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None Of The Above

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As the United States confronts an ever-changing set of international challenges, our foreign policy leaders continue to offer the same old answers. But what are the alternatives? In None Of The Above, the Eurasia Group Foundation’s Mark Hannah asks leading global thinkers for new answers and new ideas to guide an America increasingly adrift in the world.

As the United States confronts an ever-changing set of international challenges, our foreign policy leaders continue to offer the same old answers. But what are the alternatives? In None Of The Above, the Eurasia Group Foundation’s Mark Hannah asks leading global thinkers for new answers and new ideas to guide an America increasingly adrift in the world.


United States


As the United States confronts an ever-changing set of international challenges, our foreign policy leaders continue to offer the same old answers. But what are the alternatives? In None Of The Above, the Eurasia Group Foundation’s Mark Hannah asks leading global thinkers for new answers and new ideas to guide an America increasingly adrift in the world.






Another January 6th?: Catherine Osborn on Brazil’s Election & Political Violence

Brazilians head to the polls Sunday to elect their next president and other key legislators in Brazil’s general election. If neither presidential candidate – Brazil’s current right wing president Jair Bolsonaro or Brazil’s former left wing president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva – wins a majority of the vote, a runoff election will take place on October 30th. Election watchers worry Bolsonaro will contest the election results should he lose, prompting a violent insurrection which might look even...


America’s Secrecy Regime: Alex Wellerstein on Donald Trump and Nuclear Secrets

In early August, the FBI seized boxes of classified documents, some suspected to contain nuclear secrets, from former president Donald Trump’s residence at Mar-a-Lago. News of the FBI’s raid ignited a political firestorm but it also shed light on an obscure aspect of US foreign policymaking — America’s “nuclear secrecy regime.” From its WWII origins in the development of the atomic bomb to the latest controversy miring Trump, nuclear secrecy has cast a shadow over the development and...


Partner of Choice? Michael Woldemariam and Robbie Gramer on Biden’s Sub-Saharan Africa Strategy

Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the fastest growing regions in the world and home to some of the world’s most critical developing economies. But historically, US foreign policy has treated the continent as a monolith and a site for great power competition, ignoring the role of African nations in deciding their own future. This week, None of the Above is joined by Horn of Africa expert Michael Woldemariam, and journalist Robbie Gramer, to discuss America’s relationship with Sub-Saharan...


The Crude Truth: Emma Ashford on the Global Energy Crisis

The fallout from Russia’s war in Ukraine has disrupted the global energy market and hiked the price of fuel nearly everywhere around the world. In Europe, which finds itself caught between efforts to cut itself off from Russian oil and Moscow’s firm grip on energy exports, the repercussions of today’s energy crisis are acute. While in the United States, which experienced high prices at the pump, efforts have been underway to resolve the crisis. But how much control does the United States...


From Kosovo to Kyiv: Jamie Shea on NATO Then and Now

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was created at the dawn of the Cold War to stop the expansion of the Soviet Union. But in the 1990s, when NATO intervened in the Balkan wars, it assumed a new role for itself. Our guest this week was responsible, more than two decades ago, for explaining the NATO campaign in Kosovo to the international press. Now as NATO member countries assist Ukraine in its defense against Russia, can the alliance continue to provide security on the European...


Brink of Catastrophe: Matthieu Aikins and Masuda Sultan on the Plight of Afghans

The United Nations estimates around half of Afghanistan’s population – nearly 20 million people – faces acute hunger. The ongoing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan follows the end of America’s twenty-year war and the withdrawal of all US troops in August 2021. In February, the Biden administration decided to freeze nearly $10 billion in assets belonging to the Afghan central bank in order to prevent money going into the hands of the Taliban. Are US policies exacerbating the humanitarian...


Losing China: Daniel Kurtz-Phelan on George Marshall’s Less Glorious Mission

General George Marshall occupies a central place in the pantheon of American heroes. He helped lead the Allies to victory in World War II, and as the secretary of state, he championed the plan to rebuild Europe which would be named for him: The Marshall Plan. But Marshall’s record as a statesman wasn’t perfect. Tapped by President Truman to negotiate an end to China’s civil war, he proved unable to broker a lasting settlement and prevent the country’s Communist takeover. In this episode,...


War Stories: Brooke Gladstone and Fred Kaplan on the Media, War, and Ukraine

From the Crimean War of 1853 to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine this year, journalists, reporters, and the media have shaped the public’s understanding of war. But do the stories we read and the photos we see provide an impartial picture of the wars they document? As the Eurasia Group Foundation’s Mark Hannah recently explained in Foreign Policy, certain aspects of American war coverage—reliance on government sources and incentives to simplify geopolitics as battles between good and evil—have...


Tactical Brutality: Max Fisher on the Russian Way of War

The Russian military withdrew from Bucha at the end of March, a suburb of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv. Soon after, photos and stories revealed Russian atrocities, including the apparent intentional killing of civilians. This is sadly characteristic of the Russian way of war in other conflicts beyond Ukraine. Some, including President Biden, have accused Russia of committing genocide in Ukraine. But even if Putin’s military is guilty of acts of genocide and war crimes, will the world actually be...


