Need to Know

By Wilson Center

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The Need To Know podcast is a production of the Office of Congressional Relations at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Each episode we will bring our nonpartisan research to life through interviews with experts and practitioners covering the world. Our goal is to bring the best independent research, open dialogue and actionable ideas to congressional staff, policy makers, and anyone else who needs to know.

Episode Date
Relationships and Rivalries - China vs. India?

China and India. Two massive neighbors, with big problems growing between them. Asia Program associates Michael Kugelman and Lucas Meyers help us sort it out and see what could be on the horizon for US foreign policy should the region become a hotspot.

Nov 11, 2021
Relationships and Rivalries - Does North Korea Listen to China?

We've heard for years that China has leverage over North Korea. But do they? and if they do, how much, and does that align with US strategy? Robert Daly and Sue Terry discuss.

Nov 08, 2021
Relationships and Rivalries - Is the Way To China Through Europe?

You know China, and you know the European Union. But do you know their relationship? And how could it affect US Foreign policy? Wilson Fellow Nicola Casarini talks with us about this complicated relationship and where we could see it impact us in the future.

Nov 04, 2021
Relationships and Rivalries - Mexico Leans Left?

The first in a new series from the Need To Know Podcast - "Relationships and Rivalries."  In this series, we'll take a look at how other countries relate to one another - and where the hotspots could be if the US becomes involved in a region.  In this episode, we dive into the relationships that Mexico has with leftist leaning governments such as Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua. 

Oct 29, 2021
Special Episode - A Conversation with Colombian President Iván Duque

Latin American Program Director Dr. Cindy Arnson and Ambassador Mark Green hear from Colombian President Iván Duque and have a conversation with him about the challenges in South America and in dealing with migrants from Venezuela.

Sep 22, 2021
Special Event Episode - The Abraham Accords One Year Later

In this special event episode, we drop in on a discussion with the Ambassadors from the Abraham Accords signatory countries for their perspective, one year later. Hosted by Ambassador James Jeffrey, the event also includes a message from Ambassador Gilad Erdan, Israel's Ambassador to the U.S. and United Nations.

Sep 20, 2021
Techno-Totalitarianism? China's Cultural Crackdown

China's recent crackdown on many things cultural rang some alarm bells. But what does it mean in practice? And what should US policymakers think about it? We talk to China experts Aynne Kokas and Robert Daly to understand.

Sep 15, 2021
Turkey Strikes Yazidis in Iraq... Again

Amy Austin Holmes has been tracking attacks that Turkey has been making against Kurdish and Yazidi regions in Iraq and Syria for quite some time. And with so much going on in the world, many may have missed the fact that Turkey has struck again, this time killing a popular Yazidi leader within Iraqi territory.

Check out some of Amy's work on this issue here:

Sep 09, 2021
Special Episode - Implications of the Afghanistan Withdrawal for South Asia

The withdrawal of U.S. and coalition forces from Afghanistan, the rapid deterioration of the Afghan government and military, and the return of the Taliban will have profound implications for the future of South Asia.

Check out our “Afghanistan: Hindsight Up Front” initiative as we discuss the future of the region with leading journalists, former diplomats, and thought leaders from India and Pakistan.

Aug 27, 2021
Top 10 Traits of a Good Congressional Staffer

Bringing back our former congressional staffer round table with Monica Pham and Natalee Binkholder to discuss the top ten things that are common in good staffers. Take a listen. If you are on the Hill, maybe you can find some ways to grow professionally, and if you want to work on the Hill, this is a good start to know what you have to do. Happy August everyone!

Aug 20, 2021
Special Episode - Ambassador Mark Green in Conversation with H.R. McMaster on Afghanistan

This event is a part of our series, Hindsight Up Front, examining the United States' withdrawal from Afghanistan.  Search for "Wilson Center Special Events" or go to our Apple Podcasts page to find more! 

Aug 12, 2021
Special Episode - Ambassador Mark Green In Conversation with Gen. David Patreus and John Scarlett Hindsight Up Front

This event is a part of our series, Hindsight Up Front, examining the United States' withdrawal from Afghanistan.  Search for "Wilson Center Special Events" or go to our Apple Podcasts page to find more! 

Aug 12, 2021
You Really Ought to Know More About Canada

They're right on our northern border, they have close ties, a lot of trade, a lot of love, so you really need to know more about Canada. That is why we started the Canusa Street podcast! And here with me today are hosts Scotty Greenwood and Chris Sands.

