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.

Listen on:

  • Apple Podcasts
  • Google Podcasts
  • Podbean App
  • Spotify
  • Amazon Music
  • iHeartRadio
  • PlayerFM
  • Podchaser


5 days ago

There is no doubt that China’s economy is struggling. After Chinese President Xi Jinping ended the country’s zero-COVID policy a year ago, most economists expected growth to surge—but that never really happened, and deeper problems became apparent. So what are the exact causes of China’s stagnation? 
The economists Adam Posen, Zongyuan Zoe Liu, and Michael Pettis each have different answers. China’s future—and the future of the United States’ policy toward China—hinges on which of their answers is the right one.
Foreign Affairs Executive Editor Justin Vogt spoke with them at a November 14 discussion co-hosted by the Peterson Institute for International Economics, of which Posen is president. Liu is the Maurice R. Greenberg fellow for China studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. Pettis is a senior fellow at the Carnegie China Center and professor of finance at Peking University. 

Thursday Nov 30, 2023

From killer robots to smarter logistics, artificial intelligence promises to change the way the U.S. military fights and develops weapons. As this new technology comes online, the opportunities are coming into focus—but so are the dangers.
In a new piece for Foreign Affairs, Michèle Flournoy argues the U.S. military has no choice but to move forward with AI and to do so quickly. Flournoy served as the Pentagon’s policy chief during the Obama administration and today is a co-founder and managing partner at the consulting company WestExec Advisors.
Deputy Editor Kate Brannen talked to her about how the U.S. Defense Department will need to change the way it does business if it wants to integrate AI safely and responsibly.
You can find transcripts and more episodes of The Foreign Affairs Interview at

The Missing Israeli Endgame

Monday Nov 20, 2023

Monday Nov 20, 2023

There is no end in sight to Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza. But even as fighting rages, questions abound about what happens when it finally stops. What can be salvaged from the wreckage? Will Hamas survive, if not as an organization, then as an ideology? Who will govern Gaza? What type of leadership will be needed on both sides to broker any type of lasting peace?
Former Israeli security chief Ami Ayalon says that today there is no clear picture in Israel about what happens on the day after—and that this is a grave mistake. Ayalon began his military service in 1963 and went on to lead Israel’s navy and then Shin Bet, the country’s internal security service.
The task for Israel, he argues, is not just addressing the security failures that preceded October 7, but offering a political future that both Israelis and Palestinians will support.
You can find transcripts and more episodes of The Foreign Affairs Interview at

Thursday Nov 16, 2023

As the war in Gaza continues, the question of Hamas’s future has become paramount. But it has also raised questions about the years of Hamas rule in Gaza—and the group’s support among Palestinians. 
Amaney Jamal is dean of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs and co-founder of Arab Barometer, which conducts public opinion research across the Arab world. 
Her most recent survey of Palestinian public opinion wrapped up on October 6—the eve of Hamas’s attack. As she wrote in a recent piece for Foreign Affairs, “The argument that the entire population of Gaza can be held responsible for Hamas’s actions is quickly discredited when one looks at the facts.”
You can find transcripts and more episodes of The Foreign Affairs Interview at

Putin’s Cannon Fodder

Thursday Nov 02, 2023

Thursday Nov 02, 2023

In Ukraine, where war with Russia grinds on, the dominant question has become: can one side outlast the other? This is especially true as both sides face another grueling winter. 
One thing Russia has in ample supply is men. But how it treats its soldiers is having an effect on the battlefield, explains Dara Massicot, who has studied the Russian military for years, first at the U.S. Defense Department and later at RAND and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.  
Foreign Affairs Deputy Editor Kate Brannen sat down with her to discuss how the human dimension of this war provides clues about where it might be headed next. 
You can find transcripts and more episodes of The Foreign Affairs Interview at

Turmoil in the Middle East

Thursday Oct 19, 2023

Thursday Oct 19, 2023

Two weeks ago, there was reason to think that the Middle East was becoming more stable than it had been for years. Washington was pushing for normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia as one piece of a broader attempt to reduce the U.S. role in the region and focus on other priorities. Hamas’s attack on Israel on October 7 shattered those hopes. 
But there had long been signs that all was not well—that key assumptions underlying U.S. strategy were on shaky ground. In the months before the attacks, Suzanne Maloney and Marc Lynch saw the lights flashing red. Maloney is vice president of the Brookings Institution and director of its Foreign Policy program. Lynch is a professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University. As they watched the region over the past several months, both worried that another crisis was coming.
You can find transcripts and more episodes of The Foreign Affairs Interview at

Thursday Oct 05, 2023

In March 2020, as COVID-19 spread across the globe, the Chinese government expelled a handful of U.S. journalists from China. The move came weeks after the Trump administration curtailed the number of Chinese citizens who could work in the United States for state-run Chinese news organizations. Among the journalists forced to leave China was Ian Johnson, who had been living there for 20 years.  
This spring, Johnson finally returned to China. While he was there, he spoke to a cross section of Chinese people—not only scholars and officials but also small business owners, bus drivers, students, and nuns. Some were people he’d known for years. 
What he found was grim—a country in a state of stagnation and turning inward. Its leader, Xi Jinping, seemed so intent on control and so obsessed with security that no price was too high. Yet, under the surface, Johnson found there may be more dissent than most observers realize—a phenomenon he explores in his new book, Sparks: China's Underground Historians and Their Battle for the Future.
You can find transcripts and more episodes of The Foreign Affairs Interview at

Thursday Sep 21, 2023

Building closer ties with India has become a top priority for U.S. foreign policy. In June, the White House hosted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a lavish state dinner. The thinking is that India will be a key U.S. partner in its competition with China. But is Washington making the wrong assumptions about India? How far do the two countries’ interests diverge when it comes to Beijing?
Ashley Tellis has been one of the closest observers and shapers of the U.S.-Indian relationship. He served in senior positions in the U.S. embassy in New Delhi and on the National Security Council under President George W. Bush. Today, he is the Tata Chair for Strategic Affairs and a Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
In an interview earlier this month, Tellis warned that Washington needs to be more clear-eyed about Indian interests—understanding that they do not always align with those of the United States.
You can find transcripts and more episodes of The Foreign Affairs Interview at

How AI Could Upend Geopolitics

Thursday Sep 07, 2023

Thursday Sep 07, 2023

Ever since the company OpenAI unveiled ChatGPT last year, there have been constant warnings about the effects of artificial intelligence on just about everything. 
Ian Bremmer, the founder of the Eurasia Group, and Mustafa Suleyman, founder of the AI companies DeepMind and Inflection AI, highlight what may be the most significant effect in a new essay for Foreign Affairs. They argue that AI will transform power, including the power balance between states and the companies driving the new technology. Policymakers are already behind the curve, they warn, and if they do not catch up soon, it is possible they never will.
You can find transcripts and more episodes of The Foreign Affairs Interview at

Thursday Aug 24, 2023

After World War II, an idea took hold: economic interdependence between countries would help prevent war. But lately, faith in this idea has wavered, and terms like “decoupling,” “friend shoring,” and “de-risking” are dominating the debates around trade in Washington and beyond. 
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, director general of the World Trade Organization, disagrees with key elements of this new consensus. She thinks that policymakers are misdiagnosing the problems that the world faces, and that they risk setting us on a dangerous course—one that could break the global economy and leave the world both less prosperous and less secure. 
We discuss why views on global trade have changed so dramatically in recent years, China’s integration into the global trading system, and what would happen if the world fragmented into two trading blocs. 
You can find transcripts and more episodes of The Foreign Affairs Interview at

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.

Copyright 2022 All rights reserved.

Version: 20230822