The Foreign Affairs Interview

The Foreign Affairs Interview

Foreign Affairs invites you to join its editor, Daniel Kurtz-Phelan, as he talks to influential thinkers and policymakers about the forces shaping the world. Whether the topic is the war in Ukraine, the United States’ competition with China, or the future of globalization, Foreign Affairs’ biweekly podcast offers the kind of authoritative commentary and analysis that you can find in the magazine and on the website.


September 21, 2023 41 mins

Building closer ties with India has become a top priority for U.S. foreign policy. In June, the White House hosted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a lavish state dinner. The thinking is that India will be a key U.S. partner in its competition with China. But is Washington making the wrong assumptions about India? How far do the two countries’ interests diverge when it comes to Beijing?

Ashley Tellis has been one of the clos...

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Ever since the company OpenAI unveiled ChatGPT last year, there have been constant warnings about the effects of artificial intelligence on just about everything. 

Ian Bremmer, the founder of the Eurasia Group, and Mustafa Suleyman, founder of the AI companies DeepMind and Inflection AI, highlight what may be the most significant effect in a new essay for Foreign Affairs. They argue that AI will transform power, including the power...

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After World War II, an idea took hold: economic interdependence between countries would help prevent war. But lately, faith in this idea has wavered, and terms like “decoupling,” “friend shoring,” and “de-risking” are dominating the debates around trade in Washington and beyond. 

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, director general of the World Trade Organization, disagrees with key elements of this new consensus. She thinks that policymakers are...

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August 10, 2023 39 mins

There’s a near consensus today that U.S. foreign policy has entered a new era. But how to define and navigate this new era is much less clear. 

Richard Fontaine, the CEO of the Center for a New American Security, has held senior positions across the U.S. government—in the Senate, at the State Department and National Security Council, and as an adviser to John McCain, the Republican senator and presidential candidate. There are few ...

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July 27, 2023 33 mins

With the fighting in Ukraine well into its second year, the question of the war’s endgame has become if anything, more complicated. Wagner Chief Yevgeny Prigozhin’s short-lived mutiny has raised doubts about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s grip on power. Yet Ukraine’s counteroffensive is not going as well as many had hoped, as Ukrainian forces have yet to make a major breakthrough across heavily defended Russian lines.

In this e...

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July 13, 2023 52 mins

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin loom over geopolitics in a way that few leaders have in decades. Not even Mao and Stalin drove global events the way Xi and Putin do today. Who they are, how they view the world, and what they want are some of the most important and pressing questions in foreign policy and international affairs. 

Stephen Kotkin and Orville Schell are two of the best scholars to explo...

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June 30, 2023 31 mins

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin loom over geopolitics in a way that few leaders have in decades. Not even Mao and Stalin drove global events the way Xi and Putin do today. Who they are, how they view the world, and what they want are some of the most important and pressing questions in foreign policy and international affairs. 

Stephen Kotkin and Orville Schell are two of the best scholars to explo...

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Ukraine’s counteroffensive is shaping up to be the biggest military operation in Europe since World War II. As Kyiv works to push back Russian troops, there is a lot of focus on how modern technology including drones and satellite Internet terminals is being deployed. But these new advanced systems aside, the battlefield scenes from Ukraine’s frontlines look like they could be from the western front in 1916. 

For the historian Marg...

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After the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, Paul Kagame was widely seen as a hero—a rebel leader who came to the rescue of his people and helped stop the killing. Over the last 30 years, the Rwandan president has cultivated this vision of himself, and the West has been eager to believe it. 

But for Michela Wrong, a journalist who has covered Africa for decades, cracks in this story became too big to ignore. In her most recent book, Do Not D...

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This week, a top Chinese envoy is traveling across Europe, making stops in Ukraine and Russia. Beijing says that the purpose of the trip is to discuss a “political settlement” to the war. But this diplomatic push raises bigger questions not just about China’s attempt to position itself as a peacemaker but also about the growing closeness of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Bonny Lin is a fellow at ...

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May 15, 2023 25 mins

Russia’s war in Ukraine has drawn Western allies closer together, but it has not unified the world’s democracies in the way U.S. President Joe Biden might have hoped for when the war began last February. Instead, the last year has highlighted just how differently much of the rest of the world sees not only the war but also the broader global landscape. 

In the latest issue of Foreign Affairs, policymakers and scholars from Africa, ...

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May 2, 2023 32 mins

As the Biden administration continues to provide massive amounts of military and economic support to Ukraine, it also has its eyes on China. What will it take to deter Beijing from attempting to seize Taiwan someday? What is the best strategy to avoid a great-power conflict? How can the United States maintain its technological edge on the battlefield? 

These are the questions that occupy the Pentagon’s leadership, including U.S. Ar...

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April 20, 2023 44 mins

There seems to be an unstoppable march toward the automation of work, including the checkout at the supermarket, the seemingly limitless possibilities of ChatGPT, and so much else. What is driving this push toward automation? For one, labor scarcity in developed countries.

But Lant Pritchett, a development economist, argues in a new piece for Foreign Affairs that instead of choosing machines over people and funneling resources into...

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April 6, 2023 37 mins

Even for an autocrat like Russian President Vladimir Putin, waging war depends on the acceptance—if not the support—of his people. Despite the disastrous start to his invasion of Ukraine, and with Moscow facing battlefield losses and mounting casualties, Russian approval of the war remains remarkably high.

Maria Lipman, a Russian journalist and political scientist who fled her country when the war began, explains why Russian suppor...

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The 20th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq has prompted a wave of reflection on the war: how and why it began, where it went wrong, and how it continues to haunt the Middle East and burden American leadership.

In a recent essay in Foreign Affairs, “What the Neocons Got Wrong,” Max Boot does some of this painful reflection. In 2003, Boot was a prominent neoconservative voice making the case for war. Today, Boot is the Jeane J...

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American politics and foreign policy have become consumed with the challenge from China, and the face of that challenge is Xi Jinping. But many depictions of Xi are stark black and white, portraying Xi as either an all-powerful mastermind carrying out a long-term plot for Chinese domination—or as a leader guilty of self-defeating overreach that has sent China into decline.

For Christopher Johnson, who worked for two decades as a Ch...

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March 2, 2023 33 mins

When Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his war in Ukraine on February 24, 2022, he thought his military would quickly take Kyiv and bring down the government of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. That the war has lasted this long is evidence of how wrong Putin was and how much the world underestimated the strength of Ukrainian resistance.

Although Ukraine has heroically defended itself, the conflict has taken an enormo...

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February 23, 2023 44 mins

There may be no better example of how domestic dysfunction can hobble global power than the United Kingdom in recent years. Constant political and economic turmoil has reinforced the sense that this once great power is in terminal decline. Brexit, the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the EU in 2016, put the United Kingdom as a whole at odds with Scotland and Northern Ireland, where large majorities voted to stay in Europe. Althou...

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Last week, a Chinese surveillance balloon floating over the United States set off a political firestorm in Washington. It also offered a glimpse into the secret world of intelligence gathering, where countries are racing to harness new technologies that will help them gain a competitive edge. But these same new technologies are making spycraft, especially the collection of human intelligence, far more challenging. 

To adapt to thes...

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January 26, 2023 35 mins

To hear Western leaders tell it, the outcome of Russia’s war in Ukraine will determine whether the international rules-based order survives. If Russian President Vladimir Putin wins in Ukraine, the laws and norms that are supposed to protect sovereignty will be exposed as useless. But what if that order is already broken, and there is no going back? The international system’s response to recent transnational challenges—whether it’s...

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