Ever wonder why the United States has a system with two parties and not more? Find out why the US system is the way it is, and why other countries are different.Read More
ReConsider, by Xander and Erik, is a twice per month podcast in which we take on, in-depth, one pressing political issue facing western Democracies with a fresh, researched, and challenging perspective. We help listeners see the full context behind the issue and make up their own minds.
"Multiculturalism leads to parallel societies and therefore remains a ‘life lie,’ [or ‘sham’]... “ -- Angela Merkel, 2015
Just after enacting the "open door" migrant policy, Angela Merkel and all of Europe faced a political backlash, including rising nationalism and anti-immigrant sentiment. Europe took in a fairly small number of Middle Eastern refugees. Why has it been so painful?Read More
After the largest mass civilian shooting in history, can we come together as a nation to reduce violence? Yes, but it requires good problem solving skills.
In this episode we dive into understanding why Vegas was so deadly and how that was allowed to happen. We also look into the broader data on gun violence in America and elsewhere in order to understand what may be the biggest factors in America's death/violence rate.Read More
You've heard of the Fracking Revolution. You may also know that your fuel bill is a little lower than it was in the 2000s.
But man oh man, the picture is much bigger than that. The Middle East, Europe, Russia, and the foreign policy of the United States may be substantially different--for decades to come--than they would have been without the Revolution.
So yeah. Big deal.Read More
Join us as we pick a war out of a hat and chat about how--and whether--realism can explain how it came to be. Make sure to listen to the Realism Toolbox Talk first.Read More
Why do certain countries go to war, where others don't? How do the domestic policies and the personalities of leaders get involved?
In this episode you'll learn the most widely-used lens for understanding the causes behind international affairs: realism. In one hour you'll be able to view the international order with greater structure than ever before.Read More
Is Venezuela's government going to fall? Is North Korea going to fire nukes? Is the US going to fire nukes? Are Maduro and Kim just madmen? Is Trump?
Two brutal leftist dictatorial regimes, both hate the US, both entering crises and both facing substantial constraints about how they can try to navigate them. And the US, attempting to deal with the North Korean crisis, has its own constraints as well. In this episode you'll understand the forces that are pushing Venezuela into a domestic crisis and North Korea into conflict with the US. You'll learn what options are available to everyone and why they're limited. And you'll learn a little more about how to analyze the global stage beyond the rhetoric.Read More
President Trump has had a lot of trouble getting a legislative win, and he's pressing Congress harder than ever to deliver one. The GOP has both the House and the Senate--what are the forces keeping them from getting things done?Read More
Politics gets emotional. However the emotional part of our brain was designed not for rational thought, but for knee-jerk survival mechanisms. How can we train our brain to think more clearly about politics in our daily lives?
In this episode, Erik and Xander talk Stoicism, a philosophy and thought strategy that has been used for thousands of years by everyone from salves to emperors to get a grip on the turbulent world around them. You'll learn why Stoicism is so powerful, and you can apply it in your life and conversations today.Read More
AKA, "The Bromance of the Bad Hombres"
In this episode we interview Prof. Stephen Sestanovich, a Colombia professor, think tank big wig, and prolific writer. Formerly ambassador-at-large and special advisor to Madeleine Albright.
Prof. Stestanovich puts the Putin-Trump relationship in context by warming us up with understanding the evolving US/Russia Presidential relationship since the end of the Cold War. Strap in for this info-packed episode!Read More
Welp, FBI Director James Comey got fired. There's a lot of different accounts of what happened--and a lot of speculation as to why. What do we actually know, and how does this fit into the broader context of history and this administration?
LEARN THIS AND MORE! On the latest episode of RECONSIDER, where we don't do the thinking for you!Read More
Much hubbub over the Syrian airstrike--everything from patriotic fervor to seemingly-genuine terror about World War 3. What happens when we take a step back from the hype and political spin, and look at the strike in the context of geopolitics, international relations, and history?Read More
We're joined by Mark Schauss to give us a whirlwind tour of Russian history. Mark is the host of the Russian Rulers History Podcast: http://russianrulers.podhoster.com/
We walk through how Russia has dealt with its neighbors and the world, through the Mongols, the Great Northern War, the Napoleonic War, the later 1800s, WWI, WWII, the Cold War, and post-Cold War. It's a ton of fun.Read More
(Not the news source.)
Joining us is Sean Guillory of Sean's Russia Blog and Podcast, at seansrussiablog.org. He has a PhD in Russian History from UCLA.
Sean helps us dive into the nitty gritty about what's actually going on with Russia today. We ask:
-Who's in charge? How does Russia's leadership work?
-Why is United Russia so popular?
-What's the economy really look like?
-How corrupt is Russia?
-How do Russians feel about the world?
-What's the plan in Ukraine? How's it going?
-What about the Syria intervention?
-Did Russia manipulate US elections?
-Why is Russia picking a fight with NATO?
-What common narratives about Russia just don't make sense?
Russia is a scary place--and very misunderstood. We decided it deserves 4 whole episodes unto itself. We'll be teaming up with 4 big-wigs that know their stuff about Russia to help you dive deep and understand Russia a whole lot better.Read More
Or, "How'd punching Nazis work out last time?"
People in the United States are starting to talk about using political violence in response to perceived dangerous political extremism and violent rhetoric. We look through history to see how the use of violence had worked or not worked to suppress unwelcome political ideologies.
We look purely at the results and consequences of the violence, rather than discussing the morality or ethics of it.Read More
If we want to learn a little bit more about Trump's path to the Presidency, we can look to recent history. It's not actually totally unprecedented.
Spain, going through its own very tough economic times, has vaulted the populist-left Podemos to the fore, out of nowhere at all. Podemos is a bunch of political outsiders with a Marxist approach to campaigning--and they adopted this style very deliberately. They have a lot to teach us about what might become the new politics of the 21st century.
We're joined by author, campaign adviser, and VisualPolitik director Fonseca Porras to learn more about Podemos and discuss the parallels with Trump in this particularly exciting episode!Read More
There's a play called Sir Thomas More that is _not_ Shakespeare... but scholars have agreed that its most awe-inspiring monologue was indeed written by Shakespeare himself. In Sir Ian McKellen's words: "you'll know when you hear it."
Xander delivers a special episode today: he reads the famous monologue from the play, on refugees. He does it first in modern English so you can understand it well, and then follows up with the Original Pronunciation, which was the English used in Shakespeare's time. the OP dramatically improves the rhyme and rhythm of the reading.Read More