January 26 - Greece's New Prime Minister and Finance Minister; The Obama/ Modi Summit and the U.S./ India/ China Strategic Triangle; The Tea Party Republican Presidential Hopeful’s Iowa Freedom Summit

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We begin with the new government in Greece led by Alexis Tsipras the head of the left wing Syriza Party, whose first act was to form a governing coalition with a right wing anti-immigrant party Independent Greeks. Economist James Galbraith, a Professor of Public Policy at the University of Texas at Austin, joins us. He wrote an op-ed back in June at The New York Times with Greece’s now-new Finance Minister Yanis Varoukasis, “Only Syriza Can Save Greece”, and we discuss how Syriza, which is an acronym for “Radical Coalition of the Left”, can meet the expectations of its voters and get out from under the debt burden and the austerity imposed by Greece’s creditors which the new finance minister described as “fiscal water-boarding policies that have turned Greece into a debt colony”.

james galbraith

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Then we examine the substance behind the atmospherics of President Obama’s visit to India where he watched the colorful Republic Day parade of mostly Soviet and Russian military hardware with India’s Prime Minister Modi, the first American head of state to do so in 65 previous parades. Ashley Tellis, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace who served on the National Security Council staff as a special assistant to the president and senior director for strategic planning and Southwest Asia, joins us to discuss the revival of the nuclear power deal between the two countries and efforts to persuade India to deal with global warming.

ashley tellis

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Part 3

Then finally we look into this last weekend’s Iowa Freedom Summit of Tea Party Republican presidential candidates, and get a report from Robert Leonard who covered the 2008 and 2012 Iowa caucuses for KNIA/KRLS Radio in Knoxville and Pella, Iowa. He has an article at Salon.com “The world has gone to hell: A weekend at the Iowa Freedom Summit” and we discuss the performances of the crowded bench of Republican presidential hopefuls who showed up in this important primary state, and the notable absence of Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, Marco Rubio, bobby Jindal and Rand Paul.

robert leonard

 

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January 25 - An Analysis of the Saudi Succession; What's Behind the Saudi Oil Strategy?; A New Left Party Takes Over in Greece

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We begin with the succession in Saudi Arabia following the death of King Abdullah and the pilgrimage of world leaders, including President Obama who is cutting short his visit to India, to the oil-rich family kingdom to pay their respects to the new king, Salman, at a time when Saudi foreign policy seems to be collapsing all around the kingdom. Lina Khatib, the Director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut joins us to discuss the likely tenure of the new king who is reported to have Alzheimer’s and the role of the Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef who recently took over the Syria portfolio from the former defense minister Prince Bandar Bin Sultan.

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Then we examine the kingdom and its future further with Robert Lacy, a British historian and bestselling author whose latest book is “Inside the Kingdom: Kings, Clerics, Modernists, Terrorists, and the Struggle for Saudi Arabia”. He joins us to discuss the validity of the constant refrain in the media that the late King Abdullah was a reformer and that his successor will carry on his policies. We will also look into the Saudi strategy of flooding the global market to lower the price of oil which is hurting the “frackers” in the U.S., not to mention Iran, Russia and Venezuela.

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Then finally we go to Athens, Greece for an update on the results of Sunday’s critical election expected to bring the new leftist Syriza Party to power which will shake up the eurozone since Syriza’s leader Alexis Tsipras has vowed “a return of social dignity and social justice” that is expected to involve a renegotiation of Greece’s debt arrangements and the austerity measures imposed on the Greek people after a series of bailouts by the EU and the ECB. John Brady Kiesling, a former political counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Athens who now lives in Athens and is the author of the new book “Greek Urban Warriors: Resistance and Terrorism 1967 – 2014” joins us to discuss the political earthquake underway in Greece and its likely fallout.   

john brady kiesling

 

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January 22 - The Bizarre Political Drama Underway in Argentina; Will the ECB's QE Jump Start the Ailing Eurozone?; Obama's Belated Epiphany

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We begin with the political drama underway in Argentina where the country’s top prosecutor was murdered hours before he was to appear before the Congress to reveal a government cover-up of Iran’s role in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires in which 85 people died. Peter Hakim, president emeritus of the Inter-American Dialogue, joins us to discuss the bizarre reversal of Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner who first claimed the prosecutor’s death was suicide, but is now saying it was not, even though the prosecutor was charging that she was involved in a plot to cover up Iran’s role in the bombing.

