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Foreign Policy ProvCast
27 minutes | 2 days ago
Episode #62 | What the USCIRF's 2021 Report Got Right And Wrong (Steven Howard)
Steven Howard, advocacy director at In Defense of Christians (IDC), speaks with Mark Melton about the 2021 annual report from the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). In particular, they cover what the IDC thinks USCIRF got right and how they missed the mark. Howard also analyzes the religious freedom situation in Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt. To read the report, click here: https://www.uscirf.gov/sites/default/files/2021-04/2021%20Annual%20Report_0.pdf In Defense of Christians also hosted an event to discuss this report in more detail, which can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4NLiY8pJok For the podcast episode with Nadine Maenza, commissioner on the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, click here: https://providencemag.com/podcast/ep-55-religious-freedom-middle-east-genocide-yazidis/
24 minutes | 19 days ago
Episode #61 | America's Withdrawal From Afghanistan (Paul D. Miller)
Providence executive editor Marc LiVecche spoke with contributing editor and Georgetown professor Paul Miller about President Joe Biden's plans to withdraw all remaining US military personnel from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021. While opposed to the withdrawal itself, Paul has no illusions about the mistakes made in Afghanistan. At the same time, he is cognizant of the goods that were achieved and laments the risks that a US pullout poses to the ability of those goods to endure. He reflects on the human costs of the war, its impact on US foreign policy, and offers a nuanced vision for how American Christians should think about it. This podcast originated as a Zoom conversation and has not been edited. Listeners can watch the video and read the transcript here: https://providencemag.com/video/americas-withdrawal-afghanistan-joe-biden/ Here are some of the resources mentioned in the discussion: "A Christian Declaration on American Foreign Policy" by Paul Miller: https://providencemag.com/2016/09/christian-declaration-american-foreign-policy/ "Fight to Win: A Lesson from the Great War" Marc LiVecche: https://providencemag.com/2020/11/fight-win-lesson-great-war/
23 minutes | 2 months ago
Episode #60 | Churchill’s Speech and the Descending Iron Curtain (Joseph Loconte)
On March 5, 1946—75 years ago—Winston Churchill delivered the “Sinews of Peace” at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. The terms “special relationship” to describe US-UK relations and “Iron Curtain” both become household terms after the speech, and some, particularly Russian historians, point to this moment as the official start to the Cold War. At the time, Churchill was serving as leader of the opposition in Parliament after losing the UK general election in 1945. The world was recovering from the Second World War and ready for peace. Many in the United States and elsewhere were optimistic about future relations with the Soviet Union, an American and British ally just a few months before, and the possible peace that might come from the United Nations, whose Security Council started its first session in London in January 1946. Yet the former and future prime minister delivered a startling message to Americans who were largely unprepared to countenance the prospect of a looming, decades-long conflict against communism after winning the war against fascism. Though the American public was not ready for Churchill’s message, at least some in the US government were. “The Sources of Soviet Conduct” (or “The Long Telegram”) by George F. Kennan, the deputy chief of mission of the United States to the Soviet Union, arrived secretly to the State Department in Washington, DC, in February 1946. In July 1947 under the pseudonym “Mr. X,” Foreign Affairs published this memo describing the need to contain the USSR. Many Americans disliked and criticized the speech. For instance, Christianity and Crisis editor and founder Reinhold Niebuhr called it “ill-timed and ill-advised” in the only reference his journal made to it in 1946. He and others in the publication were discussing the possibility of US-USSR cooperation or alliance, and how the new United Nations might benefit global order with “world government.” Niebuhr blamed Churchill for unwisely heightening tensions and undermining a “creative solution” to the “atomic bomb problem.” Yet Churchill better understood what the Soviets had already done in Eastern Europe. The problem was not the speech, but the Soviet actions the speech exposed. While many Americans dreamed of an alliance with Moscow and “Uncle Joe” (the friendly image of Joseph Stalin in Western media), they forgot that the Soviet Union had a vote on whether they wanted to be an ally or adversary. In this episode of the Foreign Policy ProvCast, Joseph Loconte and Mark Melton discuss the “Sinews of Peace,” the post-World War II situation in Eastern Europe, why the American public and media disliked Churchill’s message, what President Harry Truman knew about the speech beforehand, whether or not the future special relationship between the US and UK was obvious in March 1946, and the speech’s legacy. Loconte also co-wrote an article with Nile Gardiner about the “Sinews of Peace” for National Review, which can be read here: https://www.nationalreview.com/2021/03/churchills-prophetic-warning-an-iron-curtain-has-descended/
26 minutes | 5 months ago
Episode #59 - Advent Special | Preview Of The Yule Blog (Walter Russell Mead)
In this Advent Special of the Foreign Policy ProvCast, Mark Melton speaks with Walter Russell Mead about his annual Yule Blog series, which begins on Christmas Day and runs through Epiphany on January 6. Mead explains that he originally created the Yule Blog several years ago because Americans have forgotten so much about the holiday’s religious grounding and message. While the series covers a range of topics over 14 days, Melton and Mead focus on two: first, Mead analyzes the role of Mary in the New Testament and the early church; then he talks about what Jesus’ Jewish identity and love of his people means for Christians’ love of their country and home, and what it means that Jesus was able to reach out to people from other nations while still loving his own. They conclude by offering a message of what Christmas means in a year that the COVID-19 pandemic has scarred. Particularly, Mead explains that this year, when many are celebrating the holiday away from family, the separation should remind us that the heart of the Christmas holiday isn’t about those gatherings or events, but about the birth of Jesus Christ. “So what we’re going to live through this year, is Christmas stripped down to the basics, and that may be a way to get in touch as never before with this eruption of meaning into a dark history.” Walter Russell Mead is a professor of Foreign Affairs and Humanities at Bard College, the Distinguished Scholar in American Strategy and Statesmanship for the Hudson Institute. Global view columnist at the Wall Street Journal. Mark Melton is the managing editor of Providence.
