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The experience of reading Hannah Arendt’s 1951 classic “The Origins of Totalitarianism” in the year 2022 is a disorienting one. Although Arendt is writing primarily about Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia, her descriptions often capture aspects of our present moment more clearly than those of us living through it can ever hope to.Arendt writes of entire populations who “had reached the point where they would, at the same time, believe everything and nothing, think that everything was possible and that nothing was true.” She describes “the masses’ escape from reality” as “a verdict against the world in which they are forced to live and in which they cannot exist.” She points out that in societies riddled with elite hypocrisy, “it seemed revolutionary to admit cruelty, disregard of human values, and general amorality, because this at least destroyed the duplicity upon which the existing society seemed to rest.”It’s hard to read statements like these without immediately conjuring up images of Vladimir Putin’s Russia or Donald Trump’s presidency or the QAnon faithful. But that’s exactly the point: The reason Arendt is so relevant today is that her diagnosis doesn’t apply just to the Nazi or Soviet regimes she was writing about. It is more fundamentally about the characteristics of liberal societies that make them vulnerable to distinctly illiberal and authoritarian forces — weaknesses that, in many ways, have only become more pronounced in the 70 years since “The Origins of Totalitarianism” was first released.Anne Applebaum is a staff writer for The Atlantic and a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian. Her writing — including her most recent book, “Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism” — is focused on the resurgence of autocratic movements and governments around the world, and why members of Western societies have abandoned liberal democratic ideals in favor of strongman leaders, conspiratorial movements and authoritarian regimes. And in the introduction she wrote to a new edition of “The Origins of Totalitarianism,” Applebaum argues that Arendt’s insights are more relevant now than ever.So this is a conversation that uses Arendt’s analysis as a window into our present. Applebaum and I discuss how “radical loneliness” lays the groundwork for authoritarianism, what Putin and Trump understand about human nature that most liberals miss, the seductive allure of groups like QAnon, the way that modern propaganda feeds off a combination of gullibility and cynicism, whether liberalism’s own logic is making societies vulnerable to totalitarian impulses, why efforts by populist politicians to upend conventional morality have held such appeal in Western liberal democracies, how the ideology of “economism” blinds Western liberals to their own societies’ deepest vulnerabilities, what liberals need to do differently to counteract the rise of global autocracy and more.Mentioned:“Review of Adolph Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’” by George OrwellBook Recommendations:Cuba by Ada FerrerThe Lincoln Highway by Amor TowlesThe Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah ArendtThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Rollin Hu, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
“It begun to dawn on many conservatives that in spite of apparent electoral victories that have occurred regularly since the Reagan years, they have consistently lost, and lost overwhelmingly to progressive forces,” Patrick Deneen writes in a recent essay titled “Abandoning Defensive Crouch Conservatism.” He goes on to argue that conservatives need to reject liberal values like free speech, religious liberty and pluralism, abandon their defensive posturing and use the power of the state to actively fight back against what he calls “liberal totalitarianism.”To progressive ears, these kinds of statements can be baffling; after all, Republicans currently control a majority of state legislatures, governorships and the Supreme Court, and they are poised to make gains in the midterm elections this fall. But even so, there’s a pervasive feeling among conservatives that progressives are using their unprecedented institutional power — in universities, in Hollywood, in the mainstream media, in the C-suites of tech companies — to wage war on traditional ways of life. And many of them have come to believe that the only viable response is to fight back against these advances at all costs. It’s impossible to understand the policies, leaders, rhetoric and tactics of the populist right without first trying to inhabit this worldview.That is why, for this second conversation in our series “The Rising Right,” I wanted to speak with Deneen. He is a professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame, and his 2018 book, “Why Liberalism Failed,” has become a touchstone within the conservative intelligentsia and was even fairly well received by liberals. But since then, Deneen’s writing has come to express something closer to total political war. And with three other professors, he recently started a Substack newsletter, “The Postliberal Order,” to build the kind of intellectual and political project needed to fight that war.This is a conversation about what Deneen’s “postliberal” political project looks like — and the tensions and contradictions it reveals about the modern populist right. We discuss (and debate) Deneen’s view that conservatives keep losing, why he believes the left is hostile to the family, whether America needs stricter divorce laws, what the post-liberal right would actually do with power, the virtues and vices of policy analysis, whether post-liberals have built their core arguments around an invented straw man liberalism, Joe Biden’s agenda for families and much more.Mentioned:“A Good That Is Common” by Patrick Deneen“Replace the Elite” by Patrick Deneen“Abandoning Defensive Crouch Conservatism” by Patrick DeneenBook recommendations:The New Class War by Michael LindDominion by Tom HollandThe Art of Loading Brush by Wendell BerryThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris and Rollin Hu; original music by Isaac Jones and Jeff Geld; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
