In this 7th interview on December 6, 2021, Prof. Aurel Braun at the University of Toronto assesses the state of Russia’s society and economy, Putin’s world view, and Russian interests in Ukraine. He distinguishes the Kremlin’s apparent successes at presenting strength abroad from its actual weaknesses at home. Putin’s large-scale deployments to Ukraine may be an effort to divert attention from those weaknesses. But however much Putin fears Ukraine as a potential democracy, he is not reckless, and an actual invasion of Ukraine seems unlikely at the moment. A diplomatic resolution of the Ukraine crisis, however, seems equally unlikely.
For the audio version only: https://www.podserve.fm/episodes/45270/28-interview-of-prof-aurel-braun-on-russian-foreign-policy.m4a
The sixth interview (November 9, 2021) is with Keith Luse, Executive Director of the National Committee on North Korea. He examines recent developments in North Korean society, its national defense priorities, and relations with the US. He dissects controversial issues such as use of sanctions, the North Korean threat to the US, and the role of domestic politics in both the North and the US in shaping the leadership’s views in both countries. (I regret that my recording error led to Mr. Luse’s picture being omitted.)
The audio version of the interview is on PodServe at https://www.podserve.fm/episodes/43536/24-interview-of-keith-luse-on-north-korea.m4a
The fifth interview (September 1, 2021) focuses on nuclear weapons and the groundbreaking Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which entered into force in January 2021. My guest is Richard Tanter, Senior Research Associate at the Nautilus Institute, Honorary Professor in the School of Political and Social Sciences at the University of Melbourne, and a former president of the Australian board of the International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in October 2017. Tanter discusses the significance of the treaty from legal, political, and ethical viewpoints, including its departure from various arms control agreements. Audio version at https://www.podserve.fm/episodes/39244/18-interview-of-richard-tanter-on-the-treaty-on-the-prohibition-of-nuclear-weapons.m4a. Watch and listen here:
In the fourth interview (August 26, 2021), I discuss the Afghanistan war and the return of Taliban rule with Benon Sevan, a longtime senior official with the UN and former personal representative of the secretary-general from 1988 to 1991. Mr. Sevan comments on the futility of nation building in Afghanistan, the American misadventure, and the prospects for international cooperation in working with the Taliban, among other issues. Watch and listen here:
This third conversation, conducted July 23, 2021, is with Prof. James N. Green, the Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Professor of Latin American History at Brown University. He’s an expert on Brazil where, under the rightwing government of Jair Bolsonaro, over a half million people have died from the pandemic, democracy has been set back, and the Amazon rainforest and its indigenous people have suffered immensely. Jim Green has written and co-edited 11 books on Brazil and Latin America in English and six in Portuguese, including Brazil: Five Centuries of Change, and Modern Latin America. He is the National Cooordinator of the U.S. Network for Democracy in Brazil, a decentralized, democratic, and non-partisan network of Brazilian and U.S. friends of Brazil living in the United States that mobilizes public opinion against the policies of the Bolsonaro government. Watch and listen here:
This second Zoom interview, conducted June 16, 2021, is with Prof. Carla Freeman, Director of the Foreign Policy Institute and Associate Research Professor, China Studies, at the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, Washington, DC. Our topic is US-China relations.