With a new era of great power competition upon us, the U.S. Navy is in the midst of developing its future fleet. The good people up at the U.S. Naval War College are chipping in to help their service figure out the answers to big strategic and operational questions. This episode was recorded on the sidelines of the college's "Bridging the Straits" conference and focuses on the dynamics of maritime competition with the People's Republic of China.
We have a very special guest host for this episode: Zack Cooper of AEI and a contributing editor at War on the Rocks. Zack was joined by Ketian Zhang, Jonathan Caverely, Michael O'Hara, and Fiona Cunningham. You don't want to miss this!
What is Xi Jinping’s “revolution” in Chinese politics? How did he amass the power to enact his ambitious agenda? Is he in danger of being toppled? Or is he effectively a dictator for life? In the second episode of “Jaw-Jaw,” Liz Economy of the Council on Foreign Relations and our host Brad Carson discuss the future of China and its powerful leader, Xi Jinping. Please enjoy the newest addition to the War on the Rocks family of podcasts.
You can subscribe to “Jaw-Jaw” by clicking here or simply by searching for it on your podcast app of choice.
If you’d like to read a full-transcript of this episode, click here.
Elizabeth Economy is the C.V. Starr senior fellow and director for Asia studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and a distinguished visiting fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution. In June 2018, Dr. Economy was named one of the “10 Names That Matter on China Policy” by Politico Magazine. Her most recent book is The Third Revolution: Xi Jinping and the New Chinese State (2018).
Brad Carson is a professor at the University of Virginia, where he teaches in the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2001-2005 and was Undersecretary of the Army and acting Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel & Readiness in the Obama Administration. Feel free to write him at firstname.lastname@example.org to share any feedback you have.
What is the future of U.S.-Chinese relations? Will a rising China seek to overturn the U.S.-led international order? What is China doing inside the first island chain? In cyberspace? Orbital space? Is China more like Imperial Germany or is it more like France in the late 19th century? Dean Cheng and Brad Carson explore these questions and many more in the inaugural episode of “Jaw-Jaw,” the newest addition to the War on the Rocks family of podcasts. Dean even recommends some of his favorite books on China – which will be a regular “Jaw-Jaw” feature. You can read the entire transcript of this episode at War on the Rocks. And, more importantly, you can subscribe to the "Jaw-Jaw" feed right here!
Dean Cheng is Senior Research Fellow, Asian Studies Center, Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy, at the Heritage Foundation. He specializes in China’s military and foreign policy, in particular China’s relationship with its Asian neighbors and with the United States. His most recent book is Cyber Dragon: Inside China’s Information Warfare and Cyber Operations (2016). Cheng is a frequent media commentator on China-related issues.
Brad Carson is a professor at the University of Virginia, where he teaches in the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2001-2005 and was Undersecretary of the Army and acting Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness in the Obama Administration. He welcomes comments at email@example.com.
This week’s Net Assessment podcast featured a deep-dive into the Vice President’s early October speech on the competition with China. Largely drowned out by the Kavanaugh SCOTUS controversy, Melanie, Chris, and Bryan give this important speech due consideration, to include administration views on Taiwan, China’s defense buildup, and its growing global influence. The crew also discussed foreign aid, the F-35, the deficit, the alleged assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, and the resignation of Nikki Haley. All of this while celebrating Melanie’s birthday.
Vice President’s Speech
Airing of Grievances
Can two great power publications peacefully co-exist? Or are they fated to clash? And what if you throw nuclear weapons into the mix? Gideon Rose and Ryan Evans, the benevolent editorial autocrats of Foreign Affairs and War on the Rocks seek to answer these questions and more. They dive deep into a new special issue of Foreign Affairs: “Do Nuclear Weapons Matter?” The issue features a diverse range of thinkers on nuke – some of whom have also written for WOTR – including Elbridge Colby, John Mueller, Olga Oliker, Scott Sagan, Caitlin Talmadge, and Nina Tannenwald. Gideon and Ryan also dish about editing, dealing with different kinds of authors, and whether wordsmithing drives them to drink. After this display of inter-publication generosity, Ryan demands the unconditional surrender of Foreign Affairs.
