FROM Daryl Kimball
The US and Iran: Does Diplomacy Have a Future? Iran has reduced its nuclear program and is back in the global economy, thanks to the lifting of sanctions imposed under the leadership of the United States. The Presidents of both countries have made those and other concessions, but they also face stern opposition from domestic hardliners. High-profile prisoner swaps can't disguise 35 years of hostilities over Middle East politics and international terrorism. With elections pending in both countries, what are the prospects for a troubled relationship?
Is Syria on the Way to Becoming a Failed State? After three years of civil war, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad claims a "turning point" in what he calls his "war against terror" has now paved the way to his re-election. Sure enough, his army, backed by Hezbollah, has re-taken important rebel strongholds, including the ancient Christian town of Maaloula and and three towns along the Lebanese border. However, the restoration of order is a distant dream. The death toll is 150,000; 2.5 million refugees have flooded neighboring countries and seven million have been displaced within Syria itself. We hear about chemical weapons, the international proxy war, and civilians faced with the choice of death by bullets or by starvation.
Can the US Salvage a Deal with Iran? Diplomacy over Iran's nuclear program is not dead yet, but when talks resume next week foreign ministers will be replaced by lesser officials. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iran's Mohammad Zarif have each blamed the other for the failure of an anticipated agreement over the weekend. But France — and especially Israel — helped scuttle a deal, with hawks in both parties in Congress happy to see a delay. We hear what's at stake for the many parties involved, with the prospect of military action if diplomacy fails.
Nobel Peace Prize Choice Upsets China: Liu Xiaobo From a long list of candidates in a world full of war and repression, China's Liu Xiaobo has been chosen for this year's Nobel Peace Prize. However, Liu might not know it until his wife is able visit him in a Chinese prison, where he's serving an 11-years sentence on charges of subversion for advocating human rights. His history of dissent includes a hunger strike during the protests in Tiananmen Square. China warned the Nobel committee to choose someone else. Will this make things even worse for Liu? Will it increase international pressure on China? What have been the consequences of last year's choice of Barack Obama , a first-term President in the midst of two wars?
A New START for Nuclear Disarmament President Obama was back in Prague, where he became the toast of Europe a year ago with a speech that envisioned a world without nuclear weapons. Today, he and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a new version of the Strategic Arms Treaty, which expired last December.
A New START for Nuclear Disarmament President Obama is back in Prague, where he became the toast of Europe a year ago with a speech that envisioned a world without nuclear weapons. Today, he and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a new version of the Strategic Arms Treaty, which expired last December. Supporters concede it has loopholes, but call it essential to reducing the dangers of Cold War weapons that have outlived their usefulness. Opponents say it gives too much and gets too little and allows Russia to opt out if it doesn't like US plans for missile defense in Europe. Will it make any difference to Iran or North Korea? What are the chances of ratification by Russia's parliament and the United States Senate?
A New Thrust against Nuclear Weapons George W. Bush took a dim view of treaties designed to ban the testing of nuclear bombs and limit proliferation of materials and technology. Today, Barack Obama made history as the first American president to chair a meeting of the UN Security Council and in persuading all 15 members — represented by their heads of state — to approve a resolution including steps toward what the President calls "a world without nuclear weapons." But critics say he's "overselling" provisions that can't be verified and which won't make the world any safer from rogue states or international terrorists. What will it mean for Iran and North Korea? Will it help persuade the US Senate to ratify the comprehensive test ban treaty it rejected in 1999?
Obama Wants to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons In the aftermath of yesterday's launch, the UN Security Council failed to condemn North Korea. But in Prague yesterday, President Obama said it's the responsibility of the US to lead the way to nuclear disarmament. He pledged to take what he called “concrete steps toward a world without nuclear weapons.” Daryl Kimball is Executive Director of the Arms Control Association , which advocates what it calls “practical solutions” to eliminating weapons-related security threats.
Who's Watching the Nuclear Arsenal? The Bush Administration is demanding that other countries tighten up on proliferation of nuclear materials and technology. But at the same time, the US is doing a poor job of maintaining its own arsenal of nuclear weapons. Six nuclear missiles were flown across the continental United States by mistake. Nuclear missile nose-cones were mistakenly shipped to Taiwan. After those incidents, the Secretary of the Air Force and its top civilian official were fired by Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Now another embarrassment has surfaced: hundreds, perhaps thousands, of nuclear missile components have turned up missing.
Can the US and Russia 'Just Get Along?' Condoleezza Rice has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of squelching democracy. Putin's accused the US of behaving like Germany's Third Reich during World War II. Today, hard on the heels of Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has gone to Moscow . After initial talks with Putin, Russia's Foreign Minister said they've agreed to "tone down" the public rhetoric and focus on "concrete issues." We look at the roller-coaster relationship between the superpower and a resurgent Russia overflowing with oil money. Will a US anti-missile system in Eastern Europe threaten Russia's security? Is Russia reverting to the days of the Cold War or just getting stronger?
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.
Trump's 'America First' goes missing abroad In the Middle East, President Trump is changing some policies of the Obama Administration—and reversing his own campaign attacks on Islam as a religion that "hates us." We hear about his visit to Saudi Arabia and what's at stake for the rest of his foreign excursion.
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.