180 episodes

Power Problems is a bi-weekly podcast from the Cato Institute. Host John Glaser offers a skeptical take on U.S. foreign policy, and discusses today’s big questions in international security with distinguished guests from across the political spectrum. Podcast Hashtag: #FPPowerProblems.
Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Power Problems Cato Institute

    • Government
    • 4.5 • 86 Ratings

Power Problems is a bi-weekly podcast from the Cato Institute. Host John Glaser offers a skeptical take on U.S. foreign policy, and discusses today’s big questions in international security with distinguished guests from across the political spectrum. Podcast Hashtag: #FPPowerProblems.
Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The Trouble with US Support for Israel & Ukraine

    The Trouble with US Support for Israel & Ukraine

    Mark Hannah, senior fellow at the Institute for Global Affairs, the nonprofit housed at the Eurasia Group, and host of the None of the Above podcast, argues that President Biden has not used the leverage US support provides over Israel in its war in Gaza and Ukraine in its war with Russia, prolonging the conflicts instead of imposing real conditions and pressing for negotiated resolutions. He discusses the recently passed aid bill, Israel’s planned attack on Rafah and Biden’s threat to withhold aid, and the politics within each party over Israel and Ukraine, as well as the American addiction to war and tendency to construe international conflicts in simplified Manichean terms, among other issues.
    Show Notes
    Mark Hannah, “Biden needs to get real with Ukraine and Israel,” CNN, April 26, 2024Mark Hannah, “Straight Talk on the Country’s War Addiction,” New York Times, February 18, 2023Mark Hannah, “Why Is the Wartime Press Corps So Hawkish,” Foreign Policy, March 30, 2022
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    • 56 min
    Drones, Secrecy, and Endless War

    Drones, Secrecy, and Endless War

    David Sterman, senior policy analyst at New America’s Future Security Program, tracks U.S. counter-terrorism airstrikes, particularly with drones. He discusses the history of drone strikes in post-9/11 U.S. counter-terrorism policy from Bush to Biden, the issue of civilian casualties, Biden’s quiet use of drone strikes in Yemen and Somalia, the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force, the problems of threat inflation and secrecy in covert strikes, defining endless war, and reform proposals for how to rein in America’s unachievable objectives and make U.S. counter-terrorism operations more transparent. 
    Show Notes
    David Sterman, “How Many People Does the US Assess it Killed in Somalia in 2023?,” NewAmerica.org, April 2, 2024David Sterman, “The United States Should Provide a Detailed Accounting of its Operations in Yemen,” NewAmerica.org, August 3, 2023David Sterman, “Endless War Challenges Analysis of Drone Strike Effectiveness,” Journal of National Security Law and Policy, May 6, 2023
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    • 53 min
    Regional "Push Factors" in the Emigration Upsurge

    Regional "Push Factors" in the Emigration Upsurge

    James Bosworth, founder of Hxagon and columnist at World Politics Review, discusses the various "push factors" throughout Latin America and the Caribbean driving the recent upsurge in migration to the US-Mexico border. He covers US-Mexico relations as well as gang violence, poor governance problems, and other instability in Haiti, Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador, and beyond. Bosworth also discusses the transnational network dynamics of criminal organizations throughout the region, including their involvement in human trafficking, and argues that only an internationally coordinated approach within the hemisphere can mitigate such problems. Finally, he explains why the US's drug war approach to the region is misguided and provides recommendations for how DC can better approach this hemisphere's problems.
    Show Notes
    James Bosworth at World Politics Review
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    • 43 min
    Reevaluating the "Special Relationship" with Israel

    Reevaluating the "Special Relationship" with Israel

    Jon Hoffman, foreign policy analyst at the Cato Institute and adjunct professor at George Mason University, argues for a fundamental reevaluation of the U.S.'s "special relationship" with Israel. He discusses the dire scale of Israel's siege of Gaza and why it qualifies as collective punishment, Israel's lack of clear military objectives in Gaza and plans to attack Rafah, and the widespread regional ramifications of the conflict. He also talks about the negative consequences of unwavering US support for Israel, the military-heavy US approach to the Middle East, the Abraham Accords and Biden's prospective normalization deal with Israel and Saudi Arabia, and explains what having a "normalized" U.S.-Israel relationship would look like.
    Show Notes
    Jon Hoffman bio
    Jon Hoffman, "Israel is a Strategic Liability for the United States," ForeignPolicy.com, March 22, 2024

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    • 33 min
    The Economics of Great Power War & Peace

    The Economics of Great Power War & Peace

    Dale Copeland, professor of international relations at the University of Virginia and author of the new book A World Safe for Commerce: American Foreign Policy From the Revolution to the Rise of China, talks about his "dynamic realism" theory of great power war and peace, emphasizing the critical causal role of future trade expectations. Copeland discusses case studies from the American Revolutionary War to the Spanish-American War and the beginnings of the Cold War and then applies his theory to U.S.-China relations across a range of policy areas, with important insights into how to avert a catastrophic war. 
     
    Show Notes
    Dale Copeland bioA World Safe for CommerceEconomic Interdependence and WarThe Origins of Major War

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    • 1 hr 8 min
    The Hard Choice of Retrenchment

    The Hard Choice of Retrenchment

    Stephen Wertheim, senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, discusses the lack of strategic focus in the Biden administration's foreign policy and argues that genuine prioritization requires retrenchment. The U.S. should draw down from Europe and the Middle East, he argues, and step away from formal security commitments there in order to avoid getting entangled in conflicts where U.S. interests are not vital. He also discusses Biden's maladroit approach to East Asian security, particularly Taiwan, the failure of his "democracy vs autocracy" rhetoric, and the prospects for a negotiated resolution to the war in Ukraine, among other topics. 
     
    Show Notes
    Stephen Wertheim bioStephen Wertheim, "Why America Can't Have it All," Foreign Affairs, February 14, 2024Stephen Wertheim, "Biden's Democracy-Defense Credo Does Not Serve U.S. Interests," The Atlantic, January 23, 2024
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    • 57 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
86 Ratings

86 Ratings

Andieo1997 ,

Brilliant!

This is the perfect choice for anyone interested in learning more about foreign policy! Each episode is informative and enjoyable.

jdubinMKE ,

Weak analysis

The recurrent attacks by Hamas on Israel are existential. Even when you rely on the questionable numbers given by Hamas, the ratio of civilian to combatant casualties is likely the lowest in the history of warfare. IDF is understandably cautious but saying they are indiscriminate or that the war is simply an example of collective punishment is untrue.

The host never challenges the guest.

Harmony4USA ,

Biden’s Foreign Policy Promise aka Trump did it all wrong

Very disappointing episode. Trump certainly wasn’t perfect and his approach to foreign policy was not conventional. Yet he accomplished some positives and some negatives. Biden is the return to the norm- some positive some negatives. The biggest negative being the US will bear the brunt of cost. The guest go from an acceptable conversation of what Biden has done to a rant on how wrong Trumps approach was. Frankly Trump was right to sanction Russia AND tell Europe to begin paying the price agreed to by Obama.

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