Author: Jordan Schneider

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Conversations exploring China, technology, and US-China relations. Guests include a wide range of analysts, policymakers, and academics. Hosted by Jordan Schneider.

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261 Episodes
Stephen Kotkin on China

Stephen Kotkin on China


Stephen Kotkin is a legendary historian, currently at Hoover, previously at Princeton. Best known for his Stalin biographies, his other works include Uncivil Society, Magnetic Mountain, and Armageddon Averted. Our discussion on China is far-ranging yet in-depth — we manage to pack in: The two dominant subjects taught at the CCP’s Central Party School; Kotkin’s assessment of the main threat to Communism — what “Communism with a human face” means, and why Gorbachev’s reforms ultimately destroyed Communism in the USSR; Why the CCP fears color revolutions more than, say, NATO expansion — and why Xi snapped on Hong Kong in 2020; The twin components of Marxism-Leninism: anti-capitalism + anti-imperialism; And an understanding of Lenin’s “commanding heights,” and what China’s commanding heights are today; The case for optimism about US-China relations, despite — or because of — the recent ratcheting up of tensions; Why Kotkin believes a US-China Cold War is both good and necessary; How the US can get on the diplomatic “front foot”; Making sense of Reagan’s foreign policy — how he was both a “movement conservative” and a “dealmaking conservative.” Outro music: Check out the newsletter and other ChinaTalk content at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
GPT4—AI Unleashed?

GPT4—AI Unleashed?


How will GPT4 change the world? What implications does it have for policy, economics, and society? How will US-China 'racing dynamics' play out and what are the implications for AI safety? To discuss, I've brought together the AI Justice League: Zvi of 'Don't Worry About the Vase', Nathan Labenz of Waymark, and Matthew Mittelsteadt of Mercatus. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Dennis Wilder returns to ChinaTalk — this time with some broader thoughts on how the US intelligence community can rise to the occasion vis-à-vis China. In particular, we discuss: The importance of government hiring those with experience living in China; Contributions that the Foreign Broadcast Intelligence Service (FBIS) has made to China intelligence, and why it should be reinstated; A serious request to make an ChatGPT as good as Alice Miller is at analyzing CCP documents; Why the State Department has established China House and the CIA has established the China Mission Center; What we can learn from Richard Danzig’s Driving in the Dark; How to maintain robust intelligence capabilities in the long-run; Raymond P. Ludden and the “Dixie Mission” — and why the US needs more Luddens today. Outro music: Check out the newsletter and other ChinaTalk content at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Welcome back to the second part of my conversation with Nick Mulder and Lars Schönander. Picking the narrative up in 1935, get real in this episode: Why the Great Depression, counterintuitively, made importing commodities cheaper, and how that affected Germany’s and Japan’s protectionism; The difference between autarky and autarchy; Whether Kim Jong-un’s North Korea could survive a full-on fuel embargo today by using Nazi-era technology; Nick’s definition of “temporal claustrophobia,” and what it has to do with Japan ultimately siding with the Axis; Parallels between the “ABCD circle” (America, Britain, China, Dutch East Indies) and the semiconductor export controls today; Why having an empire was a liability for Britain; What sanctions had to do with the Czechoslovaks — even with a larger army — falling to the Nazis; How the blockades of WWI differed from WWII; And what lessons pro-decouplers should learn from this history of sanctions. Nick’s book recommendations: Nick’s excellent book: Outro music: Check out the newsletter and other ChinaTalk content at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Economic Warfare: A History

