ReThinking Foreign Policy
By Mitchell Plitnick
I'll focus particularly on the Middle East, especially Israel and Palestine, but the discussion will range all over, sometimes even into domestic issues and DC politics.
We might even occasionally talk about sports and entertainment.
ReThinking Foreign PolicyNov 21, 2020
A New Book, and Goodbye to Trump and Pompeo!
In this episode of the ReThinking Foreign Policy Podcast, I spend a little time on the initial reaction to my upcoming book, co-authored with Marc Lamont Hill, Except for Palestine: The Limits of Progressive Politics. Then I look at the waning days of Mike Pompeo's bumbling reign over the State Department and his scorched earth departure. Finally, I weigh in on the debate over whether Trump's support is rooted in white supremacy or economic distress. Hint: it's both and more, and the best way to deal with it is with progressive policies across the board.
Murder In Iran And A Biden Government Starts To Form
In this episode I spend some time discussing the murder of Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, and some of the responses to it. The main story is a look at Joe Biden's initial picks for his cabinet and lead administrative staff. Some of my views on that may surprise some of my listeners. Finally, I look at Mike Pompeo's efforts to eliminate any possibility of a Palestinian state and examine how, with the worst of intentions, Pompeo may actually have done us a favor.
Pompeo's Assault on Palestinians and BDS
In this episode, I take on Mike Pompeo's assault on the BDS movement this week and on defenders of BDS on free speech grounds who contribute to its demonization.
I also address Sen. Chris Coons' -- who is being considered as Joe Biden's Secretary of State -- unacceptable stance against a Biden administration re-entering the Iran nuclear deal without expanding it in unrealistic ways. And I also look at the recent signing of a trade deal among Asian and Pacific countries and how this should be an object lesson for progressives.
Demonizing Iran and Antisemitism in the U.K.
In the latest episode of the ReThinking Foreign Policy Podcast, Mitchell Plitnick examines the effect of the hastily-convened press conference where Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe accused Iran of interference in the United States' election. He examines the implications for how Iran is perceived in the United States, and also puts the whole question of external interference in the U.S.' elections in perspective.
Next, Mitchell takes a look at the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn, the one-time opposition leader of the United Kingdom. He examines the long-term controversy over antisemitism in the Labour Party and examines the context of Corbyn's suspension as well as how much of this is motivated by anti-progressive politics and how much by a genuine desire to combat antisemitism.
Follow Mitchell's and RTFP's work through Mitchell's nearly-weekly newsletter, Cutting Through. Subscribe by clicking here.
Trump's pre-election stunts threaten the world
With the election less than two weeks away, Donald Trump and his cronies are accelerating their dangerous behavior in a desperate attempt to hold on to the White House. In Sudan, Trump has taken advantage of a collapsed economy to force Sudan into agreements that risk greater de-stabilization. Then, just before recording this podcast, Trump's lackey DNI accused Iran of election interference while offering zero substantiation and spinning a yarn that seems very difficult to believe. The impact these things can have stretches far beyond this election. What's worse, none of this is likely to have a significant impact on the voting.
I also look at Joe Biden's decision to vet a number of disaffected Republicans for positions in his cabinet.
Trump's and Republicans' Plans For Election Loss, More on AOC and Rabin
As the election grows closer, Donald Trump is focusing more on radicalizing his base than picking up votes. Is there a method to his madness? And are Republican leaders playing the same game Trump is, or are they looking to their own interests?
We also revisit the controversy around AOC pulling out of a Yitzhak Rabin memorial event. Why? Because others won't let it go, and they keep missing the point.
AOC, Yitzhak Rabin and the Silencing of Palestinians
In the latest episode of the ReThinking Foreign Policy podcast, I cover Donald Trump's positive coronavirus test, the budding war between Azerbaijan and Armenia, and understating the true impact of racism. The main story addresses the recent controversy over Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's decision to pull out of an event sponsored by Americans for Peace Now that will commemorate 25 years since the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin.
