FROM Barney Rubin
War and Diplomacy in Iraq and Afghanistan Violence is down in Iraq, but it's up in Afghanistan, with American soldiers and diplomats caught in between. After months of painstaking negotiations, the US and Iraq appeared to have reached a deal last week on extending the presence of American forces beyond the end of this year. That's when the UN mandate runs out. But now, Iraq's cabinet is demanding changes in what's called the Status of Forces Agreement . In Afghanistan, allied leaders say more troops are needed, against an insurgency fueled in part by the presence of foreign forces. Can the Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds in Iraq resolve their competing political interests and agree on terms for US withdrawal? Will the US and NATO have to sit down with the Taliban to avoid mistakes made in Afghanistan by the former Soviet Union?
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.
Trump plays scolder-in-chief with NATO allies At the opening of NATO’s dramatic new headquarters in Brussels today, President Trump acknowledged that Article 5 — promising that “an attack on one nation is an attack on all” -- has only been invoked one time: in the aftermath of September 11. But the President failed to provide what 27 other Alliance members have been waiting for: a re-commitment by America’s new leader to Article 5. Instead, they got a scolding.
White House budget proposal slashes and burns President Trump's first budget request is considered dead on arrival in Congress — a familiar development in Capitol Hill. We hear what it reveals about the priorities of the new administration. What's likely to die… and what might survive?
Terrorism and tweets, hate speech and murder Just days before an election, Britain is coping with a rash of deadly terrorism, and Prime Minister Theresa May is on the defensive. And again today, President Trump has tweeted criticism of the Mayor of London. Later, a double murder in Portland, Oregon has revealed the ugly past of a supposedly “progressive” city. One immediate question: is “hate speech” protected by the First Amendment?