Hosted by Matthew Duss and Robert Farley, Foreign Entanglements brings together people with contrasting views on America’s role in the world.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
On Foreign Entanglements, Matt and Yousef discuss John Kerry‘s ongoing attempts to restart the Middle East peace process. Why is recognition of Israel as a Jewish state such a sticking point? Is it fair of Israel to hold the Palestinian Authority responsible for inciting violence? Why is the US giving so much more attention to Israel’s security needs compared to Palestine’s? And what is Abbas’s best strategic option going forward? Matt wonders whether the Palestinians can realistically expect anything better than a semi-occupied state.
On a special year-in-review edition of Foreign Entanglements, Matt and Rob examine the biggest foreign policy stories in 2013, starting with the NSA revelations. They consider the lack of US intervention in Syria and the amazingly fast change in America’s relationship with Iran. The Afghanistan War has become incredibly unpopular—so why does no one in Washington seem to care? Will the coming 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War change foreign policy views? Was 2013 the year that the GOP finally turned against neoconservatism? Finally, the real issue: whether it’s permissible to have both a lemon twist and olives in a martini.
On Foreign Entanglements, Rob and Kelsey discuss the tactical, operational, and strategic imperatives associated with the War on Christmas. Do Santa’s twice-checked lists threaten the NSA’s data supremacy? Kelsey floats the possibility of countering Santa by destroying the joy of America’s children. What are the best aircraft to challenge Santa’s sleigh in a dog fight? Is it time to nuke the North Pole? Rob and Kelsey discuss the lessons of the Imperial assault on Hoth as prelude to a similar attack on Santa’s northern stronghold. Finally, they consider the possibility of replacing Santa with a fleet of loveable drones, and also point out the value of signature drone strikes against Santa’s reindeer herd.
On Foreign Entanglements, Meir and Emily discuss Iran. What exactly is the point of the nuclear deal? And will Iran play by the rules? Emily brings up the possible military applications of Iran’s nuclear program, and Meir argues that Iran deserves the benefit of the doubt. Emily counters that Obama has given up too much leverage in the negotiations. They close by finding some points of agreement.
On Foreign Entanglements, Rob speaks with Toshi about the new Chinese Air Defense Identification Zone in the East China Sea. Toshi discusses the significance of the ADIZ for military and civilian flights from the US, Japan, and South Korea. They consider how China will enforce the zone. Why here, and why now? Toshi argues that if America recognizes the zone, we might as well pack up and go home. Rob and Toshi debate whether the declaration was a bureaucratic error or came from the top. They conclude by discussing China’s new aircraft carrier, which is deploying to the South China Sea.
On Foreign Entanglements, Rob speaks with Erica about the effectiveness of non-violent protest. Erica works through the logic of why non-violence often proves a better practical choice than violent resistance, while Rob wonders why so many movements nevertheless resort to violence. Erica contrasts Egypt’s 2011 revolution and 2013 coup. They discuss the possibility of creating a policy infrastructure for supporting non-violent resistance, which Erica views with some skepticism. Is it possible to turn a violent movement toward non-violence? Plus: What Erica’s research could have taught the Occupy movement.