Economic Warfare: A History


Today we’re releasing part one of our a two-part conversation with Nick Mulder, a history professor at Cornell and author of The Economic Weapon: The Rise of Sanctions as a Tool of Modern War — a Foreign Affairs Best Book of 2022. With cohost Lars, Schönander, we discuss: The recent advent of the use of sanctions (for example, in the Crimean War, Britain continued to fulfill payments to Russia, the nation it was fighting right then!) Why Europeans were reluctant to employ blockades and sanctions in the early twentieth century, and how their thinking evolved through two world wars How Wilson’s notion of “moral sanctions” and decision to keep blockades in place after the war were important to the development of sanctions, especially during the interwar period The League of Nations’ efforts to establish a “positive sanctions” fund, and why the concept never took off Nick’s take on why Hoover is underrated When and why Italy almost fought a war against Germany over Austria Stay tuned for part two, when we connect this sanctions history to implications to US-China relations today! Nick’s excellent book: Outro music: Check out the newsletter and other ChinaTalk content at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Data scientist Bryan Cheong breaks down how AI actually works, creating video using AI and how the technology is being used beyond image and language models. Also, I've got a meetup March 7th in Palo Alto! Joined by Zheng, we also discuss: The farmers in India using AI for marketing Denoising and weights, the tech behind AI image generation tools What's next for developments in AI Singapore's tech scene Outro music: 我說所有的酒都不如你 by 房東的貓 Check out the newsletter and other ChinaTalk content at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Today we’re going to do a show about the scariest US-China news story I’ve seen in years, that “The US has intelligence that the Chinese government is considering providing Russia with drones and ammunition for use in the war in Ukraine.” Would China really arm Russia, and if so what will that mean for the world if the US and China end up on opposite sides of a proxy war? To discuss this I have on today Georgetown’s, Dennis Wilder, a longtime CIA veteran who served as an NSC director on the China desk under the bush administration and spent six years under Obama editing the presidential daily brief before concluding his career in government as the CIA’s deputy assistant director for East Asia and the Pacific. Outtro Music: Ukranian rap Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
With AI on the verge of transforming the world, how are regulators across the globe approaching the challenges the technology might pose? Also, what does US-China AI collaboration look like today, and will it get caught up in broader tensions in the relationship? Matt Sheehan and Hadrien Pouget, who are both at Carnegie, come on to discuss. Matt's paper on US-China collaboration: Matt's work on Chinese algorithmic regulation: Hadrien's article about the EU: Outtro Music: Monkey Bee: A Short Film by Jamie Hewlett Subscribe to the newsletter! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
William 'Balloon Guy' Kim returns for a roundup of the past few days of news around the Chinese spy balloon and unidentified object shooting. We share our favorite theories of what on earth is going on and what this all means for US-China relations. Subscribe to the ChinaTalk newsletter! Outtro Music: Sammy Davis Jr's Up Up and Away Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Hey ChinaTalk listeners, this year we’re going to do something new—occasional episodes in Mandarin! While getting mainland guests to talk about more conventional topics like US-China relations and export controls has been nearly impossible, I think doing more slice of life/business stories about odd corners of China in the pale imitation of Gushi FM is both fun and enriching to our coverage. In this episode, you’ll hear from the founder of mechanical keyboard manufacturer Meletrix, Simba Hua, about why people like to make their own keyboards, the challenges and wonders of working with the Chinese keyboard supply chain, and customer preferences between East Asian and western keyboard fans. Cohosting with me is Irene Zhang, one of ChinaTalk’s editors. You can find more of her writing, and more ChinaTalk in general, on our newsletter at And if you can’t understand Chinese, not to worry, we’ll be running a translated transcript later this month on the newsletter! Outtro music: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
How does one organization turn expert knowledge into real policy change? Dan Correa, CEO of the Federation of American Scientists and Founder of the Day One Project, discusses the power of policy entrepreneurship and shares examples of the ideas his nonprofit helped turn into legislation.  We'll delve into the nitty-gritty of policymaking and explore topics such as: How to make meetings with government officials more productive.  The importance of pre-work in preparing good ideas and the role experts can play in shaping policy.  Why it's sometimes better to focus on practical solutions rather than comprehensive strategies.  Why think tanks always feel the need to create comprehensive, hundred-page strategies. Article about the creation of the development finance corporation: Check out the Substack at Cover art is midjourney taking a rothko that I then prompted with "innovation" Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