 

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Then we examine the European Central Bank’s infusion of 1.1 trillion Euros into the ailing eurozone economies with Quantitative Easing similar to what the Federal Reserve has done to revive the U.S. economy. Joining us from London is economist Stephany Griffith Jones, a Fellow at the Overseas Development Institute in London and the Director of the Financial Markets Program at the Initiative for Policy Dialogue at Columbia University. We  discuss the connection between Europe’s economic slump and the rise of right wing parties and the report by Oxfam released on the eve of the gathering of the global elite now underway in Davos, Switzerland that finds more than half of global wealth is controlled by 1% of the world’s population.

 

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Then finally we speak with Michael Brenner, a Professor of International Affairs at the University of Pittsburg and a Senior Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. We discuss his article at The Huffington Post “Obama’s Epiphany” and Obama’s State of the Union speech that Michael Brenner argues is six years and three elections too late, and the gap between the president’s rhetoric and the current political realities.

 

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January 21 - The Republican's Deliberate Slap in the Face to Obama's SOTU; The Diplomatic Opening Underway in Havana, Cuba; Obama, the Democrats, and the "Inclusive Capitalism" Movement

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We begin with the first response to Obama’s State of the Union from the Republicans which is an invitation from Speaker Boehner to Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu to address the Congress, aimed clearly as a slap in the face to Obama’s foreign policy efforts in coordination with the U.K., France, China, Russia and Germany, to curb Iran’s nuclear program and end its isolation. M.J. Rosenberg, who served as the Director of Policy Analysis for the Israel Policy Forum and was an editor of Near East Report, the American Israel Public Affairs (AIPAC’s) biweekly publication on Middle East Policy, joins us to discuss whether this poke in the eye to Obama will backfire in Israel and hurt Netanyahu’s reelection chances.

 


 

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Then we look into the diplomatic opening underway in Havana in talks between the top U.S. diplomat for Latin America, Roberta Jacobson and her Cuban counterpart Josefina Vidal, the head of the Cuban Foreign Ministry’s North American affairs division. William Leogrande, a Professor of Government at American University and co-author of “Back Channel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations between Washington and Havana” joins us to discuss the likely outcome of the first talks in 38 years involving a top U.S. official and the Cuban government.

 

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Then finally we speak with Thomas Edsall, a professor of journalism at Columbia University and the author of “The New Politics of Inequality” and “The Age of Austerity”. He joins us to discuss his op-ed in The New York Times “Can Capitalists Save Capitalism” and the emerging “inclusive capitalism” movement that seeks to make our capitalist system more equitable, more sustainable and more inclusive. We will discuss elements of “inclusive capitalism” in the president’s State of the Union address and the White House’s economic agenda of tax increases on the 1% aimed at bringing about “higher median incomes, lower poverty rates, and broader, more inclusive growth”.  

 

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January 20 - America Loses Its Ally Against AQAP in Yemen; Will Hezbollah Retaliate and What Happened to the Egyptian Revolution?; Two White House Speechwriters on the SOTU

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We begin with what is being called a coup in Yemen where rebel Houthi fighters have swept into the presidential palace in the capitol Sanaa, raising concerns in Washington that America may have lost its ally in the war against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, President Hadi. Dr Sheila Carapico, a Professor of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Richmond and the author of “Civil Society in Yemen: The Political Economy of Activism in Modern Arabia”, joins us to discuss the U.S.’s singular focus on al Qaeda and its reliance on Saudi Arabia to stabilize Yemen which had its own version of the Arab spring and where the population is increasingly anxious about American drone strikes.

 

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Then we speak with Lebanon-based journalist Thanassis Cambanis who writes “The Internationalist” column for The Boston Globe and is the author of “A Privilege to Die: Inside Hezbollah’s Legions and Their Endless War Against Israel” and his latest book, “Once Upon a Revolution: An Egyptian Story”. We will first discuss the likelihood that Hezbollah will retaliate against Israel for the killing of an Iranian General on the Golan Heights and then the revolution in Egypt and why it failed and why it will eventually come back, probably in a more violent and bloody incarnation.

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Part 3

Then finally we speak with two presidential speechwriters about President Obama’s upcoming State of the Union speech and the roles and rituals involved in producing these speeches that involve the input of many and the final editing of one. Paul Glastris, the Editor in Chief of The Washington Monthly and a former special assistant and senior speechwriter to President Bill Clinton and David Halperin, a senior fellow at Republic Report and a former White House speechwriter and special assistant for national security affairs to President Clinton, join us to discus the upcoming SOTU and its likely themes and focus.

david halperin

 

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