Day: April 21, 2024

Background Briefing: April 21, 2024


Meeting Ukraine’s Needs as Russia Mobilizes for a June Offensive

We begin with the long-delayed $61 billion aid package for Ukraine passed by the House on Saturday 311 to 112 with all the Democrats for it and Republicans voting 112 to 101 against it. Joining us to discuss what Ukraine needs as Russia prepares for a June offensive, with as many as 300,000 recruits mobilized, while the Ukrainians are having trouble holding the line as they run out of troops and ammunition, is Aram Shabanian, the Open-Source Information Gathering Manager at New Lines Institute. He recently taught in Non-Proliferation and Terrorism Studies at Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey where his research focused on the Cold War and contemporary histories of Eastern Europe and the Middle East.


How Ukraine Will Survive and Adjust to Permanent War

Then we get a perspective from Ukraine on this belated boost to flagging morale as “Moscow Marjorie” and Trump’s pro-Putin caucus for months have been doing Putin’s bidding to the detriment of an out-gunned and out-manned country under attack from its imperialist neighbor. Joining us is Nataliya Gumenyuk, a Ukrainian journalist and CEO of the Public Interest Journalism Lab as well as Co-Founder of the Reckoning Project. We discuss her article at Foreign Affairs, “Brave New Ukraine: How the World’s Most Besieged Democracy Is Adjusting to Permanent War.”


The Deadly War in Gaza and Israel’s Tenuous Standoff With Iran as Both Israel and Palestine Appear to Be Leaderless and Directionless

Then finally we discuss the 366 to 58 House vote to approve a $26 billion aid package for Israel with 37 liberal Democrats voting NO because of no conditions on Netanyahu and examine the ongoing war in Gaza and Israel’s tenuous standoff with Iran as both Israel and Palestine appear to be leaderless and directionless. Joining us is Steven Simon, who served on the National Security Council staff as senior director for Middle Eastern and North African affairs from 2011 to 2012. He also worked on the NSC staff 1994 to 1999 on counterterrorism and Middle East security policy. He is currently a Fellow in International Affairs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the co-author of The Age of Sacred Terror, and his latest, Grand Delusion: The Rise and Fall of American Ambition in the Middle East. We discuss his article at Foreign Affairs, “The Middle East Is Still Post-American: The Gaza War Exposes the Limits of Washington’s Power—and the Risks of Overreach.”