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Sam Vinograd

CNN analyst Sam Vinograd, the former senior advisor to White House national security Tom Donilon, joins Kurt and Rich for a conversation about her career in foreign policy and her views on U.S. policy in Asia. After witnessing 9/11 during her freshman orientation in college, Vinograd began years of study of the Middle East, eventually finding her way after graduate school to Baghdad, where she served as the U.S. Treasury Department’s deputy attaché. She shares insights and stories from her...


Kishore Mahbubani

Kishore Mahbubani, a professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and Singapore’s former permanent representative to the United Nations, joins Kurt and Rich for a conversation about Asia’s role in the international order. Mahbubani, who recently published Has the West Lost It?: A Provocation, explains his views on the changing role of China and India. The three debate the role the United States has played in Asia and the world.


Elizabeth Economy

Dr. Elizabeth Economy, the C. V. Starr senior fellow and director for Asia studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, joins Kurt for a conversation about her career and the way that Chinese domestic politics is shaping the country’s approach to its international affairs. Economy explains how she went from serving as Soviet analyst in the U.S. intelligence community to becoming one of the foremost China experts in the United States. The two discuss Economy’s new book, The Third...


Tom Donilon

Former White House national security advisor Tom Donilon joins Kurt and Rich to discuss his experience serving as one of President Barack Obama’s closest advisors and the current challenges facing the United States. After decades of service at the highest-level of the national security establishment, Donilon shares his insights on the importance of process in foreign policymaking. Finally, Donilon, whose first job out of college was in President Jimmy Carter’s White House, provides his...


Jim Sciutto

As a journalist, CNN correspondent and anchor Jim Sciutto has travelled throughout Asia reporting on crises and geopolitical developments that have tested world leaders. He joins Rich for a discussion about his life as correspondent both at home in Washington and overseas, as well as about his stint as the chief of staff at the U.S. embassy in Beijing. Jim shares why he first began studying Chinese history and provides his analysis on a range of issues, from the U.S.-China relationship to...


Suhasini Haidar & Indrani Bagchi

Suhasini Haidar and Indrani Bagchi are two of India’s most prominent journalists writing about Indian foreign policy. Recording from New Delhi, Rich turns the table on Haidar, the diplomatic affairs editor of The Hindu, and Bagchi, the diplomatic editor of The Times of India, to ask about the current trends that the journalists are following in India and around the region. The three discuss the U.S.-India bilateral relationship, the implications for India of new U.S. sanctions on Iran, and...


Andrew Shearer

Having served as the national security advisor to two Australian prime ministers, Andrew Shearer brings his unique perspective to the Tea Leaves set, where he joins Kurt for a conversation about Australia and its role in the region and world. Shearer explains how the United States and Australia continue to have a robust and strong relationship. He discusses the role of the national security advisor in Canberra and how the position differs from its counterpart in the White House. As a...


John Chambers

As chairman and CEO of Cisco, John Chambers guided the company to $47 billion in revenue and developed a reputation as one of the tech industry’s most successful and impressive leaders. In this episode, Rich joins Chambers in the heart of Silicon Valley to discuss Chambers’ upbringing in West Virginia and how he worked his way to become a tech titan. The two tackle questions related to how technology can transform communities and ways that countries can capitalize on the newest tech...


Ashok Bajaj

Restauranteur Ashok Bajaj has built an empire in Washington, D.C. with multiple award-winning restaurants, including The Oval Room, Rasika, Bibiana, Bindaas, 701, and Sababa. In this episode, Kurt and Rich sit down with Bajaj at The Oval Room to discuss his many experiences from growing up in New Delhi to opening his first restaurant. Bajaj discusses how he opened the first fine-dining Indian restaurant in the U.S. capital and the changing trends in the food industry. At the end of the...


Dr. Kurt Campbell and Ambassador Rich Verma

The Asia Group’s own Dr. Kurt Campbell and Ambassador Rich Verma sit down for a one-on-one conversation to discuss current affairs in the Indo-Pacific and United States. During the episode, they share stories about their recent travels, including to South Africa and New Zealand, and evaluate the current domestic and international political environment in Asia. Kurt and Rich also discuss the implications of the June 12 U.S. summit with North Korea, the U.S.-India bilateral, and the changing...


