Background Briefing: January 16, 2023
On MLK Day: Taking on the Jan. 6 Coalition of Racists, Christian Nationalists, Anti-Government Radicals and the Freedom Caucus
We begin on Martin Luther King Day with an examination of the history of white resistance from those who Ralph Waldo Emerson described as “fanatics of freedom: they hate tolls, taxes, turnpikes, banks, hierarchies, governors, yea almost laws”. Joining us is Jefferson Cowie, who holds the Chair in American History at Vanderbilt University. He is the author of Stayin’ Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class and The Great Exception: The New Deal and the Limits of American Politics. His latest book, just out is Freedom’s Dominion: A Saga of White Resistance to Federal Power. We discuss how freedom for white men to enslave Blacks and exterminate Native Americans meant freedom to oppress other people and how “liberty” in the eyes of those who stormed the Capitol on January 6 now threatens life and the pursuit of happiness for the multi-cultural majority of Americans whose freedom Governor Ron DeSantis derides as “wokeness.”
Could Russia’s Indifference Allow Another Genocide of Armenians?
Then we assess the possibility that Armenians trapped in the enclave of Nagorno Karabakh could face genocide from Azeris egged on by Turkey’s Erdogan while the Russians who are supposed to keep open the only bridge in and out of the landlocked enclave appear indifferent or helpless to fulfill their role as peacekeepers. Joining us is David Phillips, the Director of the Peace-building and Rights Program at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University and 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, and most recently Frontline Syria: From Democratic Revolution to Proxy War. He has an article at The National Interest ”Could Biden Have Stopped Russia From Invading Ukraine?“
Japan Joins in a New Arms Race in North East Asia
Then finally we assess the possibility of an arms race in North East Asia following Friday’s White House meeting between Biden and Japan’s Prime Minister Kishida at which pledges were made to increase defenses to counter China’s rise and military threats against Taiwan. Joining us is Ellis Krauss, professor emeritus of Japanese politics and policy-making at the University of California, San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy. He is a leading expert on Japanese politics and US-Japan relations and his books include, The Rise and Fall of Japan’s LDP: Political Party Organizations as Institutions, Beyond Bilateralism: U.S.-Japan Relations in the New Asia Pacific and Reluctant Warriors: Germany, Japan, and Their U.S. Alliance Dilemma.