Top 10 Podcasts for the 2017-2018 Program Year

July 10, 2018

Via Pixabay (Creative Commons)

Carnegie Council presents the top 10 most downloaded video and audio podcasts from our program year, July 1, 2017-June 30, 2018. The number one most accessed podcast was Scott Sagan on nuclear weapons (video), followed by Qin Gao on poverty in China (video), Ambassador Derek Mitchell on Burma (audio),  Amy Chua on political tribes (video), and Andreas Harsono on Indonesia (audio).

Note that all these video podcasts are short highlights only. To access the full transcripts and audios, plus links to the full videos which are on YouTube, scroll down to the RELATED section for each video.


1) Scott D. Sagan: Scott D. Sagan on the Nuclear Necessity Principle
Major changes must be made if U.S. nuclear war plans are to conform to the principles of just war doctrine and the law of armed conflict, declares Stanford University's Scott Sagan. He proposes a new doctrine: "the nuclear necessity principle." In sum, the U.S. will not use nuclear weapons against any target that could be reliably destroyed by conventional means. (Ethics Matter Interview Series, video, transcript, and audio, August 2017)

2) Poverty Reduction & Social Welfare in China, with Qin Gao
Professor Qin Gao, director of Columbia's China Center for Social Policy, explains the workings of the Chinese "Dibao" (limited income guarantee) system. "Dibao is doing relatively better than many other similar programs in developing countries," says Gao, yet it has limitations and some negative aspects. She also discusses Xi Jinping's ambitious goal to eradicate poverty by 2020, and the benefits of a Universal Basic Income (UBI) system. (Ethics Matter Interview Series, video, transcript, and audio, May 2018)

3) Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations, with Amy Chua
"The United States today is starting to display destructive political dynamics much more typically associated with developing countries: ethno-nationalist movements, the erosion of trust in our institutions and electoral outcomes, and above all, the transformation of democracy into an engine of zero-sum political tribalism," declares Yale Law School's Chua. (Public Affairs Program, video, transcript, and audio, March 2018)

4) Rescue: Refugees and the Political Crisis of Our Time, with David Miliband
Today there are 65 million people who have fled their homes because of conflict or persecution, says the International Rescue Committee's David Miliband. These are refugees not economic migrants, and half of them are children. It's a long-term crisis that will last our lifetimes. Why should we care? And what can we do about it, both at a policy level and as individuals? (Public Affairs Program, video, transcript, and audio, December 2017)

5) The Dangers of a Digital Democracy, with Rana Foroohar 
The revelations about the misuse of Facebook data have started a pushback against the top five big tech companies: Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google. How do approaches to privacy and data use differ in the U.S., Europe and China? What kind of transparency should we demand? How will AI affect workers? All this and more in a lively and informative discussion with author and "Financial Times" columnist Rana Foroohar. (Ethics Matter Interview Series, video, transcript, and audio, April 2018)

6) Tunisia: An Arab Anomaly with Safwan M. Masri
Did you know that Tunisia started championing women's rights in the eighth century, and is still far ahead of most Arab and Muslim-majority countries? Indeed Tunisia's trajectory on many fronts has been radically more progressive than that of other Arab nations. So while it it may serve as an inspiration, its unique history probably makes its success impossible to duplicate, says Columbia University's Safwan Masri. (Public Affairs Program, video, transcript, and audio, January 2018)

7) The Peacemakers: Leadership Lessons from Twentieth-Century Statesmanship, with Bruce Jentleson
What are the qualities and conditions that enable people to become successful peacemakers? At a time when peace seems elusive and conflict endemic, Duke University's Bruce Jentleson makes a forceful and inspiring case for the continued relevance of statesmanship and diplomacy and provides practical guidance to 21st-century leaders seeking lessons from some of history's most accomplished negotiators, activists, and trailblazers. (Special event in partnership with Carnegie Corporation of New York, video, transcript, and audio, April 2018)

8)  Free-Enterprise Solutions to Climate Change, with Bob Inglis 
Republican politician Bob Inglis used to think that climate change was nonsense; but his son—and science—changed his mind. Today he advocates letting market forces do their work. "The thing to do is to make it apparent in the marketplace what the costs of energy are, and eliminate all the subsidies, and have a level playing field and a strong competition. If you do that, we can fix climate change. That is what needs to be done." (Ethics Matter Interview Series, video, transcript, and audio, October 2017)

9) To Fight Against This Age: On Fascism and Humanism, with Rob Riemen  
No more euphemisms and denials, says Nexus Institute's Rob Riemen in this frightening and inspiring talk. Call it by its name: fascism. Neither technology, nor economic growth, nor political activism can fix this, he continues. We must create a new counterculture that replaces kitsch and conformism with truth, empathy, beauty, and justice. (Public Affairs Program, video, transcript, and audio, February 2018)

10) Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’ Trap? With Graham Allison
Thucydides is not saying that the inevitable frictions between a rising power and a ruling one will always lead to war, says Harvard University's Allison. The danger is when "third-party actions become provocations to which one or the other feels obliged to react, to which the other primary actor feels obliged to respond, which then leads to a cascade, often dragging people where they do not want to go." Think North Korea. (Public Affairs Program, video, transcript, and audio, November 2017)


1) Moral Leadership Missing in Burma, with Ambassador Derek Mitchell
Former ambassador to Burma Derek Mitchell examines the complex situation there, including the roots of the ongoing Rohingya crisis and China's influence in Burma. Aung San Suu Kyi is not providing the necessary leadership, he says—despite her constraints she should be speaking out about the Rohingya and about free speech, for example. Nevertheless, she has been given too much flak, and this has become counterproductive. (Asia Dialogues, podcast with transcript, January 2018)

2) Is Indonesia Becoming Like Pakistan? with Andreas Harsono
The maximum penalty for blasphemy in Pakistan is death, and public protest is not allowed. Indonesia is nowhere near as bad as this—yet. "Indonesia is now going down the Pakistan route," says Andreas Harsono of Human Rights Watch. "There are more and more political manipulations using the blasphemy law, and there are more and more discriminatory regulations against minorities in Indonesia." (Asia Dialogues, podcast with transcript, February 2018)

3) The Future of War: A History, with Lawrence Freedman 
"Though most of the literature you will read on the future of war certainly talks about war as between regular armies, as proper fights, now with drones or with autonomous vehicles or robots or whatever, or even painless—cyber and so on—yet actually the reality of war is as it has always been: it is vicious, and it is nasty, and it kills the wrong people, and it does so in considerable numbers."---Sir Lawrence Freedman, King's College London (Public Affairs Program, podcast with transcript and video, October 2017)

4) What the Qur'an Meant: And Why It Matters with Garry Wills    
How can we engage with Muslims around the world without really understanding what they believe? On studying the Qur'an, religious scholar Garry Wills found that many of our perceptions of Islam are false or distorted. Most surprisingly, Islam is a very inclusive religion, more so than Judaism or Christianity. What's more, the Qur'an gives women more property rights than early Christian women had. With official Arabic translation—text and video subtitles. (Public Affairs Program, podcast with transcript and video, October 2017)

5) George Friedman: The End of the International Order and the Future of Asia
Tired of conventional wisdom? Check out geopolitical forecaster George Friedman. The period that began at the end of World War II was a freak, he says. "We're returning to a more normal structure in which the nation-state is dominant, international trade is intense but managed by states for their own benefit, and where this idea that the nation-state is obsolete goes away." And find out why he's bullish on Japan and thinks we overestimate China. (Asia Dialogues, podcast with transcript, July 2017)

6)  Marlene Laruelle on Europe's Far-Right Political Movements
What has led to the rise of far-right parties across Europe and how have they evolved over time? Is immigration really the main issue, or is there a more complex set of problems that vary from nation to nation? What are the ideological and practical connections between the far right and Russia? Carnegie Council Senior Fellow Marlene Laruelle is an expert on Europe, Russia, Eurasia, and Europe's far right. Don't miss her analysis. With French text translation. (Ethics Matter Interview Series/U.S. Global Engagement Program, podcast with transcript and video, November 2017)

7)  Humanitarian Ethics and the Red Cross, with Hugo Slim
"I would say that the principle of humanity, and humanity in war even, is a global ethic. We can trace it through human history," says ICRC's Hugo Slim. An in-depth discussion about the work of the Red Cross and its core humanitarian ethics as laid out in the Geneva Convention: humanity and compassion; the principal of a clear distinction between combatants and noncombatants; and proportionality in the weapons and the force used. (Devin Stewart podcast with transcript, December 2017)

8)  Liberals' Lament? A Conversation between Joel Rosenthal and Devin Stewart   
Carnegie Council President Joel Rosenthal and Senior Fellow Devin Stewart discuss the challenges to liberalism, in the United States and on the international stage, and explain today's debates through a historical context. (Podcast, audio only, October 2017)

9) To Fight Against This Age: On Fascism and Humanism, with Rob Riemen       
For description, see #9 top video. (Public Affairs Program, podcast with transcript and video, February 2018)

10) Joshua Eisenman on "Chinese National Socialism"
Under Xi Jinping, China is stepping up a crackdown on freedom of expression, including in universities, reports China expert Joshua Eisenman. Is this the beginning of a new Cultural Revolution, as some people fear? If so, we need to understand that this time it will be a Cultural Revolution of the political right, not the left, says Eisenman. "The tactics that they're using are neo-Maoist tactics, but the ideas are neo-fascist." (Asia Dialogues, podcast with transcript, August 2017)