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A Good Year For Authoritarians?

December 23, 2022
Notes
Transcript

Eliot and Eric look forward to the holidays and review the last year. They talk about the historical significance of the war in Ukraine, the current situation, and possible outcomes. They discuss whether or not this has been a good year for authoritarians around the world and review the situation in China, the prospects for U.S.-China relations (specifically concerning Taiwan), and the popular uprising and revolutionary situation in Iran. They also thank their production team for a great year of Shield of the Republic.

Shield of the Republic is a Bulwark podcast co-sponsored by the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. Email us with your feedback at [email protected]

Financial Times’s Report about Iranians’ Harassments of the Clerics (https://www.ft.com/content/3b6c241c-e792-4970-957b-556a1088d9a8)

Lawry Freedman’s Substack Post on Security Guarantee for Russia (https://samf.substack.com/p/who-can-guarantee-russian-security?utm_source=profile&utm_medium=reader2)

Henry Kissinger’s Peace Plan (https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/the-push-for-peace/)

Fred Kaplan’s Critique of Henry Kissinger (https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2022/12/henry-kissinger-ukraine-peace-plan-vladimir-putin.html)

Supreme Command (https://www.amazon.com/Supreme-Command-Soldiers-Statesmen-Leadership/dp/1400034043)

Institute for the Study of War (https://www.understandingwar.org/)

Julia Davis’s Twitter (https://twitter.com/JuliaDavisNews?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor)

New York Times Report about the War (https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/12/16/world/europe/russia-putin-war-failures-ukraine.html)

New York Times Report about U.S.’s Attempt to Save Valery Gerasimov’s Life (https://www.nytimes.com/2022/12/17/world/europe/russia-war-putin-facts.html)

Congressional Commissions on the National Defense Strategy’s Report (https://www.usip.org/sites/default/files/2018-11/providing-for-the-common-defense.pdf)

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This transcript was generated automatically and may contain errors and omissions. Ironically, the transcription service has particular problems with the word “bulwark,” so you may see it mangled as “Bullard,” “Boulart,” or even “bull word.” Enjoy!
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:07

    Welcome to Shield of the Republic, a podcast sponsored by the Bulwark and the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, and dedicated to proposition articulated by Walter Littman during World War two that a strong and balanced foreign policy is the shield of our Democratic Republic. I’m Eric Edelman, counselor at the center for strategic and budgetary assessments, a polar contributor. And a nonresident fellow at the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, and I’m joined as always today by My partner in all things strategic. Elliot Cohen, the Robert Ozgood professor of Strategy at the Johns Hopkins school of advanced international studies in the Arleigh Burke share in strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Elliot Happehanukkah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:00:52

    Well, happy honeycutt to you too. I spent a good part of yesterday grading ten pounds of potatoes and onions. For what ended up being some actually pretty wonderful lattice. And I do have a question for you given that, you know, we’re both celebrating Hanukkah for the obvious reasons. Favorite Christmas song.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:13

    I’ll tell you I’ll I’ll give you mind if you give me yours. Well,
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:16

    of course, I’m double dipping in our family since we have a very ecumenical family. So I’ve been listening to a lot of Christmas music over the last weekend. I, you know, I guess my favorite is in David City, actually, which is actually a a hym. So, I mean and now if you want popular Christmas music, I mean, I’m dreaming of a white Christmas. Gotta be.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:47

    Well,
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:48

    okay. So I I mean, I’m lower brow than you you are. I I say ding dong merle on high, but with this is sort of a I forget what’s what’s the right phrase for this, but it’s it’s kind of a a secret pleasure, a little drummer boy.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:05

    There you go.
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:06

    Yeah. Alright. But in
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:09

    any case, it’s mainly modes. So and we sing all the verses. So I’m actually, you know, through all my holiday party season. I have completed all the holiday activity until Saturday when we’ll have the rest of our family over. This is meant to be a year end roundup, which is the first time we’ve actually done that on Shield of the Republic, but it seems appropriate.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:35

    It’s been a pretty momentous meant this year, we’ve spent a lot of time on the show talking about Ukraine and Russia for good and sufficient reason. This is very big deal in world historical terms. And it’s also connected to a lot of the other things that we’ve talked about during the course of the year on the show, developments having to do with China and Taiwan and US. China relations, they’re direction. We recently had our friend Ray Take on the show talking about the upheaval going on in Iran.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:09

    I I noted today a story in the financial times about viral videos of Iranians, knocking the turbines off clerics, all these videos going viral. I mean, we’re now, I think, roughly at the hundred day mark in continuing protests. That show no sign of abating. So plenty for us to talk about Elliott. Let’s start with Russia and Ukraine, and you’ve been following this closely, and you’ve been out to keep you met with Zelensky, etcetera.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:41

    Who by the way is clearly my person of the year for whatever that’s worth. I don’t think it’s even close in my estimation. Although I would give Liz Cheney honorable mention, but we could come back we could come back to that. Where do you think this is going? You know, our friend Lori Friedman had an article or posted a long post on his substack about Russian security guarantees, giving Russia security guarantees, and that sort of follows from the comments that president Emmanuel Macron France made about providing security guarantees to Russia.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:19

    And then Henry Kissinger had a peace in the spectator a day or so ago, also proposing some kind of concert of Europe, and Fred Kaplan and Slate had a quite harsh takedown of of Henry, but where is
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:33

    this all heading in your estimation? So so a few things just to start off with. First, no question about Zelensky. You know, we’re just as we’re recording this, I see that he went right to the front lines at Bokhmat — Mhmm. — to visit with the troops.
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:48

    And, you know, I think we should just pause for a moment and recognize that we’re dealing with somebody who has not just risen to the occasion, which he has, but who really is going to go down, I think is a major historical figure or simply as a war leader. You know, that well, I I wrote a a book on that subject, and one of the things that struck me very good, but by the way. Well, thank you. That what all the great leaders did is they went to the front and they went to the front for a number of reasons, partly to get the kind of feel that you can only get from being there, partly to show themselves to the troops and partly to, you know, give an example of courage. And courage like cowardice is contagious.
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:32

