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 Jan 11, 2024

There’s a growing sense that Russian President Vladimir Putin is in a pretty good position heading into 2024. Certainly that’s what Putin wants the rest of the world to think—that he can outlast Ukraine and its supporters in the West. Yet the situation looks more complicated on the ground in Russia. 
And there are few people better positioned to make sense of that reality than Andrei Kolesnikov. Kolesnikov, a journalist and senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, has been in Moscow since the war began. Over the last two years, he’s written a series of deeply illuminating pieces for Foreign Affairs. In December 2022, the Kremlin listed Kolesnikov as a foreign agent. 
Kolesnikov spoke with Foreign Affairs Senior Editor Hugh Eakin on January 8 about Putin’s hold on power and how Russians view their leader and his disastrous war.
You can find transcripts and more episodes of The Foreign Affairs Interview at https://www.foreignaffairs.com/podcasts/foreign-affairs-interview.

Thursday Dec 21, 2023

Hamas’s attack on October 7 shocked the world and upended the status quo in the Middle East. As Israel’s war in Gaza continues, the two-state solution seems more out of reach than ever. And yet, close observers of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict understand that for there to ever be peace, a political solution must go hand in hand with any military strategy. 
At a Foreign Affairs live event on December 14, Lisa Anderson, Salam Fayyad, and Amos Yadlin joined Foreign Affairs Editor Daniel Kurtz-Phelan to explore these issues and more. 
Anderson is the James T. Shotwell professor of international relations emerita at Columbia University and was the president of The American University in Cairo from 2011 to 2015. Fayyad served as the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority from 2007 to 2013. Yadlin is a retired major general in the Israeli Air Force and served as head of Israel’s Military Intelligence Directorate from 2006 to 2010.
Together, they discussed Israeli strategy, whether Hamas can actually be destroyed, and whether there is any hope for a return to a peace process. This is an edited version of their conversation.
You can find transcripts and more episodes of The Foreign Affairs Interview at https://www.foreignaffairs.com/podcasts/foreign-affairs-interview.

America’s Dangerous Pessimism

Thursday Dec 14, 2023

Thursday Dec 14, 2023

Most Americans think their country is in decline. So do their leaders. Both Joe Biden and Donald Trump have embraced foreign policies premised on the notion that the global order no longer serves American interests.
But these pessimistic assumptions are wrong, Fareed Zakaria argues in a new essay for Foreign Affairs. Moreover, they are leading the country to embrace strategies that will harm much of the world—and the United States most of all. Zakaria is the host of Fareed Zakaria GPS on CNN, a columnist for The Washington Post, and the author of The Post-American World.
You can find transcripts and more episodes of The Foreign Affairs Interview at https://www.foreignaffairs.com/podcasts/foreign-affairs-interview.

Thursday Dec 07, 2023

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 https://www.foreignaffairs.com/podcasts/foreign-affairs-interview.

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 https://www.foreignaffairs.com/podcasts/foreign-affairs-interview.

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 https://www.foreignaffairs.com/podcasts/foreign-affairs-interview.

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 https://www.foreignaffairs.com/podcasts/foreign-affairs-interview.

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 https://www.foreignaffairs.com/podcasts/foreign-affairs-interview.

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 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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