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Abe Hamadeh's Future Endeavors and Mike Coté's Historical Take on Today's Events

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This week on Breaking Battlegrounds, we have guest host Michelle Ugenti-Rita filling in for Chuck Warren, along with co-host Sam Stone. Join us as we welcome our first guest, Abe Hamadeh, who's running to represent Arizona's 8th Congressional District. A former U.S. Army Reserve Captain and Intelligence Officer, Abe is a staunch America-first fighter, and he'll share his vision for securing the southern border and holding the government accountable. Our second guest, Mike Coté, founder of Rational Policy and a writer at the National Review, offers a historical perspective on policy, international affairs, and politics. Tune in for engaging discussions and expert insights into the political landscape.

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About our guests

Abe Hamadeh is a former U.S. Army Reserve Captain & Intelligence Officer, Maricopa county prosecutor and an America first fighter. Abe is the son of immigrants; his family fled places like Syria and Venezuela. He knows all too well that if America falls, the flame of freedom may be extinguished forever. Abe is running to represent Arizona’s 8th Congressional District where he grew up, having gone to Happy Valley School, Stetson Hills, and Terramar. He is honored to be the voice of the district back in Washington.

Mike Coté is a writer for the National Review and historian focusing on great-power rivalry and geopolitics. He blogs at rationalpolicy.com and hosts the Rational Policy podcast.

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Transcription

Sam Stone: Welcome to another episode of Breaking Battlegrounds. I'm your host, Sam Stone. The international man of mystery. Chuck Warren is out of the studio again this week, but we are graced by the lovely presence Michelle Ugenti-Rita, former state senator here. She's running for office herself. Yeah, yeah.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Glutton for punishment.

Sam Stone: Yeah. No, seriously. Having done that once now and having no interest, I have all these people keep coming up to me and they're like, hey, Sam, you should run again. I'm like.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Why are you kidding you? You value your yourself too much to do that again.

Sam Stone: It's painful.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: It's tough. It's tough. I like it though. I mean, I don't know how many races have I done. 6 or 7. And you know, the vast majority of one lost one, one six. I like it. You have to like it to do it.

Sam Stone: See, I like working on campaigns. Yeah.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: So you like it? Just a different component, a.

Sam Stone: Different component of it. I actually I just found out that when I was doing it, I found out I don't like being the candidate.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Right. That's a that's a different kind of person, the person who likes to be a candidate. But there can be a lot of people that like to be in the political sphere, working behind the scenes, working on policy, working on campaign strategy. But the candidate, it's it takes a lot.

Sam Stone: It's different. I mean, for one thing, the thing that that frankly got me and folks, we have some very good guests coming up today on our second segment, we're going to have Abraham Hamadeh. He was the candidate for attorney general, general election candidate in Arizona, lost by I think by the end it was like 270 votes. I think it was down to like 123 by the time it was all okay, whatever. And as we discussed briefly or will discuss briefly with Abe there, there's really no doubt in anyone's mind here that he got hosed out of that election by Maricopa County. And what happened on Election day and uncounted ballots.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Their incompetency.

Sam Stone: Their incompetency and all this kind of thing. I have not met one serious person who doesn't think that he should be the AG right now in a fairly run election. Yeah, and that's even a lot of those people are people who disagree with Kari Lake and disagree with Donald Trump and don't take that position, but they look at what happened here on Election Day with malfunctioning machines and 63% of the precincts, all this stuff and they say, look, 100 and something votes that absolutely cost that. So he's announcing a run for Congressional District eight here in Arizona.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: So that's going to be that's going to be a really interesting congressional race. You mentioned we we talked to Abe about this.

Sam Stone: But folks, in all fairness, before we stumble over this anymore, we actually already did our interview with Abe. We pre-recorded it before we began the show here. I'm just going to be honest about this. Like, folks, you know, we're not live. We pre-record this on Friday. You're going to you're going to hear this on Saturday. So it is what it is. Instead of assembling it over to Michelle, we'll just tease this interview that's coming up and then folks make sure yeah, make sure you stay tuned afterwards because we're going to do a nice podcast segment following on this as well. And then for segments three and four today we have Mike Cote, writer for National Review and historian, focusing on great power, rivalry and geopolitics, which obviously isn't relevant at all to the moment in time we're in. Yeah, yeah. Um, but so we were teasing the lead in with Abe in that race from last time when Debbie Lesko became the congresswoman. I think if I remember, I mean, it was a huge field, like 15 to 18 people in that field.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: I think so too. I mean, everyone and their mom comes out and puts their hat or puts their name in the hat to run. And but that is honestly the nature of an open seat. You see that quite frequently in an open seat. It is exasperated by fact that it's a congressional open seat. And on our side, the Republican side.

Sam Stone: Whoever wins the primary.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Yeah, it will. The general.

Sam Stone: The general. I mean, I think when Debbie ran, her Democrat opponent in the general was.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Tipirneni.

Sam Stone: Was it Hiram Tipirneni or was it? I think it was Brian nee. Brianna Westbrook. I don't know. Either way. It was terrible.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Candidates or something. Yeah. It's terrible.

Sam Stone: Well, yeah. No. So the Democrats here in Arizona don't have a great bench.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: No, no, they don't have a good bench at all. It's not deep. Just the fact that we have Katie Hobbs as our governor I think is evident of that. But it does tell you, though, that if we aren't smart about how we're campaigning, if we don't have strategy, if we don't stick to our talking points, if we veer off of, you know, issues that matter to people, it's not a given. We're going to win. I mean, right, you know, just because the other side is that bad does not mean you're going to win. You know, you really have to make sure that you get your message out and you, frankly, stay on message. Stay. On message. I hope that's what happens in in CD eight is they stay on message. There's so much going on. Abe talked about that. And people want results. Yes. You know, deliver something for the good people of that district, please.

Sam Stone: Well, you know one thing, and I know Debbie Lesko a little bit. You probably know her a lot better than I.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Served with her.

Sam Stone: Um, but one of the things I was a little disappointed with her over the few years she's been in office versus Paul Gosar, for instance, is that Paul ran around and turned out voters in his bright red district in general elections. Yeah. And Debbie did not do that in hers. And folks, that makes a big difference. You need a candidate. Yeah. They've won the thing in the primary. It's over basically. But you need them to go out and turn out those votes.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: You do have to energize the base, right? This is a numbers game. The person with the most numbers, you know, the highest number, excuse me, wins. And it's about keeping majorities or getting majorities if we don't have them. And that doesn't happen unless let's get out to vote. Like your point.

Sam Stone: Let's take a Debbie Lesko and let's call it five of our brightest red state legislative districts. Right. What what how much of a change is there if each one of if Debbie turns out an extra 1000 votes and all of those turn out an extra hundred.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: And especially since races are becoming more and more competitive, they're closer and closer. So, you know, a lot of people have this mindset of like, oh, it doesn't matter or I'm just one. But when when, you know, the race we had the superintendent race, there was another legislative district race. This was just last general election, right. They they triggered recount my recount bill, by the way, that the counties opposed vehemently because they don't like to recount.

Sam Stone: That's one of the things most people don't maybe don't know, because people don't follow the legislature in any state.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: They should, but they should.

Sam Stone: I always laugh because, like the Florida legislature has done so much right, and everyone, all everyone talks about is governor DeSantis. Now, I love governor DeSantis too, but let's be honest, 80% of what he gets credit for.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: They they served up to for him.

Sam Stone: They're teeing him up. And, you know, we we haven't always done a good enough job here. But had we turned out those extra 1500 Republicans, we're not talking about Abraham Hamadeh running for CD eight. We're talking about AG Abraham Hamadeh right I mean that's a big difference. And this is nationwide folks. Think about all these the presidential election, everything how close that was.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: And it's only going to be I think that you're going to see more and more competitive races. And what I mean by that, the differential between the top two candidates become narrower, more narrow and narrow. So they're going to be razor close. So every vote actually does count. And I think in 2016 it was Congressman Andy Biggs that won his race by I want to say 27 votes.

Sam Stone: Yeah it was really tight really really tight tight. Yeah. And so these things make a big difference.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: So if you're extended family's not voting and you lose that race I mean you can't go to any family function ever again.

Sam Stone: Well no you can. You just you stand at the door and you're like, you're allowed in. Let's see. Did you vote? Pull up the voter rolls. Did you cast a ballot? Oh no no, no potato salad for you today.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Exactly.

Sam Stone: Um, there's a lot going on in the world, and obviously we're going to be focusing on a lot of the the great power situation and all of this with Mike Cote. When Cote, I'm hoping I'm probably mispronouncing this two different ways. That's what I do, folks. Um, but I want to touch on something else that came up today. It's kind of icky, but I'm throwing I'm throwing this into this thing. It's Friday. There's the news out today that about a week ago you had a reporter in Philadelphia, 39 year old reporter who was murdered in his home. And everyone was like, you know, what's going on, blah, blah, blah. Well, today they arrested a 19 year old homeless kid that he was having a air quote, I'm putting up the air quotes here, folks. Relationship with. This comes about two weeks after we saw a activist stabbed on the streets of New York.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: That was horrific.

Sam Stone: Video for basically the same underlying reason that he had been in a relationship with this crazy young homeless person who then stabbed him to death. Democrats have a pedophile problem.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: You are going bold.

Sam Stone: I am going bold there. But you know what they do. Look at the thing. So there was a little bit of controversy here about Turning Point USA. One of their activists chasing and asking questions of an ASU professor, who then shoved the cameraman and physically made a poor decision of who to assault because he just got tossed to the ground by a much stronger person as a result. Now that that was the result of his actions, this this act, this activist professor. But I looked into why they were asking him these questions. This guy is a professor at our university and he's basically promoting pedophilia. I mean. What are we? What do we have to do?

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Why isn't why isn't there an outcry about that?

Sam Stone: You know, I saw a little clip from Joe Rogan this morning, and I actually, I like Rogan. I think he's a great interviewer. It's not his insights I actually find the most interesting. Usually

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: He's good at teasing it out of his guests.

Sam Stone: Yeah, he's a great interviewer. He asks brilliant questions, but this was a kind of a clip of him talking with one of his guests, guest hosts or co co producers or whatever, and he was saying, you know, you have this thing where it's just Ghislaine Maxwell has been jailed, convicted, right, of selling kids for sex. And yet there's no one anywhere in any documentation who bought. That sex. Now obviously that happened. I'm not saying it didn't write. But why aren't they being charged? All of those people who were flying to Epstein Island.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Who are they and.

