The heading of this episode tells you the necessary: John Bolton discusses Afghanistan with Jay. Bolton has served in the national-security field for many years, including as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and national-security adviser to the president. His memoirs are “Surrender Is Not An Option” and “The Room Where It Happened.” With Jay, Bolton talks about why we went into Afghanistan; what we did there; how we left; and what it all means. This talk is a half-hour of knowledge, experience, and blunt reality.

Christopher Meyer has had an action-packed life. For 33 months, he was deployed across three combat zones, in support of special operations. He received a Bronze Star in Afghanistan. He is the artistic director of a new theater: Veterans Repertory Theater. And, like many other vets, he has been involved in the effort to rescue Afghan allies, on the run and facing death. Some people speak of a “Digital Dunkirk.” You will want to hear what Chris Meyer has to say: he is eloquent, blunt, informed, and determined. 

Regula Mühlemann is a “bright and rising and wonderful young soprano,” as Jay says in his introduction. She is from Switzerland. And she performed at the Salzburg Festival this summer. Jay interviewed her, in the series of public conversations hosted by the Salzburg Festival Society. Get to know this appealing young artist (Regula, that is—no offense to Jay). 

Maria DeCotis is a comedienne, an actress, a writer, a singer, a dancer—a Renaissance woman in entertainment. She came to broad public attention when she impersonated Andrew Cuomo, during the pandemic. It was hilarious, and creative. She has lost Cuomo as a public figure, but she has many more characters in her repertoire. With Jay, she talks about her life and career. She is a breath of fresh air. “A break away from the everyday,” as a fast-food slogan once had it. Enjoy. 

Radek Sikorski is a veteran journalist, writer, politician, and statesman. He has been foreign minister and defense minister of his country, Poland. He is now a member of the European Parliament. He first went to Afghanistan, as a war correspondent, in 1986. With Jay, Sikorski discusses Afghanistan and U.S. foreign policy. They move on to Belarus, Poland itself, Hungary – and last, the very question of democracy and freedom. Democratic values are under siege and need help. 

 Jay has a leisurely, wide-ranging, enriching hour with Daniel Hannan, the writer, columnist, and member of the House of Lords. What’s that all about, by the way? Is the House of Lords a senate? Do they wear wigs? And how about “House of Cards”? Is Westminster anything like that? Hannan and Jay further talk about Peru, where Hannan was born and grew up. A new president has been elected—a real bolshie. How does democracy fare across the world, in this age of pandemic and strongmen? At the end of their conversation, the two talk about Shakespeare, about which Daniel Hannan is authoritative and, as ever, eloquent. You will enjoy this hour—the cast of characters is large (FDR, Churchill, JFK, Macmillan, Reagan, Thatcher, Falstaff, Cleopatra, Bill Clinton, Blair, Boris) and the subjects burning or engrossing, or both. 

Jay convenes a sportscast, with two of his regular gurus: David French and Vivek Dave. They talk some Olympics—Simone and the twisties, plus other issues. Including transgenderism. And: Should PGA stars be in the Olympics? The guys also talk the NFL, the NBA, and the SEC. Initials abound, as do personalities. A lively conversation. 

 

There are always many things on George F. Will’s mind, and on Jay’s, too. In this episode, they discuss the January 6 committee. Big Tech. Critical race theory. Confederates in the U.S. Capitol (their statues, that is). Taiwan. Hong Kong. The media. And other things—including baseball, which is in serious need of reform, according to GFW. Jay can only assent. If Will says that baseball must change—and he is a traditionalist who would not advocate change lightly—it must. 

José de Córdoba is a Latin America correspondent for the Wall Street Journal. Jay has known him for several years. De Córdoba has reported from all over the region, but he has been reporting a lot lately on Cuba—understandably. The island has seen the biggest protests since the formation of the Communist regime. De Córdoba himself started out in Cuba. He left with his family in 1960, when he was seven. He talks with Jay about being an exile, and a “hyphenated American”—and also about various issues surrounding Cuba. An informative and at times moving conversation. 

 Jay’s guest is Kevin D. Williamson, his friend and National Review colleague. They talk about things on their mind – including crime, inflation, Cuba, Reaganism, “post-liberalism,” abortion, the National Security Agency, Richard Branson, and Johann Sebastian Bach. A rich and stimulating conversation. See what you think. 

