Power Problems

By Cato Institute

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Power Problems is a bi-weekly podcast from the Cato Institute. Hosts Trevor Thrall and Emma Ashford offer a skeptical take on U.S. foreign policy, and discuss today’s big questions in international security with distinguished guests from across the political spectrum. Podcast Hashtag: #FPPowerProblems.

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Episode Date
After Coronavirus I: Can the Global Economy be Saved?
34:37

In the second of a three-part series, Emma Ashford and Trevor Thrall explore what international relations might look like after coronavirus. Today’s guest is Dan Drezner, a professor at Tufts University, who joins them to talk about global economic relations. 




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Jun 30, 2020
The Robot Revolution Will Not Be Televised
34:30


Emma Ashford and Trevor Thrall chat with Peter Singer of New America about his new novel Burn In, and why fiction can be useful for our understanding of national security policy. 

 



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Jun 16, 2020
Building a Modern Military: The Force Meets Geopolitical Realities
31:51

Eric Gomez and Christopher Preble join Emma Ashford to discuss their new paper, “Building a Modern Military,” and how COVID-19 will change the U.S. military.

 




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Jun 02, 2020
What the World Thinks about America in the Age of COVID-19
34:39

Mark Hannah of the Eurasia Group Foundation joins Emma Ashford and Trevor Thrall to talk about how the world views America and American-style democracy in the age of COVID-19. 

 

 




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May 19, 2020
Donald Trump and the Generals
34:01

Alice Hunt Friend of the Center for Strategic and International Studies joins Emma Ashford and Trevor Thrall to talk about the increasingly strained relations between civilian and military leaders in the Trump administration. 






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May 05, 2020
COVID-19 and International Security
33:19
Greg Koblentz of George Mason University joins Emma Ashford and Trevor Thrall to talk about the international security implications of the coronavirus pandemic.


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Apr 21, 2020
Amer-Exit?
38:59

Dan Nexon of Georgetown University joins Emma Ashford and Trevor Thrall to talk about his new book, Exit from Hegemony.

Show Notes:


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Apr 07, 2020
A Strategy for Cyberspace?
32:17
Emma Ashford and Trevor Thrall are joined by Brandon Valeriano to discuss the Cyberspace Solarium Commission’s official report.


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Mar 24, 2020
OPEC+ or OPEC-?
40:47

Emma Ashford and John Glaser are joined by political scientist Ellen Wald to discuss how global oil markets interact with U.S. foreign policy.

Show Notes


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Mar 09, 2020
Twitter in the Time of Trump
34:26
Join Trevor Thrall and Emma Ashford as we discuss public engagement in the Trump era with Paul Poast, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago.

Feb 25, 2020
Greeted as Liberators? Regime Change and Reality
24:52
Join Trevor Thrall and Emma Ashford as we discuss the failures and history of regime change with Ben Denison, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Fletcher School at Tufts University.