Sam Stone: Who are they? Where's the list?

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Where's right? It happened. Where's the list? Who are they? Why can't we identify them?

Sam Stone: Yeah.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: And bring them to justice.

Sam Stone: And forget trying to hold them accountable? We're not even being told who we.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: You don't even. Know who it is.

Sam Stone: Who should be held accountable.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Very powerful.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Forces.

Sam Stone: And this is this is something totally different. Like I always was. You know, you grew up in a country where it's like, hey, one side wants lower tax rates and the other one side wants to spend more money. And like, okay, that's a discussion we can all have.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: And be on.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Either side of the issue on. Right. But why, why are why why is this one divided. Right. Or at least feels like it? Shouldn't we all be on the same side on this one?

Sam Stone: I'm sorry.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: You have a different perspective when it comes to pedophilia.

Sam Stone: Or. Yeah.

Sam Stone: I mean, like they go so far as to call it minor attracted persons. Now they're trying to do this name swap thing again.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Hopefully Huckabee has banned that term.

Sam Stone: Everyone should ban that term. If your governor hasn't banned that term you need to talk to your governor. I don't care which side of the aisle they're on. Okay, folks, we're going to break. We're going to be coming back for more. Make sure you tune in for our podcast segment, because I want to follow up on some of this. It's, you know, there's some weird stuff going on these days, folks. We'll catch you on the next episode here. We're going to be talking to Abe Hamadeh and then moving on with my coat or coat writer for the National Review in just a moment.

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Sam Stone: All right. Welcome back to Breaking Battlegrounds with your host, Michelle Ugenti-rita. And I'm Sam Stone. Coming up next, a guest who just announced a run for Congressional District eight here in Arizona. He is also the man. I really believe that you can if you're a Democrat or you're an independent, you want to quibble about what happened to Kari Lake? You can, but I don't believe you can quibble about what happened to this guy in Maricopa County in this last election, where he theoretically lost by a couple hundred votes when they had huge problems with the machine problems. I have not talked to anybody in Arizona, anybody who's reasonable, who doesn't think the election was stolen from Abe Hamadeh. So, Abe, thank you for taking the time this morning. I know you've got a busy schedule because you just launched this run for Congress. Tell us how you're doing and what's going on.

Abe Hamadeh: Thank you. Sam, good to be with you, Michel. It's been, you know, it was Groundhog Day for a whole year, just about since last November. Right. Focusing on our election lawsuit, which, you know, as you said, I think everybody recognizes what happened. And, you know, with the government withholding all of the evidence, all these 9000 uncounted ballots. But when this opportunity arose, you know, I decided, hey, you know, I don't trust I don't trust the court system right now. Sam, you know, it's really unfortunate that we've been met with roadblocks. So I plan to serve in in Washington alongside Kari Lake and alongside Donald Trump. And I think that's where the focus is now. But we're still fighting the election lawsuit, of course, because we need to expose what happened. But, you know, right out the gate, we had so many endorsements, Sam, and we got endorsed by Kash Patel, who's a huge fighter. We have Ric Grenell and director of National intelligence. We had Robert O'Brien, the national security adviser. We even had Adam Laxalt, who ran for Senate in Nevada, the former AG up there. So I think we built this really broad coalition and a type of unity to kind of ticket right now, because I'm just trying to I want the grassroots, the grassroots right now need a victory.

Abe Hamadeh: You know, they need a fighter who's willing to say the things that need to be said and do the things that need to be done. And when I go to Washington, DC, everybody knows my fighting spirit, right? I mean, the establishment wanted me to go cower and hide and, you know, beg for forgiveness. And instead I stood tall to them. I stood tall to them, the the media and the political class. And I think I've come out stronger than ever. And the polling suggests that certainly right now. So we're in a very good spot. And I'd be honored to go back to my eighth congressional district, where I actually grew up from. I lived in North Peoria. I went to school at three different schools out there. So it feels it feels really nice and especially that area for so long. You know, it's really MAGA country, very supportive of President Trump. And who can't be, especially with the world on fire right now. Sam. So I think my skill set, you know, being the an Army captain serving overseas, being a former prosecutor, I think it's going to be it's going to be really good transition in Congress.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Yeah. So I think the audience we kind of need to set up this race. This is this is we had an incumbent who is not running for re-election, Debbie Lesko. So we have an open seat in a.

Sam Stone: Very red district.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: A very.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Red district. So this is going to stay Republican. It's just what flavor Republican are we going to get. And we need to get a conservative. The race is shaping up. Talk to us about what that looks like right now. How many candidates are in the race. How do you see it ultimately kind of solidifying as as people look at.

Sam Stone: As I told someone the other day, I think Abe has a pretty good chance of winning a 19 way primary.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Well, you know what?

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: These open seats, right? I mean, that's around how many candidates enter the races.

Sam Stone: I think last time it was like 18 or 19 for this seat when it kicked off.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: So it's really going to be about your base. And in that niche what do we what does it look like right now.

Abe Hamadeh: So I think you guys are exactly right. And, you know, I entered the race as the clear underdog with 0% name ID and, you know, that was probably the most contentious primaries in terms of how many legitimate candidates there were. And, you know, we defeated all of them because, you know, the voters are smart. They really sense authenticity. They know who's genuine. They know who's a fighter. Right now, I know my one of my opponents, Blake Masters, just entered the race. He's coming in all the way from Tucson, no ties to the district. And, you know, actually did the worst out of any of the Trump endorsed candidates. He he only won that district by 7%, which is kind of scary. I won the district by 12%. So but, you know, I'm focused on my race. I don't really need to focus on anybody else. But people know they're the electorate nowadays is a lot smarter than people give them credit for. They know they're really in tune with so much of what's happening. So, you know, the more the merrier that come in and, you know, we'll, we'll we'll just run our race just like we ran the ag race. And I have no problem running against people who are older than me, who are more established than me, but I.

Abe Hamadeh: People at this at this time. They know our country is collapsing. I mean, we have to be very honest about the assessment of our country. It's in a dire state. And it's the same reason why I ran for AG and the same fighting spirit I'm going to take to Congress with me is I know what's at stake. My family left Syria, know I was born in the United States, but my family immigrated from Syria and my family from Venezuela. And I've seen what Marxist revolutions do to countries. And once they activate them, it happens very quickly. And as I were seeing all of our institutions under attack right now, but I look forward to a spirited primary and, you know, we're going to we're going to go off to the races. But I feel very confident we're going to have a lot of support. I'm honored that Kari Lake endorsed me right off the bat, too. She was actually on the phone with me telling me to get in the race. So I feel really good about the way of the race. Right now.

Sam Stone: We have just about two three minutes left before we get to the end of this segment here, and I want to give some time for you at the end to be able to share your website and all your information so people can help support you. But one of the things I noted from the campaign last time for Attorney general and for folks outside of Arizona, you wouldn't have seen any of this. Obviously, no one's paying attention outside of the state. It was, like you said, a big primary. One of the things I thought differentiated you from the other campaigns was you were focused on campaigning, on things you were going to do in office. A lot of them spent a lot of time attacking you. I didn't see that from your camp. You really ran a issue based. Yeah

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Right.

Abe Hamadeh: Yeah, that's exactly right. I mean, there are so many, so many people want to get into politics because they want to be a politician. I'm getting into it because I'm desperately worried about our country. And I've seen it firsthand. Right. When when you had everybody coming after me, you know, with this election that happened last November, you know, one of the things I want to go into Congress is get election integrity at the federal level. And so I think just that type of fighting spirit the voters recognize, they know that I'm so focused on terrorism. You know, I've served overseas in Saudi Arabia vetting, you know, trying to prevent terrorists from coming into the United States. And, you know, you see our wide open border, which I think, unfortunately, we've had 167 encounters with people on the terror watch list. I mean, there's so much, so many things that are happening in our country where it's a multi-dimensional war and we have to fight it on all fronts. And having somebody with that conviction and who can withstand the pressure is so important right now at this dire time, and especially with and look at this time last year, Sam, Michelle, we didn't president Trump wasn't under indictment. Now he's had to withstand four indictments. And I think people need to be really concerned about the direction of our country right now, where we're starting to jail political opponents. I mean, this is not something that we've seen in the United States of America before. This is more reminiscent of banana republics, third world countries. And I think I can speak to it most better than most people right now.

Sam Stone: We have just a minute left. Oh, real quick, give us your top three issues and then tell folks how they can support your campaign.

Abe Hamadeh: My top three issues are, of course, the border. I mean, the border is completely open because of the disaster of the Biden administration, which I do believe is intentional. And I think we need to impeach Secretary Mayorkas as soon as possible. Election integrity is my other focus, and I've been tried and tested in that battlefront, and we're going to do some good things at the at the federal level with that. And thirdly, you know, national security and military, you know, somebody who served, you know, I know what veterans go through. And I also know that a foreign policy that doesn't put America first is a is a disaster. But I feel really blessed to be to represent this district. And if anybody wants to learn more about the campaign, I'm honored to have their support. They can go to my website at for Azcom. Abe. Perfect.

Sam Stone: Thank you so much, Abe. We're coming back in just a moment. All right. Welcome back to Breaking Battlegrounds with your host, Michelle Ugenti-rita. I'm Sam Stone. We're going to be continuing on with our interviews here in just a moment. But folks, you've been hearing me talk about why Refy for a year now? It's actually been a year since they started sponsoring this program. And, you know, after a few months, I went and did some research on my own and really got to know the folks in that company. And I got to tell you, you are missing a fantastic opportunity. If you don't go to their website and see about the incredible rates of return, you can get there. It's not linked to the stock market. You can earn up to a 10.25% fixed rate of return. That is just an incredible opportunity in today's market. So check them out. Invest y refy.com that's invest the letter Y then refy.com. Or give them a call at 888 y refy 24 and tell them Chuck and Sam sent you. All right. Continuing on today, folks, we have Mike Coté. He is a writer for the National Review and historian, focusing on great power, rivalry and geopolitics, blogs at Rational policy.com and host the Rational Rational Policy podcast. Mike, thank you so much for joining us. And welcome to the program.

Mike Coté: Great. Thanks so much for having me.

