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Departures Podcast with Seth Jones, author of ‘Three Dangerous Men: Russia, China, Iran and the Rise of Irregular Warfare’

Forget tanks, missiles, and soldiers. The forms of warfare predominantly being used against the United States today are much more often unconventional and irregular, such as large-scale offensive cyber actions, disinformation campaigns, spying, economic subversion, and smaller armed conflicts via proxies.  This is a deeply worrying trend, argues Seth Jones, author of the terrific book […]

Departures Podcast with Ilya Ponomarev

The saber-rattling from Moscow over Ukraine has grown deafening in recent weeks. Hours before we recorded this episode, Vladimir Putin appeared on television threatening “retaliatory military-technical” measures while amassing some 175,000 troops on the border of Ukraine, asserting that Russia “has every right” to invade and start a war. Evelyn Farkas, a former Obama administration […]

Special Departures Podcast Episode on Afghanistan featuring Alexander Cooley

The rapid collapse of Kabul in the final weeks of the US withdrawal has forced a reckoning of not only Washington’s failure in the region but broader questions about US foreign policy and what the Biden administration wants (or is actually able) to achieve. This week Departures with Robert Amsterdam is pleased to welcome a […]

Departures Podcast with John Lough, author of ‘Germany’s Russia Problem: The Struggle for Balance in Europe’

In power since 2005, Angela Merkel’s CDU coalition has managed to govern Germany with an admirable level of success, but at the same time during this period, Vladimir Putin’s Russia has invaded multiple countries, interfered in elections both near and far away, and run amok with jailings and assassinations of dissidents. How is it possible […]

Departures Podcast with Gulnaz Sharafutdinova, author of ‘The Red Mirror: Putin’s Leadership and Russia’s Insecure Identity’

Vladimir Putin never seems to go away. No matter what economic or political crisis, invasions of neighboring nations, or crushing oppression of basic civil liberties, he somehow manages to sustain enough of a perception of popular support and legitimacy to keep on going. Why? That’s the question studied in the terrific new book “The Red […]

Departures Podcast with Jack Devine, author of ‘Spymaster’s Prism: The Fight against Russian Aggression’

As competition in the field of cyberwarfare heats up between Russia and the United States, there are few other experts with more experience working inside the Central Intelligence Agency than Jack Devine. For 32 years Devine worked as a US spymaster, serving as Acting Director and Associate Director of CIA’s operations outside the United States […]

Departures Podcast with Gregory Afinogenov, author of ‘Spies and Scholars’

Imagine you are trapped in a far-flung foreign compound with 10 other people, none of them want to be there, but you have a seemingly limitless supply of alcohol. Oh, and you are charged with developing critical intelligence and knowledge for Imperial Russia’s ambitions to gain global power. That’s among the many fascinating stories in […]

Departures Podcast with Timothy Frye

For decades, academics and journalists have struggled to explain Russia by attempting to better explain Vladimir Putin, endlessly debating his background, his personal character, and his thinking. Many of them argue that his personal power is at the heart of decision-making, that his will alone drives events. And we couldn’t be more wrong. Timothy Frye, […]

Departures Podcast with Edward Schatz

Often overlooked, the nations of Central Asia represent a highly important geostrategic region of the world with abundant mineral and energy wealth – and yet, US diplomatic efforts in these countries are way behind the larger neighbors of Russia and China. Part of this lack of engagement has to do with how America – at […]

Departures Podcast with James Ryan and Susan Grant

It is easy to get very comfortable with our surface-level understanding of sweeping historical events. Most of the time it is generally consistent with the facts, except when it isn’t. When it comes to how we regard the notorious regime of Josef Stalin and this particular period of Russian history, there are more than a […]