Background Briefing: August 21, 2023

Biden’s Visit to Maui Where 850 Are Missing After the Worst Fire in American History

We begin with President Biden’s visit to Maui, Hawai‘i following the worst fire in US history which still has 850 people unaccounted for. Joining us is to discuss issues related to water, speculation by predators and the urgent needs of the traumatized community is Troy Andrade, the Joanna Lau Sullivan distinguished professor and director of the Ulu Lehua Scholars Program at the University of Hawai‘i School of Law. He has represented clients in matters relating to some of the most contentious issues in Hawai‘i, including the regulation of genetically modified organisms and pesticides, homelessness, and Native Hawaiian self-determination.


Guatemala Elects a Reformer in a Landslide

Then we look into the landslide victory of a reformer, Bernardo Arevalo in Sunday’s presidential election in Guatemala which has been in the grip of a criminal clique tied to a murderous military, a corrupt oligarchy and drug cartels. Joining us is Jo-Marie Burt, the President of the Latin American Studies Association, a senior fellow at the Washington Office for Latin America and a professor of political science and Latin American Studies at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University who has published widely on political violence, state-society relations, human rights and transitional justice in Latin America and writes about war crimes prosecutions in Guatemala.


The BRICS Summit in South Africa With China’s Xi But Absent Putin

Then finally we look into the BRICS summit which started today in South Africa with China’s President Xi in attendance but with Russia’s President Putin addressing the summit by video because of his outstanding arrest warrant from the ICC. Joining us is Sarang Shidore, Director of the Global South Program at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft whose areas of research include geopolitical risk, grand strategy, and energy and climate security, with a special emphasis on Asia. We discuss his article at The Nation, “The Global South’s BRICS Play Should Not Be Dismissed.”