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Shield of the Republic

Shield of the Republic

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Shield of the Republic is a Bulwark podcast co-sponsored by the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. We probe beyond the hive mind of Washington conventional wisdom on national security and foreign affairs.
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Eric and Eliot bemoan the death/murder of Alexei Navalny, Tucker Carlson's performative buffoonery in Moscow, and the irresponsibility of the Republican House of Representatives. They also welcome Phillips O'Brien, professor of strategic studies at St. Andrews University and author of How the War Was Won, The Second Most Powerful Man in the World, …
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Counter to type Eric welcomes Eliot back from his travels with a discussion of the positive things going on in the world. They discuss the strong response of the European allies to the Russian aggression against Ukraine, including the German Zeitenwende and the increase in German defense spending, they discuss the Franco-American relationship and t…
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Eric welcomes former Supreme Allied Commander (SACEUR) of NATO General Philip Breedlove. General Breedlove is one of the nation's preeminent military strategists having served as commander of US Air Forces in Europe as well as Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force. He is currently a Distinguished Professor of Practice at the Sam Nunn School at Georg…
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Eric and Eliot (joining from the Iberian Peninsula) discuss the Iranian strike on US soldiers located at Tower 22 in Jordan and the Administration's options for retaliation. They consider the argument's in Eliot's Atlantic piece suggesting that the US needs an entirely new strategy for Iran, the nature of the regime, and the difficulty American gov…
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Eric and Eliot are joined by General David Petraeus and historian Andrew Roberts to discuss their New York Times bestselling book Conflict: The Evolution of Warfare from 1945 to Ukraine (N.Y.: Harper, 2023). They discuss how and why the two authors came together to write the book, the link between the causes of war and the manner in which wars are …
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Eric and Eliot welcome David Stahel, Senior Lecturer at the University South Wales, Canberra and author of a multivolume history of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union and other works on World War II on the eastern front. They discuss the historiography of World War II on the eastern front, the new primary sources he has tapped for his historical…
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Eric and Eliot welcome Yaroslav Trofimov, Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent of the Wall Street Journal and author of the new book Our Enemies Will Vanish: The Russian Invasion and Ukraine's War of Independence (N.Y.: Penguin Press, 2024) released on January 9, 2024. They discuss Putin's rationale for the war, his long-standing views (shared by ma…
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Eric welcomes Eliot back from his long travels who reports back on his trip with a bipartisan delegation of national security experts to Israel and recounts the ongoing trauma that both the Israeli public and national security elite are experiencing over the attacks on October 7 and the ongoing saga of the hostages. He describes the comprehensive n…
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Eric visits the Miller Center and joins John Owen IV, the Amb. Henry J. and Mrs. Marion R. Taylor Professor of Politics, and a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture and the Miller Center for Public Affairs and Marc Selverstone, the Miller Center's director of presidential studies, co-chair of the Center’s Presidential Recor…
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While President Zelensky is meeting in the White House on Dec. 12, Eric welcomes former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor to Shield of the Republic. They discuss the state of play on the supplemental aid legislation, the causes for the Ukrainian Counter Offensive's "failure" this summer, the search for a new strategy, General Zaluzhny's ide…
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Eric welcomes Jonathan Schanzer, Senior Vice President for Research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies to discuss the war in Gaza. Jonathan Schanzer was a terrorism finance analyst at the Treasury Department and holds a BA from Emory University, a Masters degree from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, a Doctorate from Kings College London an…
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Eric and Eliot welcome former Secretary of Defense and former CIA Director Robert M. Gates to discuss his article in the current (November-December) issue of Foreign Affairs, "The Dysfunctional Superpower: Can a Divided America Deter China and Russia." They touch on the unprecedented threats (Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, violent Islamist extre…
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Eric and Eliot host Bruno Tertrais, the Deputy DIrector of France's Fondation Pour La Recherche Strategique, one of the country's leading think tanks and author of the recent book La Guerre des Mondes: Le Retour de la geopolitique et le choc des Empires (War of the Worlds: The Return of Geopolitics and the Shock of Empires). They discuss historical…
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Eliot and Eric talk about great teachers including Eric's undergraduate mentor at Cornell, the late Walter LaFeber and Eliot's Harvard mentor Samuel Hungtington. They talk about the "Wisconsin School" of diplomatic history -- its strengths and weaknesses, the nature and progress of historiography, the qualities that made LaFeber and Huntington such…
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Eric and Eliot talk about what is perhaps the most complex and dangerous moment in national security since the end of World War II. They discuss the explosion of vile anti-semitism globally and particularly on U.S. university campuses and the failures of higher education that this reveals. They discuss the Israeli operations in Gaza, the likely cou…
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**NOTE** For a limited time, Shield of the Republic listeners can receive a 20% discount on The Hollow Crown. Use code HLLW23, at checkout at https://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/eliot-a-cohen/the-hollow-crown/9781541644861/. Offer valid through November 2nd, 2023. Eric welcomes Eliot back on publication day for Eliot's new book, The Hollow Cro…
