Make "off the radar" a thing of the past. The Rostrum, the podcast by the editors of the Octavian Report, showcases need-to-know intel and eclectic ideas to keep you ahead of the curve.
The Lab Leak Hypothesis, the U.S. China Bill, and More
It’s been a eventful few weeks for China observers. Beijing announced a move from a two-child policy to a three-child policy, ostensibly in an effort to stave off declining birth rates; major legislation on the U.S.-China economic and strategic relationship is advancing in the Senate; and more evidence has emerged (and keeps emerging) supporting the argument that COVID-19 may have its origins in the Wuhan Institute of Virology. We spoke with Emily de La Bruyère, senior fellow at FDD and longtime OR contributor, about all three.
After the Ceasefire, What Next?
A ceasefire between Israel and Hamas has been reached and has, so far, held. But what comes next in this conflict, and what are the forces shaping those outcomes? To try and answer these questions we spoke with Elliott Abrams. Abrams is senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, DC. He served as deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor in the administration of President George W. Bush, where he supervised U.S. policy in the Middle East for the White House, and as Special Representative for Iran and Venezuela in the administration of Donald Trump.
What’s Next for Israel and the Palestinians?
The flaring conflict between Israel and the Palestinians — a conflict that has exploded quickly and expansively — has dominated the news in recent days and raised a host of pressing questions. To answer them, we spoke with Steven A. Cook, Eni Enrico Mattei Senior Fellow for Middle East and Africa Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and an expert on Arab and Turkish politics as well as U.S.-Middle East policy. Steven is the author most recently of False Dawn: Protest, Democracy, and Violence in the New Middle East, a member of our editorial board, and a longtime contributor to the Octavian Report.
Will We Need COVID Booster Shots?
Now that the vaccination campaign in the U.S. is well underway – albeit with a significant slowdown in recent weeks, though the clearing of Pfizer’s vaccine for early adolescents is hoped to reverse that – new questions have understandably begun to be asked. These are new vaccines; this is their first wide public deployment: how long does the protection they confer last and will we need boosters? For our new episode we spoke with Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease expert and professor of medicine at UCSF, about her views on the longer-term implications of these issues.
What’s Next in the India COVID Tragedy
India is now the epicenter of the global COVID epidemic, with the disease taking a horrific and tragic toll on the nation and its people. This tragedy is all the more painful for having come on the heels what seemed to be a first-wave victory over COVID. For this episode we spoke with with Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia program and senior associate for South Asia at the Wilson Center, to discuss India’s situation and how it will play out in the shorter and longer term.
Do COVID Lockdowns Work?
One of the defining features of the past 12 months has been lockdowns: government-mandated restrictions on economic activity, freedom of movement, and other spheres of life undertaken in the name of halting the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. These lockdowns were, in a word, a radical solution to a radical problem. In observing the actual effect of these measures, a question has emerged. Do they work?
We talked through one way of understanding this question with Eduardo Levy Yeyati, dean of the school of government at Bueno Aires’s Torcuato di Tello University and a non-resident senior fellow at Brookings. He is also the coauthor of a recent paper examining data around lockdown effectiveness, and the conclusions he and his colleagues reached might surprise you.