Day: December 8, 2022

Background Briefing: December 8, 2022


More Deals With Putin Unlikely Until After a Russian Offensive in the Spring of 2023

We begin with the prisoner swap in which the US got the women’s basketball star Brittney Griner back and Russia got the notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout back. Joining us to look into the possibility that more deals could be made with Putin in a search for an end to his brutal war in Ukraine 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.


Why Putin Wanted the Merchant of Death Viktor Bout Back

Then we get an appraisal of Viktor Bout the merchant of death and why Putin wanted him back and speak with Stephen Braun, the former National Security Editor for the Associated Press. A former national correspondent based in Washington for the Los Angeles Times, he shared the Times’ 1991 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Los Angeles riots and a 2002 Overseas Press Club international reporting award for “Inside al Qaeda,” a series of stories about that group’s rise. He is the co-author, along with Douglas Farah, of a book about Viktor Bout, Merchant of Death: Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible.


The Dangers Facing Americans Who Travel to Russia, China, Iran and Venezuela

Then we look into the dangers facing Americans who travel to Russia, China, Iran and Venezuela where hostage taking of Americans is a way to gain leverage over the US Government. Joining us is Peter Bergen, the author or editor of eight books, including three New York Times bestsellers and four Washington Post best nonfiction books of the year. A Vice President at New America, he is a professor at Arizona State University and a national security analyst for CNN. He has testified before congressional committees eighteen times about national security issues and has held teaching positions at Harvard and Johns Hopkins University. His latest book is The Cost of Chaos: The Trump Administration and the World and we discuss his article at CNN, “The often high price of bringing detained Americans home.”


A Farcical Coup Attempt in Peru Which Has Had Five Presidents in Two Years

Then finally we look into the farcical attempted coup in Peru which has had five presidents in two years and speak with Jo-Marie Burt, a senior fellow at the Washington Office for Latin America and a professor of political science and Latin American Studies at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. She has published widely on political violence, state-society relations, human rights and transitional justice in Latin America and writes about war crimes prosecutions in Guatemala for International Justice Monitor and is the author of Silencing Civil Society: Political Violence and the Authoritarian State in Peru.