Foreign Podicy

A national security and foreign policy podcast from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD).

Israel’s Shield in the Sky

October 15th, 2021

In May, Hamas leaders in Gaza — a territory from which Israelis withdrew in 2005 — launched more than 4,000 missiles at Israel, sparking an eleven-day conflict that would have been bloodier — on both sides — had the Israelis not been in possession of the Iron Dome, a marvel of engineering that intercepts and destroys short-range missiles before they can reach their intended victims. In other words, it is not a sword but a shield.

Last month, far-left House Democrats blocked a bill to keep the federal government operating until it was stripped of funds to help Israelis replenish interceptors for the Iron Dome.

A few days later, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer brought Iron Dome up as a stand-alone bill. There were 420 votes in favor and nine opposed.

To discuss these and related issues, Foreign Podicy host Cliff May is joined by Jacob Nagel, who has served in the Israeli Defense Forces, the Israeli Defense Ministry, and the Prime Minister’s Office including as the head of Israel’s National Security Council and acting National Security Advisor to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

He headed the “Nagel Committee,” which was responsible for Israel’s decision to develop Iron Dome. He also led the negotiations and signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for U.S. military aid to Israel from 2018 to 2027. He’s currently a visiting professor at the Technion Aerospace Engineering Faculty and a senior fellow at FDD.

Also joining the conversation: Enia Krivine, Senior Director of FDD’s Israel Program as well as FDD’s National Security Network; and Bradley Bowman, senior director of FDD’s Center on Military and Political Power.

Before joining FDD, Enia's work focused on strengthening U.S.-Israel relations including at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC); the Israel Allies Foundation; and the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where she served as a Middle East fellow.

Brad has served as a national security advisor to members of the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees. Prior to that, he was an active-duty U.S. Army officer, Black Hawk pilot, and assistant professor at West Point.

The UN’s Strange Obsession with Israel

September 17th, 2021

An extraordinary number of organizations within the UN system spend most of their time, money, and energy demonizing and attempting to de-legitimize Israel — and claiming to defend Palestinians. 

Joining Foreign Podicy host Cliff May to talk about UNIFIL, UNRWA, the UNHRC, and several other organizations specifically committed to what is commonly – though perhaps not accurately – called the “Palestinian cause” are FDD research fellow Tony Badran; FDD research analyst David May; and Richard Goldberg senior advisor at FDD, and editor of a recently published FDD monograph, A Better Blueprint for International Organizations,” to which all three contributed and which Rich edited.

Nuclear and Chemical Watchdogs or Lapdogs?

September 10th, 2021

Back in 1957, the same year the Soviets put Sputnik — the world’s first artificial satellite — into orbit, and Elvis Presly’s “All Shook Up” hit the top of the Billboard charts, the UN established the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The goal was to promote peaceful uses of atomic energy, provide assistance on nuclear safety, and prevent nuclear materials from getting into the wrong hands.

How has that worked out? FDD Research Fellow Andrea Stricker has taken a hard look at the IAEA and written a chapter about it for FDD’s recently published monograph: “A Better Blueprint for International Organizations.”

Andrea also has been keeping track of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), another UN offspring.

She joins Foreign Podicy host Cliff May — as does FDD Senior Fellow Anthony Ruggiero, who has served on the National Security Council advising the White House on a range of issues including weapons of mass destruction.

Participating in the conversation, too: Richard Goldberg, senior advisor to FDD, who has served in the National Security Council and in both houses of Congress. A senior advisor to FDD, he’s the editor of the monograph on international organizations.

The U.N. Record on Health, Human Rights, Trade, and Communications is Worse Than You Think

September 3rd, 2021

There are dozens of international organizations affiliated with the United Nations. Some do useful work. Those that do not are under no pressure to improve.

As for those that do harm: They pretty much enjoy impunity.

Republican and Democratic administrations alike have preferred to leave not-well-enough alone.

