The Foreign Affairs Interview

Foreign Affairs invites you to join its editor, Daniel Kurtz-Phelan, as he talks to influential thinkers and policymakers about the forces shaping the world. Whether the topic is the war in Ukraine, the United States’ competition with China, or the future of globalization, Foreign Affairs’ biweekly podcast offers the kind of authoritative commentary and analysis that you can find in the magazine and on the website.

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Episodes

Thursday May 16, 2024

There’s no question that Hamas violated international law when it attacked Israel on October 7, and as it continues to hold hostages in Gaza. But more than seven months into Israel’s response, the issue of whether Israel is violating international law—or even committing war crimes—is coming to a head. Washington is debating holding up deliveries of weapons to Israel. And the International Criminal Court is rumored to be preparing a case against leaders of both Hamas and the Israeli government.
What’s happening in Gaza may seem unprecedented. But as the legal scholar Oona Hathaway writes in Foreign Affairs, “The conflict in Gaza is an extreme example of the breakdown of the law of war, but it is not an isolated one.” Hathaway is the Gerard C. and Bernice Latrobe Smith Professor of International Law at Yale University School of Law and a nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. In 2014–15, she took leave to serve as special counsel to the general counsel at the U.S. Department of Defense.
Foreign Affairs Deputy Editor Kate Brannen spoke with her on May 13 about the causes of that breakdown—and what, if anything, can be done to salvage the rules meant to protect civilians in wartime.
You can find transcripts and more episodes of The Foreign Affairs Interview at https://www.foreignaffairs.com/podcasts/foreign-affairs-interview.

Russia’s Murky Future

Thursday May 02, 2024

Thursday May 02, 2024

When Russia botched its invasion of Ukraine and the West quickly came together in support of Kyiv, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s grip on power appeared shakier than ever. Last summer, an attempted coup even seemed to threaten his rule. But today, Putin looks confident. With battlefield progress in Ukraine and political turmoil ahead of the U.S. election in November, there’s reason to think things are turning in his favor.
The historian Stephen Kotkin joins us to discuss what this means for Russia’s future—and how the United States can be ready for whatever that future holds. Kotkin is the Kleinheinz Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He is the author of the forthcoming book Stalin: Totalitarian Superpower, 1941–1990s, the last in his three-volume biography of the Soviet leader.
You can find transcripts and more episodes of The Foreign Affairs Interview at https://www.foreignaffairs.com/podcasts/foreign-affairs-interview.

Thursday Apr 18, 2024

On April 13, Iran did something it had never done before: it launched a direct attack on Israel from Iranian territory. As historic and spectacular as the attack was, Israel, the United States, and others managed to intercept a huge percentage of the drones and missiles fired, and the damage inflicted by Iranian strikes was minor. Still, the world is waiting tensely to see how Israel will respond—and whether the Middle East can avoid full-scale war. 
To understand the attack and its consequences, Foreign Affairs Editor Daniel Kurtz-Phelan spoke with Suzanne Maloney, vice president and director of the Brookings Institution’s Foreign Policy program, and Ali Vaez, director of the Iran Project at the International Crisis Group. 
We discuss where this conflict could go next—and how to bring the two sides back from the brink of war. 
You can find transcripts and more episodes of The Foreign Affairs Interview at https://www.foreignaffairs.com/podcasts/foreign-affairs-interview.

Friday Apr 05, 2024

Martin Indyk has probably spent more time and energy than anyone else—certainly more than any other American—trying to find a path to peace among Israel, its neighbors, and the Palestinians. He’s worked on these issues for decades. Indyk served as President Barack Obama’s special envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations from July 2013 to June 2014.  He served as U.S. ambassador to Israel from 1995 to 1997, and again from 2000 to 2001. He also served as special assistant to President Bill Clinton and senior director for Near East and South Asian affairs at the National Security Council from 1993 to 1995 and as assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs in the U.S. Department of State from 1997 to 2000.
He spoke to Foreign Affairs Editor Daniel Kurtz-Phelan on April 1. The conversation covers the prospect of a cease-fire in Gaza; how the Biden administration is, and is not, using its influence to shape Israeli actions; and the possibility that this terrible war could finally move both sides toward a two-state solution.
You can find transcripts and more episodes of The Foreign Affairs Interview at https://www.foreignaffairs.com/podcasts/foreign-affairs-interview.

Thursday Mar 21, 2024

More than any time in the last 75 years, we’re living in a world at war. Conflicts in Gaza and Ukraine dominate headlines. But that’s just part of it. Last year, Azerbaijan seized Nagorno-Karabakh, forcing thousands of ethnic Armenians to flee. There’s a full-scale civil war in Myanmar. In Africa, there is war in Sudan, Ethiopia, and Congo, and there have been seven coups on the continent since August 2020.
Comfort Ero, the head of the International Crisis Group, has been tracking these conflicts as closely as anyone. She has watched the international system grow more brittle and less effective at preventing war—and has been doing the hard political work of ending conflict once it breaks out.
You can find transcripts and more episodes of The Foreign Affairs Interview at https://www.foreignaffairs.com/podcasts/foreign-affairs-interview.

