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War on the Rocks

Great discussions with security, defense, and foreign policy experts recorded over drinks.
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Now displaying: 2016
Dec 23, 2016
In this episode of the War on the Rocks podcast, editor-in-chief Ryan Evans sat down with Michael S. Neiberg, author of the new book, The Path to War: How the First World War Created Modern America. Neiberg, an accomplished historian who holds the Chair of War Studies at the U.S. Army War College, covered a range of topics, starting with America and World War I,  the Treaty of Versailles, World War II, the use and abuse of historical analogies, doing historical research, and advice for young historians. The War on the Rocks podcast is produced by Tre Hester.   Image: Harvey Thomas Dunn
Oct 31, 2016
Revelations over emails are going to be roiling this election season to the very end. This is, in no small part, due to a series of targeted hacks and leaks that cyber-security experts and the U.S. intelligence community have attributed to Russia. In this episode, we address this unprecedented Russian-directed information operations campaign targeting the U.S. presidential election and, indeed, the fundamental legitimacy of the American system of government. From email hacks to electronic voting machines, major vulnerabilities have been exposed and could change how we approach national campaigns forever, not just in the United States but in other democracies as well.  Think I am overstating it? See what you think by the end of this episode. I gathered together an all-star group of experts to help me figure out exactly how this all happened, including Dmitri Alperovitch of Crowdstrike, Ben Buchanan of the Belfer Center, Shane Harris of The Daily Beast, Susan Hennessey of Brookings and Lawfare, Michael Poznansky of the University of Pittsburgh, and Benjamin Wittes of Brookings and Lawfare (who throws down the gauntlet for Sean Hannity). Have a listen!   Ryan Evans is the founder and editor-in-chief of War on the Rocks.
Sep 30, 2016
In an "around the world" edition of our podcast series, Ryan Evans convened a top-notch group to discuss everything from Cuba to the Middle East to Russia to deterrence to China to personnel issues along with a whole range of big issues for the first 100 days of the next administration. Tune in to listen to Elbridge Colby (CNAS), Radha Iyengar (RAND), Will McCants (Brookings), and Bill Rosenau (CNA) talk about some of the world's most pressing issues with the aid of a few drinks. We also briefly remember the respected scholar and international security analyst, Angel Rabasa, who recently passed away. Image: U.S. Army photo by Master Sgt. Michel Sauret
Sep 23, 2016
In the latest episode of our podcast, editor-in-chief Ryan Evans sat down with Gen. Jim Mattis and Kori Schake of the Hoover Institution to talk about civil-military relations, the subject of their new book Warriors and Citizens: American Views of Our Military. This is the first major study of civil-military relations in years. The conversation also turned to strategy, with Mattis observing that Washington is a "strategy-free environment" and that this is a problem that goes back through two administrations. Next, Ryan sat down with Richard Fontaine, the president of the Center for a New American Security, to discuss his summer in Australia, where he was an Alliance 21 Fellow at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. Fontaine was there to take an up close look at the U.S.-Australian relationship and hard questions related to American strategy in Asia. Have a listen!   Image: U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Cpl. Thor J. Larson
Jul 19, 2016
The Ataturk Cultural Center in Istanbul was closed down during the Gezi Park protests in 2013. This former symbol of Turkey's revered founding father is today adorned with large photos of its current president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who successfully defeated an attempted military coup d'etat on Friday evening and Saturday morning. Some of you might have chimed into yesterday's live Google Hangout on Turkey's thwarted coup. For those who didn't and prefer audio to video, we've adapted it into an episode of our podcast series. WOTR's Ryan Evans spoke with Selim Koru of TEPAV in Turkey, Burak Kadercan of the U.S. Naval War College, Aaron Stein of the Atlantic Council, and Joshua Walker of the German Marshall Fund to try to sort through the violent events of last weekend in Turkey and the heated political aftermath. Listen here!  
Jul 15, 2016
What big think books on strategy in history should you add to you shelf this summer? Our editor-in-chief, Ryan Evans, sat down with two authors of two of his favorite books this year. First, he spoke to Hal Brands, author of the new book Making the Unipolar Moment: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Rise of the Post-Cold War Order (Cornell). Hal has just taken up a professorship at the Kissinger Center at the School of Advanced International Studies in Washington. Next, Ryan sat down with John Bew of the King's College London War Studies Department, author of Realpolitik: A History (Oxford), and interviewed him with the help of Iskander Rehman of the Brookings Institution, who reviewed John's book. (As a teaser for some of our nerdier listeners out there, I tempt Iskander and John into attacking American political science near the end.) Hal's book tells the story of how America understood (and often misunderstood) its own power from the 1970s through the end of the Cold War, taking us through the Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, and Bush administrations. In Realpolitik, John tells the story of this often misused word from its origins in 19th century Germany all the way through the Obama administration. Both books are sweeping, engaging, original, and readable. Have a listen!