Aug 09, 2021
Nicaragua's Election Quagmire

Nicaragua's president has jailed the opposition ahead of the presidential election in a bid to stay in power. Global Fellow Eric Olson takes us through the situation, and what it means for US interests (and dollars) in the region.

Jul 22, 2021
Afghanistan Withdrawal Continues Apace

We catch up with resident Afghanistan expert Michael Kugelman, hearkening back to our last Afghanistan episode in May.  We evaluate his predictions, and how he sees things going as US troops continue to pull out of the region.

Jul 16, 2021
Lumbering Towards Disaster? Lumber Prices, Canada and Supply Chains

If you've gone shopping for lumber lately, you know. Prices are sky high. But why? Of course we know the pandemic has affected supply chains, but with lumber, there is more going on. Canada Institute Director Chris Sands helps us understand the complexities of the lumber market and the interplay with our northern neighbors.

Jun 11, 2021
The Time Is Now: John Cena and China Reaction

Media Studies expert, China watcher, and friend of the Need to Know Podcast, Aynne Kokas comes back to talk about John Cena's faux pas regarding China and Taiwan - and why western celebrities always seem quick to apologize for such things.

Also see Aynne's recent congressional testimony here:

May 27, 2021
Long Time Gone - Discussing the Afghanistan Withdrawal

After 20 years, the United States will be withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. Our resident South Asia expert Michael Kugelman walks us through the hurdles and challenges we will have to watch out for in the foreseeable future. Plus, a quick look at the COVID-19 resurgence in India.

May 07, 2021
Weaving Noise: Xinjiang, China and the World

Kissinger Institute experts Rui Zhong and Bradley Jardine stop in to discuss Xinjiang and the challenge this particular human rights issue poses for policymakers.

Apr 30, 2021
High Stakes Deepfakes

Public Policy Fellow Dr. Melissa Griffith helps us go beyond the headlines and the jargon to understand the technology that produces deepfakes, how it is used for good and bad, and what policy options exist in the public and private sectors to address the challenges of this rapidly evolving technology.

Apr 28, 2021
Broken Politics? A Conversation with Former Hill Staffers

A new roundtable features Monica Pham and Natalee Binkholder, two former hill staffers who helps us go inside the hallowed halls in search of bipartisanship hiding in plain sight.

Apr 21, 2021
A New Surge At The Southern Border

With a new surge of migrants at the southern border, we have the opportunity to introduce our new Mexico Institute director, Andrew Rudman. 

Also check out this recent Mexico Institute report on sustainable migration policy

Mar 26, 2021
The Tales of a Master Negotiator

Public Policy Scholar and author Diana Villiers Negroponte joins us to discuss her new book about how one administration navigated domestic and foreign challenges to usher in a new world and end the Cold War.

Mar 05, 2021
Military Rule Returns to Myanmar

The military has taken power in Myanmar.  What does this mean for democracy in the country and for minorities?  Prashanth Parameswaran and Lucas Myers from the Wilson Center's Asia Program help us ground truth.

Feb 12, 2021
Tried Plan C - What's Plan D? The Navalny Phenomenon inside and outside Russia

Poisoning his underwear was Plan C in dealing with Alexei Navalny. So what's next for how Putin deals with a leading opposition figure in Russia? Yuval Weber joins us to explain the Navalny agenda and it's true impact inside Russia.

Feb 09, 2021
A Russia Roundtable

Nonpartisan information on Russia is hard to find.  But we have it here with four of our best scholars on Russia letting us know what to watch for with Russia in a new year and new administration, but also how US policymakers should frame their thinking on Russia.

Feb 01, 2021
Who's Impeachin' Who - A Dose of History from Brenda Wineapple

Brenda Wineapple, author of "The Impeachers: The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of A Just Nation," comes by to talk about the first presidential impeachment, and why we should care about it 153 years and four more impeachments later.

Jan 28, 2021
The View from History with John Ferling

Historian and author John Ferling helps us understand other hyperpartisan eras in American politics, particularly the 1790s.  We discuss the election of 1800 and its parallels with today, and how we've been through tough politics before.

