FROM Robert D. Kaplan
China's Island Factory The US is increasing naval forces in the western Pacific, where tensions are on the increase between China and neighboring countries. Now China is building five artificial islands in the South China Sea, turning shoals and reefs into islands in waters contested by Malaysia, Taiwan, Brunei, Vietnam and the Philippines, a treaty ally of the United States. One observer says they're not really islands, but military runways surrounded by water. He's Robert Kaplan at the Center for a New American Security. He's author of Asia's Cauldron : The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific.
A Moment of Opportunity in US-Iranian Relations? America's rapprochement with Cuba has changed international diplomacy and domestic politics. Could Iran be next? President Obama recently told NPR that Iran has "incredible talent and resources and sophistication" — if it could "break through its isolation." President Hassan Rouhani recently took on his country's hardliners in a speech of "jaw-dropping boldness." That has some diplomats and reporters talking about a nuclear deal that could be a game-changer. Is that wishful thinking? Would Congress and America's allies, including Israel, find it unacceptable?
Will the Senate write a healthcare bill in secret? While Democrats and Republicans argue White House relations with Russia, another question is being decided behind closed doors: who gets help buying health insurance and who doesn't? We hear how the pros and cons are being shrouded in secrecy.
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
Trump's new look at civil rights and global warming President Trump is reportedly ready to pull the US out of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. We look at the possible consequences. On the second half of the program, we hear about cuts in Obama-Era civil rights programs called for by the Trump Administration's first budget plan.