Background Briefing: August 20, 2023

The Camp David Summit to Bring Japan and South Korea Together as China, Russia and North Korea Strengthen Ties

We begin with the Camp David meeting hosted by President Biden that brought together the leaders of Japan and South Korea in an effort to overcome bitter memories South Koreans have of the brutal Japanese occupation from 1910 to 1945 in the hope of creating a united front against growing ties between North Korea, China and Russia. Joining us to assess the summit and concerns that Russia is supplying North Korea with missile technology in exchange for munitions it needs for its war in Ukraine is Sung Yoon Lee, a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington DC. He has testified as an expert witness in the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee hearings on North Korea policy, and his latest book is The Sister: The extraordinary story of Kim Yo Jong, the most powerful woman in North Korea.


The U.S. Does Not Want Ukraine to Win and Defeat Russian Aggression

Then we examine reports that US Intelligence has assessed that Ukraine’s counteroffensive in Western Zaporizhia will not reach Melitopol and cut off the Russian land bridge to Crimea as well as investigate casualty numbers that have Ukraine losing 70,000 killed and 100,000 to 120,000 wounded with Russia’s military casualties approaching 300,000 including 120,000 deaths and 170,000 to 180,000 injured. Joining us is Anders Aslund, a senior fellow at the Stockholm Free World Forum, a professor at the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies at Georgetown University and a member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences who worked as a Swedish Diplomat in Moscow and served as an economic advisor to the governments of Russia and Ukraine. His books include Ukraine: What Went Wrong and How to Fix It and Russia’s Crony Capitalism: The Path From Market Economy to Kleptocracy.


We Are Entering the Age of Fire

Then finally we explore the possibility the planet is entering the opposite of the Ice Age, the Pyrocene Age of fire. Joining us is Stephen Pyne, a Professor Emeritus at Arizona State University and author of many books on the history and management of fire, including Fire: A Brief History, Between Two Fires: A Fire History of Contemporary America and, most recently, The Pyrocene: How We Created an Age of Fire, and What Happens Next.