Iran is currently experiencing its deadliest political unrest since the Islamic Revolution 40 years ago. The regime in Tehran has already killed hundreds of civilians and arrested 7,000 people as anti-government protesters take to the streets to demonstrate against corruption and the country’s faltering economy.

Will this round of protests finally topple the system of the Islamic Republic? And what will happen to the people of Iran if protesters successfully upend the regime? On this episode of the show, Michael Rubin joined Dany and Marc to talk about what’s happening on the ground in Iran, whether the country’s government is truly at risk of collapse, and how protests in Tehran relate to similar unrest in Iraq and Lebanon.

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The months-long protests in Hong Kong continue to escalate, with demonstrators and police officers violently clashing at a university campus this week. As protests continue against Communist China, what lessons does the battle for freedom against the Communist Soviet Union hold for Hong Kong? Former Polish President, Solidarity founder, and Nobel Prize winner Lech Walesa weighs in.

The former President of Poland and founding Chairman of Solidarity Lech Walesa joined the podcast to discuss his experience with anti-government protests and offer advice to the people of Hong Kong. Promising to stand with demonstrators, Walesa states that he would be willing to go to Hong Kong and fight for the democratic ideals that protesters are demanding.

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World leaders gathered in Germany last week to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union. But three decades after that momentous occasion, we are once again seeing the rise of socialism, a system of governance that put people in chains both politically and economically. What explains this resurgence throughout Europe and the United States?

US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell joined Dany and Marc to discuss the commemoration of the fall of the wall and whether we’ve learned the lessons of history associated with the Soviet Union. Having just hosted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Grenell offers insight into how Germans view the US three decades after American citizens fought for the liberation of Berlin.

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November 4th marked the 40-year anniversary of the Iranian hostage crisis, when a group of Iranian students seized the US Embassy in Tehran and held 52 Americans captive for 444 days. Four decades later, has the Islamic Republic of Iran changed its ways? And what role does the hostage nightmare continue to play in US-Iran relations?

Kenneth Pollack joined Dany and Marc to explain what happened on that day 40 years ago, and how the hostage crisis set Iran on a course of enmity with the United States. The three discuss Operation Eagle Claw (the failed US rescue mission), how the crisis contributed toward President Jimmy Carter’s removal from office, and whether President Donald Trump’s Iran approach differs from those of his predecessors.

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Over the weekend, President Trump announced that the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was killed during a raid by US commandos in Syria’s Idlib province. And while Baghdadi’s death is a clear victory in the war on terror, eliminating the leader of ISIS will not eliminate the threat nor defeat the larger Salafi-jihadi movement.

On this episode, Dany and Marc interviewed the New York Times’ Eric Schmitt to learn more about the state of ISIS. The three discuss the American troop withdrawal from northeastern Syria, the relationship between the Islamic State and al Qaeda, and what the international community should do about the thousands of ISIS fighters and families in prisons and refugee camps throughout the region.

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Everyone in Washington set their hair on fire following White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney’s apparent admission of a quid pro quo for assistance to Ukraine in his news conference last week. But are quid pro quos really that bad? (Depends on the quo.) Has the US government used them before? And shouldn’t foreign aid always be dependent on getting something that’s good for America in return?

Dany and Marc sat down with former Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff director Lester Munson to discuss those fateful Latin words. Munson explains that contrary to what many in Washington are saying today, the United States uses quid pro quos in foreign aid all the time. In fact, Americans should expect the US to use quid pro quos when giving away their hard earned tax dollars to foreign governments. That said, no president should leverage aid on getting a foreign leader to investigate a political opponent.

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President Trump recently withdrew US forces from northeastern Syria, greenlighting a Turkish offensive against Washington’s erstwhile Kurdish allies. Trump’s decision surprised many in Washington, including members of his own administration, who point out that pulling American troops not only undermines US alliance credibility, helps Russia, ISIS, and Iran, but also leaves the Kurds, a group that has been integral to the fight against ISIS, out to dry.

This week, Michael Rubin joined Dany and Marc on the show to explain the origins of the conflict between the Kurds and Turkey and discuss the regional implications of a US troop withdrawal. After multiple visits to northeastern Syria, Rubin sheds light on the various state and non-state actors involved and what makes the Kurds such a valuable US ally.

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What the hell is going on with impeachment? Is President Trump about to be removed from office? Or will this backfire on the Democrats? As the impeachment inquiry drags on, new questions about Trump’s conversations with foreign leaders, the Bidens’ involvement in Ukraine, and the future of American politics continue to emerge.

This week, Dany and Marc sat down with Karl Rove, “The Architect” of President Bush’s 2000 and 2004 campaigns, to figure out exactly what’s going on in Washington. The three discuss whether Trump broke the law, how average Americans view the impeachment process, and what all this means for the 2020 presidential race.

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On September 28, just weeks after the Trump administration cancelled negotiations with the Taliban at Camp David, Afghans headed to the polls to elect a new president. The politically unstable country continues to face numerous diplomatic and security challenges, with a potential US troop withdrawal on the horizon.

Ahead of the elections, Dany and Marc interviewed Congressman Michael Waltz to find out what the hell is going on in Afghanistan and what decision-makers on Capitol Hill are saying about the collapse of the US-Taliban talks. A veteran of Afghanistan, Rep. Waltz shared his unique perspective on how the US can succeed in Afghanistan and what Congress and the president are getting wrong
about America’s fight in the region.

