“Pod Save America” cohost Tommy Vietor thought foreign policy was boring and complicated until he got the education of a lifetime working for President Obama’s National Security Council. On “Pod Save the World,” he and former deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes break down the latest developments and bring you behind the scenes with the people who were there. New episodes every Wednesday.
Now that Senator Kamala Harris is Joe Biden’s running mate, Ben and Tommy examine her foreign policy record. They also discuss growing concerns about foreign election interference, the disputed election and crackdown in Belarus, how the press is under attack in Hong Kong, Trump’s escalating fight with Chinese tech companies, allegations that Saudi Arabia tried to murder (another) critic abroad, an oil spill in Mauritius, protests in Zimbabwe, eruptions in Indonesia, Putin’s claim he has a Covid vaccine, more ambassadors gone wild and General (???) Bill Belichick. Then Tommy talks with Washington Post Beirut Bureau Chief Liz Sly about the massive explosion that rocked the city and the political and economic crisis in Lebanon before the blast.
Tommy and Ben talk about the enormous explosions in Beirut, why Cuba has become an issue for Congresswoman Karen Bass in Biden’s VP selection process, Biden’s 2000(!?!) campaign foreign policy advisors, why US troops are leaving Germany, the upcoming election in Belarus, why the Department of Homeland Security was collecting “intelligence” on activists and journalists, why Spain’s former king is in trouble, how schools are coping with COVID, climate change and Bangladesh, Afghanistan and TikTok.
Tommy and Ben make the case for Susan Rice as Vice President, the latest on escalating tensions between the US and China, US plans to sell advanced armed drones abroad, two Trump donors turned ambassadors are engulfed in scandal, anti-corruption protests threaten the government in Bulgaria, Bob Gates writes a book and we’re confused, the truth about TikTok and things aren’t looking good for Major League Baseball. Then Ben interviews Israeli news anchor Yonit Levi about the massive anti-Netanyahu protests in Israel.
Democrats sound the alarm about foreign election interference. Experts say Israel and the US are responsible for mysterious explosions across Iran. Mike Pompeo uses taxpayer dollars to run for President. A fire on a US Navy ship has major implications. Lebanon’s economy nears collapse. The UAE launched a space craft. The White House threatens to prevent 92 million Chinese citizens from entering the US. A coronavirus update and some baseball news. Then Bernie Sanders’s foreign policy advisor Matt Duss joins to talk about lessons from the 2020 campaign and how to push for a smarter, more progressive foreign policy.
A leadership fight in Congress that could help make the Democratic Party’s foreign policy more progressive. A far-right nationalist wins reelection in Poland. How other countries are reopening schools during COVID. Egypt cracks down on press freedom. China, the NBA and why ESPN suspended a reporter. Turkey tries to silence critics abroad. China sanctions Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio and may sign a strategic deal with Iran. And the US keeps its border closed.
Literally no one is surprised that Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has contracted COVID, and how Sweden’s terrible response could help us move past the broken debate about reopening our economy. Mysterious explosions at military sites in Iran. Garbage right-wing outlets publish fake news by fake people. Joe Biden’s diplomatic style. China’s legal crackdown on Hong Kong. Neo-Nazis infiltrate the German military. And then Ben talks to Cecila Muñoz, former head of the White House Domestic Policy Council, about Trump's latest heinous efforts to restrict immigration and what the next administration will have to do to change course - and about her new book, "More than Ready."
Explosive reports that the Russia military has been paying Taliban-linked militants to kill US forces in Afghanistan. Tommy and Ben try to figure out why Russia would do this and how the US should respond. China ends Hong Kong’s independence. The LGBT community is under attack in Chechnya. Social media platforms crack down on hate speech. A new strain of pig flu worries scientists. A reexamination of Belgium’s racist, colonial history. Congress tries to weaken encryption. The humanitarian situation in Yemen worsens, and progressive Democrats call out Israeli annexation of the West Bank. Then Congressman Adam Schiff joins to discuss reports of Russian bounties against US troops and the politicization of the US intelligence community.
Tommy and Ben talk through some of the explosive revelations in John Bolton’s book, from supporting the construction of concentration camps in China, to thinking it would be “cool” to invade Venezuela to his approach to North Korea and Iran. They also cover news about climate change, Chinese cyberattacks, the ongoing saga of Capt Crozier, the latest with the Coronavirus and an update out of Afghanistan. Then Tommy is joined by Hamed Sinno, the lead singer of one of the biggest bands in the Middle East, Mashrou’ Leila, and an influential LGBTQ rights activist.
An attack on press freedom in the Philippines and what it could mean for the future of their democracy. The two year anniversary of the US-North Korea Singapore summit. Right-wing zealots take over the Voice of America. Fighting between China and India and updates out of Russia. The US threatens to sanction the International Criminal Court (huh?), how right-wing news outlets are being used by foreign intelligence, and Bob Gates and John Bolton sell books. Then Ben talks to Rokhaya Diallo, a French journalist and activist, about the protests against systemic racism and police brutality in France and what's next for President Emmanuel Macron.
Tommy and Ben examine how other countries structure and run their police forces to see if there are policies or tactics the US can adopt to improve outcomes. New data suggests that claims of election fraud in Bolivia were wrong. Why the possibility of creating a Palestinian state is in jeopardy. The international movement to get rid of racist statues and monuments. Trump orders US troops out of Germany. Honor killings in Iran. Why John Bolton is sad. And then the Washington Post’s David Ignatius joins to talk about his new spy novel The Paladin, why Generals are abandoning Trump, General Flynn’s call with Russia and more.
The global reaction to the protests in the United States and the scary and inappropriate way the US military is being asked to police them. Trump’s latest fight with the G-7, an update on the war in Libya, why Ted Cruz is threatening Twitter, and locusts. Then Washington Post Global Opinions Editor Karen Attiah joins to talk about how Western media would be covering the protests in the US if they were happening in another country.
China tries to crush dissent in Hong Kong. Tommy and Ben discuss what the White House, Congress and the Biden campaign can do to stop them. Failed diplomacy with North Korea and why the US is walking away from bipartisan arms control agreements. Facebook leadership ignored evidence that the platform was polarizing users and driving them to extremism, the US bans travel from Brazil, scandal erupts in the UK, and Iran and Venezuela increase cooperation. Then Ben talks to Aidan Eyakuze, a Tanzanian activist, about the Tanzanian government's failure to take coronavirus seriously.
Al Qaeda stages its first successful attack on American soil since 9/11, exposing America’s broken relationship with Saudi Arabia. Mike Pompeo fires the man investigating his corruption. Israel accelerates plans to annex West Bank settlements and engages in cyber warfare with Iran. French President Emmanuel Macron loses his majority, a typhoon barrels down on India, and a financier of the Rwandan genocide is apprehended. Marco Rubio takes over the Senate Intelligence Committee as concern grows about foreign interference in the upcoming election, Trump’s war of words with the WHO continues, and we got a super duper missile in the house.
The political fallout from the failed coup attempt in Venezuela. General Flynn and the administration’s attempt to undercut the Mueller probe and punish Trump’s political enemies. The coronavirus weakens Putin’s strongman image. Peace slips further away in Afghanistan. The ongoing, escalating war of words between the US and China and much more. Then Wind of Change host Patrick Radden Keefe joins to discuss spies, propaganda, and how music and culture became weapons in the Cold War.