37 minutes | 5 months ago
Ep. 58 | Lessons From “The Liberator” (Dark Ops)
In this episode of the Foreign Policy ProvCast, Mark Melton and Marc LiVecche bring back the “Dark Ops,” Providence’s podcast movie reviews. They discuss the Netflix series The Liberator, which came out on Veterans Day last month. It’s an animated series with four episodes and is based on a book by Alex Kershaw. The miniseries tells the story of Felix Sparks and the 157th Infantry Regiment as they campaign in Italy before landing in Provence, France, and then into Germany. In total, Sparks served 511 days in combat, and after World War II became a brigadier general and the ground commander for the Colorado Army Guard. He also served on the Colorado Supreme Court. Amongst other topics, Melton and LiVecche cover whether the animation helps or hurts the storytelling, how the miniseries covers racism, the history behind the Battle of Aschaffenburg and the Dachau massacre, and what courage looks like. They conclude by explaining why movies and shows about the Second World War are still important.
34 minutes | 6 months ago
Episode #57 | Aftermath Of The Azerbaijan – Artsakh War (Robert Nicholson)
Starting on September 27, the war between Azerbaijan and Republic of Artsakh resumed. Also known as Nagorno-Karabakh, Artsakh is a region within Azerbaijan that is predominately Armenian, and since 1994 has been controlled by Armenians. The war ended on November 10 with the Armenians of Artsakh losing most of the territory it had controlled. In this episode, Robert Nicholson of the Philos Project talks with Mark Melton about why this war happened, how Turkey was involved, what the Armenians are losing, what the US government should do next, why the world didn’t help Artsakh, and what may happen to Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan now. Melton and Nicholson also cover how this conflict fits into region’s geopolitics and how this all affects the United States. Finally, they discuss what Recep Tayyip Erdoğan may do next, particularly in Cyprus, and what the Biden administration should do more broadly in the Middle East, especially with the Arab–Israeli peace movement.
33 minutes | 7 months ago
Episode #56 | From Kenosha to “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” (Marc LiVecche & Keith Pavlischek)
In this episode of the ProvCast recorded on September 10, executive editor Marc LiVecche speaks with senior editor Keith Pavlischek about a variety of themes that emerge from an initial discussion of the Kyle Rittenhouse shootings in Kenosha. Topics include vigilantism versus just force, contextual factors—such as provocation—that complicate easy claims about self-defense, and the responsibilities of proper authorities to secure justice. Along the way, "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," and American Western films in general, makes a germane segue—and preps the way for future episodes.