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Eric welcomes Franklin C. Miller, a Principal at the Scowcroft Group and long time public servant at the Department of State, Defense and the White House with deep expertise on nuclear strategy, escalation dynamics and deterrence. They discuss the loss of intellectual capital in the nuclear strategy arena after the end of the Cold War, the numerous…
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Eliot joins Eric from his walking tour in the Cotswolds to discuss the horrifying Hamas terrorist attack on Israel on October 7. They discuss the intelligence and policy failures that allowed Israeli officials to be taken by surprise, the introspection and self-criticism that Israelis had applied in the past when these kinds of things have taken pl…
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Eric and Eliot welcome Leland Miller, a non-resident senior fellow at the Asia Security Initiative of the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center on Strategy and Security and co-founder & CEO of China Beige Book International. Lee explains how China Beige Book acquires data on the PRC economy as well as the pitfalls of using official Chinese government…
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Eric and Eliot take a break from the depressing flow of international news and talk about books. They discuss their favorite bookstores, favorite historical memoirs, books that influenced them, cherished but unread books, greatest works of history, what they are reading now and what is sitting in their night side table waiting to be read. Shield of…
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Eric and Eliot discuss the growing global disorder starting with the potential for a genocidal campaign of ethnic cleansing in Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh), the degree to which events in the Caucasus and Central Asia are related to Russia's involvement in Ukraine, the Iranian angle in the Caucasus and the recent release of unjustly detained Americans…
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Eliot returns with a debrief from his trip to Taiwan and Japan. He and Eric discuss the coming Presidential election in Taiwan, the disingenuous nature of much of our discourse about the Taiwan issue that results from our "One China" policy, the reason it is wrong to think of China as a "pacing threat," the dangers of a blockade rather than an inva…
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Eliot's road trip continues but Eric welcomes syndicated columnist, Bulwark Policy Editor, and host of the Beg to Differ Podcast Mona Charen. They discuss Mona's 2003 book Useful Idiots describing the left's Cold War and post-Cold War passion for anti-anti Communism and indulging in apologetics for Communist regimes including the Soviet Union, the …
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With Eliot on the road Eric welcomes Bulwark Editor at Large Bill Kristol to the show. They discuss the prospects for a Supplemental Appropriation for Ukraine aid in the Congress, the state of public opinion on the war in Ukraine, the impact of the Republican Presidential debate on support for Ukraine, the effort that Bill and Bulwark publisher Sar…
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Eric and Eliot welcome back Peter Feaver, Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at Duke University, to the show. They discuss Peter's new book Thanks for Your Service: The Causes and Consequences of Public Confidence in the U.S. Military (New York: Oxford University Press, 2023). Along the way they touch on the causes of public confidenc…
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Eric and Eliot are joined by Isabel Kershner, the New York Times Jerusalem correspondent and author of The Land of Hope and Fear: Israel's Battle for Its Inner Soul (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2023). They discuss the division and polarization in Israeli society and the cleavages between the Ashkenazi and Mizrahi populationns, as well as between sec…
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Eric and Eliot welcome Financial Times Ukraine correspondent Christopher Miller, author of The War Came to Us: Life and Death in Ukraine (London: Bloomsbury, 2023). Chris describes his time as a Peace Corps volunteer in Bakhmut and his transition to journalism as a reporter for the Kyiv Post exposing corruption and self-dealing in Ukraine before th…
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Eric welcomes Eliot back from Edinburgh where it was not all Walter Scott tourism and Scotch sipping. They discuss the project that Eliot and Phillips O'Brien have undertaken to analyze the failures of Russia experts to correctly assess the run up to and the course of the war in Ukraine, the ongoing state of the Ukrainian counter-offensive, the lin…
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Eliot and Eric welcome former President of Estonia (and SotR fan) Toomas Ilves to the show. They do a post-mortem on the Vilnius NATO Summit. How did the Biden team perform? What are the prospects for European security with a revanchist Russia? How should NATO approach Ukraine's future association with Alliance? They also discuss the importance of …
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Eliot and Eric welcome Michael Vickers, the author of By All Means Available: Memoirs of a Life in Intelligence, Special Operations and Strategy (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2023). They discuss his role in overseeing the CIA's covert assistance program to the Afghan resistance in the war against Soviet occupation in the 1980s, how his experiences as…
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Eric and Eliot dig in to Eliot’s recent travels to Poland and Ukraine. They discuss the future of European security relations with Ukraine, Kyiv’s understandable neuralgia about steps short of NATO membership, the meaning and impact of Prigozhin’s rebellion in Russia and on the battlefield, the prospects for Ukraine’s counter-offensive and Ukraine’…
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Eric welcomes back Eliot to host Stephen Sestanovich, the George F. Kennan Senior Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Affairs at the Council on Foreign Relations and Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Professor at the School of International Political Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University to discuss the short-lived semi-farcical mutiny in Russia led by Ev…
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With Eliot still on the road, Eric welcomes back Hal Brands, the Henry A. Kissinger Professor of Global Affairs at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and introduces Thomas Mahnken, the President and CEO of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) to discuss The New Makers of Modern Strategy, publi…