FDD scholars recently published a monograph, “A Better Blueprint for International Organizations,” examining what has gone wrong, and what could be done – if there is the will – to reform the flawed and deteriorating U.N. system (a system generously funded by American taxpayers).

Foreign Podicy host Cliff May discusses some of the organizations within the U.N. system with Emily de La Bruyere, a senior fellow at FDD who focuses on China; Craig Singleton, an adjunct fellow at FDD who spent more than a decade serving in a series of sensitive national security roles with the United States government overseas; and Richard Goldberg, a senior advisor at FDD, who has served on the National Security Council, in both houses of Congress, and as the editor of the FDD monograph.

Jewish Germans and German Jews

August 27th, 2021

Jews have lived in the lands we now call Germany for a rather long time. They first arrived in the 4th century under the Roman Emperor Constantine.

By the end of the 19th century, there were about 500,000 German Jews – or Jewish Germans. Though less than one percent of the population, a significant number had become prominent in literature, music, the theater, journalism, science and other fields that were open to them – not all fields were, of course. Twelve German Jews won Nobel Prizes.

Guenter Lewy was born in Germany in 1923. He lived for six years under Nazi rule. He fled to Palestine in early 1939, where he worked on a kibbutz for three years.

In 1942, as General Rommel’s divisions were closing in Palestine, posing a lethal threat to Palestinian Jews, he volunteered for the British Army. He fought in Egypt and Italy. After the war, he served as an interpreter for the British military in occupied Germany.

In 1946, he came to the U.S. where he has taught, studied, and written 17 books.

His most recent: “Jews and Germans: Promise, Tragedy, and the Search for Normalcy” – the only book in English to fully explore the long, eventful, and troubled history of what he calls the “German-Jewish relationship.”

He joins Foreign Podicy host Cliff May for a discussion of his excellent book and his extraordinary life.

Israel, Post-Bibi

August 13th, 2021

For the past 12 years, Benjamin Netanyahu served as Israel’s prime minister, fighting wars and wars-between-wars against Hamas and Hezbollah; opposing President Obama’s attempts to propitiate Iran’s rulers who openly threaten Israelis with genocide; attempting to block blows from the United Nations, an organization that spends inordinate amounts of time and money slandering Israelis; engaging in palavers with Vladimir Putin who has now re-established Russia as a power in the Middle East; not convincing Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to seriously negotiate with him; yet managing to establish Israeli diplomatic relations with a growing number of nations – including, under the Abraham Accords, Arab nations.

Netanyahu has now been replaced by a diverse coalition of his opponents – on both the right and the left and including an Arab/Muslim party.

How will the new gang cope with Israel’s multiple threats and challenges?

FDD senior vice president Jonathan Schanzer has just returned from the Holy Land. He joins Foreign Podicy host Cliff May for a wide-ranging discussion.

The Predators Threatening Africa

July 23rd, 2021

Africa is a large and diverse continent. Many different peoples, ethnic groups, tribes — these terms overlap but are not synonymous — speaking more than a thousand languages, organized into more than 50 nation-states.

Most of those nation-states achieved independence in the aftermath of World War II, as European imperialism and colonialism died out. In few African lands has political stability and prosperity followed.

And today, Africa is threatened by new predators. Violent and vicious jihadists are kidnapping, killing, and committing a long list of other crimes. Africa also is threatened by what I’m going to call neo-imperialism — not the European variety.

Joining host Cliff May to discuss these issues is Dr. J. Peter Pham, who was the first-ever United States Special Envoy for the Sahel Region of Africa.

Before that, Ambassador Pham served as U.S. Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa. He’s also been a denizen of think tanks. Currently he is a Distinguished Fellow at the Atlantic Council, but his first DC think tank affiliation was an Adjunct Senior Fellow at FDD.

In addition, he was a tenured Associate Professor of justice studies, political science, and Africana studies at James Madison University, and Director of the school’s Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs.

Ambassador Pham is the author of more than 300 essays and reviews and the author, editor, or translator of over a dozen books, primarily on African history, politics, and economics.

