Background Briefing: October 2, 2022


Will Biden’s Threats Deter Putin? Apparently Our Military Does Not Think So

We begin with Putin’s repeated threat to use nuclear weapons, the latest in a bizarre speech he made on Friday announcing the annexation of about one fifth of Ukraine’s territory. Joining us is William Arkin, a Senior Editor at Newsweek and one of America’s premier military experts whose investigative work has appeared on the front pages of The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times. He served in Army intelligence in West Berlin during the Cold War and has been a consultant to wide-ranging organizations, including the US Air Force, the United Nations Secretary General, Human Rights Watch, and the Natural Resources Defense Council. The bestselling author of more than a dozen books, including and The Generals Have No Clothes: The Untold Story of Our Endless Wars, his latest book is On That Day: The Definitive Timeline of 9/11. We discuss his article at Newsweek, “Biden Thinks Non-Nuclear Threats Will Stop Putin. His Military Doesn’t” and the possibility Putin will set off a high altitude nuclear EMP blast that will not kill people but the Electro Magnetic Pulse would shut down Ukraine’s grid and fry anything digital along with satellites and drones etc. 


Could Our Shadow War With Russia Spiral Into Nuclear Catastrophe?

Then we examine the contrast with how our government was so alarmed at the prospect that Saddam Hussein had nuclear weapons which he didn’t, compared to how nonchalant our current government appears to be as Putin threatens using his nukes and he has 6,000 of them. Joining us is George Beebe, the Director of Grand Strategy at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. He served in government for nearly twenty-five years, including as director of Russia analysis at CIA and as a White House adviser on Russia matters for Vice President Dick Cheney. His latest book is The Russia Trap: How Our Shadow War with Russia Could Spiral into Nuclear Catastrophe.


The Loser in Today’s Election in Brazil Will Contest, Not Concede  

Then finally with elections today in Brazil in which the incumbent Bolsonaro appears to following Trump’s playbook of declaring the election stolen and threatening to hold onto power no matter what the results are, we will speak with Andre Pagliarini, a professor of history at Hampden-Sydney College who is currently preparing a book manuscript on twentieth-century Brazilian nationalism. He had a recent article at The New Republic, “Jair Bolsonaro’s Plan to Burn Brazil to the Ground.”