Feb 11, 2020
Greeted as Liberators? Regime Change and Reality
0:24:52
Join Trevor Thrall and Emma Ashford as we discuss the failures and history of regime change with Ben Denison, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Fletcher School at Tufts University. Benjamin Denison bio Benjamin Denison, The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same: The Failure of Regime-Change Operations," Policy Analysis 881 Benjamin Denison, "Regime Change Rarely Succeeds. When will the U.S. learn?," Washington Post, January 9, 2020 Christopher Preble, "Covert Wars, to What End?," War on the Rocks, August 7, 2019
Feb 11, 2020
The Future of Progressive Foreign Policy
39:01
Adam Mount, Senior Fellow and the Director of the Defense Posture Project at the Federation of American Scientists, joins Trevor Thrall and Emma Ashford to discuss the future of progressive foreign policy. Adam Mount bio Adam Mount, "Principles for a Progressive Defense Policy, Texas National Security Review, December 2018 Emma Ashford and Trevor Thrall, "The Battle Inside the Political Parties for the Future of U.S. Foreign Policy," War on the Rocks, December 12, 2018 Trevor Thrall and Jordan Cohen, "The Democrats’ Search for a New Foreign Policy," Cato.org, January 16, 2020
Jan 28, 2020
Reading Trump’s Trade Tea Leaves
38:00
Dan Ikenson, director of Cato's Herbert A. Stiefel Center for Trade Policy Studies, joins Trevor Thrall and guest host John Glaser to discuss the economic and foreign policy implications of Trump’s recent trade deals. Daniel J. Ikenson bio Daniel J. Ikenson, "A Few Things to Like about the U.S.-China Trade Deal," Cato at Liberty, December 16, 2019 Daniel J. Ikenson, "Trump’s Alleged Trade Deal with China Would Fix Nothing," Cato at Liberty, December 13, 2019 Simon Lester and Inu Manak, "The USMCA Is Moving Forward (Too) Quickly," Cato at Liberty, December 16, 2019
Jan 14, 2020
China’s Authoritarian Turn
35:36
Michael Swaine, senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, joins Trevor Thrall and guest host John Glaser to discuss the crisis in Hong Kong, the plight of the Uighurs, and China’s recent authoritarian turn. Michael Swain bio Michael Swain, "Chinese State-Society Relations: Why Beijing Isn’t Trembling and Containment Won’t Work," Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, March 14, 2019 Austin Ramzy and Chris Buckley, ""Absolutely No Mercy": Leaked Files Expose How China Organized Mass Detentions of Muslims," New York Times, November 16, 2019 Richard McGregor, "Party Man: Xi Jinping’s Quest to Dominate China," Foreign Affairs, September/October 2019
Dec 24, 2019
Maximum Pressure Meets Maximum Resistance: Trump vs. Iran
31:38
Negar Mortazavi, diplomatic correspondent for The Independent, joins Trevor Thrall and guest host John Glaser to discuss the impact of U.S. sanctions on Iran, recent Iranian protests, and the future of the JCPOA. Negar Mortazavi coverage at The Independent Farnaz Fassihi and Rick Gladstone, "With Brutal Crackdown, Iran Is Convulsed by Worst Unrest in 40 Years," New York Times, December 1, 2019 Doug Bandow, "Trump Must Understand a War with Iran Would Be Hell," The National Interest, November 21, 2019
Dec 10, 2019
Irregular Channels: Unpacking the Ukraine Affair
0
Jim Goldgeier, former dean of the School of International Service at American University and resident scholar at the Brookings Institution, joins Trevor Thrall and guest host John Glaser to discuss President Trump’s use of irregular channels of foreign policy making in Ukraine. Jim Goldgeier Bio Goldgeier and Saunders, “How much have Trump’s dealings with Ukraine deviated from the norm?” Washington Post Mitchell Orenstein, “Welcome to the United States of Ukraine,” Foreign Policy
Nov 26, 2019
The Quincy Institute Makes a Splash
34:18
Trita Parsi, executive vice president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, joins Trevor Thrall and guest host John Glaser to discuss the launch of Washington D.C.’s newest foreign policy think tank. Quincy Institute website Stephen Wertheim, "The Quincy Institute Opposes America’s Endless Wars. Why Should That Be a Scandal?," Wahington Post, August 30, 2019 David Klion, "Can a New Think Tank Put a Stop to Endless War?," The Nation, July 29, 2019 Curt Mills, "Realism Resurgent: The Rise of the Quincy Institute," National Interest, July 1, 2019 Kelley Vlahos, "The Quincy Institute Seeks Warmongering Monsters to Destroy," The American Conservative, July 30, 2019
Nov 12, 2019
Misplaced Confidence or Militarized Patriotism? Public Attitudes towards the U.S. Military
47:57
David Burbach from the U.S. Naval War College joins Trevor Thrall and guest host John Glaser to discuss civil-military relations and public attitudes towards the military. David T. Burbach bio David Burbach, "Gaining Trust While Losing Wars: Confidence in the U.S. Military after Iraq and Afghanistan," Orbis, vol. 61, no. 1, 2019 David Burbach, "Partisan Dimensions of Confidence in the U.S. Military, 1973–2016," Armed Forces and Society, January 11, 2018 Jim Golby and Peter Feaver, "Thank You for Your Lip Service? Social Pressure to Support the Troops," War on the Rocks, August 14, 2019 David Barno and Nora Bensehel, "Thank You for Your Lip Service? Social Pressure to Support the Troops," War on the Rocks, June 18, 2019
Oct 29, 2019
Fuel to the Fire: How Trump Made America’s Broken Foreign Policy Even Worse
