Background Briefing: May 26, 2024

Many Staffers in Trump’s GOP Are White Nationalists Who Casually Use Nazi Terms Like “Unified Reich” Because That is Their Milieu and Mindset

We begin with the latest example of Trump’s worship of murderous dictators as he praised Putin, Xi, Orban and Kim Jong-Un at a rally on Thursday for being “at the top of their game.” We discuss the video Trump posted “What’s Next for America” which gushed that Trump would usher in an economic boom as a result of “the creation of a unified Reich.” Although the video was quickly taken down from Truth Social and its posting was blamed on a “staffer”, much of the coverage misses the point that goes beyond the problem of Trump to reveal that many staffers in Trump’s GOP are white nationalist who casually use Nazi terms because that is their milieu and their mindset. Joining us is David Austin Walsh, a postdoctoral associate at the Yale Program for the Study of Antisemitism and a College Fellow at the University of Virginia. He is the author of Taking America Back: The Conservative Movement and the Far Right and we discuss his article at The New York Times, “Do You Want a ‘Unified Reich’ Mind-Set in the White House?”


The Political Grifters Who Co-Opt Leftist Issues and Repackage Them in MAGA-Friendly Terms

Then we speak with Alexander Reid Ross, a scholar and activist who has spent over a decade working for environmental and social justice. His articles on the transnational far right have appeared in such publications as Haaretz, the Oregon Historical Quarterly, and Zeit Online, and he is the author of Against the Fascist Creep. He is quoted in an article at The Guardian, “MAGA Communism” The ‘ludicrous’ online movement seducing powerful people on the Right” and we investigate the political grifters who co-opt leftist issues and repackage them in MAGA-friendly terms that has Tucker Carlson and Alex Jones promoting their movement, which attacks “global elites” while emphasizing masculine “honor” in their admiration of Putin.   


As Armenia and Iran Come Together and Israel and Azerbaijan Grow Closer, There are Now 73 Israeli Bases in Azerbaijan Aimed at Iran

Then finally we examine the strategic realignments underway bringing Armenia and Iran together and Azerbaijan and Israel closer while Russia and Armenia drift apart as Iran supplies arms to both Russia and Armenia and Israel arms Azerbaijan. Joining us is David Phillips, Professor at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, a visiting scholar at Oxford and the former Director of the Peace-building and Rights Program at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University. A former senior adviser and foreign affairs expert to the U.S. Department of State during the administrations of Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama, he chaired the Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation Commission and the Track Two Program in Turkey and the Caucasus, and his books include Unsilencing the Past, Diplomatic History: The Turkey-Armenia Protocols. We assess whether, since Israel has over 70 bases in Azerbaijan, the helicopter carrying Iran’s President and Foreign Minister which took off from Azerbaijan, could have been sabotaged.