    And I think Zelensky gets that, and I I do think he’s an extraordinary leader. I also very much agree with you that this is a war which will prove to be enormously consequential. And in fact, I think in some ways it’s the most consequential war of our our lifetime. I think it’s it’s not only critical for Ukraine to win, it’s critical for Russia to lose, and that I believe is the the thing that Henry Kissinger and others miss. First, I I frankly, I find the idea of security guarantees to Russia abseen.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:09

    You know, after they launched this evil war of conquest, replete with quite deliberate pillage and rape and torture and mass murder. The idea that we give guarantees to these people, and it’s like giving guarantees to the Germans after they invade Poland. I mean, it’s just it’s it’s not just preposterous. It’s disgusting. I think that where this war could easily end up going.
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:35

    I mean,
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:36

    it’s a war so you never can tell. Is not gonna be stalemate. I do think, at some point, we’re gonna see Russia go through this period of internal chaos. You and I’ve discussed this before, It’s happened in Russian history repeatedly. For me, the key indicators are the the emergence of these private militaries.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:57

    Progression in the Wagner Group, Cadera of course, but also increasingly one of the things that I’ve seen reporting on. I don’t know if you’ve followed this too. With the regional governors developing their own militias. And of course, you have the National Guard, which is its own thing. So once the country begins to have multiple armies, it’s an indication that that the state is is coming unglued.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:23

    But I’ll just, you know, I’ll stop by by saying my my view is really it’s it’s critical for Russia to be defeated as well as for Ukraine to be victorious. I think that’s within our grasp. And I just hope that we
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:34

    are willing to really drive that one home. What am I bloodthirsty for your as usual? I mean, I’m largely in agreement. I guess There are a couple of things that occurred to me. First, both the Washington Post and The New York Times have had really tensive surveys of the terrible decision making by Russia during the first year of this war.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:58

    And one of the things that’s really striking is you already see anecdotal evidence of Russian forces turning on each other. In other words, there has been some examples of the Wagner and the regular army squaring off against one another. Different units squaring off against one another. And I think that is a kind of canary in the cold mind for what you’re talking about later inside. Russia itself.
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:25

    That’s the kind of first thing. The second thing is The one thing that worries me a little bit is all this talk that you see, including coming from the Ukrainians. That the Russians are preparing another offensive, maybe from the north. You had Putin visiting yesterday with Lukashenko in Belarus, Russian to Central equipment to Belarus. They’ve done some training with the Belarusians.
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:53

    Both Lukashenko and the rest of the Belarusian military have been in to varying degrees, try to stay out of this under great pressure from the Russians to get in. What do you make of all this talk mean, and there do seem to be other indications. Russians are moving some forces around above and beyond the continued kind of fruitless efforts around bakmut. They seem to be positioning some forces potentially for kind of another go, if you will. What do you make of that?
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:21

    Well,
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:22

    I, you know, I I’m, like you, I’m puzzled. So our friends hit the institute for the study of war, and actually, it occurs to me at some point we should try to have Fred and Kim Kagan on the show because they’ve they’ve really put together a very very interesting operation that I think has been providing all of us with with a lot of sightful commentary, absolutely just terrific. They they really are. But but you know, their their continued assessment is that this is not going to happen. And I like you.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:50

    I’m a little bit puzzled because the smoke signals coming up make it look that way. But I have to think if they tried that, they would fail again. You know, I mean, it would be and and I can well believe that you know, Putin will try another role of the dice. He he’s clearly something of a gambler, and I think he may also be, you know, more profoundly out of touch than we realize. I’m sure it would be destructive, but I’m also sure that the Ukrainians would crush them.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:18

    I mean, that, you know, that we did on that trip that you mentioned, we went through airpin, which is one of the towns that they rolled through. And between the urban terrain and the forested terrain and the fact that Ukrainians now are fully anticipating this. I have to think that, you know, a a major Russian incursion would run into things that are very similar to what they experienced last time. And Lukashenko has to be concerned that this will blow back not just from domestic opposition, but, you know, if the credit is ever going the counter offensive, which we now know they are perfectly capable of doing. You could well see Ukrainian forces coming into Belarus and triggering riseings against the regime and so on.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:01

    So I’m sure he’s desperate not to do this. But I do think I, you know, I don’t mean to be sanguine because I I do think they’re we’re entering a particularly dangerous phase
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:09

    of the
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:10

    war. And then, you know, my concern is not just what you mentioned, but we both follow Julia Davis’ wonderful service of looking at the evening. Yep. These evening news shows, which are a lot more important there than they are here. And and the thing that strikes me continuously and and to actually to a growing degree is the hysteria.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:31

    Oh, yeah. No. If you listen to something like Vladimir Solovyev or Margarita Simonian or really any of these schools and buyers. You know, they are they’re talking very wildly about all kinds of things, whether it’s it’s everything from, you know, they’re gonna risk all the street cleaners and send them to the Hague and we’ll all go to jail and we need to blow up all the oil refineries and us are by John to teach them a lesson And, you know, Solovyev’s last thing is, oh, I saw the troop the troops at the front and they’re ready to march to Berlin. And maybe that’s what we’ll have to do and just goes on and on.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:07

    And I do worry about that because I don’t think these are level headed people. And I do think what what you can hear creeping in is a note of desperation. And I think those people may actually have more sensitive antennae for obvious reasons to the possibility of that happening. So I do think we’re entering a dangerous phase My only thought is, a, it’s not likely to end simply in a stalemate. And I think, I do think there’s a very good chance that it ends with some sort with major Russian crack up.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:37

