The President's Inbox

Council on Foreign Relations

Each episode of The President’s Inbox explores a foreign policy challenge facing the United States.

All Episodes

Ambassador Mark Lippert, vice chairman of the Halifax Forum and senior advisor for the Center for Strategic and International Studies Korea Chair, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss U.S.-South Korean relations and the Biden administration’s broader Indo-Pacific strategy.   Polls Mentioned in the Podcast   Karl Friedhoff, “South Koreans See China as More Threat than Partner, But Not the Most Critical Threat Facing the Country,” Chicago Council, April 6, 2021   Hong Suk-ji, “Survey Results of South Korean Perception on the ROK-U.S. Alliance,” Korea Institute for Defense Analyses, November 2, 2021   Richard Wike et al., “What People Around the World Like–and Dislike–About American Society and Politics,” Pew Research Center, November 1, 2021   Statements Mentioned   “U.S.-ROK Leaders’ Joint Statement,” The White House, May 21, 2021   Webcasts Mentioned   Mark Lippert, The Capital Cable, CSIS Korea Chair

Dec 1

32 min 24 sec

Sophia Besch, senior research fellow at the Centre for European Reform, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss the current state of transatlantic relations and whether Europeans think America is “back,” as President Joe Biden claims.   Articles Mentioned in the Podcast:   Wolfgang Münchau, “Germany's message to Europe,” EuroIntelligence, October 17, 2021

Nov 24

36 min 7 sec

Michael Fullilove, executive director of the Lowy Institute in Sydney, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss the trilateral security agreement that Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States signed in September 2021, and the broader state of affairs in the Indo-Pacific.   Articles, Documents, and Speeches Mentioned in the Podcast   China’s dossier of fourteen disputes with Australia via The Sydney Morning Herald, November 18, 2020   Natasha Kassam, Lowy Institute Poll 2021, Lowy Institute, June 23, 2021   “Remarks by President Biden, Prime Minister Morrison of Australia, and Prime Minister Johnson of the United Kingdom Announcing the Creation of AUKUS,” The White House, September 15, 2021   Jake Sullivan, “2021 Lowy Lecture,” delivered virtually at the Lowy Institute, November 11, 2021   Books Mentioned   Michael Fullilove, Rendezvous with Destiny: How Franklin D. Roosevelt and Five Extraordinary Men Took America into the War and into the World (2013)

Nov 17

32 min 27 sec

Fiona Hill, Robert Bosch senior fellow in the Center on the United States and Europe in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss U.S. policy toward Russia, and her new book, There Is Nothing for You Here: Finding Opportunity in the Twenty-First Century.   Articles Mentioned in the Podcast   Fiona Hill, “The Kremlin’s Strange Victory,” Foreign Affairs (November/December 2021)   George Kennan, “Long Telegram” to the State Department, February 22, 1946   “X” (George Kennan), “The Sources of Soviet Conduct,” Foreign Affairs (July 1947)   Books Mentioned   Fiona Hill, Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin (2015)   Fiona Hill, There Is Nothing for You Here: Finding Opportunity in the Twenty-First Century (2021)  

Nov 10

41 min 42 sec

Martin S. Indyk, distinguished fellow at CFR, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss how Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s shuttle diplomacy reshaped the politics of the Middle East and continues to offer lessons for U.S. foreign policy today.   Enter the CFR book giveaway before November 16, 2021, for the chance to win one of ten free copies of Master of the Game: Henry Kissinger and the Art of Middle East Diplomacy by Martin S. Indyk. You can read the terms and conditions of the offer here.   Books Mentioned in the Podcast   Martin Indyk, Master of the Game: Henry Kissinger and the Art of Middle East Diplomacy (Knopf, 2020)   Henry Kissinger, A World Restored: Metternich, Castlereagh and the Problems of Peace, 1812–22 (Houghton Mifflin, 1957)   Henry Kissinger, World Order (Penguin Books, 2014)