Sam Stone: So nothing to talk about at all these days in the areas of great power, rivalry and geopolitics. Um, you know, one of the one of your recent articles is that titled the Sky Isn't Falling for those who decry Western support for Ukraine, everything a precursor to World War three? This couldn't be further from the truth. Tell us a little bit about that, because I thought that was an interesting take and kind of an important one to inject into the discussion at this moment.

Mike Coté: Yeah, great. Thanks so much. So the piece basically I'm trying to talk about we have people online, especially even going up to people in Congress as well as the president of the United States that are basically thinking that any sort of change in our posture in Ukraine, whether that's giving them more weapons, assisting them with intelligence, things like that, pretty much are forcing us into a third world war. You'll see people talking about World War Three, things like that all the time online. And that was something that really bothered me. As someone who studied both world wars, they're basically mistaking the way that escalation dynamics worked, both in the current war as well as in both the First and Second World War. So unfortunately.

Sam Stone: What are what are some of the primary differences in that?

Mike Coté: Sure. So with World War One, that's something I study a lot, and I feel like it's unfortunately not really well understood as much here in the US, but people usually think about it as, you know, war that happened for nothing. A lot of people died for really no reason. It kind of burst out of nowhere with the assassination of Franz Ferdinand in summer of 1914, but this was something that was brewing for a very, very long time beforehand. The big geopolitical rivalries between Britain and Germany and France and Russia with Germany as well, were really simmering for decades, if not longer. And this was something that really kind of ramped up over time. And I see the Ukraine war right now as much more as one of those smaller wars that were kind of earlier, a couple of decades earlier, as a precursor to the First World War. It's a proxy war essentially. Right now, the US is not directly involved, neither is any other NATO country. And you have Russia basically trying to take over their smaller neighbor. So there are various conflicts that were like this before World War One.

Mike Coté: None of them blew up into the big one. Obviously that eventually happened, but there was a lot more build up to it than there is right now with Ukraine and with respect to World War II specifically, I think the lesson that people are taking away from that is kind of the opposite. We saw those smaller conflicts happening before World War II as well. Hitler was trying to gobble up different parts of Europe. Japan was trying to take over China since 1937, and essentially us in the West. We did very little about that. You famously have Neville Chamberlain with the peace in our time, getting a piece of paper at Munich, basically saying, oh, Hitler is not going to do any more besides take this part of Czechoslovakia. And we all know how well that worked out. So I think the lesson coming from World War II is that if we meet with force, these sorts of revanchist aims by a country like Russia and Ukraine, then we may be able to avoid a much bigger conflagration later on.

Sam Stone: And, you know, I think that makes sense. It's a view that you don't hear expressed that clearly very often. And I think one of the issues that I see with the public on this is that coverage of the war tends to be either rah rah or no, no, the war in Ukraine, there isn't much room for nuance, it seems, in the national discussion right now.

Mike Coté: Yeah, yeah. And I think that's a big problem with it. I mean, I wish the president would go out and make a speech that really kind of explained the stakes, why it matters to the US to aid Ukraine in this war against Moscow and kind of help them protect their own territory. You know, one of the things that I think people don't talk nearly enough about is the world system. We live in now that the US is really the hegemon of. That's something that's very fragile. And these things that are chopping away at the edges of it, like the war in Ukraine, really do undermine our security here at home.

Sam Stone: Yeah, absolutely. We're going to be going to break here in a moment, but we're coming back with more from Mike Kott, writer from National Review and historian focusing on great power, rivalry and geopolitics, blogs at Rational policy.com. And he's the host of the Rational Policy podcast. We also want to get into, obviously, what's going on with the Israel-hamas conflict and how history can help us understand that conflict a little bit better. And in general, I think it's valuable just to hear from people who aren't looking at these things as black and white and very straightforward. They are complex issues that will affect this world for decades to come. So stay tuned, folks. We're coming back with more in just a moment.

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Sam Stone: Welcome back to Breaking Battlegrounds with your host, Michelle Ugenti-rita. I'm Sam Stone on the line with us. Mike Cote, writer for the National Review. Mike, when we went to the break, we were talking obviously a little bit about the Ukraine conflict with Russia. I do want to touch one thing real quick on that, and then I want to get on to what's going on in Israel and Hamas. And another piece you've written that I think is very interesting. But talking about containing Vladimir Putin. How much do leaders around the world and intelligence agencies see Ukraine as a line where if we allow that, that domino to fall, that it's almost certain Russia will take additional steps, and perhaps China and other potential aggressors will see that as the green light to go in, you know, expand their territorial ambitions.

Mike Coté: Yeah. And I think that's that's very true. I think one thing with Ukraine specifically is we've kind of seen this happening over the past decade or so. In 2008, you had the invasion of Georgia by Russia, which we didn't really do much about, that. Georgia was not in NATO is not in NATO at this point. Basically, Russia carved off a significant portion of Georgia and has kind of kept that country on the sidelines in terms of an American or a NATO alliance. We saw that as well in Ukraine in 2014, when Russia invaded, took Crimea and started a long, prolonged conflict in the eastern part of the country. Obviously, this year they've expanded that, trying to take out pretty much all of Ukraine. Their initial advance was really on Kiev, which was the capital. And obviously trying to do that is not something you do if you're just trying to take small, different parts of the territory. I think one thing that Vladimir Putin is banking on is that Ukraine is not in NATO. I think that really is where he's trying to push at first to see how NATO responds when it's not a NATO ally that's directly affected. But we have seen NATO allies directly affected as well, especially in the Baltic countries. Over the past 5 or 6 years. We've seen various incursions there, especially with cyber attacks.

Mike Coté: And that's something that I think we're going to see more of going forward, that asymmetric sort of warfare, trying to test NATO's tripwires and see where we'll really get a stronger response and where they may not. And as you said, with other countries, especially with China, in Taiwan, I think, as you said, with respect to Israel, we've seen Iran becoming more belligerent with respect to the way that it's attacking Israel and trying to carry out its own aims. You know, we've responded pretty strongly in Ukraine. I think one of the problems is we haven't been getting them the material they need fast enough. The Biden administration has basically slow walked a lot of these things saying, oh, you know, Israel doesn't need it, sorry, Ukraine doesn't need it. And then a few months later, okay, well, Ukraine can get it in a couple of months from now. And by the end of that cycle, it's 8 to 9 months, if not a year down the line, that Ukraine is actually getting these sorts of weapons on the battlefield. And that sort of delay is something that I think really does incentivize our enemies to try to make these big moves, especially like China on Taiwan, and try to get that done before we even really have the opportunity to react.

Sam Stone: Yeah, absolutely. Okay. Moving on and switching up subjects a little bit here, talking about what's going on in Israel with the Hamas attacks. Israel's response. You had a great piece accusing Israel of genocide as a moral outrage, but also based on your historical background and knowledge. How can people I mean, again, this is a narrative, Michel, that I think has been massively oversimplified in public discussion here and around the globe. There's a lot of history that goes into this. And people, you know, people talking about apartheid or talking about occupation don't seem to understand that history very much at all. So, Mike, give us a little bit of that background and what is informing the decisions that are being made on both sides.

Mike Coté: Sure. So I mean, you can go back even to before the foundation of the State of Israel in 1948. And see, there was very interesting back and forth between Israel, Jews in the area that would become Israel, and the Arabs in the area that would have become Palestine had they accepted the creation of a state either in 1948 or later on. And basically, we're seeing a battle over something that's been really fought about for for centuries. The Holy Land has always been somewhere that you've had competing claims Muslim, Jewish, Christian, obviously, the Crusades going back over a millennia at this point. But with respect to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it really goes back to 1948, where you have Israel being partitioned, the land that was Mandate Palestine. The UN basically split it into what would have become a Jewish state and what would have become an Arab state. And that was something that was accepted by Jewish leaders at the time, including David Ben-Gurion, who became the first prime minister of the country. Unfortunately, the Arabs did not accept this and had basically launched a genocidal invasion at the time to wipe out all the Jews of Israel. And this is something that you can see pretty clearly from the historical record. Various Arab and Palestinian leaders essentially are saying that we need to wipe out the Jews here. We need to make sure that this is purely a muslim land. And at that time, you had a significant number of Arabs living in what would become Israel. Many of them fled. There was a lot of fighting that was really back and forth, civil war, sort of fighting. A lot of civilian casualties on both sides. And the Arab armies that were coming in essentially said, hey, get out of our way.

Mike Coté: Let us come in here to do what we need to do to destroy what would be the state of Israel. And then you can go back to your homes afterward. And so a lot of people did listen to that. Most of the population, the Arab population of the area fled. I think there were about 750,000 refugees. Palestinians today call that the Nakba, the catastrophe. So basically, the catastrophe for them was the very existence of Israel in the first place. And you see a lot of this happening at the time, you know, various partitions of states, India and Pakistan being split up, which caused about 15 million refugees, a much, much larger population. And those people were eventually absorbed into those two states. Obviously, there's still conflict between India and Pakistan, but you don't have as much of that internal conflict, whereas you have Palestinian refugees that have been refugees in camps for 75 years now. And I lay a lot of that blame at the feet of the Arab states around which have kept the Palestinians essentially completely outside of the political process in these countries. Whereas you had Arabs who remained and became citizens of the state of Israel who have participated in politics in Israel. You even had in the last government, an Arab party was part of the government for the first time in Israeli history. So it's really been a very long term conflict here. You've always had Palestinian Arabs, especially in the leadership, basically advocating a genocidal aim towards the Jews of Israel. And that's something that is very, very hard to make peace with, as we have seen.

Sam Stone: Obviously, the underlying issue, I mean, really break it down, is that one side would accept peace and one side will not. And the accusations of genocide are completely reversed from the reality. Yeah.

Mike Coté: No, totally. I mean, it's one of those things again and again, you'll hear even people who have been very pro the peace process. Bill Clinton, for example, in 2000, essentially was trying to broker a deal at Camp David between Yasser Arafat and the Israeli government, and they gave Arafat essentially everything that he could ask for in terms of territorial splits, in terms of having a relatively contiguous Palestinian state. And he turned it down, and they launched the Second Intifada, which killed several hundred Jews in terrorist attacks across Israel. And it's really one of those things where, again, you can offer so much, but if it's not accepted, what are you going to do? Israel withdrew unilaterally from Gaza in 2005, pulled out Israeli settlers at gunpoint and relocated them into the state of Israel. And yet you had the people of Gaza essentially electing Hamas as their government, who only had one election. They've held a power in Gaza the rest of the time, and they've been using all of the aid money we give them, essentially, to impoverish their own people and build terrorist infrastructure to try to destroy Israel. So it's very hard to make peace with a group of people who are led essentially by terrorists, who have no interest in actually having a state, even when they have the chance.