    What that turns into, you’re probably we have a better feeling for it than I do. But I’ll say one other thing, which is the western world or at least the world that believes in liberty and rule of law and just the fundamental desiciencies that we take for granted is owes an enormous debt to Ukraine. To the people of Ukraine, to their leaders, and they are fighting our fight. And that’s one of the reasons why this is so common sequential, and the and the fundamental error that kissinger and others make, and I’m I’m gonna be writing a piece
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:14

    about
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:15

    kissinger’s argument in a little bit is I think it just so thoroughly short changes
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:22

    the moral
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:22

    dimension, the ethical dimension the values dimension of international affairs, which is real. And, you know, it’s you’re not goofy if you if you pay attention to those things. You’re actually goofy if you think they don’t count. Yeah. No, I totally agree with
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:36

    that. I mean, you know, where this brings me back is to several things we’ve you know, hit upon in this show previously. You know, if you look at The New York Times piece this weekend, The argument appears to be that Putin is playing a long game. A senior NATO official unnamed is quoted as saying he’s willing to lose three times the number of people in this war that he’s already lost, which would put the losses well over three hundred thousand. You know, at which point you have to start wondering about, you know, does Russia have an army left to speak of at that point?
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:18

    And that he nonetheless seems to think that if he keeps kind of throwing bodies at this problem which was a kind of classic Russian Soviet way of dealing with, you know, problems on the battlefield. That he’ll wear us down. He’ll wear the west down. People will lose interest. I mean, there is some evidence, you know, that there is gonna be some increased opposition in Congress.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:43

    I think people have made too much of that, but but there will be some tougher sledding and getting assistance to Ukraine, which is one reason why I think they’ve now got. In the omnibus bill, I think the number is up to an additional forty five billion to add add to what’s already been provided to Ukraine, which would be a healthy number. But it seems to me the Biden administration needs to do a bunch of things that hasn’t done. One, president needs to explain all of this to the American people. Now I know I’ve talked to some colleagues who say no, no, no, it’s better that he you know, it’s better that the American people not know that this is going on because if they knew what was going on, they might not support.
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:21

    I think that’s not true. I think it’s not supported by polling data. I I think he needs to frame this up in the terms you and I have been talking about both the interest and the moral piece of it. Why it serves US interests? Why essentially degrading Russian military power almost to zero at the cost of a hundred billion dollars is is, in fact, it’s a cheap price to pay.
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:47

    It’s a bargain. Yeah. And he needs to make that argument, I think. You know, second, I think the administration needs to be more forward leaning impressing the allies both privately and publicly to step up to provide the economic budget support that Ukraine needs. I think their needs are something like eight billion a month.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:12

    The EU has not come close to, you know, hitting those kind of numbers, but they really need to do more. There are two sides to that debate. I mean, the Europeans have some complaints about U. S. Gas sales to Europe and the inflation reduction act, those I think the administration is trying to deal with.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:30

    But they really need to push that because Americans, I think, will stand for a lot of military support for Ukraine, but I don’t know that they will over the long run support kind of continuing economic suspension of the Ukrainian economy. And I I would make it a formal position of the United States that they Ukraine reconstruction is, you know, once we figure out how to do it, gonna be financed by the frozen Russian assets. Yeah. Alright. And then finally, the final piece of it is and, you know, this is, like, you know, you and I have been banging on this Trump for a while.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:09

    Attackums tanks I mean, the Marines, I think, have about three to five hundred Abrams tanks resting at some depot somewhere Why can’t we provide them to the Ukrainians, the Grey Eagle strike UAVs? I mean, we need to start shoving all this stuff in because the quicker the Ukrainians can break through and retake a lot of the territory and inflict more damage on the Russians the better. Well, I’m
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:36

    again, it’s embarrassing how often we agree. It was ever thus. I I guess my additional thought on that is and maybe this can lead us into a somewhat broader discussion about American foreign policy, that although I give the Biden administration high marks for how they handled the opening phase of this crisis, namely with the the intelligence leaks and so forth. And although I think they have gradually done the right thing, you know, increasing the quantity and quality of weapons too slowly, too too limited a degree, but they’ve they’ve done it. And now they are ramping up some production of some systems that we need.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:20

    Again, without the sense of urgency that I wish we had,
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:24

    You know,
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:25

    the the fact is, I’ll be really blunt about it. I mean, as you and I violently raise a lot better than the previous guy, But Biden is still a mediocrity. I will use that word. And he does not know how to give the kind of inspiring speech. That is
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:43

    needed
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:43

    now. And it should be from behind the Resolute Desk or, you know, some similar venue. And it needs to be forceful. What strikes me about this actually is not that support is weakening, but it’s amazing how how strong the support has been, and I think there are two reasons for that. One is the muscle memory from the Cold War, where the Russians were the bad guys.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:06

    You know, and I was talking to a I think I mentioned to you before, I was talking to a group of people who were about our age, and I asked if they remembered Rocky and Bullwinkle with Boris Badenov. Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:18

    But the
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:19

    other thing is, you know, the the Russians buy their just continued barbarity. Every day, a new outrage, a new onslaught against civilians. You know, they’re doing the heavy lifting on selling the American people that this is a just a just cause. But I agree with you, it’s it’s not enough. And I it does worry me somewhat that although the administration, you know, there are plenty of things to praise in what in the administration policy, I think you and I will talk about China and there.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:49

    I think they’ve been kind of reasonably good. And in other settings, in in other ways,
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:56

    they have
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:56

    — it has not been the level of leadership that the moment demands. And we saw that, of course, in Afghanistan. Yeah. Which was such a such a terrible disaster. Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:07

    No.
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:08

    It’s you know, I feel, you know, much the same way. I mean, I would add to what you said about their management of the war so far. I do give secretary Lincoln enormous amount of credit for doing the hard work of alliance management. And he’s been out there a lot talking with the allies, keeping them on board, smoothing them over, you know, he’s been parapathetic in that regard. And I give him high marks for that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:34

    I think he’s done well. But, you know, it’s just so dispiriting to read in the New York Times. This business, you may have seen it that the Ukrainians might have been able to take a shot at Karasymov when he Oh, my gosh. I saw that. You know, and then the administration basically said, no, don’t do that because that might lead to a war between the United States and Russia.
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:54

    And I’m I’m trying to think about, like, the mentality that that gets you to that. I mean, if the Ukrainians had killed Grasimov on the battlefield, been fantastic. Yeah. And how does that get how does that sort of get transmogrified into, oh my god, it might lead to World War three between the United States and AND RUSSIA AFTER ALL THE GENERAL OFFICERS WHO THE UCHRAINIANS HAVE ALREADY KILLED. I
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:20

