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Russia, behind the headlines as well as in the shadows. This podcast is the audio counterpart to Mark Galeotti's blog of the same name, a place where "one of the most informed and provocative voices on modern Russia", can talk about Russia historical and (more often) contemporary, discuss new books and research, and sometimes talk to other Russia-watchers. It will come out at least once a month, but if you'd like to try and make sure it comes out more often, support my work, or want to ask q ...
 
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Wars have always been fought in different ways, depending not only on the manpower available – elite professional armies to mass mobilization of whole populations - but also on technological developments, all the way from medieval siege engines to modern fighter jets. Recent developments suggest that there is much more rapid change to come as infor…
 
Trump’s voters. The yellow jackets in France. Putin’s base in Russia. The Brexiteers. One thing all these groups have in common is anger – anger at being left behind, anger about de industrialization, anger at the arrogance and wealth of the elite. But what more can be said about the nature of that anger and the different aspects of it? In Angrynom…
 
Oil, the State, and War: The Foreign Policies of Petrostates (Georgetown University Press, 2022) by Dr. Emma Ashford presents a comprehensive challenge to prevailing understanding of international implications of oil wealth that shows why it can create bad actors. In a world where oil-rich states are more likely to start war than their oil-dependen…
 
There have been times when Korea has lived in periods of prolonged stability and tranquillity. But there have also been times, such as now, when it seems to have an outsized influence on global affairs – as is certainly the case of North Korea the influence of which is far bigger than its GDP figures would suggest it might have. With is nuclear cap…
 
On its face, spying and counter-intelligence activities seem morally suspect. They tend to involve sneaking, deceiving, and manipulating, as well as various forms of betrayal, treachery, and disloyalty. Yet intelligence and counter-intelligence operations are mainstays of any modern state. Are we to conclude that these activities are wrong, but non…
 
I play around with the concept of Putinism-Patrushevism, that while Putin's broad ambitions may be pretty consistent over time, quite how they are understood and meant to be achieved varies over time depending on who has most influence with him - and now, sadly, it's Nikolai Patrushev, leading to the current state of the country. (I float this idea…
 
How do military organizations learn? Robert W. Tomlinson's book The Influence of Foreign Wars on U.S. Domestic Military Policy (Lexington, 2022) covers an important instance of military learning in which the United States military systematically examined the lessons of Israel's decisive victory in the 1973 Yom Kippur War and applied those lessons t…
 
Too often, we are told that Russia plays a weak hand well. But, perhaps the nation's cards are better than we know. Russia ranks significantly behind the US and China by traditional measures of power: GDP, population size and health, and military might. Yet 25 years removed from its mid-1990s nadir following the collapse of the USSR, Russia has bec…
 
The 9/11 attacks mean Al Qaeda will always have a place in history. But it that it? Or might it have the capacity to endure? Its striking that the UN has issued a report saying that Al-Qaida’s haven in Afghanistan means it could make a comeback. The years since 9/11 have seen ever more information about Al Qaeda coming in the public domain not leas…
 
The 9/11 attacks mean Al Qaeda will always have a place in history. But it that it? Or might it have the capacity to endure? Its striking that the UN has issued a report saying that Al-Qaida’s haven in Afghanistan means it could make a comeback. The years since 9/11 have seen ever more information about Al Qaeda coming in the public domain not leas…
 
Welcome to week two of our Darts and Letters summer showcase! Darts and Letters is a show about the politics of ideas. We’re celebrating joining the New Books Network by bringing you some of our favourite past episodes of the show. Each week, we’re following a different theme. Last week’s was “ideas in strange places” - and today, we’re kicking off…
 
Wars have always been fought in different ways, depending not only on the manpower available – elite professional armies to mass mobilization of whole populations - but also on technological developments, all the way from medieval siege engines to modern fighter jets. Recent developments suggest that there is much more rapid change to come as infor…
 
Oriented for a general reading audience, Sergei Zhuk's book KGB Operations Against the USA and Canada in Soviet Ukraine 1953-1991 (Routledge, 2022) gives a unique and rare perspective on the KGB special operations in Soviet Ukraine, which targeted especially the USA and Canada, using issues related to Soviet Ukrainian identity and cultural diplomac…
 
The final batch of patrons' and listeners' questions answered - sometimes better than others - on everything from Ekaterina Schulmann's "reverse cargo cult" thesis to the flaws of liberal politics, Naryshkin's fumbles to naval dilemmas in the Ukraine war. You can also follow my blog, In Moscow's Shadows, and become one of the podcast's supporting P…
 
Willem Bart de Lint's Blurring Intelligence Crime: A Critical Forensics (Springer, 2022) explores the conundrum that political fortune is dependent both on social order and big, constitutive crime. An act of outrageous harm depends on rules and protocols of crime scene discovery and forensic recovery, but political authorities review events for a s…
 
