Day: May 18, 2023

Background Briefing: May 18, 2023


The G7 Summit Underway in Hiroshima, Japan and the Haunting Spectre of Nuclear Weapons

We begin with the G7 summit underway in Hiroshima, Japan and examine the inescapable symbolism of Hiroshima summoning the issue of nuclear weapons to the forefront even if the summit’s agenda is largely about Ukraine, climate change and countering China’s more assertive foreign policy. Joining us to discuss what is likely to happen with Saturday’s visit by the world leaders to the Peace Memorial Museum which shows the scale of the tragedy when the US dropped a nuclear bomb in 1945 killing 140,000 people is Mark Fitzpatrick, an Associate Fellow for Strategy, Technology and Arms Control and former Executive Director of the Washington-based Americas office of the International Institute for Strategic Studies as well as the former head of the Institute’s work on non-proliferation. He served as US Foreign Service Officer from 1979–2005, with postings in Seoul, Tokyo, Wellington, Vienna and Washington, including as acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Non-Proliferation, and his books include Asia’s Latent Nuclear Powers: Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, Overcoming Pakistan’s Nuclear Dangers and The Iranian Nuclear Crisis: Avoiding worst-case outcomes.


Can the House Radicals Compromise on a Deal Many Democrats Say Biden Should Not Be Negotiating?

Then we discuss the reason why Biden is cutting short his overseas trip which has already had damaging foreign policy consequences because of extortion by House radicals threatening to destroy the economy and speak with Dean Baker, senior economist and co-founder of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a progressive economic think-tank based in Washington DC. He is the author of Rigged: How Globalization and the Rules of the Modern Economy Were Structured to Make the Rich Richer, and writes the popular economics blog, “Beat the Press” where he has an article, Will Biden Invoke the 14th? We explore Biden’s options if the House Freedom Caucus refuses to compromise on a deal which many Democrats argue Biden should not be negotiating in the first place.


The Politics Behind Diane Feinstein’s Sad Return to the US Senate

 Then finally we look into concerns about Senator Feinstein’s ability to carry out her duties now that the Republicans refused her the courtesy of having a substitute senator sit in for her on committees as she recovers from shingles. Joining us to discuss this and the issue of how Biden got into the position where he finds himself negotiating with legislative terrorists and speak with David Dayen, the Executive Editor of the American Prospect. The winner of the Ida and Studs Terkel Prize, he is the author of Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street’s Great Foreclosure Fraud and Fat Cat: The Steve Mnuchin Story, and his latest book is Monopolized: Life in the Age of Corporate Power. We discuss his latest articles in the American Prospect, “The Narrative Shift of the Debt Ceiling Fight” and “The Feinstein Affair: Senate Gerontocracy Reaches Absurd Heights.”