Studies at Berkeley and previously taught at Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University. He is the author of Liberalism and the Postcolony: Thinking the State in Twentieth-Century Philippines and the forthcoming book Empire of Austerity: The American Progressive Era and the Formation of Philippine Economic Thought, 1902-1986.


With No End in Sight, Putin Will Turn to More Drastic Means in Ukraine

Then we examine today’s warning from the head of U.S. intelligence that the Ukraine war is becoming a war of attrition with no end in sight and that Putin will turn to more drastic means to achieve his objectives. Joining us is Daniel Treisman, a professor of political science at the University of California, Los Angeles and a fellow at the Center for Advanced Research in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. He is the author of a number of books on Russia including The New Autocracy: Information, Politics, and Policy in Putin’s Russia and Spin Dictators: The Changing Face of Tyranny in the 21st Century. We discuss his article at Foreign Affairs, “Putin Unbound: How Repression at Home Presaged Belligerence Abroad” and how yesterday’s Victory Day parade in Moscow did not come with Putin’s call for a full mobilization that many expected.


The Christian Nationalist Takeover of Our Judicial System

Then finally we explore the need for a broader strategy to mobilize opposition to our reactionary Supreme Court beyond the issue of abortion since Alito’s opinion is the culmination of the Federalist’s Leonard Leo’s project to use the court system to hand over control of our country to those who have turned their backs on the principles of equality and pluralism to replace American democracy with an authoritarian regime run on ostensibly “biblical” principles. Joining us is Katherine Stewart, a journalist and author of The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children and her latest book, The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism. We discuss her article at The New Republic, “How Christian Nationalism Perverted the Judicial System and Gutted Our Rights.”