 

In a brisk, bracing, and highly substantive half-hour with Jay, John Bolton covers a lot of topics. The late Donald Rumsfeld, the missile-defense cause, and the Iraq War. The Department of Justice case—now dropped—against Bolton for his latest book. China, the pandemic, and the new superpower competition. Putin and cyberwar. Ukraine and NATO. Central America and immigration. Iran and nukes. And more. One can learn a lot—always—from John Bolton. 

John U. Bacon is a veteran journalist and book-author. He has written on a variety of subjects, especially sports—sports at the University of Michigan, in particular. He and Jay grew up together (though on rival teams) in Ann Arbor. The athletic department at the U of M is now beset by scandal. Problems in Ann Arbor are ones being experienced all across the country. They have to do with racism, sexual abuse, the removing of names and statues, etc. John Bacon handles all these subjects with exceptional care and expertise. He and Jay also talk a bit about the old days, and the question: Should college athletes be paid? Much to chew on. 

Last month, Jay hosted Haviv Rettig Gur, an analyst and writer with the Times of Israel. HRG explained the Hamas war (the latest one). He is back by popular demand—to explain Israeli politics: Bibi out, a strange coalition in. Moreover, he explains the peculiar, fascinating nature of Israeli democracy. A rich discussion. 

Nathan Law is a democracy leader from Hong Kong. Born in 1993, he became the youngest person ever elected to the Legislative Council—age 23. He co-founded a political party. He was put in jail. Earlier this month, he spoke at the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy. Last summer, as a new, Draconian law was being imposed, he went into exile. With Jay, Nathan Law talks about his life, China, Hong Kong, and the future. Is there still hope? As Jay says, young Mr. Law is an inspiration. 

Waad al-Kateab is a Syrian journalist and documentarian. She filmed daily life in Aleppo, during the siege of that city, which lasted four years. Today, she is exiled in London. She made a documentary called “For Sama” (Sama being one of her two daughters). This week, she has participated in the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy. With Jay, she talks about a range of issues, surrounding this most difficult and important subject: Syria. 

Haviv Rettig Gur is a senior analyst with the Times of Israel. In the last few days, he has written a searching article about the latest Hamas war, and the prospects for Israel. With Jay, Mr. Gur expands on important issues. What about intra-Palestinian politics (Hamas vs. Fatah)? What about the role of Iran? What about the United States? What errors has Israel made? Why can’t Israel finish off Hamas once and for all? To listen to Haviv Rettig Gur is an education. 

For 30 years, Marvin Kalb was a reporter and commentator for CBS News and NBC News. He was the last of the “Murrow Boys.” In the 1980s, he was the host of “Meet the Press.” Today, he hosts “The Kalb Report.” He was born in 1930 and, as a child, helped his family get through the Depression. Millions of Depression kids did this. He later went to Harvard graduate school, to study Russia and Russian. His first book, published in 1958, was about his experiences in the Soviet Union. So is his latest book, “Assignment Russia: Becoming a Foreign Correspondent in the Crucible of the Cold War.” He and Jay talk over some big events, personal, national, and international. 

Nicholas Christakis is an unusual academic—a physician, a sociologist, and more. He is also a champion of free speech. Christakis is a Greek American, who grew up in both countries. He has a lofty position at Yale: Sterling Professor of Social and Natural Science. He has written a book about the pandemic, “Apollo’s Arrow.” He talks about this, both knowledgeably and movingly. He and Jay discuss a number of other issues too, including “wokeness” on campus, and the need for good old-fashioned pluralism. Get to know the extraordinary Nicholas Christakis.

Dana Perino has written three books, all filled with wisdom and light. Books tend to reflect their authors. She has podcasted with Jay about all three of them. The latest is “Everything Will Be Okay: Life Lessons for Young Women (from a Former Young Woman).” Ms. Perino is a co-host of two shows at Fox News: “America’s Newsroom” and “The Five.” She served a press secretary to President George W. Bush. With Jay, she talks about some of the issues of her book: the whys and wherefores of being a young woman, navigating her way through life. The lessons are relevant to men as well, and to people of all ages. Dana and Jay’s conversation is interesting, amusing – and practical. 

Gulchehra Hoja works at Radio Free Asia, in Washington, D.C. She is a Uyghur, a Uyghur American. The Chinese government has imprisoned more than a million Uyghurs in a new network of concentration camps—a new gulag archipelago. Among the prisoners are many of Gulchehra Hoja’s relatives. She and her colleagues at RFA have paid a terrible price for their truth-telling; so have their families. Ms. Hoja talks with Jay about her life, her work, and the horror of it all. A tremendously informative and moving podcast.