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Talking Policy

Talking Policy is a podcast of the UC Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation. Subscribe on Spotify, AnchorBreakerPocket Casts, and RadioPublic.


Will the U.S. Go to War Over Taiwan?
Questions about Taiwan’s status are fueling rising tensions between the island and China, and between China and the U.S. Will there be war in the Taiwan Straits? Why is Taiwan important to the U.S. and might the Biden administration revise U.S. policy towards Taiwan? In the latest episode of the Talking Policy podcast, James Lee, a postdoctoral research associate at the UC Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, weighs in the on Taiwan’s future.

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Culture, Personality, Gender and War
What makes some countries more or less prone to war (or peace)? What leadership traits are war prone—and what cultural traits are? In the latest Talking Policy episode, Lindsay Morgan interviews Robert Trager, an associate professor in the political science department at UCLA and affiliated researcher with IGCC. The author of the forthcoming book, The Suffragist Peace with Joslyn Barnhart, and researcher on IGCC’s Great Powers project, Robert talks about the importance of women voters in maintaining peace, weighs in on whether the U.S. is more or less war prone than other countries, and discusses Americans’ key blind spots.

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Elections Are Under Threat—How Can We Protect Them?
Elections are a core component of democracy, but the integrity of elections is under threat—globally and in the United States. In the latest episode of Talking Policy, Lauren Prather, an assistant professor of political science at UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy, discusses U.S. efforts to promote democracy globally through election monitoring; considers whether international election monitors could strengthen U.S. elections; and answers questions on the threat of meddling. Lauren is part of an IGCC project looking at the rise of authoritarian international organizations.

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The Uncertain Future of Global Supply Chains
From U.S.-China trade wars and the COVID-19 pandemic, to the mounting effects of climate change, global supply chains are under severe strain. In this episode of Talking Policy, Etel Solingen, a distinguished professor and the Thomas T. and Elizabeth C. Tierney chair in Peace and Conflict Studies at UC Irvine, weighs in on what’s at stake, and shares lessons from her new volume, Geopolitics, Supply Chains, and International Relations in East Asia.

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Turning the Tools of the Liberal International Order Upside Down
Multilateral international organizations are a key part of the rules-based global liberal order, facilitating global and regional cooperation, and shared notions of human rights, democracy, and capitalism. But the number and influence of regional international organizations (RIOs) with powerful authoritarian members is on the rise, helping to stall democratization and promote autocratic regimes. In this episode of Talking Policy, IGCC fellow Christina Cottiero charts the growth of authoritarian RIOs since the end of World War II and analyzes their pathways for influence, including through election monitoring, peacekeeping, and development assistance.

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The Psychological Consequences of Conflict
For people impacted by war and displacement, what are the long-term mental and social consequences of trauma—and what can be done to help them? In the latest episode of Talking Policy, Lindsay Morgan interviews Biz Herman, a UC Berkeley doctoral student and IGCC alumna, who studies the psychological consequences of conflict. Biz shares insights from the recent Human Security, Violence, and Trauma (HSVT) conference; and reflects on the relationship between trauma and justice, how trauma from political violence is similar and different from other kinds of trauma, and the societal impacts of collective trauma—and what that means for peacebuilding.

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The Disinformation Threat—and What to Do About It
Manipulation and deception have always been a part of politics. But misinformation and disinformation are flourishing in the digital age, with social media, and new technologies like artificial intelligence, making fake content easier to create and disseminate. In this interview, IGCC expert Jacob Shapiro, a professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University and co-director of IGCC’s new research initiative on disinformation, talks about what disinformation is, who’s doing it and why, and what can be done about it.

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Why is Democratic Backsliding on the Rise?
Recent analysis suggests that democracy is on the decline globally. Why and where is this happening—and what can be done about it? Here, Stephan Haggard, the Lawrence and Sallye Krause Professor of Korea-Pacific studies at UC San Diego, talks about his new book with Robert Kaufman Backsliding: Democratic Regress in The Contemporary World, and the role that polarization, quiescent legislatures, and incrementalism play in democracy’s decline.

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What’s the Future of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy?
Nuclear war may at times seem the stuff of a bygone era. But with Iran and North Korea growing their nuclear weapons programs, a rapid acceleration in China, and a flagging U.S. arsenal—nuclear weapons are back on policymakers’ radars. Here, Brad Roberts, director of the Center for Global Security Research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and an affiliated researcher at IGCC, analyzes the challenges ahead for the Biden administration—both to contain growing threats and modernize the U.S. enterprise.

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The Future of NATO: A Conversation with Heidi Hardt
With the Biden administration promising to rebuild global alliances, how will the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), one of the longest—and arguably most successful—alliances adapt to a rapidly changing world? In this edition of the IGCC podcast, Heidi Hardt, associate professor of political science at UC Irvine and expert in transatlantic security, talks about her book, NATO’s Lessons in Crisis, and about the emerging challenges facing the alliance.

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Proxy Wars and Hotspots to Watch: A Conversation with Eli Berman
With the US drawing down forces in a number of global hot zones, and the Biden administration promising a break from Trump-era disengagement, Eli BermanIGCC research director for international security studies and professor of economics at UC San Diego, revisits his book Proxy Wars: Suppressing Violence Through Local Agents.

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