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Why the Trump administration is directing the intelligence community to prove their claims about China and the coronavirus is so dangerous. A truly unbelievable story about a ragtag group of mercenaries who attempted to invade and stage a coup in Venezuela. Trump’s nominee to be Director of National Intelligence gets a hearing. Then Asia expert Danny Russel joins to talk about White House plans to punish China over the coronavirus, how Beijing might respond, and what the hell we should make of Kim Jong Un’s reemergence after weeks of rumors about his health.
The latest rumors and news about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s health, and what we know about a possible succession process. Iran launches a military satellite and Trump tries to use the Iran nuclear deal to put in place more sanctions. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro could face legal trouble. New Zealand eliminates the coronavirus while doctors in the UK race to produce a vaccine and major countries come together to discuss how to accelerate work on treatments. The latest in Afghanistan and Navy Capt. Brett Crozier might get his job back. Then journalist Rana Ayyub talks with Ben about life in India during COVID.
Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu cuts a deal that allows him to stay in charge. We explain how the price of a barrel of oil briefly becomes negative. Rumors about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s health and who might come next. Hong Kong leaders face more attacks on democracy and heavy-handed tactics from China. Parliaments around the world figure out how to meet virtually, and new polling on Trump’s handling of national security. Then former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright joins.
Former Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus talks about Capt Crozier, the USS Theodore Roosevelt and how the coronavirus created a crisis in the Navy. Former US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power explains why a successful US coronavirus response has to be global. And Tommy and Ben talk about how a Chinese lab is raising questions about the origin of the coronavirus, Vladimir Putin’s disinformation campaigns against science and his muddy political future, why the UK has reacted to the pandemic in a more united and less partisan fashion and how China is using water to squeeze its neighbors.
A coronavirus clusterf*ck in the Navy leads the Acting Secretary of the Navy to resign. The virus sends British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to the ICU while the Queen of England releases a message to the British people. Trump retaliates against an impeachment enemy by firing the Intelligence Community Inspector General. The White House has a new press secretary (sort of) while press freedom is under assault in India. Good news about efforts to stop the coronavirus in Austria, Denmark and New Zealand. And then Tommy connects with some Americans stranded abroad because of the coronavirus.
Today’s show is a little different. We skip the update on the spread of the coronavirus itself and instead focus on the impact it’s having on governments and people. For example, 2019 was the year of the protestor, but how do protestors continue if they can’t gather safely or legally? How can we stop leaders from using the coronavirus to consolidate power, stifle the press or jettison privacy protections? And with the news that the virus has temporarily sidelined a US aircraft carrier, how do we refocus defense policy and spending for the future? Then Tommy talks with former US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro about the shocking news that Blue and White Party chief Benny Gantz is forming a coalition with Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu. And Ben talks with British Labour Party MP David Lammy about the UK’s response to the coronavirus.
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Tommy and Ben go through the latest news on the international response to the coronavirus, including nationwide lockdowns in the UK and India and signs of hope in Italy. Then they look at how the virus is impacting US relations with North Korea, how US sanctions are impeding health care workers in Iran and Venezuela, and how authoritarian leaders are using the pandemic to grab more power. They also cover Mike Pompeo’s trip to Afghanistan and how China is trying to turn the coronavirus into a propaganda win. Then Ambassador Susan Rice joins and does not mince words about her assessment of Trump’s performance.
Tommy and Ben talk about the new normal as the world combats the coronavirus. They cover how South Korea has successfully reduced cases, how the Trump administration was warned about this threat, how a functioning White House should respond, Trump’s war of words with China and much more. In non-coronavirus news, they discuss the possibility of a new Prime Minister in Israel. Then Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy joins to discuss the latest on the COVID-19 relief package in Congress.
Coronavirus update and explanation of why an oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia is rocking the global economy. More crackdowns in Saudi Arabia, why Putin might be the Russian President for life, more holes in the US/Taliban troop withdrawal plan, and hopeful progress for abortion rights in Argentina. Then Zarlasht Halaimzai from the Refugee Trauma Initiative joins to offer an Afghan perspective on Trump’s troop withdrawal deal with the Taliban.
Tommy and Ben talk about the fragile peace agreement between the US and the Taliban, the Israeli elections, the escalating fighting between Turkey and Syria, the coronavirus, Iran, Putin’s political weakness and Boris Johnson is having a baby. Then Tommy is joined by Jomana Qaddour from the Syria Relief and Development organization to talk about what people can do to help ease the suffering in north west Syria.
First, Trump’s trip to India, his new and unqualified Director of National Intelligence, and should Democrats attend AIPAC? Then updates on Sudan and South Sudan, the coronavirus, a fragile peace agreement in Afghanistan, and John Bolton. Finally, Tommy and Ben discuss attacks on Bernie Sanders’ views on Cuba, former leftist leaders in Latin America, and criticism of the CIA, before reflecting on the death of former Egypt President Hosni Mubarak, and the nine years since the Arab Spring began. Then Politico’s Natasha Bertrand joins to explain why new intel chief Richard Grenell has become an issue in Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition case.
Mike Bloomberg’s foreign policy record and platform. How some 2020 candidates failed a foreign policy quiz. The humanitarian crisis in northwest Syria. The latest on the coronavirus and how Senator Tom Cotton is spreading disinformation. The Koch brothers funding foreign policy think tanks…for good? Mike Pompeo speaks at the Munich Security Summit and headlines about Afghanistan, Iran and John Bolton. Then Ben talks with Paris Climate Accords architect Christiana Figueres.
Tommy and Ben tell some stories about the New Hampshire primary in 2008, walk through a report on a decades-long CIA/German effort to crack encrypted communications, talk through several major data breaches, and explain why the QAnon conspiracy theory is a national security issue. Then they cover: good news from Sudan, North Korea’s nukes, a dustup between the US and the Philippines, the Wall Street Journal’s attempt to Swift Boat Mayor Pete, and Bernie Sanders' foreign policy doctrine and how the 2020 candidates differ. Then former White House Ebola Response Coordinator Ron Klain joins to talk about efforts to contain the Coronavirus.
Today’s topics include: Brexit, updates on the Coronavirus, why Trump made Venezuela a focus of his State of the Union speech, the list of countries subject to Trump’s muslim ban gets bigger, Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu’s allies attack Jared Kushner, and Trump’s inexcusable land mine policy decision. We also complain about the Iowa caucuses and wonder aloud if they’re more democratic than politics in Hungary, so that’s depressing.
First, Tommy and Ben talk about Trump’s plan to help Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu win reelection and how it essentially means the death of the middle east peace process. Then they discuss how Trump’s cruel immigration policies could lead to the murder of an Iraqi refugee and the mistreatment of pregnant women. Also, why John Bolton and Mike Pompeo are terrible, the Saudi hacking of Jeff Bezos, more fallout from the Iran strike, updates on Burma and Kashmir and why Putin loves puppies. Then, Tommy is joined by public health expert Abdul El-Sayed to discuss the risk from the coronavirus and the public health infrastructure in the US and China.
Will new facial recognition technology end privacy as we know it? Can Trump scare the Intelligence Community out of testifying before Congress? Why did Putin’s entire cabinet resign and what does it mean for the future of Russia? Then...Russian spies are sneaking around Davos. Anti-war groups are gaining strength in Washington. Press freedom is under attack in Brazil. Hilarious translation errors anger China. How a mustache is exacerbating tensions in Asia, and why Tommy thinks the new Space Force uniforms are genius. Then, Ben talks with New Yorker staff writer Masha Gessen about Putin, the latest developments in Russia and her upcoming book about surviving autocracy.
