Steve and Soumi break out the second episode in a semi-regular series of deep dives into the 2020 U.S. presidential candidates’ foreign policy beliefs, histories, and plans for the most powerful country in the world... 'Merica!

Second up: Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

Four years ago, Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders burst onto the national political stage and pushed the Democratic party to grapple with its sizable population of progressive voters. While much of Bernie’s appeal is about domestic policies, (e.g. he wants billionaires and other fat cats to start paying their fair shore), what about his foreign policy?

Sanders wants to use the American military far less than any modern president…but says he’s not an isolationist.

He says he was against the ongoing war in Iraq…but that’s not so clear either.

What does he believe? What informs his foreign policy views?

This week, we’ll talk about Bernie’s views on alliances, treaties, international organizations, how and when to use the massive American military, and much, much more!

Please rate and review!

↓↓More info here↓↓

1.    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2020/02/bernie-sanders-doctrine-america-military-foreign-policy/606364/
2.    https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2019-06-24/ending-americas-endless-war
3.    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/02/24/sanders-winds-up-boosting-trump-foreign-policy/
4.    https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/01/bernie-sanders-is-running-on-a-moderate-foreign-policy.html
5. https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theatlantic.com/amp/article/583279/
6. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/sanders-opposition-iraq-war-was-more-complicated-he-presents-n1137541

The numbers on the #coronavirus (now known as #COVID) outbreak in China don't look good. In the past 3 weeks, there have been:
 
70,000+ new confirmed cases;
2,000+ COVID deaths;

and 150,000,000+ Chinese are under various levels of quarantine/restricted movement.

However, there is another, even more important number that we want to point out:

16,000+ full recoveries from coronavirus... and the majority of these have come without any special intervention at all.
 
This week, Steve and Soumi jump back into coronavirus to try to uncover the real stories underneath the crazy rumors and frightening numbers: major political damage to the Communist Party in China, an increasing degree of economic damage throughout Asia... and some good reasons to think that the virus--which may soon become a pandemic, and is certainly dangerous--still might not be as massive a threat as it's being made out to be.
 
Wash your hands, cough into your elbows, exercise common sense, and don't be afraid!
 
Please like, subscribe, review, and tell your friends!
 
 ↓↓More info here ↓↓
 
1.    https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6
2.    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/02/18/coronavirus-is-about-hit-africa-here-are-big-challenges/
3.    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-02-17/i-flew-to-see-my-parents-and-ended-up-in-coronavirus-quarantine
4.    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kf12P5nIZug
5.    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/01/timeline-china-coronavirus-spread-200126061554884.html
6.    https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2020/02/harvard-expert-says-coronavirus-likely-just-gathering-steam/

Steve and Soumi launch the first episode in a semi-regular series of deep dives into the 2020 U.S. presidential candidates’ foreign policy beliefs, histories, and plans for the most powerful country in the world... 'Merica!

First up: President Donald Trump.

Just over 3 years ago, Donald Trump assumed the presidency of the United States. So what’s happened in U.S. foreign policy since? Has he fulfilled campaign promises? Where has he succeeded? Where has he fallen short? What big changes has he made?

We talk about Trump’s approaches to alliances, the Middle East, China, the environment, the national security establishment and much, much more!

Please rate and review!

↓↓More info here ↓↓

1.    https://www.cnbc.com/2019/12/21/trump-signs-738-billion-defense-bill.html
2.    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/02/07/coronavirus-downed-iranian-jet-could-lead-to-historic-foreign-policy-wins-for-trump.html
3.    https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/united-states/2020-01-13/delicate-truce-us-chinese-trade-war
4.    https://www.foreignaffairs.com/lists/2018-01-19/trump-one
5.    https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2019-02-26/how-trump-killed-atlantic-alliance
6.    https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/world/2018-08-13/three-cheers-trumps-foreign-policy
7.    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/21/world/middleeast/us-troops-deployments.html

Let’s check in on Jared Kushner’s Middle East diplomacy math: 3 years spent + 25 books read + many consultations with various political leaders and area experts + zero consultations with Palestinians = a one-sided “peace deal” that has resulted in the disgusted and irate Palestinian side cutting off relations with the U.S. and Israel. Hmmm.

