Background Briefing: April 6, 2023


Tennessee’s Republican Majority Railroad Two Democratic State Legislators in a Display of Anti-democratic Thuggery 

We begin with the display of anti-democratic thuggery in the Tennessee state house where the Republican majority expelled two Democratic representatives from the state’s main cities Nashville and Memphis. This authoritarian railroading was a response to the Democratic representatives supporting the students who poured into the state house in response to the gun massacre of nine-year-olds at a Nashville school. Joining us to discuss how Republican majorities in state legislatures in Wisconsin, Florida, Tennessee and other Red states are shutting out the voice of the people is John Nichols, who is The Nation magazine’s Washington correspondent. His books include The Fight for the Soul of the Democratic Party: The Enduring Legacy of Henry Wallace’s Anti-Fascist, Anti-Racist Politics, and most recently, Coronavirus Criminals and Pandemic Profiteers: Accountability for Those Who Caused the Crisis. His latest article at The Nation is “Wisconsin Chooses a Progressive Justice in the Most Important Election of 2023.”


The Dangerous Lack of Dialogue Between the World’s Biggest Military and Economic Powers

Then we look into the dangerous lack of dialogue between the world’s two biggest military and economic powers who are not talking to each other in a manner reminiscent of the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Joining us to urge for more citizen-to-citizen engagement and comment on France’s President Macron’s Visit to China where Xi Jinping is hosting him with pomp and ceremony is Scott Kennedy, senior advisor and trustee chair in Chinese business and economics at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. A leading authority on China’s economic policy and its global economic relations, he has been traveling to China for more than 30 years and his books include The Fat Tech Dragon: Benchmarking China’s Innovation Drive, Perfecting China Inc.: China’s 13th Five-Year Plan, and The Business of Lobbying in China. We discuss his article at Foreign Affairs, “America and China Need to Talk: A Lack of Dialogue, Visits, and Exchanges Is Raising the Risk of Conflict.”


How to Reverse the Downward Spiral of U.S.- China Relations

Then finally we assess how to reverse the downward spiral in U.S.-China relations made worse by yesterday’s meeting between Taiwan’s president and House Speaker McCarthy is Michael Swaine, a senior research fellow and former director of the Quincy Institute’s East Asia program and one of the most prominent American scholars of Chinese security studies. Previously, he worked for nearly twenty years as a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace specializing in Chinese defense and foreign policy, U.S.-China relations, and East Asian international relations. He also advises the U.S. government on Asian security issues and his books include Remaining Aligned on the Challenges Facing Taiwan and Conflict and Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Region: A Strategic Net Assessment. We discuss his article at Responsible Statecraft, “Tsai-McCarthy meeting will escalate US-China tensions.”