Sam Stone: One of the one of the charges you hear all the time is that Israeli settlements are encroaching upon Palestinian land. But but as you point out, since 2005, that has not been the case. As far as I can tell. Those complaints are actually based on well, Israel's population is growing, so they're building more houses in Israel.

Mike Coté: Yeah, yeah, that's a lot of it. And you do have some settlements in the West Bank, which have been very controversial, but that has nothing to do with the conflict with Hamas in Gaza. Like I said, there have been no Jews living in Gaza essentially since 2005. And if you look at Palestinian governed territories or generally the Middle East overall, it used to be various vibrant Jewish communities across the Middle East, whether that was from in Morocco, in Baghdad, which had a centuries old Jewish community. They were all evicted essentially after 1948, causing about 850,000 refugees, which were indeed accepted by Israel and integrated into the population.

Sam Stone: So a fair swap at that time, I mean, if we're just talking fair, would have been, okay. All you Arab states, you take the 750,000. That are.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Refugees.

Sam Stone: That are that left to get out of the way of your armies. You take those refugees and we're taking the 750,000 Jews. But but this, this sort of genocide, if you want to talk about genocide or apartheid has continued very programmatically into very recent years in a lot of these Arab countries where even just 10 or 20 years ago, there were still hundreds of thousands of Jews living there. And now there are basically none.

Mike Coté: Yeah, yeah, you've seen that happen constantly across the years. And thankfully there is a state of Israel for these people to go to that would be able to protect them. And I think that's one of the biggest things that we see is that obviously there is the atrocities of October 7th, and that was one thing that was obviously a very big security failure for Israel that they'll be dealing with over time. But that's somewhere where you have an Israeli army that is meant to protect Jews in Israel. And having that place for them to go to is something that really is very different than what the Arab countries. Obviously, there are plenty of Arab countries. Jordan has a very large Palestinian population, and yet they have refused to essentially integrate these people into their societies, which has indeed actually caused many more problems. Know, if these Arab countries aren't integrating Palestinian refugees, that breeds more resentment. And instead of directing that resentment towards the Arab countries, they're directing it towards the one Jewish state in the region.

Sam Stone: Mike, before we wrap up, we have just about three minutes left here today. Really appreciate you joining us on the program, folks. You can follow his work at Rational policy.com. Also at National Review. Mike Cote, I want to thank you so much for joining us. But before you go, I want to jump onto one last topic. You recently wrote a piece, The Multi-headed Hydra Menacing America, talking about increasing cooperation between China, Russia and Iran. Why should that concern the average American?

Mike Coté: So basically, I think it comes down to their goal, which is really what unites them. They all wish to essentially destroy the world order that we live in and have lived in since the end of World War two. Basically, at that point in time, the transition from Britain, you know, running the world is really not the right word. But controlling the world system, making the rules, trying to establish fairness for various countries that really that responsibility came on to the United States. And what we've seen over the past 75 years is an explosion in prosperity, not only within the US, but around the world. Whether that's been the protection of trade by the American Navy, the fact that we have rule of law generally have international bodies which have arbitrated disputes between states. Obviously, there have been wars since World War two, but nothing to the extent of that war. And I think part of that is really because of the Western led world order and these countries China, Russia and Iran, as well as some of their proxies, Venezuela and North Korea, etcetera. They want to overturn that. They want to return to a world that's much more like the 19th century, where you'd have hard spheres of influence with the great powers basically running their near abroad and controlling that. And that's been something that has not been the case for the past 75 years, where we've had small states be able to have their own interests and have their own security without having to worry about their bigger neighbors gobbling them up. And so these nations really want to go back to that older world where they can have a stronger influence around the countries around them, whether that's economic or military. And one of the ways they're trying to dismantle our world order is through secondary economic institutions. They try to avoid US sanctions. They try to build their own banking systems, things like that, to really separate themselves from the American led order. And that poses a danger to us here at home, because it really cuts at the core of our prosperity and our security.

Sam Stone: Fantastic. Mike, thank you so much for joining us today, folks. Mike Kotei, writer for the National Review. Mike, how do folks follow you and your work and stay in touch? And obviously, we're going to look forward to having you back on to continue some of these discussions. I think it's critical for the future. Yeah, sure.

Mike Coté: Well, thanks so much. They can check out my website at Rational policy.com. I write there a good bit. Obviously I have writing at National Review, Providence Magazine, and The Federalist, and you can check me out on Twitter or whatever they're calling it now at RATL Policy.

Sam Stone: Fantastic, folks. Thank you so much for tuning in today. Breaking battlegrounds. We'll be back on the air next week, but make sure you download our podcast segment. Also got some juicy stuff in there this week from Michelle and I. Breaking battlegrounds back next week.

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Sam Stone: All right, welcome to the exclusive podcast segment of Breaking Battlegrounds with your host today, Michelle Ugenti-rita. Thank you so much for joining us in studio I love coming. You know, we were talking a bit in the first segment, and I want to kind of build off of that about the Democrats really appear to have a problem with pedophilia, and they have a problem calling it out, and they're not willing to just be like, this is wrong.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Well.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: You know. Do they see a constituency there?

Sam Stone: Apparently they must. I mean, but but so I was thinking about that in light of everything going on with Hamas and Israel. Right. I don't know how you cannot anybody everybody cannot unambiguously say that people. Raping women and children, taking hostages, killing civilians, 1400 dead civilians. How? You cannot say that. That is an unalloyed wrong. There is no justification for such an act ever. And yet you see Democrats in this country, they cannot say that.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Right. There's something there's something that they're unwilling to admit.

Sam Stone: The moral, the moral equivalencies they're creating. Are just. I mean.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: But remember.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: These are the same people that can't even say what a woman is.

Sam Stone: Yeah, it all ties together, though, to me, Michel, because, like, you can't say that a woman's a woman. No, you can't call a pedophile a pedophile, and you can't call a terrorist a terrorist.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: So it's bigger than those examples. It's it's really this war on facts and the truth. And they seem to want you to believe that there's subjectivity in facts and the truth and there's not. It just is factual and it just is the truth, whether you believe it or not, doesn't take it away. The truth doesn't need you to support it. It survives and exists outside of of whether you agree with it or not. But they don't want it seems like they don't want you to believe that. They want you to believe. Whatever they say is the truth, or that you have some ability to create your own set of facts and truth.

Sam Stone: You know.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: How do you have. A society if there aren't rules?

Sam Stone: Well, so this is actually the point I was I was going to get to with all this discussion. How do you have a society without some sort of moral values? Right? I mean, the entire Western world has been built on essentially the Judeo-Christian set of values, right? We all agreed on those things. And I think one of the things that's going on is Democrats. It's all about power and control. And a moral. People do not require a lot of government oversight.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: No, but.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: You're right on power and control. That's exactly what you saw with Covid. That was all about power and control. That's what all of. And that's really this. The trans gender issue is about power and control, making you feel that you can't even speak out loud what you know to be true, what is true, what is factual because you are so in fear of being either ridiculed, fired, you know, drawn and quartered in your community. And that's a power and control thing. They don't want you to feel like you have freedom. They want you to get permission.

Sam Stone: And and you just brought up a really good point. So for like you and me, you know, I say things whether here on the radio or on Twitter, which I now call Twix, right? I say things all the time that if I were working for almost any company, any fortune 500 company in this country, I would be fired that day.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: There'd be some video.

Sam Stone: Oh no. Yeah, I mean, they they would never tolerate someone like me. They would never hire someone like me if they went back and looked at those things.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: So, you know, I, you know, this really actually brings up an interesting area which is corporations and what they're doing, what they have done. To allow this and give this kind of this, this power grab steam. I mean, look how they market. Look what they do. Look at the choices they make, look at how they set up their corporate boardrooms and the diversity training and what, you know, cancelling Christmas parties because God forbid, you celebrate anything and, you know, they're part of it.

Sam Stone: It's corporate cowardice, I think is the root of this. And I don't think they're just part of it. I think they are the engine now behind it, because I think the I think the left realised that without the power of corporations behind these ideas, that these ideas would never extend past the dark recesses of academia.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: That's right.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: They would implode upon any reasonable person, you know, thinking about it or looking at it. It couldn't survive. It's that nonsensical. So you use corporate the corporate world to.

Sam Stone: Yeah, you infiltrate HR.

Sam Stone: You take HR and turn it into something it was never intended to be. Hr was never intended to be the Hall monitor in a business. It was simply intended to be the person who managed like your health plan and your benefits. Yeah, exactly. And, you know, oversaw the paperwork for now.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: You know, looking in your office and seeing what posters you've put up or, you know.

Sam Stone: They're following all your socials, you know, they're they're tracking everything you say and do.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: These ideas don't sell like you were saying. So people have to be.

Sam Stone: They have to be.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Coerced and coerced into acquiescing. So that's why you can never acquiesce. Don't put that mask on. Don't social distance.

Sam Stone: Amen. You know, I know absolutely.

Sam Stone: Absolutely. You're hearing it from a Jewish guy now.

Sam Stone: Amen, sister.

Sam Stone: There's no question that is exactly right. The only answer is to have no tolerance at all for their version of this societal great change that they're trying to bring in, which is built on the most amoral and and unsustainable foundation.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Well, no. Yes. It's collectivism. Right? Everybody does the same thing. Nobody stands out. That is not how we are built, particularly in America. It's exceptionalism that motivates us. Individuality. It's funny that these are the same people that pretend to care about individuality when they want everyone to be the same, marched to the same tune. Do not deviate. Everyone has to act the same, be the same, think the same, look the same. It's that's really how they behave.

Sam Stone: It's an amazing.

Sam Stone: Point. It's. It is. You're telling these people, oh, you're an individual warrior, and yet you don't allow them to step out of line one bit. They're ants marching, right?

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: That's exactly right, sheeple. Going right off the cliff.

Sam Stone: Well, and speaking of off the cliff, folks, we are going off this cliff and off the air. But thank you so much for tuning in and joining us today. We really, really appreciate having you. And make sure if you're not subscribed, subscribe. Send this to a friend. We really count on those things to show the support to the Salem Network and to our folks here, so we can expand and help reach more people each week. Again, thank you for tuning in for Michelle. I'm Sam. We'll see you next week.