This is the quick read on the #Israel-#Palestine plan that @RealDonaldTrump’s son-in-law and White House jack-of-all-trades (but master of none) Jared Kushner delivered about a week ago. It appears dead on arrival, given that the only clear beneficiary is embattled Israeli Prime Minister and friend of the family, Benjamin “Bibi” #Netanyahu.

In this week’s episode we talk about the painful history of the Israel-Palestine conflict, the impact of the deal on Israeli and American domestic politics, and what the prospects for a lasting peace in the Holy Land look like going forward.

↓↓More info here ↓↓

1.    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-palestinians-plan-swap/arabs-in-israeli-border-towns-fear-trump-plan-will-transfer-them-to-west-bank-idUSKBN1ZX26N
2.    https://www.axios.com/pro-netanyahu-media-jared-kushner-west-bank-be6eb47c-bdb6-4cdb-b620-ec8b9f8a7bd7.html
3.    https://news.yahoo.com/abbas-says-palestinians-cutting-ties-israel-us-155754940.html
4.    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/02/top-eu-diplomat-warns-trump-middle-east-peace-plan-200204115952540.html
5.    https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/israel/2020-02-04/trumps-unfair-middle-east-plan-leaves-nothing-negotiate
6.    https://www.msn.com/en-us/music/video/kushner-stop-posturing-and-do-whats-best/vp-BBZpB4h
7.    https://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2020/02/02/0202-gps-jared-kushner-on-trumps-peace-plan.cnn

Since we first discussed the #coronavirus outbreak in China last week, A LOT has changed:  

  • There are now more than 7,800 confirmed #nCoV2019 cases and 212 deaths worldwide... as well as over a hundred full recoveries.
  • The vast majority of this activity remains in China, but we're seeing a handful of cases elsewhere, including other Asian countries, Germany, France, Australia, the United States, and Canada.
  • National health organizations are on high alert and WHO has declared a Global Health Emergency.
  • And China's major cities, including Wuhan, Shanghai, and Beijing, are entering progressively tougher states of quarantine and lockdown.

In this week’s episode, we discuss 3 big emerging challenges:

  1. Xi Jinping has a serious dilemma on his hands: he must balance fighting a massive public health crisis against minimizing economic impacts that could damage the Communist Party politically.
  2. In an information-sensitive environment, the spread of fake coronavirus news is running rampant, which will magnify the panic generated by an already serious situation.
  3. If the world's second-largest economy shuts down for an extended period of time, which now seems likely, is a global recession around the corner?

Please like and subscribe… and more importantly, be safe out there and wash your hands all the freaking time, even if you're not in China, because it's flu season!

Further reading:

1.    https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6
2.    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-29/coronavirus-timeline-from-wuhan-china-to-global-crisis/11903298
3.    https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/airline-news/2020/01/28/coronavirus-outbreak-airport-screening-seattle-detroit-la-chicago-jfk-dallas/4596689002/
4.    https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2020/01/china-coronavirus-twitter/605644/
5.    https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2020/01/how-fast-and-far-will-new-coronavirus-spread/605632/
6.    https://time.com/5772134/coronavirus-mild-symptoms/

This week, Steve and Soumi discuss the new #Coronavirus, the threats of pandemics in a globalized world, and what countries can do to handle problems that are bigger than nations.

Buckle up cuz #pandemics can come at you fast! Observe what's happened in the last three weeks:

December 31: China tells the World Health Organization (#WHO) about concerning pneumonia-like cases in Wuhan—the hub of central China’s (population 8-ish million). A quarantine and search for the sickness’s origins begin.

January 1: The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (#CDC) isolates the virus's origin to a Wuhan open-air livestock market; it’s promptly closed.

January 9: #WHO announces the sickness is new kind of coronavirus (like #SARS or #MERS). For now, it’s called #2019-nCov.

January 11: #2019-nCov claims its first life—a 61-year-old native of Wuhan; 41 Chinese diagnosed.

