Many people take for granted that China and America have entered another Cold War. Yet unlike 40 years ago, America has extensive ties with its new rival, giving China tremendous leverage over America through education, trade, technology, investment, and countless other means. General Robert Spalding argues that these ties are part of a conscious Chinese effort to conduct a “stealth war” against the US, and American policymakers are failing to keep up.

Brigadier General Robert Spalding (USAF, Ret.) has served as a senior director on the National Security Council and was the chief architect for the National Security Strategy. He is a former China strategist for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Defense Attaché in Beijing, and senior defense official. He holds a PhD in economics and mathematics from the University of Missouri and is fluent in Mandarin. His new book, “Stealth War: How China Took Over While America’s Elite Slept,” is out now.

In October, A. Wayne Johnson — one of the Trump administration’s senior student loan officials — announced his resignation, calling the federal student loan system “fundamentally broken.” He then proposed the government should forgive most outstanding student debt and terminate the student loan program. Dr. Johnson makes this case as a conservative and long-time Republican, and he joined this week’s edition of Banter to discuss his plan with three skeptical hosts.

Dr. A. Wayne Johnson was appointed the Chief Operating Officer of Federal Student Aid in 2017 and resigned earlier this year. He is the Founder, Chairman, and former CEO of First Performance Corporation, a global payment card technology platform company. Dr. Johnson’s business experience includes working as a senior executive with TSYS, First Data, VISA, Deloitte, and as Chief Executive Officer for companies in both the banking and information processing sectors. A native of Macon, Georgia, Dr. Johnson holds a PhD and a Bachelor’s Degree from Mercer University, and an MBA from Emory University.

Today we take for granted that everyday Americans can invest on Wall Street at an affordable price, but Joe Ricketts helped make that happen. He founded Ameritrade with just $12,500 borrowed from friends and family, and through risk-taking and perseverance grew it into a company now worth $30 billion. He joined the show this week to discuss his journey and what it says about America’s free-enterprise system.

Joe Ricketts is the founder, former CEO, and retired chairman of online brokerage TD Ameritrade. He is also the author of the new book, “The Harder You Work, the Luckier You Get: An Entrepreneur’s Memoir.

Mike Giglio joins the show to discuss his new book, “Shatter the Nations: ISIS and the War for the Caliphate.” Based on in-depth reporting with protagonists on all sides of the conflict, the book provides a ground-level view of events from the Arab Spring to the battle for Mosul.

We discuss how he became a correspondent and found himself in an ancient Turkish border town; his experiences interviewing jihadis, Syrian rebels, Kurdish nationalists, and elite Iraqi shock troops; and what lessons he’s drawn from him time covering the Syrian Civil War and the US-led war against ISIS.

“Globalism” has become an epithet to leaders across the world like Donald Trump and Viktor Orbán. But not to Dalibor Rohac, author of the new book, “In Defense of Globalism,” which advocates an alternative, cosmopolitan conservative tradition, in contrast to the more nationalist turn sweeping the West in recent years. He makes the case for global institutions such as the EU and answers globalism’s critics in the first half of this show.

Then, why is Britain gearing up for another election? Will the Brexit saga ever end? And can the Tories expect to capture the sweeping majority that eluded Theresa May in 2017? Dalibor addresses these questions and more.

Critics of President Donald Trump often point to his violation of norms as one example of the threat his presidency poses to American democracy. Kim Strassel of The Wall Street Journal makes the near-opposite case — that it is Trump’s most avid opponents who, in their zeal to bring down the president, are most undermining this country’s foundations. She joined this week’s episode of Banter to discuss her argument in light of her new book, “Resistance (At All Costs): How Trump Haters Are Breaking America.”

Kimberley Strassel is a member of the editorial board for The Wall Street Journal. She writes editorials, as well as the weekly Potomac Watch political column, from her base in Washington, D.C. An Oregon native, Ms. Strassel is a graduate of Princeton University and is the bestselling author of “The Intimidation Game.

