Month: July 2023

Background Briefing: July 31, 2023

The Ukrainian Peace Plan to be Discussed by 30 Nations in Saudi Arabia on August 5

We begin with the peace plan put forth by Ukraine that will be discussed by representatives of 30 countries on August 5 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia with the Saudis acting as the brokers for a peace deal between Russia and Ukraine to end the war but with Russia not invited to the talks. Joining us is Mary Ellen O’Connell, a Professor of Law and Professor of International Peace Studies at The Kroc Institute at the University of Notre Dame. Previously, she was the vice president of the American Society of International Law and her books include The Art of Law in the International Community, What Is War? An Investigation in the Wake of 9/11 and The Power and Purpose of International Law, Insights From the Theory and Practice of Enforcement.


Questions Following Jake Sullivan’s Saudi Trip to Bolster the Abraham Accords

Then we examine the recent trip to Saudi Arabia by the Biden National Security Council Director Jake Sullivan supposedly to bolster efforts to revive the Abraham Accords aimed at establishing diplomatic, trade and energy ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel. Joining us to discuss whether such a peace deal is possible with Israel so divided over Netanyahu’s power grab in removing the checks and balances of the judicial branch is Sarah Leah Whitson, the executive director of Democracy for the Arab World Now DAWN who was formerly the executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa Division.


The Republican Napoleon is Getting Smaller and Smaller

Then finally we discuss a small man getting smaller as the DeSantis campaign increasingly trails Trump and assess whether Chris Christie and possibly other Republicans will be able to penetrate the MAGA base with the truth about Trump’s criminality and mob boss mentality. Joining us is Sidney Blumenthal, the former assistant and senior adviser to President Bill Clinton, and senior adviser to Hillary Clinton. He has been a national staff reporter for The Washington Post, Washington editor and staff writer for The New Yorker and his books include the bestsellingThe Clinton Wars, The Rise of the Counter-Establishment and The Permanent Campaign. His latest book is All the Powers on Earth, The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln 1856-1860, and we discuss his article at The Guardian, “Weak, small and reckless: How Ron DeSantis, Republican Napoleon, met his Waterloo.”