BuckSplaining: Russian Geopolitics
Analysis of the hyped meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson led off Wednesday's show, mostly because, as Buck described, it "did not go as planned."
"Because these two are supposed to be buds, right?" asked Buck, poking fun at the abiding liberal media narrative that Trump's administration is in the pocket of the Russians.
Instead, in Buck's words, "Donald Trump’s foreign policy is the closest you could get to a consensus between Republicans and Democrats," mostly because it is sufficiently confusing to both sides.
Not lingering on the issue too long, Buck instead felt it was time to take a deep dive into Russian geopolitics. "There’s some advantage to having a background in geopolitics and having worked for the CIA when discussing the pushback against Russia," Buck said. "If we’re looking to blunt Russian aggression, nukes, submarines, the military apparatus is definitely not going to do it. People run around saying 'Show strength, show strength,' but it won’t be divisions of Russian tanks rolling over the borders that we fight against. We’re not about to start hitting Russian military bases as a show of force. That would be crazy."
Buck analyzed where in the country Russia currently focuses most of its capital, contrasting their motives to the days when they would be fomenting socialist and communist revolutions.
"Syria is one piece of a much larger puzzle, one of the flashpoints," said Buck, ticking off a few others. "Moldova and the Baltic States, Russian meddling in Montenegro. The Crimean Peninsula, Eastern Ukraine, Afghanistan..."
"We are in the midst of confronting Russian geopolitcal strategy," Buck said, which is a major departure from the previous administration. (For more on that, we recommend this excellent National Review piece on the possibility that the Obama administration's failure to engage was due in part to having been compromised by Russian agents.) "They have reasons for why they push into the places they do."
Palace Intrigue: Not So Intriguing
Buck then turned to the “palace intrigue” of the White House and the rumors that a looming change was due to take place following a falling-out between Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner.
It's a topic Buck was lukewarm about, to say the least.
“I don’t see what’s so interesting about this," Buck said. The impetus for the discussion was news that Carter Page, a former member of the Trump campaign, was confirmed to have been under FISA surveillance by the FBI.
"An investigation is not evidence of anything, it just means they’re looking into it," said Buck. "Remember, Hillary was investigated, there was a reason she was investigated, but she wasn’t charged because of prosecutorial discretion."
More From the Campus Front Lines
Turning to campus politics, Buck interviewed Rob Montz, director of the films Silence U and Silence U Part 2, and a freelancer with We the Internet TV.
Montz recounted what gave him the idea for the project.
"When I was at Brown, people embraced the basic norms of social discourse. The reason I went back to Brown to make the first doc is that those norms corroded. That was around 2013.:
"The dominant position [on campuses] has become censorious," Montz said, "and more militant of the liberal orthodoxy."
But Montz said he felt that there was something deeper to explain the corrosion of political discourse on college campuses.
"I don’t think that the ultimate drivers of the behavior of the students fits into the neat political narrative of liberal versus conservative," he said. "There’s a deeper intellectual rot, a deeper scandal, that gets ignored by the common narrative."
When Buck asked what that was, Montz replied he didn't want to give it away. "You'll have to watch the movie."
Conveniently, we can help with that.
DOJ Crackdown Coming?
Finally, Buck brought on Hans von Spakovsky, a former attorney at the Department of Justice and Senior Legal Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, to respond to comments by Attorney General Jeff Sessions regarding a "change in enforcement priorities" in the realm of illegal immigration.
Not only had Sessions vowed a "new era, the Trump era" in a speech at the Arizona border, but Hans also brought word of a memo written by Sessions and sent to US Attorneys' offices around the country that said, as Hans described, "I want you to prioritize prosecuting anyone who brings in and harbors criminal illegal aliens."
"He's going after the smugglers and anyone in the US who helps them stay here," said Hans. "The priority should be anyone who smuggles in three or more, but that’s going to cover a whole lot of people.”
Buck asked about Sessions' comments regarding charging those who return to the country after being deported with a felony.
“We have this problem with people who are deported and come back," Hans said. "The first time you do that, it’s a misdemeanor, the second time it’s a felony. Sessions said, I want you to bring felony charges against anyone who has come back even once if they have a history of felony violations. Remember, the girl who was killed in San Francisco, her killer had been deported five previous times. He should have been in prison, he should not have been roaming the streets.”
Buck inquired about next steps for enforcing immigration statutes in the workplace. "Do you think they're going to go in that direction?"
"I think [they] are," said Hans. "The president has taken a series of steps since January, and going after employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens is going to be the next step that they take. That's going to lead to a huge number of self-deportation of immigrants who are not able to find jobs and make money. We know that will happen, we saw that happen in Arizona."