Tommy and Ben cover the latest developments in the Iran crisis, including why the intelligence and legal case for assassinating Soleimani keeps changing, the horrific shootdown of a commercial airliner, and Iran resuming uranium enrichment. Then they discuss Attorney General Barr’s fight with Apple over encryption, and why Obama also got this issue wrong. Finally, they explain why Taiwan’s recent election was good for democracy, the latest on the China trade war, how the Russians are STILL trying to dig up dirt on Joe Biden, and why 2020 Democrats are fighting about Iraq. Also Megxit. Then the Washington Post’s Jason Rezaian joins to discuss protests in Iran and what we actually know about what the Iranian people think.
Tommy and Ben talk about the fallout from Trump’s decision to assassinate Iranian general Qassem Soleimani. What do we know about Iran’s ballistic missile strikes on bases hosting U.S. troops in Iraq? How are the Iranian people responding? Why is Trump threatening to commit war crimes? Why does the rationale for the strike keep changing and what can Congress do to stop the war from escalating? Then they discuss Kim Jong Un’s announcement that North Korea will abandon constraints on its nuclear program and how climate change has led to catastrophic fires across Australia. Then Middle East expert and former Bush, Obama and Trump aide Brett McGurk joins to discuss when the Soleimani assassination means for our relationship with Iraq and our efforts to fight ISIS.
In a bonus episode, Tommy and Ben discuss Trump’s decision to assassinate a top Iranian official named Qassem Soleimani. What happened? How did we get here? Who is Soleimani and why is he so influential? What happens next and how should the 2020 Democrats respond?
British MP David Lammy joins to talk about the UK elections and what they mean for Brexit and the future of the Labour Party. Then Ben and Tommy talk about India’s ongoing slide into Hindu nationalism, the China trade war, and a troubling investigation into problems with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) process. Plus, Biden’s record on Iraq, unfair charges of antisemitism against Bernie Sanders, and a proposal from Elizabeth Warren to fight global financial corruption.
Tommy and Ben explain why the Russian foreign minister is in Washington and why Vladimir Putin is in Paris, the media and political reaction to the Saudi flight student who murdered his classmates in Florida, updates out of North Korea, an exciting leadership change in Finland, and a troubling religious law in India. Then Afghanistan policy expert Jeff Eggers joins to talk about some extraordinary reporting by the Washington Post about the (somewhat) secret history of policy failures in Afghanistan, which is based on documents that the Post is comparing to The Pentagon Papers.
Tommy and Ben talk about Trump’s trip to London for the NATO summit, including his dustup with the French President and the health of NATO in 2019. Then they discuss the Iranian government’s crackdown on protestors, Trump’s visit to Afghanistan, Ben’s trip to Hong Kong, the expanding trade war, amazing reporting about India’s Prime Minister, and why US foreign aid keeps getting mysteriously frozen. Then The Intercept’s Mehdi Hasan joins to talk about the upcoming British parliamentary elections, the London Bridge attack, and Brexit.
First, Tommy talks with former DOD official and national security expert Kelly Magsamen about Trump’s meddling in the military justice system and the firing of the Secretary of the Navy. They also discuss the impeachment hearings, whether former National Security Advisor John Bolton should testify, Hong Kong’s democracy-affirming elections, why Trump is extorting Japan for money and the latest on the US military mission in Syria. Then Tablet Magazine’s Yair Rosenberg joins to discuss the corruption charges against Israeli PM Bibi Netanyahu and what it means for his political future.
First, Tommy and Ben discuss the increasingly violent protests in Hong Kong, the impeachment hearings, Trump’s new policy on Israeli settlements, and protests and leaked documents in Iran. Then they talk China, an update on Lebanon, Bolivia becomes a 2020 issue, why Trump is pardoning war criminals, and bad news out of Korea. Then Politico’s Nahal Toosi joins to talk impeachment, Mike Pompeo, and why spies are getting bored.
Tommy and Ben talk about Fmr President Evo Morales's abrupt departure from Bolivia and whether to call it a coup, the latest Brexit news, Turkish President Erdogan's post-ethnic cleansing visit to DC, Russian interference in Africa, the White Helmets, why businesses just can't quit Saudi Arabia and some wild White House personnel news. Then former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd joins to talk about China and the toxic influence of the Murdoch media empire.
Tommy and Ben discuss what the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi means for ISIS as well as Trump's strange lie about Baghdadi's "whimpering" demise. Then they cover the Paris Climate Agreement and the future of climate activism, Iran's increased nuclear activity and use of hostages as a foreign policy strategy, and protests in Chile and Iraq. Later they shout about Mike Pompeo, discuss the House resolution on Armenian Genocide, the Uighurs, bad guys hacking WhatsApp, and Rudy Giuliani, butt dialing cyber security czar. Then America Dissected host Dr. Abdul El-Sayed joins to discuss Ebola, superbugs, and how trust in government is key to global public health.
“What A Day,” Crooked Media’s new daily news podcast, is here! Hosted by comedian Akilah Hughes and politics reporter Gideon Resnick, “What A Day” cuts through the chaos and crimes to break down the biggest news of the day, help you understand what matters, and how you can fix it—all in 15 minutes or less. New episodes come out every morning, Monday through Friday, at 5 a.m. Eastern. Subscribe and listen wherever you get your podcasts.
Tommy and Ben record a special episode from D.C. at the national conference hosted by the progressive Jewish organization J Street. They run through news from around the globe and from the Middle East with Michelle Goldberg of the New York Times - and chat with two activists, Maisam Jaljuli and Mikhael Manekin, about progressive solutions for the Arab-Israeli peace process. The episode also includes selections from interviews Tommy and Ben recorded at the conference with five presidential candidates: Michael Bennet, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, Amy Klobuchar and Bernie Sanders. Full videos for all interviews are available at jstreet.org.
Tommy and Ben talk about the latest on impeachment and about Turkey’s invasion of Syria. Then they run through a whirlwind week of news that included Brexit updates, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s narrow election victory, and Israel’s ongoing government formation process. They also discuss the treatment of US diplomats in China, Facebook’s handling of disinformation campaigns, protest movements in Haiti and Lebanon and some great reporting about the war in Afghanistan. And in this week’s interview, National Security Advisor Susan Rice joins the pod to talk about Trump and Syria, General Mattis, Benghazi and leading Bill Clinton’s Africa policy.
Tommy and Ben talk about disaster unfolding in Syria, fact check Trump’s claim that he’s ending wars, explain who the Kurds are and why they’re US allies, survey the international reaction to Turkey’s offensive in Syria and explain why nuclear weapons make everything more complicated. Then they talk through the latest on impeachment and the corruption of US foreign policy, evaluate the détente in the trade war with China, highlight some good news out of Ethiopia, and talk about the latest in the dispute between the NBA and China. They end with a discussion of soccer diplomacy and how Senator Lindsey Graham got prank called. Then Vice News’s Isobel Yeung joins to talk about her reporting on the ground in Syria, Hong Kong and Xinjiang, China.
Tommy and Ben discuss Trump’s decision to pull US troops out of Syria and let Turkey begin a military campaign against the Kurds, a key US ally in the fight against ISIS. Then they try to understand why Republicans are only willing to criticize Trump’s Syria policy, explain why the NBA and Chinese government are fighting, and try to understand why Gordon Sondland, the US Ambassador to the European Union, was part of the quid pro quo with Ukraine. Finally they cover the latest on North Korea, Russia and Boris Johnson’s Brexit. Then Washington Post Beirut bureau chief Liz Sly calls in to talk about protests in Iraq and the view from the ground in Syria.