42:36
In our special live episode of Power Problems, Emma Ashford chats with Heather Hurlburt of New America about ongoing debates on the future of U.S. grand strategy. Christopher A. Preble bio John Glaser bio Trevor Thrall bio Christopher A. Preble, John Glaser, Trevor Thrall, "Fuel to the Fire: How Trump Made America's Broken Foreign Policy Even Worse (and How We Can Recover) Fuel to the Fire promotional page
Oct 16, 2019
Tests and Temptations: The Nuclear Balance in Asia
39:05
Vipin Narang of the M.I.T. Department of Political Science joins Trevor Thrall and guest host Eric Gomez to discuss nuclear trends and the nuclear balance in Asia. Vipin Narang bio Vipin Narang, "Why North Korea Is Testing Missiles Again," Foreign Affairs, May 16, 2019 Vipin Narang, "India’s Counterforce Temptations," International Security, Winter 2018/19 Caroline Dorminey and Eric Gomez, "America’s Nuclear Crossroads: A Forward-Looking Anthology," June 2019
Oct 15, 2019
Should We Stay or Should We Go? The U.S. and the Middle East
36:58
Gregory Gause from the Bush School at Texas A&M joins Trevor Thrall and John Glaser to discuss U.S. policy and strategy in the Middle East in the wake of the missile strike on the Saudi oil facilities. F. Gregory Gause bio F. Gregory Gause, “Should We Stay or Should We Go? The United States and the Middle East,” Survival, Fall 2019. Gregory Gause, “Why the U.S. Should Stay Out of Saudi Politics,” Foreign Affairs, December 2018. John Glaser and Emma Ashford, “Unforced Error: The Risks of Confrontation with Iran,” Cato Institute Policy Analysis , October 9, 2017. Robin Wright, “Trump’s Close-Call Diplomacy with Iran’s President,” New Yorker, September 28, 2019 U.S. Institute of Peace, “Timeline: Tensions between Washington and Tehran,” May 8, 2019.
Oct 08, 2019
The US Defense Industry: Arsenal of Democracy or the Walmarts of War?
40:19
Jonathan Caverley of the Naval War College joins Emma Ashford and Trevor Thrall to discuss the defense industry and the arms trade. Jonathan Caverley bio Jonathan Caverley, "Slowing the Proliferation of Major Conventional Weapons: The Virtues of an Uncompetitive Market," Ethics & International Affairs, Vol. 31, No. 4, Winter 2017 Jonathan Caverley, "America's Arms Sales Policy: Security Abroad, Not Jobs at Home," War on the Rocks, April 6, 2018 Security Assistance Monitor SIPRI Arms Transfers Database A. Trevor Thrall and Caroline Dorminey, "Risky Business: The Role of Arms Sales in U.S. Foreign Policy," Policy Analysis, No. 836, March 13, 2018 Ray Rounds, "The Case against Embargos, Even for Saudi Arabia," War on the Rocks, April 16, 2019
Sep 24, 2019
Dunking on Huntington: Nationalism in U.S. Foreign Policy
36:12
Hilde Restad, a professor of International Relations at Bjorknes College in Oslo, Norway, joins us to discuss Trump’s foreign policy, nationalism, and the view from Europe. Hilde Restad bio Hilde Restad, American Exceptionalism: An Idea that Made a Nation and Remade the World Cato Unbound, “The Clash of Civilizations?,” February 2017
Sep 10, 2019
The Trade War to End All Trade Wars?
37:01
Matthew Goodman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies joins Emma Ashford and Trevor Thrall to discuss Trump’s trade war with China. Matthew P. Goodman bio Matthew P. Goodman and Ely Ratner, "A Better Way to Challenge China on Trade: Trump’s Harmful Tariffs Aren’t the Answer," Foreign Affairs, March 22, 2018 Eswar Prasad, "Which country is better equipped to win a U.S.-China trade war?" Washington Post, August 9, 2019.
Aug 27, 2019
If I Had a Hammer
36:52
Monica Toft, Professor at Tufts University, joins us to discuss the growth in U.S. military interventions and the decline of diplomacy. Monica Toft bio Monica Toft, "The Dangerous Rise of Kinetic Diplomacy," War on the Rocks, May 14, 2018 The Military Intervention Project
Aug 13, 2019
Power Problems Live! The Kennan Sweepstakes
59:12
In our special live episode of Power Problems, Emma Ashford chats with Heather Hurlburt of New America about ongoing debates on the future of U.S. grand strategy. Heather Hurlburt bio Heather Hurlburt, "Making Sense of the Grand Strategy Debate," Lawfare, June 7, 2019 Emma Ashford, Hal Brands, Jasen Castillo, Kate Kizer, Rebecca Lissner, Jeremy Shapiro, and Joshua Shifrinson, "New Voices in Grand" Daniel Drezner, Mira Rapp-Hooper, Rebecca Lissner, Stephen Walt and Kori Schake, "Searching for a Strategy," Foreign Affairs, May/June 2019 Ben Sasse, "The End of the End of History," Texas National Security Review, February 2019 Emma Ashford, "The Gentleman from Nebraska Misfires on Foreign Policy," War on the Rocks, May 6, 2019 Ganesh Sitaraman, "The Emergence of Progressive Foreign Policy," War on the Rocks, April 15, 2019 Colin Dueck, Elliot Abrams, Emma Ashford, John Fonte, Henry R. Nau, Nadia Schadlow, Kelley Vlahos, Dov Zakheim, "The Future of Conservative Foreign Policy," Texas National Security Review, November 30, 2018 Van Jackson, Heather Hurlburt, Adam Mount, Loren Schulman, Thomas Wright, "The Future of Progressive Foreign Policy," Texas National Security Review, December 4, 2018 The John Quincy Adams Society
Jul 30, 2019
Nuclear Crossroads II: The Arms Control Serial Killer
39:00
In part two of the focus on America’s Nuclear Crossroads, Emma Ashford and guest host Eric Gomez delve into the future of arms control agreements with Maggie Tennis of the Brookings Institute. Maggie Tennis bio America's Nuclear Crossroads