Today we're bringing you an episode from our friends at Sway about the war in Ukraine and the challenges of conflict-zone reporting. Clarissa Ward has had, as she puts it, a “long and very complicated relationship” with Russia. The chief international correspondent for CNN, she has had stints in Moscow since the beginning of her career, and has struggled to get a Russian visa since she investigated the 2020 poisoning of the Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny.But that hasn’t stopped her from reporting on the region, and in particular on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Yet after months of war, it can be an uphill battle to keep the viewers’ attention on the front line. “Our job is to keep finding ways to make sure that we don’t become numb and desensitized to the horrors of war, because that is exactly how wars continue and grind on,” Ward says.In this conversation, taped last week, Kara talks to Ward about her time reporting in Ukraine, what it’s like to “let fear sit in the passenger seat” when reporting from the front and how the hangover of war can leave correspondents detached from the “bourgeois and banal” normalcy of home.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
Right now, Republicans of all stripes — Ron DeSantis, J.D. Vance, Mike Pence, Glenn Youngkin — are trying to figure out how to channel the populist energies of Donald Trump into a winning political message. The struggle to achieve such a synthesis is the defining project on the American right today. Its outcome will determine the future of the Republican Party — and American politics.To understand what the post-Trump future of the G.O.P. will look like, it helps to have a clearer understanding of the party’s past — particularly the chapters that many conservatives prefer to forget. Traditional histories of American conservatism view Donald Trump’s election as an aberration in the lineage of the American right — an unprecedented populist rejection of the conservatism of Ronald Reagan and William F. Buckley Jr.But Matthew Continetti’s new book “The Right: The Hundred-Year War for American Conservatism” flips that conventional history on its head. In Continetti’s view, the “populist” energies that Trump harnessed in 2016 aren’t anything new for the American right — they have always been central to it. The American right has always been defined by a back-and-forth struggle — and at times a synthesis — between its populist grass roots and its elites.I wanted to bring Continetti on the show because this history is crucial to understanding where the Republican Party could go next. And also because this is the first episode in a new series we are producing called “The Rising Right.” Over the next few weeks, “The Ezra Klein Show” will feature conversations with conservative writers, scholars and thinkers who are trying to harness the forces that Trump unleashed and build a superstructure of ideas, institutions and policy around them. But to see where that movement is going, you have to take seriously where it came from.Mentioned:“Can Reaganism Rise Again?” by Ross DouthatBook Recommendations:Let Us Talk of Many Things by William F. Buckley Jr.Making It by Norman PodhoretzThe Prince of Darkness by Robert D. NovakThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Jenny Casas; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
Today we're bringing you an episode from our friends at The Argument about Florida's “Don't Say Gay” bill and the broader wave of anti-L.G.B.T.Q. legislation, spurred by the political right, that is spreading across the country. According to the Human Rights Campaign, this year alone, more than 300 anti-L.G.B.T.Q. bills have been introduced in state legislatures. Why has this issue become a major focus of the Republican Party? And how is the way society treats individuals who identify as L.G.B.T.Q. changing? Jane Coaston speaks to her Times Opinion colleagues Ross Douthat and Michelle Goldberg about these questions and brings a deeply personal perspective to the table.Mentioned:“How to Make Sense of the New L.G.B.T.Q. Culture War” by Ross Douthat in The New York Times“Gender Unicorn” from Trans Student Educational ResourcesThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
If Elon Musk’s bid to purchase Twitter comes to fruition, the world’s richest person will own one of its most important communications platforms. Twitter might have a smaller user base than Facebook, Instagram and even Snapchat, but it shapes the dominant narratives in key industries like politics, media, finance and technology more than any other platform. Attention — particularly that of elite leaders in these industries — is a valuable resource, one that Twitter manages and trades in.Musk understands Twitter’s attention economy better than anyone. On numerous occasions, his tweets have sent a company’s stock or a cryptocurrency’s value skyrocketing (or plummeting). So what would it mean for Musk to own Twitter? How would that change the platform? How might he use Twitter to change, well, everything else?Felix Salmon is the chief economics correspondent at Axios, a co-host of the Slate Money podcast and someone who has spent a lot of time thinking about the economics of attention, the way modern financial markets work and how money impacts the technologies we use. We discuss Musk’s possible motivations for owning Twitter, how Musk’s distinct brand of tweeting has reaped financial windfalls, what Musk understands about finance and attention that many others don’t, why Twitter is so powerful as a storytelling machine, why journalists are turning away from it, what a decentralized Twitter might look like, how Web3 resembles the 1960s “back to the land” movement, how Musk could break Twitter — but why that might end up saving Twitter — and more.Mentioned:“Elon Musk Got Twitter Because He Gets Twitter” by Ezra Klein"A Crypto Optimist Meets a Crypto Skeptic” on The Ezra Klein Show“A Viral Case Against Crypto, Explored” on The Ezra Klein Show“The Way the Senate Melted Down Over Crypto Is Very Revealing” by Ezra KleinBook Recommendations:The Bond King by Mary ChildsTypeset in the Future by Dave AddeyThe Surprise of Cremona by Edith TempletonThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Jenny Casas, Michelle Harris, Rollin Hu and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones and Carole Sabouraud; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has transformed Europe within a matter of weeks. A continent once fractured by the refugee crisis is now taking in millions of refugees. Countries such as Germany have made considerable pledges to increase military spending. The European Union said it would cut off Russian oil and gas “well before 2030” — a once unthinkable prospect. The European project seems more confident in itself than at any other time in recent history.But some European countries are also seeing trends in the opposite direction. This month in Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s nationalist government won re-election easily. The far-right leader Marine Le Pen lost this past weekend’s French presidential election to the incumbent, Emmanuel Macron, but secured a significant 41.5 percent of the vote, up from 33.9 percent in 2017. And nationalist movements — Brexit in Britain, the Five Star Movement in Italy and others — have become potent political forces in recent years.So what’s next for Europe? Will Putin’s invasion reinvigorate the collective European project? Or will the