Spurred on by the likes of Teddy Roosevelt and Rachel Carson, the policymakers in the twentieth century enacted numerous ambitious reforms to curb environmental degradation. But many policies came with a high opportunity cost in lost economic growth.

Larry Selzer, president and CEO of The Conservation Fund, joined the show this week to discuss approaches to conservation that bridge this impasse.

Ambassador Paul Wolfowitz joins the show to discuss the major foreign policy challenges facing the United States today. In a far-reaching conversation, Amb. Wolfowitz discusses the threat posed by China, developments in Iraq and the Middle East, and the appeal of democratic capitalism to developing countries.

Amb. Wolfowitz is a visiting scholar at AEI where he works on development and national security issues. Before joining AEI, he spent more than three decades in public service and higher education, working in the administrations of seven different presidents.

Michael Rubin returns to the show to analyze the ongoing events in Syria and provide a greater perspective on Turkey’s relationship with the Kurds. We also discuss what a post-Erdogan Turkey could look like, how Assad and Iran might react to Turkish troops invading Syria, and what the United States’ overriding objective in the Middle East should be.

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, where he researches Arab politics, the Gulf Cooperation Council, Iran, Iraq, the Kurds, terrorism, and Turkey. He concurrently teaches classes on terrorism for the FBI and on security, politics, religion, and history for US and NATO military units.

AEI Senior Fellow Karlyn Bowman returned to Banter to discuss recent polling on impending impeachment proceedings against President Trump. We discuss the effects impeachment might have on the 2020 elections, and what the history of the Clinton impeachment and Nixon resignation can tell us about the present day. We close with a brief discussion on the state of the Democratic primary race.

Karlyn Bowman is a Senior Fellow at AEI and studies American public opinion. She is also a columnist at Forbes and the editor of the AEI Political Report.

Columns and commentary today are filled with references to the crumbling liberal world order and the resurgence of populism, nationalism, or some odious combination of the two. But what was this liberal, rules-based system, and how long did it truly reign? AEI visiting scholar Colin Dueck returned to Banter to discuss in light of his forthcoming book, “Age of Iron: On Conservative Nationalism.

Colin discusses the history and trajectory of US foreign policy since the founding, and the evolution of the international since World War II. Then, how does conservative nationalism manifest itself in foreign affairs, and is it an authentic representation of voters’ desires, or an elite project carried out in spite of an opposed or at least apathetic public? Finally, we close with a few questions on the future of US relations with China, Russia, and the European Union.

As a young reporter in the 1980s, Jason DeParle moved in with a family in the Philippines to write about Manilla’s shantytowns. He kept in touch as the family migrated to the Gulf, the United States, and elsewhere over the ensuing decades, and tells the family’s story in his new book, “A Good Provider is One Who Leaves: One Family and Migration in the 21st Century.”

On this episode, Jason joined us to discuss this family’s journey from the Philippines to the Persian Gulf to the suburbs of Houston, Texas. Throughout, Jason explains the economic forces shaping current global migration trends as well as the enduring appeal of the United States to many future Americans who just happened to be born elsewhere.

The phrase “Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act” doesn’t exactly still beating hearts — and yet that provision may be responsible for the internet as we know it. So argues Jeff Kosseff in his new book, “The Twenty-Six Words That Created the Internet.” By stating that “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider,” Section 230 has allowed the proliferation of platforms like Facebook and YouTube that rely on user-generated content.

But recently many politicians on both the right and left have started questioning Section 230’s merits. On this episode, we talked with Jeff about what role Section 230 has played in the development of the modern internet, and what could happen if the government significantly alters it. We also discussed alleged social media censorship and bias in Silicon Valley, antitrust concerns about Big Tech, and much more.

