May 21 - In Saudi Arabia, Trump Vows to Meet "History's Greatest Test"; A Former CIA Official on Trump's Loose Lips; Trump Blames Iran For Chaos in the Middle East

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Full Program


Part 1

We begin with speech by President Trump in Saudi Arabia before more than 40 leaders of Muslim nations in which he condemned extremism and terrorism as not “a battle between different faiths” but “a battle between good and evil”. Natana DeLong-Bas, a Professor of Theology at Boston University who is an expert on Wahhabism, Salafism and Jihadism and is the author of “Jihad for Islam: The Struggle for the Future of Saudi Arabia”, joins us to analyze the speech and its likely impact. We discuss how Trump avoided his inflammatory language against Muslims but instead was eloquent in describing how much Muslims are the main victims of terrorism, and examine the apparent disconnect with reality as Trump castigated Iran for spreading destruction and chaos across the region before a group of leaders who oppress their own people and would never allow an election such as the one which the Iranians just conducted.

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Part 2

Then with scandal and intrigue still roiling back in Washington as reports emerge that Trump told the Russians in the Oval Office that he had just fired Comey who he called “a nut job” to relieve pressure on him from the Russia investigation, together with reports that Jared Kushner is likely the “person of interest” investigators are looking into, we speak with a former senior CIA analyst who was National Intelligence Officer for East Asia and Chief of Station in Asia. Kent Harrington joins us to discuss his latest article at Project Syndicate “Trump’s Loose Lips and America’s Intelligence Relationships” and examine reports that China has “systematically dismantled” CIA spying operations killing or imprisoning between 18 and 20 CIA sources in China.

Part 3

Then finally we speak with Middle East expert Rasool Nafisi, the author of “The Rise of the Pasdaran”, which is about the social, political and economic roles of the Guardians of the Revolution in Iran, who just lost the election to the incumbent Rouhani with their hardline candidate losing by 20 points. We look into the country that Trump just blamed for all the troubles in the Middle East and assess how and when the dwindling chorus chanting “death to America” will fade into the background.