continent revert to its preinvasion path of fracture, division and nationalism?Ivan Krastev is the chairman of the Center for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, Bulgaria and the author of numerous books, including “After Europe” and, with Stephen Holmes, “The Light That Failed: Why the West Is Losing the Fight for Democracy.” He’s also one of my favorite people to talk to on the subject of Europe, liberalism, democracy and the tensions therein.We discuss how European identity went from revolving around war to being centered on economic trade, why Europe has treated the Ukrainian refugee crisis so differently from previous refugee crises, how the West’s overly economic understanding of human motivation blinded it to Putin’s plans, what the relative success of politicians like Le Pen and Orban means for the future of Europe, how fears of demographic change can help explain phenomena as different as Putin’s invasion and Donald Trump’s election, whether Putin’s invasion can reawaken an exhausted European liberalism and much more.Mentioned:“The End of History?” by Francis FukuyamaThe End of History and the Last Man by Francis Fukuyama“We Are All Living in Vladimir Putin’s World Now” by Ivan Krastev“The Crisis of American Power: How Europeans See Biden’s America” by Ivan Krastev“The Power of the Past: How Nostalgia Shapes European Public Opinion” by Catherine E. de Vries and Isabell Hoffmann from Bertelsmann StiftungBook Recommendations:Free by Lea YpiThe Age of Unpeace by Mark LeonardTime Shelter by Georgi GospodinovThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
“Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel was published in 2014. That book imagined the world after a pandemic had wiped out, well, almost everyone. It’s a gorgeous novel with a particular emotional power: it helps you grieve a life you still have. But then came a real pandemic, not as lethal as the one Mandel imagined, but a shock nonetheless. And “Station Eleven” — already a beloved international best seller — found a second life. Mandel became known as a pandemic prophet. “Station Eleven” became an acclaimed HBO Max series.“Sea of Tranquility” by Mandel is written from within the hothouse of that strange kind of celebrity. The author put a version of herself in there, struggling with fame and parenthood and quarantine and too much travel. But there are also moon colonies, and time travel, and hints that we live in a computer simulation. If “Station Eleven” explores how calamity could change the world, “Sea of Tranquility” wonders what happens if it doesn’t.This conversation begins in the weirdness of the simulation hypothesis, but winds its way to much more fundamental questions of being human right now. There is so much we could lose, so much we already have lost; why is it so hard to live with the gratitude our lives should inspire, or the seriousness the moment demands?Mentioned:“The Power of Patience” by Jennifer L. RobertsThis Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub“Are We Living in a Computer Simulation?” by Nick BostromBook recommendations:Scary Monsters by Michelle de KretserIll Will by Dan ChaonSuite Française by Irène NémirovskyThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
With the midterms just over six months away, the electoral prospects for Democrats are looking bleak. President Biden’s approval rating is at 42 percent, around where Donald Trump’s was at this point in his presidency. Recent polls asking whether Americans want Republicans or Democrats in Congress found that Republicans are leading by about 2 percentage points. And with inflation spiking to its highest point in decades, Covid cases rising and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continuing to send economic and humanitarian shock waves across the globe, things don’t look as if they are going to get better anytime soon.What will it take for Democrats to turn things around? What fights should they be picking with Republicans, and how should they be making the case that they deserve another chance at leading the country?Sean McElwee is a co-founder and the executive director of Data for Progress, a research organization that gathers polling data to strategize on behalf of progressive causes and policies. Anat Shenker-Osorio is a principal at ASO Communications, a political communications firm that conducts analytic and empirical research to help progressive political campaigns. She also hosts the “Words to Win By” podcast. McElwee and Shenker-Osorio have deeply influenced my thinking on how words work in American politics: how campaigns can meaningfully address what voters want and how they can persuade swing voters and motivate the party’s base.In this conversation, McElwee and Shenker-Osorio help me understand where Democrats stand with the electorate and what, if anything, they can do to improve their chances in 2022. We discuss why Biden’s approval rating is so low, given the popularity of his policies, why governing parties so often lose midterm elections, whether Democrats should focus more on persuading swing voters or on mobilizing their base, why it’s important for Democrats to get their base to sing from the same songbook, what Democrats can learn from Trump about winning voters’ attention, how Republicans are running politics on easy mode, whether it was wise politically for Biden to double down on the message to fund the police, what political fights Democrats should pick in the lead-up to the midterms, how the party should handle spiking inflation and more.Mentioned:"Democrats, Here's How to Lose in 2022. And Deserve It." by Ezra KleinBook recommendations:Anat Shenker-OsorioA Theory of System Justification by John T. JostMemorial by Bryan WashingtonThese Precious Days by Ann PatchettSean McElweeThe Course by Ed MillerThe Precipice by Toby OrdThe Climate War by Eric PooleyThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
