The annual Munich Security Conference was themed "Westlessness", defining “a widespread feeling of uneasiness and restlessness in the face of increasing uncertainty about the enduring purpose of the West”. Is the West becoming less relevant in global affairs? Are the West’s international partnerships endangered? And if so, what will the world look like in the future? Our Director Mark Leonard is joined by an all-star ECFR cast including Janka Oertel, Ulrike Franke, Ellie Geranmayeh and Jeremy Shapiro, for a very special episode recorded straight from the MSC – and covering everything from 5G, China, Iran and the future of Europe’s transatlantic relationship.
This podcast was recorded on 15 February 2020.
When US-President Donal Trump revealed his much-awaited plan for peace for Israel and Palestine it was set to solve one of the world's longest-running conflict. But this “deal of the century” was not met with the same enthusiasm in Palestine as it was seen on Trump’s and Netanyahu’s faces – to say the least. Host Mark Leonard and our MENA experts Hugh Lovatt and René Wildangel are analysing in depth the “Peace Plan” and show how little there is actually in it for the Palestinians. “The proposal clearly challenges the internationally agreed parameters,” said the EU’s chief diplomat Josep Borrell. But what can and should Europe do beyond statements?
Further read: From negotiation to imposition: Trump’s Israel-Palestine parameters by Hugh Lovatt
This podcast was recorded on 12 February 2020.
Last week the European Commission published its EU Toolbox on 5G Cyber Security, with the aim of aiding the member states in evaluating the risks associated with future usage of 5G infrastructure and networks. This was a step forward given the polarising debate surrounding the role of Chinese telecommunications firms like Huawei and ZTE within a future 5G network in Europe. The decision, however, will ultimately be a national one taken by individual member states. Our Director Mark Leonard is joined by Asia Programme Director Janka Oertel and Project Director of Stiftung Neue Verantwortung Jan-Peter Kleinhans to discuss the significance and implications of the toolbox and what this might mean for the EU.
This podcast was recorded on 5 February 2020.
It came as a surprise when Russia’s government resigned just hours after Putin’s announced his plans for a possible referendum of constitutional changes. Host Mark Leonard is joined by Kadri Liik and Gustav Gressel to elaborate on the recent political changes that have happened in the world’ largest country over the course of just the past weeks. What role will Putin play in the future in Russia and on the global stage? Is there a change to recent the relationship between the EU and Moscow? And was does this all mean to Belarus, Ukraine and the NordStream 2 project?
This podcast was recorded on 27 January 2020.
Anthony Dworkin stands in for our usual host, Mark Leonard, to de-brief the Berlin Conference on Libya. Together with the ECFR’s experts Asli Aydıntaşbaş, Tarek Megerisi and Arturo Varvelli, he discusses Europe’s attempt to get back in the game in Libya after the country has been torn apart by many foreign forces and players. They evaluate the conference’s turnout and analyse the final agreements – while also looking at another question: what does this all say about European foreign policy?
This podcast was recorded on 23 January 2020.
Further read on ecfr.eu
- Views from the capitals: The Libya conference in Berlin
- A chance for leadership: German foreign policy after the killing of Qassem Soleimani by René Wildangel
- How Italy was marginalised in Libya by Mattia Giampaolo
- How to repair Europe’s credibility in Libya by Tarek Megerisi
During the Munich Strategy Forum 2019, host Mark Leonard sat down Toomas Ilves, the former president of Estonia aka the first smart country and “digital nation” in the world. What could we learn from this small EU member state when it comes to digitalisation? How did the digital revolution change foreign relations and international relations? And what role does Europe play it in? Frankly, does it play any role at all? Toomas Ilves points out how the lack of a common digital market puts the EU behind in advancing innovation and digitalisation in the 21st century. He urges Europe to finally merge the “two cultures” of sciences/tech and humanities to become a digital player in the world.
This podcast was recorded on 2 December 2019.
Today, 100 years ago, the Versailles Contract went into effect which established the League of the Nations and laid the foundations for multilateralism. In 2019, Germany and France launched the Alliance for Multilateralism aiming at showing that countries still "support multilateralism and support the United Nations (to) remain the majority in the world," as French Foreign Minister Le Drian said. Planning to establish a network of countries ready to join forces and efforts on inequality or climate change, the Alliance also wants the members to strongly commit to a rules-based international order. But how will this look like in reality? Christoph Heusgen, Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations, explains to Mark Leonard some concrete measures and how the old tale of the German-Franco friendship still serves as a role model for other countries for how to overcome decades of conflicts and rivalry.
Further information: www.multilateralism.org
This podcast was recorded on 3 December 2019.
With the US-killing of the Iranian military leader, Qassem Soleimani, the Middle East has been yet again sent in the heart to geopolitical uncertainty and frenzy. What does the killing mean for the future of the region, the Iran Nuclear Deal and the US role within it? Was there a strategy behind this offence and if yes, what kind? How should Europe react? In a special podcast edition, Mark Leonard talks with our senior policy fellows Ellie Geranmayeh, Jeremy Shapiro and Julien Barnes-Dacey about the implications for the neighbouring countries, Europe’s mediation role and whether there is a chance for de-escalation.
This podcast was recorded on 6 January 2020.
‘Tis the season! ...when Mark Leonard and Jeremy Shapiro review the year gone by and predict 10 foreign policy trends (plus two bonus ones) that will define 2020, the beginning of a new decade.
With a score of 6.5/10 they couldn’t sustain last year’s success but can still pat themselves on their backs - or what do you think? Let us know about your foreign policy predictions for the upcoming year.
Comment below or e-mail us!
This podcast was recorded on 16 December 2019.
In this bonus episode of our 1989 podcast miniseries, host Mark Leonard is joined by ECFR's young generation, all born between 1988-1990. Coming from the former GDR and Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Venezuela and the UK, they grew up in a borderless world, in a united Europe, with their parent's optimism about the future but with their teenage years shaped by the financial crisis and 9/11. So what did 1989 mean for their lives? And how will this generation influence the world and politics once it's their turn?
This podcast was recorded on 18 December 2019.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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