Vladamir Putin has announced what he called a “partial mobilization” of up to 300,000 reservists.

According to reports, these reservists are basically former conscripts that will need training.

Between now and November, we will be taking a close look at the midterm election season, which — for most voters — is just kicking off now. If history is a guide, the first mid-term election cycle of a new president should result in the opposing party (the party not in the White House) scoring a wave of victories in Congress. How big will the wave be?

New polls suggest that there may not be much of a wave for Republicans. But are these new polls missing something?

Are we getting closer to or farther away from an Iran deal? Walter Russell Mead of The Wall Street Journal has been following developments closely. I wanted to check in with him. But I also wanted to talk to Walter about his big new and groundbreaking book, called “The Arc of a Covenant: The United States, Israel, and the Fate of the Jewish People.”

Walter has been immersed in writing this book for over a decade – it covers the history of the U.S.-Israel relationship, but it’s much more than that. It’s also a book about the history of US foreign policy.

While the unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 3.7% in August from a low of 3.5% in July, job growth still remained well above the pre-covid trend. There are over 11 million job openings – that’s more than twice the number of unemployed people.

But according to a growing body of economics and social science research, the headline jobs numbers that we all track conceals a much bigger problem – the hidden crisis of able-bodied workers in their prime working age (25-54 years old), actually choosing to completely withdraw from the labor force. This has been a growing trend since the 1960s, but the pandemic accelerated it.

Matti Friedman is one of the most thoughtful writers when it comes to all matters related to Israel, on the broader Middle East, and also on trends in the world of journalism. He is a monthly writer for Tablet Magazine and a regular contributor to The Atlantic.

His newest book is called “Who by Fire: Leonard Cohen in the Sinai.” Before that he published “Spies of No Country: Secret Lives at the Birth of Israel,” and before that “Pumpkinflowers: A Soldier’s Story of a Forgotten War,” which was chosen as a New York Times’ Notable Book and as one of Amazon’s 10 best books of the year, and was selected as one of the year’s best by Foreign Affairs Magazine. Matti’s army service included tours in Lebanon.

What is happening right now in Vienna with the negotiations over the future of Iran’s nuclear program? What was the significance of Putin’s recent trip to Iran? What is the nature of China’s relationship with Iran, and what can it tell us about Beijing’s grand strategy? And if Iran continues to build its nuclear program, what is Israel’s Plan B?

These are some of the questions we explore with Mark Dubowitz, who is the CEO of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a nonpartisan think tank based in Washington, DC. We sat down with while we’re in Israel.

Why did Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei get such outsized attention?
She’s not the first US Speaker to travel to Taiwan.

Why did the killing of Ayman al-Zawahiri get so little attention? After all, he was one of the three most important figures in al-Qaeda’s leadership for decades.

Air travel this summer seems broken.

On some days, major airlines have been canceling 10 percent of their flights. In normal times, it’s something like one in a hundred that are canceled.

This next week will be among the most consequential in contemporary British politics. Ballots are sent out to Tory party members on August 1st, and they can begin voting right away. Whoever wins becomes Prime Minister in September, without first going through a General Election. So this next week is crucial for the two leading candidates to form final impressions before voting begins.

To help us understand the process, the candidates, and what this all means for the UK at home, the UK’s economy, and the UK in the world, we are joined by James Forsyth, the political editor of The Spectator magazine. He is also a weekly columnist for The Times of London. He previously was a journalist for UK publications The Sun and The Mail.

Inflation hit a staggering 9.1% over the last 12 months, rising 1.3% for the month of June. The increases were “broad-based,” as the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) put it, touching just about every aspect of our lives…especially food prices and energy prices.

In anticipation of these new numbers, we invited Dr Mohamed El-Erian back to the podcast. He is President of Queens’ College at Cambridge University. Mohamed serves as part-time Chief Economic Advisor at Allianz and Chair of Gramercy Fund Management. He’s a Professor at The Wharton School, he is a Financial Times contributing editor, Bloomberg Opinion columnist, and the author of two New York Times best sellers. He serves on several non-profit boards, including the NBER, and those of Barclays and Under Armour.