Jan 15, 2021
Jane Harman on Reconciliation For The Future

To start the new year, Wilson Center CEO, Former Congresswoman Jane Harman joins us to discuss the protests and riots at the Capitol on January 6th, including a possibility for the parties to reconcile, and the state of the intelligence community leading up to that day.

Jan 15, 2021
The Free Fire Zone in Cyberspace Part 2

Tom Kellermann of VMware was prescient in our last episode, suggesting there was more going on than we then knew about cyber intrusion into corporate and government networks. Now we know more, so we thought we'd have him back -- and we answer some of your questions too!

Dec 22, 2020
The Free Fire Zone In Cyberspace

Tom Kellermann, the Head of Cybersecurity Strategy at VMware Inc, and Wilson Center Global Fellow stops by to talk about the continuing escalation of attacks in cyberspace, and recommendations for the next administration and Congress for what can be done to combat a "new cold war that is going on in cyberspace."

Dec 11, 2020
How to Distribute 7 Billion Vaccines

Global Health Policy watcher Alex Long joins me again to discuss the progress being made on a COVID-19 vaccine but also how in the world do you distribute 7 billion of them?  Policy and Practice come together here on the Need To Know podcast.

Dec 02, 2020
The RCEP Deal - Is China Writing the Rules Now?

The recently announced Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement brings together a trade bloc of Asian nations.  But what is it exactly?  Is it significant?  And what is its relevance to US relations in the region? Experts Shihoko Goto and Robert Daly help us understand.

Nov 20, 2020
50 Ways to Leave Afghanistan

Over the last 20 years we have heard a lot of plans to take American and coalition troops out of Afghanistan.  The most recent announcement to bring more home prior to the next administration entering office is just the latest.  Asia expert Michael Kugelman comes back to help us sort out the domestic and foreign policy situation to help us get what we need to know.

Nov 18, 2020
Africa and the COVID-19 Challenge

A few months ago, we heard a lot of concern about how COVID-19 was going to affect Africa when it arrived there.  But many of the assumptions that were held about the continent have failed to play out.  Africa Program director Monde Muyangwa walks us through why that is, assessing the positives and negatives of COVID response among African nations.

Oct 29, 2020
Europe - Why Should We Care?

It has its ups and downs, but on the whole when the US looks at Europe, we see general stability and a lot of democracy, and a lot of allies.  But Dan Hamilton is here to remind us why Europe matters and why policymakers should not forget about the continent, and why Americans need Europe.

Sep 30, 2020
So What'd I Miss? The Post-Summer Catch Up Show

Ah, summer. we hardly knew ye. And yet here we are and it's already September. Policymakers are gearing up for a busy Autumn, so this episode gets us up to speed on some things we may have missed in the foreign policy world over the summer . We cover, the UAE/Israel deal, North Korea, the resignation of the Japanese Prime Minister, protests in Belarus, the poisoning of a Russian opposition leader and the administration's rhetoric and maneuvers on China in the run up to the election. Time to get up to speed!

Sep 08, 2020
Book Chat: US Strategy in the Asian Century

Abraham Denmark comes aboard the Need To Know book chat crew, to discuss his new book "US Strategy in the Asian Century," in which he discusses our competition with Asia - not just with China - and how we can empower allies and benefit from the rise of Asia.  An engaging discussion and a good book to check out for your summer reading.

Aug 18, 2020
An Explosion in Lebanon - The Port and Politics

A new guest joins me today.  Merissa Khurma of the Wilson Center's Middle East Program comes on the show to discuss the situation in Lebanon.  Political unrest has been growing for some time and the economy sank.  Then the novel coronavirus placed more pressure on the system.  Now an explosion at the port in Beirut may place the country's political situation at a tipping point.  Here's what you need to know.

Aug 14, 2020
The Clock is Ticking for TikTok

The clock is ticking on TikTok and WeChat. With executive orders to restrict access in the US, legislation to bar the apps from government devices, and a general unease, Rui Zhong comes back to explain why these platforms have drawn ire.

Aug 11, 2020
How To Lose the Information War - Book chat with Nina Jankowicz

Nina Jankowicz comes back to discuss her new book "How To Lose the Information War." It's a fun discussion about human nature, regulation, great powers, we even throw a little Shakespeare in there. Something to add to your summer reading list!

