60 episodes

Your intellectual euro-trip in podcast form, with co-hosts Jorge González-Gallarza and François Valentin. Through interviews and analysis, Uncommon Decency will seek to engage with the freshest thinking on European issues. Get in touch at @UnDecencyPod or undecencypod@gmail.com, and consider supporting the show on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/undecencypod.

Uncommon Decency Jorge González-Gallarza & François Valentin

    • News
    • 4.9 • 11 Ratings

Your intellectual euro-trip in podcast form, with co-hosts Jorge González-Gallarza and François Valentin. Through interviews and analysis, Uncommon Decency will seek to engage with the freshest thinking on European issues. Get in touch at @UnDecencyPod or undecencypod@gmail.com, and consider supporting the show on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/undecencypod.

    60. Season Finale: Macron Forever! with Elisabeth Zerofsky & John Lichfield

    60. Season Finale: Macron Forever! with Elisabeth Zerofsky & John Lichfield

    In the spring of 2017, Emmanuel Macron upended France’s political system by breaking ranks with a socialist administration and running for President as the leader of a new party that bore his initials, En Marche! Five years after that victory, Macron has again triumphed against Marine Le Pen in the runoff of the presidential race. To be sure, turnout was historically low, and Le Pen climbed from 34% to 41.5% of the vote. Yet Macron is the only French president in 20 years to win a reelection bid. Furthermore, his towering standing in the French political landscape seems matchless. The two traditional governing parties—the center-right Les Républicains (LR) and the social-democratic Parti Socialiste (PS)—are both in utter shambles, whilst their fringe competitors—Le Pen’s Rassemblement National (RN) and Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s La France Insoumise (LFI)—are not perceived by most voters to be credible governing alternatives. With the field wide open, for now, for Macron’s lock on the Presidency, what’s next for the country? Will the near future see the beleaguered right and left rebuild themselves? Will Macron’s second term be more of the same? To discuss these questions and more, we are joined this week by New York Times Magazine contributing writer Elisabeth Zerofsky and veteran correspondent of all things French John Lichfield. This also happens to be our finale of season four, but do not worry, we will be back in September. Listen in to the end of the episode for a hint of what’s next for the podcast.
     
    As always, please rate and review Uncommon Decency on Apple Podcasts, and send us your comments or questions either on Twitter at @UnDecencyPod or by e-mail at undecencypod@gmail.com. And please consider supporting the show through Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/undecencypod.

    • 1 hr 5 min
    59. Churchill, Brexit and Europe, with Andrew Roberts

    59. Churchill, Brexit and Europe, with Andrew Roberts

    Sir Nicholas Soames, the grandson of Winston Churchill, claimed during the 2016 referendum on Brexit that "the last thing on earth Churchill would have been is an isolationist. "Oui”, I think he would have wanted to stay in the EU”. On the other hand, David Davis, the leading pro-Brexit politician, argued that this vision of Churchill as a remainer was in "defiance of history. Winston Churchill”, Davis went on, "saw a very good argument for some sort of a United States of Europe. But he never wanted us, Britain, to be a part of it. That's the key point.” As part of Uncommon Decency’s biographical series on giants of European history, we felt we couldn’t shy away from covering Churchill, having covered Napoleon and Henry Kissinger in episodes 22 and 55, respectively. Churchill's passionate plea for a United States of Europe has been duly acclaimed by historians, but just what place did he envision the UK taking in that post-war European order? To answer that question, we are joined by historian Andrew Roberts, who has written Churchill: Walking with Destiny (2018), a best-selling biography of the former Prime Minister. In addition, Mr. Roberts hosts the Hoover Institution’s Secrets of Statecraft podcast.
    As always, please rate and review Uncommon Decency on Apple Podcasts, and send us your comments or questions either on Twitter at @UnDecencyPod or by e-mail at undecencypod@gmail.com. And please consider supporting the show through Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/undecencypod.