What happens when a libertarian, a conservative hawk, and a constitutional powers specialist walk into a podcast studio? 'Net Assessment' happens. Welcome to the hottest new national security podcast hosted by Melanie Marlowe, Christopher Preble, and Bryan McGrath. This is a show about competing visions of America's role in the world. In each episode, they will be discussing a featured article, airing their grievances, and giving attaboys. In the first episode of this bi-weekly series, our hosts introduce themselves and their hopes for this podcast. They tackle this episode's featured article, Adrian Lewis' "The Ivory Tower and Academic Ignorance of What the Armed Forces Actually Do," published by Task & Purpose. They also discuss the role of American seapower and, of course, Twitter feuds. Don't forget to subscribe to Net Assessment on your podcast app of choice.
Half a century later, the Vietnam War continues to shape U.S. foreign policy, from its debates over foreign intervention to the institutions of its military. Why does the war remain such a poignant influence, and what lessons have policymakers, scholars, and the public learned (or failed to learn) from America's disastrous campaign in Southeast Asia? WOTR Managing Editor Usha Sahay had the chance to discuss the legacy of Vietnam with an all-star cast in Austin, Texas.
How should the U.S. military prepare for the conflicts of the future? Military threats in the cyber, digital, and information domains present new training challenges. Synthetic training” seeks to address these obstacles - but what is it, anyway, how does it work in practice, and is the military trying to throw too much new tech at the problem? Managing Editor Usha Sahay discussed the future of military training with three experts in the perfect setting: over cocktails in a seaside mansion-turned-bar in Newport, Rhode Island.
In this episode, Ryan sat down with Gen. David Goldfein, the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force. We had an in-depth, candid conversation about his service's personnel challenges, the selection and education of leaders, as well as strategy, warfighting, and the books that have influenced him. Goldfein also explained why he engaged with the pseudonymous Col. 'Ned Stark' and why it is so important for people in the Air Force to write and publicly engage. Many of the questions I asked came from War on the Rocks members in our members only forum, the War Hall. You can become a member too.
The War on the Rocks podcast celebrates its 100th episode with a blockbuster group of close friends of the site. The entire episode is an attempt to answer a straightforward, but devilishly complex question: Is a major inter-state war likely in the next several years? Join Ryan Evans as he corrals Kori Schake, Frank Gavin, Colin Kahl, William Inboden, and Hal Brands to sort through the scenarios, opportunities, and possibilities (over drinks, of course). This question and discussion started in the War Hall, our members-only forum that you can sign up for right here.
While on a recent visit to Copenhagen, Ryan sat down with his old friend Martin Tamm Anderson. Martin, who recently left the Danish Army, met Ryan in Helmand Province years ago. In the years since, Martin has been busy. After working as a military advisor for the Oscar-nominated film, "A War," he created a new television show with his colleagues at Drive Studios called "The Hidden Face of War" (DR3). In the show, Martin visits active warzones and speaks to people on all sides of the conflict.
In this episode, Martin spoke with Ryan over smørrebrød about his journey from infantryman to television host and the exciting and often dangerous challenges of his new show.
How has our understanding of Russian influence operations evolved since the 2016 election? Just a few days before Trump was elected president, Clint Watts, Andrew Weisburd, and J.M. Berger sounded the alarm in a War on the Rocks article about the Kremlin's efforts to undermine American democracy. Since then, the world has learned a lot more about how Russia influenced the election and, more generally, the continued dangers of influence campaigns and information warfare. Clint's new book, Messing With the Enemy: Surviving in a Social Media World of Hackers, Terrorists, Russians, and Fake News, is an effort to help us think through these issues. He recently spoke with Usha about his efforts to track and understand Russian social media trolling, what studying jihadi terrorists taught him about online propaganda, and what the government, tech companies, and the public can do to deal with this difficult problem.