The UN System: What Went Wrong and What Should Be Done

July 9th, 2021

The U.N. and other international organizations were designed to give structure to what we like to call the “international community” – establishing and expressing what we like to call “international laws” and “international norms.”

Over recent years, however, authoritarian regimes have been increasingly dominating these entities, and utilizing them for their own, decidedly illiberal ends.

FDD scholars have just published “A Better Blueprint for International Organizations,” a monograph with a foreword by former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, and contributions from a dozen FDD scholars. They make clear what went wrong and what can – and should – be done to fix this broken, indeed, increasingly corrupt, international system.

To discuss these issues, host Cliff May is joined by Richard Goldberg, a senior advisor to FDD and the monograph’s editor, and Morgan Viña, who served as chief of staff and senior policy advisor to Ambassador Haley and is now an adjunct fellow at FDD.

Raisi Rising

June 24th, 2021

An election – of sorts – was held in the Islamic Republic of Iran last week. The victor: Ebrahim Raisi, a hardline theocrat who has been sanctioned by the US for his involvement in the mass execution of political prisoners.

Voter turnout was reportedly low.

To discuss these developments, and how the Biden administration – among others – may respond, host Cliff May is joined by Ray Takeyh, formerly a senior advisor on Iran at the Department of State, currently a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations; Reuel Marc Gerecht, formerly a Middle Eastern specialist at the CIA’s Directorate of Operations, currently a senior fellow at FDD; and Benham Ben Taleblu, also a senior fellow at FDD where he focuses on Iranian security and political issues.

Tehran’s Nuclear Secrets

June 15th, 2021

David Albright is a physicist, a former nuclear inspector for the International Atomic Energy Agency, an expert on nuclear weapons and nuclear proliferation, and the founder and president of the Institute for Science and International Security – also known as “the Good ISIS.”

His important new book, written with Sarah Burkhard: “Iran’s Perilous Pursuit of Nuclear Weapons.”

It’s based on the secret archive of the nuclear weapons program of the Islamic Republic. Israeli spies located that archive in a warehouse in Tehran, and spirited much of it out of the country.

What David Albright reveals is alarming and should have a significant impact on the policies of the Biden administration vis-à-vis Iran’s rulers.

He joins host Cliff May and Andrea Stricker, who worked at the Good ISIS for 12 years, and is now a fellow at FDD where she conducts research on nuclear weapons proliferation and illicit procurement networks.

Eleven Days in May: The Latest Battle in the Long War Against Israel

May 28th, 2021

The Islamic Republic of Iran provides Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad with rockets and other weapons, technology, training, and funding. Over 11 days in May, the two groups fired more than four thousand rockets at Israeli cities and villages.

President Biden supported Israel’s right to defend itself but, at the same time, his envoys in Vienna have been negotiating a return to President Obama’s Iran deal. Iran’s rulers want billions of dollars and other concessions in exchange for allowing America to rejoin a deal that at most slows their progress toward a nuclear weapons capability.

Since money is fungible, that means America will be helping fund Hamas and Islamic Jihad, as well as Hezbollah and Ansar Allah in Yemen.

Joining host Cliff May to discuss these developments are Lahav Harkov, Senior Contributing Editor and Diplomatic Correspondent of The Jerusalem Post; Jonathan Schanzer, FDD Senior Vice President; and Brad Bowman, Senior Director of FDD's Center on Military and Political Power.

Biden’s Mission to Realign the Middle East

May 14th, 2021

President Biden has been eager to rejoin the deal that President Obama concluded with Iran’s rulers in 2015 and from which President Trump withdrew three years later.

The quarrel between advocates for, and critics of, the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has been viewed as a disagreement over how best to prevent the theocrats in Tehran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.

Michael Doran, a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute, and Tony Badran, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies dissent from that view. In Tablet, they’ve written a comprehensive analysis arguing that Mr. Biden intends to both enrich and empower Iran’s rulers – while simultaneously downgrading relations with Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Arab states, Israel, and other former friends (read their article here).

