Is Syria Back on the Front Burner?
Gorsuch Sworn in With Victory Smiles
Making the Visitor Logs to the White House Public Again
We will begin with the G7 nations meeting in Italy to find a unified approach to pressure Russia to distance itself from Syria’s Assad regime following its use of chemical weapons on children. Nader Hashemi, the Director of the Center For Middle East Studies at the University of Denver and author of the new book “Sectarianization: Mapping the New Politics of the Middle East” joins us to discuss his latest article at CNN, “Obama’s Syria Mistake is now Trump’s Problem”. We will assess whether Assad’s latest atrocity has brought the Syrian conflict back onto the front burner after it appeared that the fall of Aleppo meant that Assad, the Russians and Iranians had won the war and that the U.S. was prepared to accept that reality and go along with a Russian plan to keep Assad in power as this war that has destroyed Syria enters its seventh year.
Then we will look into the Rose Garden ceremony today where Judge Gorsuch was sworn in amid sunny smiles and spring flowers as the president Senator McConnell and Senator Grassley celebrated a great victory for which Justice Gorsuch thanked them without any mention of the seat stolen from Judge Garland and that the U.S. Senate was blown up in order to get Gorsuch on the Supreme Court. Elizabeth Wydra, President of the Constitutional Accountability Center, joins us to discuss the important cases before the court that Gorsuch will now rule on.
Then finally we will speak with Josh Gerstein, a Senior White House reporter at Politico, about his latest article at Politico “New suit demands Trump White House visitor logs”, and discuss how what used to be public information, is kept under wraps by the new Administration so that the identity of Trump’s visitors to the White House, Trump Tower and Mar-a-Lago remain secret. We will also examine how being a member of Trump’s private club in Florida has its benefits with the Koch brothers enjoying a table-side chat with Trump as a perk that goes along with William Koch’s $200,000 annual membership of Mar-a-Lago.
We begin with Donald Trump’s announced change of mind over Syria following the Assad regime’s use of Sarin gas on Syrian children and assess the likelihood of a punitive strike by the U.S. military against Assad’s military and Intelligence infrastructure. Thanassis Cambanis joins us from Beirut to provide a local perspective on the new rumors of war. He writes “The Internationalist” column for The Boston Globe and is a contributor to Foreign Policy and the author of “A Privilege to Die: Inside Hezbollah’s Legions and Their Endless War Against Israel”. We will discuss how much Trump himself is responsible for unwittingly signaling to Assad that he has a green light to escalate his depravity following the White House love fest with the Egyptian dictator General Sisi and the callously stupid remarks by Secretary of State Tillerson that Assad’s fate should be decided by the Syrian people.
Then we look into the meeting and banquet underway at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago retreat between China’s President Xi and President Trump and explore the steep learning curve Trump has as he retreats from heated campaign rhetoric calling global warming a hoax invented by the Chinese and erroneously charging China with currency manipulation. Scott Kennedy, the deputy director of the Freeman Chair in China Studies and the Director of the Project on Chinese Business and Political Economy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, joins us to discuss the meet and greet between these leaders and their wives.
Then finally, with tensions over North Korea very much on the agenda in discussions with President Xi following Donald Trump’s remark that “If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will”, we will speak with former State Department senior analyst, Stephen Noerper, a senior director for policy at the Korea Society who was a fellow at Korea’s Institute for Foreign affairs and National Security. He joins us to examine the limited options Trump has now that his Secretary of State has declared the era of strategic patience with the Kim regime is over.
We begin with the upcoming visit to Donald Trump’s Mar-a-logo retreat this week by China’s President Xi Jinping and the extent to which the Chinese have already learned that the way to get things done with Trump is to work through the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. Michael Fuchs, the former deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asia and Pacific Affairs joins us to discuss the extraordinary and growing broad portfolio that the 36 year old with no prior government experience has taken on, and the marginalization of the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, as well as the latest antics of the tweeter-in-chief whose daily distractions appear to provide the Republican Congress with cover to enact an unpopular and reactionary agenda while the press and public are fixated on the latest White House scandal.
Then we will go to Caracas, Venezuela to speak withVirginia Lopez, a Venezuelan journalist who covered Latin America and Venezuela for The Guardian and Al Jazeera English. Since most foreign correspondents have had their visas revoked by the Maduro government, she has not yet been kicked out of her own country and we will discuss the reversal of the Supreme Court’s ruling to strip congress of its legislative powers and the political exhaustion of the Venezuelan people who have to spend most of their energy lining up for food and basic staples.
Then finally, with the Koch brothers backing the rebellious Freedom Caucus and now imperiling Trump and Ryan’s tax overhaul plans, we will look into the takeover of the Republican Party by Southern reactionaries and moneyed libertarians with Kevin O’Leary, a research fellow at the Center for the Study of Democracy at the University of California, Irvine and author of “How the Sinister Union of Southern Reactionaries and Moneyed Libertarians Hijacked America”.