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31 July 2014

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Foreign Entanglements

Hosted by Matthew Duss and Robert Farley, Foreign Entanglements brings together people with contrasting views on America’s role in the world.

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Jul 18, 2014 — Robert Farley & Daveed Gartenstein-Ross
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On Foreign Entanglements, Rob and Daveed discuss one of the enduring concepts of international politics: credibility. Rob lays out the basics of deterrence theory, prompting Daveed to explain why he thinks reputation is important. Daveed contends that Obama’s unenforced Syrian “red line” will have a tremendous effect on America’s credibility and reputation. They examine whether a reputation for resolve matters with reference to Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, and consider the academic-policymaker divide, especially with respect to how we can measure the effectiveness of reputation-building measures. Plus: Debating the value of bluffing as part of the foreign policy toolkit.

Jul 12, 2014 — Robert Farley & Charli Carpenter
BhTV video
On Foreign Entanglements, Rob talks to Charli about international politics and pop culture. They begin with a discussion of Charli’s new book, Lost Causes, which investigates how some political issues fail to gain public attention. Rob and Charli then talk about killer robots, which leads into a discussion of policy and science fiction. They review the fourth season of HBO’s Game of Thrones, and finish by discussing “the most important scene of the whole season.”
May 24, 2014 — Robert Farley & Sam Roggeveen
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On Foreign Entanglements, Rob and Sam discuss developments in Australia and Asia, beginning with the military coup in Thailand. China’s state-owned oil company moved a rig into disputed waters, which Sam says is an “extremely dangerous environment.” Rob turns to the Asia pivot, and they compare John Kerry to Hillary Clinton. What’s going to happen when China’s economy surpasses America’s? And finally, why is Australia buying expensive F-35 fighter jets from the US?
May 9, 2014 — Matthew Duss & Gissou Nia
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On Foreign Entanglements, Matt and Gissou discuss whether Iranian President Rouhani has fallen short on his promise to improve human rights. Could a nuclear deal empower Rouhani to pursue reforms? Should the West disentangle the nuclear and human rights issues? Has the United Nations played a constructive role? What about Iranian civil society? Do the Helsinki Accords offer a useful precedent for Iran’s reformers?
Apr 21, 2014 — Kelsey D. Atherton & Daveed Gartenstein-Ross
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On Foreign Entanglements, guest hosts Kelsey and Daveed recount their epic battle as finalists in TwitterFightClub 2014, which Daveed won by using lessons learned from battle rap. Applying comic books to national security, they wonder how Iron Man and Galactus could help the US military. Is the sequel to Top Gun really going to be about drones? They analyze what the large outdoor meeting of Al Qaeda in Yemen reveals about what drones can and can’t do. Daveed offers a counterintuitive take on Al Qaeda’s strength and America’s drone war. Plus: The flaws in a Times op-ed connecting military veterans and white supremacy.
Apr 10, 2014 — Matthew Duss & Robert Farley
BhTV video
On Foreign Entanglements, Matt reports on his recent trip to Israel, where peace negotiations with the Palestinians have reached a crisis point. Matt and Rob discuss whether Israeli domestic politics will preclude any sort of final deal, and Matt notes that the settlement project has become deeply embedded in the Israeli government. Ripping into a recent WSJ op-ed, Rob argues that sending old American B-52s to Israel would be a bad idea for all involved. They critique Reihan Salam’s column declaring that he is still a neoconservative, and consider what that controversial label means now. They analyze Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the “asshole problem” in international relations. Plus: Geography is for losers!
Mar 22, 2014 — Robert Farley & Adam Lowther
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On Foreign Entanglements, Rob and Adam debate the need for an independent air force. Adam argues that the US Air Force provides an integrated vision of military airpower that the other services can’t offer. Rob, on the other hand, isn’t impressed by the USAF’s performance. Would bombers exist without an independent air force? What lessons can we learn from the wars in Iraq? What is the Air Force’s most under-appreciated service? Rob and Adam close by discussing the prospects for using airpower in Ukraine.
Mar 3, 2014 — Robert Farley & Dmitry Gorenburg
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On Foreign Entanglements, Rob and Dmitry discuss the recent Russian incursion into Crimea. Dmitry summarizes Russian interests in the region. Have the US and Europe handled the situation correctly so far? Dmitry suggests that, in the long run, Putin will pay substantial costs for the incursion. Is the new Ukrainian government stable enough to fight back? Rob and Dmitry compare the strengths of the Russian and Ukrainian militaries. Finally, Dmitry thinks through some options for the Western response.
Feb 11, 2014 — Robert Farley & Stephen M. Saideman
BhTV video
On Foreign Entanglements, Rob speaks with Steve Saideman, co-author of the new book NATO in Afghanistan: Fighting Together, Fighting Alone. Steve discusses his research on the nature of restrictions on coalition warfare in the NATO alliance. Rob asks Steve about how military culture and personal relationships affect the conduct of coalition operations, and Steve elucidates the differences between forces that prioritize outcomes and those that prioritize behavior. Steve sums up his Churchillian view of NATO. Rob and Steve talk about communicating political science findings to a broader audience, then close with a discussion about the recent efforts of the International Studies Association to restrict blogging.
Feb 2, 2014 — Robert Farley & Lien-Hang Nguyen
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On Foreign Entanglements, Rob talks to Hang about her book on the Vietnam War, Hanoi’s War. Hang describes the major myths Americans tend to believe about Vietnam. Rob is fascinated by the conflicting advice North Vietnam received from Moscow and Beijing. How did American air power affect Hanoi’s decisions? How important was secrecy to the negotiations that ended the war? Hang explains how the Vietnamese perspective on the war has changed in recent years.
Jan 22, 2014 — Matthew Duss & Patrick Christy
BhTV video
On Foreign Entanglements, Matt and Patrick discuss the Iranian nuclear talks, beginning with the Foreign Policy Initiative’s open letter to Congress. Is the Obama Administration right to oppose new sanctions on Iran? How much of a role did sanctions play in bringing Hassan Rouhani to power? Is the new nuclear inspection regime adequate? Why has Supreme Leader Khamanei empowered Rouhani to participate in these negotiations? Can the negotiations be broadened to include human rights?