In other words, President Biden is attempting to establish a “new Middle Eastern order” — one that regards the Islamic Republic of Iran as America’s primary strategic partner in the region. They conclude also that President Biden has decided not to speak candidly about this dramatic change – which they call “The Realignment.”

As for latest kinetic battle between Israel and Hamas, they see that as an inevitable consequence of the Biden tilt toward Tehran. They discuss all this and more with Foreign Podicy host Cliff May.

The Middle East Muddle

May 10th, 2021

Here’s a riddle for you: Name something Presidents Obama, Trump, and Biden have in common? Here's one answer: None has appeared to understand the theological premises that motivate such groups as al Qaeda, the Taliban, and the Islamic State — nor those that drive the rulers of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Nor have they had clarity about the thinking of those brave Muslims who oppose such interpretations of Islam.

In this episode, host Cliff May discusses these and related issues with three eminent scholars.

Gilles Kepel has authored more than twenty academic books on contemporary Islam, the Arab World and Muslims in Europe, translated into numerous languages. A tenured Professor at Paris Sciences et Lettres University, his last essay, The Prophet and the Pandemic / From the Middle East to Atmospheric Jihadism, just released in French, has topped the best-seller lists and is currently being translated into English and a half-dozen languages. The excerpt: The Murder of Samuel Paty, is in the spring issue of Liberties Journal.

Bernard Haykel is a professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. His research focuses on the “political and social tensions that arise from questions about religious identity and authority” with a particular emphasis on Islam, history and the countries of the Arabian Peninsula. His books include Saudi Arabia in Transition and Revival and Reform in Islam.

And Reuel Marc Gerecht, a disciple of the late, great Bernard Lewis, is a former Middle Eastern specialist at the CIA’s Directorate of Operations, and currently a senior fellow at FDD.

Palestinians Head for the Polls – or Not

April 27th, 2021

In the West Bank and Gaza, elections are not frequent occurrences. The last one was in 2006. Hamas, a terrorist organization opposed to a two-state solution and openly committed to Israel’s extermination, won a parliamentary majority. A Palestinian civil war followed.

A year later, Hamas ruled Gaza while the Palestine Liberation Organization held power in the West Bank. Attempts over the years since to reunite the two Palestinian factions have failed.

New elections are now scheduled – more or less. We’re hearing that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbasis now seriously considering a postponement. Till when? Who knows?

To discuss what’s going on and what it may mean for Palestinians, Israelis, the U.S. and other interested parties, host Cliff May is joined by FDD’s Jonathan Schanzer and Matthew Zweig.

Beijing, the WHO, and the Pandemic

April 16th, 2021

In January, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on the World Health Organization to fully investigate the possibility that the COVID-19 virus escaped from a laboratory in Wuhan. He cited new U.S. intelligence that raises troubling questions. But China’s rulers have not been forthcoming.

Is the World Health Organization making a serious attempt to get at the truth? If not, what can and should be done? Those are just some of the issues Foreign Podicy host Cliff May explores with Anthony Ruggiero and Craig Singleton.

Anthony is a senior fellow at FDD. He has more than 19 years of government experience in both Republican and Democratic administrations. Most recently he served as Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, and National Security Council Senior Director for Counterproliferation and Biodefense.

Craig is an adjunct fellow at FDD. He previously spent more than a decade serving in a series of sensitive national security roles including overseas assignments at the U.S. embassies in Baghdad, Caracas, and Mexico City.

Putin vs. the Press

April 9th, 2021

In the Soviet Union, all media were controlled by the state, and foreign correspondents were severely restricted. Those who hoped — and perhaps believed — that freedom of speech and freedom of the press would be guaranteed to the people of post-Soviet Russia have been disappointed.

Not least, the Kremlin has been hostile toward journalists reporting for Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) — media outlets funded by the U.S. government.