First, Tommy and Ben discuss Trump’s quid pro quo with Ukraine, that country’s history with corruption, why Joe Biden was pushing to fire a Ukrainian prosecutor, and how this controversy could destabilize the Ukrainian government. Then they cover Trump’s call to pressure Australia, the shady ways the White House is restricting access to information, and how Mike Pompeo is complicit in all of it. Finally, they discuss China’s 70th anniversary celebration, the protests in Hong Kong, the latest with Iran, Brexit, and why John Bolton is criticizing Trump’s North Korea policy. Then former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom David Cameron joins to discuss his new book For the Record, Brexit, and the future of democracy.
Tommy talks with national security expert Kelly Magsamen about Trump’s attempt to extort Ukraine for manufactured dirt on Joe Biden, Trump’s UN speech, Iran, the Israeli elections and the protests in Egypt. Later, Tommy is joined by Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin, a former CIA officer who joined six of her colleagues with national security backgrounds to say the allegations against Trump on Ukraine would be an impeachable offense. Then, Tommy speaks with former US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power about Syria, national security decision making and her new book, The Education of an Idealist.
Tommy and Ben talk about the growing risk of war with Iran in the wake of the attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure, the Israeli elections, Rep. Adam Schiff’s claim that the Director of National Intelligence is suppressing a whistleblower, Trump’s favorite dictator, the death of Hamza bin Laden, Indian Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the US, how to build an international coalition to fight climate change, and storm Area 51 gets cancelled. Then Tommy talks with Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) about why he thinks a military attack on Iran is insane and the humanitarian disaster in Yemen.
Tommy and Ben bid farewell to Trump’s former National Security Advisor, John Bolton. Then they discuss Trump’s proposed sleepover party with the Taliban at Camp David and reports that the US had to extract a spy from Russia. After updates about Brexit and the Hong Kong protests, they dig into the upcoming Israeli elections and Trump’s new child Middle East peace negotiator. They end with the latest on Iran and thoughts about the death of Robert Mugabe and the 18th anniversary of 9/11. Then Senator and presidential candidate Michael Bennet joins to discuss how to protect our elections from Russian interference.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s wild decision to suspend parliament and try to force a Brexit. The latest on the protests in Hong Kong. Can the US finalize a peace deal in Afghanistan and is John Bolton cut out of that process? Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu pulls out all the stop in advance of the Israeli elections. North Korea’s missile launches look dangerous. Will France sweep in to save the Iran deal? Trump’s former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis refuses to criticize a president not named Obama and Trump has a message for Poland.
Tommy and Ben answer listener questions in a special mailbag episode. Then, Ben chats with Congressman Ro Khanna about Donald Trump’s misadventures at the G-7, Yemen, Iran, and what a progressive foreign policy platform should look like.
Tommy and Ben talk about the ongoing controversy over Rep. Ilhan Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib being barred from visiting Israel and the West Bank. The collapse of Italy’s government. How social media companies are fighting Chinese propaganda about Hong Kong. Why the Russians are hiding data about a secret nuclear explosion. The corruption of US foreign policy. A call to action for California wine lovers and an ISIS blooper reel. Then Yaqiu Wang, a China expert with Human Rights Watch, joins to talk with Tommy about the latest on the protests in Hong Kong.
Police crack down as protests escalate to new heights in Hong Kong. An explosion involving a nuclear reactor in Russia kills at least a half dozen people. Boris Johnson tries to negotiate a U.S.-U.K. trade deal ahead of Britain’s exit from the European Union. A scary report in the New York Times sheds light on what’s driving the spread of right wing extremism around the globe. And Ben Rhodes shares the story behind his recent reporting for The Atlantic on Aung San Suu Kyi. Then Enes Kanter, a professional basketball player for the Boston Celtics, joins Ben in the studio to talk about human rights and the politics of his home country, Turkey - and why President Recep Tayyip Erdogan put out a warrant for his arrest and banned him from coming home.
First, Tommy and Ben talk about the threat from domestic terrorism, the escalating trade war with China, the protests in Hong Kong, tensions with Iran, and the war in Afghanistan. Then they discuss changes to Trump’s national security team, why tensions are increasing between Japan and South Korea, a major announcement from India about Kashmir, more sanctions on Venezuela, why arms control treaties are dying, and what the hell Lindsay Lohan is doing with the Saudi Crown Prince. Then former National Counterterrorism Center Director Nicholas Rasmussen joins to discuss what policy changes are needed to stop rightwing domestic terrorists.
First, Tommy and Ben discuss President Trump’s choice to be his Director of National Intelligence. Then, GQ’s Julia Ioffe joins to discuss the brutal crackdown on protestors in Russia. Then Tommy and Ben discuss Bibi Netanyahu’s new campaign strategy, Bernie Sander’s policy towards Israel, our policy in Afghanistan and the bizarre role Secretary Pompeo is playing overseeing the military. Finally, they check in on Boris Johnson and Trump’s global corruption network. Then Tommy talks with The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald about some why his reporting led the President of Brazil to threaten him with jail time.
Tommy and Ben discuss the new UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the Hong Kong protests turn violent, Trump’s bizarre pool spray with the Pakistani PM, updates from Iran, Israel and Russia, Trump plays good cop, bad cop with John Bolton, China’s military moves, a new Defense Secretary and maybe intelligence chief, FaceApp hysteria, storming Area 51 and A$AP Rocky. Then Labour Party MP David Lammy joins to discuss Boris Johnson and Brexit.
First, Tommy and Ben talk about Trump's new asylum rules, an Iran update, the global response to Trump's racism - including China seeming to echo him, Biden's foreign policy speech, German Chancellor Angela Merkel's health and legacy, a North Korea update and if a deranged conspiracy theorist will lead the US intelligence community. Then Tommy speaks Army veteran and US Senator Tammy Duckworth.
Trump picks a Twitter fight with the British Ambassador to the US. Iran revs up its uranium enrichment. New polling about the Iran deal. High five diplomacy with the North Koreans. Updates on protest movements in Sudan and Hong Kong. Russia’s role in peddling the Seth Rich conspiracy. Introducing America’s chief diplomat, Ivanka Trump, and a 2020 foreign policy update. Then Turkish journalist Ece Temelkuran joins to discuss Turkey’s slow descent into authoritarianism and the parallels around the world.
Tommy sits down with former Defense Secretary Ash Carter to chat about his book “Inside the Five-Sided Box”, and some of the most complex challenges facing our national security community today, including the war in Afghanistan and closing the prison in Guantanamo Bay.
Tommy and Ben talk through Trump's bizarre on again, off again war with Iran. They explain how the targeting process is supposed to work, try to divine the broader strategy, and do some self reflection about the terrible government euphemisms that mask the cost of war. Then a quick update on Saudi Arabia, Jared's rehashed Middle East Peace plan, Beto O'Rourke's "war tax", Bernie Sanders' foreign affairs article, some good news out of Turkey and then wtf is wrong with Boris Johnson? Then, First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon joins talks with Tommy about Scottish Independence
First, Tommy and Ben talk about the rapidly escalating tensions with Iran, some good news for the protestors in Hong Kong, Mohamed Morsi's death in Egypt, a new Secretary of Defense, a trade war update, why Facebook is still being used for incitement, a 2020 update about Mayor Pete and Tulsi Gabbard, and whether Snapchat filters are the future of government press conferences. Then Avril Haines joins to discuss what it was like going from NSC lawyer to Deputy CIA Director and the legal basis (or lack thereof) for war with Iran.
