Michael Breen is one of our best Korea-watchers — one of our best Korea analysts, one of our best authorities. He is a journalist, consultant, and book-author. With Jay, he talks about the Olympics just past. He talks about the North Korean charm offensive, if charm it was. He talks about upcoming summits. And the Kim family, that dictatorial dynasty. And the politics of reunification. And more. The Korean Peninsula is once more a flashpoint. We need expertise on it, and have it.

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Italy has just had elections, with very interesting results. Discussing them with Jay is Alberto Mingardi, one of Italy’s leading classical liberals, the director general of the Bruno Leoni Institute. They also talk about Trump, Silvio, demography (have Italians stopped having babies?), migration, the EU, books, music, and, crucially, food. You can understand Italy through its food, Mingardi explains.

Anyway, a stimulating “Q&A” for you, all’italiana. 

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Powerline’s Steve Hayward joins Mona for the first half of this week’s special NTK. They talk about the conservative crack-up and Mona’s book (coming June 26!). Jay later joins Mona for a look at “Rexit,” boobish campaigning, Putin’s “election,” and the McCabe exit.

Music: Henry Litolff, Scherzo Concerto Symphonique #4

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In New York, the Human Rights Foundation hosted “PutinCon” – a conference dedicated to telling the truth about Putin and his Russia. Jay caught up with Bill Browder and Vladimir Kara-Murza. The former is the financier who has spearheaded “Magnitsky acts”; the latter is the Russian democracy leader who, twice, has survived poison attacks. Jay talks with them about the latest poison attacks in Britain, the sham of a Russian election on Sunday, and more. 

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It’s the eternal cry of children, but does it apply to international trade? Scott Lincicome joins to explain why not. Jay and Mona then consider the Trump/Kim summit, the nationalists vs. globalists theme that’s making the rounds, and the pace of news in the Trump era.

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Hendrik Meijer is the author of a new biography of Arthur Vandenberg, the Michigan senator who led the isolationist wing before World War II and became a key internationalist thereafter. Meijer, too, is a Michigan man. In addition to being a biographer and writer, he is the executive chairman of Meijer, Inc., the chain of stores founded by his grandfather, also named Hendrik Meijer.

Jay (a Michigan man himself) talks to Meijer about Vandenberg, of course, and about issues today that are very much like those confronted by Vandenberg and his peers. He also asks Meijer about another Michigan man: Gerald Ford. Ford was a Grand Rapidian, and so was Vandenberg, and so is Meijer. (Jay is from Ann Arbor.)

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Poland has adopted a controversial new law, making it a crime to say some things about Poland and World War II. Radek Sikorski is well positioned to talk about this: He is a veteran writer and politician. He has served as both foreign minister and defense minister of Poland. Jay also asks him about Europe in general: Are authoritarian winds blowing? What does Anglo-American conservatism have in common with Continental rightism? If “mainstream” parties won’t tackle immigration and other combustible issues, someone will, true?

Pressing questions, addressed by one of the best, Radek Sikorski.

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Mona reports the behind the scenes details of her appearance at CPAC last weekend and the fallout since. The conservative movement is up for grabs — no telling how this story will turn out. 

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Alston Ramsay is an old National Review hand, and an old Bill Buckley hand. He went on to work for Secretary Robert Gates, General David Petraeus, and others. Now he is in Hollywood, writing movies. Just coming out is “Midnighters,” directed by Julius Ramsay, Alston’s older brother. With Jay, Alston talks about the movie and many other subjects — including basketball, about which Alston is passionate. He is a UNC Tar Heel, but Jay pretends to think he is a Duke Blue Devil, because, for those outside North Carolina, it’s all the same.

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When it comes to guns, it seems doubtful. Mona and Jay talk discourse, extremism, and the seeming elusiveness of serious policy discussion.

The podcast begins with the redoubtable Richard Brookhiser, historian and NR senior editor, who reflects on Trump’s influence on conservatism, dirty tricks in politics, and much more.