To discuss what President Vladimir Putin is doing — and intends to do — to further limit and control reporting from Russia, Foreign Podicy host Cliff May is joined by Jamie Fly and Andrei Shary. Mr. Fly is president and CEO of RFE/RL. He has previously worked at the German Marshall Fund, and served as a senior staffer in the U.S. Congress, the National Security Council staff, and the Defense Department. Mr. Shary is the director of RFE/RL’s Russian Service.

The Thin Red Line: Joby Warrick on the U.S. Response to this Century’s Worst War Crimes

March 19th, 2021

Joby Warrick is a distinguished journalist, a longtime Washington Post national security reporter, and a Pulitzer Prize-winner. His latest book is: “Red Line: The Unraveling of Syria and America’s Race to Destroy the Most Dangerous Arsenal in the World.”

To discuss Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons to mass murder his fellow Syrians, and what the U.S. did – and did not – do about it, he joins David Adesnik, FDD’s Director of Research and senior fellow on Syria, and FDDs president and Foreign Podicy host Cliff May.

The UN and the Illiberal International Order

February 26th, 2021

With the defeat of the Axis Powers in 1945, the United States emerged as the strongest nation on earth. But rather than emulate hegemons of the past, American leaders envisioned a new and different world order.

Their goal was to organize an "international community," establish "universal human rights," and a growing body of "international law."

This project required new institutions, in particular the United Nations.

Three quarters of a century later, it requires willful blindness not to see that the UN and many other international organizations have become bloated and corrupt bureaucracies, increasingly serving the interests of despots.

To discuss what’s gone wrong and what might be done to prevent the UN and other international organizations from drifting further into the clutches of authoritarians host Clifford D. May is joined by Richard Goldberg, Orde Kittrie, and Emma Reilly.

Rich Goldberg is a Senior Advisor at FDD. Among his many government positions, Rich previously served as the Director for Countering Iranian Weapons of Mass Destruction for the National Security Council, and Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Foreign Policy Adviser to former Mark Kirk, both when Kirk was in the House and then the Senate. Rich is also an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve. We thank him for his service.

Also joining is Orde Kittrie. He, too, is a Senior Fellow at FDD as well as a professor of law. He is a leading expert on nonproliferation law and policy, and an expert on international law, particularly as it relates to the Middle East. On lawfare, well, he wrote the book. It’s title: Lawfare: Law as a Weapon of War. Orde served for over a decade in various legal and policy positions at the U.S. State Department. He was a lead US negotiator at the UN for the treaty on the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism and participated in drafting several UN Security Council resolutions.

Joining, too, is Emma Reilly who has worked in the field of human rights for almost 20 years. She joined the UN Human Rights Office in 2012. In 2013, she blew the whistle on an exceptional and dangerous policy: UN bureaucrats giving to the Chinese government the names of dissidents, including US citizens, who planned to engage UN human rights mechanisms. The bureaucracy’s response: To not fix the problem and to attempt to fire her instead.

All three join host Cliff May for this episode to discuss what happened and what, if anything, can be done moving forward to combat this high level of corruption.

Iran’s Road from Monarchy to Islamist Theocracy and Empire

February 11th, 2021

February 11, 2021 is the forty-second anniversary of the revolution that transformed Iran from a Western-aligned monarchy to an anti-Western Islamist theocracy.

Ray Takeyh is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, one of America’s leading analysts of contemporary Iran, and the author of a new book: “The Last Shah: America, Iran and the Fall of the Pahlavi Dynasty.”

Reuel Marc Gerecht is a senior fellow at FDD, a former officer in the CIA’s Directorate of Operations, and also an expert on Iran — both contemporary and ancient.

Both join host Cliff May to discuss the Revolution.

Thinking Bigly at Foggy Bottom

January 29th, 2021

Starting in 2019, and until the recent change of administration, Peter Berkowitz served as director of Policy Planning at the State Department. That’s the government ideas shop that George Kennan established in 1947.

Dr. Berkowitz was an unusual choice for this job in that his background is scholarly rather than governmental. He holds a doctorate in political science and a law degree, both from Yale University.