    MEAN, REMEMBER WHAT WE DID TO Annual Yamamoto during World War two. Going after the opposing commander is a complete this, by the way okay. For those of you who aren’t familiar, we arranged an aerial ambush which killed admiral Yamamoto who had been the the Japanese leader who had was commanding the Japanese fleet and had also commanded the Pearl Harbor operation, and it was done on the basis of signal intelligence, intercepts, and so on. But that’s it’s a completely legitimate thing to have done. No, I agree.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:51

    I think the, you know, the commodity at some level remains but I would I would qualify it a bit. You know, I think you and I do share the the common American failing, which is to maybe to a lesser extent than others, that we think it’s really all about what we do. And it is in large measure about what we do. I mean, that’s United States is the remains the the dominant power. But what I’m struck by is actually how all things considered.
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:23

    How impressive the Europeans have been. You know, they have not caved. I don’t get a sense, yeah, there’s discomfort and they’re suffering more, I think, from energy shortages and high prices than we are. And you know they are pretty much sticking to things. I mean, that, you know, I wish the Germans were a lot better than they are and so forth, but
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:46

    but they could be a lot worse.
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:48

    They could be, hey, listen, you know, come on, before the war,
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:52

    would you have anticipated any of this? No. No. Absolutely. I mean, I think the irony here is that, you know, Vladimir Putin, when this is all said and done, when we were talking about the historic nature of this, if Vladimir Putin will end up this is really Hagel’s cunning of history.
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:08

    Right? He
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:09

    will end up being the father of modern Ukrainian nationhood.
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:13

    Yes.
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:14

    And he will also be the father of Europe’s green transition away from in reliance on cheap Russian energy.
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:24

    And that, you
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:25

    know, in the end of the day, will be, I think, a good thing for for Europe and a good thing for the climate and, you know, other things. So I want to Yeah. Please go ahead.
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:35

    Yeah. I can I I wonder if I could take that and maybe move us on a little bit. I mean, I think you and I both think that Putin is failing one way or another. I mean, even if in some narrow sense they won a bit more in Ukraine, it’s still a failure in terms of what the legacy is for the Russian state. As you pointed out, the Europe’s attitude towards Russia and a lot more than that would you say that on the whole, this has been a bad year for the dictators after us being apprehensive, quite apprehensive and legitimately apprehensive at the beginning of it, But if you think about, you know, the three bad this three of the leading bad guys, there are others.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:15

    Putin, z, I had told the Hamini, you know, plus some of the other sort of thuggish characters hanging around on the periphery, like, former president Bolsonaro or marine, Japan, another, you know. Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:24:30

    I
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:31

    mean, can you I mean, the North Koreans, Kim Jong Un seems immune to all this. But but then again, that’s such a weird isolated place. Although dangerous, You
  • Speaker 1
    0:24:45

    know, he’s becoming a model. Right? He’s becoming a model for Putin since Putin — Yeah. — turning Russia
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:50

    into sort of a very large North Korea with a somewhat larger nuclear arsenal. But that’s that’s that’s that’s a fair point. But but still, stepping back kumvrosa. Do you feel that on the whole this has been a worse year for them, a better year for us and perhaps an indication of things come in the future? Or do you think this is just part of the normal perturbations of international politics?
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:18

    And I’m wrong to take too much heart from that?
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:22

    No. I’ve taken a lot of heart from it. Our former colleague Frank Fukuyama has written about this and he’s talked about the importance of this war globally for democracy. And this is in some way of of vindication to some degree of the Biden administration’s framing of American foreign policy as part of a a a systemic struggle between democracies and autocracy, authoritarian regimes. This has been a bad year for the authoritarians.
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:51

    And I hate to use this term, but if we wanted to pivot right now to talk about Asia and China, you know, this has been, I think, you know, was meant to be a big year for Xi where he would be, you know, crowned by the party Congress with another term, you know, breaking the sort of informal norm of two terms, you know, since Jean Zemeng turned it over to Huuzhou and you know, no sooner had that happened, then you started to have this pushback by the Chinese public against the COVID rules, but it seemed to me based on what I’ve read that it seemed a little bit more than just a pushback against the rules, there were a lot of cries of down with the dictator, which is also what we hear from the Iranian public. You know, we we can get to that in a minute, but and she has had to, you know, sort of pull back on some of those COVID restrictions in the face of this popular demand, which is I think noteworthy, certainly in terms of the relationship between Chinese communist party and and the Chinese public. But moreover, he’s kind of in a a kind of a very awkward policy dilemma.
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:11

    Right? Because loosening these restrictions given the low efficacy of Chinese vaccines and the fact that they refused to use Western developed mRNA vaccines, they’re going to have a big upsurge of cases. Now that they’ve moved away from these lockdowns, and it’s not clear how well their health systems can be able to cope with that. And it’s he’s he’s you know, moved away from the lockdowns in a way in order to move back towards higher growth models since the lockdowns have impacted Chinese economic growth, but the ravages of COVID may impose similar or worse economic consequences. So I I think they’re having a lot of trouble wrestling with this.
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:55

    And as all authoritarian regimes tend to find out, you know, if if you’re not very nimble and if you can’t adjust, it’s a huge problem for you. Let
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:08

    me maybe push further than that and then some measure disagree in that part of C’s problem is not that he hasn’t been nimble enough. He he just became way too nimble. I mean, it’s not just loosening the restrictions. He just lifted all Right. So, you know, they’re it’s now bloody chaos and they’re they are in the middle of a, you know, a a a ferocious epidemic, which is going to see people have said maybe even millions of people dying.
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:38

    Who knows? I I think I I I I would also push further in this way. I think one of the things that I’ve always believed about being in a position of power is that after a while, it’s like
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:53

    getting
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:54

    cataracts very rapidly. Your ability to perceive reality diminishes. It gets, you know, more and more blurry. You’re not seeing things straight.
  • Speaker 1
    0:29:03

    You know, in
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:03

    in the west, we have an operation for that. They’re called elections. Then you get a new set of leaders who then get their chance to become unrealistic about the world around them. But that’s not what dictators have. And I think particularly for for a whole bunch of reasons, partly because they’re in power longer, partly because the nature of those systems is it reinforces cyclophancy.
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:27