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Nicholas Burns is one of the leading U.S. diplomats of our time. For nearly 30 years, he served in the government, in a variety of posts: ambassador to NATO, for example. He had major responsibility for the Arab world, Iran, Russia, etc. Today, he teaches at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, which is where Jay sat down with him. They talk over the world: North Korea and South Korea; Iran and its nuclear program; the Israel-Palestine question; Putin’s Kremlin; NATO and defense spending; and more. It’s an hour-long tutorial with one of the best. And, as Jay remarks at the end, free of charge.

 

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Prof. Gabriel Rossman of UCLA joins NTK to offer reflections on being a conservative in academia – and also on invitations to provocateurs like Milo. 

Jay and Mona then analyze the Mueller indictments, Russian interference, domestic divisions, crime, and the origin of a famous expression.

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The wry and witty Andrew Ferguson joins NTK to report on The Post, which he had just seen, and on the Washington world, which he’s seen through the years.

Jay and Mona then speak of Rob Porter, bias, Riccardo Muti, and much more.

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Riccardo Muti has arrived in New York for two concerts with his Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. Taking advantage, Jay has recorded a “Q&A” with him on a variety of subjects: musical, personal, and social. Muti is one of the leading conductors of our day, having studied with Antonino Votto, a lieutenant of Toscanini. He was also nurtured by Nino Rota, known to many of us as the composer of the “Godfather” music.

Among the topics Jay discusses with Muti is his famous, enviable hair (the latter’s, that is). Muti sums it up as “la forza del destino” – a matter of destiny. So, this “Q&A” closes with Maestro Muti conducting the overture to Verdi’s opera “La forza del destino.”

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Lawrence Brownlee is one of the leading tenors of our time. He has sung on opera and recital stages all over the world. Tomorrow night, he will sing in Chicago, wearing the same boots that Pavarotti once wore (in Bellini’s “Puritani”).

A kid from northeastern Ohio, Brownlee is a huge Pittsburgh Steelers fan. He has sung the national anthem at Pittsburgh and other NFL games. And, yes, he interpolates the high note at the end of “the land of the free.”

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Ioan Grillo is a British journalist long resident in Mexico. He gets into the nitty-gritty – and the bloody. He is the author, most recently, of Gangster Warlords: Drug Dollars, Killing Fields and the New Politics of Latin America. Jay talks with him in a Mexico City park (with birds chirping all about, and at least one helicopter overhead). They talk about Mexico, the rule of law, bad guys, good guys, the USA, Trump, and more. Jay gets Grillo to describe at least one narrow escape. He is a gutsy journalist, and an excellent talker.

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Benjamin Wittes of Lawfareblog joins a special NTK that includes David French to analyze the release of the Nunes memo and the state of our intelligence community in the Trump era.

David, Jay, and Mona then opine on the State of the Union speech, the state of conservatism, and the unpredictable nature of courage.

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From the “secret society” to banned memos to shady “informants,” the infotainment wing of conservative world went into full baying mode this week. Jay and Mona also talk about Hillary’s aide, Kenneth Starr, disobeying presidential orders, “Young People’s Concerts,” and the poor little team that must do its best against the Philadelphia Eagles.

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Jerome A. Cohen is a law professor, a China scholar, and a friend to Chinese democrats and freedom-seekers. For many years, he has been at New York University, and before that he was at Harvard. He clerked on the Supreme Court for Warren and Frankfurter. With Jay, he talks about the Chinese Communist Party, the Christian church in China, Falun Gong, Tibet, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and many other issues.

How did he get bitten by the China bug? Well, it really started with Dean Rusk.

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David Frum believes there is something deeply wrong with the American system — the American political system — and he sums up the problem in the word “Trumpocracy.” His new book is “Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic.” As Frum says, the book is more about the “ocracy” than about the man. Jay talks with the author about many aspects of the current era, including how we got here and where we go. An exceptionally stimulating conversation.

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