See my articles on these matters at:
UAE, Bahrain and Israel Sign Empty Deals, Trump's October Surprise, and Racist NFL Fans
In the latest episode of the ReThinking Foreign Policy podcast, I argue that the deals struck between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain this week in Washington not only are mislabeled as "peace agreements," but are actually a recipe for greater conflict and hold no hope for real peace in the region. Next, I discuss a story published this weekend about a possible Iranian plot to kill a US ambassador in light of the loss of credibility the already dubious US intelligence "community" has suffered with a Trump toadie as Director of National Intelligence. Finally, I spend a few minutes on the sporting world, particularly on the shameful display last week in Kansas City where a bland "gesture of unity" by the players was booed by racist fans.
For more, visit ReThinking Foreign Policy.
Two Parties Failing Palestinians
Joe Biden's campaign launched an unprovoked attack on Palestinian-American activist, Linda Sarsour. I discuss it in this episode. You can read more about it here.
Then I look at Mike Pompeo's failed trip through the Middle East and his contemptible attempt to extort money from Sudan. You can also read about that here.
Finally, a few words about Gaza, which has been bombed every day since Israel struck its deal with the UAE. We can't allow that to fade into the background.
Kamala, UAE-Israel Deal, and the Triumph of Progressive Democrats
There's been some big news lately. So in this latest episode of the ReThinking Foreign Policy Podcast, I look at the Democratic Vice President nominee, the big and surprising news of possible normalized relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, and the meaning behind the huge, sweeping victories of The Squad and other progressive Democrats who support Palestinian rights.
Enjoy and stay healthy!
To November And Beyond!
With all of our energy understandably focused on securing a Joe Biden victory in November, others are already jockeying to ensure they have an influential seat at the table of a Biden administration. Especially on foreign policy, those "someones" include disaffected Republicans and neoconservatives whose discredited ideas continue their prominence in the DC policy discourse. They are not going back to the Republican party any time soon and it will be crucial that they not find a home among the Democrats.
In this episode, I discuss what sort of vision progressives might bring to a Biden foreign policy. Focusing on the standoff in the Persian Gulf, the current unrest in Israel, and the caritcaturization of truly problematic players like Russia and China, I draw some broad outlines of the ideas a progressive push on Biden might consist of.
Marc Lamont Hill On George Floyd, Eyad Hallaq, And Much More
I am so delighted to be joined on the show today by Prof. Marc Lamont Hill. Besides being someone I am proud to call my friend, Marc is a tremendous intellectual and activist.
He is one of the leading intellectual voices in the country and is the Steve Charles Professor of Media, Cities, and Solutions at Temple University. Prior to that, he held positions at Columbia University and Morehouse College.
In 2011, Ebony Magazine has named him one of America’s 100 most influential Black leaders, Marc is the author or co-author of four books, including most recently, the New York Times bestseller Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on The Vulnerable from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond.
Dr. Marc Lamont Hill holds a Ph.D. (with distinction) from the University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on the intersections between culture, politics, and education in the United States and the Middle East.
All About Joe
Joe Biden is the presumptive Democratic nominee. That means the eggs are all in his basket for defeating Donald Trump in November. But how do we best achieve that goal? I argue that pretending Biden is a better candidate than he is would be self-defeating. Rather, we need to be realistic, with ourselves and with those we're trying to persuade to get out and vote for him, about who he is and the one reason we absolutely MUST vote for him--mo matter what else you can say about him, he's hundreds of light years better than Donald Trump.
The New Israeli Unity Government - What It Is And What It Teaches Us
In this episode I examine Benny Gantz's decision to join Benjamin Netanyahu in a government of national unity. I look at the deal they made, the problems it has encountered, and, most of all, the lessons it holds for those of us outside of Israel. This segment is connected to my latest piece for Responsible Statecraft, "Gantz agrees to join Netanyahu in unity government — what does it mean?"
I also take a look at some of the places that are facing the coronavirus while also suffering under sanctions or other forms of economic deprivation from outside forces.
A Coup In Israel, A Template for Trump
The first episode of the ReThinking Foreign Policy Podcast looks at how the coronavirus has compromised democratic structures and created an opportunity for authoritarian leaders to grab more power. I look particularly at Israel and the actions this week of Benjamin Netanyahu as he attacked the Knesset and the courts in a desperate bid to keep himself in power and avoid facing criminal charges of corruption. Of potentially even greater concern for those of us in the United States is the fear that Donald Trump may learn from Netanyahu's example.