Day: December 11, 2023

Background Briefing: December 11, 2023

As Russia Emphasizes its Maximalist Demands and Zelensky Heads to the White House to Try to Salvage the Aid Deal, What Kind of Peace is Possible?

We begin with Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson emphasizing Putin’s maximalist demands which amount to a capitulation by Ukraine as a condition of peace talks as Zelenky heads to the White House to try to salvage an aid package House and Senate Republicans are stalling. Joining us to discuss Putin’s “spontaneous” announcement he is running for another presidential term and the disappearance of Navalny is George Beebe, the Director of Grand Strategy at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. He served in government for nearly twenty-five years, including as director of Russia analysis at CIA and as a White House adviser on Russia matters for Vice President Dick Cheney. His latest book is The Russia Trap: How Our Shadow War with Russia Could Spiral into Nuclear Catastrophe.


How University Presidents Fell Into Congresswoman Stefanik’s Trap


Then we look into the resignation of the president of the University of Pennsylvania while the head of Harvard’s fate is hanging by a thread following a trap set by Congresswoman Stefanik in a hearing who badgered them into answering yes or no to whether calling for genocide of Jews on your campus constitutes harassment, when in fact no such calls exist although many are arguing that what is happening in Gaza is genocide. Joining us is Juan Cole, who is a professor of Modern Middle Eastern and South Asian History at the University of Michigan. He is also the author of the blog Informed Comment at and the author of, Engaging the Muslim World, and most recently, Muhammad: Prophet of Peace Amid the Clash of Empires. We discuss his article at Democracy for the Arab World Now, DAWN, “The Other Israel-Gaza Conflict: On Campus.”


After a Death Sentence From the Texas AG and Supreme Court, a Pregnant Woman Escapes the State For an Abortion

Then finally, with Kate Cox the 20 week pregnant woman in Texas escaping the death sentence imposed by the Texas AG and Supreme Court who were denying her a life-saving abortion as the clock runs out for her, having gone out of state for an abortion today, we speak with Frances Kissling, the president of the Center for Health, Ethics and Social Policy. A visiting professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico where teaches Reproductive Health and Ethics, she serves on the board of the Journal of Feminist Ethics and was the President of Catholics for Choice for 25 years, stepping down when she became a Radicliffe fellow at Harvard.