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After the ‘End of History’

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After the ‘End of History’ is a podcast about International Relations Theory and History.
21 Episodes
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The following is an excerpt of the upcoming release of Episode 22 on The Longer Telegram. To hear the full episode, please consider subscribing to our Patreon at patreon.com/afterhistory.  Subscribers receive early access to new episodes, including Bonus recordings and written material under the "For Subscribers" page of Hawks & Sparrows. Thanks for your support. 
Welcome to Episode 20 of After the 'End of History.'  Adam Smith's thoughts on industrial specialization and David Ricardo's theory of comparative advantage take center stage in this week's discussion on Chapter 1 of Pettis & Klein's Trade Wars Are Class Wars. We also consider how the history of globalization has borne out their insights in light of the rise of containerization and the production of intermediate goods around the globe. While the world's economy operates in an increasingly interconnected manner, the methods by which economists traditionally track international trade have been disrupted by breathtaking Tax Avoidance schemes and overly simplified bilateral trade accounting. We discuss the role this plays in distorting the true extent of global economic integration, which can lead to harmful macroeconomic policy and create unnecessary tensions in the interstate system (chiefly between the US and China).  The music that you hear on After the 'End of History' is kindly provided by Jason King. If you're interested in becoming a subscriber of the show, please visit our Patreon at patreon.com/afterhistory. You can also find us at hawksnsparrows.com. 
After a hiatus, we return with a brief introduction to the thought and influence of JA Hobson, whose 1902 work "Imperialism" forms the intellectual pivot around which Pettis & Klein's "Trade Wars Are Class Wars" (2020, Yale University Press) presents its central thesis: inequality within countries intensifies trade conflicts between nations. This is the first in a multi-part discussion on Pettis & Klein's thoughtful book, a polemical take on the roots and dangers of global trade imbalances. Connecting this research to our last discussion on Mahbubani, we ask: How does the macroeconomic picture painted by Pettis & Klein contribute to our understanding of the growing rivalry between the US and China? Jason King provides the music you hear in After the 'End of History.'  After the 'End of History' is part of the Hawks & Sparrows project. 
Episode XVIII takes a detour from Mahbubani's "Has China Won?" and looks closely at the military side of the burgeoning strategic conflict between the American hegemon and its rival to the East. Focusing on three texts by a group of naval experts, we discuss how Alfred T. Mahan has been central to China's grand strategy for the Pacific and how its military planners' view of the First Island chain, a simple but unfortunate geospatial reality, forms a critical aspect of their conception of China's place in the world. Finally, to Mahbubani's question, "Can the US make U-Turns?" we test the question against military expenditures on outdated platforms and weapons systems in the Pacific. We head into our final discussion on "Has China Won?" by sharing some thoughts on how these military-strategic works have reframed our earlier, perhaps overly optimistic view of China's successes. On the next episode, we'll continue exploring that question through the lens of economics, centrally focused on Pettis and Klein's "Trade Wars are Class Wars." Works under discussion: Michael J. Green: By More Than Providence T. Yoshihara and J. Holmes: Red Star Over the PacificJerry Hendrix: At What Cost a Carrier?  Thanks for listening. Jason King provides the music you hear in After the 'End of History.' 
Part II drills into Mahbubani's discussion of "how other countries will choose" in the coming showdown between China, a burgeoning regional hegemon, and the United States, the ostensibly failing empire. From there we review last year's debate between Mahbubani and John Mearsheimer which took place virtually, in the midst of the pandemic's first wave, at the Center for Independent Study. We're particularly interested in how each thinker frames his views on military conflict, counterbalancing and alliance building. We also share some thoughts on who won the debate, noting the stark differences in outlook -- somewhat panglossian in Kishore's case; hardcore realist in John's -- and revisit the ideas of our old friend Christopher Layne, whose recent work in Foreign Affairs sheds classical neorealist light on the debate. Join us next week for a discussion on Pettis and Klein's "Trade Wars are Class Wars." Jason King provides the music you hear in After the 'End of History.' 
Episode 16: Sacred Cows, Institutional OrthodoxiesKishore Mahbubani, author of last year's "Has China Won? The Chinese Challenge to American Primacy," is an academic and diplomat, serving as Singapore's delegate to the UN for over ten years. On this week's episode of After the 'End of History' we introduce his work on the stakes of China's rise, which presents an "inevitable but avoidable" clash vis a vis American hegemony. It should be clear by the end of this week's discussion -- the first part of three -- that he answers his title's question with a resounding yes, challenging the institutional orthodoxies of American foreign policy thought. Mahbubani believes that America lacks the strategic vision necessary to engage an undeniably rising China in a rational and geopolitically productive manner. But, perhaps more damning, it also behaves inflexibly, failing to temper its ingrained "exceptionalist" thinking to concede a second-place or even equal position of economic, military and political power in the world. This failure to make "U-Turns," among other problems in American foreign policy with respect to China, provides the basis of our discussion this week. Our material for this series of conversations also includes a debate between Mahbubani and John Mearsheimer. The third part will consider the recent economic work of Pettis & Klein, whose acclaimed "Trade Wars are Class Wars"  helps makes sense of the rise of inequality in the age of globalization, a question that places China's steady integration into the international market front and center. Thanks to Jason King, who provides the music that you hear on After the 'End of History.'  