January 13: First #2019-nCov case reported in Thailand.

January 16: First #2019-nCov case reported in Japan.

January 17: Second #2019-nCov fatality reported. CDC starts screening Wuhan-passengers arriving into American airports (SFO, LAX, and JFK).

January 20: 3rd #2019-nCov fatality reported. 200+ cases reported in China. Chinese leaders publicly confirm that #2019-nCov is transmitting from person-to-person.Cases reported in #USA and #SouthKorea.

January 22: Airports around the world begin screening passengers arriving from Wuhan. The WHO weighs declaring a global health emergency.

January 23: China confirms 17 dead and 500+ cases. #LunarNewYear celebrations, China’s biggest holiday (January 25th), cancelled in several cities including Beijing. Travel in and out of Wuhan is severely restricted.

Additional reading:
1.    https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/21/health/wuhan-coronavirus-first-us-case-cdc-bn/index.html
2.    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-01-20/asian-stocks-poised-to-drift-oil-pares-gains-markets-wrap
3.    https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2017/02/07/512634375/map-find-out-what-new-viruses-are-emerging-in-your-backyard
4.    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-health-virus-factbox/what-we-know-about-the-new-coronavirus-spreading-in-china-and-beyond-idUSKBN1ZM0C7
5.    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-01-21/coronavirus-how-we-should-prepare-for-the-next-pandemic
6.    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2636331/
7.    https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/jan/23/coronavirus-timeline-from-wuhan-to-washington-state

January 8: The Iranian regime says Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 crashed a couple hours prior because of "mechanical errors."

January 11: Actually… we shot it down because we mistook it for an incoming missile. Also this is America’s fault! We will not take any questions about why a commercial flight was allowed to take off while we were launching missiles at the American troops in Iraq. Ahem. Yes.

Also January 11: Turning on a dime from mourning assassinated General Qassem #Soleimani to focusing rage on a hidebound regime, the Iranian people resume protesting in face of goons firing live ammo, even though 1500+ citizens have already died.

Now: These are extremely hard times in #Iran, where the 40-year-old Islamic Republic looks like it could be tottering. And you know what they say: a cornered foe can be more dangerous than a confident one...

This week, Steve and Soumi talk about the Islamic Republic's many difficult challenges, as well as how things in the Middle East could somehow be even scarier now than they were a month ago, even though everyone's stopped paying attention!

Further reading:
1.    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-51069090
2.    https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-01-14/soleimani-strike-shows-trump-plan-for-iran-is-regime-disruption
3.    https://www.npr.org/2020/01/14/796260687/iran-makes-arrests-over-accidental-downing-of-ukrainian-airliner
4.    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/13/business/economy/iran-economy.html?action=click&module=RelatedLinks&pgtype=Article
5.    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/14/world/europe/iran-nuclear-deal.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage
6.    https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2020-parliamentary-election-causing-anxiety-tehran-191213162204935.html

Follow this maze, if you can.

Last week, #Trump ordered the assassination of #Iran General Qassem #Soleimani as payback for Iran-linked Shia militias protesting in front of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, #Iraq.

The Iraqi parliament then passed a symbolic, non-binding measure to have the #Americans leave their country over this violation of Iraqi sovereignty. Meanwhile, after three days of official mourning for Soleimani, #Ayatollah # Khamenei violated Iraq’s sovereignty AGAIN by launching non-lethal missile attacks on Iraqi bases where American troops operate.

All this while folks all over the world were terrified that 41 years of tensions between Iran and the US would finally escalate into a proper, conventional war… or even #WW3!

At time of recording, it seemed as though tensions had receded somewhat, with Iran stating it had retaliated in a manner compliant with international law. Trump has come out and said that it's time to give diplomacy a chance. The Iraqis remain stuck in the middle.

BUT NOW, it appears that in this fog of almost-but-not-quite war, the Iranians may have accidentally(?) shot down a commercial flight filled with Iranians AND Canadians! Using Russian antiaircraft missiles!