He was, and now continues, as the Tad and Dianne Taube Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, where he studies, thinks, and writes about the principles of freedom, the American constitutional tradition, political ideas and ideologies, national security, Middle Eastern politics – pretty much anything he likes.

Having emerged from Foggy Bottom, he joins host Cliff May to discuss his adventures in government and the issues he grappled with while there.

Arms Control and the Man

December 22nd, 2020

Marshall Billingslea has worked on a range of significant and difficult national security issues.

He served as Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing at the Treasury Department, president of the international Financial Action Task Force, Deputy Under Secretary of the Navy, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Negotiations Policy. He’s also been an Assistant Secretary General at NATO.

Last April, he was appointed Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control with the personal rank of ambassador — a challenging portfolio over the months that have followed.

To find out more, he joins Cliff May and Bradley Bowman, senior director of FDD’s Center on Military and Political Power, for a discussion on the latest national security issues.

The Powers that Should Be

December 2nd, 2020

Robert Gates served as secretary of defense under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. He also has served as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and he was a member of the National Security Council in four administrations. In all, he worked for eight presidents of both political parties. And he served in uniform, in the US Air Force, something we at Foreign Podicy consider always worthy of note and praise. He’s written a new book: Exercise of Power: American Failures, Successes, and a New Path Forward in the Post-Cold War World.

Eric Edelman has served in senior positions in the both the State and Defense Departments. He was the US ambassador to Finland and Turkey in the Clinton and Bush administrations. He retired from the Foreign Service as a career minister. He’s now a senior advisor for FDD.

Both join host Cliff May to discuss a range of national security and defense issues.

The Rise of the Illiberal World Order

November 19th, 2020

In theory, the United Nations and other international organizations express the will of something called “the international community,” while enforcing something called the “liberal international rules-based order.”

In practice, the UN and other international organizations now pursue different agendas.

John Bolton served as National Security Advisor under President Trump, as U.S. ambassador to the UN under President George W. Bush, and in senior positions under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

He has long been concerned that the UN and other international organizations are drifting – or being pushed – and what such transformations portend for the United States and other free nations.

Richard Goldberg is a former director on the National Security Council. He also served as a foreign policy advisor in both the House and Senate. He is now a senior advisor at FDD.

Both join Cliff to discuss what’s become of the modern experiment in internationalism.

Sharansky’s Lives

November 6th, 2020

Natan Sharansky grew up in the Soviet Union where he became an elite mathematician and chess whiz. But he also became a dissident, a human rights activist, and a supporter of Israel’s right to exist – in other words: a Zionist. In 1978, Soviet authorities arrested him, ran him through a kangaroo court, and then sent him to the Gulag. When he was released by Mikhail Gorbachev nine years later, he emigrated to Israel, where he became a politician, and then a communal leader. In tandem with the eminent American historian, Gil Troy, he tells his story in a new book: Never Alone: Prison, Politics, and My People. Both join Foreign Podicy host Cliff May to discuss their book.

China’s German Connection

October 19th, 2020

Chinese President Xi Jinping sees the United States as the primary adversary and rival of the People’s Republic of China. His intention is to end America’s tenure as global leader, and to begin his nation’s tenure as global ruler. Until recently most people in the West didn’t understand that.  Actually, many still do not.

A few scholars are investigating the means by which Xi and the Chinese Communist Party are attempting to realize their ambitions. 

Emily de La Bruyere is a senior fellow at FDD focusing on China. She has pioneered novel data collection and analysis tools tailored to Beijing’s strategic and institutional structures. She has extensive Chinese language research and program management experience.

Nathan Picarsic also is a senior fellow at FDD who studies China, in particular Beijing’s impact across key economic and military areas. 

They join host Cliff May to discuss the findings in their alarming new report: “Made in Germany, Co-opted by China.”

