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A podcast from the Foreign Policy Research Institute examining America’s role on the world stage. Every two weeks we’ll talk to experts about policy relevant news from around the world and why it matters for U.S. foreign policy. Please note this podcast was named the Middle East Brief prior to 2021.
 
The BackChannel is a podcast of the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI) where scholars analyze contemporary geopolitical events through FPRI's unique lens of history, geography, and culture. In each episode, FPRI Templeton Fellows Ron Granieri, Dominic Tierney, and Nada Bakos will welcome a guest expert to present a current geopolitical controversy, which they will then analyze together.
 
FPRI Radio is a podcast dedicated to topical discussions between members of the FPRI staff and leading experts on current events relating to and affecting world affairs in the diplomatic, informational, military, and economic domains. These conversations generally range from between 15 and 45 minutes in duration.
 
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In this special series hosted by FPRI Fellow and BMB Russia founder, Aaron Schwartzbaum, we’ll explore politics, economics, and their intersection in Russia, Ukraine, and the post-Soviet space and beyond. This week Aaron speaks with Fabian Burkhardt, a research fellow at the Leibniz Institute for East and Southeast European Studies, about Russian P…
 
President Biden just finished a three-country trip, where he met with world leaders in the United Kingdom, Belgium, and in Switzerland. The main focus of the trip was to reinvigorate U.S. alliances in Europe and with NATO. To discuss the trip, Aaron spoke this week with Rachel Ellehuus, the deputy director and a senior fellow with the Europe, Russi…
 
This week we’d like to introduce a special series recorded in collaboration with FPRI’s BMB Russia, a news brief that brings together the latest on Russia’s economy, politics, business, and political risk environment. In this special series hosted by FPRI Fellow and BMB Russia founder, Aaron Schwartzbaum, we’ll explore politics, economics, and thei…
 
On this episode, Aaron speaks with Mike Benitez, a U.S. military officer and creator of the Merge newsletter, about the challenges of finding mobile rocket launchers in an urban environment. The views expressed in this episode do not necessarily represent the official policy or position of the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.…
 
The relationship between the Russian Federation and Republic of Turkey is one of the most important bilateral relationships in Eurasia today. This week Aaron chats with Robert Hamilton and Anna Mikulska, authors of FPRI's latest report "Russian-Turkish Relations and Their Implications for the West '' about the major drivers of the bilateral relatio…
 
In this episode, Aaron speaks with Mule about the lessons that the United States should from the Russian Aerospace Forces’ operations in Syria. Mule is preparing to deploy to Jordan to command an operational support squadron. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official policy or position of the U.S. Ai…
 
On this week's episode, Dr. Thomas Lynch joins the show to discuss his latest book, Strategic Assessment 2020: Into a New Era of Great Power Competition, which includes a series of essays about Great Power Competition and U.S. national security policy. The podcast discussed themes from the essays and U.S. policy under both President Trump and Presi…
 
The air war against the Islamic State was critical to the territorial defeat of the group's territorial caliphate and a key enabler of American partner operation led ground combat. To discuss the air war, Aaron spoke this week with Stacie L. Pettyjohn, director of the Strategy and Doctrine Program of RAND Project AIR FORCE, and Becca Wasser, a fell…
 
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has launched a global posture review, shortly after taking office. To discuss the process and the likely implications for U.S. posture in the Central Command area of operation, Aaron speaks this week with Becca Wasser, a Fellow at the Center for New American Security's Defense Program and Co-Lead, The Gaming Lab.…
 
Great power competition is likely to outlast the Trump presidency. To discuss the Biden Administration’s national security priorities and the role that special forces are likely to play, Aaron speaks with Tim Ball, a special forces officer and a fellow in FPRI’s National Security Program.By Foreign Policy Research Instit
 
The war in Nagorno-Karabakh is a human tragedy, but also provides observers the opportunity to monitor modern conflict and think closely about lessons for Western militaries. To discuss the on-going conflict and what it may mean for future combat, Aaron speaks this week with Michael Kofman, Director of the Russia Studies Program at the CNA, Jack Wa…
 
A few weeks ago, an AI algorithm beat a human pilot in a series of simulated dogfights, as part of the AlphaDogfight challenge to “demonstrate the feasibility of developing effective, intelligent autonomous agents capable of defeating adversary aircraft in a dogfight." The simulation touched off debate about the future of air combat. To discuss thi…
 
Events in Syria have brought American and Russian militaries into close contact. In recent weeks, a video emerged showing Russian helicopters flying low over an American patrol, and it was later revealed that US soldiers were injured when a Russian vehicle rammed an American vehicle. To discuss ground deconfliction, Aaron spoke this week with Bob H…
 
In this week's episode, Chris and Stephanie speak with David Szakonyi about his new book "Politics for Profit: Business, Elections, and Policymaking in Russia" which explores why Russian business people choose to leave the private sector, why they contest elections, and what the consequences are for their firms and for society when they win. Learn …
 
Israel and the United Arab Emirates agreed to begin negotiations to normalize relations, so long as Prime Minister Netanyahu suspends his plans to annex the West Bank. The move was widely welcomed as beneficial for regional stability, but also raised questions about whether it was sustainable. To discuss the agreement, Aaron spoke with Dr. Joshua K…
 
This past week, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper announced that the United States would withdraw 11,800 troops from Germany, with 5.600 of those being repositioned at other locations in Europe, and the remainder being redeployed to the continental United States, but could be called to deploy to Europe on a rotational basis. To discuss these proposed…
 
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has threatened to send armed forces across the border with Libya, following Turkey's successful ousting of Khalifa Haftar from territory his militia held in the western part of the country. The flashpoint is Sirte, where Turkish-backed forces are deployed and possibly preparing to assault, and which Sisi has …
 
The United States Treasury will soon announce the first round of sanctions associated with the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act, which is intended to punish the regime for its killing of civilians and aims to help broker dialogue to end the conflict. To discuss the sanctions, and whether they may do more harm than good, Aaron spoke with Basma A…
 
In this week's episode, Aaron speaks with two of the three authors of The ISIS Reader: Milestone Texts of the Islamic State Movement, Haroro J. Ingram and Craig Whiteside. The discussion touched on the period after the killing of Zarqawi, but before the group's take over of Mosul. For interested listeners, Haroro and Craig spoke in more depth about…
 
Lebanon finds itself in a financial crisis, brought about by years of economic mismanagement and political dysfunction. The economic fall-out from a relatively good response to the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated these negative trends, raising questions about the trajectory and strength of on-going protests about social and economic inequality. T…
 
This week, Aaron held a virtual discussion with Inna Rudolf, the author of "The Future of the Popular Mobilization Forces after the Assassination of Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis," the third chapter for FPRI's forthcoming edited volume, Iraq in Transition: Competing Actors and Complicated Politics*. The conversation focused on the Popular Mobilization Forc…
 
This week, Aaron held a virtual discussion with Ben Robin-D'Cruz and Renad Mansour, the authors of "Making Sense of the Sadrists: Fragmentation and Unstable Politics," the first chapter for FPRI's forthcoming edited volume, Iraq in Transition: Competing Actors and Complicated Politics*. The conversation focused on the Sadrist movement, its place in…
 
On this week's Middle East Brief, Aaron speaks with Dr. Afshon Ostovar, an associate professor at Naval PostGraduate School and a Fox Fellow at FPRI, about Iran's response to the COVID-19 virus, its regional priorities, and what the future may entail for competition with the United States.By Foreign Policy Research Instit
 
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