November 19 - Could MBS Turn a Proxy War Into a Real One?; An Alabaman Reflects on Roy Moore's Supporters; Donald Trump: The Despot's Apprentice

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Part 1

We begin with the possibility of a new war in the Middle East breaking out with the proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran heating up as an impetuous young Saudi Crown Prince MBS tries to provoke a clash between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon while the endgame of the civil war in Syria appears to be leaving Russia and Iran in stronger positions in the region. A veteran CIA operative in the Middle East Robert Baer, who is now the national security affairs analyst for CNN, joins us to discuss the volatility in the region exacerbated by the unprecedented amateurism of an American Administration led by the Trump family whose priorities appear to be self-enrichment through their ties to MBS. In addition to this the State Department is led by a businessman who is both out of his depth in the world of diplomacy and undercut by his own president. Tillerson is also crippling this own department in the misguided name of corporate efficiency while the so-called “adults in the room”, the generals surrounding Donald Trump, also lack diplomatic skills and come from a hierarchical world of following orders and responding to every problem with military force.

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Part 2

Then we speak with Diane McWhorter the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama, the Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution”. She grew up in Birmingham, Alabama and is a regular contributor to The New York Times where she has an article ”Want to Know What Divides This Country: Come to Alabama” and as the nation’s attention turns to Alabama’s December 12 US Senate race, we will discuss the state that has transformed from backwoods to bellwether and the complex psyche of Alabama where Roy Moore’s supporters would rather be poor than not be proud.  

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Part 3

Then finally we be joined by Brian Klaas, a Fellow in Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics and the author of a new book “The Despot’s Apprentice: Donald Trump’s Attack on Democracy”. We discuss the growing number of countries controlled by despots and kleptocrats as democracy retreats around the world in part because the main champion of democracy, the United States is led by a powerful cheerleader for some of the world’s worst regimes as Donald Trump continues to display a bizarre adoration and idolization of despotic strongmen like Putin, Erdogan and Duterte.

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