Jul 15, 2019
Nuclear Crossroads I: America Ad Astra
47:02
Todd Harrison from the Center for Strategic and International Studies joins Emma Ashford and Trevor Thrall to discuss the proposed Space Force, war in space, and his chapter in the forthcoming Cato report America’s Nuclear Crossroads. Todd Harrison bio America's Nuclear Crossroads Aerospace Security Project at CSIS, “Commanding Space: The Story Behind the Space Force Todd Harrison, "A Space Force is Worth the Price"
Jul 02, 2019
The Arab Winter
43:26
With new protests in Sudan, ongoing conflict in Syria, and continued regional tensions, the legacies of the Arab Spring are everywhere in the Middle East. Peter Mandaville joins us to discuss. Peter Mandaville bio Kamron Bohkari and Peter Mandaville, The Muslim Brotherhood and American Muslims, Center for Global Policy, August 11, 2018 Peter Mandaville and Shadi Hamid, "Islam as Statecraft: How Governments Use Religion in Foreign Policy," Brookings Institute, November 2018
Jun 18, 2019
America Adrift: Public Opinion and U.S. Foreign Policy
39:44
What kind of foreign policy do Americans want? Not the one they have, apparently. To learn more Emma and Trevor chat with Peter Juul from the Center for American Progress about a new report from the Center for American Progress, "America Adrift: How the U.S. Foreign Policy Debate Misses What Voters Really Want." Peter Juul bio Center for American Progress, "America Adrift: How the U.S. Foreign Policy Debate Misses What Voters Really Want" Eurasia Group Foundation, "Worlds Apart: U.S. Foreign Policy and American Public Opinion" Chicago Council on Foreign Affairs, "America Engaged: American Public Opinion and US Foreign Policy"
Jun 04, 2019
Peace, War and Liberty
35:32
American presidents often praise U.S. foreign policy as a force for global freedom and liberty. We chat with Chris Preble about his new book, Peace, War, and Liberty. Christopher Preble bio Christopher Preble, Peace, War, and Liberty: Understanding U.S. Foreign Policy Free Thoughts/Power Problems Crossover: "What do Libertarians Believe About Foreign Policy?"
May 21, 2019
Will John Bolton Finally Get His Iran War?
30:45
Arguments about the Iraq War loom large over pretty much every foreign policy debate in Washington. Does the Trump administration have similar intentions towards Iran? Lawrence Wilkerson joins us to discuss. Lawrence Wilkerson bio Lawrence Wilkerson, "I Helped Sell the False Choice of War Once. It’s Happening Again/a>," New York Times, February 5, 2018 Dexter Filkins, John Bolton on the Warpath, New Yorker, May 6, 2019
May 07, 2019
Insurgent Women
40:56
Women play an increasingly important role as insurgents and rebels in civil conflicts all over the world. But most often their story goes untold and their impact has been poorly understood. Jessica Trisko Darden, co-author of Insurgent Women, joins Emma Ashford and Trevor Thrall to discuss her new book to discuss. Jessica Trisko Darden bio Jessica Trisko Darden, Alexis Henshaw, and Ora Szekely, Insurgent Women: Female Combatants in Civil Wars (Georgetown University Press 2019). Jessica Trisko Darden, "https://theconversation.com/how-women-wage-war-a-short-history-of-is-brides-nazi-guards-and-farc-insurgents-113011 The Conversation, March 8, 2019. Jessica Trisko Darden, "Return from ISIS: American Women Want Out of Extremism," NPR On Point podcast. Mia Bloom, Bombshell: Women and Terrorism (University of Pennsylvania, 2011). Jessica Davis, Women in Modern Terrorism: From Liberation Wars to Global Jihad and the Islamic State (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017).
Apr 22, 2019
Back to the Future: China, the U.S. and the “New Cold War”
40:21
Pundits seem increasingly undecided whether we’re living in a new Cold War, or simply making a return to the 1930s. Ali Wyne of the RAND corporation joins us to discuss great power competition, the problem of foreign policy by analogy, and what the global order might look like in the future. Ali Wyne bio Ali Wyne, America's Blind Ambition Could Make It a Victim of Global Competition, National Interest, February 11, 2019 Ali Wyne, Questioning the Presumption of a U.S.-China Power Transition, RAND Corporation, January 9, 2019
Apr 09, 2019
Enter the Cyber Mercenaries
43:04
The cyber era has amplified the impact of non-state actors on international relations. From election meddling to sabotage to espionage, states are using non-state actors as proxies to do their dirty work. Tim Maurer from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace joins Trevor Thrall and John Glaser to talk about the rise, reach, and implications of these cyber mercenaries. Tim Maurer bio Tim Maurer, Cyber Mercenaries: The State, Hackers, and Power Brandon Valentino and Benjamin Jensen, "The Myth of the Cyber Offense: The Case for Restraint," Policy Analysis 862, January 15, 2019.
Mar 26, 2019
Failure (to Launch?): Donald Trump in Hanoi
27:31
Donald Trump’s second summit with Kim Jong Un has come and gone, this time in abject failure. Emma Ashford and Trevor Thrall are joined by Harry Kazianis of the Center for the National Interest to discuss where U.S.-North Korean relations go from here. Harry Kazianis bio "A Top Trump Official May Have Just Doomed US-North Korea Talks," Vox, March 8, 2019 "Dealing with North and South Korea: Can Washington Square the Circle?" Cato Institute Capitol Hill Briefing
