Rank #1: U.S. policy towards Israel
Tommy and Ben Rhodes talk with former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro about his time in Israel, why the Middle East Peace process failed, Trump's approach to Israel, the BDS movement, whether support for Israel is getting politicized, Netanyahu's legal jeopardy, and Jared Kushner managing our relationship with Saudi Arabia.
Dec 12 2018
Rank #2: Trump goes to war with Iran
In a bonus episode, Tommy and Ben discuss Trump’s decision to assassinate a top Iranian official named Qassem Soleimani. What happened? How did we get here? Who is Soleimani and why is he so influential? What happens next and how should the 2020 Democrats respond?
Jan 03 2020
Rank #3: Ronan Farrow
Tommy talks with Pulitzer Prize winning author Ronan Farrow about his new book War on Peace and the militarization of American foreign policy.
May 02 2018
Rank #4: Bill Taylor’s got the Ukraine receipts
Tommy and Ben talk about the latest on impeachment and about Turkey’s invasion of Syria. Then they run through a whirlwind week of news that included Brexit updates, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s narrow election victory, and Israel’s ongoing government formation process. They also discuss the treatment of US diplomats in China, Facebook’s handling of disinformation campaigns, protest movements in Haiti and Lebanon and some great reporting about the war in Afghanistan. And in this week’s interview, National Security Advisor Susan Rice joins the pod to talk about Trump and Syria, General Mattis, Benghazi and leading Bill Clinton’s Africa policy.
Oct 23 2019
Rank #5: LIVE from J Street
Tommy and Ben record a special episode from D.C. at the national conference hosted by the progressive Jewish organization J Street. They run through news from around the globe and from the Middle East with Michelle Goldberg of the New York Times - and chat with two activists, Maisam Jaljuli and Mikhael Manekin, about progressive solutions for the Arab-Israeli peace process. The episode also includes selections from interviews Tommy and Ben recorded at the conference with five presidential candidates: Michael Bennet, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, Amy Klobuchar and Bernie Sanders. Full videos for all interviews are available at jstreet.org.
Oct 30 2019
Rank #6: Dunking on Erdogan with Enes Kanter
Police crack down as protests escalate to new heights in Hong Kong. An explosion involving a nuclear reactor in Russia kills at least a half dozen people. Boris Johnson tries to negotiate a U.S.-U.K. trade deal ahead of Britain’s exit from the European Union. A scary report in the New York Times sheds light on what’s driving the spread of right wing extremism around the globe. And Ben Rhodes shares the story behind his recent reporting for The Atlantic on Aung San Suu Kyi. Then Enes Kanter, a professional basketball player for the Boston Celtics, joins Ben in the studio to talk about human rights and the politics of his home country, Turkey - and why President Recep Tayyip Erdogan put out a warrant for his arrest and banned him from coming home.
Aug 14 2019
Rank #7: Syria strikes and North Korea talks
Tommy talks with foreign policy expert Kelly Magsamen about Trump’s strikes on Syria’s chemical weapons site, his lack of a broader strategy, and her attempt to “red team” the policy options during the Obama administration. Then they talk about CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s trip to North Korea.
Apr 18 2018
Rank #8: The CIA's tortured history
Tommy talks with ACLU political director Faiz Shakir about the nomination of Gina Haspel to lead the CIA despite her role in the Bush-era torture of terrorism suspects. They also discuss the politics of national security in the Trump era, and whether Obama did enough to hold the CIA accountable for its actions.
Apr 27 2018
Rank #9: Owned by Russia but itching to bomb Iran
First, Tommy and Ben discuss two stories about the Trump administration agitating to attack Iran. Then they discuss several unnerving reports about Trump potentially being compromised by Russia, followed by Brexit, the World Bank, and our Twitter troll ambassador to Germany. Then a Sudanese-American activist named Wafa May Elamin joins to discuss the ongoing protests in Sudan.