“Trauma is much more than a story about something that happened long ago,” writes Dr. Bessel van der Kolk. “The emotions and physical sensations that were imprinted during the trauma are experienced not as memories but as disruptive physical reactions in the present.”Van der Kolk, a psychiatrist by training, has been a pioneer in trauma research for decades now and leads the Trauma Research Foundation. His 2014 book “The Body Keeps the Score,” quickly became a touchstone on the topic. And although the book was first released over seven years ago, it now sits at No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list, a testament to the state of our national psyche.The core argument of the book is that traumatic experiences — everything from sexual assault and incest to emotional and physical abuse — become embedded in the older, more primal parts of our brain that don’t have access to conscious awareness. And that means two things simultaneously. First, that trauma lodges in the body. We carry a physical imprint of our psychic wounds. The body keeps the score. But — and I found this more revelatory — the mind hides the score. It obscures the memories, or convinces us our victimization was our fault, or covers the event in shame so we don’t discuss it.There’s a lot in this conversation. We discuss the lived experience of trauma, the relationship between the mind and the body, the differences between our “experiencing” and “autobiographical” selves, why van der Kolk believes human language is both a “miracle” and a “tyranny,” unconventional treatments for trauma from E.M.D.R. and yoga to psychedelics and theater, how societies can manage collective trauma like 9/11 and Covid-19, the shortcomings of America’s “post-alcoholic” approach to dealing with psychic suffering, how to navigate the often complex relationships with the traumatized people we know and love, and much more.Mentioned: “The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study” by Vince Felitti et al.Study on efficacy of EMDR“REBUS and the Anarchic Brain: Toward a Unified Model of the Brain Action of Psychedelics” by Robin Carhart-Harris et al. Book Recommendations:The Apology by V Love in Goon Park by Deborah BlumThe Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Ezra Klein Show" at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein.Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing and engineering by Jeff Geld, audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is only getting more brutal: We’ve seen the bodies of civilians strewn in the streets in Bucha, the city of Mariupol almost leveled and, just a few days ago, a Russian missile attack on a crowded train station in Kramatorsk killing at least 50 people. The United Nations has confirmed 1,793 civilian deaths in Ukraine, though the actual number is thought to be far higher.Russia’s viciousness in this campaign makes Ukraine’s resilience all the more remarkable. Ukrainians have defied expectations in staving off Russia’s far larger army and holding cities like Kyiv that some believed might fall within days of an invasion. Much of the commentary in recent weeks has revolved around what this war has revealed about Russia: its myths, its military, its leadership, its threat. What’s no less important, though, is what this war has revealed about Ukraine.Ukrainians have modeled a deep commitment to self-determination and shown how far they would go to protect it. The Ukrainian philosopher and editor Volodymyr Yermolenko has written that “freedom is the key trait of Ukraine’s identity as a political nation,” and Ukraine’s resistance testifies to how deep that trait runs.Yermolenko is a philosopher, the editor in chief of UkraineWorld and the editor of the essay collection “Ukraine in Histories and Stories.” I invited Yermolenko onto the show to help me understand how Ukraine has defined itself in relation to the political behemoths to its east and west: Russia and Europe. Our conversation also explores what it has felt like to be in Kyiv as Russian troops have shelled the city, how definitions of time and home change during war, what has — and hasn’t — surprised Yermolenko about the Ukrainian resistance, what people in the West may not understand about the cultural differences between Ukraine and Russia, why Ukraine’s political structure makes it so difficult to conquer, how Ukraine is reminding the West why its republican and humanistic values matter, what Yermolenko would say to President Biden if he could and more.Mentioned:“Volodymyr Yermolenko, a Ukrainian philosopher, considers his national identity” by Volodymyr Yermolenko“Dreams of Europe” by Volodymyr YermolenkoBook Recommendations:“Ukraine in Histories and Stories” by Volodymyr Yermolenko“The Gates of Europe” by Serhii Plokhy“Lost Kingdom” by Serhii Plokhy“Chernobyl” by Serhii Plokhy“Blood of Others” by Rory FinninThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Kate Sinclair and Mary Marge Locker; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
The Russia-Ukraine war has changed considerably in recent weeks. Vladimir Putin is no longer talking explicitly about regime change in Ukraine. The Russian military has shifted its focus away from taking Kyiv and toward making territorial gains in Ukraine’s east. The prospect of an outright Ukrainian victory is no longer out of the question. And negotiations between the parties over a possible settlement appear to be making some progress.There’s been a darker turn as well: Over the weekend, images surfaced of atrocities committed by the Russian military against Ukrainian civilians. And Western leaders are considering expanding military aid to Ukraine, initiating war crimes investigations and placing harsher sanctions on Russia in response.Fiona Hill served as deputy assistant to the president and senior director for European and Russian affairs on the National Security Council under Donald Trump and as a national intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasia under Barack Obama and George W. Bush. I had her on the show a few weeks ago to help me make sense of the Russia-Ukraine conflict as it was developing at the time, and it was one of the most illuminating perspectives I’d heard on the topic. So I invited her back to discuss how the situation has changed, where we are now and what the conflict could look like.We discuss why Hill has become pessimistic about the possibility of a peace deal, how the carnage in Bucha could alter the course of the conflict, why Russia has been so much weaker on the battlefield than expected, whether Ukraine can achieve an outright victory, why this war is making Putin more popular in Russia (not less), what else the West could be doing to support Ukraine, why Hill thinks we’re entering a “much darker” phase of the conflict, what role China could play in bringing about a negotiated settlement, what a renewed framework for European security could look like and more.Book Recommendations:The Art of War by Sun TzuThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Kate Sinclair and Mary Marge Locker; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
