Conventional wisdom describes China as a rising power, and it was. No more: China’s economy is slowing, it is headed into a demographic catastrophe of its own design, it has a brittle and totalitarian political system, and it feels encircled by its neighbors. Our guests Hal Brands and Michael Beckley, authors of the new book Danger Zone: The Coming Conflict with China, assert that China is not “rising,” but rather that it has “peaked.” More troubling still, judging by the history of peaking powers (Germany pre-WWI, or Imperial Japan,) the US should be very nervous about a short-term grab for power or territory by a panicked Beijing.

Both Hal Brands and Michael Beckley are scholars at AEI. Hal is a senior fellow and the Henry A. Kissinger distinguished Professor of Global Affairs at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and a columnist at Bloomberg. Michael Beckley is a non-resident senior fellow, and is an associate professor at Tufts University.

Late last month, Ukraine launched a counteroffensive against Russian forces in Eastern Ukraine, taking back substantial territory. Incredibly, in the face of reputedly superior Russian forces, the Ukrainian military now enjoys the upper hand with respect to available personnel, equipment, command, and motivation. The tide has turned largely in Ukraine’s favor… so why is the Biden Administration still dragging its heels? China and India are cooling on their support for Putin’s military foibles, domestic support in Russia is wavering, and Moscow is now backed into sourcing drones from Iran and artillery from North Korea — all dread signs for Vladimir Putin. So what is needed to galvanize available resources in the US and in NATO to push Ukraine over the edge into decisive victory?

These questions and more on today’s episode with Ambassador Kurt Volker. Amb. Volker is a former US ambassador to NATO and the former US Special Representative for Ukraine. He is now a distinguished fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis, and a founding partner of the American University in Kyiv.

Today we discuss the passing of one of modern history’s most beloved and well-known leaders: Queen Elizabeth II. With her departure comes the end of the second Elizabethan era, one that weathered world war and domestic tumult with a brand of political neutrality rarely seen on the world stage today. Much is to be discussed in the coming years regarding the state of the Commonwealth, with several countries already hinting at their departure. But today, we take a moment with seriousness — and yes, some humor — to remember the powerful impact of Queen Elizabeth II, her life, her legacy, and her unique unifying force.

Download the transcript here.

We return from our hiatus to discuss Biden’s trillion-dollar student loan forgiveness plan. Even for those with little background in economics, this is clearly a case of the inverse Robin Hood: a regressive act that takes from the poor and gives to the much less poor. Not to mention, the plan is an assault on the Congressional power of the purse, and legally murky with the justification of the post-9/11 Heroes Act. And let us not forget that this act paradoxically comes on the heels of Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, though it is an incredibly costly plan that will only exacerbate current inflation levels.

As the Democratic Party consolidates its role as the party of college-educated coastal elites, AEI’s Michael Strain joins us to unpack the student loan handout. Strain is the Director of Economic Studies at the American Enterprise Institute.

Back to the Iran Deal… ICYMI our podcast with David Albright on what Iran is really up to…

Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was assassinated in Tehran last week, eliminating the country’s leading nuclear expert and the head of its program. Iranian officials have blamed Israel for Fakhrizadeh’s killing, vowing retaliation for the targeted attack.

One year later, a WTH throwback to an outstanding pod recorded in the wake of the disastrous withdrawal…

Almost 20 years after the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the Taliban are back in control of the country. After President Biden’s decision to depart Afghanistan regardless of conditions on the ground, and the withdrawal of U.S. intelligence and air support to the Afghan army, the Taliban rapidly advanced, culminating in the collapse of the Afghan government.

We break our hiatus briefly today, because this is important. News leaked that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi planned to travel to Taiwan this month, and it caused an uproar as the public battled online about whether her trip would provoke China. Leadership hasn’t handled this well: Xi Jinping threatened military action and instead of condemning the threat, Biden hid behind the Pentagon. We know today that Pelosi plans to follow through with the visit, but this incident leaves us alarmed at the Biden administration’s lack of preparedness. By 2027, when China’s military is predicted to be capable of taking Taiwan, America’s is set to be at its weakest. We know that “integrated deterrence” was unsuccessful in Ukraine, yet there are few real plans to focus on hard power in Taiwan. America has promised to arm Taiwan, but $14 billion of delayed defense equipment requested by Taiwan sits idle. Why doesn’t the White House have a coherent war plan by now? Are we letting China deter us on the cheap?

These questions and more today with Rep. Mike Gallagher, a Member of Congress representing Wisconsin’s 8th district. Gallagher sits on the House Intelligence and Armed Services Committees. He served seven years in the US Marine Corps, with two tours in Iraq.

We break our hiatus briefly today, because this is important. News leaked that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi planned to travel to Taiwan this month, and it caused an uproar as as the public battled online about whether her trip would provoke China. Leadership hasn’t handled this well: Xi Jinping threatened military action and instead of condemning the threat, Biden hid behind the Pentagon. We know today that Pelosi plans to follow through with the visit, but this incident leaves us alarmed at the Biden administration’s lack of preparedness. By 2027, when China’s military is predicted to be capable of taking Taiwan, America’s is set to be at its weakest. We know that “integrated deterrence” was unsuccessful in Ukraine, yet there are few real plans to focus on hard power in Taiwan. America has promised to arm Taiwan, but $14 billion of delayed defense equipment requested by Taiwan sits idle. Why doesn’t the White House have a coherent war plan by now? Are we letting China deter us on the cheap?