Nov 2

25 min 17 sec

Lynn Kuok, Shangri-La Dialogue senior fellow for Asia-Pacific Security at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss the Biden administration’s policy toward the Asia-Pacific, and how those policies are viewed in southeast Asia.   Articles Mentioned on the Podcast   Lee Hsien Loong, “The Endangered Asian Century,” Foreign Affairs (July/August 2020)   Adam Posen, “The Price of Nostalgia,” Foreign Affairs (May/June 2021)   Documents and Speeches Mentioned   ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific [PDF], ASEAN, June 22, 2019   Joseph R. Biden, Interim National Security Strategic Guidance [PDF], The White House, March 2021   Mike Pompeo, “Communist China and the Free World’s Future,” delivered at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, July 23, 2020   Sharon Seah et al., The State of Southeast Asia: 2021 [PDF], ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, January 2021

Oct 26

28 min 34 sec

Matt Pottinger, senior advisor at the Marathon Initiative and chairman of the China Program at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss China’s ambitions and what they mean for the United States.   Articles Mentioned in the Podcast   Michael Beckley and Hal Brands, “The End of China’s Rise,” Foreign Affairs, October 1, 2021.   Bilahari Kausikan, “In U.S.-China Standoff, Is America a Reliable Ally?,” Foreign Policy, October 18, 2021.   Matt Pottinger, “Beijing’s American Hustle,” Foreign Affairs 100, no. 5 (September/October 2021).   Liza Tobin, “Xi’s Vision for Transforming Global Governance: A Strategic Challenge for Washington and Its Allies,” Texas National Security Review 2, no. 1 (November 2018).   Books Mentioned   Dan Blumenthal, The China Nightmare: The Grand Ambitions of a Decaying State, (AEI Press, 2020).   Rush Doshi, The Long Game: China’s Grand Strategy to Displace American Order, (Brookings Institution Press, 2021).

Oct 19

32 min 25 sec

Miles Kahler, senior fellow for global governance at CFR, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss the recent Pandora Papers leak, and the broader problem of global corruption.

Oct 12

28 min 58 sec

Manjari Chatterjee Miller, senior fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia at CFR, speaks with James M. Lindsay about what India sees as its interests, threats, and opportunities in the world.

Oct 5

27 min 46 sec

Constanze Stelzenmüller, Fritz Stern chair on Germany and trans-Atlantic relations in the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss what the end of the Angela Merkel era means for Germany and its relations with the world.

Sep 28

35 min 7 sec

Adam S. Posen, president of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss how the United States has become less open to trade in recent decades and why calls for even more protectionism will further undermine the American middle class.

Sep 21

34 min 9 sec

Elbridge A. Colby, cofounder and principal of the Marathon Initiative, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss whether and how the United States should revise its defense strategy to face its current challenges. Colby’s new book, The Strategy of Denial: American Defense in an Age of Great Power Conflict, hits bookstore shelves today.  

Sep 14

37 min 50 sec

Peter Martin, defense policy and intelligence reporter for Bloomberg News, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss the growing assertiveness of China’s diplomacy in recent years. Martin’s new book, China’s Civilian Army: The Making of Wolf Warrior Diplomacy, was released this past June.

Sep 7

26 min 6 sec

Alice C. Hill, David M. Rubenstein senior fellow for energy and the environment at CFR, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss the steps policymakers, business leaders, and others need to take to address the changing climate. Hill’s new book, The Fight For Climate After COVID-19, will be published in September 2021.

Aug 31

32 min 3 sec

Michelle Gavin, senior fellow for Africa Studies at CFR, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss the fighting in northern Ethiopia between federal government forces and regional Tigrayan forces.

Aug 24

26 min 27 sec

Oriana Skylar Mastro, center fellow at Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) and non-resident senior fellow at American Enterprise Institute, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss whether China might use force to compel Taiwan’s reunification with the mainland. Mastro’s recent article, “The Taiwan Temptation: Why Beijing Might Resort to Force” is available on foreignaffairs.com.

