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Power Problems

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Power Problems

Power Problems is a bi-weekly podcast from the Cato Institute. Host John Glaser offers a skeptical take on U.S. foreign policy, and discusses today’s big questions in international security with distinguished guests from across the political spectrum. Podcast Hashtag: #FPPowerProblems. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

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Recent Episodes of Power Problems


Should America Let Europe Defend Itself?

Should America Let Europe Defend Itself?

Benjamin Friedman, policy director at Defense Priorities, argues that the United States should immediately begin withdrawing military forces from Europe to set the stage for European defense autonomy. He discusses the history of NATO, how it’s strategic purposes have evolved over time, what NATO costs America, defensibility problems with some Eastern European members, institutional inertia, differing threat assessments of Russia, and burden-sharing vs burden-dropping, among other topics. 


Benjamin Friedman, "A New NATO Agenda: Less U.S., Less Dependency," Defense Priorities, July 8, 2024.


Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Episode 10 July 2024 41m and 53s


Ukraine, NATO, and the End of the War

Ukraine, NATO, and the End of the War

Emma Ashford, senior fellow at the Stimson Center, discusses recent escalations in the Ukraine war, the costs to the United States and European partners of supporting Kyiv, the effect of the conflict on Russia’s economy, the problems with Biden’s strategy, why it’s unlikely Ukraine can achieve total victory, the timing of ceasefire diplomacy and peace talks, how early negotiations proved the significance of Ukraine’s neutrality as a core issue of the war, the wayward mission of NATO and the future of the alliance, and why it’s not in US interests to bring Ukraine into NATO, amon...

Episode 183 25 June 2024 32m and 1s


Why Security Assistance Fails

Why Security Assistance Fails

Rachel Metz, assistant professor of political science at George Washington University, explains why security assistance, one of the most ubiquitous programs in U.S. foreign policy, so often fails. She argues that bureaucratic interests, organizational processes, and perverse dynamics of civil-military relations discourage conditioning U.S. support for partner militaries. She also discusses the role of norms in the U.S. Army, the need for greater civilian oversight and management, why the policymakers need to be more selective about security assistance, and how U.S. political leaders have expanded the military’s roles and responsibilities to the detriment of an...

Episode 182 11 June 2024 46m and 47s


Classical Realism, Purpose, and the Rise of China

Classical Realism, Purpose, and the Rise of China

Jonathan Kirshner, professor of political science and international studies at Boston College, discusses his most recent book, An Unwritten Future: Realism and Uncertainty in World Politics. Kirshner provides fundamental critiques of structural realism and offensive realism and argues for classical realism’s greater explanatory power and firmer theoretical underpinnings. He also covers rationalist explanations for war, the role of change and uncertainty in world politics, the rise of China, and why effective grand strategy requires a healthy politics, among other topics. 

Show Notes

Jonathan Kirshner, An Unwritten Future: Realism and Uncertainty in World Politics, Princeton Uni...

Episode 181 28 May 2024 50m and 22s


The Trouble with US Support for Israel & Ukraine

The Trouble with US Support for Israel & Ukraine

Mark Hannah, senior fellow at the Institute for Global Affairs, the nonprofit housed at the Eurasia Group, and host of the None of the Above podcast, argues that President Biden has not used the leverage US support provides over Israel in its war in Gaza and Ukraine in its war with Russia, prolonging the conflicts instead of imposing real conditions and pressing for negotiated resolutions. He discusses the recently passed aid bill, Israel’s planned attack on Rafah and Biden’s threat to withhold aid, and the politics within each party over Israel and Ukraine, as well as the Amer...

Episode 180 14 May 2024 56m and 46s


Drones, Secrecy, and Endless War

Drones, Secrecy, and Endless War

David Sterman, senior policy analyst at New America’s Future Security Program, tracks U.S. counter-terrorism airstrikes, particularly with drones. He discusses the history of drone strikes in post-9/11 U.S. counter-terrorism policy from Bush to Biden, the issue of civilian casualties, Biden’s quiet use of drone strikes in Yemen and Somalia, the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force, the problems of threat inflation and secrecy in covert strikes, defining endless war, and reform proposals for how to rein in America’s unachievable objectives and make U.S. counter-terrorism operations more transparent. 


Show Notes

David...

Episode 179 30 April 2024 53m and


Regional "Push Factors" in the Emigration Upsurge

Regional "Push Factors" in the Emigration Upsurge

James Bosworth, founder of Hxagon and columnist at World Politics Review, discusses the various "push factors" throughout Latin America and the Caribbean driving the recent upsurge in migration to the US-Mexico border. He covers US-Mexico relations as well as gang violence, poor governance problems, and other instability in Haiti, Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador, and beyond. Bosworth also discusses the transnational network dynamics of criminal organizations throughout the region, including their involvement in human trafficking, and argues that only an internationally coordinated approach within the hemisphere can mitigate such problems. Finally, he explains why the US's drug war approach to the...

Episode 178 16 April 2024 43m and 20s


Reevaluating the "Special Relationship" with Israel

Reevaluating the "Special Relationship" with Israel

Jon Hoffman, foreign policy analyst at the Cato Institute and adjunct professor at George Mason University, argues for a fundamental reevaluation of the U.S.'s "special relationship" with Israel. He discusses the dire scale of Israel's siege of Gaza and why it qualifies as collective punishment, Israel's lack of clear military objectives in Gaza and plans to attack Rafah, and the widespread regional ramifications of the conflict. He also talks about the negative consequences of unwavering US support for Israel, the military-heavy US approach to the Middle East, the Abraham Accords and Biden's prospective normalization deal with Israel...

Episode 177 6 April 2024 33m and 58s


Reevaluating the "Special Relationship" with Israel

Reevaluating the "Special Relationship" with Israel

Jon Hoffman, foreign policy analyst at the Cato Institute and adjunct professor at George Mason University, argues for a fundamental reevaluation of the U.S.'s "special relationship" with Israel. He discusses the dire scale of Israel's siege of Gaza and why it qualifies as collective punishment, Israel's lack of clear military objectives in Gaza and plans to attack Rafah, and the widespread regional ramifications of the conflict. He also talks about the negative consequences of unwavering US support for Israel, the military-heavy US approach to the Middle East, the Abraham Accords and Biden's prospective normalization deal with Israel...

Episode 177 2 April 2024 33m and 58s


The Economics of Great Power War & Peace

The Economics of Great Power War & Peace

Dale Copeland, professor of international relations at the University of Virginia and author of the new book A World Safe for Commerce: American Foreign Policy From the Revolution to the Rise of China, talks about his "dynamic realism" theory of great power war and peace, emphasizing the critical causal role of future trade expectations. Copeland discusses case studies from the American Revolutionary War to the Spanish-American War and the beginnings of the Cold War and then applies his theory to U.S.-China relations across a range of policy areas, with important insights into how to avert a catastrophic w...

Episode 176 19 March 2024 1h, 8m and 5s

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