Background Briefing: May 21, 2023
Zelensky’s Surprise Visit to the G7 in Hiroshima, Japan
We begin and go to Japan for an update on the G7 summit which has been dominated by the surprise arrival of Ukraine’s President Zelensky on a French government plane leading to pledges from world leaders to starve Russia of resources used in its war machine while calling for a free and open Indo-Pacific and warning about China’s economic coercion at the same time urging China to pressure Russia to end the war in Ukraine. Joining us is Ellis Krauss, professor emeritus of Japanese politics and policy-making at the University of California, San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy. He is a leading expert on Japanese politics and US-Japan relations and his books include The Rise and Fall of Japan’s LDP: Political Party Organizations as Institutions, Beyond Bilateralism: U.S.-Japan Relations in the New Asia Pacific and Reluctant Warriors: Germany, Japan, and Their U.S. Alliance Dilemma.
MBS Welcomes Assad Back Into the Arab League While Also Welcoming President Zelensky
Then we look into the Arab League Summit in Saudi Arabia hosted by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who welcomed the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad back into the 22 member League at the same time welcoming Ukraine’s President Zelensky who pointedly remarked there were some Arab leaders who turned a blind eye, willfully ignoring Russia’s invasion. Joining us is Dr. Jon Hoffman is a Middle East analyst specializing in political Islam and Middle East geopolitics. He is currently an Adjunct Professor at George Mason University and has published in a variety academic and policy-oriented platforms, including Middle East Policy, Foreign Policy, the Washington Post, and has an article at Foreign Policy, “The Arab Autocrat’s New Religious Playbook“.
Russia Warns of Escalation as Biden Allows Ukrainian Pilots to Train on F-16s
Then finally we get an assessment of claims made by Prigozhin, the psychotic murderer leading the Wagner mercenaries who claims that he has captured the bitterly contested city of Bakhmut as well as moves by the Biden administration to allow Ukrainian pilots to train on F-16s which Russia condemned. Joining us is Aram Shabanian, the Open-Source Information Gathering Manager at New Lines Institute. He recently taught in Non-Proliferation and Terrorism Studies at Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey where his research focused on the Cold War and contemporary histories of Eastern Europe and the Middle East.