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?
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?
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.