What do we talk about when we talk about tech policy? What are the weird corners of the chips and science bill? How is talent policy broken and what can anyone do about it? And broadly, if you want to change the world through better regulatory and executive action, how do you go about this? To discuss all that we have Divyansh Kaushik, a newly minted PhD from Carnegie Mellon currently at the Federation for American Scientists focusing on emerging tech policy. He was also closely involved with the chips and science bill negotiations.  We talk about - How to talk to lawmakers and share your thoughts on legislation - The complex visa system for foreign workers in the US - The thousands of green cards that never get used.  Outro music: When the Levee Breaks  By Led Zepplin Midjourney art prompted with 'innovation' from this painting Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Chinese balloons over Wyoming!! To discuss, we have on today William 'Balloon Guy' Kim of the Marathon Initiative, Eric Lofgren of AcquisitionTalk, and Gerard Dipippo of CSIS. Intro Music: Up Up and Away, The 5th Fifth Dimension Outro Music: NENA | 99 Luftballons [1983] Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Love it or hate it, AI capabilities continue to advance. As futurists imagine how this technology may one day be used, how it develops and who will be able to access AI tools will also depend on who funds AI projects and what hardware will be needed to get it to work. Lennart Heim is a researcher at the Center for the Governance of AI and the author of a fantastic AI compute syllabus primer, which I have just spent the past few weeks obsessed with. Joining as co-host is Chris Miller, author of the FT business book of the year Chip War - The Fight for the World's Most Critical Technology. We discuss: How much does it cost to develop an AI system? The competition for access to specialized AI chips. Whether investing heavily in large AI models is financially viable. Chip smuggling versus cocaine smuggling. Outro music: 年度专辑 by AR刘夫阳 Check out the Substack at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
China v Taiwan: who would win? Michael O'Hanlon, a senior fellow and director of research at Brookings. He specializes in U.S. defense strategy, the use of military force, and American national security policy. We discuss The limits of scenarios that predict the outcome of a China-Taiwan conflict. What are intercontinental rail guns? How sports teams that play each other in the same year can have different outcomes - and what this says about predictability. Given all this, what’s the point of modelling exercises? Mike's paper: My paper: Outro music: Battle Cry of Freedom by George Root Check out the Substack at! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
This episode is sponsored by Policyware. Check out Samm's class at How do Chinese cyber laws and regulations affect multinational companies, and US-China relations? Samm Sacks of Yale Law School walks us through the latest developments in this arena — we discuss: Why Chinese data policy has been on front-page news in the past few years; What China is hoping to gain from its new laws and regulations; The status of TikTok negotiations, and the prospects of a deal given today’s political climate; How the US and China can — yet sometimes don’t — leverage their data policy infrastructure against one another. Outtro music: 回答 - YOUNG 建坤 Midjourney is me prompting a Duchamp painting "data privacy" Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Say China wins a war for Taiwan. What happens next? To discuss the political and economic consequences of a PRC takeover of Taiwan, I have on today Jude Blanchette and Gerard Dipippo, both fellows at CSIS. Our conversation builds off their paper We recorded this episode in mid-December. Outtro Music: 水哥 ft. 蛋堡 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
In 2023, ChinaTalk is going to Congress! First up in our series is Rep. Ro Khanna, Democrat who represents Silicon Valley. We get into: What he hopes the China Committee can accomplish Why ChatGPT let him down What an effective industrial policy looks like Also, I'm hosting a ChinaTalk meetup in DC next week! RSVP here: Outtro music: Bruce Springsteen, My Hometown Cover Art: I gave midjourney a Miro and told it "US capitol supply chain" Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
What can $52bn for semiconductors actually accomplish? To discuss the tensions and tradeoffs underlying the decisions that the US government is about to make on how to spend this money, I have on today Jacob Feldgoise, an analyst at CSET and Vishnu Kannan, who works at the Carnegie Endowment. We'll be discussing their fantastic paper entitled: "The Limits of Reshoring and Next Steps for U.S. Semiconductor Policy." Jacob and Vishnu's paper: Subscribe to the ChinaTalk Newsletter!!!!: Outtro Music: federal funding by Cake Cover art: I fed midjourney a picasso portrait and told it 'semiconductor supply chain' Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
As AI becomes increasingly sophisticated, we consider the question of whether there are limits to what computers can know and how this compares to human understanding. Joining me on this episode is Sam Hammond, the director of social policy at the Niskanen Center, and Zohar Atkins, a rabbi and host of the podcast "Meditations with Zohar." We discuss The impact of AI on creativity and human thought. Fears around AI and the centralization of power. The potential for AI to have an egalitarian effect on closing innate and environmental differences such as education and access to information. Whether the creative class will be automated out of their jobs. Outro music: Genesis by Daniela Adrade Check out the substack at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Comments (4)

Nilesh Choudhary

Wrong audio uploaded

Dec 2nd

Shane Mononokeynes

Please add the songs you use at the end to the description! There's some I really like even if I don't understand it haha

Nov 26th

Sebastian Freear

Really interesting podcast with a breadth of guests and topics. The host and his chosen format have improved a lot over the year or so that I have been listening, and it now feels very professional.

Aug 23rd

Ren You

I really disappointed the discussion of this serious topic was ruined by host and your guest's flippancy.

Mar 14th
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