The U.S. Military’s Southern Exposure: Trouble in the Neighborhood

October 16th, 2020

The U.S. Southern Command, SOUTHCOM, is one of six geographic combatant commands. It’s responsible for planning, operations and security cooperation in Central America, South America, and most of the Caribbean.

It’s a joint command including military and civilian personnel from the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marine Corps, the Coast Guard, and several federal agencies.  Its mission is to deter aggressors, defeat threats, respond to crises, and work with allied and partner nations to defend the U.S. homeland and America’s national interests.

The SOUTHCOM Commander, Admiral Craig S. Faller, is a Naval Academy graduate who served as Commander of the John C. Stennis Strike Group / Carrier Strike Group 3 in support of Operations New Dawn (in Iraq) and Enduring Freedom (in Afghanistan).  He has also served as the Director of Operations (J3) in U.S. Central Command, and as the Chief of Navy Legislative Affairs, which is where he worked with Bradley Bowman, senior director of FDD’s Center on Military and Political Power (CMPP).  

Both join FDD Foreign Podicy host Cliff May for a discussion of the challenges and threats posed by America’s enemies and adversaries in this vital region.

H.R. McMaster and the Fight to Defend the Free World

October 2nd, 2020

LTG (Ret.) H.R. McMaster is a soldier, scholar and strategist. A graduate of West Point, he served in the U.S. Army for 34 years, earning a doctorate in history along the way, and retiring as a Lieutenant General. From February 2017 until April 2018, he was President Trump's National Security Advisor. He's currently the Fouad and Michelle Ajami Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and he's also the chairman of the advisory board of FDD's Center on Military and Political Power.

He's just published a new book, Battlegrounds: The Fight to Defend the Free World. He joins Cliff to discuss his time as the U.S. National Security Advisor, his assessment of the latest international security issues ranging from China and Russia to Afghanistan, and his book — including what he hopes the next U.S. administration can gain from it.

The Iraq-Iran War: An Unhappy 40th Anniversary

September 24th, 2020

On September 22, 1980, Iraq and Iran went to war. The conflict dragged on for eight long years, taking an estimated half million lives. When it was over, both countries and the Middle East had been profoundly changed.

Behnam Ben Taleblu, an Iran expert and senior fellow at FDD — also a native Farsi speaker who has been intensively studying the region for years — talks with host Cliff May about this not-so-well-remembered war, and its significant fallout.

For additional background reading, read Behnam's latest article, "Why The Iran-Iraq War Matters For The Success Of Maximum Pressure," here.

Our Man in Geneva: The UN is bigger – but not better – than you think.

September 17th, 2020

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in New York is often a high-profile figure. Think of Nikki Haley, John Bolton, Jeane Kirkpatrick — or, going back further, Adlai Stevenson, Arthur Goldberg, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and Andrew Young.

American ambassadors to the United Nations in Geneva – where there also are dozens of UN-affiliated international organizations – tend to be less well-known, but they have important work they can do – if they want to.

Ambassador Andrew Bremberg has been in that job for about a year, and he joins host Cliff May to discuss what he’s seen and done, and what the UN is and isn’t doing. Also contributing to the conversation is Richard Goldberg, a former White House National Security Council official who spent a decade on Capitol Hill overseeing U.S. foreign assistance. Rich now serves as a senior advisor at FDD and leads FDD’s International Organizations Program.

Ron Dermer on Israel in a Changing Middle East

August 26th, 2020

Ambassador Ron Dermer has been Israel’s ambassador to the United States since 2013 – not an uneventful period for Israel, America and the Middle East. Most recently he has been encouraged by the prospect of Israel and the United Arab Emirates normalizing relations, and by President Trump’s decision to “snap back” sanctions on Iran’s hostile rulers. Also on his mind: why Palestinian leaders would be smart to resume negotiations with Israeli leaders (and why they almost certainly won’t), and the threat posed by Hezbollah, the most powerful political and military force in Lebanon, a state suffering multiple crises. Ambassador Dermer discusses these and other issues with Foreign Podicy host Cliff May.

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