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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: 2017
Dec 19, 2017

Ryan spent a week in France earlier this year and was fortunate to meet with Gérard Biard, the editor-in-chief of Charlie Hebdo, the ever-irreverent French satirical magazine that made international headlines almost three years ago when jihadist terrorists attacked their office in Paris. Gérard spoke with Ryan about everything from the impact of the attacks on Charlie Hebdo, how the ideal of French secularism contrasts with its American counterpart, the nature of the satire they do better than anyone, and why some people still don’t get it. They discussed why satirizing Islam and other religions when they the political arena is not just fair game, but even important. And they close with Charlie Hebdo’s origins (Did you know the name in part comes from the fact that its predecessor magazine was the first to publish Charlie Brown in France?) and the challenges of satirizing Trump (“What could we write that would be funnier than a tweet from Donald Trump?”).

Special thanks to Iskander Rehman, for doing the translation and voiceover, and Jamie McGuire, the sound engineer who worked with him on it. 

If you're a French speaker and want a version without an English voiceover, then click here, where you can download that as an mp3.

 

Nov 22, 2017

Weeks before Donald Trump took office, Ryan convened a group of professionals from in and around the intelligence community to talk about the incoming president's approach to intel ("He's Just Not That Into You: Trump, Intel, and the American Presidency"). In today's episode, Ryan brought the same group of people together (minus one). Tune in to hear Carmen Medina, Mark Stout, and Mark Zaid chat (over drinks, of course) about how the president has done so far. 

Nov 8, 2017

History podcasting mastermind Mike Duncan joined Ryan for a few drinks in Washington for our latest episode. Rome is what brought them together — more specifically his New York Times best-selling book, The Storm Before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic. The book tells the story of Rome from 146 to 78 BC. In this wide-ranging conversation, they cover the challenges of writing ancient vs. modern history, going from fishmongering to podcasting (and making a living at it!), his show Revolutions, and why those of us living at this particular time in history should be eager to understand what happened to the Roman Republic. 

 

Oct 31, 2017

The bottom line of this episode is this: If you can identify with the experience of coming home from war or you want to better understand that experience, you should see the new film "Thank You For Your Service." When you go, be prepared for something powerful and heartbreaking, but also something necessary. In this episode, we hear from Jason Hall, the writer and director of the film, and Adam Schumann, the Army veteran played in the film by Miles Teller. The movie is based on the book of the same name by David Finkel and it tells the story of members of an Army unit once they’ve come home and left the military, only to do battle with the memories of their combat and the trauma of their experiences.

Oct 23, 2017

The Kurds of Northern Iraq held an independence referendum, Iraqi federal forces seized Kirkuk, and the world wondered if we were on the precipice of another round of what could be described as one long-running Iraqi civil war involving the state, jihadists, tribes, sectarian militias, various Kurdish factions, and - of course - a bevy of outside powers.

We haven't seen a descent into a new round of violence, at least yet. But what does the future hold for Iraq? Can the Kurds and Baghdad come to some sort of agreement? What do we mean when we say "the Kurds" anyway? What does this mean for Iraq and Iraqi nationalism now that the war to take back territory from the self-proclaimed Islamic State is winding its way to an end? What about the Shia militias raised for that fight? What place do they now hold in Iraq?

To help him figure out these questions and more, Ryan Evans invited Rasha al-Aqeedi, Denise Natali, and Doug Ollivant on the show. And of course, there was whisk(e)y. 

Oct 11, 2017

Since Donald Trump began to close in on the Republican nomination for the race for the White House, people have been debating the ethical implications of a Trump administration. And those discussions became more urgent and, in some cases, heated with Trump assuming office this year. Much of the focus has been on the ethics of public service during this presidency. Nine months have not delivered any sort of consensus. Is it ethical to serve this administration? Is it different for political appointees than civil servants? What about members of the military? Does President Trump force any new ethical questions? 

Ryan Evans turned to Pauline Shanks Kaurin and Shannon French, two philosophers who focus on military ethics, to help us parse these questions. 

 

Oct 2, 2017

Ryan Evans had the pleasure to sit down with Oona Hathaway and Scott Shapiro, authors of the new book The Internationalists: How a Radical Plan to Outlaw War Remade the World. Remember that treaty you learned about in school that outlawed war after World War I - the Kellogg-Briand Pact? That's right, the one you laughed at. 