Joseph Yun

Joseph Yun had an accomplished career as a U.S. diplomat, serving in multiple posts from Hong Kong to Paris to Bangkok before becoming U.S. ambassador to Malaysia in 2013. He then went on to serve as the U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy prior to joining The Asia Group as a special advisor. In this episode, Kurt sits down with Ambassador Yun to discuss his career in the Foreign Service, particularly the role Yun played in renewing U.S.-Myanmar ties and his tenure as...


Robert Roche

After growing up in Oak Lawn, Illinois, Robert Roche went on to build successful businesses in Japan and China. Roche is known for his strategic investments and business acumen across the Indo-Pacific region. Kurt sits down with Roche to discuss his business and personal experiences, including his first internship in Japan and raising a family in both Japan and China. Based on his vast expertise, Roche provides listeners his perspective on the current U.S.-China trade challenges,...


Michael McFaul

In this episode of the podcast, Rich sits down in Palo Alto with Stanford Professor Michael McFaul, the former U.S. ambassador to Russia, to discuss his new book on U.S.-Russia relations, From Cold War to Hot Peace: An American Ambassador in Putin’s Russia. McFaul tells Rich about how he became President Barack Obama’s ambassador, after previously serving at the National Security Council, and the challenges that awaited him in Moscow. McFaul comments on Russia’s place in the current U.S....


Amitabh Bachchan

Rich sits down in Mumbai with one of India’s biggest stars, Amitabh Bachchan, to discuss Indian cinema and the actor’s legendary career. Bachchan, who began acting in 1969 and has since continued to maintain A-list status, explains how he got his start. The actor and film producer breaks down the changing dynamics of the Indian film industry and how studios have sought to expand distribution into the Chinese market. At a time when institutions around the world seem to be weakening, he...


Kevin Rudd

Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd – who is also the current President of the Asia Society Policy Institute – sits down with Kurt and Rich to discuss his distinguished career in Australian politics, the changing dynamics at play in the Australia-U.S. bilateral relationship, and the rise of China as an Asia-Pacific power. From his humble beginnings growing up on a farm in Queensland, Prime Minister Rudd explains how his mother and literature got him interested in the foreign...


Robert Kaplan

Kurt and Rich sit down with famed foreign correspondent and author Robert Kaplan to discuss great power rivalries in Asia – particularly between the United States and China. Elaborating ideas that he has explored over the past two decades and in his latest book, The Return of Marco Polo’s World, Kaplan warns listeners that the greatest threat to American influence in Asia is the absence of a coherent vision. Moreover, drawing from a vast array of disciplines - including naval strategy,...


Alyssa Ayres

Dr. Alyssa Ayres first arrived in India in 1990 when the country’s political and economic future appeared uncertain – since then, she has closely followed Delhi’s growing confidence on the world’s stage and the international community’s expanding interest in India. Capturing this transformation in her newest book, “Our Time Has Come,” Dr. Ayres joins Tea Leaves to highlight the opportunities and also the persistent challenges that India faces in the decade ahead. With an eye to the future,...


Ambassador Navtej Sarna

From a demographic, economic, and geopolitical outlook, it is difficult to estimate the full impact that India will have on the coming century. Likewise, efforts to advance shared interests in not just the Indo-Pacific region, but also on the global stage, will be in large part determined by India’s participation. Coming from his unique vantage point, Ambassador Navtej Singh Sarna sits down with Tea Leaves to discuss the past, present, and future of India’s role in the region and its...


Ash Carter

Tea Leaves traveled to Boston this week to meet with Ash Carter, former Secretary of Defense and Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Kurt and Rich talk to Ash about his tenure at the Pentagon, the dynamism of the Indo-Pacific, and the challenges the United States faces in the region. Ash draws on his 35-year career working on defense and technology to hone in on critical issues, including the rise of China,...


Mike Green

In this episode, Kurt and Rich meet with leading Japan scholar, author, and former NSC Senior Director for Asia Michael Green to discuss his career path, the United States’ long history of engagement with Asia, developments around North Korea, and how the U.S. should be thinking about its grand strategy. His latest book, By More Than Providence, explores the development of U.S. strategy in Asia from its inception, granting insights into how the future of U.S. engagement will shape the...