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Seventy years ago, on October 1st 1949, Mao Zedong Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party stood in Tiananmen Square in Beijing and proclaimed the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. Since then, relations between the US and China have developed along an unstable timeline sometimes seeing the two nations working in unison toward shared objectives, while at other times being at odds politically and economically. Through it all, AEI scholars analyze the relationship and provide actionable policy recommendations to Congress and the White House.

The post The People’s Republic of China appeared first on American Enterprise Institute – AEI.

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What the hell is going on in cyberspace? Could the United States defend itself from a Russian, Chinese, or Iranian cyberattack? As the world becomes increasingly dependent on technology, the US faces new cyber threats that could have catastrophic consequences for the global economy and US national security.

On this episode, Dany and Marc discuss cybersecurity with General Keith Alexander. The three address how US cyber capabilities compare to our adversaries’ capabilities, whether President Trump is championing cyber in the same way that President Obama did drones, and how serious of a threat people like Edward Snowden pose to US national security.

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Two of Saudi Arabia’s largest oil facilities were attacked on September 14, setting fire to and severely damaging the world’s largest oil refinery. Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the strikes, but the US has said there is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen, instead blaming Iran. So who’s really responsible? And should the US respond?

As world leaders try to make sense of the recent attacks, Dany and Marc sat down with Katherine Zimmerman to learn more about the different actors and rivalries in the region, and the Saudi and Iranian roles in Yemen’s ongoing civil war. They also speculate over how the strikes will affect the US-Saudi alliance and already fragile US-Iran relations.

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What the hell is going on in Afghanistan? Why is the United States making a deal with the Taliban? As the Trump administration and Taliban officials wrap up negotiations, many fear that a US withdrawal could return Afghanistan to the terrorist safe haven it was before the 9/11 attacks.

On the brink of the deal’s announcement, Dany and Marc interviewed former Afghanistan commander General David Petraeus to get his perspective on what a deal with the Taliban would mean for US national security and the people of Afghanistan. Gen. Petraeus explains the importance of keeping troops on the ground, discussing his time in the region and the lessons that the US should have taken from the past 18 years of war.

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Antisemitism is on the rise once again both in the United States and abroad. Worse yet, this awful hatred manifests itself not only in the depths of Twitter, but also within the governments of vibrant democracies. Just last week, Israel barred two US congresswomen from entering the country, citing their anti-Semitic comments.

What explains this renewed phenomenon? While in Europe, Dany and Marc interviewed Piotr Cywinski, the director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum. Conducted from the former concentration camp, the three discuss the rise of antisemitism today and the importance of preserving the memory of those who lost their lives in the Holocaust.

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In January 2019, the Trump administration recognized Juan Guaidó as the legitimate president of Venezuela. Yet nearly eight months later, with more than 50 countries backing Guaidó, Nicolás Maduro remains in power. So, what’s going on in Venezuela? Is the United States pursuing the right policy? And is a peaceful transition of power still possible?

US Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams joined Dany and Marc to explain the Trump administration’s strategy in Venezuela. The three also discuss how the country got to where it is today, the Chinese, Iranian, and Russian roles in the conflict, and the likelihood for success in the Norwegian-led negotiations.

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Protests in Hong Kong turned violent this week, with police officers firing tear gas and rubber bullets, and demonstrators vandalizing a Chinese government building. How long will Beijing tolerate democratic rumblings from Hong Kong without a major crackdown? Could this be the next Tiananmen? And will the United States react if Beijing responds with force?

Hong Kong expert Gordon Chang joined Dany and Marc to explain what’s going on in Hong Kong, and what it all might mean for the Chinese Communist Party. Chang also discusses the relationship between Hong Kong and mainland China, how protests could affect the US-China trade relationship, and whether the US should be doing more to support the people of Hong Kong.

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What’s going on with the US-China trade war? And how is China’s manipulation of the global trading system hurting working-class Americans? Is Donald Trump just a protectionist? And is he taking the GOP with him?

To answer these questions, Danielle Pletka and Marc Thiessen headed to Capitol Hill to interview Senator Rob Portman (R-OH). The three also address Trump’s use of tariffs, whether the president will win reelection in Ohio, and the likelihood of the new US-Mexico-Canada Agreement passing in Congress.

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Last week, President Trump decided to call off a military strike on Iran after the country downed an unmanned US drone. Numerous news outlets reported that the president stood down from that decision because he saw General Jack Keane point out on television that it was possible that Iran’s strike was a fluke.

On this episode of “What the Hell Is Going On?” Danielle Pletka and Marc Thiessen address recent Iranian provocations and US cyber strategy with General Jack Keane. They also discuss Trump’s visit to North Korea and the president’s relationships with dictators such as Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un.

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After threatening to impose tariffs, President Trump recently announced that he and the Mexican government reached an agreement to avert a US-Mexico trade war. So, what happened? Is this deal a breakthrough? Has Trump’s strategy of using the threat of tariffs been vindicated? And will this agreement make a difference?

On their third episode of “What the Hell Is Going On?” Danielle Pletka and Marc Thiessen review the new US-Mexico immigration deal with AEI’s Roger Noriega. The three also cover the US-Mexico border wall, the US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, and the steps Congress needs to take to help solve the immigration problem.

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What the hell is going on in North Korea? Is Kim Jong Un really executing people using piranha-filled tanks? Recent reports state that the North Korean regime is carrying out executions and purges over the failure to reach a nuclear agreement with the Trump administration.

On their second episode of “What the Hell Is Going On?” Danielle Pletka and Marc Thiessen discuss North Korea with AEI’s Nicholas Eberstadt. The three cover what might happen to someone who falls out of favor with the North Korean regime, the future of US-North Korea nuclear talks, life in one of Kim’s gulags, and the likelihood of North Korean denuclearization.

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