Russia had been dismissed as a third rate country–a “Burundi with missiles.” Now, having struck a deal with the US on Syrian chemicals, Russia has emerged as a major player on the international stage. Kissinger Associate”s Russian expert Tom Graham tells Jim that there are grounds for optimism we can work with the Russians on Iran and other Middle Eastern issues.
With 4500 American servicemen killed in Iraq and 32,000 wounded, we are still paying the price for the war in returning servicemen with post traumatic stress disorder. Author Roxana Robinson, in her latest novel Sparta, writes of a Marine veteran, who can’t relate to the society for which he fought so bravely. She tells Jim that the price of the war in human terms is incalculable.
The Fiscal Cliff bill may have saved us from the brink, but there is trouble ahead as we approach the “March madness” of raising the debt ceiling, approving the budget and dealing with the mandatory spending cuts known as the sequester. Investment banker Peter Solomon tells Jim how things will likely play out with a new Treasury Secretary and a deeply divided Congress.
Leading Mayoral candidates Quinn, deBlasio, Thompson and Liu all want to throttle the NYPD with an Inspector General and a curtailed stop and frisk. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly thinks the candidates’ policing strategies will make the City less safe. He tells Jim that stop and frisk saves lives, and the NYPD already has amply sufficient oversight and regulation.
Obama recently said he wanted to take the Nation off a “perpetual war footing,” in favor of robust diplomacy, foreign aid and more measured responses. Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass agrees. But will Susan Rice? Taking the line of his new best-selling book, Foreign Policy Begins at Home, Richard tells Jim that America’s claim to leadership is based mainly on economic power, and we have much to do domestically if we are to maintain our primacy abroad.
Foreign affairs experts are worried that our Russian deal on Syria, the Snowden affair, Internet balkanization, and the government shutdown have combined to undermine international perceptions of US leadership. Jim Lindsay of the Council on Foreign Relations tells Jim Zirin that we will need to do much to regain our position of global primacy.