These questions and more today with Rep. Mike Gallagher, a Member of Congress representing Wisconsin’s 8th district. Gallagher sits on the House Intelligence and Armed Services Committees. He served seven years in the US Marine Corps, with two tours in Iraq.

Just 7% of Americans today report having a great deal of trust in the media. A majority of the public believes that the media is more concerned with supporting an ideological or political position than informing them. The press is free, but bias has seeped into every corner. And the lack of an objective press threatens American democracy, degrades the national conversation and pits Americans against each other. How did we get to the point where the White House Press Corps has a ratio of 12:1 Democrat to Republican among reporters? Where a swath of this country’s journalists no longer believe they have an obligation to cover both sides of a story? Where the same reporters that cover statistics of a growing partisan and ideological divide in America are the same sources pushing a divisive agenda?

Ari Fleischer joins us today to offer a fresh perspective on the state of our media. He was the White House Press Secretary to George W. Bush and is a veteran media observer. He’s a Fox News commentator, and he has a new book out titled, Suppression, Deception, Snobbery, and Bias: Why the Press Gets So Much Wrong ― And Just Doesn’t Care.

This summer is predicted to hold the worst blackouts that America has seen in recent memory – stories of individuals dying from heat grace the headlines of the same news outlets that report John Kerry’s statement that the US will be coal-free in 8 short years. Indeed, the logical inconsistency in the argument pushed by the green energy movement has never been so stark: if we don’t have a better energy alternative right now, why are we shuttering coal plants and discounting the benefit of nuclear plants? If we are truly experiencing more variable weather due to climate change, why are we focusing on solar and wind technology reliant on particular weather conditions? And, all that not to mention the predicted 233% increase in electricity prices this summer to complement prices at the pump.

Robert Bryce joins us to talk through these questions, offer policy solutions, and more. He’s the Austin, Texas-based host of the Power Hungry podcast, as well as executive producer of a documentary called Juice: How Electricity Explains the World, and the author of six books. The most recent one is called A Question of Power: Electricity and the Wealth of Nations.

Last week, in the aftermath of both Party and Pinchergate – not to speak of sky-high inflation and higher taxes – Boris Johnson resigned as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. For many, the writing has been on the wall for months: small ethical problems snowballing because of mismanagement and lies; large economic problems fostered by increasingly leftist policies. In light of these challenges, Johnson’s great Brexit achievement’s luster began to fade. The coming days and weeks promise an unseemly scramble for leadership of Britain’s Conservatives. Where will the Tories go? A rebirth of Thatcherism to face Britain’s crises? Or more drift to the squashy left? More importantly still, are there lessons for the United States in the BoJo debacle?

These questions and more in today’s episode with Alan Mendoza. Mendoza is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Henry Jackson Society, a leading UK think tank.

Today’s episode with Dan Yergin explores America’s shift away from fossil fuels, looking at the very real domestic and geopolitical implications of shuttering coal plants and transitioning to green energy. Pivoting away from U.S. energy independence has not made the country energy progressive; rather, it has set Americans up for reliance on adversarial energy sources, encouraging strategic allies to import from Russia and China instead. Promoting wind and solar alternatives does not dramatically lower resource usage; it simply shifts from a world of big oil to a world of big shovels, as an enormous quantity of rare earths and minerals are required. Then there’s the fact that the technology to store wind and solar energy does not yet exist. So, how can we think about climate change, resources, geopolitical strategy, and security… practically?

Yergin is the vice-chairman of S&P Global, a director of the Council on Foreign Relations and a trustee of the Brookings Institution. He is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize, for his book The Prize. His newest book is The New Map.

Many Americans celebrated the end of Roe vs Wade. Others are deeply angered and worried. The question of abortion is not a simple one, and merits thoughtful discourse and kindness rather than hysteria or trimphalism. Any discussion also requires a real look at the facts; what is the legal basis of this ruling? Where does the pro-life movement stand? What does pro-choice Americans really want? In this episode we try to provide a model for how to approach the conversations ahead with Robby George, one of our nation’s most respected political philosophers.

Robert George is the sixth McCormick professor of jurisprudence and the director of the James Madison program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. He is a past winner of the American Enterprise Institute’s Irving Kristol Award.

Since our episode on inflation with Glenn Hubbard last month, his dire predictions about a likely recession have gathered steam. And though we’re not yet officially in a recession, Americans’ economic pain is only growing: New record average high gas prices in June, likely rolling blackouts, shocking inflation at the supermarket and now the cost of money has skyrocketed too. Meanwhile, here in Washington, the President continues to go on vacation every weekend, deny that inflation is his fault, and push a mindless spending agenda. How did the Fed, White House economists, and mainstream professional forecasters get it so wrong? And perhaps more importantly, what should be done going forward?

