Day: February 8, 2024

Background Briefing: February 8, 2024

The Contrast Between the Transparent Leadership Change in Ukraine and Putin Cancelling the Token Opposition Candidate Because He Was Too Popular

We begin with today’s expected announcement from President Zelensky’s office that the head of Ukraine’s military will be replaced which coincides with a senate vote of 67 to 32 to advance a stand-alone bill with aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan which faces an uncertain vote in the House. Joining us to discuss the former comedian turned wartime leader and the stark difference between the open and transparent nature of Ukrainian politics compared to the dictatorship behind the Kremlin walls which just cancelled the token opposition candidate because he was gaining popularity is Simon Shuster, a reporter for Time Magazine based in New York City, by way of Moscow, Kyiv and Berlin.  He has previously covered Russia and the former Soviet Union for Reuters, The Associated Press, The Moscow Times and Foreign Policy, and his latest book, just out, is The Showman: Inside the Invasion that Shook the World and Made a Leader of Volodymyr Zelensky. We discuss his latest article at Time Magazine, “‘This Is the Way Out’: Inside Ukraine’s Plan to Arm Itself.”


Looking Ahead at the Fact-Free and Violence-Prone 2024 Election

Then, with the Supreme Court hearing today on Colorado’s case to ban Trump from the ballot clearly signaling a win for Trump, we will look ahead at a fact-free violence-prone election ahead and speak with Rick Perlstein, the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan and  Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America as well as Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus and, most recently, Reaganland: America’s Right Turn 1976-1980. He is currently a contributing editor and board member of In These Times magazine and also a contributor to the American Prospect where his latest article is “The REAL Threat at Our Border Trump: Republican governors, and MAGA media have summoned their armed fanatics to the Rio Grande.”

17 Donor Nations Refuse to Fund UNWRA Based on a Disputed Israeli Dossier

Then finally, with 17 donor nations refusing to fund UNWRA based on an Israeli dossier many are disputing, we speak with Michael Bociurkiw, a global affairs analyst and a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. Currently based in Ukraine, he was previously the UNICEF spokesperson for Gaza and the West Bank and we discuss his article at CNN, “UNWRA’s day of reckoning is near.”