At last we wrap our discussion on Perry Anderson's excellent American Foreign Policy and Its Thinkers with a summary conversation. For those that may be joining the podcast for the first time, this would be a great entry point for understanding Anderson's recent Marxist scholarship, where he has focused on the social, economic and political development of the great and emerging powers of the world. His other books include The New Old World, Brazil Apart and recent studies on Britain (see NLR 125) and the EU (see LRB 17 December 2020 and 7 January 2021). Breaking into a more informal discussion of what we think this work offers activists and writers opposed to US imperialism, we drill into some theoretical issues around the state and society, the role of intellectuals and strategy (uniquely?) in American foreign policy, while also projecting out beyond the book's scope, which was published midway through Obama's second term, into the Trump administration and after. As a segue into the next book under discussion -- Kishore Mahbubani's Has China Won? -- we also tackle some issues around the rise of China as a geopolitical rival to America's global hegemony and what that might mean for the direction of American foreign policy in the near to mid-term. Join us for a more in depth discussion on this topic in Episode 16. Jason King continues to kindly provide the music that you hear in After the 'End of History.' Thanks for listening.  
We conclude our chapter-by-chapter  summary and analysis with a deeper look at the so-called "realists" and "economic determinists" covered in "Realist Ideals" and "Economy First." Rounding out the discussion, Gopal's focus on "Annexe" draws out some insights about the extent to which Leo Strauss's political and philosophical work underlie the neoconservative movement that unleashed a torrent of violent regime change actions and permanent wars throughout the Middle East over the last two decades.Chapter markers below: Realist Ideals: 00:00:32 (Mario)Economy First: 00:45:35 (Tom)Annexe: 00:53:12 (Gopal) Next week, join us for our final discussion on American Foreign Policy and Its Thinkers, a more free-form discussion on the educational value this book offers to activists and writers opposed to American imperialism, as well as the  theoretical problems and themes that we identified throughout the text.  As always, Jason King kindly provides the music that you hear in After the 'End of History.' You can find more of his work on Soundcloud. 
The second half of Anderson's American Foreign Policy and Its Thinkers -- Consilium -- reconstructs the perspectives of key contributors to academic (IR) thought and State Department practice, including Mead, Mandelbaum, Ikenberry and Kupchan, whose various shades of Wilsonianism and liberal internationalism (or humanitarian interventionism) are detailed here in our discussion of "Crusaders." Episode 13 is the first part of two on Anderson's summation of America's central foreign policy thinkers. Next week we return to discuss Robert Kagan, Brzezinski and Robert Art, who Anderson describes as "realists" in a meaningful sense, but all of whose vision and historical grounding  of American Grand Strategy, while distinct in meaningful ways from the Wilsonians above, fall back upon the liberal default expected of the Prince's counselors. Jason King kindly provides the music that you hear in After the 'End of History.' You can find more of his work on Soundcloud. 
In the fifth installment of our focus on Perry Anderson's American Foreign Policy and Its Thinkers, we reconstruct the last three chapters of "Imperium." The presentations cover the period from the Nixon administration through the first half of Obama's second term. Recalibrations: Gopal -- 00:00:00 to 00:27:52Liberalism Militant: Tom -- 00:28:32 to 00:55:02The Incumbent: Mario -- 00:55:33 to 01:43:45Jason King kindly provides the music that you hear in After the 'End of History.' You can find more of his work on Soundcloud. 
In our 11th episode, we focus on Chapter 5  of American Foreign Policy and Its Thinkers, in which Anderson details the objectives of American intervention into Latin America, the Middle East and Southeast Asia during the Cold War. This will be familiar territory for those who followed our discussions on The Jakarta Method.Jason King kindly provides the music that you hear in After the 'End of History.' You can find more of his work on Soundcloud. 
Superpower Showdown. After spending some time on the character of George Kennan, author of the Long Telegram, special guest Gopal provides an in depth look at the theoretical considerations of "Keystones," including the relationship between capitalism and the inter-state system. We discuss what bearing the assertion that capitalism is a "system of production without borders" has on Anderson's analysis of the Cold War. "Keystones" demonstrates Anderson's application of historical materialism to America’s emergence as a hemispheric hegemon in all of its theoretical sophistication. Jason King kindly provides the music that you hear in After the 'End of History.' You can find more of his work on Soundcloud.  
In part II of our discussion on Perry Anderson's American Foreign Policy and Its Thinkers, we take a deeper look at the first three chapters of "Imperium," reading the dynamics between exceptionalism (isolation from the "fallen world") and universalism (making the world in America's image) that can be found in the period from America's founding to the Second World War. We also tackle the emergence of National Security in the foreign policy establishment vis a vis Truman, Kennan and the 'containment' of the Soviet Union. Chapter discussion markers:I. "Prodromes": 00:00:45 II "Crystallization": 00:21:33III. "Security": 00:46:08 Jason King kindly provides the music that you hear in After the 'End of History.' You can find more of his work on Soundcloud. 
