A Spirited, Substantive Debate on the Trump-Putin Summit, Russia, and U.S. Politics

Is it a positive or negative development when the leaders in control of 90 percent of the world's nuclear weapons meet?

On Saturday, I described the “multiple reasons political discourse is degraded by the fact that it now plays out primarily on Twitter.” On Sunday night, the New York Times’s White House reporter Maggie Haberman announced that she was ” taking a break from this platform” because “it’s not really helping the discourse.” There seems to be a growing recognition, one I certainly share, that Twitter is a uniquely poor, even destructive, medium for conducting complex political debates and should be avoided for those purposes.

That view was reinforced for me by a lengthy, spirited, and substantive debate I had on Democracy Now! this morning about the Trump-Putin summit, and U.S. politics more broadly, with Joe Cirincione, the longtime president of Ploughshares Fund, which has long been devoted to the reduction and ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons, as well as a contributor to MSNBC and Think Progress. Although we disagreed on several critical questions, the debate was substantive, respectful, and nuanced, and therefore, infinitely more illuminating of my positions and his than endless Twitter bickering could possibly achieve (the two tweets of his that I referenced during the discussion are here and here).

The quality of the debate was so high that we ended up conducting a second part that Democracy Now! will publish shortly, and I will add it once it’s up. But this first part, which is about 25 minutes, contains what I believe is a worthwhile examination of the questions raised by the Trump-Russia controversy, Vladimir Putin, and the role of the U.S. in the world generally:

Update: July 17, 2018, 6:13 p.m.
The transcript of the first part of the debate I had with Cirincione, the video for which is above, is now available here. The second part of the debate, which is roughly 40 minutes, can be seen in the video below and the transcript is here:

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