A proxy war in Ukraine is the worst possible outcome — except for all the others, Sam Winter-Levy, War on the Rocks
“Now we're going to f*ck them all.” What's happening in Russia's elites after a month of war, Farida Rustamova, Faridaily
Zelensky’s muddled neutrality plan is not the answer for Ukraine, James Sherr, FT (attached)
On energy, the material basis for all our politics?
Helen Thompson, podcaster and professor of political economy at Cambridge and author of Disorder: Hard Times in the 21st Century, joins us to talk about the geopolitics of oil, stretching from the 1956 Suez Crisis to the Fracking Revolution of today. How does US energy independence help explain shifting politics in Europe and the Middle East?
Plus, did the End of History stay afloat on a sea of cheap oil?
Part 2 of the interview, plus our After Party, is here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/251-oil-disorder-64394535
- Profits from fossil fuel energy power Russia's war machine, and Ukraine suffers, Helen Thompson, New Statesman
- What Is Fueling Our Century’s Global “Disorder”?, Daniel Steinmetz-Jenkins, The Nation
- How Did Europe Get Hooked On Russian Energy?, Paul J. Davies, Bloomberg
How the EU destroyed Italian democracy, Thomas Fazi & Paolo Cornetti, Unherd
Boringly postmodern and an ideological fantasy, Slavoj Zizek, The Spectator
Chartbook #70 Draghi for President?, Adam Tooze, Substack
Millennials Are Supercharging the Housing Market, Nicole Friedman, WSJ (attached)
A tale of two elites in Washington and Beijing, Gideon Rachman, FT (attached)
On Covid and the end of the end of history.
Adam Tooze joins us to discuss his new book, Shutdown. In 2020 everything changed... so that everything might remain the same.
What were the reasons behind the global shutdown? Was it a result of over-protection, a policy of repression, or the result of structural tensions? Has China been the winner of the pandemic? How have central banks been victims of their own success? And does this represent the end of neoliberalism?
The latter part of the interview continues over on patreon.com/bungacast
On Chinese investment, Swiss democracy, and fleeing from Afghanistan.
In this Three Articles, we discuss flight or departure in various ways: China opening the gates for its huge savings to spill onto world markets; Switzerland leaving (or remaining outside) the EU; and the US's sudden departure from Afghanistan, without telling anyone.
'Three Articles' episodes are normally for subscribers only - but this one's free. Sign up at patreon.com/bungacast for regular access.
London book launch/bunga party: Register here
- What happens if Chinese household wealth is unleashed on the world?, Thomas Hale and Tabby Kinder, FT (pdf in patreon)
- Swexit, Wolfgang Streeck, Sidecar-NLR
- US troops abandoned Bagram airport base in the dead of night..., various, Daily Mail
We discuss Philip's bookCosmopolitan Dystopia: International Intervention and the Failure of the West and discover that no one really defends sovereignty today. What's behind the concept of 'Responsibility to Protect' (R2P)? And should we understand it as a form of "liberal imperialism"?
On liberal idealism and imperial overreach.
Why did the winners of the Cold War turn 'revisionist', undermining their own order? How has utopianism come to dominate the discipline of IR, such that we have lost the means to critique power?
We discuss Philip's recent book, The New Twenty Years’ Crisis 1999-2019: A Critique of International Relations, which is both a revisiting of EH Carr's international relations classic The Twenty Years' Crisis as well as an account of the contemporary crisis of the liberal international order.
The New Twenty Years’ Crisis 1999-2019: A Critique of International Relations, Philip Cunliffe, McGill-Queen's UP
On Latin America's progressive wave and its discontents.
A new book on Latin America argues that 'pink tide' governments tried to treat the symptoms of neoliberal capitalism while allowing the underlying situation to worse. We talk to the author, Fabio Luis, about cases across the region, including the election in Ecuador and Venezuela's disaster, to Bolivia's coup and Argentina's "path of least resistance". How important is regional integration and what does an alternative socialist vision entail? And we ponder a sad question: is the dream of development and modernisation over?