Aug 17

31 min 45 sec

Frances Z. Brown, senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and co-director of Carnegie’s Democracy, Conflict, and Governance Program, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss President Biden’s vow to put democracy at the forefront of U.S. foreign policy. Brown recently co-authored the article, “Washington’s Democracy Dilemma: Crafting a Democracy Strategy in an Age of Great-Power Politics.” This episode is part of the Council on Foreign Relations’ Diamonstein-Spielvogel Project on the Future of Democracy. 

Aug 10

31 min 59 sec

Rose Gottemoeller, former deputy secretary general of NATO and Payne distinguished lecturer at Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and its Center for International Security and Cooperation, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss the efforts to regulate, if not eliminate, nuclear weapons.

Aug 3

30 min 37 sec

Paul J. Angelo, fellow for Latin America Studies at CFR, and Carmen Sesin, Miami-based NBCNews.com and NBCLatino reporter, sit down with James M. Lindsay to discuss the historic protests that swept across Cuba and around the globe.

Jul 27

30 min 36 sec

Daniel Drezner, professor of international politics at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and nonresident fellow at the Brookings Institution, sits down with James M. Lindsay to assess the Biden administration’s foreign policy successes and shortcomings six months into the Biden presidency.

Jul 20

31 min 48 sec

Rachel B. Vogelstein, CFR’s Douglas Dillon senior fellow and director of the Women and Foreign Policy program, and Meighan Stone, adjunct senior fellow in the Women and Foreign Policy program at CFR, sit down with James M. Lindsay to discuss the impact of the #MeToo Movement across the globe. Vogelstein and Stone’s book, Awakening: #MeToo and the Global Fight for Women’s Rights, hits bookstore shelves today.  

Jul 13

32 min 51 sec

David Miliband, president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss how the international community can hold accountable governments and terrorist groups that kill or brutalize civilians. Miliband’s recent Foreign Affairs article, “The Age of Impunity: And How to Fight It,” is available on foreignaffairs.com.  

Jul 6

31 min 19 sec

In this special Transition 2021 series of The President’s Inbox, James M. Lindsay sits down each week with experts to discuss the challenges facing the incoming Biden administration. This week, CFR’s Senior Fellow for Europe, Matthias Matthijs, and Senior Fellow for Japan studies, Sheila A. Smith, assess the prospects for repairing America’s relations with allies in Europe and Asia. (This is a rebroadcast.)

Jun 29

43 min 58 sec

Rozlyn Engel, distinguished professor of the practice in economics at the U.S. Naval Academy, nonresident scholar in the Geo-Economics and Strategy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss the relationship between foreign policy and the success of the middle class.

Jun 22

33 min 15 sec

Suzanne Maloney, vice president and director of the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss what’s at stake when Iranians head to the polls later this week.

Jun 15

31 min 27 sec

Nicholas Wade, former editorial writer, science reporter, and science editor for The New York Times, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss the theory that COVID-19 originated in an accident at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Jun 8

30 min 11 sec

Ambassador Stephen Sestanovich, CFR’s George F. Kennan senior fellow for Russian and Eurasian studies, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss Belarus’s decision to force a commercial airliner to land in Minsk in order to arrest Belarusian journalist and blogger Roman Protasevich.

Jun 1

30 min 12 sec

Ambassador Robert D. Blackwill, CFR’s Henry A. Kissinger senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy and a member of Harvard Kennedy School’s Applied History Project, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss the debate over U.S. strategy toward Taiwan. Ambassador Blackwill, with Philip Zelikow, recently co-authored the Council Special Report, The United States, China, and Taiwan: A Strategy to Prevent War.  

May 25

30 min 45 sec

Rob Knake, CFR’s Whitney Shepardson senior fellow, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss the consequences and lessons of the recent ransomware attack on the owner of the largest fuel pipeline system in the United States.

May 18

31 min 1 sec

Steven A. Cook, CFR’s Eni Enrico Mattei senior fellow for Middle East and Africa studies and director of the International Affairs Fellowship for Tenured International Relations Scholars, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss the rising tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.

