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1989 – the beginning of history

In the 1990s 13 out 15 European countries were led by social democratic governments and the transatlantic relationship came out strong by “winning the Cold War”. The fall of Berlin Wall and dissolution of the Soviet Union was considered as a turning point for Europe’s future and it symbolized the greatest common achievement of US and Europe at that time. But since then, EU-US relations and most of the social democratic parties in Europe have been deteriorating. Did the West underestimate the forces of liberalism and globalisation which took European states by storm? In this episode, Sylvie Kauffmann with host Mark Leonard untangles some of the many interconnections and which 1989 provoked or brought to light.

This podcast was recorded on 4 December 2019.

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China's 1989

Anthony Dworkin stands in for host Mark Leonard to talk about how China experienced 1989 back then and today. In some ways, it is more comparable to the changes 1968 provoked in the West, claims podcast guest and China expert Jeff Wasserstrom. Looking beyond the dreadful Tiananmen Square Massacre, how did China change after 1989 politically and socially? And can we draw a line from the protests back then to the ones in Hong Kong right now?

This podcast was recorded on 2 December 2019.

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Iran: Calculating the cost of US sanctions

Over a year into the Trump administration's "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran, the re-imposition of sanctions have not only placed in jeopardy the Iran nuclear deal, but also hit the Iranian economy.
The panel consisting of Esfandyar Batmanghelidj(Founder, Bourse & Bazaar), David Ramin Jalilvand(CEO, Orient Matters), Tara Sepheri Far(Iran Researcher, Human Rights Watch and chaired by Ellie Geranmayeh (Deputy Head of the MENA Programme, ECFR) looked at all the costs associated with the US sanctions policy including the impact on ordinary Iranians, the Iranian leadership and how this ties into the recent wave of protests across the country.
The event on 3rd December considered the impact of the US sanctions on trade between Europe and Iran, particularly in the humanitarian sector.

Recorded on 3 December 2019 in Berlin.

America's 1989

In the fourth episode on the events of 1989 and how they have shaped and may continue to shape our world in the years to come, host Mark Leonard is joined by Jeremy Shapiro. Jeremy Shapiro is research director here at ECFR, and is able to provide an account of the American experience of 1989, which was much less dramatic than European and Russian collective memories of the event. Nevertheless, 1989 is an interesting jumping-off point for thinking about the lenses of US foreign policy and the foreign enemy paradigm it appears to require. In dialogue with our previous contributors- Timothy Garton Ash and Fyodor Lukyanov- Shapiro analyses the neglect of Russia in American foreign policy thinking and addresses issues such as the rise of China. Did the EU ever really develop a security order accepted by the Russians? What could the US or Europe have done differently in the wake of the Cold War?

This podcast was recorded on 27 November 2019.

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The first beneficiaries of 1989

Host Mark Leonard has an intimate discussion with our heads of offices from Sofia and Warsaw, Vessela Tcherneva and Piotr Buras about their experiences, hopes and dreams during the transition times of the 1990s. How did their life and future change the minute the Berlin Wall fell? What are this generation’s thoughts 30 years later and predications for Europe in the coming 30 years?

This podcast was recorded on 21 November 2019.

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Russia's 1989

In the second in our series on the events of 1989 and how they will shape our world for decades to come, host Mark Leonard is joined by Fyodor Lukyanov. Lukyanov is Editor-in-Chief of Russia in Global Affairs, Chairman of the Presidium of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, and Research Director of the Valdai International Discussion Club. In this podcast, recorded in Dubai, the two discuss America's and Russia's differing views on the Cold War and its end. The trauma of 1989, but also the euphoria it generated in Europe, and Putin's development as a political actor, are set into context. This context allows for a multifaceted understanding of the events of 1989.It also allows the arc of Russian foreign policy to be traced to today, and in doing so provides a useful accompaniment to the Eurocentric 1989 celebrations.

This podcast was recorded on 4 November 2019.

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Yemen - Seizing the moment of oppurtunity?

Recording of the Lunch Discussion analysing Yemen's role in the current Gulf crisis and how recent regional developments will have an impact on the UN-coordinated peace process.

Almost a year after the widely praised UN-sponsored Stockholm Agreement, there have been significant changes in the Yemeni war but peace appears no nearer. Focus has shifted away from the Hodeida front, leading to the UAE’s military disengagement from Yemen, and leaving Saudi Arabia in sole charge of the war at a time when finding an appropriate response to the September attacks on ARAMCO remains its priority. Within Yemen itself, in recent months, military action and negotiations have concentrated on the summer’s developments in the South, and Saudi attempts to solve the impasse created by southern separatist takeover of Aden, revealing serious differences between the two main members of the Saudi-led coalition.