In times of heightened national security, scholars and activists from the communities under suspicion often attempt to alert the public to the more complex stories behind the headlines. But when they raise questions about the government, military and police policy, these individuals are routinely shut down and accused of being terrorist sympathizer…
 
Hong Kong has always existed on the edge of empires, providing services and capabilities to powerful nations. And even to this day when the one country two systems idea is all but defunct, Beijing still needs Hong Kong to provide China with access to world markets – especially financial ones. But what next? Ho Fung Hung, Professor in Political Econ…
 
I look at the career of Igor Girkin, better known as Strelkov, the ultra-nationalist who has turned against Putin - but gets away with it. What does it tell us about Russian politics? In the second half, I read the coda added to later editions of my book 'We Need To Talk About Putin' to reflect the invasion of Ukraine and expand on a few points in …
 
Today I talked to Sheila A. Smith about her book Japan Rearmed: The Politics of Military Power (Harvard UP, 2019). Modern Japan is not only responding to threats from North Korea and China but is also reevaluating its dependence on the United States, Sheila Smith shows. No longer convinced they can rely on Americans to defend their country, Tokyo's…
 
In her new book, Promoting Justice Across Borders: The Ethics of Reform Intervention (Oxford UP, 2021) political scientist Lucia M. Rafanelli develops an ethical theory of global reform intervention, arguing that new theories are necessary as increasing global interconnection continues and expands around the world. Rafanelli classifies global refor…
 
Reccep Tayyib Erdogan is towering politician. He has dominated Turkey for 20 years and is now being compared to Ataturk as a man who has changed the direction of Turkish society. And he matters not only to Turkey but to the international community more generally partly because of Turkey’s geo-strategic position but also because he has the power to …
 
After tackling three of recent developments worth noting - the evolving military command structure of the war, Sergei Kirienko's role and the emergence of the war economy - I tackle a dozen listeners' questions, from how the conflict is affecting Putin's thoughts about his future, to whether monarchy could return... You can also follow my blog, In …
 
A critical look at how the US military is weaponizing technology and data for new kinds of warfare—and why we must resist. War Virtually: The Quest to Automate Conflict, Militarize Data, and Predict the Future (University of California Press, 2022) is the story of how scientists, programmers, and engineers are racing to develop data-driven technolo…
 
The COVID-19 pandemic, Brexit and the US-China trade dispute have heightened interest in the geopolitics and security of modern ports. Ports are where contemporary societal dilemmas converge: the (de)regulation of international flows; the (in)visible impact of globalization; the perennial tension between trade and security; and the thin line betwee…
 
In the Pulitzer Prize finalist book Home, Land, Security: Deradicalisation and the Journey Back from Extremism (One World, 2021), Carla Power explores: what are the roots of radicalism? Journalist Carla Power came to this question well before the January 6, 2021, attack in Washington, D.C., that turned the US’ attention to the problem of domestic r…
 
Philanthropists are praise for their generosity but does their desire to keep control of what happens to their donations mean they exercise power in ways that clash with democratic principles? Approval of philanthropists’ good intentions can mask some important moral considerations about what philanthropy means for the donor and the recipient. Gene…
 
In Proscribing Peace: How Listing Armed Groups as Terrorists Hurts Negotiations (Manchester UP, 2021), Dr. Sophie Haspeslagh offers a systematic examination of the impact of proscription on peace negotiations. With rare access to actors during the Colombian negotiations with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia People's Army (FARC), Dr. Haspe…
 
In Why We Fight: The Roots of War and the Paths to Peace (Viking, 2022), Chris Blattman explains the five reasons why conflict (rarely) blooms into war, and how to interrupt that deadly process. It's easy to overlook the underlying strategic forces of war, to see it solely as a series of errors, accidents, and emotions gone awry. It's also easy to …
 
As the world nears 8 billion people, the countries that have led the global order since World War II are becoming the most aged societies in human history. At the same time, the world's poorest and least powerful countries are suffocating under an imbalance of population and resources. In 8 Billion and Counting, political demographer Jennifer D. Sc…
 
Politicians and corporations cannot only measure public opinion but also manipulate and create it. And they have been doing so since the 1930s when serious polling began. And as Professor Susan Herbst, author of Numbered Voices: How Opinion Polling Has Shaped American Politics, explains early public opinion research raised hopes for better democrat…
 
The status of Russia as a world power has been fiercely debated since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Although often ignored, Russia came back into the international limelight in 2014 with the annexation of Crimea and recently in 2022 with the war in Ukraine. However, what are the underlining precepts behind Russian behavior on the international …
 
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