May 11

27 min 12 sec

Beverly Gage, Christopher Nichols, and Andrew Preston sit down with James M. Lindsay to discuss what grand strategy means and its role in U.S. history. Beverly Gage is professor of twentieth century American history and director of the Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy at Yale University. Christopher Nichols is director of the Center for the Humanities and the Sandy and Elva Sanders Eminent professor in the Honors College at Oregon State University. Andrew Preston is professor of American history at the University of Cambridge, where he is a fellow of Clare College.

May 4

34 min 1 sec

Rear Admiral James Bynum, Rear Admiral Pat DeQuattro, and Major General Paul J. Rock Jr. sit down with James M. Lindsay to discuss the new Tri-Service Maritime Strategy, which was released in December 2020. Rear Admiral Bynum currently serves in a dual capacity as the assistant deputy chief of naval operations for war fighting development, and the director of warfare development in the office of the chief of naval operations. Rear Admiral DeQuattro is the Coast Guard deputy for Operations, Policy and Capabilities. Major General Rock is the director of Plans, Policies & Operations in the Strategy and Plans division at Marine Corps Headquarters.

Apr 27

33 min 34 sec

Max Boot, CFR's Jeane J. Kirkpatrick senior fellow in national security studies, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss President Biden's recent announcement to completely withdraw all U.S. forces from Afghanistan before September 11, 2021.

Apr 20

28 min 51 sec

Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew, managing partner at Lindsay Goldberg, and retired Admiral Gary Roughead, Robert and Marion Oster distinguished military fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, sit down with James M. Lindsay to discuss what China’s global infrastructure initiative means for the United States and the world. Secretary Lew and Admiral Roughead co-chaired the CFR Task Force Report, China’s Belt and Road: Implications for the United States.

Apr 13

33 min 12 sec

In this special series of The President’s Inbox on the future of democracy, James M. Lindsay speaks with experts to discuss whether and where democratic governance is faltering around the world. This week, Steven Levitsky, professor of government at Harvard University, breaks down the health of democracy in countries across Latin America. This episode is part of the Council on Foreign Relations’ Diamonstein-Spielvogel Project on the Future of Democracy.

Apr 8

32 min 16 sec

In this special series of The President’s Inbox on the future of democracy, James M. Lindsay speaks with experts to discuss whether and where democratic governance is faltering around the world. This week, Pratap Bhanu Mehta, leading scholar of political theory, constitutional law, international affairs, and society and politics in India, breaks down the health of democracy in India. This episode is part of the Council on Foreign Relations’ Diamonstein-Spielvogel Project on the Future of Democracy.

Mar 30

35 min 4 sec

In this special series of The President’s Inbox on the future of democracy, James M. Lindsay speaks with experts to discuss whether and where democratic governance is faltering around the world. This week, Ivan Krastev, chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, Bulgaria, and permanent fellow at the Institute of Human Sciences in Vienna, Austria, discusses democratic backsliding across Europe. This episode is part of the Council on Foreign Relations’ Diamonstein-Spielvogel Project on the Future of Democracy.

Mar 23

33 min 58 sec

In this special series of The President’s Inbox on the future of democracy, James M. Lindsay speaks with experts to discuss whether and where democratic governance is faltering around the world. This week, Suzanne Mettler, John L. Senior professor of American Institutions in the Government Department at Cornell University, places the current crisis of American democracy in historical perspective. This episode is part of the Council on Foreign Relations’ Diamonstein-Spielvogel Project on the Future of Democracy.

Mar 16

32 min 26 sec

In this special series of The President’s Inbox on the future of democracy, James M. Lindsay speaks with experts to discuss whether and where democratic governance is faltering around the world. This week, Yascha Mounk, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, discusses the signs of a worldwide democratic recession. This episode is part of the Council on Foreign Relations’ Diamonstein-Spielvogel Project on the Future of Democracy.