Early last week, President Trump asked Twitter, “Who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powell or Chairman Xi?” Days later Bill Dudley, a former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, wrote in Bloomberg Opinion that Trump’s ongoing attacks on Powell have made the Fed’s desire to remain apolitical untenable, and Fed officials should perhaps consider how their actions would affect the outcome of the 2020 election.

What should we make of the escalating tensions between the White House and the Federal Reserve? Ramesh Ponnuru joined us to help break it down. Ramesh is a visiting fellow at AEI, where he studies the future of conservatism with a particular focus on health care, economic policy, and constitutionalism. He is also a senior editor for National Review, where he has covered national politics and public policy for 20 years, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, and a contributor to CBS News.

“For perhaps the first time in living memory,” writes Nick Eberstadt in a recent op-ed for The New York Times, “Team Kim is being outmaneuvered by the Americans in their zero-sum contest.” What has gone wrong with North Korean negotiations in the past, and why might that now be changing? Dr. Eberstadt joined us to discuss.

We also cover the ongoing tensions between South Korea and Japan, the toll the US sanctions are taking on the North Korean economy, and whether the Kim family really believes the Marxist-Leninist “Hegelian mumbo jumbo” their regime spouts.

Argentina looks set to elect the Peronist Alberto Fernández president in October, unseating the center-right leader Mauricio Macri, who has held office since 2015. Why has the right fallen out of favor, and what could a left-wing victory mean for the United States and the global economy? Ryan Berg joined us this week to discuss.

Ryan C. Berg is a research fellow at AEI, where he focuses on transnational organized crime, narco trafficking, and illicit networks. He also studies Latin American foreign policy and development issues. Before joining AEI, Dr. Berg worked as a research consultant at the World Bank and was a Fulbright Scholar in Brazil. He holds a Ph.D. and an M.Phil. in political science and an M.Sc. in global governance and diplomacy from the University of Oxford.

“Why can’t we just do what they do in Europe?”

Anyone who has spent time discussing college in the United States has probably heard this sentiment before, or thought it themself. Well, the US could move toward a Scandinavian model, or a South Korean model for that matter, but it would come with trade-offs. Jason Delisle and Preston Cooper explore these trade-offs in their new report, “International higher education rankings: Why no country’s higher education system can be the best.”

Is CBD oil safe? How about the JUUL? And is it the government’s place to regulate either one? Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb joined us to discuss these questions and more.

We started by asking Dr. Gottlieb about his recent column in The Washington Post, titled “The CBD craze is getting out of hand and the FDA need to act.” For those without much of a clue what CBD is or how the law treats it (like us), Dr. Gottlieb provides a perfect introduction and primer. Then, why are the kids so into JUUL? Are vapes and e-cigs that much safer than normal tobacco products? And how should regulators think about all these smoking alternatives?

“How come you’re so wrong, my sweet neocon?” So asked Mick Jagger on his 2005 album “A Bigger Bang,” and it’s a question many have asked since the Iraq War began. Once a term applied to reform-minded social scientists writing in domestic policy journals like the Public Interest, since the Bush administration neocon is primarily a term of abuse applied to anyone deemed overly hawkish on foreign policy.

On this episode Gary Schmitt discusses his essay in the American Interest in which he traces the evolution of the term, and talks with us about whether neoconservatism is still a viable political philosophy today. We also discuss how the US should view ongoing tensions in Taiwan and Hong Kong, and Max rants about fast-casual restaurants.

Last week, China announced its economy grew 6.2 percent between April and June — the slowest pace in China since the beginning of modern quarterly record-keeping in 1992, according to the New York Times. What is causing this slowdown, and what does it mean for the future? AEI’s Derek Scissors joined us to explain. We also discuss his new report on China’s global investments, what’s going on with the US-China trade war, and how the US should view China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Derek M. Scissors is a resident scholar at AEI, where he focuses on the Chinese and Indian economies and on US economic relations with Asia. He is concurrently chief economist of the China Beige Book and an avid fan of Michigan football.