First, Tommy and Ben discuss Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s foreign policy speech and Trump’s ongoing and bizarre coddling of noted relative murderer Kim Jong Un. Then they discuss the brave activists and journalists protesting in Hong Kong and Russia, the tariff fight with Mexico, Venezuela, wonder again why we do business with Saudi Arabia, LGBT pride at the State Department, how a fake Iranian author got published, and how a dead tree is a metaphor for our alliances. Then Sudanese activist Wafa May Elamin joins to discuss the crackdown on protestors in Sudan.
Tommy and Ben Rhodes are joined by former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Danny Russel. They discuss Trump’s trip to the UK, what Bibi Netanyahu’s failure to form a government means for his political future, Jared Kushner’s disastrous interview with Axios and the political influence of Prince Mohammed bin Zayed of the United Arab Emirates. Then they do a deep dive on US-China policy, the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, and updates on North Korea, Cuba, India’s elections, Iran and why hiding the USS John S. McCain is actually a real problem.
First, Tommy and Ben discuss the European parliament election results, Trump’s trip to Japan and the major US/Japan split on North Korea, the ongoing political disaster in the UK, more arms sales to Saudi Arabia, Turkey’s slide to dictatorship, NSA hacking tools in the wild and Trump micromanaging aircraft carrier designs (seriously). Then Ron Klain joins to discuss his work coordinating the global response to the 2014 Ebola outbreak and why the outbreak happening currently is so frightening.
This week Tommy and Ben check their anxiety levels when it comes to potential war with Iran, try to understand why a Fox News host is lobbying to protect men accused of war crimes, discuss Bernie's foreign policy record as mayor of Burlington, get an update on far-right parties in Australia and Austria and explain why milkshakes are Britain's hottest new protest. Then Noura Erakat joins to talk about Trump’s middle east peace plan and what it will take to create a Palestinian state.
Tommy and Ben talk about the escalating trade war with China, the drumbeat for real war with Iran, how the Pentagon is hiding how badly things are going in Afghanistan, and (an)other fascist visits the White House. Then Tommy talks with author and historian Michael Beschloss about his book Presidents of War.
First, Tommy and Ben discuss the US sending an aircraft carrier to the Middle East in response to threats from Iran, fighting between Palestinian militants and Israel, North Korea, Venezuela, our escalating trade war with China and Viktor Orban coming to the White House. Then Ben shocks us with his excitement about the royal baby and shares unforgettable story about the time he met the Queen of England. Then The New Yorker's Dexter Filkins dials in to talk about his piece on National Security Advisor John Bolton.
First, Tommy and Ben talk about violent clashes in Venezuela, Trump pouring gas on Libya's civil war, designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, the Russian navy's beluga whale, good news out of Spain and GITMO becomes a retirement home. Then the Washington Post's Beirut bureau chief Liz Sly joins to discuss the new video from ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
First, Tommy and Ben discuss the horrific Easter Sunday terrorist attack in Sri Lanka, North Korea's weapons test, China's ascendance, Trump's UK state visit, elections in Ukraine, the foreign policy impact of the Mueller report and the Armenian genocide. Then, Cuba expert Marguerite Rose Jiménez joins to discuss Trump's cruel rollback of Cuba policy.
Tommy and Ben discuss the arrest of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, Bernie's foreign policy, potential war with Iran and the arrest of Chinese scholars. Then J Street's Yael Patir explains the state of liberal political parties in Israel. Then author and Army veteran Matt Farwell joins to discuss Bowe Bergdahl and the war in Afghanistan.
Iran expert Kelly Magsamen joins Tommy and Ben to discuss Trump's decision to designate the IRGC a terrorist organization. Then, Tommy and Ben discuss the Israeli elections, spies at Mar-a-Lago, Egypt's President at the White House, protests in Sudan, fighting in Libya and Brexit. Then, author Patrick Radden Keefe joins to discuss his new book SAY NOTHING and the history of the IRA and the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
First, Tommy and Ben discuss Trump's decision to cut off aid to central America, whether recent elections in Turkey and Slovakia mean that Democracy is resurgent in Europe, and the Algerian President's resignation. Then Khaled Elgindy joins to discuss protests in Gaza, the middle east peace process, Palestinian politics and the upcoming Israeli elections.
First, Tommy, Ben Rhodes and former Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken discuss Brexit, tensions flaring in Gaza, Israeli PM Netanyahu's visit to DC, ISIS loses its territory, Russians in Venezuela and reporting on Russian's collusion charges. Then, Tommy is joined by Yasmeen Silva and Joe Cirincione to discuss their efforts to prevent nuclear war.
First, Tommy and Ben talk about the New Zealand terrorist attack and the rise of right-wing extremist groups and nationalist political parties, Huawei and Brazil's far-right President Jair Bolsonaro visiting Trump. Then the New York Times's Charlie Warzel joins to discuss how radicalization happens online, how we can stop it and how journalists should cover these communities.
First, Tommy and Ben talk about the ongoing Brexit disaster, Dick Cheney's surprisingly accurate criticisms of Trump's foreign policy, the rollback of Obama-era rules about disclosing civilian casualties, and important updates from Venezuela. Then, Tommy talks with immigration and human rights activist Enrique Morones about his work on the US-Mexico border.
First, Tommy and Ben Rhodes talk about the NSA shutting down its controversial metadata program, more accusations of antisemitism against Ilhan Omar, Trump's stonewalling of Congress about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and his flipflop (again) on keeping troops in Afghanistan and Syria. Then, former Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns joins to discuss his new book The Back Channel.
Tommy and Ben explain why Trump's second North Korea summit was a total disaster. Then they discuss escalating tensions between India and Pakistan, Justin Trudeau's troubles in Canada, a can't-miss rant about Jared Kushner and Netanyahu's indictment.
First, Tommy and Ben Rhodes talk about India bombing Pakistan, Trump's second meeting with North Korea's Kim Jong Un, the ongoing turmoil in Venezuela and Netanyahu's latest hard-right turn. Then, Jessica Stern from Outright International joins to discuss her work advocating for human rights for LGBTIQ people globally.
First, Ben Rhodes calls in from Europe to talk about the Munich Security Summit, Steve Bannon running around Europe, and Trump selling nuclear power plants to Saudi Arabia. Then, former National Security Advisor Tom Donilon joins Tommy for a ranging discussion of how he got the job, best and worst days, relations with China, Russia, Trump's second North Korea summit and more.
First, Tommy talks with author Peter Beinart about the controversy around Congresswoman Ilhan Omar's tweets, which many viewed as anti-semitic. Then, former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman joins to talk with Tommy and Ben about the time she spent negotiating with Iran and North Korea.
Tommy and Ben talk with the Washington Post's Jason Rezaian about his book Prisoner, which details the 544 days he spent in an Iran's notoriously brutal Evin Prison. Jason was held hostage by the Iranian regime and held as leverage in the nuclear negotiations. Jason details his experience while Ben explains what the negotiations were like from his perch in the White House. It is a hell of a good episode.
Tommy talks with Anthony Faiola, the Washington Post bureau chief for South America and the Caribbean, about the dire situation in Venezuela. Then Ben Rhodes joins to discuss the Trump administration's approach to Venezuela's leadership struggle, the Worldwide Threat Assessment hearings in Congress, a potential peace deal in Afghanistan, Ebola, Jared's security clearance (again) and bumbling spies.
First, Tommy and Ben talk with David Lammy, a member of parliament from the UK, about the slow-rolling disaster that is Brexit. Then they discuss Trump's announcement of a second meeting with Kim Jong Un, recent Israeli strikes on Iranian targets in Syria, and the latest from Afghanistan.
