Pod Save the World

A no-bullshit conversation about foreign policy.

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The rise of the European far-right

Tommy talks with Europe expert Dr. Karen Donfried about the German elections and the rise of the far-right AfD party. They also discuss why Russian hacking efforts didn’t work in Germany, what European capitals will do if Trump pulls out of the Iran deal, and how they view his war of words with North Korea.


Crisis in Burma

Tommy talks with New York Times columnist Nick Kristof and Nexus Fund Executive Director Sally Smith about the ongoing ethnic cleansing happening right now in Burma.


Republican Congressman Will Hurd

Tommy talks with Will Hurd, a Republican representing Texas’s 23rd Congressional District, who served in the CIA for nearly a decade. They discussed Hurd’s role at the CIA, what motivated him to run for office, the Iran deal and ISIS.


War Policy

Tommy talks with former Lieutenant General and Ambassador to NATO Doug Lute about his six years managing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for Presidents Bush and Obama.


North Korea update then the Army’s CEO

Tommy gets an update on North Korea’s latest provocations from Asia expert Evan Medeiros. Then he talks with Eric Fanning, the former Secretary of the Army and the first openly gay head service secretary in history, about Trump’s transgender ban and his career at the Pentagon.


Crisis in Venezuela

Tommy speaks former AP correspondent Hannah Dreier about the ongoing humanitarian and political crisis in Venezuela. Dreier was the last American journalist to get a permanent work visa when she arrived in Venezuela in 2014 and reported from the capitol until June.


Trump’s New War Plan

Tommy talks with defense policy expert Kelly Magsamen about President Trump’s speech announcing his Afghan war policy. They evaluate the substance of his plan and discuss whether any approach can actually improve the situation on the ground and allow us to get out.


Right-wing radicals and CIA secrets

Tommy talks with former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano about her efforts to combat right-wing extremists. Then he is joined by former Deputy CIA Director David Cohen to talk about what it was like to learn the world’s most closely guarded secrets, how the CIA works, and hear his David’s views on North Korea and Iran’s nuclear programs.


Emergency North Korea update then Putin’s #1 enemy

Former Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes talks through Trump’s promise of “fire and fury” if North Korea threatens the US and today’s reports on advances in North Korea’s nuclear program. Then Tommy is joined by Bill Browder, a businessman who became Putin’s #1 enemy after exposing corruption in Russia. Browder was the driving force behind the Magnitsky Act sanctions to punish Russian human rights abusers.


The worst humanitarian crisis since WWII

Tommy talks with David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and former UK Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, about the famine in four countries that has put 20 million people at risk of starvation. He also offers concrete ways that all of us can help. You can learn more or donate at: https://www.rescue.org/.


Why did Putin do it?

Tommy talks with journalist and Russia expert Julia Ioffe about not if but why Putin interfered in our election. What was Putin’s motivation and goal? Are we giving him too much credit or are we not responding forcefully enough?


Russians, guns and Mosul

Tommy talks with former top defense official Derek Chollet about Donald Trump Jr.’s keystone cops collusion with Russia before transitioning to a conversation about the fight against ISIS in Mosul, Syria and the Trump administration’s policy in Afghanistan. It was incredible. Tell your friends.


Ambassador Susan Rice

Tommy talks with former Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice about her transition to civilian life, Syria, ISIS, Russia and Trump’s approach to Africa.


Europe, Nukes, and Cybersecurity

Tommy talks with former Deputy Secretary of Energy, defense policy and Europe expert Dr. Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall about the future of Europe in the wake of Brexit. Then they discussed nuclear weapons in the US and Pakistan, cybersecurity, the advanced science being done at our National Labs, and how government can recruit more women into national security jobs.


Illegal Wars with Senator Tim Kaine

Tommy talks with Senator Tim Kaine about how it’s possible that sixteen years after the 9/11 attacks, the congressional authorization that allowed us to respond with military force is the legal basis for wars against groups like ISIS that didn’t even exist at the time.


NATO, mistakes we made in Libya, and lessons from Iraq and Afghanistan

Tommy talks with former US Ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder about Trump’s disastrous trip to NATO before transitioning to a broader conversation about when the global community should use military force. Ivo offers an unvarnished take on the mistakes the US and NATO made in Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan.


Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns

Tommy talks with former Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns about his three decades at the State Department. They discuss US relations with Russia and Jared Kushner’s backchannel, Trump’s trip to Europe, Bill’s role in leading the Iran talks and what it means to be loyal to a President and country.


Turkey and 28 Hours Pinned Down by ISIS with Arwa Damon

Tommy talks with CNN International correspondent Arwa Damon about Turkey’s descent into a dictatorship and President Erdogan’s visit to the White House. Then they discuss the 28 hours Damon spent pinned down by ISIS fighters in Mosul, her coverage of refugees fleeing Syria, and her nonprofit organization INARA.