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This week on Breaking Battlegrounds, we have guest host Michelle Ugenti-Rita filling in for Chuck Warren, along with co-host Sam Stone. Join us as we welcome our first guest, Abe Hamadeh, who's running to represent Arizona's 8th Congressional District. A former U.S. Army Reserve Captain and Intelligence Officer, Abe is a staunch America-first fighter, and he'll share his vision for securing the southern border and holding the government accountable. Our second guest, Mike Coté, founder of Rational Policy and a writer at the National Review, offers a historical perspective on policy, international affairs, and politics. Tune in for engaging discussions and expert insights into the political landscape.

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About our guests

Abe Hamadeh is a former U.S. Army Reserve Captain & Intelligence Officer, Maricopa county prosecutor and an America first fighter. Abe is the son of immigrants; his family fled places like Syria and Venezuela. He knows all too well that if America falls, the flame of freedom may be extinguished forever. Abe is running to represent Arizona’s 8th Congressional District where he grew up, having gone to Happy Valley School, Stetson Hills, and Terramar. He is honored to be the voice of the district back in Washington.

Mike Coté is a writer for the National Review and historian focusing on great-power rivalry and geopolitics. He blogs at rationalpolicy.com and hosts the Rational Policy podcast.

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Transcription

Sam Stone: Welcome to another episode of Breaking Battlegrounds. I'm your host, Sam Stone. The international man of mystery. Chuck Warren is out of the studio again this week, but we are graced by the lovely presence Michelle Ugenti-Rita, former state senator here. She's running for office herself. Yeah, yeah.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Glutton for punishment.

Sam Stone: Yeah. No, seriously. Having done that once now and having no interest, I have all these people keep coming up to me and they're like, hey, Sam, you should run again. I'm like.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Why are you kidding you? You value your yourself too much to do that again.

Sam Stone: It's painful.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: It's tough. It's tough. I like it though. I mean, I don't know how many races have I done. 6 or 7. And you know, the vast majority of one lost one, one six. I like it. You have to like it to do it.

Sam Stone: See, I like working on campaigns. Yeah.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: So you like it? Just a different component, a.

Sam Stone: Different component of it. I actually I just found out that when I was doing it, I found out I don't like being the candidate.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Right. That's a that's a different kind of person, the person who likes to be a candidate. But there can be a lot of people that like to be in the political sphere, working behind the scenes, working on policy, working on campaign strategy. But the candidate, it's it takes a lot.

Sam Stone: It's different. I mean, for one thing, the thing that that frankly got me and folks, we have some very good guests coming up today on our second segment, we're going to have Abraham Hamadeh. He was the candidate for attorney general, general election candidate in Arizona, lost by I think by the end it was like 270 votes. I think it was down to like 123 by the time it was all okay, whatever. And as we discussed briefly or will discuss briefly with Abe there, there's really no doubt in anyone's mind here that he got hosed out of that election by Maricopa County. And what happened on Election day and uncounted ballots.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Their incompetency.

Sam Stone: Their incompetency and all this kind of thing. I have not met one serious person who doesn't think that he should be the AG right now in a fairly run election. Yeah, and that's even a lot of those people are people who disagree with Kari Lake and disagree with Donald Trump and don't take that position, but they look at what happened here on Election Day with malfunctioning machines and 63% of the precincts, all this stuff and they say, look, 100 and something votes that absolutely cost that. So he's announcing a run for Congressional District eight here in Arizona.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: So that's going to be that's going to be a really interesting congressional race. You mentioned we we talked to Abe about this.

Sam Stone: But folks, in all fairness, before we stumble over this anymore, we actually already did our interview with Abe. We pre-recorded it before we began the show here. I'm just going to be honest about this. Like, folks, you know, we're not live. We pre-record this on Friday. You're going to you're going to hear this on Saturday. So it is what it is. Instead of assembling it over to Michelle, we'll just tease this interview that's coming up and then folks make sure yeah, make sure you stay tuned afterwards because we're going to do a nice podcast segment following on this as well. And then for segments three and four today we have Mike Cote, writer for National Review and historian, focusing on great power, rivalry and geopolitics, which obviously isn't relevant at all to the moment in time we're in. Yeah, yeah. Um, but so we were teasing the lead in with Abe in that race from last time when Debbie Lesko became the congresswoman. I think if I remember, I mean, it was a huge field, like 15 to 18 people in that field.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: I think so too. I mean, everyone and their mom comes out and puts their hat or puts their name in the hat to run. And but that is honestly the nature of an open seat. You see that quite frequently in an open seat. It is exasperated by fact that it's a congressional open seat. And on our side, the Republican side.

Sam Stone: Whoever wins the primary.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Yeah, it will. The general.

Sam Stone: The general. I mean, I think when Debbie ran, her Democrat opponent in the general was.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Tipirneni.

Sam Stone: Was it Hiram Tipirneni or was it? I think it was Brian nee. Brianna Westbrook. I don't know. Either way. It was terrible.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Candidates or something. Yeah. It's terrible.

Sam Stone: Well, yeah. No. So the Democrats here in Arizona don't have a great bench.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: No, no, they don't have a good bench at all. It's not deep. Just the fact that we have Katie Hobbs as our governor I think is evident of that. But it does tell you, though, that if we aren't smart about how we're campaigning, if we don't have strategy, if we don't stick to our talking points, if we veer off of, you know, issues that matter to people, it's not a given. We're going to win. I mean, right, you know, just because the other side is that bad does not mean you're going to win. You know, you really have to make sure that you get your message out and you, frankly, stay on message. Stay. On message. I hope that's what happens in in CD eight is they stay on message. There's so much going on. Abe talked about that. And people want results. Yes. You know, deliver something for the good people of that district, please.

Sam Stone: Well, you know one thing, and I know Debbie Lesko a little bit. You probably know her a lot better than I.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Served with her.

Sam Stone: Um, but one of the things I was a little disappointed with her over the few years she's been in office versus Paul Gosar, for instance, is that Paul ran around and turned out voters in his bright red district in general elections. Yeah. And Debbie did not do that in hers. And folks, that makes a big difference. You need a candidate. Yeah. They've won the thing in the primary. It's over basically. But you need them to go out and turn out those votes.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: You do have to energize the base, right? This is a numbers game. The person with the most numbers, you know, the highest number, excuse me, wins. And it's about keeping majorities or getting majorities if we don't have them. And that doesn't happen unless let's get out to vote. Like your point.

Sam Stone: Let's take a Debbie Lesko and let's call it five of our brightest red state legislative districts. Right. What what how much of a change is there if each one of if Debbie turns out an extra 1000 votes and all of those turn out an extra hundred.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: And especially since races are becoming more and more competitive, they're closer and closer. So, you know, a lot of people have this mindset of like, oh, it doesn't matter or I'm just one. But when when, you know, the race we had the superintendent race, there was another legislative district race. This was just last general election, right. They they triggered recount my recount bill, by the way, that the counties opposed vehemently because they don't like to recount.

Sam Stone: That's one of the things most people don't maybe don't know, because people don't follow the legislature in any state.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: They should, but they should.

Sam Stone: I always laugh because, like the Florida legislature has done so much right, and everyone, all everyone talks about is governor DeSantis. Now, I love governor DeSantis too, but let's be honest, 80% of what he gets credit for.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: They they served up to for him.

Sam Stone: They're teeing him up. And, you know, we we haven't always done a good enough job here. But had we turned out those extra 1500 Republicans, we're not talking about Abraham Hamadeh running for CD eight. We're talking about AG Abraham Hamadeh right I mean that's a big difference. And this is nationwide folks. Think about all these the presidential election, everything how close that was.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: And it's only going to be I think that you're going to see more and more competitive races. And what I mean by that, the differential between the top two candidates become narrower, more narrow and narrow. So they're going to be razor close. So every vote actually does count. And I think in 2016 it was Congressman Andy Biggs that won his race by I want to say 27 votes.

Sam Stone: Yeah it was really tight really really tight tight. Yeah. And so these things make a big difference.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: So if you're extended family's not voting and you lose that race I mean you can't go to any family function ever again.

Sam Stone: Well no you can. You just you stand at the door and you're like, you're allowed in. Let's see. Did you vote? Pull up the voter rolls. Did you cast a ballot? Oh no no, no potato salad for you today.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Exactly.

Sam Stone: Um, there's a lot going on in the world, and obviously we're going to be focusing on a lot of the the great power situation and all of this with Mike Cote. When Cote, I'm hoping I'm probably mispronouncing this two different ways. That's what I do, folks. Um, but I want to touch on something else that came up today. It's kind of icky, but I'm throwing I'm throwing this into this thing. It's Friday. There's the news out today that about a week ago you had a reporter in Philadelphia, 39 year old reporter who was murdered in his home. And everyone was like, you know, what's going on, blah, blah, blah. Well, today they arrested a 19 year old homeless kid that he was having a air quote, I'm putting up the air quotes here, folks. Relationship with. This comes about two weeks after we saw a activist stabbed on the streets of New York.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: That was horrific.

Sam Stone: Video for basically the same underlying reason that he had been in a relationship with this crazy young homeless person who then stabbed him to death. Democrats have a pedophile problem.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: You are going bold.

Sam Stone: I am going bold there. But you know what they do. Look at the thing. So there was a little bit of controversy here about Turning Point USA. One of their activists chasing and asking questions of an ASU professor, who then shoved the cameraman and physically made a poor decision of who to assault because he just got tossed to the ground by a much stronger person as a result. Now that that was the result of his actions, this this act, this activist professor. But I looked into why they were asking him these questions. This guy is a professor at our university and he's basically promoting pedophilia. I mean. What are we? What do we have to do?

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Why isn't why isn't there an outcry about that?

Sam Stone: You know, I saw a little clip from Joe Rogan this morning, and I actually, I like Rogan. I think he's a great interviewer. It's not his insights I actually find the most interesting. Usually

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: He's good at teasing it out of his guests.

Sam Stone: Yeah, he's a great interviewer. He asks brilliant questions, but this was a kind of a clip of him talking with one of his guests, guest hosts or co co producers or whatever, and he was saying, you know, you have this thing where it's just Ghislaine Maxwell has been jailed, convicted, right, of selling kids for sex. And yet there's no one anywhere in any documentation who bought. That sex. Now obviously that happened. I'm not saying it didn't write. But why aren't they being charged? All of those people who were flying to Epstein Island.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Who are they and.