43 minutes | 8 months ago
Episode #55 | Religious Freedom in the Middle East after Genocide (Nadine Maenza)
In this episode, Nadine Maenza talks about religious freedom issues in the Middle East, especially in Iraq and Syria where the Yazidis suffered genocide starting six years ago. First, she explains the role of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), of which she is vice-chairman, and how its operations differ from the US State Department. Then she reviews what the Islamic State (ISIS) did to the Yazidis during the genocide and how this group and other religious minorities, including Iraqi Christians, suffer. Maenza explains how the Iraqi central government in Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Erbil treat these religious minorities differently and how those groups feel about the authorities. She also discusses problems other religious minorities there face and how the Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) causes problems. USCIRF recommended the US place Iraq on a special watch list, Maenza reviews what the US government and her organization can do. Then Nadine Maenza and Mark Melton talk about the situation in northeast Syria and some good news in that region for religious minorities. They close out their conversation by talking about other countries that have problems with religious liberty, but they also talk about success stories, specifically in Uzbekistan, whose government came to USCIRF and tried to improve their laws for religious groups. From this, Maenza and Melton conclude by talking about how some countries, like China, have nefarious motivations for why they persecute religious minorities, whereas other countries are either incompetent or don’t know how to use their laws to improve the situation for those groups. To continue learning about the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, please visit their website here: https://www.uscirf.gov/ Or follow them on Twitter: https://twitter.com/USCIRF Those who want to learn more about Iraq can read USCIRF’s annual report for the country here: https://www.uscirf.gov/sites/default/files/Iraq.pdf And can read about Syria here: https://www.uscirf.gov/sites/default/files/Syria.pdf Listeners can read Maenza’s op-ed about Yazidis in Iraq here: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/op-eds/agony-of-yazidis-extends-to-sixth-anniversary-of-their-genocide And can follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/nadinemaenza
25 minutes | 9 months ago
Episode #54 | Don’t Confuse Liberalism And Progressivism (Paul D. Miller)
A couple months ago, Providence contributor Paul D. Miller complained on Twitter about people confused liberalism and progressivism. In this episode hosted by Mark Melton, he explains how the two concepts are different. He specifically makes the case that conservatives wrongly blame liberalism for the excesses of progressivism. He then explains what classical liberalism is, and how this idea can be the solution for the problems progressivism creates. Miller also reviews what he calls “Augustinian liberalism,” which uses the ideas of St. Augustine as a grounding for liberalism, instead of Enlightenment ideas. Miller and Melton then talk about how federalism and localism can help alleviate problems America faces—including the fear that, if “our” side loses a national or presidential election, the country’s over. In fact, he says allowing more federalism and letting subcultures flourish would increase national cohesion, whereas enforcing a common national identity, whether a left-wing or right-wing version, would increase national strife. Miller also reviews viewpoint neutrality, cancel culture, participation in local government, and more. To read Miller’s articles about Augustinian liberalism, see https://providencemag.com/2019/09/augustinian-liberalism-symposium/ and https://providencemag.com/2019/09/augustine-of-hippo-christian-democrat/ His other works for Providence are available here: https://providencemag.com/authors/paul-d-miller/ Other articles and podcasts by Mark Melton are available here: https://providencemag.com/authors/mark-melton/
33 minutes | 9 months ago
Episode #53 | Caught in the Crossfire: Japan's Geopolitical Role (Joshua Walker)
In this episode of the Foreign Policy ProvCast, Joshua Walker speaks with Mark Melton about Japan’s global role, especially as the rivalry between the United States and China intensifies. The last time Walker spoke for Providence, he was in the process of leaving the Eurasia Group to become the president of the Japan Society, so he talks about his new organization’s projects and mission. Then he describes the role Japan has played in East Asia since the end of the Second World War and the role the country can play now as the world moves from a transatlantic century to a transpacific century. News came out last week that lawmakers in Japan are pushing for the country to have the right to strike missile-launch sites in North Korea and China, but Walker explains why these headlines are misleading. He also discusses Japan’s Self Defense Forces and the prospects of the country changing its constitution so that it can have a more normalized military force and presence. Then Melton and Walker talk about how America’s alliance with both South Korea and Japan has traditionally provided stability for the region and the current status of those relationships. The two also cover how Japan is caught in the crossfire of the US-China rivalry, along with how the people of Japan view both countries. Walker finishes with analysis about what might happen with US-Japan relations if Joe Biden becomes president, how Shinzo Abe has been able to manage relations well with Donald Trump, and the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic forcing the 2020 Olympics in Japan to happen in 2021 instead.
