Tag: libra

Background Briefing: June 23, 2019


The Alarming Amateurism of Trump’s National Security Team

We begin with warnings to Iran from John Bolton standing next to Prime Minister Netanyahu in Israel not to mistake U.S. prudence and discretion for weakness and examine reports that U.S. Cyber Command has launched cyber attacks against the intelligence arm of the IRGC, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, targeting their capability to track tankers in the Gulf.  A former veteran CIA officer who operated in the Middle East and is now an intelligence and national security affairs analyst for CNN, Robert Baer, joins us to discuss the shocking amateurism of the Trump national security team now absent a Secretary of Defense, and subject to the whims of an unqualified and indecisive commander-in-chief who often acts on the advice of Fox News hosts or the last person he talked to. With Vice President Pence dutifully doing clean-up for his boss insisting as Trump claimed that rogue elements in Iran were acting independently of the leadership when they shot down the U.S. Global Hawk drone, we will assess whether a country which the U.S. is throttling with economic warfare, is on a war footing with the Supreme Leader and the IRGC fully in control and calling the shots. And since many of the U.S.’s closest allies either do not believe Trump or take him seriously, we will look into whether escorting tankers with coalition warships as was done during the “tanker wars” of 1988 is now a possibility.


Will the Mullahs Take up Trump on His Promise to Make Iran Great Again?

Then we speak with revolutionary Iran’s first ambassador to the United Nations, Mansour Farhang, a professor emeritus of international relations at Bennington College. He joins us to discuss whether the hawks running Iran who Trump has rewarded by pulling out of the nuclear deal, are in any way likely to make a deal now that Trump has promised to “make Iran great again”. Trump even thanked the IRGC for not shooting down a U.S. spy plane with 30 on board and we will assess whether the Supreme Leader is capable of exploiting Trump’s eagerness to engage in talks since the regime is able to blame all of Iran’s problems on the Americans, not the theocratic kleptocracy they represent.


The Dangers Inherent in Facebook’s Global Currency

Then finally we examine last week’s announcement by Facebook, in partnership with Uber, Spotify, PayPal, Mastercard and VISA, that they will lead the effort to create a new global currency the “Libra”. Michael Hiltzik, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and columnist for The Los Angeles Times who writes the twice-weekly column “Golden State”, joins us to discuss his latest article at the LA Times “Facebook currency plan is a play for suckers”. We look into how Facebook’s global currency would break down the wall between banking and commerce and given the nature of their business model of surveillance capitalism, the dangers inherent in Facebook knowing everything about your account balance and spending.