Fuel to the Fire: Diego Luna and Ernesto López Portillo on the Rise of Militarism in Mexico

In October 2021, the United States and Mexico put an end to the Mérida Initiative—a thirteen-year, $3 billion security assistance package central to a new “war on drugs.” Despite years of weapons sales, military training, and intelligence sharing, the initiative failed to reduce crime and drug trafficking. Instead, violence and homicides increased throughout Mexico. Why? Our guests this week, Mexican movie star Diego Luna and scholar Ernesto López Portillo, argue America’s and Mexico’s...


War Power Politics (from the archive): Heather Brandon Smith & Rita Siemion on the rise and stall of AUMFs

Saturday marked the nineteenth anniversary of the beginning of the second Iraq War—a war Congress never formally declared. Instead, just like with America’s invasion of Afghanistan, Congress passed an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). Together, these AUMFs provide the legal basis for the ongoing war on terror and have been loosely interpreted by every president since 2001 to authorize military action anywhere with little to no Congressional oversight. Though these AUMFs remain...


Winter in Ukraine: Anatol Lieven on the Case for Ukrainian Neutrality

It is day fourteen of Russia’s war on Ukraine. Ukrainian resistance and Russian logistical issues have together denied Moscow a quick victory, but the fighting continues—and intensifies. Meanwhile, despite several rounds of diplomatic talks, a peaceful settlement does not seem to be in sight. However, our guest this week, Russia expert Anatol Lieven, offers proposals that he thinks could end the war. Days before Ukrainian and Russian officials met for the third time for negotiations,...


Big Daddy Moscow: Nataliya Gumenyuk and Peter Pomerantsev Get Inside Putin’s Mind

This episode contains explicit language. On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into eastern Ukraine. This follows months of tensions precipitated by Russia’s mobilization of its military on the Ukrainian border. Putin’s order came shortly after a gruff speech in which he accused Ukraine of rejecting its historical links to Russia and asserted the independence of two breakaway regions — the self-declared People's Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. In the week before the...


China Rising Part 1 (from the archive): Isaac Stone Fish & Stephen Orlins on How the US Should Respond

The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics are underway and more than just athletic competition has drawn international attention. Amid calls for a complete boycott due to China’s crackdown on Hong Kong and its persecution of the Uyghurs and other vulnerable populations, the United States has issued a diplomatic boycott of the games. On this episode of None of The Above, we revisit an important conversation between Isaac Stone Fish and Stephen Orlins, two China experts with divergent points of view...


How to End the Ukraine Crisis: Thomas Graham and Rajan Menon on Negotiating with Russia

Eight years after it annexed Crimea and instigated a civil war in Eastern Ukraine, Russia has mobilized 100,000 troops near the Ukrainian border. With the threat of a Russian invasion looming, negotiations between Washington and Moscow are at an impasse. Moscow’s demands, which call for a transformation of the US-backed security order in Europe, were summarily dismissed by Washington. But according to our guests this week, the authors of the recent Politico article, “How to Get What We Want...


The Myth of the Good War: Elizabeth Samet on American Nostalgia

World War II is nostalgically remembered throughout American culture as the “good war”––a conflict where Americans idealistically banded together to free the world from tyranny. Of course there is more to this story, but is this simplified popular understanding dangerous? In this week’s episode of None Of The Above, the Eurasia Group Foundation’s Mark Hannah talks with West Point English professor Elizabeth Samet about the importance of literature for preparing America’s future officer...


The Footprint of Industrialized War (from the archive)

Speaking at the United Nations Climate Conference this November, President Biden called climate change “the existential threat to human existence.” And in October, the Department of Defense issued its own warning, noting the effects of climate change are “exacerbating existing risks and creating new security challenges for U.S. interests.” But while the Pentagon takes climate change’s risks seriously, it remains one of the worlds largest emitters of greenhouse gasses. This week, we’re...


Can a Summit Save Democracy? Michael Abramowitz on the Democracy Recession

President Joe Biden argues the contest between democracy and autocracy will be the defining challenge of the twenty-first century. Meanwhile, Freedom House observes democracy around the world has experienced its steepest drop in its fifteen-year decline. Seeking to reverse this trend, the United States is hoping to “set forth an affirmative agenda for democratic renewal” this week when it brings together 110 countries for a two-day virtual Summit for Democracy. But can the US effectively...


Lessons from Recife: Riordan Roett on America’s Intervention in Brazil

As the United States competes for influence around the globe, and as authoritarianism gains ground in places like Brazil, what will US engagement in the region look like? US intervention and influence in the region is nothing new, especially in Brazil, which this week’s guest walks us through. Professor Riordan Roett takes us on his journey as a young Fulbright Scholar living in northeast Brazil during the Cold War, to becoming one of America’s leading experts on the country. Seeing...


Airstrikes in East Africa (from the archive): Catherine Besteman and Amanda Sperber on U.S. Militarism in Somalia

This week we bring back a timely episode from season 1 with journalist Amanda Sperber and anthropologist Catherine Besteman, who helped us understand an important, yet underreported topic: America’s military involvement in Somalia. Since we last spoke to Catherine and Amanda, The New York Times has reported that the terrorist organization, Al Shabab, is at its “strongest in years” and that the Biden administration may be debuting a new Somalia policy in the coming weeks. But will the...