Love, Africa with Jeffrey Gettleman

Tommy and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and New York Times East Africa bureau chief Jeffrey Gettleman discuss his new book Love, Africa. They talk about the risks that come with working in places like Somalia and South Sudan, including Jeffrey (repeatedly) being held at gunpoint, and the balance between reporting facts and telling stories to that help create empathy for people suffering.


Trump Fired Jim Comey?!?

Tommy talks with former DOJ Official Matthew Miller about Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director Jim Comey.


What the hell is happening in France with Dr. Karen Donfried

Tommy talks with Europe expert Dr. Karen Donfried about the French Presidential elections and the rise of far-right nationalist candidates like Marine Le Pen. They also discuss the potential for Russian interference in France, comparisons to Trump and why the French presidency could have major implications for the US.


Chief of Staff Stuff with Denis McDonough

Tommy talks with former White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough about the Bin Laden operation, Iraq, Syria and Russian hacking of our election.


The Russian Investigation with Senator Mark Warner

Senator Mark Warner talks with Tommy about why the Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian interference in our election is the most important thing he’s done in public life. He also takes us behind the scenes of the Committee’s TOP SECRET work.


Understanding the Syrian Civil War

Tommy and Middle East expert Colin Kahl discuss the Syrian civil war from when the protests first erupted in 2011 to President Trump’s cruise missile strike last week. They cover the roots of the conflict, Syria’s chemical weapons, Obama’s red line and Trump’s policy options going forward.


China’s Rise with Evan Medeiros

Tommy and China expert Evan Medeiros preview Trump’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. They discuss the meticulous planning and choreography that goes into these talks, tensions in the South China Sea, Taiwan, human rights, and how the Chinese view Russian hacking of our election.


Gayle Smith, former USAID Administrator

On this week’s Pod Save The World, Tommy sits down with former USAID administrator Gayle Smith to discuss the ongoing issues in Sudan.


North Korean Nukes with Mark Lippert

Former US Ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert talks about the threat from North Korea’s nuclear program, Trump’s “new” approach to the DPRK, the assassination of Kim Jong Nam and the attack on his life while serving as Ambassador.


Snowden and Surveillance with Glenn Greenwald

Intercept editor Glenn Greenwald joins to respond to criticism of Edward Snowden and to discuss his views on intelligence collection.


Of Russia with Love with Mike McFaul

Tommy and former US Ambassador to Russia Mike McFaul talk about the US-Russia relationship. We cover pop culture and Rocky IV, arms control, Russian harassment of US diplomats, Mike’s assessment of Putin’s leadership and when relations turned bad, if Romney was right to call Russia our number one geopolitical foe and the lessons America can learn from Putin’s rise.


Running the State Department with Heather Higginbottom

Tommy and Heather Higginbottom to discuss her journey from political campaigns to becoming the first woman to serve as Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources. We cover refugee vetting, pandemic response, women in foreign policy and Heather’s reflections on Secretary Kerry’s career.


Scary Sh*t with Lisa Monaco

Tommy talks with Obama’s former Homeland Security and Chief Counterterrorism Advisor Lisa Monaco about terrorism, encryption, cyber security, the Boston bombings, Trump’s dysfunctional national security team and lots more scary stuff.


8 Years in the Situation Room with Ben Rhodes

Tommy and Obama’s former Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes discuss Ben’s career path, Obama’s Cairo speech, the damage Trump is doing, counterterrorism, restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba, Wikileaks, Snowden, Israel, Syria and more.


Half the World with Dan Restrepo

Tommy is joined by Dan Restrepo, who served as a top Latin America advisor to President Obama. They discuss the historic opening between the US and Cuba, Mexico, immigration, Colombia’s civil war and Venezuela.


Secret Iran Talks with Jake Sullivan

Tommy is joined by former top Clinton aide and former Biden National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. They discuss Jake’s experience leading the secret Iran deal negotiations, Russian hacking, Trump’s attacks on the intelligence community, Benghazi and more.


I used to think foreign policy was boring, complicated and irrelevant to my life. Then I served for four years as President Obama’s National Security Spokesman. The hours I spent in Situation Room meetings, traveling abroad, and talking with the brilliant men and women who advised President Obama was the most fascinating education I ever had. It was a crash course in foreign policy that taught me two things: anyone can understand these issues, and we all have an obligation to try.

On Pod Save the World, I’ll go behind the scenes with the people responsible for some of the most important foreign policy decisions of our time. We’ll geek out about the most important issues of the day, but talk like normal human beings. That means you’ll also hear cool stories, funny anecdotes and maybe a few F bombs. Episodes will come out every other Wednesday.

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