Episode 19: Cry Havoc. Really, Really Cry.

Very special guest Michael Signer joins the podcast to talk about his new book recounting his time serving as mayor of Charlottesville during the violence of August 2017. With America in upheaval, it’s an appropriate time to revisit that sad bit of recent history, but also an opportunity to think about what’s gone wrong with our politics, and what, if anything, can be done to fix it. A rich discussion.

Reading List:
Cry Havoc: Charlottesville and American Democracy Under Siege, by Michael Signer

Episode 18: Live, Amidst the Flames

Shadi and Damir live-streamed an episode as a weekend of violent protests around the country wound to a close. Our episodes are never scripted or prepared, but in this case we are interacting with our audience on Twitter’s Periscope in real time to help guide the conversation. Also, please excuse the audio quality.

Episode 17: How The Expert Fetish Might Re-Elect Trump

Shadi and Damir discuss how Trump’s unabashed contempt for expertise has encouraged his opponents to latch onto expert opinion—and how this could boost Trump if the economic opening goes even tolerably well. Also, there’s a lot of talk about salad bars, cruise ships, and democracy. Be warned.

Reading List:
What a Maskless Trump Says About His Re-Election Strategy” by Henry Olsen (WaPo)
In Search of Lost Time” by Peter Pomerantsev (The American Interest)
Pandemics Kill Compassion, Too” by David Brooks (New York Times)

Episode 16: The Folly of Individuals

Shadi and Damir talk about their conflicted feelings about recording the previous episode in a room together, the dangers of optimism about the recovery, what the “new normal” in successful South Korea looks like, why America in all likelihood won’t ever be able to get there, and why that might or might not be OK.

Reading List:
Shadi’s tweet thread about why America can’t be like South Korea.
Michael Kim’s tweet thread about the reality in South Korea.
Man lectures BoJo in a park.

Episode 15: Trump Versus Coronavirus and the Elites

The Atlantic Council’s Benjamin Haddad joins Shadi and Damir to talk social distancing, the coronavirus response on both sides of the Atlantic, and how elites’ ever more fervent love of experts could lead them to political disaster.

Reading List:
Le paradis perdu: L’Amérique de Trump et la fin des illusions européennes, by Benjamin Haddad (Grasset)
The Coronavirus Killed the Revolution,” by Shadi Hamid (The Atlantic)
Social Distancing Isn’t Going To End Soon. So How Do We Live With It?” by Gaby Hinsliff (The Guardian)

Episode 14: The Dangerous Temptation of Ideals and Anti-Politics

In the third week of lockdown, Shadi and Damir talk about the Beatles versus the Stones, how the 1960s represent a kind of dangerous idealism grounded in universal values, and how there’s no escaping politics.

Reading List:
“The Coronavirus Killed the Revolution” — Shadi Hamid (The Atlantic)

“It’s imperative for the U.S. and China to work together on the coronavirus pandemic” — Michael McFaul (Washington Post)

Jennifer Rubin’s Political Mathematics (Twitter)

“National Identity is Made Up” — Max Fisher and Amanda Taub (The New York Times)

Episode 13: Coronavirus and the Future of Politics

Catastrophe and resilience, human and economic costs, and the future of democratic politics: Shadi and Damir hunker down for an intense coronavirus podcast (while of course observing appropriate social distancing protocols).

Reading List:
“Pandemics Kill Compassion, Too,” by David Brooks (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/12/opinion/pandemic-coronavirus-compassion.html)

“The Wuhan Virus and the Imperative of Hard Decoupling,” by Andrew Michta (https://www.the-american-interest.com/2020/03/17/the-wuhan-virus-and-the-imperative-of-hard-decoupling/)

“The Coronavirus Called America’s Bluff,” by Anne Applebaum (https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/03/coronavirus-showed-america-wasnt-task/608023/)

Episode 12: Sanders’ Goldwater Moment and The Future of the Left

In the shadow of Bernie Sanders’ underperforming on Super Tuesday, Shadi and Damir welcome author Ben Judah to the podcast to talk about the enduring promise of left-populism in an Age of Trump.

Relevant Reading:
“Left Populism and the Rediscovery of Agonistic Politics,” by Shadi Hamid (https://americanaffairsjournal.org/2018/11/left-populism-and-the-rediscovery-of-agonistic-politics/)

“Traditional ‘foreign policy’ no longer exists. Democrats are the last to know,” by David Adler and Ben Judah (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/dec/02/traditional-foreign-policy-no-longer-exists-democrats-are-the-last-to-know)

“Hawks say Sanders will be weak on Russia. But Putin should fear a President Bernie,” by Ben Judah and David Adler (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/feb/20/bernie-sanders-russia-putin-kremlin)

“Is Joe Biden the American Brezhnev?” by Ben Judah (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/06/biden-soviet-russia-status-quo-democratic-ussr)

“The Emergence of Foreign Policy,” by Halvard Leira (https://academic.oup.com/isq/article/63/1/187/5307236)

Episode 11: The Weaponization of Wokeness

Shadi and Damir talk about how racism, virtue signaling, the fundamental illegitimacy of the Chinese state, and how both consensus and irreconcilability can be fatal for democracy.

Reading List:
“China is the Real Sick Man of Asia” by Walter Russell Mead (https://www.wsj.com/articles/china-is-the-real-sick-man-of-asia-11580773677)

“Birth of the Nations” by Damir Marusic (https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/birth-of-the-nations-review-of-from-peoples-into-nations-by-john-connelly)

“It’s Not About Britain. It’s About Europe” by Damir Marusic (https://www.the-american-interest.com/2020/02/11/its-not-about-britain-its-about-europe/)

“The dark side of consensus in Tunisia: Lessons from 2015-2019” by Sharan Grewal and Shadi Hamid (https://www.brookings.edu/research/the-dark-side-of-consensus-in-tunisia-lessons-from-2015-2019/)

“After Europe” by Ivan Krastev (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06ZYGQYKH/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1)

Episode 10: The Russians and Their Souls

Author and essayist Peter Pomerantsev and Karina Orlova of Echo of Moscow Radio join Shadi and Damir to talk about the Russian soul, imperialism, historical memory, opioids, and bad cocaine. (It’s a lot less depressing than it sounds!)

Reading List:

This Is Not Propaganda: Adventures in the War Against Reality, by Peter Pomerantsev (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1541762118)

Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia, by Peter Pomerantsev (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00L4FSVZ6/)

Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets, by Svetlana Alexievich (https://www.amazon.com/Secondhand-Time-Soviets-Svetlana-Alexievich/dp/0399588825/)

“The Dying Russians” by Masha Gessen (https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2014/09/02/dying-russians/)