200 episodes

The American Enterprise Institute’s Danielle Pletka and Marc Thiessen address the questions we’re all asking in their podcast, “What the Hell Is Going On?” In conversational, informative and irreverent episodes, Pletka and Thiessen interview policymakers and experts, asking tough, probing questions about the most important foreign policy and security challenges facing the world today.

What the Hell Is Going On AEI Podcasts

    • News
    • 4.4 • 529 Ratings

The American Enterprise Institute’s Danielle Pletka and Marc Thiessen address the questions we’re all asking in their podcast, “What the Hell Is Going On?” In conversational, informative and irreverent episodes, Pletka and Thiessen interview policymakers and experts, asking tough, probing questions about the most important foreign policy and security challenges facing the world today.

    #WTH Russia Eyes Georgia Next. David Kramer Explains

    #WTH Russia Eyes Georgia Next. David Kramer Explains

    Georgia’s parliament in Tbilisi recently overrode a presidential veto on a “foreign agents” law that sparked an uproar domestically and from the country’s Western allies. Critics decried the legislation—which requires any organization receiving more than 20% of its funding from foreign sources to register as an “agent of foreign influence”—as yet another element in the Russian takeover of the small South Caucasian nation. Russia still occupies 20% of Georgia’s territory. Why should Americans care about Russian games in a country of 3 million people? Because for Vladimir Putin, Georgia is just the beginning of his ambitions in Europe. And the Georgian people are among the most pro-American in the region, at one point the second largest troop contributor to our war on al Qaeda. Standing up for Georgia now means avoiding conflict later.
    David Kramer serves as the Executive Director of the George W. Bush Institute. Prior to joining the Bush Institute, he taught at Florida International University’s Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs, and served as an Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasian Affairs. David chairs the board of the Free Russia Foundation and serves on the board of the International Republican Institute.
    Read the transcript here.

    • 42 min
    WTH is Going On With the Hostage Rescue and Political Turmoil in Israel? Haviv Rettig Gur Explains

    WTH is Going On With the Hostage Rescue and Political Turmoil in Israel? Haviv Rettig Gur Explains

    This past weekend, Israeli special forces rescued four hostages Hamas kidnapped on October 7 and held in Gaza’s Jabalia refugee camp. Israelis were ecstatic about the news. Meanwhile, Israel’s usual detractors in the West accused Israel of war crimes for harming “civilians” during the operation, apparently forgetting that Hamas chose to embed hostages within Gaza’s civilian population. What does the hostage rescue mean for the prospects of saving the remaining 120 hostages? Will turmoil and resignations at the senior levels of Israel’s national security government derail efforts to destroy Hamas? What does the future hold for this war amid growing threats from Hezbollah in Lebanon?
    Haviv Rettig Gur is The Times of Israel’s senior analyst. Before joining the Times of Israel, he was a reporter for the Jerusalem Post. Haviv has reported from over 20 countries and served as director of communications for the Jewish Agency for Israel, Israel’s largest NGO. He lectures on Israeli politics, the US-Israel relationship, the peace process, modern Jewish history and identity, and Israel-diaspora relations. Haviv lives in Jerusalem with his wife and two sons.
    Read the transcript here.

    • 1 hr 4 min
    WTH: 34 Felonies? Professor Jonathan Turley Explains the Trump Convictions

    WTH: 34 Felonies? Professor Jonathan Turley Explains the Trump Convictions

    Last week, Donald Trump became the first former U.S. president to be convicted of a felony after a New York State court found him guilty on 34 counts of concealing hush money payments to “influence the 2016 election." Despite the precedent-breaking nature of the case, the stench of politics was strong: Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg campaigned on the promise he would prosecute Trump, used novel legal theories to conjure a felony charge against the former president, and prosecuted a federal crime in a state court. Nor was Bragg alone: Judge Merchan not only allowed Bragg’s charges, but ruled with Bragg on every tough decision, and handed out jury instructions that all but guaranteed a conviction. Will Trump’s conviction get overturned on appeal? What does this conviction mean for Americans’ trust in our judicial system?
    Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. At GWU, he is also the Director of the Environmental Law Advocacy Center, and Executive Director of the Project for Older Prisoners. Professor Turley has served as counsel in some of the most notable cases in the last two decades including the representation of whistleblowers, military personnel, judges, and members of Congress, and has testified before Congress over 100 times. His upcoming book is The Indispensable Right: Free Speech in an Age of Rage (Simon and Schuster, 2024).
    Read the transcript here.
    Order The Indispensable Right here.

