May 22 - Has Putin Lost Control of his Thugs in Ukraine; The Twelfth Military Coup in Thailand; Venezuela's Neighbors try to Mediate as Political Polarization gets more Violent

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Full Program



Part 1

We begin with the escalating violence in Ukraine ahead of Sunday’s election and examine the extent to with Vladimir Putin has lost control of the pro-Russian thugs he organized in Eastern Ukraine while he rides the tiger of media-driven nationalism at home. Anders Aslund, a former Swedish diplomat who served as an economic advisor to the governments of Russia, Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine and is co-chairman of the board of trustees of the Kyiv School of Economics, joins us to discuss the likely election of the so-called chocolate king in the first round of elections and what Putin’s next move is likely to be after an election he had hoped to prevent, provides legitimate leadership for Ukraine.

anders aslund


Part 2

Then we examine the latest military coup in Thailand, the twelfth since a constitutional monarchy was put in place in 1932. Gerald Fry, who has written extensively about Thailand and is the author of the definitive book on Thailand, “A Historical Dictionary of Thailand”, joins us to discuss the political polarization in the country between the red shirts and the yellow shirts and whether the military might side with the more conservative minority of yellow shirts against the majority of red shirts and their deposed brother and sister populist leaders.

gerald fry


Part 3

Then finally following Secretary of State Kerry’s remarks in Mexico on Wednesday expressing frustration with the Venezuelan government’s “total failure” to talk with the opposition to resolve the country’s increasingly violent political crisis, we speak with Rory Carroll, the UK Guardian and Observer’s Latin American Correspondent in Caracas, Venezuela and author of “Comandante: Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela”. We discuss the failure of the talks brokered by Venezuela’s neighbors and the Argentine Pope’s special envoy, and growing congressional pressure to impose sanctions on the Maduro government that are likely to be spectacularly counterproductive.

rory carroll


bbriefing_2014_05_22full_audioport.mp354.02 MB