Sam Stone: Who are they? Where's the list?

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Where's right? It happened. Where's the list? Who are they? Why can't we identify them?

Sam Stone: Yeah.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: And bring them to justice.

Sam Stone: And forget trying to hold them accountable? We're not even being told who we.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: You don't even. Know who it is.

Sam Stone: Who should be held accountable.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Very powerful.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Forces.

Sam Stone: And this is this is something totally different. Like I always was. You know, you grew up in a country where it's like, hey, one side wants lower tax rates and the other one side wants to spend more money. And like, okay, that's a discussion we can all have.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: And be on.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Either side of the issue on. Right. But why, why are why why is this one divided. Right. Or at least feels like it? Shouldn't we all be on the same side on this one?

Sam Stone: I'm sorry.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: You have a different perspective when it comes to pedophilia.

Sam Stone: Or. Yeah.

Sam Stone: I mean, like they go so far as to call it minor attracted persons. Now they're trying to do this name swap thing again.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Hopefully Huckabee has banned that term.

Sam Stone: Everyone should ban that term. If your governor hasn't banned that term you need to talk to your governor. I don't care which side of the aisle they're on. Okay, folks, we're going to break. We're going to be coming back for more. Make sure you tune in for our podcast segment, because I want to follow up on some of this. It's, you know, there's some weird stuff going on these days, folks. We'll catch you on the next episode here. We're going to be talking to Abe Hamadeh and then moving on with my coat or coat writer for the National Review in just a moment.

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Sam Stone: All right. Welcome back to Breaking Battlegrounds with your host, Michelle Ugenti-rita. And I'm Sam Stone. Coming up next, a guest who just announced a run for Congressional District eight here in Arizona. He is also the man. I really believe that you can if you're a Democrat or you're an independent, you want to quibble about what happened to Kari Lake? You can, but I don't believe you can quibble about what happened to this guy in Maricopa County in this last election, where he theoretically lost by a couple hundred votes when they had huge problems with the machine problems. I have not talked to anybody in Arizona, anybody who's reasonable, who doesn't think the election was stolen from Abe Hamadeh. So, Abe, thank you for taking the time this morning. I know you've got a busy schedule because you just launched this run for Congress. Tell us how you're doing and what's going on.

Abe Hamadeh: Thank you. Sam, good to be with you, Michel. It's been, you know, it was Groundhog Day for a whole year, just about since last November. Right. Focusing on our election lawsuit, which, you know, as you said, I think everybody recognizes what happened. And, you know, with the government withholding all of the evidence, all these 9000 uncounted ballots. But when this opportunity arose, you know, I decided, hey, you know, I don't trust I don't trust the court system right now. Sam, you know, it's really unfortunate that we've been met with roadblocks. So I plan to serve in in Washington alongside Kari Lake and alongside Donald Trump. And I think that's where the focus is now. But we're still fighting the election lawsuit, of course, because we need to expose what happened. But, you know, right out the gate, we had so many endorsements, Sam, and we got endorsed by Kash Patel, who's a huge fighter. We have Ric Grenell and director of National intelligence. We had Robert O'Brien, the national security adviser. We even had Adam Laxalt, who ran for Senate in Nevada, the former AG up there. So I think we built this really broad coalition and a type of unity to kind of ticket right now, because I'm just trying to I want the grassroots, the grassroots right now need a victory.

Abe Hamadeh: You know, they need a fighter who's willing to say the things that need to be said and do the things that need to be done. And when I go to Washington, DC, everybody knows my fighting spirit, right? I mean, the establishment wanted me to go cower and hide and, you know, beg for forgiveness. And instead I stood tall to them. I stood tall to them, the the media and the political class. And I think I've come out stronger than ever. And the polling suggests that certainly right now. So we're in a very good spot. And I'd be honored to go back to my eighth congressional district, where I actually grew up from. I lived in North Peoria. I went to school at three different schools out there. So it feels it feels really nice and especially that area for so long. You know, it's really MAGA country, very supportive of President Trump. And who can't be, especially with the world on fire right now. Sam. So I think my skill set, you know, being the an Army captain serving overseas, being a former prosecutor, I think it's going to be it's going to be really good transition in Congress.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Yeah. So I think the audience we kind of need to set up this race. This is this is we had an incumbent who is not running for re-election, Debbie Lesko. So we have an open seat in a.

Sam Stone: Very red district.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: A very.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Red district. So this is going to stay Republican. It's just what flavor Republican are we going to get. And we need to get a conservative. The race is shaping up. Talk to us about what that looks like right now. How many candidates are in the race. How do you see it ultimately kind of solidifying as as people look at.

Sam Stone: As I told someone the other day, I think Abe has a pretty good chance of winning a 19 way primary.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Well, you know what?

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: These open seats, right? I mean, that's around how many candidates enter the races.

Sam Stone: I think last time it was like 18 or 19 for this seat when it kicked off.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: So it's really going to be about your base. And in that niche what do we what does it look like right now.

Abe Hamadeh: So I think you guys are exactly right. And, you know, I entered the race as the clear underdog with 0% name ID and, you know, that was probably the most contentious primaries in terms of how many legitimate candidates there were. And, you know, we defeated all of them because, you know, the voters are smart. They really sense authenticity. They know who's genuine. They know who's a fighter. Right now, I know my one of my opponents, Blake Masters, just entered the race. He's coming in all the way from Tucson, no ties to the district. And, you know, actually did the worst out of any of the Trump endorsed candidates. He he only won that district by 7%, which is kind of scary. I won the district by 12%. So but, you know, I'm focused on my race. I don't really need to focus on anybody else. But people know they're the electorate nowadays is a lot smarter than people give them credit for. They know they're really in tune with so much of what's happening. So, you know, the more the merrier that come in and, you know, we'll, we'll we'll just run our race just like we ran the ag race. And I have no problem running against people who are older than me, who are more established than me, but I.

Abe Hamadeh: People at this at this time. They know our country is collapsing. I mean, we have to be very honest about the assessment of our country. It's in a dire state. And it's the same reason why I ran for AG and the same fighting spirit I'm going to take to Congress with me is I know what's at stake. My family left Syria, know I was born in the United States, but my family immigrated from Syria and my family from Venezuela. And I've seen what Marxist revolutions do to countries. And once they activate them, it happens very quickly. And as I were seeing all of our institutions under attack right now, but I look forward to a spirited primary and, you know, we're going to we're going to go off to the races. But I feel very confident we're going to have a lot of support. I'm honored that Kari Lake endorsed me right off the bat, too. She was actually on the phone with me telling me to get in the race. So I feel really good about the way of the race. Right now.

Sam Stone: We have just about two three minutes left before we get to the end of this segment here, and I want to give some time for you at the end to be able to share your website and all your information so people can help support you. But one of the things I noted from the campaign last time for Attorney general and for folks outside of Arizona, you wouldn't have seen any of this. Obviously, no one's paying attention outside of the state. It was, like you said, a big primary. One of the things I thought differentiated you from the other campaigns was you were focused on campaigning, on things you were going to do in office. A lot of them spent a lot of time attacking you. I didn't see that from your camp. You really ran a issue based. Yeah

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Right.

Abe Hamadeh: Yeah, that's exactly right. I mean, there are so many, so many people want to get into politics because they want to be a politician. I'm getting into it because I'm desperately worried about our country. And I've seen it firsthand. Right. When when you had everybody coming after me, you know, with this election that happened last November, you know, one of the things I want to go into Congress is get election integrity at the federal level. And so I think just that type of fighting spirit the voters recognize, they know that I'm so focused on terrorism. You know, I've served overseas in Saudi Arabia vetting, you know, trying to prevent terrorists from coming into the United States. And, you know, you see our wide open border, which I think, unfortunately, we've had 167 encounters with people on the terror watch list. I mean, there's so much, so many things that are happening in our country where it's a multi-dimensional war and we have to fight it on all fronts. And having somebody with that conviction and who can withstand the pressure is so important right now at this dire time, and especially with and look at this time last year, Sam, Michelle, we didn't president Trump wasn't under indictment. Now he's had to withstand four indictments. And I think people need to be really concerned about the direction of our country right now, where we're starting to jail political opponents. I mean, this is not something that we've seen in the United States of America before. This is more reminiscent of banana republics, third world countries. And I think I can speak to it most better than most people right now.

Sam Stone: We have just a minute left. Oh, real quick, give us your top three issues and then tell folks how they can support your campaign.

Abe Hamadeh: My top three issues are, of course, the border. I mean, the border is completely open because of the disaster of the Biden administration, which I do believe is intentional. And I think we need to impeach Secretary Mayorkas as soon as possible. Election integrity is my other focus, and I've been tried and tested in that battlefront, and we're going to do some good things at the at the federal level with that. And thirdly, you know, national security and military, you know, somebody who served, you know, I know what veterans go through. And I also know that a foreign policy that doesn't put America first is a is a disaster. But I feel really blessed to be to represent this district. And if anybody wants to learn more about the campaign, I'm honored to have their support. They can go to my website at for Azcom. Abe. Perfect.

Sam Stone: Thank you so much, Abe. We're coming back in just a moment. All right. Welcome back to Breaking Battlegrounds with your host, Michelle Ugenti-rita. I'm Sam Stone. We're going to be continuing on with our interviews here in just a moment. But folks, you've been hearing me talk about why Refy for a year now? It's actually been a year since they started sponsoring this program. And, you know, after a few months, I went and did some research on my own and really got to know the folks in that company. And I got to tell you, you are missing a fantastic opportunity. If you don't go to their website and see about the incredible rates of return, you can get there. It's not linked to the stock market. You can earn up to a 10.25% fixed rate of return. That is just an incredible opportunity in today's market. So check them out. Invest y refy.com that's invest the letter Y then refy.com. Or give them a call at 888 y refy 24 and tell them Chuck and Sam sent you. All right. Continuing on today, folks, we have Mike Coté. He is a writer for the National Review and historian, focusing on great power, rivalry and geopolitics, blogs at Rational policy.com and host the Rational Rational Policy podcast. Mike, thank you so much for joining us. And welcome to the program.

Mike Coté: Great. Thanks so much for having me.

Sam Stone: So nothing to talk about at all these days in the areas of great power, rivalry and geopolitics. Um, you know, one of the one of your recent articles is that titled the Sky Isn't Falling for those who decry Western support for Ukraine, everything a precursor to World War three? This couldn't be further from the truth. Tell us a little bit about that, because I thought that was an interesting take and kind of an important one to inject into the discussion at this moment.