    Mhmm. Diminishes your ability to hear bad news. You know, the result is they get more and more detached from around. And I think, you know, just in the case of those three countries we’ve talked about, you see that, you know, Putin clearly unable to hear any of the people around who clearly would have liked to have said this is a terrible idea of us. Z having you know, he’s taken a medax to his own high-tech industry.
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:56

    By going after Tencent and Japan help people out there. Mhmm. And then the the Iranian regime you know, just being so utterly out of touch with it’s it’s not just the the Urban A leads, But clearly, these protests have been around the country and in particular, you know, women who just have had it. And and I think you know, we’re seeing all those come together now. Can they adapt?
  • Speaker 2
    0:30:23

    I don’t know. Can they beat some of this down by sheer repression? Maybe for a time. But I I do think that
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:32

    their week
  • Speaker 2
    0:30:33

    fundamental weaknesses have been on display in a very vivid way. And that’s that’s really important for us as well because you know, the weaknesses of democracy are always on vivid display. And people like us talk about them all the time, and we talk a lot less about our internal strengths, which are also enormous. Yep. I agree.
  • Speaker 2
    0:30:59

    You
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:59

    know, the other thing, of course, is that the war that Putin has unleashed has caught up both China and Iran to some degree. And both of them, I think, see some potential benefit in it, but also enormous dangers for them and I think they’re both wrestling with, you know, with how to do it. So, I mean, obviously, in the case of China, Putin had just Putin and Xi had just declared you know, this limitless partnership, which almost immediately has been tested and seems to have some limits actually. I mean, it’s not, you know, clear how much the Chinese wanna be associated with with this effort. It’s clear they’ve been pushing back certainly on things like potential use of theater nuclear weapons, but they don’t seem to, for instance, have provided much if any lethal assistance to the Russians.
  • Speaker 1
    0:31:57

    What other assistance they’re giving is a little bit opaque, but Even the Iranians, although they’re providing them with these Zaheed one hundred and thirty six and one hundred and thirty one drones and these Mojahed drones, they have also been at pains to deny that they’re doing it. Now part of that is because it would violate the UN Security Council resolution that employment, it’s an habit of lying. Part of it’s lying. Part of it’s habitual lying. Part of it is, you know, it would be a violation of the UN Security Council resolution that implemented the joint comprehensive plan of agreement back in twenty fifteen.
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:36

    And so you know, they they don’t wanna be hit with the consequences of of that. So, yeah, I’m sorry, the joint comprehensive plan of action. It’s a mouthful. I should have just stuck with JCPOA. It would have been safer.
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:49

    So, you know, this is a problem for them too, and and it’s one of the reasons why defeat of Russia is is so important because the message it would bend to these other two. Well, the
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:01

    message message you would send to them, the message you would say to the good guys around the world, you know, the to the say, our allies in the in the Pacific where know, it was quite interesting the Japanese are seeming to be going for quite a striking increase in their defense spending up to two percent of GDP, which is actually a little bit more than because the as you know, the Japanese accounting system is different than ours. And there are things that we put in our defense budget, which they don’t put in there. But but let me ask you this question, Eric. If things are kind of going our way or going the way of the liberal democracies, and if the dictators are in a bit of the back foot, particularly with regard to
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:44

    China. Do you
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:45

    think that there’s a really increased danger that they will try something on Taiwan? And what’s the nature of that? And I guess my gut feeling is there is a significantly increased danger partly because, you know, some of the things we’ve talked about, partly because I think they probably see a window and he probably sees a window closing. He’s he’s another aging dictator who wants to make his mark on history. I think they’re, you know, you’re announcing these a number of reputable students at the Asian economy saying, you know, actually, they’re never really gonna match American GDP.
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:26

    They’re constantly at the classic middle income trap. They’ve got, you know, all kinds of issues. Do you are you anxious about that? I mean, we we’ve been so focused on Russia, Ukraine that I think some of some of our listeners may feel that we’re missing really big issue, which is in the end of We’d last
  • Speaker 1
    0:34:46

    summer did have Mike Beckley and and Hal brands on. Talking about whether the window was moving closer rather than further away, Michael and Hal, you know, basically argue that This is not a problem for the 2030s as a lot of people had thought, but really one for maybe, you know, not even the later part of this decade, but, you know, you know, closer to the middle part in three or four years. Before I answered the question, let me say what I think we had to do about it. Sort of backwards, I know. But look,
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:22

    I think
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:23

    we need to be maximizing our assistance to Taiwan and doing everything we can to help Taiwan. There is a lot in this NDAA that was just passed for Taiwan. I think something like ten billion dollars worth. But as you know, we have to get out of our own way because we have a huge backlog of military assistance to Taiwan that hasn’t gotten there for a variety of infuriating bureaucratic reasons. I think we need to be pushing Taiwan a lot harder than we have to do the things they need to do, to defend themselves, as well as doing the things we need to do to put ourselves in a better position if a push comes to shove.
  • Speaker 1
    0:36:06

    Because ideally what you wanna do here is make this so unappealing to Xi and to the Chinese military that in the end of the day he doesn’t, you know, want it. And, you know, he wake doesn’t wake up and say, today’s the day, I want to invade that one. I mean, that that really is the the key issue, I think. In that sense, you know, I think the Ukraine war has been a huge great wake up call for us. So something you’ve talked about and we’ve talked about many times on the show munitions.
  • Speaker 1
    0:36:38

    You know, munitions stocks are something that always got shorted. The end of the year when budget accounts got reconciled in the Department of Defense. We called attention to that. In twenty eighteen, in the National Defense Strategy Commission, report that I co chaired with Admiral Gary Ruffhead, the former Chief of Naval Operations. We almost ran out.
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:02

    We called attention to the fact in twenty eighteen that in twenty fifteen would almost run out of munitions in the counter isle fight. And to show how influential and important these commission reports are. Of course, no one paid any attention whatsoever to the recommendation. Nothing happened. But people have got the message now in the Pentagon and in defense industry and on the hill.
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:24

