December 20 - Germany's Right Blame Merkel For Terrorist Act; US National Security In the Hands of Conspiracy Theorists and Ethnic Nationalists; Russia, Turkey and Iran Announce a Peace Deal for Syria

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Full Program


Part 1

We begin with the second terrorist attack in Europe where a big-rig truck was used as a weapon of mass destruction, this time plowing into shoppers at a Christmas market in Berlin. Thomas Berger, Professor of International Relations at Boston University who specializes in German politics, joins us to discuss how already the leader of the far right Alternative for Germany party has labeled the victims of an attack that the Islamic State is taking credit for, “Merkel’s dead”, indicating how explosive a political issue it will be if the perpetrator turns out to be a refugee from the Middle East. We also examine how right wing parties across Europe are stoking anti-immigrant xenophobia which plays into the hands of the Islamic State who want to drive a wedge between refugees and Muslims in Europe and the populations of the host countries.


Part 2

Then we look into why Trump’s new national security advisor General Michael Flynn met recently with the head of Austria’s anti-immigrant Freedom Party which was founded by former Nazis. Daniel Serwer, Professor and Director of the Conflict Management Program and Senior Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, joins us to discuss the capture of U.S. national security and strategy by conspiracy theorists, ethnic nationalists and anti-Semites who are the top close advisors of a president-elect who is an anti-immigration bigot who ran on a platform of ethnic cleansing of Mexicans and Muslim immigrants.

Part 3

Then finally we examine the announcement today in Moscow by the foreign ministers of Russia, Turkey and Iran that they are ready to act as guarantors in a peace deal between the Syrian government and the opposition. Henri Barkey, the Director of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars joins us to discuss the growing anti-American and pro-Russian rhetoric coming from Erdogan’s government that prompted Secretary of State Kerry to raise concerns about allegations of American involvement in the assassination of the Russian Ambassador which Erdogan blames on Fethullah Gulen, the exiled cleric living in the United States.