238 episodes

America feels divided. From the most salient questions about our national identity and place in the world, to fundamental concerns about technology, religion, the economy, and public policy, Intelligence Squared U.S. is here to help. A respite from polarized discussions, we bring together the smartest minds to debate and dissect issues in depth, restoring civility and bringing intelligence to the public square in the process.

Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates IQ2US Debates

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America feels divided. From the most salient questions about our national identity and place in the world, to fundamental concerns about technology, religion, the economy, and public policy, Intelligence Squared U.S. is here to help. A respite from polarized discussions, we bring together the smartest minds to debate and dissect issues in depth, restoring civility and bringing intelligence to the public square in the process.

    Agree to Disagree: Cyber War

    Agree to Disagree: Cyber War

    With cyber threats and ransomware on the rise globally, the Biden administration has enlisted America’s tech titans to help blunt their effects. Amazon, Microsoft, and Google, are all in discussions with Washington over how to strengthen the nation’s critical infrastructure defenses against a growing array of both private and state-sponsored attacks. Skeptics question just how much can be achieved, given how connected U.S. society has become. But solutions are emerging, from lifting the veil of cryptocurrencies, a favored transaction among hackers, to making the paying of ransoms illegal. In this special edition of Intelligence Squared’s Agree-to-Disagree series, John Donvan sits down with David Sanger of The New York Times for a closer examination of these attacks before launching into a much more specific debate with two cyber security experts. The debate: Should paying hacker ransoms be made illegal? Cyber Threat Alliance president and chief executive Michael Daniel and Rapid7 vice-president Jen Ellis square off in light of recent high-profile hackings. 
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    • 53 min
    We Should Expand the Supreme Court

    We Should Expand the Supreme Court

    Nine justices hold tremendous power. Advocates on the left see a Supreme Court out of touch with the electorate, obstructed by partisan interests, and rendered illegitimate by years of controversial appointments. But those opposed believe dramatically changing one of the three core pillars of American government would undermine the court’s legitimacy. 
    Intelligence Squared U.S. in partnership with The Newt and Jo Minow Debate Series at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law asks: Should we expand the Supreme Court?  
    Arguing in favor of the motion is Dhalia Lithwick, legal commentator and Slate's Amicus podcast host with Tamara Brummer of advocacy group Demand Justice. Arguing against the motion is Carter Phillips, a Supreme Court and appellate litigator with Akhil Reed Amar, a constitutional law scholar and professor at Yale University. Emmy award-winning journalist John Donvan moderates. 
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    • 53 min
    The United Nations is Obsolete

    The United Nations is Obsolete

    As world attention descends on the United Nations General Assembly, Intelligence Squared U.S. casts a critical lens on this nearly 76-year-old global organization. In light of recent controversies in places like Haiti, and its recent absence in places such as Afghanistan -- where the Taliban has regained control -- questions are mounting as to whether the United Nations itself is both ineffective and outdated. In light of these emerging questions, we ask an especially timely question: Is the United Nations is Obsolete?  
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    • 53 min
    Agree to Disagree: Should Congress spend trillions to Build Back Better?

    Agree to Disagree: Should Congress spend trillions to Build Back Better?

    The Biden administration wants to spend big. Its $4.5 trillion "Build Back Better" plan includes hefty investments in infrastructure, unprecedented spending on the labor force, and funding for a host of Democratic policy priorities. But just what would this mean for the American economy?  As Washington takes up this historic plan, we ask: Should Congress spend trillions to “Build Back Better”?   
     
    Arguing in favor of the motion is Mark Zandi . Arguing against the motion is Michael Strain. Emmy award-winning journalist John Donvan moderates. 
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    • 53 min
    Can Employers and Schools Require Vaccines?

    Can Employers and Schools Require Vaccines?

    As more and more Americans become vaccinated, schools, employers, and health care facilities are facing a tough decision: Will they require students, employees, and care givers to get the jab? Those who say “yes” cite safety concerns – particularly when dealing with vulnerable populations – and call it a necessary step to return to normal. Those who say “no” argue these sorts of mandates violate individual rights, could expose recipients to potential dangers from the vaccines themselves, and set dangerous broader precedents when it comes to government overreach in public health. It is an especially timely question that pits health concerns up against ideals of personal liberty. And it has practical implications as societies emerge from lockdown. Having it out in the public square, Intelligence Squared host John Donvan presides over a spirited debate between Michael J. Anderson, a Wisconsin attorney who has represented employees resisting vaccine mandates, and Lawrence Gostin, a professor of law at Georgetown University, which is enforcing a vaccine mandate. Originally released on July 2, 2021.
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    • 53 min
    Agree to Disagree: Leaving Afghanistan

    Agree to Disagree: Leaving Afghanistan

    The Taliban have won. Twenty years after the 2001 invasion, the U.S.-backed government in Kabul has fallen. The Afghan president has fled. Taliban leadership, which ran the country in the late 1990s, is now firmly in place within the presidential palace. But after two decades of war, tens of billions spent, hundreds of thousands of lives lost – including more than 2,300 U.S. military personnel – bigger questions have emerged: Is the cost of leaving greater than the cost of staying? And was pulling out the right decision? Intelligence Squared and its host John Donvan examine these competing perspectives in this special timely edition of Agree-to-Disagree: Leaving Afghanistan.  
    First, a conversation with Ahmed Rashid, a Pakistani journalist and best-selling author, who is one of the world’s leading experts on the social and political situations in Pakistan and Afghanistan. His first book, Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia, explores the shadowy world of the Taliban and quickly became a #1 New York Times bestseller.  Rashid has been called “Pakistan’s best and bravest reporter” (Christopher Hitchens). 
    Then, a competition of ideas: Arguing in favor of leaving is Daniel Markey, Senior Research Professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. Arguing against leaving is Kori Schake is a senior fellow and the director of foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). Emmy award-winning journalist John Donvan is the moderator. 
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    • 53 min

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