The BackChannel is a podcast of the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI) where scholars analyze contemporary geopolitical events through FPRI's unique lens of history, geography, and culture. In each episode, FPRI Templeton Fellows Ron Granieri, Dominic Tierney, and Nada Bakos will welcome a guest expert to present a current geopolitical controversy, which they will then analyze together.
Resisting Magical Thinking: Drones and National Security
In the latest episode of FPRI’s Back Channel, Templeton Fellows Ron Granieri, Dominic Tierney, and Nada Bakos welcome special guest Loren DeJonge Schulman, Deputy Director of Studies and Leon E. Panetta Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security. Schulman is also co-Host of the bi-weekly Bombshell Podcast at War on the Rocks and the author of a fascinating new report for CNAS entitled: “Behind The Magical Thinking: Lessons from Policymaker Relationships with Drones.” The program begins with a conversation between Bakos and Schulman on the background and implications of her work, followed by a discussion among the Templeton Fellows about the continuing challenges of relating technology to policy. Building on Schulman’s warnings about “magical thinking,” the conversation addresses the dangers of assuming that any form of warfare can be considered bloodless or cost-free, or of assuming that technology can save policy makers from the moral and practical burdens of strategic thinking. The show concludes with the three Templeton Fellows discussing not only current issues they think deserve greater public attention but also the books, movies, and television programs that currently interest and inspire them. What did they select? Tune in to find out!
Friends into Foes, Foes into Friends? The Trump Putin Summit in Geopolitical Perspective
In the latest episode of FPRI’s Back Channel, Host Ron Granieri welcomes Templeton Fellows Dominic Tierney and Nada Bakos along with special guests Trudy Rubin of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Chris Miller, Professor of Tufts University and the Director of FPRI’s Eurasia Program, to discuss the Helsinki summit and its impact on contemporary geopolitics. Continuing in the FPRI tradition of analyzing developments through the lens of history, geography, and culture, Granieri guides a conversation that views the Trump-Putin meeting within the context of President Trump’s loudly proclaimed if vaguely defined effort to reshape American relations with Russia and Europe. The meeting itself, which included a long tête-à-tête between the Presidents with no other officials present, courted controversy; the post-meeting press conference, where President Trump appeared to side with Putin against his own intelligence agencies, stoked the fires of controversy even further. How do we make sense of the meeting? What led to it? What did the principals accomplish? What comes next?
Artificial Intelligence, Genuine Transformations: The Tech Revolution and the future of National Security
In the latest episode of FPRI’s new podcast, The BackChannel, host Ron Granieri welcomes Templeton Fellows Dominic Tierney and Nada Bakos along with special guest, Professor Michael Horowitz of the University of Pennsylvania to discuss the latest developments in artificial intelligence and their impact on contemporary geopolitics. The global technological environment is changing rapidly, but perennial questions remain. What do we want our machines to do for us? How will those new machines change the way we interact with them or with each other? Continuing in the FPRI tradition of analyzing developments through the lens of history, geography, and culture, Granieri guides a conversation that contextualizes the current state of technology, the role that this “fourth industrial revolution” is playing in both American policymaking and the broader international system, and the challenges that lie ahead.
Israel, Palestine, and the USA: How Many States, How Many Partners?
In the latest episode of FPRI’s new podcast series, The BackChannel, host Ron Granieri welcomes Templeton Fellow Dominic Tierney, Director of FPRI’s Program on the Middle East Tally Helfont, and special guest FPRI Fox Fellow Joshua Krasna to discuss the complex relationship between the United States, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority. Continuing in the FPRI tradition of analyzing contemporary geopolitics through the lens of history, geography, and culture, Granieri guides a conversation that contextualizes current debates over Israel’s borders, the placement of the American Embassy, and especially the origins, crisis, and ultimate fate of the two-state solution. Throughout the discussion, the participants consider not only American, Israeli, and Palestinian perspectives, but also the roles of other regional powers from Iran to Saudi Arabia, emphasizing how that wider view both deepens our understanding of the current situation and helps us to understand the possibilities for the future.
This episode was recorded on June 12, 2018.
North Korea and the United States: Fire and Fury, or Friends for Now?
In this premiere episode of FPRI’s new podcast series, Back Channel, Host Ron Granieri welcomes Templeton Fellows Nada Bakos and Dominic Tierney and special guest Benjamin Silberstein to discuss US-North Korean relations. Following the FPRI tradition of analyzing contemporary geopolitics through the lens of history, geography, and culture, Granieri guides a conversation that considers the path that has led from Twitter confrontations to a possible summit in Singapore, compares these negotiations to other efforts to control nuclear proliferation, and contextualizes both what we have seen and what is likely to come in the future.