First, Tommy and Ben discuss two stories about the Trump administration agitating to attack Iran. Then they discuss several unnerving reports about Trump potentially being compromised by Russia, followed by Brexit, the World Bank, and our Twitter troll ambassador to Germany. Then a Sudanese-American activist named Wafa May Elamin joins to discuss the ongoing protests in Sudan.
First, Tommy talks with Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin about Trump's Syria flip flops and how he's demoralizing the intel community. Then, Ben Rhodes joins to talk about Secretary Pompeo's middle east trip and Cairo speech, the new authoritarian President in Brazil, and the anti-BDS bill going through Congress.
Tommy and Ben Rhodes discuss General Flynn's trial and what the hell he was doing for the Turkish government. Then they discuss new Senate reports about Russia's propaganda efforts, China's muslim internment camps, and updates from Syria and Afghanistan. Then French journalist and activist Rokhaya Diallo joins to discuss the Yellow Vest protests in France.
Tommy and Ben Rhodes talk with former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro about his time in Israel, why the Middle East Peace process failed, Trump's approach to Israel, the BDS movement, whether support for Israel is getting politicized, Netanyahu's legal jeopardy, and Jared Kushner managing our relationship with Saudi Arabia.
First, Tommy and Ben talk through George H.W. Bush's foreign policy record, the good the bad and the ugly. Then they discuss the news out of the G20, the latest on Saudi Arabia, and the Democrats' foreign policy messaging. Then Tommy is joined by Kelly Magsamen to discuss Elizabeth Warren's foreign policy speech and what issues 2020 democrats should be talking about.
First, Tommy talks with former US Ambassador to Russia Mike McFaul about fighting between Russia and Ukraine. Then Ben Rhodes dials in to discuss the latest with Brexit, a reported meeting between Wikileaks’ Julian Assange and Trump stooge Paul Manafort, protests in France and the climate report, Saudi Arabia, and how the US caused instability in some Latin American countries.
First, Tommy talks with Karen Attiah, the Washington Post Global Opinions Editor who used to edit Jamal Khashoggi’s work, about Trump’s statement Tuesday about Jamal's murder that essentially absolves Saudi Arabia. Then he talks with Jared Holt from Right Wing Watch about his work monitoring right-wing extremist groups.
First, Tommy talks with Ben Rhodes about some major foreign policy news out of Israel, Trump's visit to France and the Russia investigation. Then Tommy talks with North Korea expert Lisa Collins about a new report detailing North Korea's ongoing development of its missile program.
Tommy talks with foreign policy expert Jake Sullivan about what Democratic control of the House means for US foreign policy, including US relations with Saudi Arabia, the Iran deal, Trump's ties with Russia, trade and North Korea.
Tommy's in Philadelphia for HBO! So Ben Rhodes reviews the latest on Trump’s refusal to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for brutally murdering a journalist. Then he talks to three candidates who could hold Trump accountable if Democrats take back the House: Rep. Stephanie Murphy, Minnesota's Dan Feehan, and New Jersey's Andy Kim. All of them have national security backgrounds. All of them are among the very best people. All of them (and America) need you to vote this election: votesaveamerica.com
Tommy is in Austin with Beto O'Rourke for Pod Save America on HBO! So this week, Crooked contributor Ben Rhodes travels across the pond to sit down with David Lammy, a trail blazing long time Member of Parliament, to break down the looming catastrophe of Brexit, why Trump is as accepted in the UK as well as "a cold bucket of sick," and what progressives need to do to change course in Britain, the U.S. and across the West.
There are 20 days until the election: votesaveamerica.com
First, Tommy ticks through some major news about UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, Saudi Arabia and Brazil. Then he interviews three candidates (Jesse Colvin, Abigail Spanberger, Lauren Baer) who have different national security backgrounds that all made them decide to run for Congress this cycle. They are inspiring and brilliant. You won't want to miss it.
Tommy talks with the Washington Post's David Ignatius about Trump's visit to the UN general assembly, including potentially explosive claims by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu about Iran's nuclear program, Trump's love affair with North Korea and some legitimately hopeful signs, and escalating tensions with China.
Tommy talks with The Atlantic's Natasha Bertrand about how the potential departure of Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein would impact the Mueller investigation and operations at DOJ. Then they discuss what we've learned about Russia's efforts to influence our elections over the past two years, and the shady right-wing characters that link Trump to Wikileaks.
Tommy (with an assist from Jon Favreau) talks with former Secretary of State John Kerry about Iran, Israel, Trump's attacks and what he learned from the 2004 presidential campaign about how to respond to fake news.
Tommy talks with new LA resident Ben Rhodes about the bizarre Trump NSC memo naming him leader of the Echo Chamber, the state of al Qaeda and the war in Afghanistan, talk of war in Venezuela and weird old John Bolton.
Two part show this week! First, Tommy talks with the Wall Street Journal's Julie Bykowicz about new and insidious ways foreign countries are lobbying the Trump administration. Then, Tommy is joined by Vox's Alex Ward to discuss North Korea, revelations in Bob Woodward's book, new theories about what harmed diplomats in Cuba, and Burma.
Last week, President Trump tweeted about a segment on Tucker Carlson's Fox News show that claimed white farmers in South Africa are being murdered and that the government is taking away their land. The Economist's Africa bureau chief John McDermott joins to explain what the hell he's talking about and what he got wrong.
Tommy talks with former acting CIA director Michael Morell about President Trump's decision to revoke his opponents' security clearances. They discuss why the politicization of intelligence is so dangerous and why many former spy chiefs decided to speak out on Brennan's behalf.
Tommy talks with defense expert Katherine Charlet from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace about President Trump's plan to create a Space Force!!! How much is the military currently operating in space? Is this proposal smart, necessary or a gigantic waste of taxpayer money. Listen to this episode (which includes lasers) to find out!
Tommy talks with VICE on HBO correspondent Isobel Yeung about her recent reporting trips to Raqqa, Syria and Yemen. Isobel talks about what it was like to interview two of ISIS's most brutal foreign fighters and to witness heroic efforts by average citizens to rebuild the city and find loved ones taken by ISIS.
Two part show today! First, Tommy talks with Ambassador Michael McFaul about Vladimir Putin's request to interrogate him and Trump's shocking refusal to immediately rule it out. Then Tommy talks with the Washington Post's Jason Rezaian about Trump's late-night rage tweet at Iran and the future of US/Iranian relations.
Tommy talks with Julianne Smith, a former Pentagon official and advisor to Vice President Joe Biden, about Donald Trump’s truly awful trip to Europe, and why his terrifying press conference with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki is only a piece of the lasting damage it might cause to some of America’s most critical relationships.
Today's episode is two parts. First, Tommy talks with Politico's Nahal Toosi about North Korea, NATO and Trump's Putin meeting. Then, Roger Bennett from Men in Blazers joins to talk about the agony, ecstasy and politics of the World Cup.
Tommy talks with New York Times reporter David Sanger about the new world of cyber warfare. From North Korea's attack on Sony to targeting of Iran's nuclear program and Russia's invasion of Ukraine, cyber attacks are increasingly used first in war even though there's no rules of engagement and little public debate.
Tommy talks with the outgoing National Counterterrorism Center chief Nick Rasmussen. Nick worked in senior counterterrorism roles for Presidents Bush, Obama and Trump, and they discussed how weird the transition from Obama to Trump was, how you hunt terrorists, how you fight ISIS propaganda, Trump's North Korea summit and more.
