Teng Biao is a prominent lawyer, human-rights activist, and democracy leader from China. He comes from a small, poor village and went to the country’s leading university: Peking University. He earned a Ph.D. in legal philosophy. His life took a turn, though: he entered dissidence, wanting to defend people’s rights and speak for the voiceless. He was therefore imprisoned and tortured several times. Today, he is in the United States, where he has lectured and taught at many top universities: including Harvard, Yale, and Chicago. With Jay, he talks about the Olympic Games, the genocide of the Uyghurs, and other very important issues.

Kateryna Yushchenko was born and raised in Chicago. Her parents were Ukrainian refugees, who had been through many storms. Kateryna worked in the Reagan State Department on issues of democracy and human rights and then in the White House. She moved to Ukraine and became First Lady of the country. Her husband, Viktor Yushchenko, was president from 2005 to 2010. He survived a poison attack a murder attempt by Kremlin agents. Mrs. Yushchenko has a lot to say, on important issues. Ukraine is once more in the crosshairs of a seething Vladimir Putin. The time is very tense. 

Francis Fukuyama is one of the most influential political thinkers of our times. He teaches at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, at Stanford. He is chairman of the editorial board at American Purpose. With Jay, he talks about his upbringing and education. His paternal grandfather came to America from Japan in 1905. His father was born and raised in Los Angeles. The family was interned, in Colorado, during World War II. In college and graduate school, Fukuyama studied with an array of well-known scholars: Bloom, Deman, Derrida, Barthes, Huntington, Mansfield, et al. Jay further talks with Fukuyama about liberalism, conservatism, America’s two-party system, Ukraine, and more. At the end, Fukuyama pays tribute to Alexis de Tocqueville, that great chronicler of America and explicator of democracy. 

Myroslava Luzina is a political analyst and consultant in Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital. She is also a book translator and other things. She is someone, as Jay says, from whom you can learn a great deal. Jay asks her about the situation in Ukraine now: What does it feel like? Are people making preparations (for a further Russian invasion)? Are Ukrainians becoming more nation-minded? Rallying around the flag? What about the east-west divide that we hear about? What would you like from the outside world? And so forth. A very, very interesting conversation about critical—even urgent—topics. 

As in 2008, the Chinese government will soon host Olympic Games. Talking about the issues with Jay is Perry Link, the estimable China scholar. Should the U.S. be boycotting? Is a diplomatic boycott enough? How about Peng Shuai, the tennis player? Should Elon Musk be doing business in Xinjiang Province, or East Turkestan, where the Uyghurs are being persecuted? And so on and so forth. At the end, Jay talks with Professor Link about Chinese culture, to which the professor has devoted a great deal of his life. A highly interesting, very stimulating conversation. 

Vladimir Kara-Murza is a Russian democracy leader, writer, documentary-maker, etc. He has long been admired by Jay and many others. Kara-Murza worked with Boris Nemtsov, the Russian opposition leader murdered in 2015. He himself has been subject to two murder attempts (by poison). In this “Q&A,” Kara-Murza and Jay discuss Russian civil society; the relationship between the current government and the Soviet past; the Russian people and the media; Russians abroad; the issue of Ukraine; and more. Kara-Murza is an incisive analyst and a compelling speaker. 

Togo is a West African country, of about 8 million. Since 1967, it has been ruled by two dictators, father and son. An outstanding—and outstandingly brave—opposition leader is Farida Nabourema. Jay wrote about this young woman in 2018: Daughter of Togo.” He also did a “Q&A” with her. She is back, now, with the latest: the latest about her country. Although her remarks are specifically about Togo, they apply to other countries under dictatorship, and to political life generally. A marvelous thinker and talker, this young woman, and, again, amazingly brave. 

The college-football playoffs are coming up. On hand to discuss them are David French, Vivek Dave, and Rahul Danak. Also, should coaches just up and leave, before bowl games? Should athletic departments fire them mid-season? At the end of this podcast, Vivek and Rahul discuss the Concession Call. When their schools play each other, in football or basketball, the alum of the losing school has to call the alum of the winner – which can be very, very tough. Anyway, a wonderful discussion, on the glory and agony of sports. 

Josh Kraushaar, of National Journal, is one of the best political reporters and analysts in America. His handle, on Twitter, is “Hotline Josh,” for reasons he explains in this conversation with Jay. He and Jay jaw over some of today’s politics: Biden—is he all there? Harris—does she have what it takes? Trump—are he and the GOP at one? Josh also provides assessments of the four big leaders on the Hill: Pelosi and McCarthy; Schumer and McConnell. So too, he talks about the changing role of the media, and why it matters. You can learn a lot from Josh Kraushaar, as serious students of American politics have long known. 

