Background Briefing: December 6, 2023


How the Laws of War, International Law and the Right of Self-Defense Apply to the War in Gaza


We begin with an exploration of how the laws of war, international law and the right of self-defense apply to the war in Gaza as the civilian death toll in Gaza mounts and PM Netanyahu castigates the world’s human and women’s rights organizations for not speaking out against the rape and sexual mutilation of Israeli women by Hamas. Joining us is Samuel Moyn, the Henry R. Luce Professor of Jurisprudence at Yale Law School and Professor of History at Yale University. He has written several books in his fields of European intellectual history, human rights history and law, including The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History, Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World and Humane: How the United States Abandoned Peace and Reinvented War. His latest book is Liberalism Against Itself: Cold War Intellectuals and the Making of Our Times and he has an article at the UK’s Prospect Magazine, “America’s undoing.”


Aid to Ukraine is Now Stalled in the House and the Senate

Then with aid to Ukraine stalled in both the House and the Senate, we look into how much the beleaguered country is falling victim to toxic US politics and pro-Putin leaders in Europe as Hungary’s Orban threatens to veto EU aid to Ukraine. Joining us is William Arkin, a Senior Editor at Newsweek and one of America’s premier military experts who has been a consultant to wide-ranging organizations, including the US Air Force, the United Nations Secretary General, Human Rights Watch, and the Natural Resources Defense Council. The bestselling author of more than a dozen books including The Generals Have No Clothes: The Untold Story of Our Endless Wars, his latest book is On That Day: The Definitive Timeline of 9/11 and his latest article at Newsweek is “Will Saudi Prince MBS Become Biden Partner in Containing Mideast Conflict?


As Liz Cheney Campaigns to Stop Trump, “We Are Sleepwalking Into Dictatorship”

Then finally, with Liz Cheney getting a lot of media attention as she warns that “we are sleepwalking into dictatorship” and campaigns to stop the reelection of Trump which is the reason Biden just gave for running for a second term, we speak with Stephanie Muravchik, Professor of Government at Claremont McKenna College. Her research explores the intersections of politics with class, family, and religion. She is the author of American Protestantism in an Age of Psychology as well as Trump’s Democrats, a political ethnography of three blue strongholds that flipped Republican in the 2016 election and she has a forthcoming book with John Shields about Liz Cheney’s Wyoming and the future of the American right.