Read the November 2016 War on the Rocks article here: https://warontherocks.com/2016/11/trolling-for-trump-how-russia-is-trying-to-destroy-our-democracy/
Order Clint's book here: https://amzn.to/2I4NKbt
Martyn Frampton (@FramptonM) of Queen Mary University, is one of the most talented historians of his generation. He recently sat down with Ryan in Washington to speak about his new book, The Muslim Brotherhood and the West: A History of Enmity and Engagement. Since its founding in Egypt in the 1920s, the Muslim Brotherhood has been animated by hatred for the West, but has also vigorously engaged with Western nations -- especially Britain and America -- in pursuit of its goals. Martyn walks us through this alternatively harrowing and fascinating story. In his telling, the Muslim Brotherhood is the perfect example of a movement that is intensely ideological yet deeply pragmatic and flexible. And the United States and Britain have a habit of getting led into the same cul-de-sacs with the Brotherhood over and over again, hoping -- in Martyn's words -- that they could achieve certain things by engaging with the Brotherhood, only to be left disappointed. This tale does not just have major implications for foreign relations, but also for integrating Muslim communities at home in the West. For you aspiring historians out there, he also discusses the process of writing the book, including learning a new language and conducting archival research on three continents.
Partner cooperation is crucial when it comes to fighting terrorism, but it's also complex. Stephen Tankel, assistant professor at American University -- most importantly -- a senior editor here at War on the Rocks, examines U.S. counterterrorism cooperation in his new book With Us and Against Us: How America's Partners Help and Hinder the War on Terror. He and Ryan chatted about troublesome partners like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, how young academics can be more policy-engaged, and what Stephen drank to celebrate reaching major academic milestones.
Be sure to check out Stephen's book: https://amzn.to/2JyufwJ
Recently, two enterprising young scholars spearheaded a major conference that ended up being sponsored and hosted by CSIS and the Kissinger Center at SAIS. The topic was the future of force and it will hopefully be the first in a series under a program called the Future of Strategy Forum that aims to feature women doing important work in national and international security. At the end of this day long event, Usha Sahay and Ryan Evans sat down with the people responsible for making it happen -- Sara Plana, Rachel Tecott, Alex Bick, Alice Friend, and Kath Hicks. We had a fascinating conversation about how this conference came to be, the challenges of gender diversity, and -- of course -- the future of force.
How does America's role in the world look from across the Atlantic? Usha had an illuminating discussion in Paris with three French experts on U.S. foreign policy and European security issues. Among the questions they discussed: How much of an anomaly is Trump? How should France and Europe respond to the Trump administration's 'America First' policy? And how will America's decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal (which happened just a day before we recorded this podcast) impact its relationship with Europe and the future of multilateralism? Don't miss this special Parisian edition of the War on the Rocks podcast.
Pakistan is 70 years old. To make the anniversary, Joshua White of SAIS foolishly asked Ryan Evans to moderate an esteemed panel of experts to discuss Pakistan's role in Asia, its relationships with the great powers, and its future. Have a listen as Sameer Lalwani, Tanvi Madan, Daniel Markey, Olga Oliker, and Rasul Bakhsh Rais share their knowledge and wisdom.
Three talented scholars join Ryan in this episode to tackle questions about the future of the international order. Conversations about this topic can often be insufferably dry, but this one definitely isn't -- and not just because of the adult beverages being imbibed as the episode unfolded. Join Mira Rapp-Hooper, Rebecca Friedman Lissner, and Stephen Wertheim for a meaty, fascinating, and historically informed jam session on the future of U.S. power and influence.