This week, Steve and Soumi chip away at elucidating this incredibly tense and crazy situation.

Further Reading:

1.    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/09/30/the-shadow-commander
2.    https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-dangers-posed-by-the-killing-of-qassem-suleimani
3.    https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/30/middleeast/us-strikes-iraq-syria-analysis-intl/index.html
4.    https://www.ft.com/content/40dc36ee-2b15-11ea-a126-99756bd8f45e
5.    https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-finally-fires-back-at-iran-11577662029
6.    https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/contractor-whose-death-trump-cites-was-a-naturalized-us-citizen-born-in-iraq/2020/01/07/afa7e774-31ac-11ea-91fd-82d4e04a3fac_story.html
7.    https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/07/middleeast/plane-crash-iran-intl-hnk/index.html

*BREAKING NEWS ALERT*

Just before we were about to post this episode Thursday evening, President Trump ordered a targeted assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike on Baghdad Airport.

Welp.

Soleimani was a) not a good guy in any way, shape or form, being responsible for Iran's proxy militias and therefore countless deaths across the Middle East over the course of decades; b) a major Iranian military hero and a beloved political figure who may himself have been Ayatollah someday.

Make no mistake: this is a choice, on the part of the Trump Administration, for escalation and probable war in the Middle East.

No doubt we will have more details for you soon.

********************

Are the United States and Iran on the verge of war?
...Because of conflicts in Iraq?
...Even though neither country wants war? ESPECIALLY in Iraq?
...And do you need a flowchart to follow all the groups, interests, and possibilities entangled herein?

These questions are at the center of what looks like @RealDonaldTrump’s 1st big international crisis after a violent demonstration at U.S. Embassy in Baghdad by Iranian-backed Iraqi militias.

The militias have since withdrawn, but relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States remain at their tensest point in years and close Middle East watchers are starting to warn that these two countries might be about to sleepwalk into a large-scale military conflict.

This week, Steve and Soumi elucidate this mess by going over the history of U.S.-Iraq-Iran relations and what lies ahead in this very central part of the Middle East.

Further Reading:

1.    https://www.voanews.com/extremism-watch/irans-iraqi-militia-proxy-kataeb-hezbollah-explained?amp
2.    https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/30/middleeast/us-strikes-iraq-syria-analysis-intl/index.html
3.    https://www.ft.com/content/40dc36ee-2b15-11ea-a126-99756bd8f45e
4.    https://www.politico.com/news/2019/12/30/state-department-iraq-airstrikes-us-troops-091283
5.    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/30/world/middleeast/iraq-airstrikes-us-iran-militias.html
6.    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/iran-backed-militia-supporters-converge-on-us-embassy-in-baghdad-shouting-death-to-america/2019/12/31/93f050b2-2bb1-11ea-bffe-020c88b3f120_story.html

Q: How can a law offering a path to citizenship for religious refugees from neighboring countries lead to nationwide protests?

A: When the law excludes Muslims from that path... and there are already 200 MILLION Muslims in your country.

This week, Steve and Soumi discuss mass protests in India over Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s controversial Citizenship Amendment Act.

Since the law passed last week, Indians of all religions have taken to the streets to voice their displeasure. Social media and news reports showed awful video of police entering one Muslim university's library and beating students who appeared to be doing homework.

For his part, Modi, who has his own checkered past vis-a-vis Hindu-Muslim violence, has not done nearly enough to tamp down tensions, adding to suspicions that this is all part of his plan to Make India Hindu Again (even though it already largely is).

Further Reading:

1.    https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/india/2019-09-11/roots-hindu-nationalisms-triumph-india
2.    https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2019/12/16/21024306/india-protests-muslim-citizenship-amendment-bill
3.    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-50805092
4.    https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/citizenship-amendment-act-protest-hartal-live-updates-december-17-2019/article30326650.ece
5.    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-12-16/india-protests-show-modi-s-hardline-agenda-may-hurt-economy
6.    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/16/world/asia/india-citizenship-protests.html

PS: this will be our final show for 2019! See you (perfectly, har har) in 2020, fam.

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