51 episodes

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Sounds Strategic International Institute for Strategic Studies

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    • 4.0, 2 Ratings

We are a world-leading authority on global security, political risk and military conflict. We were founded in 1958, and have offices in London, Washington, Singapore and Bahrain.
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    How to understand China, its ambitions and potential

    How to understand China, its ambitions and potential

    To celebrate the 50th episode of Sounds Strategic, Robert Ward, Director of the Geo-economics and Strategy programme at the IISS, hosts Meia Nouwens and Nigel Inkster for a fascinating and wide-ranging conversation on China, its foreign-policy motivations and what its possible dominance in technology could mean for the West.

    In the episode, Meia and Nigel examine the limits of China’s assertive, ‘wolf-warrior’ approach to foreign affairs. They discuss whether China’s recent behaviour is part of a grand strategic vision or simple opportunism at a time of increased international instability during the COVID-19 crisis.

    At the heart of Western concerns around Huawei is China’s potential to dominate the tech sector in the future. Meia and Nigel both highlight the dangers of decoupling from China and instead stress the importance of effective engagement as a means to ensure the West’s continued prosperity and to manage the political and economic challenge China represents in the 21st century.

    Meia and Nigel also discuss the possible futures of Taiwan and Hong Kong, the impact of COVID-19 on the political authority of President Xi Jinping and whether a possible Biden presidency could meaningfully change US–China relations.

    We hope you enjoy listening to the episode. Don’t forget to follow, rate and subscribe to Sounds Strategic on wherever you listen to your favourite podcasts.
    Date of recording: 29 July 2020
    Sounds Strategic is recorded and produced at the IISS in London.
    Theme music: ‘Safety in Numbers’ by We Were Promised Jetpacks

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    • 45 min
    Free to choose? How Southeast Asian nations view the US–China rivalry

    Free to choose? How Southeast Asian nations view the US–China rivalry

    Following a special presentation by US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, Meia and Antônio speak with Research Fellow Aaron Connelly on how the United States’ strategy towards Southeast Asia is viewed by Southeast Asian countries themselves.
     
    In the episode, Aaron explains why Secretary Esper’s recent remarks may indicate US policymakers are moving away from large-scale multilateral initiatives and towards ‘minilateralism’. Aaron also explores why some Southeast Asian states stand by a policy of non-alignment, despite Beijing’s heavy-handedness in recent years.
     
    In addition, Meia, Antônio and Aaron discuss how US Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOPs) in the South China Sea have changed over the years, recent tensions within the US–Philippines relationship, and upcoming elections in Malaysia.

    We hope you enjoy listening to the episode. Don’t forget to follow, rate and subscribe to Sounds Strategic on wherever you listen to your favourite podcasts.
    Date of recording: 22 July 2020
    Sounds Strategic is recorded and produced at the IISS in London.
    Theme music: ‘Safety in Numbers’ by We Were Promised Jetpacks

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    • 24 min
    Future warfighting: placing doctrine before technology

    Future warfighting: placing doctrine before technology

    With the return of great-power competition to the forefront of international affairs, there has been a renewed focus among the world’s advanced militaries on what capabilities will be required to win or compete in possible conflicts in the future. 

    In this week’s episode, Franz-Stefan Gady joins Meia and Antônio to discuss the concepts that underpin debates around future warfighting, and why doctrinal and organisational considerations will play an equal, if not greater, role for military planners looking to prepare for the future.

    They also discuss the limits of ‘grey-zone’ conflict, why authoritarian regimes may struggle to develop effective military organisational structures and how COVID-19 could impact military operations.