Well Oona and Scott -- both of Yale Law School -- make a pretty strong argument that it actually worked far better than we all thought. And, in doing so, they make a good case that international relations scholars should take the power of the law more seriously. 

Sep 10, 2017

It’s been 16 years since the 9/11 attacks.

We thought a good way to commemorate the anniversary would be to take stock of the terrorist threats facing the United States today and to evaluate how the Trump administration is responding. Guest host Stephen Tankel tackles these issues with an all-star cast of experts, including Victor Asal, Tricia Bacon, Mia Bloom, Dan Byman, Julia Ebner, John Horgan, Gary LaFree, Phil Potter, Jake Shapiro, and Joe Young.

This wide-ranging discussion touches on radicalization, allies in the fight against terrorism, intelligence gathering, the travel ban, Trump's inflammatory religious rhetoric, the relationship between far-right and Islamist violence, and more.

Aug 14, 2017

You've read a bit about our alliance with the Texas National Security Network, brought to you by the University of Texas. Now you get to be a guest at our launch party in DC, where we ate Blue Bell ice cream, drank Shiner Bock (and scotch, of course), and held an awesome panel with the hosts of Bombshell -- Radha Iyengar, Loren DeJonge Schulman, and Erin Simpson -- alongside Jim Goldgeier of American University's School of International Service as well as William Inboden and Paul Miller of the Clements Center at the University of Texas. Ryan Evans tried to keep this rowdy crew in line as they talked about the push and pull between academics and policymakers.

Aug 7, 2017

The War on the Rocks podcast is back with a big episode and an all-star cast. Hal Brands and Alex Bick of SAIS, Will Inboden of the Clements Center at the University of Texas, Kori Schake of the Hoover Institution, Colin Kahl of Georgetown, and Peter Feaver of Duke dish about the U..S. National Security Strategy, a report required by Congress meant to basically lay out how the president views America's role in the world and how he plans to exercise power. And having a bipartisan group of national security leaders around the table, Ryan Evans couldn't resist asking how they all felt the Iran deal was playing out at age two (yes, Ryan misspoke and says it's one year old in the intro - please forgive him).

Mar 9, 2017

"The blob" — an unflattering nickname for the U.S. foreign policy establishment coined by a senior Obama official — gets a bad rap these days. From Obama to Trump, Washington's foreign policy elite are blamed for being too hawkish, relying on tired conventional wisdom, and generally weakening America's foreign policy position. In this episode, two members of the blob (along with a mystery guest) push back...over drinks, of course. Listen to Jim Steinberg, a former Deputy Secretary of the State Dept, and Frank Gavin, the director of the Kissinger Center at SAIS, defend the blob. Their argument? You don't know how good you have it. As a bonus, we also nerd out on George Kennan a bit.

Mar 1, 2017

This week, Loren, Radha, and Erin discuss the North Korean assassination (beware the perfume lady) and take questions from listeners (what is inter-service rivalry anyway?). Kori Schake joins to dissect the defense budget, H.R. McMaster's challenges at the National Security Council, Thucydides, and why she hates Moneyball.

Feb 28, 2017

In this special episode, Ryan Evans sat down with Ben Buchanan of the Belfer Center at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and in front of an audience! Ben and Ryan chatted about his new book with Oxford University Press, The Cybersecurity Dilemma: Hacking, Trust and Fear Between Nations. There were some great questions from members of the audience. Enjoy!

Feb 22, 2017
How has counter-terrorism changed from 9/11 to today over three presidencies? To answer that question, Ryan Evans sat down with two guests with deep perspective on counter-terrorism: Colin Kahl was the national security adviser to Vice President Biden and, earlier in the Obama administration, was the deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East. He is now associate professor in the Security Studies Program at the Georgetown School of Foreign Service. Stephen Tankel is an assistant professor in the School of International Service at American University, an adjunct senior fellow at CNAS, and a senior editor at War on the Rocks. He previously served as a senior adviser for Asian and Pacific security affairs at the Department of Defense. Stephen is the author of the forthcoming book, With Us and Against Us: America's Partners in the War on Terror.
Feb 13, 2017