Mar 10

31 min 55 sec

Rachel B. Vogelstein, CFR’s Douglas Dillon senior fellow and director of the Women and Foreign Policy program, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss women’s rights, gender equality, and the significance of International Women’s Day, which is marked on March 8th.

Mar 2

30 min 24 sec

Landry Signé, senior fellow in the Global Economy and Development Program and the Africa Growth Initiative at the Brookings Institution, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss U.S. interests in Africa and the prospects for strategic cooperation between the United States and African countries. Signé’s most recent book is Unlocking Africa’s Business Potential: Trends, Opportunities, Risks, and Strategies.

Feb 23

31 min 46 sec

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, adjunct senior fellow in CFR’s Women and Foreign Policy program, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss the Kurdish women fighting ISIS and her experience on the ground in northeast Syria. Lemmon’s most recent book on women in Syria, The Daughters of Kobani: A Story of Rebellion, Courage, and Justice, hits bookstore shelves today.

Feb 17

29 min 15 sec

Tanvi Madan, senior fellow in the Project on International Order and Strategy in the Foreign Policy program and director of the India Project at the Brookings Institution, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss India’s foreign policy and relations with the United States. Madan’s most recent book is Fateful Triangle: How China Shaped U.S.-India Relations During the Cold War.  

Feb 9

31 min 58 sec

Maria Lipman, senior associate for the Program on New Approaches to Research and Security in Eurasia at George Washington University, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss the protests that have swept across Russia in recent weeks and the arrest of the opposition leader Alexey Navalny.

Feb 2

31 min 23 sec

David Shambaugh, Gaston Sigur professor of Asian studies, political science, and international affairs and director of the China Policy Program at George Washington University, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss China’s growing power and ambition across the globe. Shambaugh’s most recent book is Where Great Powers Meet: America and China in Southeast Asia.

Jan 27

30 min 23 sec

In this special Transition 2021 series of The President’s Inbox, James M. Lindsay sits down each week with experts to discuss the challenges facing the incoming Biden administration. This week, Algene T. Sajery, founder and chief executive officer of Catalyst Global Strategies, and Christopher M. Tuttle, managing director at the Council, sit down with James M. Lindsay to discuss what challenges the incoming Biden administration will likely face in Congress.

Jan 20

36 min 27 sec

In this special Transition 2021 series of The President’s Inbox, James M. Lindsay sits down each week with experts to discuss the challenges facing the incoming Biden administration. This week, Thomas J. Bollyky, director of the global health program and senior fellow for global health, economics, and development at CFR, and Jennifer Nuzzo, CFR senior fellow for global health, sit down with James M. Lindsay to discuss the incoming Biden administration’s likely approach to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jan 12

36 min 1 sec

President-Elect Joe Biden recently nominated Ambassador William J. Burns to serve as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency. In June of 2019, Ambassador Burns and James M. Lindsay discussed American diplomacy and international cooperation in the age of America first on The President’s Inbox.   Ambassador William J. Burns is the president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a former deputy secretary of state, and author of the book, The Back Channel: A Memoir of American Diplomacy and the Case for Its Renewal. (This is a rebroadcast.)  

Jan 11

31 min 14 sec

In this special Transition 2021 series of The President’s Inbox, James M. Lindsay sits down each week with experts to discuss the challenges facing the incoming Biden administration. This week, Edward Alden, CFR’s Bernard L. Schwartz senior fellow specializing in U.S. economic competitiveness, trade, and immigration policy, and Jennifer Hillman, senior fellow for trade and international political economy at CFR, sit down with James M. Lindsay to discuss the incoming Biden administration’s likely approach to trade policy.

Jan 5

43 min 11 sec

In this special Transition 2021 series of The President’s Inbox, James M. Lindsay sits down each week with experts to discuss the challenges facing the incoming Biden administration. This week, Alice C. Hill, CFR’s David M. Rubenstein senior fellow for energy and the environment, and Todd Stern, nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution concentrating on climate change, sit down with James M. Lindsay to discuss the incoming Biden administration’s likely approach to climate change policy.

Dec 2020

39 min 25 sec