The hype around cryptocurrencies has reached a fever pitch. There are Super Bowl ads for crypto companies featuring celebrities like Matt Damon and Larry David. The Staples Center in Los Angeles is now the Crypto.com Arena. And behind that hype is a distinct vision: a more decentralized economy where individuals have more autonomy over their finances, a grass-roots internet free of the not-so-invisible hand of Big Tech, and a cultural ecosystem where artists and musicians can fairly monetize their work.But what if that vision is deeply flawed? What if the technology undergirding cryptocurrencies isn’t what it’s cracked up to be? Or what if the technology does work, yet the world it creates isn’t a decentralized utopia but a hyper-financialized dystopia?Dan Olson is the creator of a two-hour-YouTube video, “Line Goes Up,” that has now been viewed nearly seven million times. “Line Goes Up” is the single most comprehensive critique of crypto that I’ve ever heard. And that’s because Olson isn’t just focused on cryptocurrencies as a technology or an asset class, but on the crypto universe as a distinct culture underpinned by a powerful ideology. It’s easy to think about the lingo, the acronyms and the myths associated with the crypto world as incidental to the value of cryptocurrencies and NFTs as assets. But for Olson, the culture and the currency are inextricably linked. And once you’ve made that connection, suddenly a lot of the problems, warning signs and potential dangers of crypto become visible in a new way.Mentioned:“A Crypto Optimist Meets a Crypto Skeptic” from “The Ezra Klein Show”“How NFTs Create Value” by Steve Kaczynski and Scott Duke KominersYou Are Not a Gadget by Jaron Lanier“Web3 Is Going Just Great” by Molly WhiteThe Gift by Lewis HydeBook recommendations:The Power Broker by Robert A. CaroThe Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. Le GuinPersuasive Games by Ian BogostThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld and Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
The Russian political scientist Ilya Matveev recently described the impact of the West’s sanctions on his country as “30 years of economic development thrown into the bin.” He’s not exaggerating. Economists expect the Russian economy to contract by at least 15 percent of G.D.P. this year. Inflation is spiking. An exodus of Russian professionals is underway. Stories of shortages and long lines for basic consumer goods abound.The U.S. and its allies have turned to sanctions as a way of taking action against Russia’s atrocities without direct military intervention. But to describe these sanctions as anything short of all-out economic warfare is euphemistic. Measures like these might be cloaked in the technocratic language of finance and economics, but the immiseration they cause is anything but abstract.Nicholas Mulder is a historian at Cornell University and the author of the terrifyingly relevant new book “The Economic Weapon: The Rise of Sanctions as a Tool of Modern War.” In it, Mulder focuses on the last time economic warfare was waged at the scale we’re witnessing today, the period between World War I and World War II. And the book’s central lesson is this: We ultimately don’t know what’s going to happen when sanctions of this magnitude collide with the ideologies, myths and political dynamics of a given country. They could persuade the targeted country to back down. But they could also make it so desperate that it becomes more aggressive or lashes out — as Germany and Japan did on the eve of World War II.So this is a discussion about what kind of weapon sanctions are, whether they actually achieve their goals and how they might shape the future of the Russia-Ukraine conflict — and the world. We also explore how sanctions “weaponize inflation,” whether they could lead to Vladimir Putin’s downfall in Russia, the toll they have taken on the Russian economy, how the West can leverage its sanctions to help bring about an end to the war in Ukraine, whether a European energy embargo could backfire, how this economic war is destabilizing countries around the world, the humanitarian crisis U.S. sanctions are helping create in Afghanistan, and what a foreign policy that didn’t rely so heavily on sanctions could look like.This episode is guest hosted by Rogé Karma, the staff editor for “The Ezra Klein Show.” Rogé has been with the show since July 2019, when it was based at Vox. He works closely with Ezra on everything related to the show, from editing to interview prep to guest selection. At Vox, he also wrote articles and conducted interviews on topics ranging from policing and racial justice to democracy reform and the coronavirus.Mentioned:“The Inflation Weapon: How American Sanctions Harm Iranian Households” by Esfandyar Batmanghelidj “Iran, Sanctions and Inflation as a Weapon of Mass Destruction” by Spencer Ackerman Oligarchy by Jeffrey A. Winters“If Joe Biden Doesn’t Change Course, This Will Be His Worst Failure” by Ezra Klein Book recommendations:Collapse by Vladislav M. ZubokThe Perfect Fascist by Victoria de GraziaMy Century by Aleksander WatThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Kate Sinclair and Mary Marge Locker; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
“There is a chance that macroeconomic stimulus on a scale closer to World War II levels than normal recession levels will set off inflationary pressures of a kind we have not seen in a generation,” wrote Larry Summers in February 2021. A year later, the debate still rages over the first part of that sentence — the extent to which the American Rescue Plan is responsible for rising prices. But the rest of it is no longer in question: We’re currently experiencing the worst inflationary crisis in decades.Annual inflation was already at its highest rate in decades in January of this year. But there was still a hopeful story you could tell about 2022: As the Covid pandemic eased, spending patterns would normalize, supply chains would strengthen, the labor market would stabilize, and inflation would ease. Then the Russian invasion of Ukraine sent global commodity markets into a tailspin and energy prices to record highs. An Omicron wave hit China, leading to huge lockdowns affecting global supply chains. And while the Fed has responded with the first of many planned interest rate hikes, it looks as though the inflation picture is only going to get worse in the immediate future.For over a year now, Summers — a former U.S. Treasury secretary and current Harvard economist — has been warning about the economy that we appear to be entering. So I invited him to the show to make his case and paint a picture of what he thinks comes next. We discuss why he thinks we’re almost certainly headed toward a recession, why he believes the Fed is engaged in “wishful and delusional thinking,” whether corporations are using this inflationary period as an excuse to goose profit margins, how to avoid a 1970s-style stagflation crisis, whether interest rates are the right tool to be addressing inflation in the first place, why he thinks much more immigration is one of the best tools we have to bring down prices in the long term and much more.Mentioned:Larry Summers’s Mar. 17 Op-Ed in The Washington PostBook Recommendations:The Best and The Brightest by David HalberstamThe Price of Peace by Zachary D. CarterSlouching Towards Utopia by J. Bradford DeLongThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Andrea López-Cruzado; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
