Fri, 31 March 2017
It's a small victory for me as the interviewer when the person with whom I'm speaking admits that he is probably being overly candid -- as Richard Haas did when he discussed some of his reasons for leaving the George W. Bush state department over the Iraq war.
Richard Haass, of course, is President of the Council on Foreign Relations (but I'm guessing you savvy listeners already knew that.) His newest book is A World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order which we discuss at the top of the episode.
I caught up with Richard just a couple hours after he finished interviewing UN Ambassador Nikki Haley on stage at CFR in New York. We kick off discussing the Trump administration's approach to the UN before having a conversation about his newest book and a good talk about his life and career. He opens up about the influence of his conservative father, striking a friendship with Colin Powell early in his career, and navigating the DC foreign policy bureaucracy before landing at CFR.
I was thrilled to speak with him--he's someone that if you are listening to this podcast has probably had some amount of influence on how you see the world. He's certainly been a fixture for me--he became president of CFR in 2003, just as I started my own career in foreign policy. Have a listen!
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#2: A Brief History of Nuclear Non-proliferation
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#4: The Syrian Civil War, explained. (Well, sort of -- it's complicated!)
#5: Meet the Kim family of North Korea (Coming soon!)
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#7: The Six Day War, Explained. (Coming soon!)
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Wed, 29 March 2017
Despite wide attention to the global refugee and migrant crisis, there has been little research of one key group that facilitates the movement of migrants: the smugglers themselves.
In brand new book published by Oxford University Press authors Peter Tinti and Tuesday Reitano offer an in-depth look at the individuals who make the movement of migrants possible. The book Migrant Refugee Smuggler Savior examines the people and places that are profiting from this global phenomenon. And as the title of the book suggests, these people smugglers are not all exploitative human rights violators--rather, they are making a buck (or tens of thousands) by providing a valuable service for people who demand it.
Co-author Peter Tinti -- who I'm proud to say is a listener of this very podcast -- is on the line with me to discuss the book. And in this conversation Peter offers some insights into the individual smugglers, how they operate, and what motivates them. And also, how this multi-billion dollar industry is transforming the political economies of several cities along migrant routes.
If you have 20 minutes and want to learn more about the shadowy smugglers who are at the center of one of the most consequential global phenomenons of our era, have a listen.
Direct download: Migreant_Refugee_Smuggler_Savior_-_Global_Dispatches.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:23pm EDT
Fri, 24 March 2017
James Goldgeier is the dean of the school for international service at American University. He's spent a career trying to bridge the gap between academic research and policy makers and he currently runs a program at American University appropriately called Bridging the Gap thats seeks to do just that. Jim is also a Russia expert-- and you might recall that he and I spoke about a month after the election to discuss Russia's key strategic goals during the Trump administration. We kick off this discussion along those same lines, but of course now armed with new information about the extent or Russian interference with the US election.
I wanted to let you all know about another reward and offer available to premium subscribers of the podcast: a 75% discount off life and career coaching sessions with Alanna Shaikh. Alanna is a TED senior fellow, writer and longtime international development professional. She is also a trained career coach. If you think this is something that may benefit you become a premium subscriber to unlock that discount--which reduces the price of an a hour long coaching session from $145 to about $40.
Wed, 22 March 2017
Over the past several months, North Korea has engaged in a series of provocative nuclear and missile tests. It conducted nuclear tests in January and then September of last year along with several ballistic missile tests. And in 2017 alone there have been no less than 5 missile launches, most recently on March 6, when North Korea launched four missiles which landed off the coast of Japan.
Meanwhile, later in March Secretary of State Tillerson traveled to the region, in his first big foray into the vexing regional diplomacy that so far has failed to stop North Korea from advancing its nuclear weapons programs. And while visiting the region, Tillerson promised to end the Obama-era strategy of strategic patience, but has not yet articulated what kinds of policies would take its place.
On the line with me to discuss the North Korea nuclear issue is Kelsey Davenport, who is the director for non-proliferation policy at the Arms Control Association. She discusses the strategic implications of the specific technologies that North Korea is testing, that is, why Pyongyang is conducting these kinds of tests. She also describes the policy options in the table for the Trump administration as is tries to confront North Korea's nuclear ambitions. And i must say, this conversation was very helpful to me personally and I suspect you'll learn a lot from it as well.
Direct download: What_North_Korea_Wants_-_Global_Dispatches_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:05pm EDT
Wed, 15 March 2017
Elizabeth Arsenault is a professor at Georgetown University out with the new book How the Gloves Came Off: Lawyers, Policy Makers, and Norms in the Debate on Torture. The book examines how the Bush administration shattered a widely held consensus against using torture and what that means for the current debate about intelligence gathering, Guantanamo, so-called "black sites" and, crucially, executive power.
These debates, which raged during the Bush administration, came roaring back just days into the Trump administration with word that a draft executive order covering many of these issues was circulating around the White House. We kick off discussing that executive order before having a wider conversation about debates surrounding torture and also what to do with ISIS combatants captured on the battlefield.
Direct download: Is_Torture_Coming_Back_as_US_Policy_Global_Dispatches_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:09pm EDT
Fri, 10 March 2017
Julie Smith is Senior Fellow and Director of the Strategy and Statecraft Program at the Center for a New American Security. recently left her post as a top national security advisor to Vice President Joe Biden. She takes me inside some of the key events, decisions and frustrations from her time in that senior policy making role.
Julie is a NATO and European policy expert who spent much of her formative years working in Europe, and Germany in particular. And we have some interesting digressions about NATO, the Balkans conflict and the relevance of German foreign policy.
Go premium to unlock my conversation with Julie about the history of NATO and key debates shaping its future.
Thu, 9 March 2017
Jeremy Konyndyk recently left his post as the top US global humanitarian relief official. Jeremy lead the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance at USAID during much of Obama's second term and we discuss how the US responded to some key disasters, including the ebola outbreak.
Jeremy's been working in this field since the Balkans crises of the 1990s and I caught up with him just as he returned from a trip to northern Nigeria, which is currently beset by a major humanitarian crisis. We kick off discussing what he saw there before pivoting to discuss some of the major global crises in which his career has intersected.
Fri, 3 March 2017
You may have seen news reports that the White House wants to substantially increase defense spending, and to offset those increases slash discretionary spending elsewhere. In particular the White House has signaled that foreign aid spending will be sharply reduced.
Foreign aid is one of those issues that is pretty widely mis-understood by the general public; and I think fairly so, because its extremely complicated. I've spent over 10 years covering issues related to foreign aid and frankly I learn new and surprising things about foreign aid all the time.
So what do we actually mean when we talk about foreign aid? What are some of the real-world implications of a steep reduction of US foreign assistance? And what are the politics of it all? On the line with me to discuss these questions and more is Joel Charny, who is US director of the Norwegian Refugee Council, which is a large international NGO on the front lines of some major crises worldwide. He does a good job of walking me through the big picture questions surrounding foreign aid, but also some of the specific on-the-ground implications of what cuts would mean. He also discusses why this is a uniquely bad time to be cutting back on foreign aid.
Direct download: What_22Foreign_Aid22_Means_-_Global_Dispatches.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:28pm EDT
Thu, 2 March 2017
I've started to roll out special bonus episodes for premium subscribers. I'm calling these "Background Briefings." Through interviews with experts, we will provide you with the context you need to understand key ideas, debates, dilemmas and institutions shaping foreign policy and world affairs today. Think of these as "explainers." And you, the listener, get to assign me a topic to explore.
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Category:general -- posted at: 11:22am EDT