Day: October 12, 2023

Background Briefing: October 12, 2023

The Role the Great Powers are Likely to Play in Israel’s War Against Hamas

We begin with the role that the great powers, the U.S., Russia, China and Europe, are likely to play in the war between Israel and Hamas and whether they can resolve or contain the situation as middle powers and local actors exert themselves more boldly leaving the great powers distracted and often helpless on the sidelines. Joining us is Michael Kimmage, a professor of history and department chair at the Catholic University of America, chair of the Kennan Institute Advisory Council and a fellow at the German Marshall Fund. From 2014 to 2017, he served on the Secretary’s Policy Planning Staff at the U.S. Department of State, where he held the Russia/Ukraine portfolio. He is the author of The Abandonment of the West: The History of an Idea in American Foreign Policy and his forthcoming book, out in March, is Collisions: The War in Ukraine and the Origins of the New Global Instability. We discuss his article at Foreign Affairs, “The Age of Great-Power Distraction: What Crises in the Middle East and Elsewhere Reveal About the Global Order.”


Gaza Civilians Caught Between Israel’s Retaliation For Atrocities by Hamas, and an Illegitimate, Repressive, Religious Fundamentalist Government

Then, with civilians in Gaza caught between a fierce bombardment by Israel in retaliation for Hamas’s atrocities against their civilians and the illegitimate, repressive religious fundamentalist government of Hamas, we speak with Leila Hilal, an independent analyst who was the co-director of the New America Foundation’s Middle East Task Force. Previously, she served as a legal adviser to the Palestinian Negotiations Department and advised the Palestinian Constitutional Committee during the drafting of the Basic Law. She acted as an external adviser to the Palestinian negotiating team as part of the Annapolis bi-lateral peace talks of 2008. She was a Senior Policy Adviser to the Commissioner-General of the UN Palestinian refugee agency and a Visiting Fellow and Instructor at the Refugee Studies Centre at Oxford University. She has consulted widely and published on conflict mediation policies in the Middle East.


Another Indictment Against Senator Menendez For Acting as a Foreign Agent For a Foreign Government While Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Then finally we examine today’s superseding indictment against Senator Menendez for acting as a foreign agent for a foreign government while Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Joining us is Ben Freeman, a Research Fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Previously, he was Director of the Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative at the Center for International Policy and a National Security Fellow at the Project On Government Oversight where he spear-headed the “Foreign Influence Database.” He is the author of The Foreign Policy Auction.