    And I think something will be done about that to increase our ability to mobilize the defense industrial base, which we, you know, haven’t really something we haven’t talked about really in forty or fifty years. I
  • Speaker 2
    0:37:40

    that’s absolutely critical, you know. I I mean, I what a point I’ve I’ve tried to make a number of times go going back quite a while. I’m putting in a book I published about seven years ago, the big stick, is thinking about mobilization used mobilization used to be an essential component of the American military posture, really going back indeed going back to colonial times. The assumption was always the forces in being would never really be enough. And we’re not we thought about mobilization mainly in personnel.
  • Speaker 2
    0:38:17

    Terms, but really beginning in the twentieth century, we also included thinking about the industrial base. And I think you’ve raised two distinct issues. One is the stockpiles where you’re actually right that we’ve short changed those. For a long time, although not nearly as much as other countries have. But the other thing is that the industrial base side of it, which is different, which is the ability to, you know, as rapidly as possible dramatically increase the amount of stuff you’re producing.
  • Speaker 2
    0:38:50

    And it’s a lot harder to think about that. You know, for the the stockpiles, you just buy more stuff and, you know, you so you can do that. But being prepared to generate a lot more military power out of current production I think it’s a very different matter. It’s different than it was during World War two when, you know, we did astoundingly well at it. Different
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:14

    kind of production, you know Very different properties. Yeah. Yep. Well, I mean, two things there, I would say. One is you’re right.
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:22

    I mean, we’re suffering here because of the shrinkage of the defense industrial base after the end of the cold war. You know, we went from a very large number of firms doing business in this sector to a much smaller number and a very small number of primes, a handful, really. And then a much smaller number of subsidiary firms that provide inputs to the primes. And so as a result of that, we have two different problems that we have to deal with in terms of, you know, mobilizing the defense industrial base to max out production of some of these high end munitions, which we’ve run down like stingers and javelins and gimliars for the attack from excuse me, for the high Mars. We haven’t started running down the attack.
  • Speaker 1
    0:40:09

    I’m but one reason I would say that there’s hesitancy in the Department of Defense you know, some of it’s got to do with escalation risk. Some of it’s got to do with people in the Pentagon and the military services not wanting to run down these stocks of what we used to call and when we were in government, we would have called them low density, high value items. Which which has done rooms for you to say, it just means
  • Speaker 2
    0:40:34

    we we didn’t buy enough of them or even not enough of them. Right? So By the way, you you
  • Speaker 1
    0:40:40

    and I
  • Speaker 2
    0:40:40

    first met, we we were present at the constriction if you think about it that way. I mean, when you and I first met in back in nineteen eighty nine, ninety. That’s that’s when that was beginning to happen. And I’ve visibly remembered that People say, oh, this is great. Northropin Gremlins are gonna merge and, you know, and a number of these other primes are gonna disappear.
  • Speaker 2
    0:41:05

    And there was just no thought given to that, to the possibility that you really needed a big, healthy industrial base and that it was going to be very difficult to do, but that you should struggle somehow to try to maintain it. I think people just stopped. They just stopped thinking about it. By the way, you know, one thought that did occur to me, though, as you were talking just now, a a side benefit of, you know, this awful war is shows shows us that actually Western is and particularly American, but not just American military hardware is really good. Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:41:41

    I mean, Haimar is is a good system. Yeah. You know, the m seven seventy seven howitzer is that that’s a good artillery piece. And and, you know, some of the European stuff even better.
  • Speaker 1
    0:41:53

    They are as a good artillery piece. And And and and the thing is those
  • Speaker 2
    0:41:56

    if you look at that technology, it’s this is not, you know, twenty twenty’s technology. A lot of it is really late twentieth century technology, although updated and improved and
  • Speaker 1
    0:42:07

    all that. But the way but the accuracy of those systems and the targeting data is facilitated by pretty high-tech. Yes. Equipment that isn’t now actually being tested on the battlefield. Just to tie off the defense industrial based mobilization piece though.
  • Speaker 1
    0:42:26

    The the two long poles in the tent are floor space because there’s not enough of it to produce all these munitions. And in particular, the major element is, you know, recruitment of a highly skilled technically proficient workforce and industry understandably because they’re driven by the bottom line, not by command. You know, they reluctant to invest in both of, you know, bringing on a lot of workers who they then have a lot of overhead to deal with. And also, expansion of the floor space. So what’s gonna be needed is some combination of throwing a lot of money at the problem.
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:08

    But also long term contracts that incentivize defense industry to create that resilient industrial base that that we can draw in. But yes, I mean, to go back to your point, you know, the quality of our equipment is very, very good. And this is one reason to get back to where we started in part of the conversation. Why I’m not sure the Chinese necessarily will end up whatever their initial information might be to move the timeline up for invading Taiwan. I mean, they might.
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:39

    And we certainly need to be prepared for it because we wanna do everything we can to discourage it and deter it. But as they look at this war, they’ve got a lot of things to, you know, worry about. I mean, you know, one of the things they have to worry about is the fact that most of their military kit is either based on or stolen from Russian designs. And secondly, although G has made it a point as part of his process of accumulating political power to try and root out corruption in the People’s Liberation Army. There seems to have been quite a bit of it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:44:21

    You know, so whether you’ve got as much rock as you had inside the Russian system, don’t know, but not sure if Xi wants to find out, you know, on the battlefield. The third,
  • Speaker 2
    0:44:33

    you know,
  • Speaker 1
    0:44:34

    these are difficult operations and what they would have to contemplate going up against — Yes. — you know, Taiwan and amphibious operation over a fairly you know, it’s it they’re close, you know, to to China, Taiwan’s close to China, but still moving that distance over over open water. Combined arms operations are hard. You know, we’ve got very, very good at it and, you know, made some people, I think, think, oh, well, anybody can do this. Well, no, not anybody can do it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:45:05

    Particularly if you don’t pay attention to the logistical piece of it. So there’s a lot they have to and then not to mention the fact that their, you know, their military has actually never fought anybody that’s been shooting at them since nineteen seventy nine and when they did that against the Vietnamese, they didn’t perform all that. Well. Now admittedly, it’s a very different military today than it was in nineteen seventy nine, but still the lack of combat experience has gotta induce, I think, some kind of caution in in Chinese military leaders, particularly as they watch what’s happening to to the Russians. So look, that’s not dispositive.
  • Speaker 1
    0:45:40

