Hey just want to reply to Patrick’s political podcast recommendation with some of my own!
The Weeds from Vox is an absolutely fantastic podcast about policy, where they get into the weeds of policy papers on capital hill as well as state proposals. It was a fantastic resource last years when there were multiple health care bills all headed to the floor for a vote, Sarah Kliff became my go-to healthcare reporter because of how well she explained the different proposals and their effects.
Also, in kind of a rebuttal to Citations Needed, I’d really recommend both Rational Security and the Lawfare Blog podcast (both from Brookings, which I have a ton of respect for and was kind of shocked to hear Citations Needed call them hawks).
I only listened to the most recent Citations Needed episode about North Korea, and was kind of offended about the lengths they went to downplay the attrocities the NK regime has placed upon their own people. I also really disliked the conspiracy/Alex Jones-esque snipes about how “mainstream media doesn’t want you to know this” and the “military industrial complex” running international diplomacy.
An example is their mention of how the Obama administration was shifting its strategic focus to Asia, and portraying that as being because they want to start a war with NK/China/Russia. They completely neglected to mention China’s creeping control and militarization of the South China Sea and the military threat that poses to our allies in the region (Indonesia, Vietnam, the Phillipines, etc.) as well as the threat to global trade (China will be able to control flow of freight through a region of the sea that up until now has not been part of their jurisdiction). They lost a WTO court case about the control of the region, and chose not to adhere to the ruling, and so the US at the end of the Obama administration was maneuvering to block China from seizing control of the South China Sea without starting a war (mainly increasing the flow of our Navy through the area).
Also their criticism of an article from a Brookings fellow about how a peace agreement between NK and SK could be a poor outcome completely misrepresented the reasons for that position. This argument is also made in the most recent episode on the Lawfare Blog podcast feed, but the summary is basically a poor result is a peace that would sacrifice the interests of our allies in the region for our own safety (particularly Japan, who has so far been excluded from these peace talks despite having NK threatening their country with missile tests several times over the past year). An example would be if NK merely froze their program so that no more nuclear warheads could be developed, or if they somehow agreed to give up their ICBMs while keeping their nuclear warheads. If their development was only frozen, the US would still be vulnerable to a nuclear attack from NK, and if they gave up their ICBMs but kept the rest of their nuclear arsenal, that would still leave Japan vulnerable to a nuclear attack from NK.
So yeah, I was really interested in the podcast after Patrick recommended it, but then it seemed like they were giving just bad-faith representations of positions contrary to their own, as well as being conspiracy minded, and offensively unchallenging of their guest’s bizarrely idyllic representation of the NK regime as totally good people who do bad things because the US makes them.