Jul 21, 2020
AMLO Visits the US, So Mexico Experts Visit Us

Duncan Wood and Chris Wilson come back to help us understand how a dip in the Mexican economy can affect USMCA implementation and how a visit from the Mexican President to the US plays politically in Mexico.  Interesting stuff. 

This presentation and interview are taken from a briefing we conducted over zoom last week.  So references to a visit "next week" refer to this week of July 5th.

Jul 07, 2020
Deadly Companions - Pandemics Changing History

We are living through a historic moment.  In this episode, I talk with author Dorothy Crawford, who wrote an excellent book called "Deadly Companions: How Microbes Have Shaped Our History."  She does an amazing job at providing a historical context to how pandemics shape human actions and civilization.  I highly recommend taking a look at her book, where she predicted this current pandemic as being a coronavirus related to the SARS outbreak in the 2000s. 

Jul 02, 2020
All About the Relationships: The China India Border Dispute

Asia Program Deputy Director Michael Kugelman explains the border dispute between China and India, which leads to an explanation of the complex web of relationships in the South Asia region.  There's so much more to understand about these relationships, we hope to dive more into that soon.

Jun 19, 2020
50th Episode!

It has been one year since we started this show, and this is the 50th episode. It's a big moment, and comes at a big moment in history. So in this episode, we go back to the guests of our most popular episodes and take a look back and a look forward. Matt Rojansky joins me to talk about Russia, Aynne Kokas and Robert Daly discuss China, and Mike Sfraga talks about the Arctic. Fun for everyone!

Jun 04, 2020
To Reopen or Not to Reopen: That is the Border Question

Wilson Center Canada Institute Director Christopher Sands has a project looking at how states, provinces and local jurisdictions on both sides of the northern border are approaching reopening their economies. And this begs the larger question of how reopening the international border will take place. It takes two to tango when dealing with opening a border. How are the US and Canada approaching this question?

May 27, 2020
Imagine Renegotiating All Your Trade Deals Right Now

What if you had to renegotiate all of your trade deals right now with everything go on in the global economy. Well, that's exactly what the UK has to do after Brexit. It has embarked on new trade negotiations with the EU and the US, all while trying to navigate the perils of the Corona Economy. Trade expert and Wilson Global Fellow Michelle Egan joins me to show how the UK is handling this and what to look for next.

May 21, 2020
What COVID Responses and Economic Recovery Looks Like in Asia

Shihoko Goto, of the Wilson Center's Asia Program gives us an economic look at Asia, both in its recovery attempts in dealing with being the leading edge of the coronavirus impact - and the first on the other side of the bell curve - to what is on the horizon.

May 08, 2020
COVID Economics in Latin America

Continuing our look at economics in a time of global pandemics, I talk with Benjamin Gedan of the Latin American Program at the Wilson Center to see what Latin America is doing in this crisis, and the prospects for recovery. 

May 08, 2020
Here's Looking At EU - How Europe Recovers from COVID-19

Scott Cullinane, Executive Director at the US-Europe Alliance and alumni of the Wilson Foreign Policy Fellowship Program talks with me about European Union response to coronavirus, and what the challenges posed for an economic recovery on the continent.

May 06, 2020
Where in the World Is KJU - Possibilites and Meanings with Abe Denmark

If you like what you hear, could you leave us a review?  Wilson Center Asia Program Director, Abraham Denmark joined us on a webinar briefing for congressional staff recently to explain where Kim Jong Un could possibly be and why, the small matter of succession in an authoritarian monarchy, and what it means for the future.  This edited version of that briefing features questions submitted to us from congressional staff.

May 01, 2020
They Were Supposed to Party Like It Was 1999... AND 1945

May 9th in Russia, is like the US' Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day rolled into one. Celebrating the end of WWII is a big deal every year. This year is the 75th anniversary, so it was supposed to be even bigger. To top it off Vladimir Putin weaved a complex constitutional change and plebiscite to extend his rule in office to correspond with the great patriotic celebration. Yuval Weber explains historical memory in Russia, and now that Coronavirus changes the celebration, what happens now?

Apr 28, 2020
Chained to Our Neighbors - How North American Supply Chains are Holding Up

After an introduction from my kids, Duncan Wood and Chris Wilson from the Wilson Center Mexico Institute, and our brand new Canada Institute Director, Chris Sands, join me to discuss how our supply chain is holding up in North America, and what we are learning from the current COVID-19 crisis. 

