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.

Recent years have seen more and more states lift their bans on cannabis use, and the trend shows no signs of stopping. But perhaps a new book could at least slow things down.

In “Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence,” Alex Berenson draws attention to the drug’s largely ignored downsides and reveals the hard truths many would-be legalizers would prefer to ignore. On this episode, we ask him about his findings, challenge him on some of his arguments, and discuss how marijuana regulations are likely to evolve going forward.

Axios kicked off 2019 with a headline proclaiming: “AI expert warns automation could take 40% of jobs by 2035.” This is the baseline consensus according to Axios future editor Steve LeVine. But is it accurate? And if it is, how can workers and students today prepare? To answer these questions, and many more, we interviewed Brent Orrell.

Brent Orrell is a resident fellow at AEI, where he works on retraining programs for individuals without college degrees and reentry programs for former prisoners. He has more than 20 years of experience working in the legislative and executive branches of the US government.

Unanimous agreement is rare among economists, but you’d be hard-pressed to find an economist who didn’t advocate increasing high-skill immigration. About low-skill immigration, however, there is more debate. Our guest this episode, economist Aparna Mathur, takes a clear stand: “It’s time to give low-skill immigrants their due.”

We discuss the impact of immigration on the US labor market, how immigrants of various skill levels affect the wages of native-born workers, what policymakers can do to help non-working Americans get back into the workforce, and much more.

When it comes to personal political beliefs, can anyone really be persuaded? In the age of the internet, are we living in a world of debate without gatekeepers? And how is William F. Buckley similar to the Pope?

In his final appearance on “Banter” as AEI’s president, Arthur Brooks answers these questions and more. We also discuss his latest book “Love Your Enemies,” how the political landscape has shifted since he took office in 2009, the role of think tanks in shaping the public debate, and what’s next on the horizon for him.

“The proper question for conservatives is: What do you seek to conserve? The proper answer is concise but deceptively simple: We seek to conserve the American Founding.”

So writes George Will in his new book, “The Conservative Sensibility.” But what does it mean to conserve the Founding, and the classical liberal tradition that helped inspire it? Further, is classical liberalism still a viable animating philosophy for modern times and modern countries? George Will himself joined this episode to discuss these questions. We also cover why conservatives should rethink their support for judicial restraint, whether religious belief is a necessary component of a conservative sensibility, the aims of higher education, and much more.

For the past seven years Chris Arnade has traveled around the United States photographing and interviewing residents of this country’s forgotten communities. These photographs and interviews eventually became Arnade’s debut book, the just-released “Dignity: Seeking Respect in Back Row America.” On this episode, we interviewed Chris about what led him to give up his lucrative career on Wall Street to become a journalist, and what he’s gleaned from his experiences.

Chris Arnade is a freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, and many other outlets. He earned a PhD in physics from Johns Hopkins University and worked for twenty years as a trader at an elite Wall Street bank before leaving in 2012 to document addiction in the Hunts Point neighborhood of the Bronx.

Since the Cold War, the Pentagon’s “two-war” metric served as the main force-planning construct: It sought to ensure US forces could simultaneously defeat two regional militaries, such as North Korea or Iraq. But as Rick Berger and Mackenzie Eaglen write in War on the Rocks, the latest National Defense Strategy advances a new force-planning construct: Rather than defeating and deterring Iran and North Korea, the new construct principally evaluates US forces by their ability to defeat and deter China and Russia.

But is this feasible given the Trump administration’s proposed defense budget? On this episode of Banter, Rick Berger rejoins the show to discuss. We also cover whether this shift in focus to great-power conflict is good policy, the strategic worth of our aircraft carriers, and much more.

Why are millennials so liberal? How much did the Great Recession hurt millennials specifically? And do we really spend all our money on Chipotle and avocado toast? The Wall Street Journal’s Joseph C. Sternberg, author of the new book, “The Theft of a Decade: How the Baby Boomers Stole the Millennials’ Economic Future,” joined us to discuss these questions and more.

We also cover Senator Elizabeth Warren’s proposal to forgive student debt, why boomers can be blamed for the exorbitant cost of housing, and whether millennials will follow Churchill’s aphorism and evolve into conservatives by the time they reach their forties.

Last week in the New York Times, Ross Douthat wrote: “Recently, under the somewhat unlikely inspiration of Elizabeth Warren, some conservatives have revived an old debate: Did millions of women entering the work force actually make families worse off?”

Some conservatives, notably Tucker Carlson in a January monologue, agree with Elizabeth Warren’s 2003 prognosis that it did: Instead of getting richer, dual-earner households bid up the price of real estate and child care and lost the division-of-labor benefits of homemaking, working harder for little or no economic gain. Warren dubbed this the “two-income trap.” In a recent Bloomberg Opinion column, Michael Strain takes issue with this characterization. He joins us on this episode to make his case and discuss the ongoing intra-conservative debate.

Realism, neoconservatism, isolationism — all these labels and more have been employed to describe the foreign policy of past Republican presidential administrations. The debate continues today as supporters and detractors alike struggle to define a “Trump Doctrine,” if such a thing can be said to exist. To discuss the history of Republican foreign policy, and what a coherent conservative approach should look like going forward, we’re joined by Colin Dueck.

Colin Dueck is a Jeane Kirkpatrick visiting scholar at AEI, where his research focuses on the interconnection between US national security strategies and party politics, conservative ideas, and presidential leadership. He is also a professor in the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University, where he is the faculty adviser for the Alexander Hamilton Society. A senior nonresident fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, he has also served as a foreign policy adviser on several Republican presidential campaigns.

My Father Left Me Ireland: An American Son’s Search for Home” is the first book by National Review senior writer Michael Brendan Dougherty. It’s ostensibly a personal story, told through a series of letters written from an American son to his absent Irish father. But it’s also a deep meditation on the importance of one’s roots, one’s family, and one’s nation.

In this episode, we talk with Michael about how he came to write this book and what nationalism means to him. We also discuss his problems with modern social science, the political philosophy of Edmund Burke and Patrick Pearse, the real meaning of Francis Fukuyama’s “End of History” thesis, and much more.

Nearly a decade after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, another sweeping reform of the United States health care system could soon be in the works. Democratic presidential hopefuls are laying out their plans to reduce the roughly 28 million uninsured Americans to zero, with proposals ranging from Medicare-for-All to a public option. But in doing so, are they overstating the extent of the problem?

In a recent article in RealClearPolicy, AEI’s James Capretta and Joseph Antos say the answer may be yes: The number of Americans truly unable to obtain health insurance coverage is much smaller than the topline number of 28 million would suggest, and this affects which policies are best-suited to improve health insurance coverage in the US. In this episode, we talk with James Capretta about his article and its implications for US health policy. We also discuss what the conservative vision for health policy should look like, what lessons can be gleaned from other countries’ health care systems, the Trump administration’s plans for lowering prescription drug prices, and much more.

Politics, the media, and Hollywood are saturated with overpopulation doomsayers. From Green New Deal advocates to Marvel’s supervillain Thanos, warnings abound that the Earth simply cannot sustain the 7 billion humans and counting currently plodding around the planet. But Lyman Stone says this commonly-held view gets things exactly backwards.

The greater threat to human flourishing over the coming decades is not overpopulation but depopulation, as fertility rates across the developed world crater and fertility rates in developing countries follow suit. In this episode we discuss why the panic over a “population bomb” is so misguided, what’s causing declining fertility rates across the world, what if anything can be done to reverse course, and what these shifting demographics will likely mean for the United States and the world.