    You know, they they might, you know, say, well, we still have some advantages now before the Americans get geared up. So let’s go now. There’s always that kind of logic that you have to work against. But that’s one
  • Speaker 2
    0:45:51

    reason why
  • Speaker 1
    0:45:52

    we have to have a very high sense of urgency about Taiwan and making sure that we’re doing everything we can to make sure they don’t draw those conclusions. Well, you know,
  • Speaker 2
    0:46:04

    from your mouth to a disease error. I guess the only thing I would add to that is I I tend to think that’s exactly why they will not go for a sort of an EOGMA style song. We don’t have a whole lot of time left. We should certainly talk about our own country. But before that, we haven’t done really much this year on the Middle East.
  • Speaker 2
    0:46:26

    And let me just tee that off and then get your responses. I think on the one hand,
  • Speaker 1
    0:46:32

    with
  • Speaker 2
    0:46:33

    the Abraham Accord really are the kind of most dramatic manifestation of a profound change, which is that in in many ways, the classical Arab Israeli conflict is just over. There’s an Israeli Palestinian conflict which is about to get a lot worse I believe, with the new Israeli right wing government and a whole set of internal problems, and that could play out in other ways. The Middle East is in many in some places just a horrific mess like Syria in some place a kind of a contained mess. I suppose you could say that perhaps about Egypt. You have a new generation of leaders particularly in Saudi Arabia, which is a little bit which is not entirely reassuring.
  • Speaker 2
    0:47:14

    I guess my you even implemented. Well, exactly. And and, you know, and then you have the the the possibility. I mean, I I wish it were a probability, maybe it is. Of the the whole system being upended if there’s a real people in Iran.
  • Speaker 2
    0:47:29

    You know, if that regime went down, all of a sudden, the Middle East would be a very different place. So I’m just curious to know how how do you think we should think about the Middle East from the point of view of American foreign policy, Eric?
  • Speaker 1
    0:47:43

    Well, I think we have to resist the tenancy, which I understand, which is to take the position that the Middle East should return to the obscurity. It’s so rich deserves and that we should just ignore it. I don’t think we can ignore it. I mean, I worry a bit, you know, that Both the last administration with its national defense strategy, this administration have basically said you know, priority is Russia and China, and I totally agree with that. But the
  • Speaker 2
    0:48:12

    idea somehow that
  • Speaker 1
    0:48:12

    we can take risk in the Middle East, you know, I think has already been disproven. I mean, I I think the disaster in Afghanistan had knock on consequences. You know, I One of them was that it almost certainly figured into I can’t prove this, but it almost certainly figured in Putin’s calculations. In the fall of twenty twenty one about what he was gonna do in Ukraine. And, you know, it did enormous reputational damage to the United States.
  • Speaker 1
    0:48:43

    With our allies. We’ve overcome some of that, but not necessarily all of it. I worry for instance that the situation in Syria is not totally stable in the sense that we no longer are operating in a major way in Iraq. We still have some very limited forces in Syria. The Turks are threatening.
  • Speaker 1
    0:49:05

    To go in and go after the folks with whom we’ve been allied the SDF in Northeastern Syria in the counter ISIS fight. And I don’t think you can rule out that you could have a repetition of what you had in twenty fourteen when the Iraqi security forces collapsed. And you had this major expansion of Isol, creation of a caliphate in Mosul and Raca, which then took a lot of time and effort on the part of the United States working with Iraqi partners and Syrian partners to to destroy that caliphate and eliminate it. That was a big accomplishment, actually. But, I mean, I nothing would up upend our effort for instance, to refocus all of our attention as you and I have just been discussing on Taiwan, then an event like that, which would require us to put much more emphasis and resources into the Middle East.
  • Speaker 1
    0:50:00

    So I think it’s one of these things that we can’t ignore. We can’t walk away from it much as we would like to. As attractive as that is when we do that, and that was the underpinning really of Biden’s decision to pull out of Afghanistan. And when we do that, bad things happen and bad
  • Speaker 2
    0:50:19

    forces fill the vacuum we create. You know, I mean, the way I think about the Middle East is to paraphrase Trotsky, you may not be interested in the Middle East, but the Middle East is interested in you or to kind of flip a well known commercial on his head. What happens in the Middle East doesn’t stay in the Middle East. I think that the larger point here in a way is that because of what was always an excessive focus on the Arab Israeli conflict is the only important dynamic
  • Speaker 1
    0:50:48

    there. You
  • Speaker 2
    0:50:51

    know, we now give a sigh of relief when it returns to normal or semi normal geopolitics. Forgetting how how destabilizing that can be. And actually, I think you’ve got two different dynamics, both of which could be quite problematic. First, the fundamental societal collapses that we saw in places like Syria and Libya, over tons of it in Egypt, I would say, in Yemen as well. That or Lebanon would be another example.
  • Speaker 2
    0:51:21

    That remains. And that is can be profanately dangerous. But on the other hand, you also have states playing a geopolitical game. One subject that I we don’t have time to go into it today, but we really need to go into, particularly given the fact that you’re the ambassador there is the role of Turkey.
  • Speaker 1
    0:51:39

    Because it, you know,
  • Speaker 2
    0:51:39

    it seems to me that Turks are playing a very interesting role, sometimes constructive, but but you’re really seeing the emergence of a Turkish power under Erdogan that is quite ruthlessly playing the geopolitical game and in ways that as I said, some of which could be constructive and some of which will be could conceivably be be very dangerous, and we need to we should be exploring
  • Speaker 1
    0:52:04

    that. I agree. Since
  • Speaker 2
    0:52:06

    we have so little time left, I think, you know, before you and I give our our farewell salutations to this year, What about our own country? I mean, you and I were two of the original Never Trumpers. You and I are both short term pessimists, long term optimists about this country. I think that they’re they’re deep reasons for that. How are you feeling?
  • Speaker 2
    0:52:26

