Russian fingerprints on the hacking of our election, and possibly the Brexit vote. Electronic leaks showing CIA efforts to compromise Microsoft, and NSA infiltration into the Middle East banking system, Internet fraud, and identity theft. Cyber security expert Adam Levin tells Jim it’s a dark world out there in the digital age.
The Russians hacked the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s private server. The North Koreans hacked SONY. The U.S. hacked Angela Merkel’s cell phone and Dilma Rouseff’s email. The U.S. and the Israelis hacked Iran’s nuclear installation in Natanz, and set the program back for at least five years. Council on Foreign Relations cyber-security expert Adam Segal tells Jim that whether on offense or defense, America lives in a new hacked world order.
An unraveling Middle East, a seemingly out-of control North Korea, an increasingly assertive China, a stalled Asia trade agreement, Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass tours the globe to review the challenges confronting the next President, and tells Jim he sees a “world in disarray.”
For most of the past 15 years, veteran diplomat Frank Wisner has been part of a secret back channel, negotiating the Iran nuclear deal on a second tier with high-level Iranians, including Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. He tells Jim why the deal, despite imperfections, is in the national interest.
A country divided for 75 years, Korea has been called the “last outpost of the Cold War.” Its President, Park Geun-hye, has made reunification a priority before she leaves office in 2018. Air Force Colonel Clint Hinote, Commander of the 8th Fighter Wing at Kunsan Air Base, tells Jim that if reunification is to be accomplished, it must happen soon.
We live in a chaotic world. Will Europe implode? Will ISIS proliferate its venomous brand to North Africa, Yemen or Bahrain? Will there be, as Leon Panetta has suggested, a terrorist attack on the United States? Is our government dysfunctional, particularly our foreign policy? Risk analyst Michael Moran gives Jim his assessment of what’s in store in 2015.
The world seems plagued by instability, and American foreign policy doesn’t seem to know how to deal with it. Obama failed to show up in Paris. Europe is besieged with rising nationalism and anti-Semitism. The Middle East is chaotic. Russia continues its moves on Ukraine. Nuclear talks with Iran face domestic opposition in both countries. China’s leader is ruthless as he cracks down on dissidents.Foreign Affairs Editor Emeritus Jim Hoge tells Jim we are hanging in there, but our grip is loosening.
Since World War Two, Japan has relied almost exclusively on the United States for its security framework to counteract China’s attempt at hegemony in the Asia-Pacific region. Today, right wing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe makes mutual security arrangements with India, Australia and Indonesia as he refuses to acknowledge the horror of Japan’s militaristic past. Sheila Smith tells Jim that the US must craft a new policy to manage the Japan relationship.
Beheadings and air strikes in Syria, a 50-day war in Gaza with a debatable outcome, a continuing armed conflict with Islamic militants, we all wonder where American interests are headed in the Middle East. Former Bush Administration adviser and Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations Elliott Abrams tells Jim he sees little change ahead as events unfold.
With pro-Russian protesters storming governmental buildings in East Ukraine, Putin seems poised to invade Ukraine to restore order. Will he do it? Will he go on to Moldova or the Baltic states to whom we owe common defense obligations under NATO? Russian expert Stephen Sestanovich tells Jim Zirin that Obama must support Ukraine economically and show a more robust response if Putin’s geopolitical ambitions are to be deterred.
Snowden revealed a massive NSA spying program that embarrassed our relations with friendly countries and reminded many Americans of Orwell’s 1984. Was he a traitor or a whistleblower? CIA spymaster Fred Hitz tells Jim that Snowden might have better made his case for clemency had he thrown himself on the mercy of an American court rather than fleeing to the eager arms of Putin.
As we embark on our first bilateral negotiations with Iran in 35 years, the question arises whether Tehran is sincere about a deal or is merely playing for time while its military arm perfects nuclear weapons. Former State Department Legal Adviser Abraham Sofaer tells Jim we must employ the same policy that worked with the former Soviet Union—engage Iran diplomatically, while we forcefully confront Iranian attempts to project power beyond their borders.
The Boston PD never knew the FBI had questioned Tsarnaev. With more sophisticated intelligence reaching deep into the Islamic community, state-of-the art surveillance cameras, and a great track record of stopping terrorist plots before they go operational, the NYPD would have been well positioned to thwart the Boston tragedy, argues former NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Counter-terrorism Richard Falkenrath. He tells Jim what needed to be done.
Hacking generally has a pejorative meaning, namely, someone who accesses a computer by circumventing its security system. But, hacking may also refer to excellence in programming —the kind of innovation that built the Internet. Penn Professor Andrea Matwyshyn knows the difference and tells Jim Zirin how to stay away from the dark side of the Internet.
Obama says he is free to use drones to attack senior members of al Qaeda who are planning to attack the United States. So far drones may have killed as many as 4700 people, including American citizens. What, if any, limitations should be placed on the President in using drones to target and kill suspected terrorists? Council on Foreign Relations Fellow Micah Zenko tells Jim that definitive standards are necessary to prevent drone attacks from spinning out of control.
In recent decades, Mexico has turned the corner politically and economically, while immigration and security issues persist. Council on ForeignRelations Senior Fellow for Latin American Studies Shannon O’Neil tells Jim that we are two nations indivisible, and that the two countries must collaborate further in their own national interests.
Adam, a top cyber-war strategist, assesses the escalation in China’s cyber-attacks on U.S. interests and argues that as China steps up the hacking, America must change its game plan, shore up its defenses and counterattack.
The Council on Foreign Relations President elaborates a new foreign policy doctrine he has devised for the 21st Century called “Restoration.” He explains how Restoration informs our decision whether to strike Iran, give aid to the Syrian opposition; and, above all, rebuild fiscal and economic stability at home.
The CFR Japan expert defines what is meant by the “pivot” and compares Japanese Internet freedom with China’s crackdown on free expression. She tells Jim of Japan’s recovery from the March 11 “triple disasters”, Prime Minister Noda’s dramatic December trips to Beijing and Delhi, how Japan will manage its security concerns with North Korea, and what this all means to United States interests in the region.
When Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others were killed in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, people wondered whether it was an al Qaeda hit or the lawless action of an enraged mob. Some in Congress called for an end to foreign aid to Libya and Egypt. Former Ambassador to Egypt Frank Wisner surveys the Middle East and tells Jim why we are there to stay.
The redoubtable Council on Foreign Relations president considers whether it is the surging price of oil, the implosion of the Japanese reactors, revolutions in the Middle-East, Iran, North Korea, China or al Qaeda. Then, he gives an answer that will surprise you.
Bill Clinton’s Undersecretary of Commerce and President of Washington’s National Foreign Trade Council, talks about the fall-out for the Bush administration since DP World pulled out of a deal to acquire six US ports and terminals.
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