June 10, 2018

Trump Forges a Global Realignment Rewarding Despots While Punishing Allies
The Now-Obvious Hold Putin Has Over Trump
“Nicaragua on the Brink of Calamity”

Program Notes

We begin with the politics of petulance as the man-child and leader of the free world blows up alliances and tramples on relations with traditional allies while reaching out to rehabilitate Russia and reward China as our president forges a radical global realignment with despots and kleptocrats with Trump, like a Godfather meeting with fellow mob bosses to carve up territory, announcing that “we’ve got a world to run”. Thomas Nichols, a professor of national security affairs at the Naval War College whose latest book is “The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters” joins us to discuss the extraordinary inversion of national security priorities as Trump embraces enemies and trashes allies with an insulting attack on America’s closest neighbor and ally Canada at the same time elevating one of the world’s worst dictators with praise and prestige. We look into Trump’s childish reversal over an imaginary sleight by Canada’s Prime Minister who Trump gratuitously demeaned, rejecting a consensus reached at the G-7.  And the unreal nature of the reality TV summit about to take place in Singapore where the theatrics of an easy deal with a do-over dictator is about to be sold as great global statesmanship.

Then we explore the now obvious hold that Vladimir Putin has over Donald Trump with Trump’s own Director of National Intelligence at a meeting in France warning that Putin is trying to divide the NATO alliance while at the same time Trump calls for Putin’s re-admission to the G-7 at the testy meeting in Quebec at which the British Prime Minister was hoping to get a unanimous condemnation of Russia for their nerve gas attack on British soil.  Roger Morris, who served on the National Security Council under both Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, until resigning with Anthony Lake over the bombing of Cambodia, whose latest book is the comparative history of the U.S. and the USSR, “Kindred Rivals: America, Russia and Their Failed Ideals”, joins us to discuss the disturbing possibility that our president is Putin’s puppet.

Then finally we speak with Stephen Kinzerwho served as The New York Times bureau chief in Nicaragua and is a senior fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs about his article at The Boston Globe “Nicaragua on the Brink of Calamity”. He joins us to discuss how for the second time in many generations, Nicaraguans are rebelling against a decadent family regime and efforts by the Catholic bishops to get the authoritarian leader Daniel Ortega to stop shooting down peaceful protesters and agree on a new election.

Thomas Nichols | Roger Morris | Stephen Kinzer