Our speakers addressed the role Yemen plays in the overall Gulf crisis, including Gulf States perspectives resulting from US volatility, recent and potential developments in the UN-coordinated peace process and the implications of recent internal events in the country.

Recorded on 14 November 2019.

Iran & the US escalation game - What Europe can do?

In this episode, live from Brussels, Ellie Geranmayeh is standing in for our host Mark Leonard to discuss Iran’s further withdrawal from the 2015 Nuclear Agreement. 
After the Iran Strategy Meeting meeting, she met with Hossein Mousavian (Princeton University), Ilan Goldenberg (Center for a New American Security) and Nasser Hadian (University of Teheran) to analyse the responses coming from the US and European governments, in particular from France. By marking the 40th anniversary of the Iran Hostage Crisis, they look back on how this has shaped the Iran-US relations in the past 4 years. Moreover, after one year, how has the re-imposition of the US sanction impacted Iran domestically? 

This podcast was recorded on 6 November 2019.

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1989- the greatest year in European history?

In the first in our mini-series on the events of 1989, host Mark Leonard is joined by very special guest Timothy Garton Ash, historian and Professor of European Studies at Oxford University. This series considers how 1989 and it's events will shape our world in the future. Was 1989 the greatest year in European history? How much of what is going on was a blip? Are we witnessing the decline of liberalism today? Ash provides insights into the course of our political history, but cautions on prescribing a course to our future. The failure to develop solidarity, identity and community as part of the European Union project has led to a hollowing out of European identity. Global challenges and populism put the future of the liberal democratic world into question, unless answers are found.

This podcast was recorded on 31 October 2019.

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After Baghdadi is before Baghdadi: How the West still has to fight ISIS

How will IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s killing impact ISIS as a terror organisation and the situation in Syria? Host Mark Leonard is joined by Anthony Dworkin and Asli Aydıntaşbaş to analyse the current events and political implications for Syria’s neighbouring countries, the US and the EU. As the European Union has failed to come up with a coherent policy on how to handle their citizens who travelled to join ISIS, they argue it would still be best, to bring them home and to try them there. But how could the EU member states go ahead with the process?

Further read: "Beyond good and evil: Why Europe should bring ISIS foreign fighters home" by Anthony Dworkin

The podcast was recorded on 30 October 2019.

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How to deal with our Western Balkan neighbours?

North Macedonia and Albania wanted to start negotiations with the EU after having been candidate countries since 2005 and 2014. But the enlargement plans seemed to have stalled especially after opposition from France.
Host Mark Leonard is joined by Susi Dennison, José Ignacio Torreblanca and Vessela Tcherneva to get to the bottom of things and the divisions particularly between France and Germany on this issue.

The podcast as recorded on 17 October 2019.

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Europe with no cards to play: Erdoğan, Trump, and Europe's weaknesses

Turkey's offensive into northeast Syria is moving at an unprecedented pace with grave consequences. Europe's utter irrelevance in the face of US withdrawal from the Turkish/Syrian border has been thrown in to stark light, particularly as it fails to take responsibility for European Isis members in the region. Europes weakness on migration and the refugee crisis as a whole has also been highlighted. What can and should Europe do at this crisis point? As events unfold, Asli Aydıntaşbaş, senior policy fellow with the Wider Europe programme joins host Mark Leonard from Turkey. Mark is also joined by head of ECFR's MENA programme, Julien Barnes-Dacey. Jeremy Shapiro, our research director, provides insight into Trump and Erdoğan's relationship breakdown and what US foreign policy under Trump may continue to look like.

This podcast was recorded on 10 October 2019.

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"The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East, 1914-1920" By Eugene Rogan
"The Noise of Time" by Julien Barnes
"Chimera" by Alexandros Yannis
Details of the text message sent by a No.10 source to the Spectator

Reaching out to Russia – joining hands or getting the mitten?