A good rule of thumb is that whatever Margaret Atwood is worried about now is likely what the rest of us will be worried about a decade from now. The rise of authoritarianism. A backlash against women’s social progress. The seductions and dangers of genetic engineering. Climate change leading to social unrest. Advertising culture permeating more and more of our lives. Atwood — the author of the Booker Prize-winning novels “The Blind Assassin” and “The Testaments,” as well as “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Oryx and Crake” and, most recently, the essay collection “Burning Questions” — was writing about these topics decades ago, forecasting the unsettling world that we inhabit now. Pick up any one of her 17 published novels, and you will likely come across a theme or a quality of the setting that rings eerily true in the present day.This is especially true of Atwood’s magnum opus, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which takes place in a future America where climate change, droughts, a decaying economy and falling birthrates lead to the rise of a theocracy in which women called Handmaids are conscripted into childbirth. The repressive regime she created in that novel, Gilead, has been endlessly referred to and reinterpreted over the years because of the wisdom it contains about why people cooperate with — and resist — political movements that destroy the freedom of others. And as recent weeks have shown, we’re far from the day when that wisdom becomes irrelevant to present circumstances.We discuss the deep human craving for stories, why Atwood believes we are engaged in “an arm wrestle for the soul of America,” what makes the stories of the Bible so compelling, the dangerous allure of totalitarian movements, how the shift from coal to oil helped to fuel the rise of modern consumerism, why she thinks climate change will cause even more harm by increasing the likelihood of war than it will by increasing the likelihood of extreme weather, how our society lost its capacity to imagine new utopias, why progressives need to incorporate more fun into their politics, why we should “keep our eye on the mushroom,” Atwood’s take on recent U.F.O. sightings and more. She even sings a bit of a song from the 1950s about the Iron Curtain.Mentioned:Art & Energy by Barry LordBook recommendations:War by Margaret MacMillanBiased by Jennifer L. EberhardtSecrets of the Sprakkar by Eliza ReidCharlotte’s Web by E. B. WhiteLord of the Rings by J. R. R. TolkienThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Kate Sinclair and Mary Marge Locker; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin, Kristina Samulewski, Coral Ann Howells and Brooks Bouson.
Nearly every dimension of the Ukraine-Russia conflict has been shaped by energy markets.Russia’s oil and gas exports have long been the foundation of its economy and geopolitical strength. Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine — like his annexation of Crimea in 2014 — coincided with high energy prices. While Western sanctions have dealt a major blow to Russia’s financial system, European carve-outs for Russian oil and gas have kept hundreds of millions of dollars flowing to Moscow every day.As a result, energy policy has become foreign policy. European countries are doubling down on their commitments to decarbonize in order to reduce their dependence on Russian energy as quickly as possible. The United States has banned Russian oil and gas imports, and in the wake of spiking gasoline prices, the Biden administration is looking for any opportunity to increase the world’s oil supply, including the possibility of normalizing trade relations with previously blacklisted countries like Venezuela and Iran.But the intersection of energy and geopolitics extends far beyond this conflict. Energy is the bedrock of nations’ economic prosperity, military strength and geopolitical power. Which means energy markets are constantly shaping and reshaping global dynamics. You can’t understand the way the world operates today if you don’t understand the global flow of energy.There are few people who have studied energy markets as closely as Daniel Yergin has. He is an economic historian and writer who has been called “America’s most influential energy pundit” in The New York Times. And he’s the author of numerous books on the intersection of energy and geopolitics, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power” and, most recently, the best-selling “The New Map: Energy, Climate, and the Clash of Nations.”We discuss how Putin’s invasion halfway across the world caused gasoline prices to rise in California; what would happen to European economies if they decided to cut off Russian gas; how the U.S. shale revolution has transformed the global political landscape; why, when it comes to China and Russia, Yergin believes that “a relationship that was once based on Marx and Lenin is now grounded in oil and gas”; whether Donald Trump was right to be skeptical of Nord Stream 2; why decarbonization is not only beneficial for the climate but also crucial for national security; whether the Biden administration’s response to spiking energy prices is putting its climate agenda in jeopardy; why Yergin thinks hydrogen power could become central to combating climate change; and much more.Book recommendations:Putin’s World by Angela StentThe Power of Law by Sebastian MallabyThe Cloud Revolution by Mark P. MillsThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Andrea López-Cruzado; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
As we enter the fourth week of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, many of the possible pathways this conflict could take are terrifying. A military quagmire that leads to protracted death and suffering. A Russian takeover of Kyiv and installation of a puppet government. An accidental strike on Polish or Romanian territory that draws America and the rest of NATO into war. Or, perhaps worst of all, a series of escalations that culminates in nuclear exchange.But one possibility carries a glimmer of hope. This week, Ukrainian and Russian negotiators began talks on a tentative peace plan — one that would involve Ukraine abandoning its attempts to join NATO and promising not to host foreign military bases or weaponry, in exchange for Western security guarantees and a Russian troop withdrawal. We’re still far from any kind of definitive settlement — and there are legitimate concerns over whether Putin would accept any kind of deal at this point — but it’s a start.Emma Ashford is a senior fellow with the New American Engagement Initiative at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, and a member of the school of foreign policy thinking known as “realism.” Realists view international relations as a contest between states for power and security; they tend to focus less on the psychologies and ideologies of individual leaders and more on the strategic self-interest of the parties involved. It’s an imperfect framework but a useful one — especially when it comes to analyzing what it would take to achieve a successful negotiation or settlement.So I invited Ashford on the show to help me think through the different trajectories the conflict could take — and what the West can do to make de-escalation more likely. We also discuss John Mearsheimer’s argument that the West’s effort to expand NATO bears responsibility for Putin’s invasion, why Ashford isn’t particularly worried about the possibility of Russian cyberattacks on the West, how Western sanctions blur the line between war and peace, whether NATO’s efforts to supply Ukraine with weapons might backfire, why sanctions might not hurt Russian elites as much as Western leaders hope and how this conflict is changing the geopolitical calculus of countries like Germany, China and India.Book recommendations:The Economic Weapon by Nicholas MulderNot One Inch by M.E. SarotteThe Sleepwalkers by Christopher ClarkThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