Mike Coté: Yeah, great. Thanks so much. So the piece basically I'm trying to talk about we have people online, especially even going up to people in Congress as well as the president of the United States that are basically thinking that any sort of change in our posture in Ukraine, whether that's giving them more weapons, assisting them with intelligence, things like that, pretty much are forcing us into a third world war. You'll see people talking about World War Three, things like that all the time online. And that was something that really bothered me. As someone who studied both world wars, they're basically mistaking the way that escalation dynamics worked, both in the current war as well as in both the First and Second World War. So unfortunately.

Sam Stone: What are what are some of the primary differences in that?

Mike Coté: Sure. So with World War One, that's something I study a lot, and I feel like it's unfortunately not really well understood as much here in the US, but people usually think about it as, you know, war that happened for nothing. A lot of people died for really no reason. It kind of burst out of nowhere with the assassination of Franz Ferdinand in summer of 1914, but this was something that was brewing for a very, very long time beforehand. The big geopolitical rivalries between Britain and Germany and France and Russia with Germany as well, were really simmering for decades, if not longer. And this was something that really kind of ramped up over time. And I see the Ukraine war right now as much more as one of those smaller wars that were kind of earlier, a couple of decades earlier, as a precursor to the First World War. It's a proxy war essentially. Right now, the US is not directly involved, neither is any other NATO country. And you have Russia basically trying to take over their smaller neighbor. So there are various conflicts that were like this before World War One.

Mike Coté: None of them blew up into the big one. Obviously that eventually happened, but there was a lot more build up to it than there is right now with Ukraine and with respect to World War II specifically, I think the lesson that people are taking away from that is kind of the opposite. We saw those smaller conflicts happening before World War II as well. Hitler was trying to gobble up different parts of Europe. Japan was trying to take over China since 1937, and essentially us in the West. We did very little about that. You famously have Neville Chamberlain with the peace in our time, getting a piece of paper at Munich, basically saying, oh, Hitler is not going to do any more besides take this part of Czechoslovakia. And we all know how well that worked out. So I think the lesson coming from World War II is that if we meet with force, these sorts of revanchist aims by a country like Russia and Ukraine, then we may be able to avoid a much bigger conflagration later on.

Sam Stone: And, you know, I think that makes sense. It's a view that you don't hear expressed that clearly very often. And I think one of the issues that I see with the public on this is that coverage of the war tends to be either rah rah or no, no, the war in Ukraine, there isn't much room for nuance, it seems, in the national discussion right now.

Mike Coté: Yeah, yeah. And I think that's a big problem with it. I mean, I wish the president would go out and make a speech that really kind of explained the stakes, why it matters to the US to aid Ukraine in this war against Moscow and kind of help them protect their own territory. You know, one of the things that I think people don't talk nearly enough about is the world system. We live in now that the US is really the hegemon of. That's something that's very fragile. And these things that are chopping away at the edges of it, like the war in Ukraine, really do undermine our security here at home.

Sam Stone: Yeah, absolutely. We're going to be going to break here in a moment, but we're coming back with more from Mike Kott, writer from National Review and historian focusing on great power, rivalry and geopolitics, blogs at Rational policy.com. And he's the host of the Rational Policy podcast. We also want to get into, obviously, what's going on with the Israel-hamas conflict and how history can help us understand that conflict a little bit better. And in general, I think it's valuable just to hear from people who aren't looking at these things as black and white and very straightforward. They are complex issues that will affect this world for decades to come. So stay tuned, folks. We're coming back with more in just a moment.

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Sam Stone: Welcome back to Breaking Battlegrounds with your host, Michelle Ugenti-rita. I'm Sam Stone on the line with us. Mike Cote, writer for the National Review. Mike, when we went to the break, we were talking obviously a little bit about the Ukraine conflict with Russia. I do want to touch one thing real quick on that, and then I want to get on to what's going on in Israel and Hamas. And another piece you've written that I think is very interesting. But talking about containing Vladimir Putin. How much do leaders around the world and intelligence agencies see Ukraine as a line where if we allow that, that domino to fall, that it's almost certain Russia will take additional steps, and perhaps China and other potential aggressors will see that as the green light to go in, you know, expand their territorial ambitions.

Mike Coté: Yeah. And I think that's that's very true. I think one thing with Ukraine specifically is we've kind of seen this happening over the past decade or so. In 2008, you had the invasion of Georgia by Russia, which we didn't really do much about, that. Georgia was not in NATO is not in NATO at this point. Basically, Russia carved off a significant portion of Georgia and has kind of kept that country on the sidelines in terms of an American or a NATO alliance. We saw that as well in Ukraine in 2014, when Russia invaded, took Crimea and started a long, prolonged conflict in the eastern part of the country. Obviously, this year they've expanded that, trying to take out pretty much all of Ukraine. Their initial advance was really on Kiev, which was the capital. And obviously trying to do that is not something you do if you're just trying to take small, different parts of the territory. I think one thing that Vladimir Putin is banking on is that Ukraine is not in NATO. I think that really is where he's trying to push at first to see how NATO responds when it's not a NATO ally that's directly affected. But we have seen NATO allies directly affected as well, especially in the Baltic countries. Over the past 5 or 6 years. We've seen various incursions there, especially with cyber attacks.

Mike Coté: And that's something that I think we're going to see more of going forward, that asymmetric sort of warfare, trying to test NATO's tripwires and see where we'll really get a stronger response and where they may not. And as you said, with other countries, especially with China, in Taiwan, I think, as you said, with respect to Israel, we've seen Iran becoming more belligerent with respect to the way that it's attacking Israel and trying to carry out its own aims. You know, we've responded pretty strongly in Ukraine. I think one of the problems is we haven't been getting them the material they need fast enough. The Biden administration has basically slow walked a lot of these things saying, oh, you know, Israel doesn't need it, sorry, Ukraine doesn't need it. And then a few months later, okay, well, Ukraine can get it in a couple of months from now. And by the end of that cycle, it's 8 to 9 months, if not a year down the line, that Ukraine is actually getting these sorts of weapons on the battlefield. And that sort of delay is something that I think really does incentivize our enemies to try to make these big moves, especially like China on Taiwan, and try to get that done before we even really have the opportunity to react.

Sam Stone: Yeah, absolutely. Okay. Moving on and switching up subjects a little bit here, talking about what's going on in Israel with the Hamas attacks. Israel's response. You had a great piece accusing Israel of genocide as a moral outrage, but also based on your historical background and knowledge. How can people I mean, again, this is a narrative, Michel, that I think has been massively oversimplified in public discussion here and around the globe. There's a lot of history that goes into this. And people, you know, people talking about apartheid or talking about occupation don't seem to understand that history very much at all. So, Mike, give us a little bit of that background and what is informing the decisions that are being made on both sides.

Mike Coté: Sure. So I mean, you can go back even to before the foundation of the State of Israel in 1948. And see, there was very interesting back and forth between Israel, Jews in the area that would become Israel, and the Arabs in the area that would have become Palestine had they accepted the creation of a state either in 1948 or later on. And basically, we're seeing a battle over something that's been really fought about for for centuries. The Holy Land has always been somewhere that you've had competing claims Muslim, Jewish, Christian, obviously, the Crusades going back over a millennia at this point. But with respect to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it really goes back to 1948, where you have Israel being partitioned, the land that was Mandate Palestine. The UN basically split it into what would have become a Jewish state and what would have become an Arab state. And that was something that was accepted by Jewish leaders at the time, including David Ben-Gurion, who became the first prime minister of the country. Unfortunately, the Arabs did not accept this and had basically launched a genocidal invasion at the time to wipe out all the Jews of Israel. And this is something that you can see pretty clearly from the historical record. Various Arab and Palestinian leaders essentially are saying that we need to wipe out the Jews here. We need to make sure that this is purely a muslim land. And at that time, you had a significant number of Arabs living in what would become Israel. Many of them fled. There was a lot of fighting that was really back and forth, civil war, sort of fighting. A lot of civilian casualties on both sides. And the Arab armies that were coming in essentially said, hey, get out of our way.

Mike Coté: Let us come in here to do what we need to do to destroy what would be the state of Israel. And then you can go back to your homes afterward. And so a lot of people did listen to that. Most of the population, the Arab population of the area fled. I think there were about 750,000 refugees. Palestinians today call that the Nakba, the catastrophe. So basically, the catastrophe for them was the very existence of Israel in the first place. And you see a lot of this happening at the time, you know, various partitions of states, India and Pakistan being split up, which caused about 15 million refugees, a much, much larger population. And those people were eventually absorbed into those two states. Obviously, there's still conflict between India and Pakistan, but you don't have as much of that internal conflict, whereas you have Palestinian refugees that have been refugees in camps for 75 years now. And I lay a lot of that blame at the feet of the Arab states around which have kept the Palestinians essentially completely outside of the political process in these countries. Whereas you had Arabs who remained and became citizens of the state of Israel who have participated in politics in Israel. You even had in the last government, an Arab party was part of the government for the first time in Israeli history. So it's really been a very long term conflict here. You've always had Palestinian Arabs, especially in the leadership, basically advocating a genocidal aim towards the Jews of Israel. And that's something that is very, very hard to make peace with, as we have seen.

Sam Stone: Obviously, the underlying issue, I mean, really break it down, is that one side would accept peace and one side will not. And the accusations of genocide are completely reversed from the reality. Yeah.

Mike Coté: No, totally. I mean, it's one of those things again and again, you'll hear even people who have been very pro the peace process. Bill Clinton, for example, in 2000, essentially was trying to broker a deal at Camp David between Yasser Arafat and the Israeli government, and they gave Arafat essentially everything that he could ask for in terms of territorial splits, in terms of having a relatively contiguous Palestinian state. And he turned it down, and they launched the Second Intifada, which killed several hundred Jews in terrorist attacks across Israel. And it's really one of those things where, again, you can offer so much, but if it's not accepted, what are you going to do? Israel withdrew unilaterally from Gaza in 2005, pulled out Israeli settlers at gunpoint and relocated them into the state of Israel. And yet you had the people of Gaza essentially electing Hamas as their government, who only had one election. They've held a power in Gaza the rest of the time, and they've been using all of the aid money we give them, essentially, to impoverish their own people and build terrorist infrastructure to try to destroy Israel. So it's very hard to make peace with a group of people who are led essentially by terrorists, who have no interest in actually having a state, even when they have the chance.