Ryan dropped in on Michael P. Dempsey late last week in New York City. He is a career intelligence official who served as the acting director of national intelligence. From 2014-2017, he served as the deputy director of national intelligence and President Barack Obama’s primary intelligence briefer. After decades of work in the intelligence community, Dempsey is taking a year out of government at the Council on Foreign Relations. And for the first time in years, he is allowed to speak his mind freely (for the most part) about all sorts of things. Naturally, we had to have him on the War on the Rocks podcast. In this episode, Dempsey starts with the story of his career, from his work as a Latin America analyst all the way up to finalizing the President's Daily Brief and, yes, briefing it to the president of the United States. He also walks us through how to understand negotiations in North Korea as well as the ever-worsening civil war in Syria.
A special dispatch from France: On Friday, April 13, the United States, the United Kingdom, and France launched punitive strikes on Syria following the Assad regime's use of chemical weapons. Managing Editor Usha Sahay spoke with Bruno Tertrais, deputy director of the Foundation for Strategic Research and an expert on French defense policy, about France's perspective on the conflict in Syria, Emmanuel Macron's views on military intervention, and the falling out between France and the United States after the aborted strikes in the summer of 2013.
Read Bruno's new paper on the subject, co-authored with Jeffrey Lewis, "Beyond the Red Line: The United States, France, and Chemical Weapons in the Syrian War, 2013-2018." https://www.frstrategie.org/en/publications/recherches-et-documents/beyond-the-red-line-the-united-states-france-and-chemical-weapons-in-the-syrian-war-2013-2018-06-2018
This is Horns of a Dilemma, the podcast partner to that journal, which features the thinkers and leaders resident at the various institutions of the University of Texas and those who stop in to share their wisdom.
On the latest episode of Horns of a Dilemma, we have Amy Zegart, who was hosted at the University of Texas as a part of the Strauss Center's Brumley Speaker Series. You should know who Amy is already, but if you don’t she is co-director of the Stanford Center for International Security and Cooperation and the Davies Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution.
To call this a talk about cybersecurity would be accurate, but it wouldn’t do this wide-ranging and fascinating episode justice.
Why are so many people at odds over low-yield nuclear weapons? Well, it turns out, this debate touches on a megaton of interesting questions, including how Russia sees its own nuclear arsenal, how it envisions nuclear strategy, how the Kremlin understands the deterrence, and how we might prevent a nuclear war. So if you care about any of those things, you might want to listen in on this fierce debate between Frank Miller - a long-suffering veteran of the Pentagon and nuclear strategy, Dr. Olga Oliker of CSIS and a longtime observer and scholar of Russian nuclear and military doctrine, and Vipin Narang - a professor at MIT and, most importantly, a War on the Rocks senior editor.
Co-hosts Ryan Evans and Usha Sahay did their best to moderate this high-yield debate about low-yield nukes. Get ready for the fallout.
In the second episode of our new podcast series, "Horns of a Dilemma," William Inboden interviews Mark Updegrove, president and chief Executive of the LBJ Foundation, and author of the new book The Last Republicans: Inside the Extraordinary Relationship Between George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush (Harper 2017). This new book draws on interviews with both Bush presidents to explore their formative experiences as well as their perspectives on public service, America’s role in the world, Donald Trump, and the transmutation of the Republican Party that has transfixed the United States and turned its politics upside-down.
This is the first episode of “Horns of a Dilemma,” a new series brought to you by the Texas National Security Review, featuring the leaders and thinkers based at the University of Texas or who stop in to share their wisdom. Fittingly, we are kicking this off with a conversation on leadership, mostly in the national security context. This session is moderated by William Inboden, the director of the Clements Center. The guests are all based at the University of Texas: Adm. (ret.) Bill McRaven, former CIA Director John Brennan, former NSA Director Adm. (ret.) Bobby Inman, and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro.
Have a listen and don’t forget to subscribe to this new show’s feed!
Does the future of warfare demand the U.S. military change its standards for everything from fitness to personal appearance? This question opened up a major debate in the electronic pages of War on the Rocks. So Ryan Evans invited the participants in that debate -- Jacqueline Schneider, Mark Cancian, and Crispin Burke -- to join him on the show and work out everything from why military standards exist to what the wars of the future will look like, along with the warriors who fight them.