Are there comparable periods in our history that can guide us through the current ‘“woke” debates? Is there precedent for this kind of thing burning out? Will it? How did we get to this point? And how long will it take?

That’s what we discuss today with Noah Rothman, whose new book, just released this week, is called “The Rise of the New Puritans: Fighting Back Against Progressives War on Fun.”

Dan recently joined the Commentary Magazine podcast to share analysis on the current state of Israeli politics. We are posting that conversation here.

What have we learned so far about this election cycle, and what does it tell us about what’s likely to happen in the midterm elections of 2022, and the Democratic and GOP primaries for president in 2024?

Historically, California has often served as a movie trailer on our national political future — ‘coming to a theater near you.’ Richard Nixon started there, turning the Cold War threat into an election theme in his early political campaigns; Ronald Reagan transformed what we now think of as movement conservatism during his two terms as governor; and Proposition 187 was a California state ballot issue in 1994, before immigration became a national political issue (it helped get then-Governor Pete Wilson re-elected on the issue of immigration).

The Biden administration has announced that the President will take his first trip to the Middle East as president. His first stop will be in Israel to meet with Israeli leaders and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, before heading to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he will meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The U.S.-Saudi relationship began nearly eight decades ago between FDR and King Ibn Saud. With varying degrees of tumult, the relationship has survived – and sometimes thrived – through 14 U.S. presidencies.

After the 100-day mark of the 2022 Russian war against Ukraine. we assess some grim facts of this war, and try to understand how they should inform what to expect in the next hundred days.

Richard Fontaine, CEO of the Centar for a New American Security (CNAS), returns to the conversation. Richard is a member of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board. CNAS is a bi-partisan foreign policy think tank in Washington, DC. Prior to CNAS, he was foreign policy advisor to Senator John McCain and worked at the State Department, the National Security Council, and on the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

When it comes to the future of sports and entertainment, Jon Patricof is always trying to innovate and disrupt. He’s had the added challenge of launching a business from scratch on the eve of the pandemic.

Jon is the CEO and Co-Founder of Athletes Unlimited, a network of professional sports leagues. Launched in March 2020, Athletes Unlimited now operates leagues in pro women’s softball, volleyball, lacrosse, and basketball. By the end of this year, if current estimates hold, Athletes Unlimited will have conducted over 120 games that will be broadcast in over 150 countries.

What are his objectives at this point in his war against Ukraine? And what are Ukraine’s objectives? What are US objectives? After all, the goals of different leaders in wartime often evolve based on battlefield developments.

Are objectives shifting right now before our eyes…for Putin, Zelensky, and the US and NATO? And has the likelihood that Putin would use a limited nuclear strike changed as his objectives have evolved?

In Israel we sit down with an entrepreneur and former Naval officer, who has built a company that has had to navigate the twin crises of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the maritime implications of cracks in global supply chains.

Ami Daniel comes to these crises as the co-founder and CEO of Windward, a maritime data, analytics and artificial intelligence company bringing transparency to what is among the largest but most opaque part of the global economy. Ami also brings his perspective as a former Naval officer serving in the Middle East.

Should we be surprised that there seems to be a renewed by bi-partisan consensus in response to Putin’s war? Are we back in a Cold War posture, both in policy terms and in our politics?
Speaking of today’s politics, what can the past few decades of Republican politics and conservative ideas tell us about 2022 and 2024? According to Matthew Continetti, quite a lot.
Matt Continentti is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, founding editor of The Washington Free Beacon, and a columnist for Commentary Magazine. He’s also the author of several books. He has a new book just out called “The Right: The Hundred-Year War for American Conservatism”.

Order the book here:

Is Putin crossing almost every line the West did not anticipate he would cross? What does this tell us about where he might might ultimately escalate to?

Richard Fontaine returns to the podcast to answer these questions and others. Richard is CEO of the Center for New American Security. He was recently appointed to the Defense Policy Board by the Biden Administration’s Pentagon leadership. Prior to working at CNAS, Richard was foreign policy advisor to Senator John McCain and worked on the Senate Armed Services Committee, at the State Department, at the National Security Council, and on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.