In this episode, WOTR's Ryan Evans interviews John Bew about the state of the "special relationship" between the United States and the United Kingdom as the presidency of Donald Trump unfolds. How is Prime Minister Theresa May trying to manage British relations with the United States? Is Parliament making it easier or harder for her? What does Brexit mean for British power? Will Britain start to more seriously commit to a higher defense budget? Is the Winston Churchill bust in the White House a useful symbol of the special relationship (spoiler: no)? John tackles these questions and more, ending on a note of optimism on this most resilient of alliances. But that's not all! There's also a dash of Asia in this episode. Ryan called up Van Jackson, the host of Pacific Pundit, about the grand American presidential tradition of ignoring North Korea. About our guests: John Bew is Professor of History and Foreign Policy at the War Studies Department at King’s College London. He is the author of Realpolitik: A History and, most recently, Clement Attlee: The Man Who Made Modern Britain. John is leading a project on Britain’s place in the world for the think tank Policy Exchange. Van Jackson is a senior editor at War on the Rocks. Van is the author of Rival Reputations: Coercion and Credibility in US-North Korea Relations. He is an associate professor at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (APCSS) and an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). The views expressed are his own. Please check out his podcast, Pacific Pundit.

Feb 1, 2017

This week on Bombshell, we walk through the first week of the Trump administration. Sit down and listen to Radha Iyengar Plumb, Loren DeJonge Schulman, and Erin Simpson discuss America First, cabinet confirmations, Chelsea Manning, Wall of Stars + Hall of Heroes, re-organization of the National Security Council, and the immigration order. Stick around for our favorite podcasts and thoughts on Sherlock.

Jan 26, 2017

Just an hour before Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, Ryan Evans sat down with Richard Haass in New York at the Council on Foreign Relations. Given the momentous changes that seem to be underway, the topic under discussion was fitting: world order. Richard's new book - A World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order - seeks to explain the origins of the current world order, the shifts currently underway, and how the United States should seek to shape the next world order. Ryan and Richard also discussed negotiating approaches to Russia and China and early decisions made by the Trump team. Richard, who served in four presidential administrations, ends by giving career and life advice to people leaving the Obama administration and others who thought they would be serving in a Clinton administration.

Jan 17, 2017

Welcome to Bombshell.  This new bi-weekly series, brought to you by War on the Rocks, is hosted by three of your favorite Washington insiders who will dissect today’s foreign policy crises and tomorrow’s security challenges.  Our hosts — Loren DeJonge Schulman, Radha Iyengar Plumb, and Erin Simpson — will talk military strategy, White House mayhem, and the best cocktails known to (wo)man. In this episode, our hosts introduce themselves and each other before launching into a guide to what is going to face the Trump administration as it takes hold of the reins of power. If you're wondering about new appointments, how the new National Security Council could run, and possible crises that could erupt as soon as day one, this is the episode for you. The first two episodes will be on the War on the Rocks feed. Don’t forget to sign up for the Bombshell feed on your podcast app of choice (Note: Most apps use the iTunes feed and iTunes is taking their sweet time approving it. Keep trying).

Jan 12, 2017

If you follow international affairs, it often feels like you can't go to a lecture or read an article without being told that the world's economic and military center of gravity is shifting from West to East. Michael Auslin takes a different view in his new book, The End of the Asian Century: War, Stagnation, and the Risks to the World's Most Dynamic Region (Yale University Press, 2017). We sat down at the Tabard Inn in Washington, DC to talk about it. Auslin argues that Asia's golden age is over and the region is likely to be approaching an era of instability when it comes to economies, political systems, demographics, and war. Our conversation ranged broadly from U.S. interests in the region, the state of America's alliances, China's anxieties, and President Obama's missed opportunities. We also preview a new series on "Reclaiming Realism" and I tease a new bi-weekly podcast we have rolling out early next week called Bombshell. Have a listen!

Jan 5, 2017

One thing is clear about President-elect Donald Trump: He is skeptical of the U.S. intelligence community. With the aid of a bottle of bourbon, War on the Rocks assembled a top-notch group of experts to talk about what Trump means for the intelligence community. Our guests in this episode included Carmen Medina - a 32-year veteran of the CIA; David Priess - author of The President's Book of Secrets and a CIA veteran; Mark Stout - a WOTR senior editor, program director at Johns Hopkins, and a veteran of the CIA and the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research; and Mark Zaid - a prominent national security attorney and the head of the James Madison Project.

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