Tommy talks with defense and Asia policy expert Kelly Magsamen about Trump's just-completed summit with North Korea's Kim Jong-un. What did they accomplish? Are we safer? Should we worry about the optics of meeting with a dictator?
Tommy talks with Ben Rhodes, author of the new book "The World as It Is", which documents Ben's eight years working in the White House. They talk about Ben's criticisms of Obama, leading talks with Cuba and going to dinner with Raul Castro, becoming a target of right-wing attacks and more.
Tommy talks with journalist Mehdi Hasan about a troubling series of hires on Trump's National Security Council staff of individuals with far-right, paranoid, Islamaphobic views. Then they talk about the situation in Gaza now that the protests have ended and TV cameras have left.
Tommy talks with NewYorker.com executive editor David Rohde about the way Trump is handling - and showcasing - hostage negotiations as President. Rohde was held hostage by the Taliban for over seven months until he escaped in 2009.
Tommy talks with Washington Post reporter Anne Gearan about the on again, off again North Korea summit, the situation in Gaza and the Trump administration's response, and Rex Tillerson's harsh criticism of President Trump.
Trump just tore up the Iran deal. Tommy talks with Ben Rhodes about what happens next. Then Tommy talks with Russia expert Mike McFaul about his new book, From Cold War to Hot Peace, about his time working at the White House and as US Ambassador to Russia.
Tommy talks with ACLU political director Faiz Shakir about the nomination of Gina Haspel to lead the CIA despite her role in the Bush-era torture of terrorism suspects. They also discuss the politics of national security in the Trump era, and whether Obama did enough to hold the CIA accountable for its actions.
Tommy talks with foreign policy expert Kelly Magsamen about Trump’s strikes on Syria’s chemical weapons site, his lack of a broader strategy, and her attempt to “red team” the policy options during the Obama administration. Then they talk about CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s trip to North Korea.
Tommy talks with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright about the rise of fascism around the world and her concerns about how it is being enabled (and emulated) by Donald Trump. Then they talk about how Trump should respond in Syria, and Albright’s visit to North Korea in 2000 for meetings with Kim Jong-Il.
Tommy talks with New Yorker writer Robin Wright about Putin’s possible visit to Washington, his relationship with Trump, and what we know about Trump the negotiator vs what’s required for success. Then they discuss Robin's visit to North Korea, the situation in Gaza, Syria and John Bolton.
Tommy talks with Wired editor in chief Nick Thompson about the insane amount of data that Facebook and other tech companies collect on us and what we can do to erase or prevent it. Then they talk about how to use encryption to protect your communications and scary new developments that allow you to make fake videos of real people.
Tommy talks with Washington Post columnist David Ignatius about Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to the United States and his "reform agenda". Then they discuss Trump’s call with Putin, reports that he ignored his staff’s plea to be tougher, and the risk of North Korea negotiations.
Tommy giddily discusses Rex Tillerson’s firing by tweet with Politico foreign affairs correspondent Nahal Toosi. Then they discuss suspected assassination of Putin enemies in London and Nahal’s exclusive report about Trump administration attacks on career State Department staffers.
Tommy talks with Jake Sullivan and Ben Rhodes about their new organization to oppose Trump’s foreign policy and promote a progressive vision of American leadership. Then they discuss what it means for Jared Kushner to have his security clearance downgraded, the status of the Iran deal, and the NSA Director’s plea for a directive to combat Russian hacking.
Tommy talks with Nathan Guttman, the Washington bureau chief of The Forward, about the corruption scandals swirling around Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu. They walk through the facts, what happens next, and what it means for US/Israeli relations and the Middle East peace process.
Tommy talks with Steve Coll, author of Directorate S: The C.I.A. and America's Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, about why the hell we’re still fighting in Afghanistan after 17 years and the destabilizing influence of our nuclear-armed frenemy, Pakistan.
Tommy talks with New York Times editor and writer Max Fisher about disconcerting signs that the Trump administration is seriously considering a military attack on North Korea. Then they talk about how ambiguous demands about US credibility can lead us to make terrible foreign policy decisions, and the changing expectations in Afghanistan.
Tommy talks with New Yorker staff writer Evan Osnos about China’s frantic post-election efforts to build a relationship with Jared Kushner, and why the “Kushner channel" makes American counterintelligence officials so nervous. They also discuss the shockingly-wide distribution of sensitive intelligence in the Trump White House, and how Evan feels about the threat from North Korea roughly six months after his visit to Pyongyang.
Tommy talks with Ben Rhodes, Ambassador Samantha Power and Greg Barker about the documentary The Final Year, which follows President Obama’s foreign policy team during the final year of his administration. They discuss Obama’s foreign policy legacy, ruptures over Syria, and how Trump’s election upended everything. The Final Year is in theaters and available on iTunes starting Friday, January 19th.
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Tommy talks with former FBI Special Agent Ali Soufan about his work interrogating terrorists and investigating the bombing of the USS Cole and the 9/11 attacks. They discuss the changing threat from al Qaeda and ISIS and what we need to know about these terrorist groups to stop them.
Tommy talks with former top Obama foreign policy advisor Ben Rhodes about the protests sweeping across Iran, Trump’s response, how today compares with the 2009 Green Revolution and Obama’s response, and what it could mean for the Iran deal. Then they vent about how terrible the discussion about Iran is in DC / on Twitter.
Tommy talks with Republican foreign policy expert Kori Schake about the eery similarity between the Trump administration’s comments about North Korea and the Bush administration’s rhetoric in the run-up to the Iraq war.
Tommy interviewed undercover FBI agent Tamer Elnoury about his work penetrating and disrupting an al Qaeda cell plotting attacks in Canada and the United States. They discussed what it was like to live with and pretend to become a terrorist, including having to visit the Ground Zero memorial with a man who took pride in the 9/11 attacks and wanted to repeat them. His book, AMERICAN RADICAL, is great - read it!
Tommy talks with Politico’s foreign affairs correspondent Nahal Toosi about Trump’s controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Then they discussed news reports indicating Rex Tillerson’s disastrous tenure as Secretary of State may be coming to a close. It was lit.
Tommy talks with Senator Jeff Merkley about his fact-finding mission to Burma and Bangladesh to learn more about the ongoing ethnic cleansing and refugee crisis. They also discussed the Trump administration’s almost non-existent response, how social media has exacerbated the problem, and what Congress is trying to do to help.
Tommy talks with Middle East and ISIS expert Rob Malley about the resignation of Lebanon’s Prime Minister and how it plays into a broader middle east proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Then they talk about the fight against ISIS and the major NYT magazine story about civilians casualties in Iraq.
Tommy and Asia expert and career diplomat Danny Russel discuss President Trump’s five nation, 13 day trip to Asia. They cover North Korea, Trump’s decision to meet with a mass murderer in the Philippines, and China’s political system.
Tommy talks with former Senator Majority Leader and US Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George Mitchell and Alon Sachar about their book A Path to Peace, which details the history of the Middle East peace process and their efforts to forge an agreement during the Obama administration.
Tommy sits down with Michael Morell, the former acting Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. They discuss his experience as President Bush’s briefer on 9/11, hunting Osama bin Laden, the state of ISIS, North Korea and the impending release of the JFK assassination files. It was sick.
Tommy talks with Republican Congressman and Air Force veteran Adam Kinzinger. They discuss Trump’s decision to decertify the Iran deal, North Korea, Senator Corker’s criticism of Trump, the war in Afghanistan and how to understand our fight against terrorism.
