Blog Of The Nation
May 17th Show
President Obama's Upcoming Speech On The Middle East
On Thursday, President Obama makes a major address on the uprisings sweeping the Middle East and North Africa and what those events mean for the U.S. and the peace process. His comments will likely be compared to his speech in Cairo in June 2009, where he went to "seek a new beginning" in the region and the Muslim world. Since then, the U.S. military has intervened in Libya's civil war, supported protesters in Cairo and remained largely on the sidelines in Syria, Bahrain and elsewhere. The U.S. also located and killed Osama bin Laden. Opinions on what President Obama should do — and say — now vary widely. Some critics argue the president must lay out a consistent policy of support for all popular uprisings against brutal dictators. Others believe that kind of "one size fits all" approach won't work, and instead make the case for a strategy that promotes regional stability. Host Neal Conan talks with NPR Senior Foreign Editor Loren Jenkins about the many opinions on what President Obama should say in the speech.
Former N.S.A. executive Thomas Drake stands accused of being an enemy of the state — and faces charges related to espionage and revealing secret government information. Drake claims he is a whistle-blower who followed the rules and that the government is out for revenge, not justice. New Yorker writer Jane Mayer writes that while government transparency was a cornerstone of the Obama presidential campaign, the administration has waged a quiet campaign against those who they believe leak classified material. Host Neal Conan speaks with Mayer about the case against Drake, what it reveals about the N.S.A.'s domestic spying and Obama's strategy to curb leaks.
Out Of Character
Most of us want to believe that those we love or admire — our spouses, our children, our political leaders — are good, honest people. And we're taken aback when a respected mayor or political candidate, or our own husband or wife, cheats. But psychologist David DeSteno argues that a growing body of evidence shows that everyone — even the most respected among us — has the capacity to act "out of character." Neal Conan talks with DeSteno about why it's impossible to label people as "good" or "bad," and how even imperceptible factors around us can alter human behavior in unexpected ways. DeSteno co-wrote the new book, Out of Character: Surprising Truths About the Liar, Cheat Sinner (and Saint) Lurking In All Of Us.