18:21 GMT03 June 2020
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    A Synopsis of the US-Taiwan Relationship as Weapon Sales Fuel Tension With China

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    On this episode of The Critical Hour, Dr. Wilmer Leon is joined by Caleb Maupin, journalist and political analyst who focuses his coverage on US foreign policy.

    It's Friday: that means it's panel time!

    "The US State Department has approved a possible sale to Taiwan of 18 MK-48 Mod6 advanced technology heavyweight torpedoes and related equipment for an estimated cost of $180 million, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement on Wednesday," Reuters reported Wednesday. What will happen next as tensions rise with China?

    Venezuela and Iran, two countries that the US has decided to make adversaries, and which have been "stung by sanctions and hobbled by the coronavirus, are forging a closer strategic partnership, providing embattled President Nicolás Maduro a vital lifeline and offering Tehran the prospect of a new center of influence just across the Caribbean Sea from Florida," the Washington Post reported Friday. "The most public display of the deepening relationship: five oil tankers now steaming across the Atlantic Ocean to Venezuela, carrying what analysts estimate to be 60 million gallons of Iranian gasoline ... The first of the ships is set to arrive in Venezuelan waters as soon as this weekend, to relieve fuel shortages so dire that the sick can’t get to hospitals and produce is rotting on farms." How will the US react to this as the ships get closer to Venezuela?

    US President Donald Trump continues to attack China for what he describes as "worldwide killing" from COVID-19. This message is likely to be relevant in the 2020 US presidential campaign. "The White House salvos have sought to keep a focus on China's early response to the virus and what Trump has called a 'China-centric' deference at the World Health Organization. China, in turn, has portrayed itself as a good global citizen willing to work with the United Nations and other countries to defeat the pandemic," the Washington Post reported Thursday.

    In David Lindorff's recent piece for RT, titled "COVID-19 is massacring US elderly in nursing homes, neglected for years by a power-hungry industry," he states, "The elderly in US care institutions are dying disproportionately from COVID-19. The pandemic has revealed the extent to which their wellbeing and safety have been sacrificed by an industry that prioritizes profit and influence.” How is this happening?

    "America’s billionaires have seen their wealth increase by 12.5 percent during the COVID-19 lockdown period. The Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), a Washington, DC-based think tank, released a study Thursday showing that, in the eight weeks between March 18 and May 14, the country’s super-wealthy have added a further $368.8 billion to their already enormous fortunes," Alan MacLeod wrote in a May 15 MintPress News article. All this comes at the same time that the economy has undeniably imploded for working people. MacLeod's article continues: "A record 36 million Americans have filed for unemployment insurance, with millions more losing their employer-based health care plans, and around a third of the country not paying its rent. Schools, factories, offices, and other businesses remain shuttered. The Trump administration has promised to provide $1,200 to every citizen, but it will be months before everyone receives their check. As a result, there has been an explosion in the use of food banks, as desperate citizens line up for hours in the hopes of receiving a box of food."

    "The US has rejected wording in a World Health Organization resolution that backs the right of poor countries to ignore patents in order to gain access to a COVID-19 vaccine or treatment," the Financial Times reported this week. "Washington dissociated itself Tuesday from elements of a motion passed by WHO members, saying that it sent 'the wrong message to innovators who will be essential to the solutions the whole world needs.' Many governments, particularly in Africa, fear they will be squeezed out by richer countries unless they can force companies that discover anti-COVID-19 therapies to share their intellectual property with manufacturers able to produce them cheaply at scale." What's going on here?

    We've got these stories and more!


    Caleb Maupin — Journalist and political analyst who focuses his coverage on US foreign policy.

    Dave Lindorff — Investigative reporter and founder of the news collective This Can't Be Happening!

    Dr. Linwood Tauheed — Associate professor of economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.  

    Jon Jeter — Author and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist with more than 20 years of journalistic experience. He is a former Washington Post bureau chief and award-winning foreign correspondent.  

    We'd love to get your feedback at radio@sputniknews.com

    Trump, U.S. Department of State, Venezuela, China, Taiwan, SARS coronavirus, COVID-19
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