Day: December 12, 2023

Background Briefing: December 12, 2023


Zelensky Tries to Break the Deadlock as Republicans Hold Up Aid to Ukraine

We begin with President Zelensky’s efforts to break the deadlock on aid to Ukraine with his visit to Capitol Hill and the White House as domestic US politics threaten to hand Putin a win on the world stage because of the blindness of partisanship that has Republicans unable to allow Ukraine to win because they see that as giving Biden a win. 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, “A Containment Strategy for Ukraine: How the West Can Help Kyiv Endure a Long War.”


How Putin is Determined to Win His War On Ukraine

Then we speak with Olga Lautman,  a Non-resident Senior Fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis who is also the creator and co-host of the Kremlin File podcast series, which features expert discussions on the Kremlin’s internal affairs, global operations, and tactics used from their hybrid warfare toolkit to destabilize Western democracies. She has a new Substack newsletter covering Russia, Ukraine, Eastern, and Central Europe with a focus on Russia’s intelligence operations available at She joins us to discuss how Putin is determined to win, and because he does not believe Ukraine is a real country he is free to destroy it and its people.


Musk Offers a Preview of the Media Landscape Ahead if Trump Were to Win

Then finally we assess what kind on media landscape we can expect if and when Trump takes over, having got a preview on Sunday with Elon Musk hosting some of the most despicable lowlifes on the planet such as Alex Jones, along with the sex trafficker Andrew Tate, the disgraced General Flynn and the cringeworthy opportunist Ramaswamy. Joining us is Mike Rothschild, a journalist and conspiracy theory expert whose work has examined scams, frauds, moral panic, conspiracy theories, and how their impact has gone from the online world into everyday life. He has testified to Congress on the threat of election disinformation, and is the author of The Storm is Upon Us: How QAnon Became a Movement, Cult, and Conspiracy Theory of Everything, and his latest book, Jewish Space Lasers: The Rothschilds and 200 Years of Conspiracy Theories.