Bonus: India as It Is

Wednesday Mar 20, 2024

Wednesday Mar 20, 2024

India has enormous momentum. Its population has surpassed China’s, making it the most populous country in the world. Its economy is expected to become the world’s third largest in the next few years. And, as much as any country, it seems positioned to take today’s geopolitical tensions and turn them to its advantage.
The country’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, is expected to win a third term in office this spring, cementing his own political dominance. But that has come with a dark side—an assault on civil rights and democracy, which some warn will ultimately hinder India.
To address Modi’s third term and India’s future more broadly, Foreign Affairs editor Daniel Kurtz-Phelan moderated a panel including Alyssa Ayres, Ashley J. Tellis, and  Pratap Bhanu Mehta. Ayres is Dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University and an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Tellis is the Tata Chair for Strategic Affairs and a Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. And Mehta is Laurence S. Rockefeller Visiting Professor for Distinguished Teaching at Princeton University.
You can find transcripts and more episodes of The Foreign Affairs Interview at https://www.foreignaffairs.com/podcasts/foreign-affairs-interview.

Netanyahu’s Israel

Thursday Feb 29, 2024

Thursday Feb 29, 2024

A year ago, protests began to rock Israel. For months, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets to protest Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s efforts to weaken the country’s Supreme Court. Then came Hamas’s attack on October 7, and everything changed.
“The war has caught Israel at perhaps its most divided moment in history,” writes Aluf Benn in a new piece for Foreign Affairs. Benn, the editor of Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper, argues that Netanyahu worked to divide Israeli society with policies that put the country on track for disaster.
He spoke to Foreign Affairs Executive Editor Justin Vogt on February 27.
You can find transcripts and more episodes of The Foreign Affairs Interview at https://www.foreignaffairs.com/podcasts/foreign-affairs-interview.

Friday Feb 16, 2024

Four months after Hamas’s October 7 attack, the war in Gaza continues with little reason to think that Israel is particularly close to achieving its declared goals. Meanwhile, the Middle East is on the precipice of a full-scale regional war—and it may be that that war has already begun.
Dahlia Scheindlin is a pollster, a policy fellow at Century International, and a columnist at Haaretz. She is the author of the new book, The Crooked Timber of Democracy in Israel. Dalia Dassa Kaye is a senior fellow at the UCLA Burkle Center for International Relations and a Fulbright Schuman Visiting Scholar at Lund University.
We discuss the domestic political landscape inside Israel, the risks of further escalation in the region, and whether there is a better path forward.
You can find transcripts and more episodes of The Foreign Affairs Interview at https://www.foreignaffairs.com/podcasts/foreign-affairs-interview. 

Thursday Feb 08, 2024

Last fall, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Bob Gates took to the pages of Foreign Affairs to issue a warning: with America facing the most dangerous geopolitical landscape in decades, dysfunction in Washington threatened to turn that danger into disaster.
Today, Russia and China are testing the international order. Iranian proxies are attacking U.S. forces on a daily basis. And, as Gates writes, “at the very moment that events demand a strong and coherent response, America cannot provide one.”
Gates worries that such dysfunction at home could prompt America’s foes to make risky bets—with catastrophic consequences for both the country and the world. 
You can find transcripts and more episodes of The Foreign Affairs Interview at https://www.foreignaffairs.com/podcasts/foreign-affairs-interview. 

Thursday Jan 25, 2024

Ukraine may be facing the toughest chapter of its war since the first days of Russia’s invasion. The frontlines have changed little over the past year. And, in November, Ukraine’s top general, Valery Zaluzhny, used the word “stalemate” to describe the situation on the battlefield. In the West, the political tides may be shifting—especially in the United States, where Republicans in Congress are holding up new aid, and Donald Trump, running for reelection, has said he’ll end the war in 24 hours if he returns to the White House. 
Since the war began, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has been tirelessly and eloquently making a case for Ukrainian victory, both on the world stage and in the pages of Foreign Affairs. In a January 23 conversation with Editor Daniel Kurtz-Phelan, he discussed why the West should not give up on Ukraine, and the country’s prospects of victory in the months and years ahead.
You can find transcripts and more episodes of The Foreign Affairs Interview at https://www.foreignaffairs.com/podcasts/foreign-affairs-interview. 

Foreign Affairs

Since its founding in 1922, Foreign Affairs has been the leading forum for serious discussion of American foreign policy and global affairs. It is now a multiplatform media organization with a print magazine, a website, a mobile site, various apps and social media feeds, an event business, and more.  Foreign Affairs is published by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a non-profit and nonpartisan membership organization dedicated to improving the understanding of U.S. foreign policy and international affairs through the free exchange of ideas.

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