Alon Pinkas, who served as foreign policy advisor to Ehud Barak, political advisor to Shimon Peres, Chief of Staff to four Ministers of Foreign Affairs, and Consul General of Israel in New York City returns to Covert Contact for a quick dive on the drivers behind the deal and what it means for the region.
With experience that includes serving as foreign policy advisor to Ehud Barak, political advisor to Shimon Peres, Chief of Staff to four Ministers of Foreign Affairs, and service as Consul General of Israel in New York City Alon Pinkas deeply understands the complexities of both societies and how these dynamics manifest in the special relationship the two countries share.
Alon joins Covert Contact to look at the state of the relationship, look at where it could (and should) evolve, and to dive into some of the socio-political dynamics that shape the relationship and how it is viewed from both sides.
Phil Walter joins returns to the show to look at how the U.S. processes and evaluates the threat posed by North Korea. We try to separate the rhetoric and action to cut through the hype. We examine American concepts of security and risk and how emotional responses drive both. Is war with North Korea likely? Is it justified when weighing some of the worst possible outcomes?
Phil has served in the military, the intelligence community, and the inter-agency. He is also the found of Divergent Options. His written works are catalogued on Storify and archived at www.philwalter1058.com. I highly recommend them if you are at all interested in national security issues. You can follow him on Twitter @philwalter1058.
Dr. Julia Tatiana Bailey is an art historian specializing in visual politics in the Cold War and art as propaganda, diplomacy and resistance. She recently completed a PhD focusing on official and unofficial Soviet-American cultural exchange and works as Assistant Curator of International Art at Tate Modern in London. Julia blogs on Cold War art at ESPIONART and can be found on Twitter at @espionart and @tattyjewels.
In this episode we discussed the importance of art in international relations and conflict – what we can learn from it and how it can be leveraged for influence. Much of the focus is on art as a tool during the Cold War but we also jump forward to the current environment which is being shaped by concerns about technology and surveillance – a topic of Julia’s recent guest post on Blogs of War.
Phil Walter joins me again to discuss behavior. Why do the actors we seek to influence, friend and foe alike, behave the way that they do? What advantage does a deep understanding of the underlying motivations for their behavior give us? It’s easy to be dismissive of an enemy’s needs, wants, and desires but in doing so we risk undermining our ability to counter them and anticipate their next move. We also touch on the complexity of the Middle East (how could we not?) and debate how to balance intimate and precise engagement at the individual or tribal level with much broader diplomatic efforts at the macro level.
Welcome to the launch of Covert Contact: The Blogs of War Podcast. In episode 1 I am looking at the notion of intelligence failures and why they’re often more complicated than they seem – or not failures at all. I’m also taking a look at the new biography of Murad Storm, the towering red-haired Danish agent who infiltrated al Qaeda. Agent Storm: My Life Inside al Qaeda and the CIA is a fascinating read that raises many questions about our ability to infiltrate radical Islamic groups. And then a discussion about the darker side of eDiplomacy. Do we really want world leaders trolling each other on Twitter?