    • 52 min
    58. Franco-Hungarian Post-Election War Room [BONUS]

    58. Franco-Hungarian Post-Election War Room [BONUS]

    In numerous ways, Hungary and France couldn’t be more different from one another. Hungary is a landlocked set of hills and plains in south Central Europe, flanked to the North and East by the Carpathian mountain range, and to the West and South by the Drava river. It is a meagre remnant of its former self, having lost two thirds of its territory in the 1920 Trianon Treaty upon losing the First World War. France is a hexagon almost seven times the size, bathed by the Atlantic ocean and the Mediterranean sea. The contrast is even starker in demography than in geography. France is a rapidly aging and growingly childless society, its replacement of successive generations increasingly assured by vast waves of immigration, primarily from south and eastern Europe in the interwar period, and then from former colonies in the the Maghreb and Subsaharan Africa after World War II. Hungarian nationhood, meanwhile, has often dovetailed with descending from the Magyar tribes that first settled into the former Roman province of Pannonia nearly a millennia ago. But for all of their substantial differences, the elections held in these two countries over the past ten days have imparted similar lessons about the challenge of incumbency, the appeal of populism, the impact of international wars and the temptation to shoehorn complex events into readily-baked, cliché narratives. In Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán campaigned on his sound economic record and on keeping his country out of the Russo-Ukraine war. He was re-elected to serve a fourth consecutive term, his Fidesz party gaining a two thirds supermajority in Parliament. Emmanuel Macron, meanwhile, seems similarly fated for re-election on April 24th after securing a larger gap between his share of the vote and Marine Le Pen’s than in the last first-round five years ago. This week, we sit down with our regular US-based co-host Julian Graham to unpack the takeaways from these two races.
    As always, rate and review Uncommon Decency on Apple Podcasts, and send us your comments or questions at @UnDecencyPod or undecencypod@gmail.com. Please consider supporting the show through Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/undecencypod.

    • 52 min
    57. 1848: A European Revolution? with Christopher M. Clark & Jonathan Sperber

    57. 1848: A European Revolution? with Christopher M. Clark & Jonathan Sperber

    On January 29, 1848, at the Assemblée Nationale in Paris, the liberal intellectual and MP Alexis De Tocqueville rose to proclaim: "Gentlemen, I believe that we are at this moment sleeping on a volcano [...] Do you not feel—what shall I say?—as it were a gale of revolution in the air?” Within weeks, Tocqueville’s prediction came to pass—and more. Throughout 1848, nearly all of Europe revolted. The French ousted King Louis-Phillipe, the last in their history, the Austrians got the aging, arch-conservative Chancellor Metternich to retire, and Hungary attempted to become an independent nation. German and Italian idealists saw this as an opportunity to unite theirs. All of Europe was going through the so-called "Spring of the Peoples”, fighting for constitutional rights, representative parliaments, national sovereignty, and other cornerstones of modern democracy. But the Spring of the Peoples was soon followed by a cold winter of repression. The newly-established French Republic shot the hungry Parisian workers dead. The Austrian and Prussian monarchies wrestled back the momentum from the streets of Vienna and Berlin. The dreams of German and Italian unity were crushed by internal strife and the Austro-Prussian armies. The Austrians soon invited the Russians to flatten the Hungarian uprising. Despite the apparent failure of 1848, that year's legacy is seemingly everywhere. 1848 was a learning experience for men like Karl Marx, the godfather of Communism, and Giuseppe Mazzini, one of unified Italy’s founding fathers. Only decades after the failure of 1848, Italy and Germany became nation-states, while the democratic ideals proclaimed that year became entrenched across European politics. And yet today it seems that 1848 has been largely forgotten. To ensure this is not so, this week we discuss 1848's European legacy with two esteemed historians, Chris Clark of Cambridge and Jonathan Sperber of the University of Missouri.
    As always, rate and review Uncommon Decency on Apple Podcasts, and send us your comments or questions at @UnDecencyPod or undecencypod@gmail.com. Please consider supporting the show through Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/undecencypod.

