Africa’s Reaction to the Russian Invasion of Ukraine, With Ebenezer Obadare

Ebenezer Obadare, Douglas Dillon senior fellow for Africa studies at CFR, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss how African countries are responding to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

April 26, 2022 — 30:30 min
Play Button Pause Button
0:00 0:00

Host

James M. Lindsay

Senior Vice President, Director of Studies, and Maurice R. Greenberg Chair Full Bio

Episode Guests

Ebenezer Obadare

Douglas Dillon Senior Fellow for Africa Studies

Show Notes

Ebenezer Obadare, Douglas Dillon senior fellow for Africa studies at CFR, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss how African countries are responding to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

 

Articles Mentioned on the Podcast

 

Ebenezer Obadare, “Analyzing the Russia-Ukraine Conflict from an African Standpoint,” CFR.org, March 3, 2022

 

Ebenezer Obadare, “Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine May Drive a Wedge Between the West and Africa,” CFR.org, March 22, 2022

 

Blogs & Books Mentioned

 

Ebenezer Obadare, Africa in Transition, CFR.org

 

Ebenezer Obadare, Christianity, Sexuality and Citizenship in Africa (2019)

Close

Transcript

Jim Lindsay:

Welcome to The President's Inbox, a CFR podcast about the foreign policy challenges facing the United States. I'm Jim Lindsay, Director of Studies, at the Council on Foreign Relations. This week's topic is Africa's reaction to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Jim Lindsay:

With me to discuss how Africa's responding to the Russian invasion is Ebenezer Obadare. Ebenezer is the Douglas Dylan's senior fellow for Africa studies at the Council. He's the author and editor of numerous books. Most recently, Christianity, Sexuality and Citizenship in Africa. His forthcoming book, due out in September is Pastoral Power, Clerical State, Pentecostalism, Gender and Sexuality in Nigeria. He blogs regularly on the African transition blog available on cfr.org. He's had two pieces recently on Africa's reaction to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. One entitled, Analyzing the Russia-Ukraine Conflict from an African Standpoint and the other, Russia's Invasion of Ukraine May Drive A Wedge Between the West and Africa. Ebenezer, thanks for joining me.

Ebenezer Obadare:

Thank you, Jim.

Jim Lindsay:

Ebenezer, I'd like to begin with just having you give us an overview of how countries in Africa have reacted to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Ebenezer Obadare:

Thank you. That's an interesting question. So, the overall reaction has been quite a surprise to many people in the sense that whereas many people expected African countries to jump on the Western bandwagon to condemn Russia and to pitch their tent with the United States and its Western allies, things have not exactly lined up in that way. Several countries voted to abstain from the UN resolution condemning Russia. More than eight countries decided not to vote at all. A few countries voted for, Eritrea at least voted for Russia. So there's been a lot of surprise because things haven't exactly aligned with the way that people expected African countries to vote.

Jim Lindsay:

Well, help me explain why that's been the case, Ebenezer, because very early on the Kenyan permanent representative to the United Nations, Martin Kimani gave a very powerful speech denouncing what the Russians had done, pulling no punches in decrying Russian aggression and he forcefully rejected irredentism, expansionism on any basis including racial, ethnic, religious, or cultural factors, but African capitals haven't fallen up on that strong denunciation. Why?

Ebenezer Obadare:

You're absolutely right. Representative Martin Kimani did indeed speak very strongly against irredentism but part of that speech, the more interesting of that speech, is the way he also hedged his bet. The way he said, "Look, we understand that there shouldn't be irredentism, but people should also understand that the borders that African countries inherited from colonialism were imperfect borders." So while Kimani was speaking firmly against irredentism, he was at the same time flagging some of the issues that several African countries have rallied around as their own frustration, with respect to the way they been treated by Western countries in the past.

Jim Lindsay:

Now, as you described that African countries sort of fell into different camps, you had something on the order, I think it was 28 African countries that voted in favor of the March 2022 UN General Assembly Resolution demanding that Russia immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw from Ukraine. You had 17 African countries that abstain, that's about half of the abstentions.

Ebenezer Obadare:

Yes.

Jim Lindsay:

On the measure overall. And there were, I think, eight African countries that didn't bother to vote.