Apr 23, 2020
Watch Out For The Doom Scroll - COVID Disinformation in Europe and Asia

Two of our previous guests come together to talk to us about disinformation in general, and specific to COVID-19 in Europe and Asia. Nina Jankowicz, Disinformation Fellow with the Wilson Center's Science and Technology Innovation Program, and Rui Zhong, an Associate with the Wilson Center's Kissinger Institute take a look at what's out there and its effects on response and recovery.

Apr 17, 2020
Where Do You Plan To Be In 15 Years? Putin's Answer: Right Here.

2036 seems like a long way off. That must be why it was chosen as the end date for the next term of the Putin presidency -- if proposed constitutional changes go through -- which everyone believes they will. There is a pesky global pandemic that is slowing things down, but by all accounts, it looks like Putin will have his way. Why is Vladimir Putin such an enduring fixture of the Russian state? Could it survive without him? And what do people think of the plebiscite he has called for on these changes? Kennan Institute experts Matt Rojansky and Will Pomeranz join me to discuss.

Apr 06, 2020
"The Hacker and the State," or "We're Not Talking About Coronavirus"

Ben Buchanan, author of "The Hacker and the State" joins me to discuss his book and waiting for "the big one" in cyber. In short, we are not talking about coronavirus -- just your normal everyday other issues that could bring down the world.

Mar 31, 2020
The Viral Episode 2 - Going Beyond the Day To Day

Welcome Back to Need to Know!  It has been a month since our last episode, which was on the coronavirus.  And wow, the world has changed drastically.  Here, we go back to the same three experts we spoke to a month ago, and try to go beyond the everyday news on the virus to what this means more broadly in society and ramifications for the economy and foreign policy.  We hope that everyone is staying healthy... and distanced!

Mar 26, 2020
The Viral Episode - Coronavirus from the public health, regional, and economic levels

I'm joined by three experts today. Alex Long, who walks us through the public health perspective of understanding coronavirus, its implications for global health and security -- Rui Zhong, who explains some of the societal dynamics in China that we have seen from this outbreak -- And Shihoko Goto, who deftly explains how this is affecting the global economy and what it may mean for the future. This is a can't miss episode and the most comprehensive look you will find to understand the various angles of this global threat.

Feb 28, 2020
Imagine Being Ukraine Right Now

Disinformation Fellow Nina Jankowicz joins me to discuss what has been the impact of so many international incidents on the national psyche of Ukraine. And in a Need to Know first, we have questions submitted to our expert by congressional staff!

If you have questions you'd like answered on the podcast, email us at

Feb 20, 2020
Juan Guaidó in the House!

Latin America Program Fellow Michael Penfold joins the Need to Know podcast to discuss the appearance of Juan Guaidó at the State of the Union, and what that means for the situation in Venezuela.

Feb 11, 2020
Trading Views: Bonus History Episode

You know you love trade history. This is a quick download on the history of US trade policy to give us a better understanding of how we arrived at NAFTA and then on to the USMCA. 200 years of history in 20 minutes. You can't beat that!

Jan 23, 2020
Trading Views: Going From NAFTA To USMCA

NAFTA -- the FTA that everyone loves to hate. And now, we are fast progressing towards USMCA. Here we talk to our Wilson Center experts about where NAFTA came up short, and how the USMCA addresses those issues.

Jan 23, 2020
Trading Views: A Growing Industry

Phase one is underway! And one of the central tenants is for China to increase its purchasing of agricultural products. In this episode we chat with a couple of farmers in Nebraska to get their sense of where this is going, and their thoughts on the trade war thus far.

Jan 21, 2020
Trading Views: Set Phasers to One!

In this second episode of our Trading Views series, we talk to three of the Wilson Center's top Asia experts to understand what phase one of a trade deal with China means.

Jan 09, 2020
Trading Views: On the Front Lines of a Trade War

A new series from Need to Know -- Trading Views -- where we will look at the changes in trade policy seen in the last few years.  With the signing of a phase one trade deal happening imminently, we're taking a look at how tariffs have affected businesses.  To do that we're on location in Morristown, Tennessee, to talk to Rusty Smith of Forenta, and Roger Porter of Porter's Tire. 

Jan 06, 2020
Gaming out the UK Election

Michelle Egan comes back to the Wilson Center studio to break down the results of the election in the UK, and what that means for the US going forward.