In our eighth episode, we introduce the work and thought of Perry Anderson, the leading intellectual figure behind the New Left Review and author of several modern classics of Marxist political thought. We've chosen to dedicate the next few episodes of the podcast to American Foreign Policy and Its Thinkers to discuss how his historical materialist understanding of the long-term trajectory of capitalism and the interstate system frames his perspective on America's rise to global hegemony. We’re joined by our friend Gopal to help draw out the nuances and broader theoretical context of this challenging but rewarding text. Part I includes a brief introduction to Anderson's work, contextualizing American Foreign Policy within his better known works, such as Lineages of the Absolute State and Passages from Antiquity to Feudalism. We also share some thoughts on how his work has impacted our own critical attitudes toward American foreign policy, particularly the "regnant liberalism" that has repeatedly justified imperialist interventions abroad. (See "Arms and Rights" in NLR 31.)Finally, we begin our reconstruction of the book's main topics with a focus on the Preface and Introduction to Imperium, the work's first of two parts (the second being Consilium). Here Anderson lays out what distinguishes his work from other historical scholarship, particularly in its chronological sweep and the interrelation between ("First World") capitalist states both before and after the establishment of American supremacy within the capitalist system.Jason King kindly provides the music that you hear in After the 'End of History.' You can find more of his work on Soundcloud. 
The long reach of the CIA from Latin America to Southeast Asia is discussed here in our last conversation on Vincent Bevins's The Jakarta Method as a product of its early successes in using the imperial toolkit to squash social democratic projects in Latin America, particularly Guatemala and Brazil. We also trace the patterns of anti-communist tactics through the CIA's PSYOPs and repression of leftwing parties in Southeast Asia, focusing, of course, on Indonesia from the tragic period following the September 30th Movement. We also take a critical look at Stalinist Popular Frontism and its disarming of radical parties' ability to adequately defend themselves, politically and militarily, against the coming wave of imperial brutalization. Our discussion concludes with an assessment of the balance sheet in Second and Third World countries following these historic defeats for social democratic and communist organizations in the developing and Communist world. As with other discussions in this series, our source material drew from Odd Arne Westad's The Global Cold War. We also read Eric Hobsbawm's The Age of Extremes for its detail on land reform movements in the Third World, as well as Lucien Rey's "Dossier of the Indonesian Drama," which first appeared in The New Left Review, Number 36 (March/April 1966). Jason King kindly provides the music that you hear in After the 'End of History.' You can find more of his work on Soundcloud. 
Our third discussion on The Jakarta Method details the methodological differences between the two wings of the CIA: the measured, "conciliatory" cosmopolitanism of Howard "Smiling" Jones vs. the loose cannon interventionism of Frank Wisner ("The Wiz"). However tactically distinct in their approaches to regime change in Indonesia during the rise of Sukarno and the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI), both proved to have similar aims, leading ultimately to the extermination of the PKI preceding the coup d'etat of General Suharto. The music on After the ‘End of History’ appears courtesy of Jason King, whose work you can find on SoundCloud. 
In Part II of our episode on The Jakarta Method, we discuss the roots of the CIA-directed anticommunist massacre in Indonesia. We also trace the origins of America's anticommunist crusade during the Cold War to its very foundations as a nation, emphasizing the various cultural responses and military interventions the US pursued in the name of safeguarding liberal capitalist democracy. Topics include the development of Communist parties around the world subsequent to the Bolshevik Revolution, including the Indonesian Communist Party; the political betrayals of Stalin's "Socialism in One Country"; and how the CIA exploited divisions within the anti-colonial movement to pursue America's imperial interests in the Third World. The music on After the ‘End of History’ appears courtesy of Jason King, whose work you can find on SoundCloud. The episode also features a sample of music from Maurice Jarre's soundtrack for the film "The Year of Living Dangerously" (1982). 
The first part in our discussion on The Jakarta Method by Vincent Bevins. Mario and Tom cover the key concepts in Bevins's description of America's bloody interventions around the Third World, including "Modernization Theory." The episode also introduces a book that proves central to The Jakarta Method's research and storytelling, Odd Arne Westad's The Global Cold War. The music on After the ‘End of History’ appears courtesy of Jason King, whose work you can find on SoundCloud. 
In the final discussion of our three-part series on Christopher Layne's The Peace of Illusions, we provide some concluding thoughts on how this work of radical realism should be used by the Left to critique US hegemony. Stay through the end to find out what book we'll be tackling next. The music on After the ‘End of History’ appears courtesy of Jason King, whose work you can find on SoundCloud. 
This is the second episode of our three part discussion of Christopher Layne's The Peace of Illusions. Topics include America's Grand Strategy with respect to the Soviet Union, the origins and evolution of the Open Door ideology and how America's unipolar era will end. The music on After the ‘End of History’ appears courtesy of Jason King, whose work you can find on SoundCloud. 
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