Hosted by Robert Farley, Matthew Duss and Natalie Sambhi, Foreign Entanglements brings together people with contrasting views on America’s role in the world.
On Foreign Entanglements, Rob speaks with Charli, who critiques Foreign Policy‘s recent “Sex” issue. Rob wonders why they decided to publish an issue just on sex. They then discuss how Game of Thrones subverts the foreign policy theory known as realism and offers a chilling portrayal of torture. Is Cersei Lannister the least likeable character in the series? And how are George R.R. Martin’s racial depictions better than Tolkien’s? Finally, Charli and Rob consider how pop culture can affect the study of foreign relations.
On Foreign Entanglements, Rob speaks with Mark about sanction policy against Iran. Mark is optimistic about US sanctions efforts, but Rob worries that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapon anyway. Could Iran split the broad coalition that supports sanctions? Rob reminds us that even if Iran completely abandoned nuclear ambitions, Tehran would still be in rough shape. Mark and Rob compare Iran to heavily sanctioned regimes of the past. Finally, what will Obama do if Iran gets the bomb?
On Foreign Entanglements, Michael argues that we shouldn’t squander our current leverage over Iran. Matt says that we need to offer Iran a better choice than “surrender or else.” Do recent Iranian “clarifications” signal greater willingness to engage? What happens if the upcoming talks collapse? Are fears of Middle East nuclear proliferation overblown? Matt and Michael close by debating the importance of the distinction between “nuclear weapons” and “nuclear weapons capability.”
On Foreign Entanglements, Rob and Michael reassess the Libyan intervention and its impact on the rest of the Middle East. Rob reminds us that we aren’t getting better at interventions; Libya was just a special case. And since when has it been okay for the president to mislead Congress to start a war? Rob and Michael want you to know that, despite what you’ve heard, the world is really safe right now. Finally, they worry that an expansive understanding of human rights would lead to too much military action.
On Foreign Entanglements, Matt and Ben discuss new indications that Israel will hold off on striking Iran. Matt brings up the important difference between preemption and prevention. They point out that a nuclear Iran would be subject to the dangers of accidents and mistakes. We shouldn’t grow too comfortable with the Cold War doctrine of mutually-assured destruction, they suggest, just because it happened to work for a few decades. What are the chances of Obama ordering a strike after the election? They close with Ben’s interview with Iraqi opposition leader Ayad Allawi.
On Foreign Entanglements, Rob speaks with Andrew Erickson, editor of the new book Chinese Aerospace Power. Andrew and Rob discuss the long road to development of China’s new aircraft carrier, including the choices that the carrier represents and what it might portend for China’s military future. They then work through the implications of China’s development of anti-ship ballistic missiles and what it tells us about China’s military bureaucracy.
On Foreign Entanglements, Rob and Joshua discuss the tragic massacre of sixteen Afghan civilians by a US Army sergeant, and the public reaction in Afghanistan, before moving on to the implications of the massacre for the US election. Rob and Joshua then consider whether Afghanistan can become a modern state, and the regional implications of the impending American withdrawal. Plus: Instead of victory, should our goal be risk management?
On Foreign Entanglements, Matt and Meir discuss the real winners in Iran’s parliamentary elections, and how Ahmadinejad got in trouble with the country’s religious authorities. Could anything persuade the Supreme Leader to change course? Meir corrects assumptions about Iranian “apocalypticism,” and argues that Obama and Netanyahu are playing a good cop/bad cop routine. Finally, is a Middle East free of nuclear weapons an attainable goal?
On Foreign Entanglements, Rob and Justin discuss foreign policy and the 2012 presidential election. Rob and Justin start by critiquing a recent Foreign Policy article by Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie, then move on to a discussion of the role that foreign policy has played in the GOP primary. They then work through some implications of Barack Obama’s apology for the burning of Korans in Afghanistan. Justin bemoans the lack of seriousness in the GOP foreign policy establishment, while Rob pushes on to the Asia Pivot. Rob and Justin conclude with a discussion of maritime affairs and the rise of China.
On Foreign Entanglements, Matt is joined by Helle to debate military action against Iran. Helle accuses Matt of attacking strawmen, while Matt argues that neocons have been hot for bombing Iran for a long time. They debate the tension between attacking Iran and supporting Iranian democracy, and whether hawks have a misplaced faith in the power of military solutions. Matt lays out his preferred policy: engagement, not appeasement.
On Foreign Entanglements, Rob and Mark Leon Goldberg discuss the latest events in Syria, and the repercussions of recent developments at the United Nations. They ponder the reasoning behind Russia’s commitment to Syria, on both military and diplomatic fronts. Mark and Rob then explore the expanding writ of the International Criminal Court—is it making authoritarian leaders more reluctant to give up power? Finally, they consider the parallels between Syria and Bahrain and the future of the Responsibility to Protect.
On Foreign Entanglements, Jamie makes the case for bombing Iran’s regime out of existence. Some key questions are considered: Do Iranians support their country’s nuclear program? Would Iranians favor an attack on their own country? Are Iranians pro-American? Matt concludes by arguing that Obama’s just not that into war with Iran.