Dec 17, 2019
Elections in Hong Kong and What They Mean for Protests

Robert Daly joins us again to discuss the elections that took place in Hong Kong and the reality that they carry on the ground.  Plus, how US actions on the situation could affect trade negotiations with China.

Nov 26, 2019
Anders Beal on the Real Deal with Latin America's Protests

Latin America has experienced a wave of protests this spring. Remember, it's spring in the southern hemisphere. Latin American Program Associate Anders Beal walks us through the unfolding situations in the region.

Nov 22, 2019
The Tapestry of Syria - Part 1

Syria presents a tapestry of challenges to policymakers. Wilson Scholar Amy Austin Holmes joins us in part one of a two part conversation about Syria, Turkey, Russia, the Kurds, and the United States.

Nov 08, 2019
The Tapestry of Syria - Part 2

Syria presents a tapestry of challenges to policymakers. Wilson Scholar Amy Austin Holmes joins us in part two of a two part conversation about Syria, Turkey, Russia, the Kurds, and the United States. So if you haven't already listened to part one, you may want to hit that one first.

Nov 08, 2019
South Pacific Breezes Blowing - Why Pacific Island Nations Are Looking to DC

Forget buying Greenland, the largest island in the world.  China wants to lease Tulagi.  Never heard of it?  Well, after this episode you will.  Abraham Denmark walks us through diplomatic moves being made by Pacific Island nations and why the US relationship with these countries is strategically important.

Nov 05, 2019
What President Trump Gets Right About Mexico

We have heard a lot of opinions of how President Trump has dealt with immigration, the border, and foreign policy. But in explaining a new piece he has written, Duncan Wood, Director of the Wilson Center's Mexico Institute, provides us with some interesting insight into what President Trump has gotten right on the US/Mexico relationship.

Oct 31, 2019
Russia and China, Sitting in a Tree?

China and Russia.  So many differences, but yet so much in common.  Stacy Closson joins us to sort through the venn diagram of issues that are in the China/Russia relationship.  And what that means for the US and the world in the future.

Oct 22, 2019
Halloween is Coming! Is Brexit?

American University Professor and Wilson Center Scholar Michelle Egan helps us understand Brexit, whether it will happen or not.  This is a great catch up if you haven't followed the day to day back and forth of this international challenge, and great for understanding what comes next.  Also, a wonderful thank you to The Right Honourable John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, for providing years worth of colorful clips of him bringing a raucous House to order.  He has announced that he will stand down on October 31st of this year, so enjoy his witty retorts while you can!

Oct 11, 2019
Is China Dictating What We See On TV?

Aynne Kokas is back!  You see, she was studying China's censorship of American media since before it was cool.  And this week, with situations between China and the NBA and South Park hitting the news, it's definitely cool.  Take a listen to her previous episode with us if you haven't already, and listen to our episodes with Robert Daly filling in context on the Hong Kong protests.

Oct 08, 2019
Quicktake! The Politics of a Definite Article

In this Quicktake episode, Morgan Jacobs of the Kennan Institute and host of "Kennan Xplainer" on Youtube, helps us understand Ukraine vs. THE Ukraine.  Interesting etymology ahead!

Oct 01, 2019
It's Meg King... or Maybe It's a Deepfake

Deepfake videos have gone beyond the realm of comedic relief and interesting technological innovation.  Now things are getting serious.  Meg King, the director of the Science and Technology Innovation Program at the Wilson Center spends her time thinking about the challenges posed by this advancing technology, and gives us a heads up on what to watch out for.

Sep 24, 2019
Black Smoke On The Horizon - Will Attacks on Oil Facilities in Saudi Arabia Spark a Conflagration?

48 hours after oil facilities were attacked in Saudi Arabia, Middle East Specialist David Ottaway thinks the next 48 hours are crucial for the world.  He walks us through what happened, and what we don't know yet, and how all of this could turn into a much larger power play in the Middle East.  Get what you Need to Know, right here.

Sep 16, 2019
Taliban Talks Collapse... Now What?

Michael Kugelman comes back to discuss the collapse of talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan, giving us an overview of what the talks had centered on until now, and a view from the region on where they were heading and where they may go now.

Sep 10, 2019
Smoke on the Amazon - The Politics of Wildfires in Brazil

Seven thousand square miles of the Amazon rain forest are on fire. Anna Prusa of the Brazil Institute at the Wilson Center, helps dissect the policy implications of this event, and helps analyze the Brazilian politics that are entangled in the issue.