“Americans and Europeans were guided through the new century by a tale about ‘the end of history,’ by what I will call the politics of inevitability, a sense that the future is just more of the present, that the laws of progress are known, that there are no alternatives, and therefore nothing really to be done,” writes the Yale historian Timothy Snyder in his 2018 book, “The Road to Unfreedom.”The central thesis of “The Road to Unfreedom” is that different understandings of the past, its myths, histories and memories create radically different politics. Snyder wrote the book as a way of understanding Vladimir Putin’s 2014 invasion of Crimea and the West’s response, but its argument has become only more salient in recent weeks. You can’t understand Putin’s recent invasion of Ukraine without understanding his metaphysical attachment to the era of empire, his mythological telling of Russian-Ukrainian history, and his semi-mystical construction of what constitutes the Russian nation.But Snyder’s more radical argument is that the West is also operating under its own mythological understanding of time — one that is so deeply ingrained in our collective psyche that it masquerades as common sense. And that understanding the influence of the “politics of inevitability” is essential to make sense of everything from the West’s misreading of Putin’s motivations to the internal fracturing of the European Union to the decline of liberal democracy across the globe.So that’s where we start: with the central myths at the heart of the modern Western project — and the blind spots they have created. But Snyder is also a renowned historian of European great-power conflict who has written six books entirely or partly about Ukraine. So we also discuss the chasm between the radicalness of European integration and the tedium of European governance, why Snyder thinks Putin’s invasion is fundamentally the product of a Russian identity crisis, Ukraine’s unique history as a battleground for a great-power war, how Ukrainian identity transcends ethnicity and language, why Western leaders and analysts consistently fail to decipher Putin’s intentions, the huge difference between a Russian nation premised on myth and a Ukrainian nation forged by collective action, how Ukrainian resistance could inspire a Western vision for the future and more.Mentioned:Bloodlands by Timothy Snyder"On the History Unity of Russians and Ukrainians” by Vladimir PutinBook recommendations:Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible by Peter PomerantsevThe Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah ArendtThe Gates of Europe by Serhii PlokhyThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
For Western audiences, the past few weeks have been a torrent of information about what’s happening in Russia and Ukraine. Daily updates of Russian military advances. Horrifying videos of buildings exploding and innocent civilians being killed. Announcements of increasingly severe economic sanctions and major corporate pullouts. Charts showing the collapse of the ruble. Story after story about the hardships facing the Russian economy.Most Russians, however, are living in an alternate reality. This week, the Russian government made it a crime for journalists to spread what it considers false information about the “special military operation” in Ukraine — information that would include calling the war a war. As a result, many Western news organizations, including The Times, have pulled their employees out of Russia. The Kremlin has made it nearly impossible for people in Russia to access independent or international news sources. Russian state media coverage of the conflict has been, in the words of my guest today, “bland and bloodless.”That raises some important questions: What do ordinary Russians know about the war being waged by their government? How are they interpreting the collapse of their currency and impending financial crisis? What are they being told to believe? And is the propaganda machine working?Masha Gessen is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the author of many books on Russian history, politics and culture, including “The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin” and the National Book Award-winning “The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia.” And, perhaps most important, Gessen has been on the ground in Russia in recent weeks trying to understand how ordinary Russians are seeing and interpreting the world around them.This is a conversation that starts in Moscow, as Gessen describes what it was like to be there during the first days of the invasion. We talk about the eerie sense of normalcy in the city as the ruble crashed and the odd sense of calm in Pushkin Square as policemen in combat gear dragged protesters into a police bus. We then take a wider view on how Russians responded to economic sanctions in the past, how totalitarian societies make it impossible for people to form opinions, where Putin sees himself in a lineage of “brutal, expansionist dictators” like Ivan the Terrible and Joseph Stalin, why Putin governs Russia as if it were a 19th-century empire, what we learn when we listen closely to Putin’s speeches and how this latest act of aggression is likely to play out.Disclaimer: This episode contains explicit language.Mentioned:The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt“How Putin Wants Russians to See the War in Ukraine” by Masha Gessen in The New YorkerThe Future Is History by Masha GessenFirst Person by Vladimir Putin, Nataliya Gevorkyan, Natalya Timakova, and Andrei KolesnikovBook recommendations:The Last Empire by Serhii PlokhyManual for Survival by Kate BrownBabi Yar by Anatoly KuznetsovThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; original music and mixing by Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin, Kristina Samulewski and Joanna Szostek.
Comments (112)