Mar 12, 2019
How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maduro?
37:17
Controversy is growing over the Trump administration’s approach to Venezuela, where the United States has backed opposition leader Juan Guaido in his attempt to remove President Nicolas Maduro from power. Trevor Thrall and Emma Ashford are joined by Venezuela expert Moises Rendon to discuss the situation. Show Notes: Guest Bio: Moises Rendond Moises Rendon, “Food vs. Freedom in Venezuela," July 9, 2018 Amanda Sakuma, “The Last 48 hours in Venezuela News, Explained," Vox, February 24, 2019
Feb 26, 2019
Great Power Competition, Part II
36:54
The Trump administration has emphasized the reemergence of great power competition as the organizing principle for U.S. foreign policy. How will international relations change in an era when new actors are challenging the status quo? In Part II of our great power special, Professor Stacie E. Goddard of Wellesley College joins Trevor Thrall and Emma Ashford to talk about her recent book, When Might Makes Right, about the relationship between rising powers and existing great powers. Show Notes: Guest Bio: Stacie Goddard Stacie Goddard, “When Right Makes Might: Rising Powers and World Order" Stacie Goddard, “Uncommon Ground: Indivisible Territory and the Politics of Legitimacy," International Organizations, vol. 60, no. 1, January 2006 Cato Policy Forum, “The Return of Great Power Competition." January 15, 2019
Feb 12, 2019
Great Power Competition, Part I
30:15
Great Power competition is back. How will international relations change in an era when new actors are challenging the status quo. In Part I of our great power special, Trevor Thrall and Emma Ashford are joined by Joshua Shifrinson, author of Rising Titans, Falling Giants, a book on great power rise and decline. Joshua Shifrinson's bio Joshua Shifrinson, Rising Titans, Falling Giants "The Return of Great Power Competition" David Edelstein, Over the Horizon Stacie Goddard, When Might Makes Right Paul MacDonald and Joseph Parent, Twilight of the Titans
Jan 29, 2019
Mr. Trump, Tear Down That Wall
38:24
From trade to immigration, the Trump administration takes a much broader view of national security than prior administrations. Cato Senior Policy Analyst Alex Nowrasteh joins Trevor Thrall and Emma Ashford to talk about the links between immigration and national security. Show Notes: Alex Nowrasteh’s bio Alex Nowrasteh, “Incarcerated Immigrants in 2016: Their Numbers, Demographics, and Countries of Origin,” Immigration Research and Policy Brief, June 4, 2018 Alex Nowrasteh, “How Trump Is Really Changing Immigration: Making It Harder for People to Come Here Legally,” Los Angeles Times, May 13, 2018 Alex Nowrasteh, “Terrorism and Immigration: A Risk Analysis,” Policy Analysis
Jan 15, 2019
Holiday Edition: 2018 in Review
37:05
Trevor Thrall and Emma Ashford are joined by Cato colleague Eric Gomez for a discussion of the year in review, and a preview of 2019. From nuclear weapons and North Korea to the U.S.-Saudi relationship, it’s been a wild year. Show Notes: Eric Gomez's bio Trevor Thrall and Emma Ashford, Battle Inside the Political Parties for the Future of U.S. Foreign Policy, War on the Rocks, December 12, 2018.
Dec 31, 2018
Nostalgianomics: Trump, Trade, and American Foreign Policy
38:05
Attorney and Cato Institute adjunct scholar Scott Lincicome joins Trevor Thrall and Emma Ashford to discuss the Trump administration’s trade strategy and the role of international trade in U.S. foreign policy. Scott Lincicome’s bio Scott Lincicome, The “Protectionist Moment” That Wasn’t: American Views on Trade and Globalization, Free Trade Bulletin Scott Lincicome, "Doomed to Repeat It: The Long History of America’s Protectionist Failures, Policy Analysis
Dec 18, 2018
Free Thoughts/Power Problems Crossover: What do Libertarians Believe About Foreign Policy?
42:15
In a special crossover episode, Trevor and Emma sit down with the hosts of the Free Thoughts podcast for a wide-ranging discussion of how libertarians view foreign policy. Free Thoughts Podcast Emma Ashford, "Libertarianism, Restraint and the Bipartisan Future," Texas National Security Review, November 30, 2018
Dec 04, 2018
The Future of Liberal Foreign Policy
38:54
In the second half of our election special, Trevor Thrall and Emma Ashford are joined by Jake Sullivan, a former senior advisor to Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton, to discuss the future of foreign policy in the Democratic party. Jake Sullivan bio Dan Nexon, “Toward A Neo-Progressive Foreign Policy,” Foreign Affairs Bernie Sanders, “Building a Global Democratic Movement to Counter Authoritarianism,” Speech at SAIS Peter Beinart, “Shield of the Republic: A Democratic Foreign Policy for the Trump Age,” The Atlantic Please take our listener survey
Nov 20, 2018
The Future of Conservative Foreign Policy
39:54
Bryan McGrath, Deputy Director of the Center for American Seapower at the Hudson Institute, joins Trevor and Emma to discuss the evolution of conservative foreign policy during the Trump era. Please take a listener survey Bryan McGrath bio Henry Nau, Conservative Internationalism (Princeton University Press 2015) Eliot Cohen, The Big Stick: The Limits of Soft Power and the Necessity of Military Force (Basic Books 2018) Robert Kagan, The Jungle Grows Back: America and Our Imperiled World (Knopf 2018)
