Ralph welcomes award-winning foreign correspondent Stephen Kinzer to discuss America's bloody history of proxy wars. They'll also discuss the mainstream media's "shameful" coverage of the war in Ukraine, the warhawks on Capitol Hill, and the catastrophic trickle-down effects of American military meddling.
Stephen Kinzer is an award-winning foreign correspondent who has covered more than 50 countries on five continents. Mr. Kinzer spent more than 20 years working for the New York Times, most of it as a foreign correspondent. After leaving the Times in 2005, Mr. Kinzer taught journalism, political science, and international relations at Northwestern University and Boston University. He is now a Senior Fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University and writes a world affairs column for The Boston Globe.
We attacked Libya in complete violation of international law, but in accordance with the system that we have used as a substitute for international law. And that's what we call the “rules-based international order.” That's our alternative to international law. And the rules-based international order is great for us because we're the ones that make the rules. We decide everything. We decide who's making war, who's not making war, who's good, who's bad, who needs to be punished, who doesn't need to be punished. Under international law, we can't do that because countries are treated more equally. So I think this is the real way we have turned away from both international law and our own domestic law—we've said that they're all superseded by the rules-based international order, which is a nice way of saying everybody has to do what the United States decides.
A mantra in Congress is “Israel has a right to defend itself.” But no one ever says in Congress “the Palestinians have a right to defend themselves,” and they take casualty counts anywhere from 40 to 100 times greater in terms of innocent civilians, killed or injured. The Iranians apparently have no right to defend themselves… What is this inverted sense that these countries that are legitimately threatened, that have been overthrown… What's this mindset in official Washington that nobody threatened by the US or Israel has a right to defend themselves?
In Case You Haven’t Heard with Francesco DeSantis
1. On Monday, the Writers’ Guild of America announced that they have reached an interim agreement with the studios. The proposed deal includes minimum writing room sizes, pay increases, a ban on writing by generative AI programs, and disclosures of streaming numbers with residuals to match, to name just a few of the top line wins for the union. The agreement still needs to be formally submitted to the Guild membership for ratification, but this marks the end of the second longest strike in the WGA’s history.
2. AP reports that earlier this week, President Biden joined the United Autoworkers on the picket line. This is the first time ever a sitting president has joined a picket line. “Donning a union ballcap and exchanging fist bumps, Biden told United Auto Workers strikers that ‘you deserve the significant raise you need’” and urged the workers to “stick with it.” Biden made this move in part because former President Donald Trump also addressed autoworkers in a speech this week, though he did so at a non-union plant away from the picket line. UAW president Shawn Fain deemed Trump’s address to non-union workers “pathetic irony,” per FOX 2 Detroit.
3. Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey is facing a mammoth corruption scandal involving fraudulent halal meat from Egypt and $100,000 worth of gold bars. Per the BBC, Menendez has been forced to resign his chairmanship of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Yet, the powerful New Jersey Senator has not resigned his seat, even as a growing chorus of top Democrats have called on him to do so – including New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman, Nancy Pelosi, Bernie Sanders, and many more. One possible upside to all of this is that Menendez’s departure from his post on the Foreign Relations Committee could pave the way for a more rational American policy towards Cuba.
4. In more Cuba news, NBC reports that on September 24th, the Cuban embassy in Washington was attacked. The assailant hurled two molotov cocktails at the diplomatic mission; fortunately, the diplomatic staff were unharmed. No arrests have been made. This follows a 2020 attack, when a man shot “nearly three dozen rounds” at the embassy from an AK-47.
5. CNN reports that the FTC and the attorneys general of 17 states have filed a lawsuit against Amazon, alleging that “Amazon unfairly promotes its own platform and services at the expense of third-party sellers who rely on the company’s e-commerce marketplace for distribution.” Specific examples of the e-commerce giant’s anticompetitive practices include “requiring sellers on its platform to purchase Amazon’s in-house logistics services in order to secure the best seller benefits, [and forcing] sellers to list their products on Amazon at the lowest prices anywhere on the web, instead of allowing sellers to offer their products at competing marketplaces for a lower price.” Hopefully, this reinvigorated consumer protection regime will serve as a deterrent to other would-be corporate criminals.
6. Kyodo News reports Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki recently addressed the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, and used the opportunity to rail against the proposed US military base in the Japanese-controlled territory. Tamaki noted that the base “was clearly opposed by Okinawan voters in a democratically held referendum" and that the installation of the base would threaten regional peace. Okinawa already hosts most of the American military presence in Japan.
7. Variety reports that Anil Kapoor, an A-list actor in India, has won his legal battle against AI. The court “granted an order…acknowledging [Kapoor’s] personality rights and restraining all offenders from misusing his personality attributes without his permission in any manner…across all modes and media worldwide.” Kapoor also noted that “My intention is not to interfere with anyone’s freedom of expression or to penalize anyone. My intent was to seek protection of my personality rights and prevent any misuse for commercial gains, particularly in the current scenario with rapid changes in technology and tools like artificial intelligence.”
8. Finally, the Orchard reports that On September 22nd, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy addressed the Canadian House of Commons. In attendance was Yaroslav Hunka, a 98 year-old veteran who, according to the CBC “fought for Ukrainian independence against the Russians during the Second World War.” Students of history quickly put two and two together, deducing that this “veteran” was in fact a soldier in the 14th Grenadier Division of the Waffen SS, otherwise known as the Galician Division. Prime Minister Trudeau also held a private audience with this Nazi. Uproar in Canada proved so great that the Speaker of the Canadian House of Commons, Anthony Rota, was forced to resign, per the CBC. Furthermore, Polish officials have now formally requested that Hunka be extradited to Poland to face charges for atrocities committed by the Galician SS Division during WWII.