“Brazil is the country is the future, and always will be.” So goes a popular and snarky saying. But with the recent election of Jair Bolsonaro, has the country reached a turning point?

With the Brazilian president in Washington now to meet with President Trump, Dr. Ryan C. Berg joined us to discuss. On this episode, we cover recent Brazilian history, who Jair Bolsonaro is and why he was elected, what to watch for from his meeting with President Trump, and much more.

Why do women wage war? Jessica Trisko Darden, co-author of the new book “Insurgent Women: Female Combatants in Civil Wars,” joins the show to shed some light on this often overlooked but important topic. Then, how should the West respond to the attempted return of the so-called “ISIS brides”? We discuss the ongoing debate over the legal status of these women, how the United States and Europe are coping with the situation, and what should be done.

Jessica Trisko Darden is a Jeane Kirkpatrick fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and an assistant professor of international affairs with the School of International Service at American University. Her latest book “Insurgent Women: Female Combatants in Civil Wars” examines three important aspects of women’s participation in non-state armed groups: mobilization, participation in combat, and conflict resolution.

“Sadly, the American Dream is dead.”

It was a refrain repeated often by Donald Trump as he campaigned for president, and it resonated throughout the country. But what is the American Dream, and what killed it? In his new book, “Alienated America: Why Some Places Thrive While Others Collapse,” Tim Carney explores these questions. He joined us on Banter this week to discuss.

When war breaks out, what factors influence the belligerents’ decisions about whether to talk to their enemy, and when may their position on wartime diplomacy change? How do we get from only fighting to also talking? AEI Jeane Kirkpatrick visiting scholar Oriana Skylar Mastro addresses these questions in her new book, “The Costs of Conversation,” which she joined Banter to discuss.

Then, how do we avoid war altogether on the Korean peninsula? And how will the ongoing US-China rivalry play out? Dr. Mastro tells us how to think about the second Trump-Kim summit.

What is the purpose of a higher education? Why does it cost so much? And how come college campuses seem to be so left-leaning? On this episode of Banter, Harvard president Larry Bacow joined us to discuss. Dr. Bacow is the president of Harvard University and one of higher education’s most widely experienced leaders. From 2001 to 2011, he was president of Tufts University and before that he spent 24 years on the faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He holds an S.B. in economics from MIT, a J.D. from Harvard Law School, an M.P.P. from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and a Ph.D. in public policy from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.


It finally happened: On Friday, February 15, President Trump announced an emergency at the southern border, allowing him to divert funds from other projects to enhance border security. How will this affect the military? What will this look like in practice? What type of precedent does this set? Rick Berger joined Banter to answer all these questions and more.

Rick Berger is a research fellow at AEI, where he works on the defense budget, the National Defense Authorization Act, military appropriations and acquisition reform, as well as on other national security budget-related issues. Before, he was a professional staff member for the Majority Staff at the US Senate Budget Committee, where he worked on defense, foreign affairs, and veteran issues.

This week on Banter, AEI Morgridge Fellow in Poverty Studies Robert Doar joined the show to discuss his career, poverty alleviation, and the role of think tanks in the United States. Robert was recently selected by the AEI Board of Trustees to serve as AEI’s twelfth president beginning in July 2019. During his tenure at AEI, Robert served as co-chair of the National Commission on Hunger and was a lead member of the AEI-Brookings Working Group on Poverty and Opportunity. He also contributed to “Opportunity, Responsibility, and Security: A Consensus Plan for Reducing Poverty and Restoring the American Dream,” “This Way Up: New Thinking About Poverty and Economic Mobility,” and “Work, Skills, Community: Restoring Opportunity for the Working Class” and served as editor of “A Safety Net That Works: Improving Federal Programs for Low-Income Americans.”

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This week on Banter, AEI resident scholar Michael Rubin joined the show to discuss the revolution’s legacy and what it means for Iran, the Middle East, and the United States today. We also discuss the legacy of the Shah, the lessons other Middle East nations drew from his fall, and whether we can expect the regime to exist for a 50th, 60th, or 70th anniversary of the revolution. A teaser of his answer: “There is a tremendous appetite for a regime change in Iran. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be pro-American.”

Michael Rubin is the author of numerous books, including “Dancing with the Devil: The Perils of Engaging Rogue Regimes,” and “Eternal Iran: Continuity and Chaos.” He holds a PhD in history from Yale, and lived in post-Revolution Iran. He has extensive experience advising US policy toward the Middle East and is a frequent commentator on Middle East politics.