    We hope you enjoy listening to the episode. Don’t forget to follow, rate and subscribe to Sounds Strategic on wherever you listen to your favourite podcasts.
    Date of recording: 15 July 2020
    Sounds Strategic is recorded and produced at the IISS in London.
    Theme music: ‘Safety in Numbers’ by We Were Promised Jetpacks

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    • 36 min
    Divided we stand: the EU’s domestic- and foreign-policy agenda

    Divided we stand: the EU’s domestic- and foreign-policy agenda

    Europe was already facing a host of complex geopolitical and economic challenges at the start of 2020, even before the COVID-19 crisis. In this week’s episode, Meia is joined by Sarah Raine and Fabrice Pothier for a wide-ranging and in-depth discussion on how the EU’s political agenda has been impacted by the pandemic and what issues remain at the forefront of its policy priorities.

    Domestically, the EU has experienced profound disruption because of COVID-19. Fabrice and Sarah examine how European states and the EU have responded to the crisis, as well as what this disruption means for Germany’s presidency of the Council of the European Union. They also discuss the prospects and dynamics of upcoming UK–EU negotiations.

    The EU is also managing a busy foreign-policy portfolio. Fabrice and Sarah explore the EU’s complex relationship with China, which is at once a ‘systemic rival’ to the EU as well as its global ‘partner’. They also assess the state of transatlantic affairs, NATO and the possibility of French-led rapprochement with Russia. 

    We hope you enjoy listening to the episode. Don’t forget to follow, rate and subscribe to Sounds Strategic on wherever you listen to your favourite podcasts.
    Date of recording: 2 July 2020
    Sounds Strategic is recorded and produced at the IISS in London.
    Theme music: ‘Safety in Numbers’ by We Were Promised Jetpacks

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    • 44 min
    China’s growing presence in the Gulf

    China’s growing presence in the Gulf

    China has been expanding its economic and diplomatic reach in the Gulf for little over a decade, but should growing Gulf–China relations concern the United States? In this week’s episode, Camille Lons speaks with Antônio and Meia on the dynamics of China’s growing presence in the Gulf, how it has evolved in recent years and its limitations. 

    At its core, China’s interest in the Gulf remains primarily economic rather than security driven. As a result, Gulf states will continue to look to the US as the region’s security guarantor. However, as Camille explains, the recent development of a Chinese base in Djibouti and increasing arms sales to the Gulf from China are significant additions in the Gulf–China relationship.

    Much will be determined by the post-COVID-19 recovery. Camille explains that the increasing diversity in China’s energy mix may in turn weaken revenues in the Gulf. It is not yet clear how Belt and Road Initiative projects in the region will be affected, but, with increasing collaboration on high-technology projects, China’s presence in the Gulf will likely continue to grow into the future.

    We hope you enjoy listening to the episode. Don’t forget to follow, rate and subscribe to Sounds Strategic on wherever you listen to your favourite podcasts.
    Date of recording: 23 June 2020
    Sounds Strategic is recorded and produced at the IISS in London.
    Theme music: ‘Safety in Numbers’ by We Were Promised Jetpacks

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    • 31 min
    Japan’s delicate dance for influence in the Asia-Pacific

    Japan’s delicate dance for influence in the Asia-Pacific

    Japan was already heading towards economic difficulties before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the world’s economy. How will Japan’s economy fare in the post-COVID period? And will it affect the country’s geostrategic and geo-economic ambitions? In this week’s episode, Meia discusses these questions with Robert Ward and Yuka Koshino.
    Robert explains that Japan will likely experience a severe economic shock in the post-COVID period. This will likely have negative implications for the re-election prospects of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, but Robert asserts that Japan will seek to maintain its position as a counterbalance to China in the Asia-Pacific region.
    Yuka highlights the various defence concerns facing Japan, including an increasingly assertive China and a hostile regime in North Korea. She explains how Japan remains committed to the US alliance and engaged with regional and extra-regional partners.
    We hope you enjoy listening to the episode. Don’t forget to follow, rate and subscribe to Sounds Strategic on wherever you listen to your favourite podcasts.
    Date of recording: 16 June 2020
    Sounds Strategic is recorded and produced at the IISS in London.
    Theme music: ‘Safety in Numbers’ by We Were Promised Jetpacks

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    • 32 min

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