Jonathan Vedamuthu

The entire right seems to have forgotten Daniel Bell's essential classic The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism. No kidding neoliberalism in its unrestrained capitalist form is corrosive to the virtues and institutions underlying the social order. But this guy misses the forest for the trees.

May 19th
Reply

dp

less than 1 actual maga Trumper would read that book, . or know who Buckley was, or listen to this particular intellectual elite discussion for more than 5 minutes.b

May 17th
Reply

Lawrence Robertson

I have a healthy respect for small C conservatism. The desire, and really responsibility to ask: what effects - long and short term - will certain new policies, technologies, innovations etc... will have on the structure of society and culture. Ezra's guest feints having these concerns in his rhetoric, but is a poorly disguised attempt to create a time machine into a past that never existed. His mentioning of 'George Bailey' and 'Bedford Fall' from 'It's a Wonderful Life' as a contrast for what he does not like about 'Real Life'. A lot of 'Critiques' with no practical solutions.

May 13th
Reply

Shiny Kopinsky

This is the definition of intellectual dishonesty. Just because the Catholic author is opposed to same sex marriage and divorce doesn't mean liberals hate families. Or that the GOP has become more fiscally progressive? Wtf??? It would seem he's created an inflammatory premise and is just back filling it with right-wing propaganda. It's a shame, too, because the conversation regarding both parties' failure to protect the working class could have been interesting.

May 13th
Reply (1)

cse

what a tool.

May 13th
Reply

Xavier O'Neil

When I saw the title I was really excited to hear what he had to say. After listening, I realize why I haven't voted for any Republican since 2008. First America has never been the moral paradigm that they want to take us back to. Second, they always feign outrage about something minor thing because they don't really want to be honest about why they are really angry. Lastly, as an Independent, I get tired of Republicans framing anyone that is not them as hating America and trying to detroy it. Suggesting malignant intentions and disdain for the country if you don't see it the same way they do.

May 13th
Reply (18)

Mark Saltiel

Worth several listens!

May 2nd
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Estes Kefauver

why isn't Anat running for a toss-up House seat?? She sounds better prepared than most.

Apr 22nd
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Lara Jakubowski

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Apr 14th
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Douglas Dickenson

Two of Ezra Klein's staff have accent and voice tone similar to his, including a slight lisp.

Apr 1st
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Bob the Conqueror of Mornings

The vocal fry of Rogé Karma is killing me

Apr 1st
Reply

Ben Helvick Anderson

why does Ezra's voice sound different?

Apr 1st
Reply

Diana Guzmán Colón

I wish the interviewee brought in more data or studies to base his arguments on. It seemed like he was listing a list of personal grievances without looking at the root causes. Ezra did a good job of “grounding” his arguments. Lost me at “Feminization”.

Apr 1st
Reply

Lisa Kelley

l l

Mar 23rd
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C muir

didn't the media and democrats refuse to accept trump's election and funded and fueled a hoax to remove him from power.

Mar 22nd
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Cody Buttron

I don't understand why Putin gets to decide and dictate who Nato offers membership to? If Ukraine wanted to stay neutral and if Russia wasn't intimidating them they wouldn't have said sure we'll consider and strive for it. It's all what about this what about that.

Mar 18th
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C muir

interesting discussion. but the white privilege blah blah

Mar 15th
Reply

Zeeshan Muhammad

Such a great conversation. Fareed is really insightful and backs up his points as he speaks. Very refreshing!

Mar 9th
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Julia LoBosco

this was fascinating dive into the politics behind what is happening

Mar 3rd
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C muir

how these journalists..yearn for trump. it's almost touching. they pretend to themselves that the Russia hoax wasn't cooked up by h clinton and the media.

Mar 3rd
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