Background Briefing: February 12, 2024

Trump Alarms Allies Saying He Would Encourage Russia To Do “Whatever the Hell They Want” to a NATO Country

We begin with Trump’s remarks at a rally on Saturday saying that he would encourage Russia (Putin) to do “whatever the hell they want” to any NATO member who does not meet defense spending targets. Joining us to discuss the alarm in Europe in contrast to the weaseling from Republican Senator Rubio and agreement with Trump from Senator Cotton is Joshua Shifrinson, a Professor at the Center for International Security Studies at The University of Maryland. His research focuses on U.S. grand strategy, the durability of NATO, U.S. relations with its allies during and after the Cold War, and the rise of China. He is the author of Rising Titans, Falling Giants: How Great Powers Exploit Power Shifts.


Why Aren’t Journalists and Democratic Strategists Exposing Trump’s Obvious Ties to Putin?

Then we look into this glaring example of Putin’s hold over Trump with the wannabe despot sucking up to the murderous despot for reasons that should be a priority for investigative journalists and Democratic strategists alike. Joining us is Scott Horton, a professor at Columbia Law School and is a contributing editor at Harper’s in legal affairs and national security. He serves on the American branch of the International Law Association, and has represented a variety of journalists and whistleblowers.  


Is Pakistan on the Brink of Economic and Civil Collapse?

Then finally we assess how close Pakistan is to economic collapse and civil war with a stinging rebuke to the army’s control over domestic politics in an election where the jailed former leader who fell out of favor with the army just won a majority of 102 seats in parliament compared to the nearest rival party with 73 seats. Joining us is Shuja Nawaz, a native of Pakistan who has worked as a journalist, a television producer, and a political and strategic analyst. He is the founding Director and Distinguished Fellow of the South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council and the author of Crossed Swords: Pakistan, Its Army, and the Wars Within and his latest book is The Battle for Pakistan: The Bitter US Friendship and a Tough Neighborhood.