Sam Stone: One of the one of the charges you hear all the time is that Israeli settlements are encroaching upon Palestinian land. But but as you point out, since 2005, that has not been the case. As far as I can tell. Those complaints are actually based on well, Israel's population is growing, so they're building more houses in Israel.

Mike Coté: Yeah, yeah, that's a lot of it. And you do have some settlements in the West Bank, which have been very controversial, but that has nothing to do with the conflict with Hamas in Gaza. Like I said, there have been no Jews living in Gaza essentially since 2005. And if you look at Palestinian governed territories or generally the Middle East overall, it used to be various vibrant Jewish communities across the Middle East, whether that was from in Morocco, in Baghdad, which had a centuries old Jewish community. They were all evicted essentially after 1948, causing about 850,000 refugees, which were indeed accepted by Israel and integrated into the population.

Sam Stone: So a fair swap at that time, I mean, if we're just talking fair, would have been, okay. All you Arab states, you take the 750,000. That are.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Refugees.

Sam Stone: That are that left to get out of the way of your armies. You take those refugees and we're taking the 750,000 Jews. But but this, this sort of genocide, if you want to talk about genocide or apartheid has continued very programmatically into very recent years in a lot of these Arab countries where even just 10 or 20 years ago, there were still hundreds of thousands of Jews living there. And now there are basically none.

Mike Coté: Yeah, yeah, you've seen that happen constantly across the years. And thankfully there is a state of Israel for these people to go to that would be able to protect them. And I think that's one of the biggest things that we see is that obviously there is the atrocities of October 7th, and that was one thing that was obviously a very big security failure for Israel that they'll be dealing with over time. But that's somewhere where you have an Israeli army that is meant to protect Jews in Israel. And having that place for them to go to is something that really is very different than what the Arab countries. Obviously, there are plenty of Arab countries. Jordan has a very large Palestinian population, and yet they have refused to essentially integrate these people into their societies, which has indeed actually caused many more problems. Know, if these Arab countries aren't integrating Palestinian refugees, that breeds more resentment. And instead of directing that resentment towards the Arab countries, they're directing it towards the one Jewish state in the region.

Sam Stone: Mike, before we wrap up, we have just about three minutes left here today. Really appreciate you joining us on the program, folks. You can follow his work at Rational policy.com. Also at National Review. Mike Cote, I want to thank you so much for joining us. But before you go, I want to jump onto one last topic. You recently wrote a piece, The Multi-headed Hydra Menacing America, talking about increasing cooperation between China, Russia and Iran. Why should that concern the average American?

Mike Coté: So basically, I think it comes down to their goal, which is really what unites them. They all wish to essentially destroy the world order that we live in and have lived in since the end of World War two. Basically, at that point in time, the transition from Britain, you know, running the world is really not the right word. But controlling the world system, making the rules, trying to establish fairness for various countries that really that responsibility came on to the United States. And what we've seen over the past 75 years is an explosion in prosperity, not only within the US, but around the world. Whether that's been the protection of trade by the American Navy, the fact that we have rule of law generally have international bodies which have arbitrated disputes between states. Obviously, there have been wars since World War two, but nothing to the extent of that war. And I think part of that is really because of the Western led world order and these countries China, Russia and Iran, as well as some of their proxies, Venezuela and North Korea, etcetera. They want to overturn that. They want to return to a world that's much more like the 19th century, where you'd have hard spheres of influence with the great powers basically running their near abroad and controlling that. And that's been something that has not been the case for the past 75 years, where we've had small states be able to have their own interests and have their own security without having to worry about their bigger neighbors gobbling them up. And so these nations really want to go back to that older world where they can have a stronger influence around the countries around them, whether that's economic or military. And one of the ways they're trying to dismantle our world order is through secondary economic institutions. They try to avoid US sanctions. They try to build their own banking systems, things like that, to really separate themselves from the American led order. And that poses a danger to us here at home, because it really cuts at the core of our prosperity and our security.

Sam Stone: Fantastic. Mike, thank you so much for joining us today, folks. Mike Kotei, writer for the National Review. Mike, how do folks follow you and your work and stay in touch? And obviously, we're going to look forward to having you back on to continue some of these discussions. I think it's critical for the future. Yeah, sure.

Mike Coté: Well, thanks so much. They can check out my website at Rational policy.com. I write there a good bit. Obviously I have writing at National Review, Providence Magazine, and The Federalist, and you can check me out on Twitter or whatever they're calling it now at RATL Policy.

Sam Stone: Fantastic, folks. Thank you so much for tuning in today. Breaking battlegrounds. We'll be back on the air next week, but make sure you download our podcast segment. Also got some juicy stuff in there this week from Michelle and I. Breaking battlegrounds back next week.

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Sam Stone: All right, welcome to the exclusive podcast segment of Breaking Battlegrounds with your host today, Michelle Ugenti-rita. Thank you so much for joining us in studio I love coming. You know, we were talking a bit in the first segment, and I want to kind of build off of that about the Democrats really appear to have a problem with pedophilia, and they have a problem calling it out, and they're not willing to just be like, this is wrong.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Well.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: You know. Do they see a constituency there?

Sam Stone: Apparently they must. I mean, but but so I was thinking about that in light of everything going on with Hamas and Israel. Right. I don't know how you cannot anybody everybody cannot unambiguously say that people. Raping women and children, taking hostages, killing civilians, 1400 dead civilians. How? You cannot say that. That is an unalloyed wrong. There is no justification for such an act ever. And yet you see Democrats in this country, they cannot say that.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Right. There's something there's something that they're unwilling to admit.

Sam Stone: The moral, the moral equivalencies they're creating. Are just. I mean.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: But remember.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: These are the same people that can't even say what a woman is.

Sam Stone: Yeah, it all ties together, though, to me, Michel, because, like, you can't say that a woman's a woman. No, you can't call a pedophile a pedophile, and you can't call a terrorist a terrorist.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: So it's bigger than those examples. It's it's really this war on facts and the truth. And they seem to want you to believe that there's subjectivity in facts and the truth and there's not. It just is factual and it just is the truth, whether you believe it or not, doesn't take it away. The truth doesn't need you to support it. It survives and exists outside of of whether you agree with it or not. But they don't want it seems like they don't want you to believe that. They want you to believe. Whatever they say is the truth, or that you have some ability to create your own set of facts and truth.

Sam Stone: You know.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: How do you have. A society if there aren't rules?

Sam Stone: Well, so this is actually the point I was I was going to get to with all this discussion. How do you have a society without some sort of moral values? Right? I mean, the entire Western world has been built on essentially the Judeo-Christian set of values, right? We all agreed on those things. And I think one of the things that's going on is Democrats. It's all about power and control. And a moral. People do not require a lot of government oversight.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: No, but.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: You're right on power and control. That's exactly what you saw with Covid. That was all about power and control. That's what all of. And that's really this. The trans gender issue is about power and control, making you feel that you can't even speak out loud what you know to be true, what is true, what is factual because you are so in fear of being either ridiculed, fired, you know, drawn and quartered in your community. And that's a power and control thing. They don't want you to feel like you have freedom. They want you to get permission.

Sam Stone: And and you just brought up a really good point. So for like you and me, you know, I say things whether here on the radio or on Twitter, which I now call Twix, right? I say things all the time that if I were working for almost any company, any fortune 500 company in this country, I would be fired that day.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: There'd be some video.

Sam Stone: Oh no. Yeah, I mean, they they would never tolerate someone like me. They would never hire someone like me if they went back and looked at those things.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: So, you know, I, you know, this really actually brings up an interesting area which is corporations and what they're doing, what they have done. To allow this and give this kind of this, this power grab steam. I mean, look how they market. Look what they do. Look at the choices they make, look at how they set up their corporate boardrooms and the diversity training and what, you know, cancelling Christmas parties because God forbid, you celebrate anything and, you know, they're part of it.

Sam Stone: It's corporate cowardice, I think is the root of this. And I don't think they're just part of it. I think they are the engine now behind it, because I think the I think the left realised that without the power of corporations behind these ideas, that these ideas would never extend past the dark recesses of academia.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: That's right.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: They would implode upon any reasonable person, you know, thinking about it or looking at it. It couldn't survive. It's that nonsensical. So you use corporate the corporate world to.

Sam Stone: Yeah, you infiltrate HR.

Sam Stone: You take HR and turn it into something it was never intended to be. Hr was never intended to be the Hall monitor in a business. It was simply intended to be the person who managed like your health plan and your benefits. Yeah, exactly. And, you know, oversaw the paperwork for now.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: You know, looking in your office and seeing what posters you've put up or, you know.

Sam Stone: They're following all your socials, you know, they're they're tracking everything you say and do.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: These ideas don't sell like you were saying. So people have to be.

Sam Stone: They have to be.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Coerced and coerced into acquiescing. So that's why you can never acquiesce. Don't put that mask on. Don't social distance.

Sam Stone: Amen. You know, I know absolutely.

Sam Stone: Absolutely. You're hearing it from a Jewish guy now.

Sam Stone: Amen, sister.

Sam Stone: There's no question that is exactly right. The only answer is to have no tolerance at all for their version of this societal great change that they're trying to bring in, which is built on the most amoral and and unsustainable foundation.

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: Well, no. Yes. It's collectivism. Right? Everybody does the same thing. Nobody stands out. That is not how we are built, particularly in America. It's exceptionalism that motivates us. Individuality. It's funny that these are the same people that pretend to care about individuality when they want everyone to be the same, marched to the same tune. Do not deviate. Everyone has to act the same, be the same, think the same, look the same. It's that's really how they behave.

Sam Stone: It's an amazing.

Sam Stone: Point. It's. It is. You're telling these people, oh, you're an individual warrior, and yet you don't allow them to step out of line one bit. They're ants marching, right?

Michelle Ugenti- Rita: That's exactly right, sheeple. Going right off the cliff.

Sam Stone: Well, and speaking of off the cliff, folks, we are going off this cliff and off the air. But thank you so much for tuning in and joining us today. We really, really appreciate having you. And make sure if you're not subscribed, subscribe. Send this to a friend. We really count on those things to show the support to the Salem Network and to our folks here, so we can expand and help reach more people each week. Again, thank you for tuning in for Michelle. I'm Sam. We'll see you next week.

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