Vladimir Putin’s Russia is threatening Ukraine as never before. Why does it matter? What is the interest of the United States? John Bolton has long experience with Russia and Ukraine. He answers the vital questions, with candor and clarity. 

 

Walter Wolf has written an unusual book on a very difficult and important topic—a book that meets a screaming need: “The Right Rehab: A Guide to Addiction and Mental Illness Recovery When Crisis Hits Your Family.” He knows from personal experience. He is now trying to help others. 

Daniel Asia is a composer and a professor at the University of Arizona. He heads the American Culture and Ideas Initiative. Some of his articles are available in in a collection: “Observations on Music, Culture, and Politics.” Jay wrote the foreword to it. He and Dan Asia are old friends and comrades. In this conversation, they talk about Dan’s life (very interesting); the state of music education (deplorable); the threat of wokeness (great); and the future of music (?). A very lively—even impassioned—discussion.

With two of his gurus, David French and Vivek Dave, Jay talks college football, Major League Baseball, the NFL, and college basketball. The guys hash over the Big Ten, the Houston Astros, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Simmons, and more. Vivek is in a peevish mood; David is freewheeling. An excellent discussion. 

Garry Kasparov is the chess champion and democracy champion. He was Jay’s very first guest on “Q&A,” in 2015. For 255 months, Kasparov was the world’s No. 1 in chess. As Jay points out, Tiger Woods, in his career so far, has been No. 1 in golf for 158 months. Kasparov is chairman of the Human Rights Foundation and also chairman of the Renew Democracy Initiative. RDI has a new program called “Frontlines of Freedom.” In his latest conversation with Jay, Kasparov talks of many things, not excluding chess. But his main message is: The world needs America. The world needs America to be strong, sane, and democratic. “Just don’t get crazy.” Curb radicalism, coming from whatever direction. Remember who you are, and what you stand for. 

Widely known as “BHL,” Bernard-Henri Lévy is a French philosopher and writer. He is one of the leading “public intellectuals” of our time. Not content with his armchair and library, he goes on adventures, including dangerous ones. His latest book is “The Will to See: Dispatches from a World of Misery and Hope.” Jay talks with him about his book, his life, and his thoughts. 

Mark Haidar is “a tech whiz and entrepreneur,” as Jay says. Mr. Haidar has founded or co-founded several companies and has several patents. He lives in Dallas, but started out in Lebanon. His family was very poor, and his country was beset by war. His rise has been spectacular. Mr. Haidar is featured in George W. Bush’s latest book, “Out of Many, One:  Portraits of America’s Immigrants.” He and Jay sat down together at the Bush Center in Dallas. Listen to the stories this man has to relate—amazing. 

You will want to meet Masih Alinejad, an extraordinary woman from Iran. She is a journalist, who defied the rulers of her home country. She is now in exile, in the United States. Recently, she was the target of a kidnap plot by the Iranian regime. She soldiers on, undaunted. She is full of courage, full of love. Jay sat down with her at the Oslo Freedom Forum in Miami.

That is the slogan of Leopoldo López: “El que se cansa, pierde.” “He who tires, loses.” López is a face and voice of the Venezuelan opposition. He was imprisoned in February 2014. He made a daring escape from the country in October 2020. This week, at the Oslo Freedom Forum, Jay talked with López about his life in and out of prison. And about his hopes and dreams for his country.  

 

Robert Costa, the Washington Post reporter, is a frequent guest on “Q&A,” and an old friend and colleague of Jay’s. With Bob Woodward, Costa has written “Peril,” which is the best-selling book in the country at the moment. It is about the last days of the Trump presidency, essentially, and the first days of the Biden presidency. With Jay, Costa discusses a number of issues and personalities. The personalities include Trump, of course – and Pence, Rudy, Lindsey, Barr, and Quayle. Dan Quayle is an interesting blast from the past: a Republican vice-president from Indiana, like Pence. Costa has reported deeply, and has important things to say. 

John U. Bacon was Jay’s guest on “Q&A” last summer—talking about some terribly serious issues in college sports. In this new episode, JUB talks about his new book: “Let Them Lead: Unexpected Lessons in Leadership from America’s Worst High-School Hockey Team.” That team was the Huron High School River Rats, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Before coaching at Huron, John went there. So did Jay. They are old friends and classmates. John turned the hockey team around in an extraordinary way. In this achievement are lessons for all of us.