Ebenezer Obadare:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jim Lindsay:

Anything you can tell us about why some countries were in one group versus another? I know you mentioned Eritrea a moment ago. There, clearly it seems to be the case that the leader of Eritrea has close personal ties to Putin.

Ebenezer Obadare:

Yes. So the case of Eritrea is very clear. It'll have been a surprise if Eritrea had voted to condemn Russia. Eritrea has to be you know one of the least democratic states, if not in Africa, probably in the entire world. So it was clear the way Eritrea was going to go.

Jim Lindsay:

Well, I know that every Eritrea joined the company of Belarus, North Korea, Syria, and of course, Russia in voting against the resolution.

Ebenezer Obadare:

And in the case of those countries, right? These are very authoritarian states. So, really no surprise there. And if you look very closely, as well, there really has been no surprise with South Africa, right? South Africa feels that it has an obligation to Russia because of the support that the Soviet Union rendered to the African National Congress during the era of apartheid and it's been consistent. So, again, no surprise. Or with Zimbabwe, which is common that Western sanctions or with Museveni in . Nigeria has been a little bit of a surprise. Many people expected, and Nigeria actually did vote to condemn Russia, but having done that the country has literally fallen into this diplomatic silence. So, in some of those instances, we got what we expected in the case of a country like Nigeria, it's been a little bit of a surprise.

Jim Lindsay:

Well, obviously, you know a lot about Nigeria, Ebenezer. Why do you think it is that the government in Nigeria has been silent on the issue?

Ebenezer Obadare:

It's been a head scratcher for me. So, the foreign minister, even after Nigeria had voted in support, the first time, to condemn Russia was asked by reporters in the country and said, look, look, could you please expand on why despite the vote against Russia, Nigeria has not actually come out strongly, nothing at the level of the kind of speech that Martin Kimani delivered at the United Nations. Something to show that Nigeria is indeed exercising a leadership role on the continent.

Ebenezer Obadare:

And that has been a surprise. And I think that there's a way in which the Nigerian reticence sort of codifies the reticence that you find across the rest of Africa. The perception that, and as I mentioned in the piece I wrote for my blog post, the perception that African countries have been inferiorized by the West, the perception that Western countries rhetoric has not always matched their action and the perception that Western countries expect African countries to sit when they're asked to sit and to stand when they're asked to stand. I think a little bit of that, some of those cross currents have converged in the Nigerian reaction.

Jim Lindsay:

So you're telling me that in Nigeria, in other countries in Africa, they're angry over perceived slight hypocrisy on the West and they're taking it out on Ukraine?

Ebenezer Obadare:

Absolutely. I think there's a little bit of that, a little bit of wanting to rob the nose of the Western needs. And I think it's also important to, while we're at it, think about the context in which the Ukrainian conflict has broken out. Part of what I think is, has been missing from the conversation so far, as far as I'm aware, is the conversation that has been going on within African universities, African think tanks around what is broadly regarded as decolonization. This idea that Western ideas, Western epistemologies, and Western ways of doing things have become regnant and dominant in Africa and that it is about time that space was created for the emergence of what is broadly called Indigenous ways, African ways. Regardless of the merit of that, and we can talk about that later, regardless of the merit of that movement, that upsurge, I think it's important, not to me, that it's part of what I think, philosophically, is driving this reticence that we see on the part of African countries.

Ebenezer Obadare:

So it makes it all the more interesting that over the last five years, African countries have been saying that Africa should be taken more seriously. African agency should be taken more seriously in international diplomatic circles and then you have a war that appears to be, on the surface, a war between two European countries. And it's on the back of that this reticence is coming out where people are saying, you know what? For once let's see them duke it out and not get us involved in it because they've not been listening to us, because in the past, when we've had our own legitimate grievances, the tendency has been for those grievances to be swept under the carpet because Western countries are only interested in themselves, in their own interest.

Jim Lindsay:

I want to get to this question about the consequences for Africa and what it means, but before we get to that topic, just one last question on the reaction here and that is, to what extent is the African reaction, particularly from the countries that have been overtly critical as opposed to silent, on what the West has been done, really been driven by autocrats backing other autocrats and your two blog posts on this, you mentioned the reaction in Uganda, now with the president of Uganda, Mr. Museveni, who has been quite critical. I will also note that he has been in office for three decades now. So how much of this is simply one autocrat scratch another autocrats back?