Tommy and Eliot Cohen, a counselor to Condoleezza Rice during the Bush administration, talks about his Atlantic piece “How Trump is Ending the American Era” and try to figure out what constitutes a Republican and Democratic foreign policy worldview in 2017.
First, Tommy talks with Ben Rhodes about the mysterious attacks on our diplomats in Havana and the Trump administration’s decision to expel Cuban officials in response. Then, he’s joined by former Navy Secretary Ray Mabus to discuss his eight years leading the Navy as well as his time as the US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
Tommy talks with Europe expert Dr. Karen Donfried about the German elections and the rise of the far-right AfD party. They also discuss why Russian hacking efforts didn’t work in Germany, what European capitals will do if Trump pulls out of the Iran deal, and how they view his war of words with North Korea.
Tommy talks with Will Hurd, a Republican representing Texas’s 23rd Congressional District, who served in the CIA for nearly a decade. They discussed Hurd’s role at the CIA, what motivated him to run for office, the Iran deal and ISIS.
Tommy gets an update on North Korea’s latest provocations from Asia expert Evan Medeiros. Then he talks with Eric Fanning, the former Secretary of the Army and the first openly gay head service secretary in history, about Trump’s transgender ban and his career at the Pentagon.
Tommy speaks former AP correspondent Hannah Dreier about the ongoing humanitarian and political crisis in Venezuela. Dreier was the last American journalist to get a permanent work visa when she arrived in Venezuela in 2014 and reported from the capitol until June.
Tommy talks with defense policy expert Kelly Magsamen about President Trump's speech announcing his Afghan war policy. They evaluate the substance of his plan and discuss whether any approach can actually improve the situation on the ground and allow us to get out.
Tommy talks with former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano about her efforts to combat right-wing extremists. Then he is joined by former Deputy CIA Director David Cohen to talk about what it was like to learn the world’s most closely guarded secrets, how the CIA works, and hear his David’s views on North Korea and Iran’s nuclear programs.
Former Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes talks through Trump’s promise of “fire and fury” if North Korea threatens the US and today’s reports on advances in North Korea's nuclear program. Then Tommy is joined by Bill Browder, a businessman who became Putin’s #1 enemy after exposing corruption in Russia. Browder was the driving force behind the Magnitsky Act sanctions to punish Russian human rights abusers.
Tommy talks with former Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken about the Iran deal, whether it’s working, and if we can apply the lessons learned to the dangerous situation in North Korea. Then they talk about Secretary Tillerson’s record at State and tensions in Israel and Venezuela. Both of them really miss Joe Biden.
Tommy talks with David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and former UK Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, about the famine in four countries that has put 20 million people at risk of starvation. He also offers concrete ways that all of us can help. You can learn more or donate at: https://www.rescue.org/.
Tommy talks with journalist and Russia expert Julia Ioffe about not if but why Putin interfered in our election. What was Putin’s motivation and goal? Are we giving him too much credit or are we not responding forcefully enough?
Tommy talks with former top defense official Derek Chollet about Donald Trump Jr.’s keystone cops collusion with Russia before transitioning to a conversation about the fight against ISIS in Mosul, Syria and the Trump administration’s policy in Afghanistan. It was incredible. Tell your friends.
Tommy talks with former Deputy Secretary of Energy, defense policy and Europe expert Dr. Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall about the future of Europe in the wake of Brexit. Then they discussed nuclear weapons in the US and Pakistan, cybersecurity, the advanced science being done at our National Labs, and how government can recruit more women into national security jobs.
Tommy talks with Senator Tim Kaine about how it’s possible that sixteen years after the 9/11 attacks, the congressional authorization that allowed us to respond with military force is the legal basis for wars against groups like ISIS that didn’t even exist at the time.
Tommy talks with former US Ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder about Trump’s disastrous trip to NATO before transitioning to a broader conversation about when the global community should use military force. Ivo offers an unvarnished take on the mistakes the US and NATO made in Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Tommy talks with former Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns about his three decades at the State Department. They discuss US relations with Russia and Jared Kushner’s backchannel, Trump’s trip to Europe, Bill’s role in leading the Iran talks and what it means to be loyal to a President and country.
Tommy talks with CNN International correspondent Arwa Damon about Turkey's descent into a dictatorship and President Erdogan's visit to the White House. Then they discuss the 28 hours Damon spent pinned down by ISIS fighters in Mosul, her coverage of refugees fleeing Syria, and her nonprofit organization INARA
Tommy and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and New York Times East Africa bureau chief Jeffrey Gettleman discuss his new book Love, Africa. They talk about the risks that come with working in places like Somalia and South Sudan, including Jeffrey (repeatedly) being held at gunpoint, and the balance between reporting facts and telling stories to that help create empathy for people suffering.
Tommy and Bloomberg columnist Eli Lake review Trump’s first 100 days on foreign policy. They cover Trump’s staffing decisions, US relations with Russia, willingness to stand up for US values, management of North Korea, ISIS, Syria and the Middle East peace process.
Tommy talks with Europe expert Dr. Karen Donfried about the French Presidential elections and the rise of far-right nationalist candidates like Marine Le Pen. They also discuss the potential for Russian interference in France, comparisons to Trump and why the French presidency could have major implications for the US.
Senator Mark Warner talks with Tommy about why the Intelligence Committee's investigation into Russian interference in our election is the most important thing he’s done in public life. He also takes us behind the scenes of the Committee’s TOP SECRET work.
Tommy and Middle East expert Colin Kahl discuss the Syrian civil war from when the protests first erupted in 2011 to President Trump’s cruise missile strike last week. They cover the roots of the conflict, Syria’s chemical weapons, Obama’s red line and Trump’s policy options going forward.
Tommy and China expert Evan Medeiros preview Trump’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. They discuss the meticulous planning and choreography that goes into these talks, tensions in the South China Sea, Taiwan, human rights, and how the Chinese view Russian hacking of our election.
Former US Ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert talks about the threat from North Korea’s nuclear program, Trump’s “new” approach to the DPRK, the assassination of Kim Jong Nam and the attack on his life while serving as Ambassador.
Tommy and former US Ambassador to Russia Mike McFaul talk about the US-Russia relationship. We cover pop culture and Rocky IV, arms control, Russian harassment of US diplomats, Mike’s assessment of Putin’s leadership and when relations turned bad, if Romney was right to call Russia our number one geopolitical foe and the lessons America can learn from Putin’s rise.
Tommy and Heather Higginbottom to discuss her journey from political campaigns to becoming the first woman to serve as Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources. We cover refugee vetting, pandemic response, women in foreign policy and Heather’s reflections on Secretary Kerry’s career.
Tommy talks with Obama’s former Homeland Security and Chief Counterterrorism Advisor Lisa Monaco about terrorism, encryption, cyber security, the Boston bombings, Trump’s dysfunctional national security team and lots more scary stuff.
Tommy and Obama’s former Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes discuss Ben’s career path, Obama’s Cairo speech, the damage Trump is doing, counterterrorism, restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba, Wikileaks, Snowden, Israel, Syria and more.
Tommy is joined by Dan Restrepo, who served as a top Latin America advisor to President Obama. They discuss the historic opening between the US and Cuba, Mexico, immigration, Colombia’s civil war and Venezuela.
Tommy is joined by former top Clinton aide and former Biden National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. They discuss Jake’s experience leading the secret Iran deal negotiations, Russian hacking, Trump’s attacks on the intelligence community, Benghazi and more.