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With Eliot on the road again Eric hosts Andrew Hoehn, Senior VP and Director of Research at the RAND Corporation, and Thom Shanker (formerly New York Times national security reporter and editor) Director of the Project for Media and National Security at George Washington University. The authors of Age of Danger: Keeping America Safe in an Era of Ne…
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Eric and Eliot welcome back friend of the show Kori Schake, the Director of Foreign and Defense Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute and a veteran of government service at the White House, Defense Department and State Department (where she served as Deputy Director of Policy Planning). They discuss Kori's recent visit to Ukraine, the…
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Eric and Eliot share reflections on Memorial Day (and the proper way to observe it), analyze the Turkish election results and Turkey's future course as a regional power, discuss the rise of religious authoritarianism and populism around the globe, and mark Henry Kissinger's one hundredth birthday with a discussion of his complex and complicated leg…
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Eric and Eliot mark the latter’s return from his European travels with dark musings about why they have not yet been sanctioned by the Russian government. They also discuss Finland’s adaptation to NATO membership, the differing perspectives of the Nordic and Baltic states, whether or not the neutrality of the “global south” in the Russo-Ukraine war…
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Will Inboden, the Executive Director of the William Clements Center for National Security and Associate Professor of Public Affairs at the University of Texas Austin (and editor of the Texas National Security Review) joins Eric to discuss the alleged "October Surprise" in 1980 -- the long bruited charge that Reagan campaign manager Bill Casey collu…
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While Eliot is still in Europe, Eric welcomes former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine (1998-2000) Stephen Pifer to the show. Steve is affiliated with the Stanford Center on International Security and Cooperation and is a non-resident fellow at the Brookings Institution. He has served at the US Embassies in Warsaw, Moscow and London, was senior director a…
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A solo Eric welcomes Gönül Tol, the founding Director of the Turkey Program at the Middle East Institute in Washington DC to discuss her new book, Erdogan's War: A Strongman's Struggle at Home and in Syria, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2023) and her perspective on the upcoming Turkish elections on May 14. They discuss the complex inter-relat…
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With Eliot traveling for both business and family celebrations, Eric hosts historian, journalist and novelist Owen Matthews whose new book, Overreach: The Inside Story of Putin and Russia's War Against Ukraine, has just been published in the US by Harper Collins. Owen has been a journalist with The Moscow Times and served as the Newsweek Bureau Chi…
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While Eliot is on travel Eric welcomes LTG Sami Sadat whose poignant op-ed in the New York Times in August 2021 about the fall of Afghanistan described his personal feelings of betrayal by the US. He is a major figure in the National Geographic documentary Retrograde now airing on Disney+. They discuss the Biden Administration's recent "Interim Rep…
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Eliot and Eric welcome Francis Fukuyama, the Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at Stanford University's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI). One of America's most distinguished public intellectuals he is the author of several books including the End of History and the Last Man and, more recently, Liberalism and its Discontents. T…
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Eric and Eliot host Melvyn P. Leffler, the Edward Stettinius Professor of History at the University of Virginia to discuss his new book, Confronting Saddam: George W. Bush and the Invasion of Iraq. Mel describes why he decided to write the book and his findings that Bush rather than a cabal of neoconservatives was that key decision maker and that h…
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Eliot and Eric welcome back Duke Professor of Political Science and Public Policy and Director of the Program on American Grand Strategy, Peter Feaver, pinch-hitting for Meghan O'Sullivan (whose illness prevented her from joining us) to discuss Hand Off, a book that Peter and Meghan (along with SOTR guest Will Inboden) edited consisting of all the …
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Eric flies solo in this episode (while Eliot is traveling in Europe) and hosts guest Paul D. Miller, Professor of Practice in International Affairs at Georgetown University and former NSC Director for Afghanistan and Pakistan in the Bush 43 Administration. They discuss the recent Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) repo…
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Eliot and Eric welcome retired Australian Major General Mick Ryan, author of The Future of Warfare, Futura Doctrina newsletter on Substack, and former head of the Australian War College. They discuss the ongoing fighting around Bakhmut, the prospects for both the Russian and Ukrainian militaries respectively in the weeks and months ahead, how this …
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Eliot and Eric chew over the developments in Ukraine. They consider divisions within and among West European governments, the question of what defeat of Russia and victory for Ukraine means in practical terms, the lingering overestimation of Russian possibilities and underestimation of Ukrainian potential on the battlefield, and the potential role …
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Eric and Eliot are joined by former New York Times reporter and editor Philip Taubman, current lecturer at Stanford University's Center for International Security and Cooperation, and the author of In The Nation's Service: The Life and Times of George P. Shultz (Stanford University Press, 2023). They discuss the character of George Shultz, his role…
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Eliot and Eric host Henri Barkey, the Bernard and Betha Cohen Professor of International Relations at Lehigh University and adjunct fellow for Middle East Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. They discuss Henri's recent article on Turkey's forthcoming election, the nature of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s authoritarianism, the impact of the recent …
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