Ebenezer Obadare:

I think it's a mix of both. So there is the legitimate grievance, which I'm hoping that people would actually pay attention to because not every leader or not every analyst that is bringing those grievances to the table is a charlatan, right? So, that's important. And some of those things I've just tried to articulate, but there is also the, don't interfere in our policy stance of someone like Museveni, which essentially boils down to, I'm going to be dictator for the next 2000 years and then I'm going to handover to my son who is going to rule for another thousand years. So, there's a little bit of political opportunities there. And I think it's important to emphasize that as well.

Jim Lindsay:

How much of it has also been the fact that Russia has been proactively courting leaders in Africa? I note that there has been increased presence of Russian mercenaries, the Wagner group, in various countries in the Sahel. Sort of walk me through that, help me think about the Russian presence in Africa.

Ebenezer Obadare:

That's a very important point. So, for the most part, when we've thought of foreign interference in Africa, especially over the past couple of decades, most of the time we thought of China and for good reason. The China Belt and Road initiative has been one of the most interesting developments. I mean, not just in an African context, but in a global Southern context over the last two decades. But what I think has happened, the more we focus on China is that the less we focus on other actors that have taken an interest in Africa over the last two decades.

Ebenezer Obadare:

And this is not just Russia. India has been quietly exerting influence in Africa over the last 10 years, at least. Turkey is becoming a major player in the horn of Africa and the other part of the continent. So I think the larger point is there is that we've sort of focused most of our attention on China, as we should, but all this while we've allowed Russia to basically fly under the radar. And what Russia has done is to sort of exert an influence in all those countries, almost behind the back of everyone.

Jim Lindsay:

How much of this reaction in Africa that you're seeing, where there's, in some sense, what I guess Germans would call it Schadenfreude, sort of take delight at the misfortunes of the West is embraced by public's across Africa, as opposed to leaders?

Ebenezer Obadare:

That's a great question because it's also one of the most interesting developments on account of this crisis, which is what you might call the, the more or less the divide between the African leaders and the people of Africa. So, one instance I mentioned in one of the two pieces I wrote, is the example of young Nigerians who responded to President Zelenskyy's call, for everybody to come and help. And they went to the Ukraine embassy in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, and they said, "Sign me up. I want to be part of this fight." I think for, for most young, for many of those people, not all of them, by any means, but for many young people, there is the understanding that what is at stake, it's not just a war between two European countries. It's a war between two philosophies of governance. Two governance models.

Ebenezer Obadare:

On the one hand there's the authoritarian model that is symbolized by mister Putin and Russia. And then on the other hand there is the West. And as far as we know, young people, because of the way, especially that they voted with their feet over the last three decades, because of the way they've come to the West, whether you're talking about the United States, Canada or Scandinavian or central, continental Europe, they realize that what is at stake is a quote and unquote clash of civilizations. And for many of those people, they want to vote for the West as opposed to their leaders who, for their own narrow political and economic interest, wants to back Russia. So, that divide between the people and government in Africa, it's a very important element of this conflict.

Jim Lindsay:

Let's talk a little bit about the potential consequences here, and I'm wondering, Ebenezer, in your sense, if you think that African countries by choosing either to sit on the sidelines or to be critical in the West are jeopardizing their longer term interest. And I ask in part, because you mentioned at the beginning that Africa has a stake in legitimizing the principle that borders are sacrosanct, that sovereignty should prevail precisely because many countries are unsatisfied or dissatisfied with the boundaries in borders they inherited from the colonial powers in the sort of implicit agreement across Africa has been, we don't like them, but we'll accept them because the alternative is even worse.

Ebenezer Obadare:

Yeah.

Jim Lindsay:

Aren't they in danger of basically endorsing, even implicitly, a principle they would not want to live with?