    • 1 hr 16 min
    56. National Conservatism After Ukraine, with Sebastian Milbank [BONUS]

    56. National Conservatism After Ukraine, with Sebastian Milbank [BONUS]

    "Politics in America, Britain, and other Western nations", reads the blurb for the Edmund Burke Foundation’s National Conservatism series of conferences, "have taken a sharp turn toward nationalism—a commitment to a world of independent nations”. In the US and the UK, this inflection point crystallized in 2016 with the result of the Brexit referendum and the election of Donald Trump. In continental Europe, the torch has been picked up by an arc of national-populist parties, from Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz to Spain’s Vox, Italy’s Fratelli d’Italia and Poland’s Law & Justice Party. The latest such NatCon conference was held last week this side of the pond, in Brussels, bringing together a colorful assortment of right-wing politicians, scholars and journalists at a ritzy venue a short walk away from the seat of EU institutions. Naturally, the gathering had been planned well before Russian troops invaded Ukraine, and the conference had to adjust to a fast-moving news cycle accordingly. The ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war has also predictably shaken up the French presidential race. This week, we sit down with Sebastian Milbank, who covered the NatCon summit extensively for The Critic, to unpack the conference’s main themes and to assess the state of play in France a mere 10 days away from the first-round of voting.
    As always, rate and review Uncommon Decency on Apple Podcasts, and send us your comments or questions at @UnDecencyPod or undecencypod@gmail.com. Please consider supporting the show through Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/undecencypod.
    *Contrary to Jorge's introduction, the Edmund Burke Foundation is based in Washington D.C., not Jerusalem.

    • 56 min
    55. Henry Kissinger, European with Gérard Araud & Jérémie Gallon

    55. Henry Kissinger, European with Gérard Araud & Jérémie Gallon

    "A country that demands moral perfection in its foreign policy”, wrote Henry Kissinger, "will achieve neither perfection nor security". In an era where few countries have the means to back their moral postures on foreign policy, the statesman’s comments should not fall on deaf ears. Kissinger knows a thing or two about the inefficiency of empty posturing. Born in 1923 in Weimar Germany, he left his country of birth in 1938 for the United States. Months later, the Allies were trounced by the might of the Nazi war-machine. Young Kissinger brought with him many things from old Europe—a German accent, a long-lasting love for his local football club, but more substantially, a realist worldview that had been incarnated in the past by Bismarck and Metternich. The German immigrant fought in World War II with the US Army before becoming one of the most brilliant academic minds in the US, and soon one of the most famous statesmen of the century, serving as National Security Advisor and Secretary of State to Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford—a true American success story, this young European. Always attempting to see the world as it is and not how it should be, the 98-year-old Kissinger remains one of the world’s most respected voices on foreign policy. In this episode, we are lucky to have with us Ambassador Gérard Araud and Jérémie Gallon, each of whom has recently published a book on Kissinger’s relationship to diplomacy, Europe and realism. In the current geopolitical turmoil, this episode turned into a fascinating conversation on Europe’s and America’s relationship to realism and morality in foreign policy.
    As always, rate and review Uncommon Decency on Apple Podcasts, and send us your comments or questions at @UnDecencyPod or undecencypod@gmail.com. Please consider supporting the show through Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/undecencypod.

    • 1 hr 2 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
11 Ratings

11 Ratings

willie1.23 ,

Liam H

As an American who superficially follows European affairs, the deep dives into specific issues with quality hosts and guests have been enlightening.

Connecticutian ,

A must-listen show

As an Anglo-American with family on both sides of the Pond, I have always been deeply frustrated with the inability of news sources like the New York Times or Washington Post to really grasp how things work in Europe. Until now, The Economist was the only publication I could rely upon to have a solid perspective on politics on both sides of the Atlantic. I am glad to say that I can now add a second arrow to my quiver. This podcast is wide-ranging and informative on all aspects of European affairs, but also understands America. Most usefully, it does not seek to spin European politics with an American perspective, or vice-versa. If you want accurate and excellent coverage of politics in the whole North Atlantic sphere, this is the podcast for you.

true con ,

Best show to learn about Europe

Best way for Americans to get thoughtful news on Europe

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