24 minutes | 9 months ago
Episode #52: Racism and the Church (Trillia Newbell)
Providence has recently published a few articles about race and racism after the murder of George Floyd, and in this episode of the ProvCast Trillia Newbell speaks about a Christian perspective on racism, the imago Dei, practical ways Christians can respond to racism, and hope for the future. Newbell is the director of community outreach for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission for the Southern Baptist Convention, an acquisitions editor for Moody Publishers, and the author of multiple books—including "Sacred Endurance: Finding Grace and Strength for a Lasting Faith," "United: Captured by God’s Vision for Diversity," and "If God Is For Us: The Everlasting Truth of Our Great Salvation." CNN recently interviewed her for an article about racism and the church, which can be found here: https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/10/us/white-black-christians-racism-burke/index.html
41 minutes | 10 months ago
Episode #51: Confrontations with China — on Huawei, COVID-19, and More (Michael Sobolik)
Michael Sobolik, a fellow in Indo-Pacific Studies at the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington, DC, speaks with Mark Melton about recent developments in China. In particular, Sobolik explains new revelations that the Chinese Communist Party is forcing Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang to have sterilizations and abortions, which he wrote about in Newsweek. They also talk about the United Kingdom banning Huawei from building Britain’s 5G network. Sobolik lays out why the United States opposes Huawei on this and what other countries may ban the company from their networks. He wrote about this issue in a report for the American Foreign Policy Council. The two also discuss the importance of China’s Belt and Road Initiative and how this affects geopolitics and US foreign policy. Sobolik also describes what China did to cover up the COVID-19 pandemic and the Chinese Communist Party’s misinformation campaign, which he also covered in The Diplomat and The Hill. Sobolik and Melton also talk about developments in Hong Kong, including the possibility the US and UK will accept refugees from there, and why the US declared this week that it does not recognize China’s claims to offshore resources in the South China Sea. Sobolik’s articles on these topics can be found here: https://www.afpc.org/uploads/documents/Defense_Technology_Briefing_-_Issue_19.pdf https://thediplomat.com/2020/04/to-hold-china-accountable-for-delayed-covid-19-action-target-the-great-firewall/ https://www.newsweek.com/what-china-hong-kong-opinion-1511063 https://thehill.com/opinion/international/502875-pompeo-bet-against-china-and-covid-19-may-prove-him-right
23 minutes | a year ago
Episode #50: Hong Kong’s Democracy Faces Its “Worst-Case Scenario” (Olivia Enos)
This week the Chinese Communist Party approved a decision to “establish and enhance the legal framework and enforcement mechanisms for national security” in Hong Kong. In response, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo certified that Hong Kong is no longer autonomous from China so no longer warrants special treatment from the US. Olivia Enos, a senior policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center, spoke with Mark Melton about what this development means for Hong Kong’s democracy. She also analyzes how this will affect US-China relations, what Hong Kongers will likely do next, what this means for Taiwan, how the US should respond, and more. She also explains why she and others have called this predicament Hong Kong’s “worst case scenario.”
69 minutes | a year ago
Episode # 49: When Religion and Populism Mix (Tobias Cremer)
Tobias Cremer, a PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge, speaks with Mark Melton about the role religion plays in populist movements in Germany, France, and the United States. They discuss how populists on the streets of Dresden carried oversized crosses, but when asked the vast majority of protestors self-identified as agnostic or atheist. Instead of believing in the basic Christian tenets as American evangelicals would understand them, most European populists cling to a cultural Christian identity without believing the theology. According to Cremer’s research based on numerous interviews, the populists claim they and their society are Christian because they have a church in their town instead of a mosque, not because they attend church; they are Christian because they are not Muslim. In contrast, he found most Christians in Germany and France who practice the faith regularly shun the populist parties, and attending church was a strong indicator against supporting parties like the Alternative für Deutschland (Alternative for Germany, or AFD) or Rassemblement national (National Rally, formally known as the National Front). Cremer and Melton further discuss how evangelicals’ support for Donald Trump is different, how the two-party system in the United States creates a different outcome when religion and populism mix, what happens to believing Christians in European populist movements, why and how those European movements support Israel and left-wing causes, how the movements react to Islam, and why American and European churches are different.
36 minutes | a year ago
Episode #48: Religious Persecution against Christians Globally (David Curry)
Earlier this year David Curry, CEO and president of Open Doors USA, spoke about persecution against Christians globally and his organization's annual report, the World Watch List. For more information about the report, visit https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/world-watch-list/ And for more information about Providence, please visit https://providencemag.com/
39 minutes | a year ago
Episode #47: The Resurgence of Nationalism (Rich Lowry)
Assistant Editor Grayson Logue interviews Rich Lowry, Editor in Chief of National Review and author of "The Case for Nationalism." They discuss the history of nationalism and its resurgence in the modern-day as well as President Trump's strike against Iran.
34 minutes | a year ago
Episode #46: On the Scene in Hong Kong (Travis Wussow)
Managing Editor Drew Griffin interviews Travis Wussow (VP of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission) from the front lines of the democracy protests in Hong Kong. They discuss the stand-off at Polytechnic University and role of Christians amidst the political chaos in China.
40 minutes | 2 years ago
Episode #45: China and the Great Network Power (Emily de La Bruyere & Nate Picarsic)
Managing Editor Drew Griffin interviews Emily de La Bruyere and Nate Picarsic, Founders of Radar Lock Research, as they discuss their recent article on the growing threat of Chinese power and the strategy behind China’s economic and political drive for cultural influence.
32 minutes | 2 years ago
Episode #44: Chaos for the Kurds Amidst US Withdrawal (Faysal Itani)
Managing Editor Drew Griffin interviews Faysal Itani of the Atlantic Council on the US withdrawal from Syria, the identity of the Kurds, the prospects for ISIS and the religious minorities in the region.
37 minutes | 2 years ago
Episode #43: Is Civility Dead in America?(Paul Miller)
Managing Editor Drew Griffin sits down with Prof. Paul Miller to discuss the lack of civility in American politics, the rise of nationalism, and his recently published report on Faith and Healthy Democracy.
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