Ebenezer Obadare:

Absolutely. There's a piece I just finished where I'm basically making this point, where I'm saying that Africa should be wary of cutting its nose in order to spite its face, and that I see the danger of that happening. And I think one of the disappointing aspect of this is the way in which a country like Nigeria an economic power on the continent has refused of basically a seeded leadership to South Africa in this matter. I think it's important for African countries to be able to hear their grievances against the West, to speak about their own funders wishes to have a reorganized international political order. And to talk about the way in which Western countries have not always followed up on their own moral rhetoric in the past.

Ebenezer Obadare:

These, as I've said earlier, are quite legitimate grievances. As a matter of fact, it's not only African countries that have expressed those grievances, statistician states have, this is something that resonates across the global South, if you listen to, if you have your ears close to the ground, Latin America, you hear the same kind of talk. Having said that, it's important that African countries, I think, also realize that what it would mean to back Russia, because this is not just another fight. This is not just two European countries duking it out. This is one country violating the territory, integrity of another country. And if there is any region in the world that should have a moral stake in that and that should understand the long term consequences of that, it is African countries that have always pleaded legitimately that kind of thing has always been allowed to happen to them.

Ebenezer Obadare:

So my hope is that, in the long run, African countries sort of overcome their reticence for those who are reticent and for those who don't seem to want to show their hands, I think important that they show their hands and they join the West and the United States in what I think is a very clear, moral conflict between two opposing philosophies of governance.

Jim Lindsay:

What about the economic dimension of all of this, Ebenezer? I mean, many people when they approach the analysis of world politics, basically follow the idea of follow the money. They would say who's trading, who's investing on that score. Russia is a relatively minor player on the African continent. I think the level of investment is somewhere around $7 billion on an annual basis. If you look at the West's number six or seven times that, and then of course when you get to issues of official development assistance, the West is far more generous and is invested far more in Africa than Russia has. Are African countries at risk potentially of alienating a main source of economic support?

Ebenezer Obadare:

I think they have, I think even so you can think about the economic consequences of the conflict in at least two ways. One is separating between the immediate economic effect of the crisis from the aftershock of COVID. I think one thing that has sort of fallen through the cracks as we've spoken about, as people are focused on Ukraine, is COVID 19, which devastated African economies and the impact of which for many of those countries we still don't understand.

Ebenezer Obadare:

So that's one thing, but the other thing, as you've said is I think it's also important for African countries to realize that their long time economic interests aligns with Western economic interest, the amount of trade that continues to go on small and medium-scale enterprises between African countries and Western countries far exceeds whatever it is that those countries have with Russia. African countries, especially those that have oil producing countries, continue to have relationships with the United States with European countries. Young people in Africa, they are part of Africa that are now the hub of financial and technological startups, in most of those places, the young people, those at the end of those startups, wants to reach out to Western entities and Western government.

Ebenezer Obadare:

So, I agree with you that long term, the interest of Africa, the economic interest is best served by aligning with the West, as opposed to an alignment with Russia. That at the end of the day, it's still, economically speaking, a minor player on the continent.

Jim Lindsay:

Well, let's talk about how the West should respond to the resentment that many African countries feel. And it is coming to the fore in the debate over how to respond to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Perhaps we should begin with what you think Western countries shouldn't be doing. In one of your recent blog posts, you are quite critical of the speech that the US ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas Greenfield gave. What did she say and why do you think it was tone deaf?

Ebenezer Obadare:

I think it was during the BBC interview with the BBC correspondent and she was asked about the reticence of some African countries. And I think she said, "Well, we're going to have to talk to them because they need to understand, right? They need to understand that there are no neutrals, there can't be neutrals in this fight." And while I understand where the ambassador was coming from, I was making the point I understood there because she came across as peremptory, as imperials, and basically echoing the very sentiment that many African countries have been complaining about. And I think that it's one of the things that the United States and the West needs to think about is the language of communication, right? Understanding that the grievances that some of which have inherited are quite legitimate and bring their best not to fall back into the same hole, in which they find themselves in the past.

Jim Lindsay:

So what would that language sound like? How do you talk about what the West regards rightly, in my view, as the moral imperative to stand up to Russian aggression in a way that doesn't create this sense of hubris and paternalism that you sense or fear?

