Background Briefing: March 5, 2023


Can Germany Persuade its Biggest Trading Partner China to to Bring Russia to the Peace Table?

We begin with Friday’s White House working visit by Germany’s Chancellor Scholz and assess whether Germany can persuade its biggest trading partner China to bring Russia to the peace table to end the war in Ukraine. Joining us is Stephen Walt, a columnist at Foreign Policy magazine and the Robert and Renee Belfer Professor of International Affairs at Harvard University. He is the author of a number of books including The Origins of Alliances; Revolution and War; and Taming American Power: The Global Response to U.S. Primacy. His latest book is The Hell of Good Intentions: America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy and his latest article at Foreign Policy magazine is “The Conversation About Ukraine Is Cracking Apart” and we discuss whether China might be happy with the US bogged down in a war in Europe and not so focused on containing China in the Indo/Pacific.


200 Economists Urge Leaders of Congress to Raise the Debt Ceiling to Avoid a “Dangerous and Unnecessary” Economic Crisis

Then we look into a letter to the leaders of the House and Senate from 200 economists including former chairs and vice chairs of the Fed as well as five Nobel laureates that urged Congress to raise the debt ceiling to avoid a “dangerous and unnecessary” economic crisis. Joining us is Betsey Stevenson, a professor of public policy and economics at the University of Michigan. She is also a faculty research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, a visiting professor of economics at the University of Sydney, a research fellow of the Centre for Economic Policy Research, a fellow of the Ifo Institute for Economic Research in Munich, and serves on the executive committee of the American Economic Association. She served as a member of the Council of Economic Advisers from 2013 to 2015 where she advised President Obama on social policy, labor markets, and trade issues and also served as the chief economist of the U.S. Department of Labor from 2010 to 2011, advising the Secretary of Labor on labor policy and participating as the secretary’s deputy to the White House economic team.


A Different Perspective on Demonstrations in Mexico Against AMLO’s Electoral Reforms

Then finally we go to Mexico to get a different perspective on the demonstrations that took place a week ago against President Lopez Obrador know as AMLO’s Plan B reforms of the National Election Institute, the INE which the American press portrayed as a power grab by AMLO instead of demonstrations organized by the opposition. Joining us is John Mill Ackerman, an author as well the Director of the University Program of Studies on Democracy, Justice and Society, Researcher at the Institute of Legal Research and Editorial Director of the Mexican Law Review of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. He has contributed to many publications in the US, Mexico and the UK on the topics of corruption control, elections, transparency, accountability, autonomous institutions and citizen participation. We will discuss how the INE, unlike voting laws in the US, has made voting easier with a National ID card, removed money from campaign advertising and provided quick and accurate counts of results.