Jan 16 2019
Rank #10: Iran retaliates to the Soleimani strike
Tommy and Ben talk about the fallout from Trump’s decision to assassinate Iranian general Qassem Soleimani. What do we know about Iran’s ballistic missile strikes on bases hosting U.S. troops in Iraq? How are the Iranian people responding? Why is Trump threatening to commit war crimes? Why does the rationale for the strike keep changing and what can Congress do to stop the war from escalating? Then they discuss Kim Jong Un’s announcement that North Korea will abandon constraints on its nuclear program and how climate change has led to catastrophic fires across Australia. Then Middle East expert and former Bush, Obama and Trump aide Brett McGurk joins to discuss when the Soleimani assassination means for our relationship with Iraq and our efforts to fight ISIS.
Jan 08 2020
Rank #11: Right-wing radicals and CIA secrets
Tommy talks with former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano about her efforts to combat right-wing extremists. Then he is joined by former Deputy CIA Director David Cohen to talk about what it was like to learn the world’s most closely guarded secrets, how the CIA works, and hear his David’s views on North Korea and Iran’s nuclear programs.
Aug 16 2017
Rank #12: Revoking John Brennan's security clearance
Tommy talks with former acting CIA director Michael Morell about President Trump's decision to revoke his opponents' security clearances. They discuss why the politicization of intelligence is so dangerous and why many former spy chiefs decided to speak out on Brennan's behalf.
Aug 22 2018
Rank #13: 8 Years in the Situation Room with Ben Rhodes
Tommy and Obama’s former Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes discuss Ben’s career path, Obama’s Cairo speech, the damage Trump is doing, counterterrorism, restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba, Wikileaks, Snowden, Israel, Syria and more.
Feb 15 2017
Rank #14: Emergency North Korea update then Putin’s #1 enemy
Former Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes talks through Trump’s promise of “fire and fury” if North Korea threatens the US and today’s reports on advances in North Korea's nuclear program. Then Tommy is joined by Bill Browder, a businessman who became Putin’s #1 enemy after exposing corruption in Russia. Browder was the driving force behind the Magnitsky Act sanctions to punish Russian human rights abusers.
Aug 09 2017
Rank #15: Please don’t bomb Iran
Tommy and Ben talk about the escalating trade war with China, the drumbeat for real war with Iran, how the Pentagon is hiding how badly things are going in Afghanistan, and (an)other fascist visits the White House. Then Tommy talks with author and historian Michael Beschloss about his book Presidents of War.
May 15 2019
Rank #16: Foreign lobbying and what Bob Woodward taught us about Trump's foreign policy
Two part show this week! First, Tommy talks with the Wall Street Journal's Julie Bykowicz about new and insidious ways foreign countries are lobbying the Trump administration. Then, Tommy is joined by Vox's Alex Ward to discuss North Korea, revelations in Bob Woodward's book, new theories about what harmed diplomats in Cuba, and Burma.
Sep 05 2018
Rank #17: "Space Force all the way!"
Tommy talks with defense expert Katherine Charlet from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace about President Trump's plan to create a Space Force!!! How much is the military currently operating in space? Is this proposal smart, necessary or a gigantic waste of taxpayer money. Listen to this episode (which includes lasers) to find out!
Aug 15 2018
Rank #18: New year, same problems
First, Tommy talks with Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin about Trump's Syria flip flops and how he's demoralizing the intel community. Then, Ben Rhodes joins to talk about Secretary Pompeo's middle east trip and Cairo speech, the new authoritarian President in Brazil, and the anti-BDS bill going through Congress.
Jan 09 2019
Rank #19: Snowden and Surveillance with Glenn Greenwald
Intercept editor Glenn Greenwald joins to respond to criticism of Edward Snowden and to discuss his views on intelligence collection.
Mar 15 2017
Rank #20: Brexit and is Dick Cheney good now? (no)
First, Tommy and Ben talk about the ongoing Brexit disaster, Dick Cheney's surprisingly accurate criticisms of Trump's foreign policy, the rollback of Obama-era rules about disclosing civilian casualties, and important updates from Venezuela. Then, Tommy talks with immigration and human rights activist Enrique Morones about his work on the US-Mexico border.
Mar 13 2019