Ebenezer Obadare:

It could go something like this. This is a very clear moral fight. South Africa, under apartheid, was also a clear, moral fight. We dropped the ball. Many of you are still angry about Libya and Mr. Gadafi. We felt that he was a dictator, but we really should have walked more with regional allies to find a way to get him out of the door. Oh, by the way, it is true that we've not always spoken to you as fully conscious moral agents in the international system. We get that. And from now on, we're going to be doing our best to not do what we've been doing in the past. A word that I think has sort of become gained currency in the United States, in the media over the last five, six years is the word listening and without prejudice to the way different ways in which it's used within the American media.

Ebenezer Obadare:

I think it's one thing that the United States especially, needs to do more of over the comedians. I said that, and this, I think it's a crucial element. I said that and by no means advocating that the West should retreat from its own values, right. I think it's actually more important that the West doubles down on those values. What people want, I think, is just more sincerity. To say, okay, if this rule applies to agent A, it applies equality to agent B and it applies at all times to both agents A and B.

Ebenezer Obadare:

What I think people have perceived in the past is that, and just think about the way the United States reacted when Mobutu was leader in Zaire, which is now Democratic Republic of Congo. It's dictator, but our dictator. People no longer want a situation where the West would when it's interest is affected, say, oh yeah, remember those principles that we were talking about yesterday? They no longer matter. And then tomorrow to say, oh, remember those principles, we are now going to live and die by those principles. I think more moral consistency and a greater transparency, but also greater fidelity to those principles. Because as I said earlier, even if some African leaders like to play havoc with those rules, a majority of people on Africa, especially young people, recognize that those values are salient, that they're universal and they just want greater adherence and fidelity to them.

Jim Lindsay:

I suspect, at least some of the people listening to our conversation, Ebenezer, would be scratching their head, not because of the litany of mistakes or sins, the West committed that you've just recited, but they would say that's only half of the balance sheet. On the other side, Western countries have been incredibly generous, provided a lot of foreign aid, have helped Africa deal with the AIDS epidemic, investing in other global health initiatives. Why doesn't that factor into this conversation?

Ebenezer Obadare:

That's absolutely true. But people would also say we can walk and chew gum at the same time. And this is what I was saying earlier about the piece I just wrote in which I'm basically asking African countries to be careful not to quote their diagnosis in order to spite their faces. Which is that on the one hand, those grievances ought to be tabled and people ought to listen, as I've just said, but at the same time, it's important to keep in mind that the values that the West represent are in the universal values and that on its best day, the West has defended those values very fervently and vehemently if not in Africa, at least in other parts of the world. So I agree with you, it's important as we move along, especially over the next three or four weeks as we enter the most crucial parts of this conflict.

Ebenezer Obadare:

And I'm hoping that the diplomatic onslaught that the West is going to engage in Africa, who at least reference some of what you've just mentioned. That, look, we're not all bad, which is true, right? We've helped build schools, we've helped strengthen the role of law, we've helped promote social justice, we've helped organize elections. All those things are good things. You have immigrants from different parts of Africa who are doing very well in the United States, in Western countries. Your interests are our interests. Our interests are your interests. So I think there is no contradiction in saying both of those things at the same time. Talking about those grievances on the one hand and talking about the very fantastic and absolutely wonderful things that Western countries have done on the other end.

Jim Lindsay:

Let me try a little more on that, Ebenezer, because I think it's a fascinating vein of conversation. And as you look at Africa, do you think there are particular countries the United States should be focused on? The West should be focusing on again, to this point, we've talked about Africa as a continent, but obviously tremendous diversity across the continent. Are there countries that should be a focus of diplomacy because they might lead others or should we not be talking to governments at all but perhaps be talking to people? How do you think about that?

Ebenezer Obadare:

So there, there are two answers to that. One, I'm going to betray my bias by saying that Nigeria is absolutely important.

Jim Lindsay:

Okay. We should declare you are from Nigeria, you are born in Nigeria.

Ebenezer Obadare:

Yes. I'm originally from Nigeria. Yes. But a country of more than 200 million people and economy powerhouse.

Jim Lindsay:

The most populous country in Africa.

