Rank #1: This Is Not Propaganda: Around the World with Peter Pomerantsev
This Is Not Propaganda: Adventures in the War Against Reality
How (Not) to Regulate the Internet
Peter Pomerantsev in TAI
Under the Information Rubble
Peter Pomerantsev in TAI
Individualism and the Disinformation State
Peter Pomerantsev in TAI
Episode 129: A Russian Reflection with Peter Pomerantsev
Peter Pomerantsev on The American Interest Podcast, August 2016
When Peter Pomerantsev left Russia in 2010, he was eager to move on from a place where “nothing is true and everything is possible,” where the rulers sought to delegitimize the very notion of objective truth. But upon rejoining the West, he found instead a political climate that was increasingly susceptible to Putin-style cynicism and conspiracy-mongering—and a fertile breeding ground for fake news, influence operations, and disinformation.
In his new book, This is Not Propaganda: Adventures in the War Against Reality, Pomerantesv goes on a globetrotting tour to understand our age of disinformation. From Moscow to Manila to Mexico City, he meets with spin doctors, human rights activists, Twitter revolutionaries, and troll farm workers. In so doing, he finds surprising commonalities among them—and a few clues as to how we can recover a shared foundation of reality in the Internet age.
Peter Pomerantsev is a contributing editor at The American Interest and director of the Arena Program at the London School of Economics. Tune in this week as he joins Richard Aldous to discuss his newest book. And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, where you can leave a review, and follow Peter Pomerantsev (@peterpomeranzev) and @aminterest on Twitter.
Aug 06 2019
Rank #2: Putin v. the People
Putin v. the People: The Perilous Politics of a Divided Russia
Samuel A. Greene & Graeme B. Robertson
“Vladimir Putin is a popular man. He is also a dictator. That is not a contradiction.” So begins Putin v. the People, a new book that explores why so many ordinary Russians support Putin—and why his hold on power may nonetheless be weaker than we think.
In their new book, Samuel A. Greene and Graeme B. Robertson take a bottom-up view of contemporary Russia, drawing on original research to explain the social foundations of Putin’s support. They argue that his power is “co-constructed” with the Russian people, driven in part by social pressures and a popular preference for “agreeableness.” At the same time, they reject the notion that Russians are inherently prone to autocracy—and reveal the many ways in which a reactive Kremlin is struggling to meet popular expectations and answer opposition challenges.
Samuel A. Greene is Director of the Russia Institute at King’s College London, and he joins Richard Aldous this week to discuss the book. Be sure to tune in, and don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, where you can leave a review, and follow Samuel Greene (@samagreene) and @aminterest on Twitter.
Jul 09 2019
Rank #3: How the 1970s Remade the West
The West today, it is often said, is embroiled in crisis. Some see a crisis of liberal democracy, and worry about a reversal of the democratizing trends seen after 1989; others perceive a rupture in the “liberal international order” that has sustained the West since 1945. But as Simon Reid-Henry argues in Empire of Democracy, today’s challenges are better understood by looking at the early 1970s: a period at the height of the Cold War when the postwar social contract was torn up and written anew.
With a sweeping, transnational perspective, Empire of Democracy offers an alternative history of the modern West, showing how the upheavals of the 1970s brought forth a new political-economic order—and how the tensions between liberalism, capitalism, and democracy have culminated in the succession of crises facing the West today.
Simon Reid-Henry is Associate Professor at Queen Mary, University of London, and he joins Richard Aldous this week to discuss the book. Be sure to tune in, and don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, where you can leave a review, and follow Simon Reid-Henry (@sreidhenry) and @aminterest on Twitter.
Jul 19 2019
Rank #4: The Art of Displacement at the Phillips Collection
The Warmth of Other Suns: Stories of Global Displacement
June 22-September 22, 2019
The Phillips Collection was founded in 1921 as the first museum of modern art in America—and this season in Washington, it’s presenting a major exhibition on a subject at the heart of our national debate.
The Warmth of Other Suns: Stories of Global Displacement presents works old and new by 75 artists across the globe, all dedicated to themes of migration and displacement. From Arshile Gorky’s modernist painting The Artist and His Mother to John Akomfrah’s 2015 video installation Vertigo Sea, the exhibition moves across genres, mediums, and borders to depict the experience of migration throughout history and up to the present refugee crisis.
Dorothy Kosinski is director of the Phillips Collection, and she recently spoke with our host Richard Aldous after he toured the exhibition in Washington. Tune in to learn more about this “operatic” exhibition—and hear why she does not see the exhibition as primarily a political statement.
The Warmth of Other Suns runs at the Phillips Collection in Washington through September 22 and is presented in partnership with the New Museum in New York. More information can be found at https://www.phillipscollection.org/. Be sure to tune in this week, and don’t forget to follow @aminterest and @PhillipsMuseum on Twitter.
Jun 28 2019
Rank #5: Did the Sexual Revolution Create Identity Politics?
Where did today’s identity politics come from, and why has our society become so bitterly divided? In her new book Primal Screams, conservative cultural critic Mary Eberstadt points her finger at the sexual revolution—arguing that it brought not only family breakdown but the isolation of individuals, and a loss in their traditional self-understanding. No longer able to identify on the basis of primordial ties and kinship, increasing numbers instead sought meaning and membership in politicized identity groups—with the bitter results visible all around us.
In Primal Screams, Eberstadt unpacks this argument and then turns the book over to three respondents: Mark Lilla, Rod Dreher, and Peter Thiel. In so doing, the book both offers a diagnosis of our uncivil political climate and an example of how civil dialogue can be restored.
Mary Eberstadt is a senior research fellow at the Faith & Reason Institute. Tune in this week as she joins Richard Aldous to discuss the book. And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, where you can leave a review, and follow @aminterest on Twitter.
Sep 10 2019