Tag: abraham lincoln

Background Briefing: September 9, 2019


Was the Aborted Summit About Trump’s Ego or Afghanistan’s Future?

We begin with President Trump’s abrupt withdrawal of an invitation to the Taliban to come to Camp David for peace talks with the Afghan government who have so far been excluded from ongoing negotiations between the Taliban and the U.S. Joining us is Peter Bergen, Vice President for Global Studies and a Fellow at the New America Foundation and a national security analyst at CNN where he has an article “Trump smells a bad deal, makes the right call on Taliban peace talks”. With Trump cancelling the Camp David meeting because the Taliban admitted to killing a U.S. soldier, we will discuss whether the Taliban leaders the U.S. have been negotiating with could actually deliver on a deal, particularly one involving a pledge to prevent terrorist groups like ISIS from launching future attacks on the U.S. from Afghan soil. And with the Trump administration treating the Taliban as if the group of 30,000 fighters is a government-in-waiting while simultaneously undercutting the legitimate Afghan government, some specialists on the region are dismissing the aborted summit as being all about Trump’s ego not Afghanistan’s future. Indeed what was shaping up might well have been a repeat of the Hanoi photo-op with Kim Jong-un which concluded in a no-deal summit, but now that Trump has closed the door not just on the Camp David meeting but has called off peace negotiations altogether, America’s longest war looks like it could be getting longer.


Can the Tenuous Deterrence Between Israel and Hezbollah Hold?

Then we speak with Lebanon-based journalist Thanassis Cambanis, who writes “The Internationalist” column for the Boston Globe and is a Senior Fellow at The Century Foundation. The author of “A Privilege to Die: Inside Hezbollah’s Legions and Their Endless War Against Israel”, he joins us to discuss the recent deep strikes against Iranian targets into Iraq and Syria by Israel as well as against Hezbollah bases in Beirut and whether the apparent but tenuous deterrence against a full-scale war between Israel and Hezbollah can be maintained in an increasing unstable region.


Comparing the Divided States of America Today to When the Country Was on the Brink of Civil War

Then finally we examine the divided states of America that exist today and the similarities to the chaos, corruption, racism and Know-Nothing nativism back when the country was poised on the brink of civil war, the subject of the latest book by Sidney Blumenthal just out, “All the Powers of Earth, The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln 1856-1860”. Sidney Blumenthal joins us to discuss the deficit of leadership today compared to how Lincoln battled against powerful demagogues in the struggle that divided the nation between free labor and slavery out of which the greatest president and moral leader in the nation’s history arose.