On FPF #498. I discuss Trump's foreign policy strategy of using sanctions to deal with any international issue. Trump has sanctioned several countries, including Russia, China, Iraq, Lebanon, Zimbabwe, and Myanmar. For others - North Korea, Venezuela, and Iran - he has not limited the sanctions to individuals or industries, but rather imposes an economic war on the entire population of the country. Trump's sanctions have actually harmed the president's foreign policy, as the sanctions interfere with his ability to engage the countries diplomatically.
On FPF #497, I discuss the developing story of a Ukrainian judge ruling Joe Biden is to be named in a criminal probe from his time as Vice President. The criminal probe is looking into the firing of former-Ukrainian Prosecutor General Victor Shokin. Biden has publically bragged about leveraging a $1 billion IMF Loan to get Ukraine to fire Shokin. At the time of Shokin's firing, he was investigating a Ukrainian gas company that had his son, Hunter Biden, on their board.
Will Porter returns to the show to discuss the US announcing that it plans to spend China and Russia into oblivion in a new arms race. In recent years the US has been working towards a new Cold War. Will explains how the announcement ties with Trump's foreign policy of shifting focus to great power competition. Will and Kyle talk about how the new arms race will hurt Americans.
On FPF #495, I discuss the US leaving the Open Skies Treaty. The treaty allows for member states to conduct surveillance flights over each other. The treaty is key to keeping countries informed about each other's military capabilities. Without the treaty in place, war hawks will likely exploit the lack of intelligence and claim Russia is building up its military capabilities. Those hawks will then argue for more weapons to be built bu companies that pay them and their think tanks.
On FPF #494, I discuss Trump's decision to fire the State Department Inspector General. At the time the IG was fired, the office was looking into State Department head Mike Pompeo. Pompeo a target because the State Dept continued to push to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia, even against the will of Congress and the laws of the US. Saudi has used several US-made bombs to commit war crimes in Yemen. American bombs have been found in the bombing of weddings, funerals, and one was used to kill 44 Yemeni children on a school bus.
Will Porter returns to Foreign Policy Focus to explain a rare move the judge made in Mike Flynn's case. The Justice Department has recommended that charges be dropped against Flynn. However, the judge has now appointed a 'third party' to come argue the case against Fylnn. The 'third party' is not unbiased and has already written an oped arguing Flynn should continue to face criminal charges. Will breaks down what this means and how it fits into the Russiagate conspiracy theory.
Dan Wright and Joanne Leon return to Foreign Policy Focus to discuss the origins of Russiagate. For three years, we have been fighting to debunk the fake news created about the imagined Russian conspiracy to help Trump beat Hillary. Now, the fake news and false allegation have run dry, and some of the faces behind the fake news are being exposed. We discuss who is being unmasked and why it is so important.
On FPF #491, I discuss Trump's decision to veto the Iran War Powers resolution passed by Congress. The resolution was passed after the killing of Iranian General Soleimani. Trump's veto is now one of several vetoes he has used to keep Congress from attempting to put minor constraints on the presidential war powers. Congress must continue to try to pass legislation that will reign in the president's ability to start aggressive wars with countries that do not threaten America.
Will Porter returns to FPF to discuss the wild events during a recent coup attempt in Venezuela. Two Americans, along with 50-60 Venezuelans, landed on the shores of the country in an attempt to attest and overthrow Maduro. However, the Venezuelan government knew of the coup - as the plot was reported by AP - and the plotters were quickly captured. Will looks at the possibility the US government had a role in the coup and other important questions.
On FPF #489, I discuss how newly leaked documents from the OPCW show the organization was lying. The new docs leaked to the Grayzone, prove Ian Henderson was a vital member of the Douma fact-finding mission. As a member of the team, Henderson conducting an assessment that concluded the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma was staged. However, the OPCW left Henderson's assessment out of the Douma report and concluded Assad had used chemical weapons.
Henderson's assessment was eventually leaked, shedding important light on the truth of what happened in Douma. In an attempt to undermine the creditability of the report, OPCW leadership attacked Henderson. The new docs show the attempts to discredit Henderson were baseless smears.
On FPF #488, I discuss the US-Taliban "peace agreement." While the agreement has brought a reduction in violence between the US and Taliban, overall the violence between the Taliban and US-supported Afghan government rages. In the first three months of the year, Taliban attacks are up and the Afghan government is killing children at twice the rate of the Taliban. However, there are some positive signs. The two men claiming the title of Afghanistan's president are close to making a deal to unify the two governments.
Will Porter returns to Foreign Policy Focus to discuss the seeming reappearance of Kim Jong-un. Will breaks down the evidence that shows Kim's recent public visit to a new factory, after being absent from public view for three weeks. During his absence, the world outside of North Korea speculated about the North Korean chain of succession if the Supreme Leader would die. However, it looks like Kim is alive and well.
On FPF #486, I discuss how Israel apparently used fake documents to push Trump towards war with Iran in April 2018. Gareth Porter has a great article out that explains how it is clear the documents were forgeries. Netanyahu released the documents in April of 2018 before Trump withdrew from the Iran Nuclear Deal and imposed a 'maximum pressure' sanctions campaign against Iran. The economic war - and other provocative actions by Trump - has moved the US uncomfortable close to a shooting war with Iran.