    • 1 hr 13 min
    WTH Live: Reps. Mike Lawler & Ritchie Torres Explain How Congress is Fighting Antisemitism on Campus

    WTH Live: Reps. Mike Lawler & Ritchie Torres Explain How Congress is Fighting Antisemitism on Campus

    Following a year of record-high antisemitic attacks and incidents on college campuses, students, professors, and administrators need to be held to account. But fighting hate speech in academia while upholding freedom of speech is a tricky line to balance. That’s why Reps. Mike Lawler (R-NY) and Ritchie Torres (D-NY) are introducing the COLUMBIA Act – which would empower the Department of Education to appoint independent antisemitism monitors on campuses of concern – and were pioneers of the Antisemitism Awareness Act, which codifies the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism. We talk about the role Civil Rights Act Title VI protections play for institutions receiving federal funding and get into how foreign actors are helping spread antisemitism in the US.
    Representative Mike Lawler represents New York’s 17th Congressional District. Prior to serving in the House of Representatives, Rep. Lawler represented New York’s 97th District in the State Assembly. He serves on the House Financial Services Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
    Representative Ritchie Torres represents NY-15 in Congress. He is a member of the Committee on Financial Services and the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party. Before joining Congress, Rep. Torres served on New York City’s City Council.
    Read the transcript here.

    • 1 hr 13 min
    WTH is the International Criminal Court Prosecuting Netanyahu and Threatening Congress? Senator Tom Cotton Explains

    WTH is the International Criminal Court Prosecuting Netanyahu and Threatening Congress? Senator Tom Cotton Explains

    This week, International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim A.A. Khan, K.C., announced on CNN that he will seek arrest warrants for Israel’s democratically elected Prime Minister and Defense Minister, as well as three members of Hamas leadership because of “crimes against humanity” related to October 7 and the subsequent Israel-Hamas war. Israel is not a party to the Rome Statute that underpins the ICC, which therefore has no legal jurisdiction in Israel. The ICC has admitted a “State of Palestine,” which theoretically grants jurisdiction over actions in “Palestine” and over Hamas figures. How should Washington respond to the ICC’s extrajudicial investigation? And how will the ICC’s announcement affect its global standing?
    Tom Cotton is a United States Senator from Arkansas. Senator Cotton’s committees include the Judiciary Committee, where he serves as the Ranking Member for the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice and Counterterrorism, the Intelligence Committee, and the Armed Services Committee, where he serves as the Ranking Member of the Air Land Power Subcommittee. Before joining the Senate, Senator Cotton was a member of the House of Representatives and served on active duty in the United States Army as an Infantry Officer.
    Read the transcript here.
    Sign up for the Substack here.

    • 48 min
    WTH is Going On With The Corruption of Climate Science? Roger Pielke Jr. Explains

    WTH is Going On With The Corruption of Climate Science? Roger Pielke Jr. Explains

    President Biden is pushing through climate regulations at record speed as his administration, activists, and international organizations warn of an impending climate disaster absent drastic policy changes. But as the US pauses exports of liquefied natural gas and attempts to spend over a trillion dollars on climate initiatives, few stop to ask the question, “Is the world really headed towards climate apocalypse?” In short, no. Climate science relies on scenarios, of which there are thousands. However, billionaires, policymakers, and climate forums have ensured that the most extreme, outdated, and implausible scenario is now the global “baseline.” What do climate scientists actually think of RCP 8.5? And how can US policy better reflect the realities of climate change?
    Roger Pielke Jr. is a nonresident senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, where he focuses on science and technology policy, the politicization of science, and energy and climate. He is concurrently a professor in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder; a distinguished fellow at the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan; a research associate of Risk Frontiers (Sydney, Australia); and an honorary professor of University College London. Dr. Pielke is a regular contributor for and oversees the popular substack The Honest Broker.
    Read the transcript here.

    • 59 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
529 Ratings

529 Ratings

evjd ,

Applaud your outrage

Tired of Blinken the supplicant. Biden has NOTHING to lose if he, as President, acts like a leader who believes in American strength and values. If we are to establish a Saudi Arabia, Sunni, part to a US and Israel triangular security treaty, each part must believe in strength of other.

Antisemitism is weak vocal “power.” Stop playing in the kiddy pool. Shia Middle
East expansion must be stopped. Together the triple power security will prevail.

Altius19 ,

Volume inconsistency

Could you control for the sound consistency? Frustrating that I seem to keep having to turn up and down the volume throughout each episode. Thanks.

swimster101 ,

Content good sound quality poor

I like the content and the topics covered, but the sound quality leaves much to be desired. Compared to other podcasts I listen to, this podcast lacks audio crispness. I don’t listen to it as often as I would if it had modern quality sound like other podcasts.

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