    I’m not I frankly, I’m feeling a lot better. I think it does look like Trump’s on the way out. I wish Biden wouldn’t run for reelection, and we had another generation of both Republicans and Democrats. Stepping forward. But, you
  • Speaker 1
    0:52:42

    know, what’s your take? Well, the late political scientist, Vokey, had great aphorism, which he said, I believe in the sober second thought of the American voter. You know? And I I think American voters, by and large, have been, you know, relatively kinda consistent and stable. They’ve been kind of kind
  • Speaker 2
    0:53:05

    of, I would
  • Speaker 1
    0:53:06

    think, inclined just, you know, mildly to the center right what the historian Marvin Myers when writing about the Jacksonians called Venture some Conservatives. I mean, that’s sort of the I think the kind of center of gravity of American politics, I think it reasserted itself in the last election cycle. I mean, you know, if you look at how the voters behave, I mean, look, there are some elections that came out in ways I wish they hadn’t. I mean, I I I don’t relish the idea of of you know, a Peter Thiel puppet, you know, in the senate, in the form of J. D.
  • Speaker 1
    0:53:41

    Vance. But by and large, I think you know, most election deniers were defeated. The Democrats held the senate. The the terrible awful candidates foisted on the Republican party largely by Donald Trump, but not just by Donald Trump, were defeated.
  • Speaker 2
    0:53:59

    Almost all of them accept it. The, you know, the one of the things I found very striking with the exception of Carrie Lake, just about all of them accepted the the election outcome. Yeah. I don’t know. And that’s unfortunately, this is a big deal when that happens, but it is a big deal.
  • Speaker 2
    0:54:14

    And including
  • Speaker 1
    0:54:14

    Hershel Walker, which, you know, was a big big surprise. So all of that, you know, is to the good. I still worry about the political. Even even if Trump is on the decline, which he certainly is if you look at the polls. I I remain concerned first of all though that we haven’t heard the last of him and since you and I lived through twenty sixteen, you know, a divided Republican field, he still has a base of support that’s pretty pretty given everything that’s happened in the last two years, all the revelations, everything that the January sixth committee is uncovered.
  • Speaker 1
    0:54:52

    Corruption of his company that’s been uncovered by prosecutors in New York State. I mean, all of this, the fact that he still has about a third of the Republican electorate enthrall, you know, is still worrisome. And given the kinds of opponents he’s likely to have. I mean, there’s a danger of a fragmented field again, which allows him to emerge. But also, I think the party is not healthy.
  • Speaker 1
    0:55:17

    They’re just a lot of unhealthy sort of currents running through the party. Most of which, he’s let loose in the America first, the xenophobia, protectionism, all of those things, you know, have always been present in the Republican Party. Trump really took the lid off and So I worry that, you know, it’s gonna take several more election cycles, you know, before that party can get healthy. Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:55:41

    I I think that’s right. I think it’s gonna be a a decade or more. And the fact of the matter is the country is in the middle of huge cultural socioeconomic kinds of changes, which I think will will feed feed all that. But I think, you know, I I fundamentally have, and I know you share the belief that we have an amazing constitutional structure that was put together by a brilliant generation, a quarter of a millennium ago. And we, you know, it’s still the land of promise that brought my grandparents here and yours — Mhmm.
  • Speaker 2
    0:56:22

    — that brought our producer here. I mean, this is, you know, it remains an extraordinary country and above all country with extraordinary resilience. I think we’re pretty much at the end. So I’m just going to conclude by word of thanks. Actually, it’s to you, Eric, because when you first approached me about this idea of doing a podcast together, You know, I’m still wrapping my head around the Internet.
  • Speaker 2
    0:56:48

    And the idea. The idea is you’re doing a podcast. I don’t know. I wasn’t quite sure. And I was, well, there’d be enough to talk about these loads to talk about.
  • Speaker 2
    0:57:02

    Hopefully, in the next year, we’ll be doing this even more frequently with even more guests, but I just wanna thank you because it was a great idea. I know our our because we hear from them that our listeners enjoy it a lot and find it beneficial. And but I have to tell you I just enjoy it and I look forward to our conversations, which I believe will be happening more frequently like. We’ve
  • Speaker 1
    0:57:23

    got big plans for Shield next year. I’m glad you feel that way. I’m very glad we got this started. I think we really need to say a word of thanks to other people, shekatiri, our producer who Without whom this podcast would not have happened, it was a twinkle in my eye, but he turned it into a reality. So shout out to Shea and a thanks to him for that, and to Robert Davis settlement who does our sound production and makes both you and me sound so much better.
  • Speaker 1
    0:57:55

    Unchilled at the Republic than we do in real life. So I’m I’m grateful to him. We are going to be going to a more frequent format for those listeners who’ve been asking for more, you’re gonna get it whether you want it or not now. So that’s a great thing. We will start the year with Peter Baker and Susan Glasser who will be our guests in the very first show of twenty twenty three talking about they’re really fascinating and if not depressing, booked the divider about the Trump presidency, which I would say, I’m not sure if you agree Elliott, but, you know, they all saw is that journalists right, the first draft of history.
  • Speaker 1
    0:58:39

    I think this is really one of the first books I’ve read about the Trump presidency that really qualifies as
  • Speaker 2
    0:58:45

    they’re they’re both really good. I should add just one one other thing which is if there is enough demand out there, I have been pushing hard for shield of the Republic swag. We’re working on
  • Speaker 1
    0:58:57

    that. So
  • Speaker 2
    0:58:58

    maybe maybe in the next year, we’ll we’ll actually have something. So, you know, we can demonstrate our listeners can demonstrate just how how much this podcast means to all of us. So happy New
  • Speaker 1
    0:59:10

    Year. Same to you, same to all of our Our listeners, whether you are celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, however you celebrate, wishing you a very happy holiday season and a healthy New Year. We’ll be back after the New Year. And in the meantime, if you have questions and comments, you can send us an email at shield of the Republic at gmail dot com. Or wherever you get your podcasts, go on and leave a review.
  • Speaker 1
    0:59:39

    Give us a like on Apple or Spotify or wherever you get them, and we’ll be back after the first of the year.