Overwatch, an Institute for the Study of War podcast, goes beyond the news headlines to give listeners analysis and commentary on issues related to U.S. national security and American foreign policy. The episodes feature discussions with experts and practitioners to explore what challenges and opportunities lie ahead for the U.S.
Putin’s Offset: The Power of Perception
Russian President Vladimir Putin plays a weak hand well. His center of gravity is increasingly his ability to shape others’ perception and create the image of a powerful Russia based on limited real power. He has several clear strengths, but also very real limitations. Nonetheless, he continues to achieve goals that should be beyond his capabilities.
US Presence in Syria Remains a Critical Component in the Fight against ISIS
The United States retains a small but highly effective force in Syria. This force has a clear mission: defeat ISIS and prevent the resurgence of extremist groups in eastern Syria. However, poor communication and muddled media coverage has contributed to a lack of clarity regarding the role and mission of US forces. In this episode of Overwatch, Jennifer Cafarella and Eva Kahan cut through the confusion to provide a clear assessment of the purpose, status, and likely future of US forces in Syria.
General Jack Keane (US Army, Retired) Reflects on the 9/11 Attacks and the Ongoing War on Terror
ISW Board Chairman General Jack Keane (US Army, Retired) is a foreign policy and national security expert who was in the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. He went on to provide oversight and support for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. On this episode of Overwatch, General Keane (Ret.) recounts his experiences on the day of the attack and gives his perspectives on the ensuing 19 years of war.
Local Unrest Threatens to Undermine Primary US Partner Force in Northeast Syria
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the local US partner force in northeast Syria, is facing intense pressure from ISIS, the Syrian Regime, and Turkey. The SDF’s already-fraught relations with local Arab tribes have deteriorated significantly following the assassination of several tribal sheikhs. In this episode of Overwatch, Eva Kahan, John Dunford, and Jason Zhou discuss the escalating situation in Deir ez-Zour and what it means for US national security.
Russia Threatens to Turn Belarus Unrest into Major International Crisis
Belarus has been in a state of civil unrest for several weeks. The situation has become steadily more complicated, evolving from a relatively straightforward domestic dispute between a strongman president and his disgruntled citizens into an international debacle that involves Russia, Poland, Lithuania, NATO, and the EU. In this episode of Overwatch, ISW’s Mason Clark and George Barros draw on their daily coverage of Belarus to unpack what the situation there means for US national security.
Trump Says US Forces Are Leaving Iraq Soon, Undermining Visiting Iraqi Prime Minister
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi was in Washington this week for high-level bilateral meetings known as the US-Iraqi Strategic Dialogue. Kadhimi has been hard-charging toward reforms in Iraq that would combat Iranian influence and prevent the country from collapse, but these efforts will be undermined by Trump's call to leave Iraq soon. In this episode of Overwatch, Nicholas Heras and Katherine Lawlor discuss Kadhimi’s position, the future of Iraq, and whether he remains a viable US partner.