Alternately hosted by Matthew Duss and Robert Farley, Foreign Entanglements brings together interesting people with contrasting views on America’s role in international society.
On Foreign Entanglements, the topic is Iran’s presidential election. Meir thinks Hassan Rowhani’s victory signals that the Supreme Leader wants better relations with the West. Matt wonders whether international sanctions had an impact on the election. Meir argues that nuclear enrichment is not going to stop. Is this a real chance to reform Iran? Meir says Israel needs to change its line on Iran. Plus: Is Iran winning in Syria?
On Foreign Entanglements, Matt talks to Hugh, who is in Turkey, about how protests started in a park in Istanbul and grew into something much bigger and broader. Hugh argues that Prime Minister Erdogan’s harsh reaction to the protests was a rare miscalculation, but that he can turn this crisis into an opportunity. What’s been the reaction of the mysterious Gülen movement? How has Erdogan handled the Kurdish problem? They end by discussing implications for the US-Turkey relationship.
On Foreign Entanglements, Rob speaks with Nate about newly declassified documents concerning the secret 1983 NATO exercise Able Archer. Rob sets the stage by discussing the increase in tensions between the US and the USSR, and Nate explains why the exercise scared the Soviets. Nate then describes three sets of documents about the exercise, shedding light on Soviet fears of a US nuclear first strike, how a Warsaw Pact-NATO war in Europe would play out, and whether there was a real danger of the war game becoming real. Nate describes the “crown jewel” of declassified documents. They close by predicting the contents of declassified war on terror documents from decades in the future.
On Foreign Entanglements, Patrick argues that the US should “max out” sanctions on Iran. Matt says sanctions are having impact, but wonders whether they’re changing Iran’s nuclear calculus. They debate the credibility of US threats, including how Syria’s possible use of chemical weapons affects Iran’s behavior. Can Iran—or the US Congress—actually accept a deal? And would a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities be the inevitable first step toward regime change?
On Foreign Entanglements, Rob speaks with Colin about the recent conviction of former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt for genocide. Rob and Colin talk about why it took so long to try Rios Montt, the role that Cold War politics played in the Guatemalan civil war (including the culpability of the US), and the wave of democratization that swept across Latin America. They end by discussing whether this wave is being rolled back, and how convicting figures like Rios Montt can help stabilize Latin American democracy.
On Foreign Entanglements, Matt and Rob discuss the possible use of chemical weapons in Syria. Rob says Assad is probing the “pink line.” Has the Syrian civil war really hurt US interests? What happens if Assad wins? Matt argues that maintaining the taboo against using chemical weapons is worthwhile. They discuss the George W. Bush Rehabilitation Project, and close with the neoconservative reaction to Ron Paul’s new institute.
On a very special episode of Foreign Entanglements, Laura and Steve discuss their legendary final confrontation in Twitter Fight Club 2013. They next talk about the academic job market: liberal arts colleges vs. large research universities, the role of luck and timing, and advice for graduate students. They close with a discussion of secession and irredentism in Africa.
On Foreign Entanglements, Rob and Colin discuss Latin American reactions to the death of Margaret Thatcher. Colin describes how the Malvinas/Falklands War is remembered in Argentina. Rob recalls how the war began and how Argentina was surprised at Britain’s willingness to fight it. How has the war’s role in ending Argentina’s dictatorship shaped the way Argentines remember it? How is Thatcher remembered in Chile, where she backed the dictator Augusto Pinochet? And what role did the Catholic Church, and specifically future Pope Francis, play in Latin America’s transition to democracy in the 1980s?
On Foreign Entanglements, Rob and Michael engage in a lively debate over the lessons learned from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Michael thinks both the invasion of Iraq and the surge in Afghanistan were fueled by undue faith in military force, but Rob argues that the comparison is unjustified. How should the United States respond to Iran and North Korea? Rob and Michael next discuss President Obama’s trip to Israel; Rob has little hope for a US-brokered peace deal. Finally, they discuss the current state of Kentucky politics, including the careers of Senators Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell and the abortive campaign of Ashley Judd.
On Foreign Entanglements, Rob and Dan take a deep dive into the relationship between the Iraq War and the study of international politics. Dan argues that the Bush started the war because executive power has been unbridled since World War II, not because of the September 11 attacks. After Iraq, will the world question American power and resolve? They speculate how a President Gore would have waged a War on Terror, and, going further into this alternate history, whether a McCain victory in 2004 would have unmade the international liberal order.
On Foreign Entanglements, Gil talks about his experience at the AIPAC policy conference, where a single perspective of the Mideast conflict is decidedly on view. Matt criticizes the impact of AIPAC’s one-sided approach. Matt and Gil debate efforts in Congress to support an Israeli strike on Iran, and Matt notes that North Korea presents a great example of the disincentives for Iran to go nuclear. They both condemn Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan’s harsh remarks on Zionism. Plus: What can we expect from Obama’s upcoming trip to Israel?