Nov 06, 2018
Scattershot Sanctions: The Trump Administration and the World
41:20
Elizabeth Rosenberg, a sanctions expert at the Center for a New American Security joins Trevor and Emma to discuss the Trump administration’s eclectic approach to sanctions policy, and the impact of looming Iran sanctions. Elizabeth Rosenberg bio Elizabeth Rosenberg, The EU Can’t Avoid U.S. Sanctions on Iran, Foreign Affairs, October 10, 2018 Jacob J. Lew and Richard Nephew, The Use and Misuse of Economic Statecraft, Foreign Affairs, October 15, 2018 Emma Ashford, Not-So-Smart Sanctions, Foreign Affairs, January/February 2016 Cato Unbound, Do Economic Sanctions Work?, November 2014
Oct 23, 2018
Donald Trump, the Blob, and the Future of U.S. Foreign Policy
39:28
Bonus Episode! Harvard’s Steven Walt joins Emma Ashford and guest host Caroline Dorminey to discuss his new book, The Hell of Good Intentions, and why America’s foreign policy failures helped to elect Donald Trump. Stephen Walt bio Stephen Walt, The Hell of Good Intentions Cato Book Event, The Hell of Good Intentions Stephen Walt, The Donald vs. The Blob, Foreign Policy, May 16, 2018 Thrall and Friedman, U.S. Grand Strategy in the 21st Century - The Case for Restraint
Oct 18, 2018
So What Did I Miss?
35:20
As Emma Ashford returns to the podcast, she and Trevor Thrall join Cato colleague John Glaser to review the Trump administration’s take on U.S. foreign policy in 2018. David E. Sangar, "North Korea’s Trump-era Strategy. Keep Making A-Bombs, but Quietly," New York Times, September 16, 2018 Peter Harrell, "Is the US Using Sanctions Too Aggressively?," Foreign Affairs, September 11, 2018 Michael Hirsch, "John Bolton Is Living the Dream — for Now," Foreign Policy, September 28, 2018 Jordan Robertson and Michael Riley, "The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies," Bloomberg Businessweek, October 4, 2018 Michael Hirsch, "Surprise! Trump’s Disruptive Foreign Policy Could Be Working," Politico, October 2018
Oct 09, 2018
Out of Order? Debating the Past and Future of the Liberal International Order
34:29
Patrick Porter joins Sahar Khan and Trevor Thrall to discuss the debate over the past, present, and future of the liberal international order. Porter is a professor of international security and strategy at the University of Birmingham, UK and a Senior Associate Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute in London. He researches how power and ideas shape U.S. and U.K. defense and foreign policy, and how both shape conflicts both the United States and United Kingdom are involved in. Patrick Porter bio Patrick Porter, "A World Imagined: Nostalgia and Liberal Order," June 2018 Patrick Porter, “Why America's Grand Strategy Has Not Changed: Power, Habit, and the U.S. Foreign Policy Establishment," International Security, May 4, 2018. "Liberal International Order: Past, Present, and Future," Cato Event, September 20, 2018 Bruce Jentleson, “The Post-Liberal International Order World: Some Core Characteristics,” Lawfare Blog, September 9, 2018 Michael J. Mazarr, “The Real History of the Liberal Order: Neither Myth Nor Accident,” Foreign Affairs, August 7, 2018 Rebecca Friedman Lissner and Mira Rapp-Hooper, “The Day After Trump: American Strategy for a New International Order,” The Washington Quarterly, June 2018 Jake Sullivan, “The World After Trump: How the System Can Endure,” Foreign Affairs, March/April 2018
Sep 25, 2018
It’s Not Just about the Elephants: Understanding Illegal Wildlife Trafficking
42:58
Vanda Felbab-Brown is a senior fellow in the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution. She is also the director of the Brookings project “Improving Global Drug Policy: Comparative Perspectives and UNGASS 2016” and co-director of “Reconstituting Local Orders.” She is an expert on international and internal conflicts and nontraditional security threats, including insurgency, organized crime, urban violence, and illicit economies. Vanda Felbab-Brown bio The Extinction Market: Wildlife Trafficking and How to Counter It World Wildlife Fund, “Illegal Wildlife Trade" U.S. Agency for International Development, "Combating Wildlife Trafficking" Jody Rosen, "Animal Traffic," New York Times Style Magazine Charlote Epstein, "The Power of Words in International Relations: Birth of an Anti-Whaling Discourse
Sep 12, 2018
Trump's Iran Policy: Strategy or Strategery?
38:59
Barbara Slavin of the Atlantic Council joins Sahar Khan and Trevor Thrall to discuss developments in Iran and America’s Iran policy. Barbara Slavin bio Barbara Slavin, “US Policies Undercut ‘Support’ for ‘Iranian Voices'" Barbara Slavin, “Renewed Sanctions Will Hurt Iran’s Economy But U.S. Benefits Uncertain" Barbara Slavin, “Mullahs, Money, and Militias" Emma Ashford and John Glaser, "Unforced Error: The Risks of Confrontation with Iran"
Aug 27, 2018
The Complicated Case of the Rohingyas
33:56
C. Christine Fair is a Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professor in the Peace and Security Studies Program within Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. She joins Sahar Khan and Trevor Thrall to discuss the ongoing Rohingya crisis in Myanmar and its implication on the Trump administration’s policy toward South Asia. C. Christine Fair’s bio International Crisis Group, “The Long Haul ahead for Myanmar’s Rohingya Refugee Crisis,” May 16, 2018 Council on Foreign Affairs, “The Rohingya Crisis,” Backgrounder, April 20, 2018 Krishnadev Calamur, “The Misunderstood Roots of Burma’s Rohingya Crisis,” The Atlantic, September 25, 2017 Sahar Khan, “Ethnic Cleansing vs. Genocide,” Cato @ Liberty, November 29, 2017