These questions and more on today’s episode with Michael Strain. Strain is the Director of Economic Studies at the American Enterprise Institute.

Is the news out of Ukraine as bad as it sounds?  Russia may not be able to hold out as long as Putin believes, but the Ukrainian military desperately requires longer-range missiles to beat back the offensive in Luhansk. Ukraine’s putative allies are failing to “flood the zone,” and do not seem to realize that a frozen conflict is a strategic pause for the Russians, not the end of the game. Domestic politics and news headlines alike reflect a desire to move on, yet Ukraine is at a critical inflection point in Severodonetsk, the last significant Ukrainian prepared defensive position within Luhansk Oblast. How do we ensure that we don’t look back at this moment years from now, only to conclude that delays in aiding Ukraine helped the Russian offensive gain a critical strategic advantage?

These questions and more in today’s conversation with George Barros. Barros is a geospatial analyst on the Russia and Ukraine portfolio at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW). Check out ISW’s daily interactive map linked on the transcript, which he helps each week to update.

Today’s episode is an exploration of the core question gripping our country in the weeks following the Uvalde shooting: how can we prevent such attacks in the future? A terrible pattern repeats again in the recent Uvalde case: a teenager exhibits disturbing behavior before he commits a gun-related crime. With no criminal record, what should have been “tell-tale” signs the shooter was a danger? Jim Geraghty suggests that tougher background checks are not the answer, or at least not the whole answer. In addition, with straw buyers (think grandmothers) purchasing firearms for their teenage grandsons—not to mention the fact that the Pentagon puts more guns in the hands of young adults than anyone else in this country— raising the age restriction may not cut it. It may not even pass legal muster. The challenge isn’t simple, but there are solutions. Marc and Dany explore creative options that could move us forward, and learn why efforts to ban certain kinds of weapons might not with National Review’s Jim Geraghty.

Jim Geraghty is the Senior Political Correspondent of National Review. He writes their Morning Jolt newsletter, and hosts the Three Martini Lunch podcast.

This is America – how can we have a shortage of baby formula? That’s the question many parents are asking as they face bare Soviet-style store shelves. In a country with ample means, how did America arrive at what is essentially a food shortage? How did three main domestic baby formula companies come to control 98% of their market? Parent or not, this issue has implications for everyone—it is a case study that involves government regulations, supply chain, monopolies under the guise of capitalism, and barriers to free trade. Or, as one of the podcast’s guests notes, “a perfect storm.”

Marc and Dany explore this puzzling situation with guests Annie Gasparro and Jesse Newman, Wall Street Journal reporters covering the scandal. Gasparro is a food reporter with the WSJ Chicago bureau and writes about packaged food companies and consumer tastes. Newman is also a food reporter with the WSJ corporate bureau, covering farmers, ranchers, and food companies.

Do Russians really support Vladimir Putin’s aggression and war crimes in Ukraine? On the weekend of April 1st, Western media shared photos and videos of a brutal massacre in Bucha, Ukraine. The gruesome reports prompted a fresh wave of outrage over Russian war crimes. This week saw the first Ukrainian war crimes trial that ended in confession and conviction for a Russian soldier. But Russians in government and outside continue to insist that the Bucha massacre is “fake,” or “Western agenda-setting.” More troubling still are broad Russian civilian calls to annihilate the “sub-human” Ukrainians.

Marc and Dany explore this disturbing trend with Ian Garner on today’s episode. Garner is a historian and a translator of Russian war propaganda. His first book, Stalingrad Lives: Stories of Combat and Survival, was published in 2022.

Last week we saw the first leak in Supreme Court history – a draft opinion that reversed the landmark Roe v Wade ruling of 1973 and shot the topic of abortion back into the headlines. Former Supreme Court clerk John Yoo joins Dany and Marc again to discuss the legal implications of overturning Roe v Wade, the reasoning behind the leak, and the options before the nation’s voters as they weigh the prospective ruling. Is Roe good law? Does it matter? And do the American people care that issues before the highest court in the land and the nomination of justices have taken on the “character of a political campaign.”

These questions and more on this week’s episode with guest John Yoo. Yoo is a former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. He is currently the Emmanuel Heller professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley school of law. He is a scholar at both the American Enterprise Institute and the Hoover Institution.

Nuclear saber-rattling, threats to expand the war, and $33 billion in new aid: General Jack Keane joins Marc and Dany to discuss the direction of the war in Ukraine. Putin’s efforts have shifted from Kyiv to the self-declared Donetsk and Luhansk regions, and it’s still not going well. Meanwhile, on the home front, Biden has apparently turned a corner, now aiming to support an outright Ukrainian victory with more weaponry and a proposed $33 billion aid package. Will Putin’s military failures continue, or will he shift tactics and target neighboring regions? How strong is White House resolve to help President Zelensky achieve an uncompromised win? And how should Biden and Zelensky respond should Putin introduce nuclear weapons to the conflict?

These questions and more on this week’s episode with guest General Jack Keane. Jack Keane is a retired four-star general, former Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army and a Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient. He is the chairman of the Institute for the Study of War, and a Fox News senior strategic analyst.