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Host Fred Dews interviews experts from the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy organization (think tank) based in Washington, D.C., about their research and ideas on solutions to the most pressing public policy challenges facing the nation and the world.

Host Fred Dews interviews experts from the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy organization (think tank) based in Washington, D.C., about their research and ideas on solutions to the most pressing public policy challenges facing the nation and the world.
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Host Fred Dews interviews experts from the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy organization (think tank) based in Washington, D.C., about their research and ideas on solutions to the most pressing public policy challenges facing the nation and the world.






The US in Southeast Asia, and the China challenge

Jonathan Stromseth, a senior fellow and Lee Kuan Yew Chair in Southeast Asian Studies at Brookings, interviews Brookings President John R. Allen about the strategic significance of Southeast Asia, US relations with countries in the region, and the China challenge. President Allen recently returned from an extended trip to East Asia, where in June he opened and participated in a Brookings conference in Taipei on “The Risks of the Asian Peace: Avoiding Paths to Great Power War.” That...


Americans fear the wrong threats

The authors of a new book argue that national security “fearmongering” is causing U.S. leaders to focus more on the threats that Americans perceive—like terrorism and nuclear war—than the ones that exist at home, like gun violence and the opioid crisis. In Clear and Present Safety: The World Has Never Been Better and Why That Matters to Americans (Yale University Press), Michael Cohen and Micah Zenko argue that “The American public is being fed, by politicians and pundits alike, a steady...


Advancing opportunity in California’s Inland Empire

After three years of intensive collaboration with Brookings, public, private, and civic leaders in California’s Inland Empire have launched an ambitious strategy to expand opportunity and grow middle-class jobs in the region. In this episode, several of those leaders and Brookings experts discuss why this work is so important, how the Inland Empire reflects broader economic challenges and opportunities, and what other city-regions can learn to develop smarter approaches to building...


Where does nationalism come from?

Liah Greenfeld, professor of sociology, political science, and anthropology at Boston University, talks with Brookings Institution Press Director Bill Finan about her new book, "Nationalism: A Short History." She explains her broad definition of nationalism, Shakespeare's role in shaping the language of democracy and modernity, and how modern notions of "white nationalism" may not be nationalism at all. Also on the program, Senior Fellow David Wessel looks at why the Federal Reserve may...


Rebroadcast: Former USTR Charlene Barshefsky on the obstacles to a US-China trade deal

This is a rebroadcast of a "Dollar & Sense: The Brookings Trade Podcast" episode. On it, former United States Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky joined host David Dollar to discuss the history of the United States’ economic engagement with China. Their conversation covered China’s entry and membership in the World Trade Organization, how domestic Chinese politics have affected the country’s trade policies, and the lasting impact of the global financial crisis on U.S.-China relations....


How to fix capitalism for America’s workers

From slow wage growth, to increasing numbers of men out of the labor market, to rising inequality and rising compensation for CEOs, today’s capitalism may not be working for workers. In May, the Guardian newspaper published a series of solutions to these and related problems, titled How to fix capitalism: Nine expert solutions for America’s broken system. On this episode, two of the authors in the series—Isabel Sawhill and Steven Pearlstein—join Richard Reeves to discuss their ideas for...


The power of parents in accelerating global education progress

Senior Fellow Rebecca Winthrop, director of the Center for Universal Education at Brookings, says that global organizations project that by 2030 half of the world's young people will not have the 21st-century skills and academic competencies they will need to thrive. The pace of change is too slow, and it could take a century for the poorest children to catch up. What's needed, she said, is a way to rapidly accelerate progress by leapfrogging education. And parents have a crucial role to...


China’s epic push for cleaner energy

In its dominance of low-carbon industries that range from solar and wind power, to electric vehicles, to more-efficient coal combustion, China is emerging as a clean-energy juggernaut. That’s according to Jeffrey Ball, the author of a new paper from the Cross-Brookings Initiative on Energy and Climate titled “Grow Green China Inc.” Ball, argues that the West, instead of seeing this development as a threat, should see it as an opportunity both for business and for the planet. In this...


Preparing for the next recession

When the next recession comes, and it certainly will, how will policymakers respond? In a new volume of policy proposals from the Hamilton Project at Brookings and the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, a group of experts propose new and updated antirecession solutions to boost the economy and save jobs. These ideas center on the concept of automatic stabilizers, which are simply policy responses that trigger when a crisis is starting, and when policymakers may be too overwhelmed by...