Jun 21, 2016
Is Barack Obama's foreign policy "failing at nearly every turn," as Speaker Paul Ryan and many other Republicans contend? Or has the president actually crafted a wiser, more effective approach to America's place in the world that sets this country up for success? Derek Chollet, a six-year veteran of the Obama administration, takes the latter view in his new book, The Long Game: How Obama Defied Washington and Redefined America's Role in the World (PublicAffairs). Ryan Evans, WOTR's editor-in-chief, sat down with Chollet, currently at the German Marshall Fund, and Richard Fontaine, the president of the Center for a New American Security, for an energetic debate on the legacy that this president will leave behind.
Mar 2, 2016
We’re going to try something a little different with this episode of the podcast, and I think you’re going to like it. If you listened to our last episode, you know our focus was on the Munich Security Conference – a major annual event that hosts heads of state, ministers of foreign affairs and defense, thought leaders, and, this year, whisky-swilling editors like me. In this episode, the focus is Russia, and especially U.S. Russian relations. To do that, we tell a story that starts with Vladimir Putin’s 2007 speech at the Munich Security Conference and ends with Russian Prime Minister Medvedev’s speech at this year’s conference. Between 2007 and 2016, U.S.-Russian relations have gone from bad to good (sort of) to bad again. To tell that story, I conducted interviews in Munich with Richard Fontaine of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), Senator John McCain, and Svitlana Zalishchua of the Ukrainian parliament. Back in Washington, I conducted more interviews with Elbridge Colby of CNAS, Matt Rojanksy of the Kennan Institute, and Michael Kofman of CNA and the Kennan Institute. Have a listen and let us know what you think about this new format.   This special episode of our podcast series is sponsored by American University’s School of International Service, which prepares graduates for global service in government, nonprofits, and business. Applications for Fall 2016 are still being accepted. Click here for more information on a variety of Master’s programs for mid- and early-career professionals online or on campus. Image: NATO
Feb 16, 2016
The Munich Security Conference brings together leaders from all around the world to discuss defense, foreign policy, and strategy - the bread and butter of War on the Rocks. It has been called the Davos of international security. Our editor-in-chief, Ryan Evans, was privileged to join the U.S congressional delegation to this year's conference. While he was there, he interviewed a number of key leaders and thinkers. This episode of our podcast series is the first of two to come out of these interviews and discussions. They are sponsored by American University's School of International Service. Listen here for Ryan's interviews with Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Senator David Perdue (R-GA), and former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who is now the President of the Asia Society. They discuss the state of the world, American power, Syria, Ukraine, Europe, China, and more, offering diverse opinions and views informed by their decades of experience in politics, diplomacy, and business. This special episode of our podcast series is sponsored by American University's School of International Service, which prepares graduates for global service in government, nonprofits, and business. Applications for Fall 2016 are still being accepted. Click here for more information on a variety of Master's programs for mid- and early-career professionals online or on campus. 
Feb 8, 2016
We have a two-parter for you in this episode. First, WOTR's Ryan Evans spoke with Steve Blank of Silicon Valley fame about his new course, "Hacking Defense." The class just launched at Stanford, but Steve has plans to proliferate it around the country. Will this course help change the way we approach national defense? Next, Ryan sat down with Basam Ridha Al Hussaini. Basam works for Iraqi Prime Minister Abadi and was in Washington to talk to U.S. officials about the Popular Mobilization Units, a Iraqi security program that mobilizes armed groups - including sectarian groups responsible for terrible violence during the Iraq War - to fight the Islamic State. While these groups are controversial and - some say - too close to Iran, they have been undeniably important in rolling back the Islamic State. Hear Basam make the case for this program and talk about its future in Iraq, post-Islamic State. Have a listen!
Jan 25, 2016
The relationship between journalists and the U.S. military is simultaneously intimate and distant.  In the last several decades and the last two in particular, many things have changed in the way that journalists cover the military, but perhaps not as many as you think. Three defense and national security journalists of different generations joined Ryan Evans of War on the Rocks to talk about how covering the military has and has not changed over time: David Wood, the veteran, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist at The Huffington Post Nancy Youssef, senior national security correspondent for The Daily Beast Paul Shinkman, national security reporter for U.S. News & World Report Have a listen!   Image: U.S. Navy photo by Tech. Sgt. Andy Dunaway
Jan 12, 2016
WOTR's Ryan Evans sat down with Colin Kahl, the National Security Advisor to Vice Present Joe Biden, to talk about the mess of the Middle East and what the Obama administration is doing about it. From Iran to the Gulf states to Syria to Iraq to Turkey and beyond, Kahl explains how the White House views the problems and opportunities there. He also discusses what it's like to be in a presidential administration in its final year. If you like this podcast, be sure to check out our last conversation with Kahl about the Iran nuclear agreement. Image: USAF, Senior Airman Matthew Bruch
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