Aug 07, 2018
Counterterrorism Strategy in the Trump Era - Firm or Faux?
52:03
U.S. counterterrorism has been a mixture of unilateral policies and multilateral partnerships. Stephen Tankel of American University joins us today to discuss the trajectory of U.S. counterterrorism strategy under the Trump administration. Stephen Tankel’s bio John Glaser's bio Stephen Tankel, With Us and Against Us: How America's Partners Help and Hinder the War on Terror Stephen Tankel, “https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/09/11/fighting-terrorism-takes-a-global-effort-how-have-3-u-s-presidents-fared-16-years-after-911/?utm_term=.3964cbb11a04,” Monkey Cage, September 11, 2017 Joshua A. Geltzer and Stephen Tankel, “Whatever Happened to Trump’s Counterterrorism Strategy,” The Atlantic, March 1, 2018 Stephen Tankel, “Donald Trump’s Shadow War,” Politico, May 9, 2018
Jul 24, 2018
Works for Wonks: A Summer Reading List
29:18
James Goldgeier The Americans Deborah D. Avant, The Market for Force: The Consequences of Privatizing Security Nick Bostrom, Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies Steve Coll, Directorate S: The CIA, and America's Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan Roger Fisher, William L. Ury, and Bruce Patton, Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In Paul Holden, Indefensible: Seven Myths that Sustain the Global Arms Trade Robert Jervis, Perception and Misconception in International Politics Arthur Koestler, Darkness at Noon Hans Morgethau, Politics Among Nations Occupied Steven Pinker, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century Ben Rhodes, The World as It Is: A Memoir of the Obama White House Joe Sacco, Palestine Elizabeth Saunders, Leaders at War: How Presidents Shape Military Interventions Brent Steele, Ontological Security in International Relations: Self-Identity and the IR State Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow: A Novel Kenneth N. Waltz, Man, the State, and War: A Theoretical Analysis Earl Weaver, Winning! Jack Goldstone, Political Demography: How Population Changes Are Reshaping International Security and National Politics Justin Vaïsse, Zbigniew Brzezinski: America's Grand Strategist Kori Schake, Safe Passage: The Transition from British to American Hegemony Margaret Maron Charlene Harris
Jul 10, 2018
When Terrorists Have Ji-had Enough
40:06
Julie Chernov Hwang from Goucher College joins Trevor Thrall and Sahar Khan to discuss why Indonesian jihadists leave militancy in her new book, Why Terrorists Quit. Julie Chernov Hwang’s bio Why Terrorists Quit: The Disengagement of Indonesian Jihadists Julie Chernov Hwang, “The Unintended Consequences of Amending Indonesia’s Anti-Terrorism Law,” Lawfare Blog, October 1, 2017 Anita Rachman and Ben Otto, “Families with Bombs: Islamic State inspires new wave of Indonesian Terrorism,” Wall Street Journal, May 14, 2018 Sidney Jones, “How ISIS has changed terrorism in Indonesia,” New York Times, May 22, 2018
Jun 26, 2018
Statesmanship in the 21st Century
37:40
Bruce Jentleson from Duke University joins Trevor Thrall and Sahar Khan to discuss the importance of statesmanship and his new book, The Peacemakers. Show notes: Guest Bio: Bruce Jentleson The Peacemakers
Jun 12, 2018
To Summit or Not to Summit? Trump and North Korea
54:15
Show description: In a special 2-part episode, Emma Ashford, Trevor Thrall, and new co-host, Sahar Kahn, discuss North Korea and the prospects for a nuclear summit with Cato Policy Analyst Eric Gomez. Guest bio: Eric Gomez Power Problems Episode #4, September 19, 2017: Kim Jong Trump Eric Gomez, “Not Quite Back to the Drawing Board with North Korea” Eric Gomez, “Keep Calm and Summit On"
May 29, 2018
The US: Global Force for Good?
40:11
Emma Ashford and Trevor Thrall shift from military affairs this week to talk about humanitarian aid with American University’s Jessica Trisko Darden. Guest bio: Jessica Trisko Darden Humanitarian Aid and War Is Humanitarian Aid a Waste?
May 17, 2018
It’s (Not) a Thucydides Trap: Rising Powers and Time Horizons
44:59
Emma Ashford and Trevor Thrall are joined by David Edelstein of Georgetown University to discuss how great powers respond to rising challengers. Guest Bio: David Edelstein Over the Horizon: Time, Uncertainty, and the Rise of Great Powers
May 01, 2018
Arms Bizarre: Selling Weapons in the Age of Trump
32:38
Emma Ashford and Trevor Thrall are joined by Cato’s own Caroline Dorminey to discuss U.S. arms sales in the Trump era. Guest bio: Caroline Dorminey Caroline Dorminey and Trevor Thrall. "Risky Business: the Role of Arms Sales in U.S. Foreign Policy" Paul Holden (ed.) Indefensible: Seven Myths That Sustain the Global Arms TradeM Jonathan Caverley. "America’s Arms Sales Policy: Security Abroad, Not Jobs at Home" Amnesty International. "Iraq: Taking Stock of Arming the Islamic State"
Apr 16, 2018
Out of Africa: A New Front in the War on Terror
44:25
Today Emma Ashford and Trevor Thrall discuss the expansion of the U.S. war on terror into Africa with Bronwyn Bruton from the Atlantic Council. Guest Bio: Bronwyn Bruton Bronwyn Bruton, “Ethiopia: In the Eye of the Storm” U.S. News and World Report, “Where in the World Is the U.S. Military? Everywhere”
