Background Briefing: May 15, 2022


Top Republicans Are Patriots in Private But Traitors in Public

Sadly there has been yet another gun massacre in which 10 black shoppers were killed in a supermarket by an 18 year old white racist inspired by the “great replacement theory” which is being propagated by Tucker Carlson and Fox News. We will investigate this on Monday’s program and begin with an important development from the end of last week with subpoenas issued by the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection to compel testimony by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Congressmen Jordan, Biggs, Brooks and Perry and look into why Republican leaders like McCarthy, McConnell and Senator Graham are patriots in private but traitors in public. Now that there is ample audio evidence of what these top Republicans privately feel about how dangerous and deranged Trump is yet in public they continue to support him and his lies that he won the last election, we assess how much the law itself will be undermined if Trump and the insurrectionists are not held to account. Joining us is Karen Greenberg, Director of the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School, an international studies fellow at New America, and a permanent member of the Council on Foreign Relations. A noted expert on national security, terrorism, and civil liberties, she is the author of The Least Worst Place: Guantanamo’s First 100 Days and Rogue Justice: The Making of the Security State, and her latest book is Subtle Tools: The Dismantling of American Democracy from the War on Terror to Donald Trump. We discuss her article at TomDispatch, “The Empire’s New Clothes – The Veneer of Accountability Is Wearing Thin in Twenty-First-Century America.”


An Axis of Autocrats While Orban, Ergogan and Senator Rand Paul Act as Pro-Putin Spoilers

Then we examine the emergence of a new Axis of Autocrats and the extent to which spoilers like Putin’s friends Orban in Hungary and Erdogan in Turkey are undermining NATO while our own pro-Putin spoiler in the U.S. Senate Rand Paul is the lone holdout in getting aid to Ukraine. Joining us is David Phillips, the Director of the Peace-building and Rights Program at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University and a former senior adviser and foreign affairs expert to the U.S. Department of State during the administrations of Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama. And also joining us is Madeleine Joelson, Executive Director of the Turkish Democracy Project. Together they are the co-authors of a new report from Columbia’s Peace-Building and Human Rights Program “An Uncertain Ally: Turkey’s Response to Russia’s War on Ukraine.”


How Central Asia Could be the Key to Driving a Wedge Between Russia and China

Then finally we speak with Ian Morris, the Jean and Rebecca Willard Professor of Classics and Professor in History at Stanford University and the author of the forthcoming book, Geography Is Destiny: Britain and the World: A 10,000-Year History. He is also the author of the critically acclaimed Why the West Rules—for Now, and has published many scholarly books and directed excavations in Greece and Italy. We discuss his article at “Central Asia Could Be the Key to Driving a Wedge Between Russia and China“.