Sep 10, 2019
Negotiations and Love Notes - Where Do The North Korea Nuclear Talks Stand?

Jean Lee, Director of the Hyundai Motor-Korea Foundation Center for Korean History and Public Policy, walks us through where talks between President Trump and Chairman Kim stand today.  And she gives us some insight into the tactics of the North Koreans and a peek into the horizon.  To understand North Korea, there is no one better to hear from than Jean Lee.

Sep 05, 2019
Pining for the Fjords of Greenland - Following Up on the Arctic

A few weeks ago in the episode "Foreign Policy on Top Of The World," I asked Polar Institute Director Mike Sfraga what we needed to look for out on the horizon.  He said "Greenland."  Now Greenland has emerged, and we revisit this territory of Denmark with a deeper look at its significance, both in recent news and in Arctic geopolitical strategy.


Aug 21, 2019
An Update on the Hong Kong Protests

While DC has gone quiet for August, things are heating up in the streets of Hong Kong. For an update, we join back up with Robert Daly of the Wilson Center's Kissinger Institute.

Aug 12, 2019
What's the environment like on a silk road?

Jennifer Turner directs the Wilson Center's China Environment Forum.  And to kick off celebrations of her upcoming 20th Anniversary at the Center, she sat down with me to talk about China's environmental policy and how that may affect the United States.  We discuss China's clean energy initiatives, not so clean initiatives, Belt and Road, and recycling. 

Aug 12, 2019
Argentina... and "Peak Podcast"

Latin America Program Senior Advisor and fellow podcast host Benjamin Gedan joins me for a discussion on Argentina and whether or not we have hit "peak podcast" as discussed in the New York Times recently.  If you don't know about Argentina and why you should be interested, listen here and then join Ben for the Argentina Project Podcast for more in depth discussions!

Aug 01, 2019
Ground Truth on the Iran Nuclear Program

Nuclear non-proliferation expert and Senior Vice President of the Wilson Center, Robert Litwak discusses where Iran's nuclear program now stands, and their recent moves regarding the JCPOA and uranium enrichment.

Jul 23, 2019
Quicktake! What Just Happened in the House?

Talking to our resident House rules expert, Don Wolfensberger, about the confusing incident in the House of Representatives on July 16th, in which a Speaker was called out, a Speaker Pro Tempore abandoned the Chair, and historic words were spoken.  Don's wealth of experience serving on the staff of the Rules Committee make him the perfect podcast guest for this subject!

Jul 17, 2019
Remember: It's Colombia, Not Columbia

Today we talk to Dr. Cynthia Arnson, the director of the Latin America Program at the Wilson Center.  She is a well respected scholar and commentator on all things Latin America, but particularly Colombia.  In this episode we take a look at some of the challenges facing Colombia, and how it affects US policy in the region.

Jul 16, 2019
Foreign Policy On Top Of The World

Director of the Wilson Center's Polar Initiative, Mike Sfraga sits down to chat about the Arctic.  We'll cover challenges with policy in the region, cooperation, and the things we need to know to be smart when thinking about it.

Jul 09, 2019
Taking a Look at India

Michael Kugelman joins us this episode to give us some insight into the US relationship with India, recent elections in the country and what we might see coming in the future.

Jun 24, 2019
Understanding the Hong Kong Protests

In this episode, we sit down with Robert Daly, who is the director of the Kissinger Institute at the Wilson Center. He enlightens us on the protests in Hong Kong -- how we got to this point and where we are going.

Jun 20, 2019
Is China Dictating What We See At The Movies?

This week I sit down with Aynne Kokas, assistant professor of media studies at the University of Virginia and author of "Hollywood Made In China." Aynne discusses her research into the subtle ways in which Chinese investment in Hollywood film making has influenced what we see at the box office.

May 15, 2019
Understanding the US/Russia Relationship

In our inaugural episode of the Need to Know podcast, I am joined by Matt Rojansky, the director of the Wilson Center's Kennan Institute. On a topic that is fraught with political upheaval, Matt gives us the breakdown of where we stand in US/Russia relations and where it goes from here. It's hard to find nonpartisan information on Russia nowadays, so take a listen and subscribe!

May 15, 2019