Apr 02, 2018
Here Comes the New Russia, Same as the Old Russia
39:15
Vladimir Putin won re-election handily, but the future of U.S.-Russia relations is a tougher question. We chat with Matthew Rojanksy of the Woodrow Wilson Center. Guest Bio: Matthew Rojansky “U.S. Russia Policy” in Our Foreign Policy Choices “Why New Russia Sanctions Won’t Change Moscow’s Behavior” in Foreign Affairs The Legacy of George Kennan Conference
Mar 21, 2018
Yemen: One War or Three?
39:29
We discuss the ongoing war in Yemen and U.S. involvement with Kate Kizer from Win Without War. Guest bio: Kate Kizer Council on Foreign Relations Yemen Backgrounder Cato’s John Glaser on Yemen What the President Should Do in Yemen
Mar 05, 2018
The Nuclear Posture Review: Pushing All the Wrong Buttons?
42:34
Hans Kristensen from the Federation of American Scientists joins us today to discuss the Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review. Hans Kristensen bio 2018 Nuclear Posture Review Federation of American Scientists Nuclear Posture Review Resource Texas National Security Review Policy Roundtable on the NPR
Feb 20, 2018
The Trump Doctrine at One Year
42:24
Kathleen Hicks from CSIS and Hal Brands from Johns Hopkins SAIS join us to talk about Trump’s foreign policy at the one year mark. Guest bio: Kathleen Hicks Guest bio: Hal Brands National Security Strategy Summary of the 2018 National Defense Strategy
Jan 31, 2018
A Trade Policy Deficit
37:13
Show Notes: Guest Bio: Nate Olson 2017 National Security Strategy Nate Olson, "How Donald Trump Can Avoid a Trade War with China" Pew Research, “Support for Free Trade Rebounds.”
Jan 10, 2018
Hype and Hype-ability: Threat Inflation in U.S. Foreign Policy
35:58
Show Notes: A Dangerous World? edited by Christopher A. Preble and John Mueller American Foreign Policy and the Politics of Fear edited by A. Trevor Thrall and Jane K. Cramer Curiosity: How Will the World End?
Dec 26, 2017
All I Want for Christmas Is an F-35: Trump, the Generals and the Pentagon
37:44
In a special live recording of the podcast, we explore the President's relationship with the military, the defense budget, and what the Pentagon wants for Christmas with our guest Aaron Mehta. Show Notes Guest Bio: Aaron Mehta Aaron Mehta, "One hand tied behind your back: Why DoD's empty policy chair matters."  Aaron Mehta, "America's Nuclear Weapons will cost $1.2 Trillion Over the next 30 Years." Chris Preble, "Senate Passes a Pentagon Budget, but a BCA Trainwreck Looms."
Dec 13, 2017
Power Problems Live Event Announcement
0:44
Dec 05, 2017
A Syria(s) Problem: Chemical Weapons & International Norms
41:38
Syria’s use of chemical weapons calls into question the utility of international norms. We discuss those norms and how to enforce them with Greg Koblentz. Show Notes: Guest Bio: Greg Koblentz Greg Koblentz, “Syria's Chemical Weapons Kill Chain" Richard Price, “After Syria, Is There Still a Taboo against the Use of Chemical Weapons?”" Saskia Popescu, “Antimicrobial Resistance: An Underrated Biological Threat”"
Dec 04, 2017
Middle East Madness
37:03
We chat with Brian Katulis from the Center for American Progress about ongoing chaos in the Middle East, the regional security environment, and the options for America's future role in the region. Show Notes Guest bio: Brian Katulis Brian Katulis, "Leveraging U.S. Power in the Middle East" Andrew Bacevich, "Endless War in the Middle East"
Nov 13, 2017
Trump and Iran: Deal or No Deal?
41:37
We talk Trump and the future of the Iran nuclear deal with Colin Kahl, former national security adviser to Vice President Joe Biden. Show Notes: Guest Bio: Colin Kahl Colin Kahl, “The Myth of a ‘Better’ Iran Deal" Emma Ashford and John Glaser, “Unforced Error: The Risks of Confrontation with Iran"
Oct 30, 2017
Desperate Times, Desperate Measures
42:48
Show Notes Guest Bio: Alexander Downes Targeting Civilians in War "Rohingya Account Atrocities," New York Times
Oct 16, 2017
The Art of the (Nuclear) Deal
30:09
Show Notes: Guest Bio: Ariane Tabatabai “Preserving the Nuclear Deal” “Regime Change in Iran Wouldn’t Work”
Oct 03, 2017
Kim Jong Trump
30:54
Tensions are rising on the Korean peninsula, between North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests and Trump’s inflammatory tweets. We discuss the situation with Joshua Pollack. Show notes: Guest Bio: Joshua Pollack What Does the Timing of North Korea’s Missile Tests Mean? Is Ballistic Missile Defense the Answer?
Sep 19, 2017
Same Strategy, Different Day
36:20
Today we talk about Trump’s new Afghanistan strategy with Sameer Lalwani. Is there anything new here? Show notes: Guest Bio: Sameer Lalwani Trump’s Televised Speech on Afghanistan Strategy
Sep 14, 2017
It’s All about Those (Military) Bases
29:33
This week we ask John Glaser: why does the U.S. have so many military bases around the world? Show notes: Guest Bio: John Glaser John Glaser, "Withdrawing from Overseas Bases: Why a Forward-Deployed Military Posture Is Unnecessary, Outdated, and Dangerous"
Sep 12, 2017
More Power More Problems
35:06
Christopher Preble joins us to discuss what restraint in foreign policy means and what it would look like in practice. Show notes: Guest Bio: Christopher Preble Barry Posen, Restraint: A New Foundation for U.S. Grand Strategy Cato Institute, "Our Foreign Policy Choices: Rethinking America’s Global Role"
Sep 11, 2017