- Power and Impotence: A History of South America Under Progressivism (1998-2016), Fabio Luis Barbosa dos Santos, Haymarket
- /93/ Hot Chile and Other Neoliberal Failures ft. Pablo Pryluka Bungacast
If liberal democracy has been dethroned, what next?
On censorship, platform capitalism and the Left.
We talk to Douglas Lain of Zer0 Books about YouTube taking down their video as a result of the algorithm flagging its content – and what this means for free speech.
Then, this month's Three Articles on war, conspiracy theory, and Covid (patrons only - sign up at patreon.com/bungacast)
Links for part 1:
- Why Did YouTube censor us? Doug Lain's blog post
- Censored YouTube video: Christopher Lasch, Paul Sweezy, and the Great RESET
- Bungacast ep 103 on ethical capitalism
- Bungacast ep 112 on ideology of Silicon Valley
- Alex Hochuli on Zer0 Books podcast
Part 2: Three Articles
- Azerbaijan’s drones owned the battlefield in Nagorno-Karabakh — and showed future of warfare, Robyn Dixon, WaPo
- How can Big Tech best tackle conspiracy theories?, Gillian Tett, FT
- The Covid-19 blunders drive home a harsh truth: the state has failed us, Larry Elliott, The Guardian
Internationalism used to be a defining characteristic of the Left. Globalism is a defining characteristic of neoliberal capitalism. Both seem to be characteristic of Islamist jihadism. How did Islamist reaction become globalised? How far does Islamist globalism connect to radical legacies of Third Worldism, internationalism and radical solidarity? Political anthropologist Darryl Li, author of The Universal Enemy: Jihad, Empire, and the Challenge of Solidarity joins us to discuss the transnational history of jihad over the last 30 years.
The Universal Enemy - Book Forum, The Immanent Frame, Various Authors
On Iran at the End of History.
When the US assassinated Iran's 'shadow commander', Qassem Soleimani, everyone thought WW3 would break out. What happened instead? We talk to the author of a new book on Soleimani about the "local boy who made it", and look at how Soleimani masterminded Iran's interventions all over the region.
We also discuss how the Iranian Revolution represented a degradation of universalism, as it marginalised secular nationalism, socialism and communism. Would the Shia-Sunni conflict, with Iran as leader of the Shia faction, therefore be yet another step away from universalism? And what role did the US play in fomenting sectarian conflict?
- Book: The Shadow Commander: Soleimani, the US and Iran's Global Ambitions, Arash Azizi, OneWorld
- Qassem Soleimani and How Nations Decide To Kill, Adam Entous & Evan Osnos, New Yorker
On US foreign policy.
Following on from our episode on the political-economy of dollar hegemony (no. 139), we turn to look at how the dollar underpins American empire. Is 'permawar' a product of structural factors, rather than merely the result of poor policy decisions? And how is this related to the global financial architecture?
We also discuss how the current period fits into US history, how US foreign policy might evolve over the next four years, and what a left-wing alternative foreign policy might look like.
- To End Forever War, End the Dollar’s Global Dominance, David Adler & Daniel Bessner, TNR
- Trump’s America may be declining in global soft power—but US empire rolls on, Daniel Bessner, Prospect
- The coronavirus crisis is an opportunity to finally move past the post-WWII era, Daniel Bessner, Responsible Statecraft
In this latest Three Articles, we discuss the durability or otherwise of right-populism in the UK, US and Brazil.
Conservatives’ grip on ‘red wall’ holding firm, Sebastian Payne, FT
Lawmakers ‘Alarmed’ by Reports U.S. Envoy Told Brazil It Could Help Re-elect Trump, Ernesto Londoño, Manuela Andreoni and Letícia Casado, NYT
“Imagine the damage a president could cause”: What would happen if Trump refused defeat?, Emily Tamkin, New Statesman