In this week’s podcast, Mark Leonard, Gustav Gressel and Kadri Liik analyse Macron’s plans and ideas for recreating the European security order, an initiative which he launched with a speech at the Ambassador’s conference this year. Moreover, according to French officials, France will instead of starting with a top-down plan, try to build European security from the bottom-up and see if there is a desire in Moscow to make progress on specific issues, one brick at a time. They have laid out a roadmap with five different areas: Disarmament, security dialogue, crisis management, values, and common projects.
Further read: “Emmanuel Macron’s very big idea on Russia” by Gustav Gressel, Kadri Liik, Jeremy Shapiro & Tara Varma

The podcast was recorded on 30 September 2019.

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David McAllister on how MEPs will quiz the next Commissioners

Mark Leonard welcomes a very special guest, David McAllister MEP to the podcast, talking about the process of doing all the hearing for the European Commission over the next weeks. Additionally, David McAllister gives his view on Europe on the world stage and his vision of European foreign policy.

The podcast was recorded on 25 September 2019.

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Livestream to the hearings: www.europarl.europa.eu/ep-live/en/schedule

Three crises and an opportunity: Europe’s stake in multilateralism

The multilateral system faces three related crises of power, relevance, and legitimacy. This fraying consensus threatens the EU, which is committed to multilateralism. But the situation also represents an opportunity for European influence! Mark Leonard discusses Europe's stake on multilateralism with the ECFR experts Richard Gowan and Anthony Dworkin.

The podcast was recorded on 19 September 2019.

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Von der Leyen's EU Commission: Picks for a Union that strives for more

Mark Leonard is meeting his ECFR colleagues, Tara Varma, Piotr Buras and Teresa Coratello in Berlin to go through the newly selected EU Commission. What have been surprises, disappointments and challenges in von der Leyen's new cabinet? And what role did geopolitics play during the selection process?

This podcast was recorded on 10 September 2019.

Read von der Leyen's Vision Statement here:

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Meddling or Bargaining? - Emmanuel Macron's Iran Initiative

This week, ECFR director Mark Leonard discusses with experts Ellie Geranmayeh and Julien Barnes-Dacey the French president Emmanuel Macron's bold initiative: Europeans are now to explore a credit line for Iran to entice the sanctions-battered country to keep abiding by an international nuclear deal. But the US and president Trump are sceptical.

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The podcast was recorded on 6 September 2019.

Independence Play: Europe's Pursuit of Strategic Autonomy

In the final episode of our special summer series on European strategic sovereignty, regular host Mark Leonard is joined by two of ECFR’s own experts: research director Jeremy Shapiro and Senior Policy Fellow and head of the Paris office Tara Varma. Topic of discussion is research led by Ulrike Franke and Tara Varma looking at how Europeans from all of the different EU member states see strategic autonomy. Is the idea of strategic sovereignty owned by the French? If it is, does French ownership pose a problem for the acceptance of the idea? What is the military component of European strategic sovereignty? What role is there for the UK after Brexit? These are some of the questions they discuss.

The paper that is referred to can be found here: https://www.ecfr.eu/specials/scorecard/independence_play_europes_pursuit_of_strategic_autonomy 

This podcast was recorded on Friday, August 30, 2019.

Picture retrieved from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Emmanuel_Macron_and_Angela_Merkel_(Frankfurter_Buchmesse_2017).jpg
Public domain.

Should Europe Take Sides in US-China Tech Wars?

As the US-China tech war escalates, techno-nationalism looks to replace global connectivity and collaboration. Helping ECFR director Mark Leonard understand the tech rivalry are Andrew Small, a senior transatlantic fellow at the German Marshall Fund, Tim Rühlig, a researcher at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs and Amy Studdart, a senior advisor at the International Republican Institute and Founder of the tech startup Villager. The all-star cast discuss the pressing questions: Will either side agree to a tech war truce? Will globalization unravel? What role will Europe play?

The podcast was recorded on Tuesday, 16 July 2019.

Harnessing artificial intelligence

In this episode of ECFR’s special summer series on European strategic sovereignty, Mark Leonard talks to Ulrike Franke, ECFR Policy Fellow, about artificial intelligence (AI). Mark asks Ulrike, who is currently on leave at the University of Oxford studying AI, where Europe stands compared to the United States and China in harnessing this promising new technology. More specifically, they look at the ingredients needed to develop good AI (talent, data and hardware) and ask to what extent Europe has them. The two end with a number of recommendations for Europe’s leaders as to what it can do to catch up with frontrunners US and China.

The podcast was recorded Monday, July 15, 2019.

Picture retrieved from pixabay: https://pixabay.com/illustrations/artificial-intelligence-brain-think-4389372/. 

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