Background Briefing: January 3, 2022
Putin and Biden and NATO Continue to Speak Past Each Other Ahead of Talks in Geneva
We begin with diplomatic efforts to avoid a war between Russia and Ukraine as the Biden White House and its NATO allies and Putin and the Kremlin continue to speak past each other with one side threatening “decisive” sanctions and the other making unrealistic demands while whipping up war fever on State media. Joining us is Michael Gorham, Professor of Russian Studies at the University of Florida and author of two award-winning books on Russian language, culture and politics: After Newspeak: Language Culture and Politics in Russia from Gorbachev to Putin and Speaking in Soviet Tongues: Language Culture and the Politics of Voice in Revolutionary Russia. In addition to two co-edited volumes, “Digital Russia: The Language, Culture”, and “Politics of New Media Communication” and “The Culture and Politics of Verbal Prohibition in Putin’s Russia”, he has recently published articles devoted to the political and rhetorical impact of trolls, hackers, blogging bureaucrats, tweeting presidents, dictators on Instagram, Alexey Navalny on YouTube, and the Putin administration’s recent efforts to enlist all legislative, technological, and rhetorical means possible to establish a “sovereign internet” independent of the World Wide Web. We discuss what can be achieved in the crucial talks in Geneva on January 9-10 to satisfy Russian security concerns and whether Putin’s overwrought rhetoric aimed at vindicating Russia’s wounded pride along with his massive troop deployments make it difficult for him to back down.
The DOJ’s Failure to Stop the Rewriting of History of Jan. 6 and Putin’s Ties to Trump
Then we examine concerns that Merrick Garland’s Justice Department is not doing enough to stop the rewriting of history by Trump and his followers both in terms of whitewashing the January 6 insurrection and further muddying the waters to obscure Trump’s connections to Putin and the Kremlin’s involvement in getting him elected. Joining us is Scott Horton, a professor at Columbia Law School and is a contributing editor at Harper’s in legal affairs and national security. He serves on the American branch of the International Law Association, and has represented a variety of journalists and whistleblowers.
What Patriotic Americans Can Do to Save Their Democracy From the Resurgence of Plutocratic Populism
Then finally we speak with Ian Haney López, the Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley and the author of Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class and Merge Left: Fusing Race and Class, Winning Elections, and Saving America. We discuss his essay at Protect Democracy, “Can Democracy (and the Democratic Party) Survive Racism as a Strategy? An Argument for Race-Class Fusion Politics,” and with Trump’s GOP actively engineering an electoral coup following the failed attempt on January 6, we discuss what patriotic Americans can do to save their democracy from the resurgence of plutocratic populism.