Ebenezer Obadare:

Country in Africa with the potential to play the role of economic, political and diplomatic leader. So, absolutely the United States should be talking to Nigeria, but that's on the one hand. But you mentioned something else, which I think is extremely important, that it's not just the states that all the political leaders, that the West should focus on, that's broad sphere called civil society populated by all kinds of community-based organizations, civic associations, the media, different, professional interest groups. That's where the United States should focus more of his attention.

Ebenezer Obadare:

For at least two reasons. As I said, if you really want to measure the temperature, the political temperature in Africa, that's where you go. You don't go to the state. That's where you get your most accurate measurement. That's number one. Number two, that's the engine of democracy, the push to have a fair and transparent system, to have the rule of law respected, to have elections that are sacrosanct, to build prosperous, solid democracies. The push has come from that sphere of society consistently over the last 40, 50 years and long term, I think that's where the United States and indeed other Western countries that's where they should focus their interest.

Jim Lindsay:

How much of that should be done by Western diplomats or official government organizations. And how much of that, Ebenezer, is something that should be conducted by civil society organizations in the West?

Ebenezer Obadare:

I think it should be a mix of both. So one of the things that I think came across very powerfully and the cost of the transition from military rule to democracy, part of the fourth wave in African countries. And I think this is not, we haven't spoken enough about this, is the role that American diplomats played in reaching out to the media and coordinated with civil society groups in different African countries. The United States has done excellent in that regard. It should continue to do more in that regard. So, that's number one. But the other thing is the transnational connections between civil society groups in the United States and civil society groups in Nigeria and other African countries, again, that has been there, it needs to be strengthened and scrutinized for areas of weakness, but we can continue to fight those fights broadly on those two fronts.

Jim Lindsay:

I want to go back to the issue of what government should do at, Ebenezer, and particularly in the context of the consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. There has been a lot of talk about how the invasion is going to have a ripple effect, that it is going to increase food insecurity, in particular, and also help exacerbate the problems that many countries face with their debt loads, particularly in the global South, as you referred to it before, what is it, if anything you think the West should be doing to help African countries prepare for what may be for them, quite a destructive ripple effect from the Russian invasion?

Ebenezer Obadare:

I'm going to surprise you by saying probably as a little as possible. And there's a reason I'm saying that.

Jim Lindsay:

Okay.

Ebenezer Obadare:

There's an opportunity here too. So let's push African countries just a little bit. There's an opportunity here too, for African countries to take advantage of the situation that is unfolding in the aftermath of the Ukraine conflict. Now, African countries have relied on imports from Russia and Ukraine. Weeds, all kinds of produce and all of that. So we get that and the supply is going to slow down or cease completely because of this situation. But 60% of arable land in the world is still currently in Africa. There's tremendous opportunity for African countries to take their own destiny in their own hands. If you can't import wheat from Ukraine anymore, there is plenty of land in Africa for African countries to do their own farming.

Ebenezer Obadare:

So if there is anything at all that I think maybe to return to your question, that the United States or Western countries can assist with, it is helping private entrepreneurs to invest in agriculture in Africa. There is just so much land, so much opportunity in Africa to produce food, not just for African countries, but to feed other parts of the world. For me, that's the direction in which I want to go. I don't want African countries to be saddled with more debts. I don't want African countries to go a boring simply because of the pain they're suffering from the European conflict. I want them to be very realistic, to look very closely at what's going on and say, "Look, we can turn this apparent disadvantage into advantage by taking our destiny into our own hands and making sure that for the long time, we no longer rely on the countries that we've relied on for something as basic as food production."

Jim Lindsay:

Sounds, Ebenezer, like you have a topic or two for your next blog post.

Ebenezer Obadare:

I do. Thank you very much.

Jim Lindsay:

On that note, I'm going to close up the President's Inbox for this week. My guest has been Ebenezer Obadore. Ebenezer is the Douglas Dylan senior fellow for Africa studies here at the Council on Foreign Relations. Ebenezer, it's always a pleasure to chat.

Ebenezer Obadare:

Thank you, Jim. Thank you for having me.

Jim Lindsay:

We're going to have to have you back on. We're going to do a deep dive on Nigeria. Okay?

Ebenezer Obadare:

Okay. Thank you, sir.

