Background Briefing: February 20, 2024

The US Again Gives Israel Cover Vetoing a UN Resolution For an Immediate Ceasefire in Gaza

We begin with the US vetoing a UN resolution put forth by Algeria for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza while offering an alternative draft resolution urging a temporary ceasefire on the condition that all hostages are released. Joining us to discuss the plight of the Palestinians trapped in the crowded enclave at the Egyptian border as the death count approaches 30,000 is Wendy Pearlman, a professor of political science and director of the Middle East and North Africa studies program at Northwestern University. Her books include Violence, Nonviolence, and the Palestinian National Movement and Triadic Coercion: Israel’s Targeting of States That Host Nonstate Actors, and we discuss her essay in New Lines Magazine, “The Erasure of Palestinian Society.”


The American Right’s 100-Year Romance With Foreign Dictators

Then, with the Trump-led pro-Putin caucus in the House rewarding the murderous Russian dictator while abandoning the victims of his aggression in Ukraine, we look into the American right’s 100-years embrace of dictators and speak with Jacob Heilbrunn, a Senior Editor at the National Interest, a non-resident senior fellow at The Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center, a columnist for The Spectator and the author They Knew They Were Right: The Rise of the Neocons. Previously, he was an editorial writer for the LA Times and a senior editor at the New Republic, and we discuss his latest book, out today, America Last: The Right’s Century-Long Romance with Foreign Dictators.


The Latest American Historians’ Survey That Has Donald Trump Dead Last in 45th Place

Then finally we assess the latest historians’ Presidents Day survey and speak with Justin Vaughn, a professor of political science at Coastal Carolina University who has just conducted the 2024 Presidential Greatness Project Expert Survey which he has been conducting since 2015. In a politically polarized country there was an unusual consensus among conservative, independent and liberal historians all of whom placed Donald Trump as the most polarizing president who was ranked dead last in 45th place.