This week on Banter, AEI visiting fellow Roger Noriega joined the show to discuss the past, present, and future of Venezuela. We cover Venezuela’s history since Hugo Chavez first took power, the ongoing power struggle between Nicolás Maduro and Juan Guaidó, and what all this means for US policy moving forward.

This week on Banter, Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy Nicholas Eberstadt joins the show to discuss his new report, “China’s demographic outlook to 2040 and its implications: An overview.” In this episode Dr. Eberstadt discusses how the structure of China’s population will likely change over the coming decades, what effects this may have on China’s domestic and foreign policy, and what this means for the United States.

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This week on Banter, AEI Resident Scholar Ken Pollack joins the show to discuss his new book “Armies of Sand: The Past, Present, and Future of Arab Military Effectiveness.” The book describes four explanations as to why Arab militaries have performed so poorly since World War II. In this episode, Dr. Pollack analyzes each explanation and explains why understanding Arab military effectiveness matters, given the changing balance of power in the Middle East.

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This week on Banter, Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Isabel Sawhill joins the show to discuss her new book “The Forgotten Americans: An Economic Agenda for a Divided Nation.” The book describes how we can promote work and increase opportunity and economic mobility for working class Americans. Following the book’s publication, Sawhill published an essay describing focus groups she hosted in Syracuse, New York, Greensboro, North Carolina, and St. Louis, Missouri, where she discussed the ideas included in her book. You can read this essay and more at the links below.

This week on Banter, AEI Visiting Scholar Roger Bate joined the show to discuss the rise of illicit fentanyl use in America. An expert on international health policy, Bate recently authored a report on how policies to combat America’s opioid epidemic have contributed to an increase in fentanyl use and fatal overdoses.

This week on Banter, Robert Doar and Ben Harris joined the show to discuss a new report on the issues plaguing the American working class and possible bipartisan policy solutions. The report, Work, skills, and community: How to rejuvenate the American working class, was authored by a group convened by Opportunity America and cosponsored by AEI and the Brookings Institution. Doar is AEI’s Morgridge Fellow in Poverty Studies and Harris is the chief economist and senior adviser at Results for America and the former chief economist and economic adviser to Vice President Joe Biden. Both participated in an AEI event presenting the report.

This week on Banter, former prime minister of Slovakia Mikuláš Dzurinda joined the show to discuss European politics, transatlantic relations, and his tenure as prime minister from 1998 to 2006. Currently, he serves as the president of the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies, the official think tank of the European People’s Party

This week on Banter, Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Oren Cass joins the show to discuss his new book “The Once and Future Worker: A Vision for the Renewal of Work in America.” The book encourages policymakers and the public to rethink the decades-long economic consensus that prioritized increased consumption. Cass argues for a new way of thinking that values production and provides opportunities for American workers to support their families and communities. Cass participated in an AEI public event alongside the Brookings Institution’s Isabel Sawhill and IBM’s Stanley Litow on work, skills, and mobility in late October. Check out the full event video at the link below.


This week on Banter, AEI Senior Fellow Karlyn Bowman and Resident Scholar Norm Ornstein joined the show for a postelection analysis of the 2018 midterm elections and a 2020 elections outlook. They explain what happened in the US House of Representatives and Senate and how these results matter in the coming years. Earlier today, Karlyn, Norm, and their colleague Michael Barone hosted a public event as part of AEI’s Election Watch series, which has been going on since 1982.

This week on Banter, AEI Jeane Kirkpatrick Fellow Clay Fuller joined the show to discuss combating transnational criminal organizations and the authoritarian regimes that facilitate their activities. Clay’s work at AEI focuses on authoritarian survival, corruption, and how dictators, terrorists, and criminals use free markets to legitimize their actions. Earlier this week, he and AEI Visiting Fellow Roger Noriega hosted an event at AEI on dismantling transnational organized crime networks in the Americas. You can watch the full event video at the link below.

This week on Banter, AEI Resident Scholar and Codirector of AEI’s Center on Housing Markets and Finance Lynn Fisher joined the show to discuss affordable housing and the current state of US housing markets. This week, Dr. Fisher and the center are hosting the seventh annual AEI-CRN conference on housing markets and finance. You can watch the full event video at the link below.