Jim Lindsay:

Please subscribe to The President's Inbox and Apple Podcast, Spotify, wherever you listen and leave us your review. They help us get noticed and improve the show. You can find any books and articles mentioned in this episode, as well as a transcript of our conversation on the podcast page for the President's Inbox on cfr.org. As always, opinions expressed in the President's Inbox is solely those of the host or our guests, not of CFR, which takes no institutional positions on manners of policy. Today's episode was produced by Zoe Collis with senior producer, Jeremy Sherlick. Zoe did double duty as our recording engineer as always, Zoe, thank you very much. Special thanks Bob to Margaret Gach for her assistance. This is Jim Lindsey, thanks for listening.

More Episodes

Suzanne Nossel, the Chief Executive Officer of PEN America, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss growing threats around the world to free expression and how th...

Suzanne Nossel, the Chief Executive Officer of PEN America, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss growing threats around the world to free expression and how th...

Read More

Leslie Vinjamuri, the Director of the US and the Americas programme and Dean of the Queen Elizabeth II Academy for Leadership in International Affairs at Chatham Hou...

Leslie Vinjamuri, the Director of the US and the Americas programme and Dean of the Queen Elizabeth II Academy for Leadership in International Affairs at Chatham Hou...

Read More

Max Boot, the Jeane J. Kirkpatrick senior fellow in national security studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and a Washington Post columnist, sits down with Jam...

Max Boot, the Jeane J. Kirkpatrick senior fellow in national security studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and a Washington Post columnist, sits down with Jam...

Read More

Evan Greenberg, chairman and CEO of Chubb, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss growing tensions in U.S.-China economic relations, the importance of trade to t...

Evan Greenberg, chairman and CEO of Chubb, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss growing tensions in U.S.-China economic relations, the importance of trade to t...

Read More

Gernot Wagner, climate economist at Columbia Business School, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss progress in the green energy transition and the risks and be...

Gernot Wagner, climate economist at Columbia Business School, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss progress in the green energy transition and the risks and be...

Read More

Ian Johnson, CFR’s Stephen A. Schwarzman senior fellow for China studies, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss economic, political, and demographic development...

Ian Johnson, CFR’s Stephen A. Schwarzman senior fellow for China studies, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss economic, political, and demographic development...

Read More

Stephen Sestanovich, George F. Kennan senior fellow for Russian and Eurasian studies at CFR and Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis professor of international diplomacy ...

Stephen Sestanovich, George F. Kennan senior fellow for Russian and Eurasian studies at CFR and Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis professor of international diplomacy ...

Read More

James M. Lindsay sits down with Ali Wyne, senior analyst of Global Macro-Geopolitics at Eurasia Group, to discuss great power competition and the growing rivalry bet...

James M. Lindsay sits down with Ali Wyne, senior analyst of Global Macro-Geopolitics at Eurasia Group, to discuss great power competition and the growing rivalry bet...

Read More

James M. Lindsay sits down with Bonnie S. Glaser, director of the Asia Program at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, to discuss House Speaker Nancy Pelos...

James M. Lindsay sits down with Bonnie S. Glaser, director of the Asia Program at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, to discuss House Speaker Nancy Pelos...

Read More

James M. Lindsay sits down with Michael R. Gordon, national security correspondent at the Wall Street Journal, to discuss the U.S. war against ISIS.    ...

James M. Lindsay sits down with Michael R. Gordon, national security correspondent at the Wall Street Journal, to discuss the U.S. war against ISIS.    ...

Read More

Top Stories on CFR

Russia

Russia’s moves to mobilize thousands more troops and to annex more of Ukraine’s territory signal a new, potentially more dangerous phase of the war.

Puerto Rico

The Caribbean island, which shares a close yet fraught relationship with the rest of the United States, faces a multilayered economic and social crisis rooted in long-standing policy and compounded by natural disasters, the COVID-19 pandemic, migration, and government mismanagement.

Censorship and Freedom of Expression

Suzanne Nossel, the Chief Executive Officer of PEN America, sits down with James M. Lindsay to discuss growing threats around the world to free expression and how the fight to protect human rights needs to adapt to succeed in a world of great power competition.