The power of private investment for the developing world

Foreign aid money from governments is getting scarcer, and in the U.S., private philanthropy exceeds US government funds in the foreign assistance realm. But, what about the role of business and private capital in development, reducing poverty, and alleviating hunger? So called "impact investing" is now one of the most important trends in addressing some of the world’s most pressing problems. In this episode, Homi Kharas, the interim vice president and director of the Global Economy and...


How to avoid a great power war over small stakes

In the East China sea, in waters bounded by Japan, China, and Taiwan, lies a small archipelago of uninhabited islands known in Japan as the Senkaku Islands, and in China as Diaoyu Islands. Both countries claim them, but they are covered by the US-Japan security treaty. What would be the U.S. response if China landed military forces on them? Similarly, what would happen if “little green men” from Russia occupied a Russian-speaking village in Estonia, a NATO member country? In his new book,...


Congressional oversight in the Trump era

In our constitutional system, congressional oversight of the executive branch is an important tool. As a co-equal branch of government, and the one that passes legislation and appropriates funds to carry out public policy, Congress has an obligation to the Constitution, and to citizens, to hold the executive branch accountable. In this episode, Senior Fellow Molly Reynolds introduces the new House Oversight Tracker interactive, explains why oversight is so important, and shares her views...


Offensive cyber operations in US national security

A discussion about a new volume from the Brookings Institution Press on the increasing role of offensive cyber operations in U.S. national security. Herbert Lin and Amy Zegart are co-editors of “Bytes, Bombs, and Spies: The Strategic Dimensions of Offensive Cyber Operations.” Lin and Zegart are scholars at the Hoover Institution and co-directors of the Stanford Cyber Policy Program. Bill Finan, director of the Brookings Press, conducts the interview. Also, Brookings Senior Fellow Molly...


Is the Israeli-Palestinian peace process dead?

Tamara Cofman Wittes, senior fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings, interviews Khaled Elgindy, author of the new book from the Brookings Institution Press, “Blind Spot: America and the Palestinians, from Balfour to Trump.” Elgindy is a nonresident fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy and previously served as an advisor to the Palestinian Leadership in Ramallah on permanent status negotiations with Israel from 2004 to 2009, and was a key participant in the...


A primer on India’s general elections

India has started its multi-phase, weeks long general elections that will determine the composition of the Lok Sabha, India’s lower house of parliament, and also the next prime minister. Results will be announced May 23. To make sense of the world’s largest exercise of democracy, today’s episode features a discussion led by Brookings Fellow Tanvi Madan, director of the India Project, with three scholars, one each from the American Enterprise Institute, Carnegie Endowment for International...


Israel’s election result and what comes next

A conversation about what happened in Israel's election, between Natan Sachs--director of the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution--and Ilana Dayan, an investigative journalist with the Program "Uvda" on Israel's Channel 12. Subscribe to Brookings podcasts here or on iTunes, send feedback email to, and follow us and tweet us at @policypodcasts on Twitter. The Brookings Cafeteria is part of the Brookings Podcast Network.


How to cure America’s debt addiction (and invest in the future)

Under current policies the federal debt will rise from 78% to almost 180% of U.S. GDP in three decades. In his new book, "Fiscal Therapy: Curing America's Debt Addiction and Investing in the Future," Brookings Senior Fellow William Gale explores policies to raise revenue, control spending, and increase public investments, and solve our debt problem. In this episode, Senior Fellow David Wessel interviews Gale about his new book and policy ideas. Also, Christen Linke Young, a fellow with the...


NATO at 70 is more than a military alliance

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization turns 70 in April. To discuss challenges to and opportunities for the alliance as it enters its eighth decade, this episode features a discussion among a group of leading Brookings experts: John Allen, president of the Brookings Institution; Constanze Stelzenmüller, the Robert Bosch Senior Fellow in the Center on the United States and Europe at Brookings; and Michael O’Hanlon, a senior fellow and director of research in the Foreign Policy Program at...


Fixing bail, fines, and fees in the criminal justice system

The share of felony defendants in the criminal justice system who are required to post bail to avoid pre-trail detention is increasing, while the share released without bail is dropping. Simultaneously the amount of time from arrest to adjudication has also increased. These and related factors have significant negative economic impacts on the individuals involved, and are linked to increased recidivism. In this episode, Jay Shambaugh, the director of the Hamilton Project at Brookings and a...


India’s role as a democracy in the liberal international order

Since its independence from Britain in 1947, India has evolved into a strong electoral democracy—the largest in the world—and one that has proven resilient in the face of the populist tide pressuring many western democracies. India has also emerged as a powerful nation in the Indo-Pacific region, contributing to global democratic institutions and norms in ways not always noticed in the West. In this fourth and final episode of the Democracy and Disorder Project podcast series, host Torrey...