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Published on: March 24, 2015
Episode 59: Spying Russia, Ossifying China

Good evening listeners! We have an excellent episode this week as we discuss a possible endgame for Chinese communism and Europe’s struggles with Russian spying.

We are first joined by John S. Van Oudenaren, research assistant at the National Defense University’s College of International Security Affairs, to discuss what he sees as China’s uncertain future. He describes a situation in China in which political reform has ground to a halt, and notes that many reforms have been rolled back. He says that this tightening up could lead to ossification and a more brittle—and therefore less resilient—communist party.

Also discussed are Xi Jinping’s popularity in China, the motivations behind Xi’s corruption purge, and lessons he may have learned from Bo Xilai.

Then, Economist Senior Editor Edward Lucas stops by to talk about Sweden’s recent announcement that 1 in 3 Russian diplomats in its country are spies. He points out there are grounds for what Russia calls “paranoia” in Europe. He also discusses the various aims of Russia’s intelligence operations in Europe, from funding anti-fracking protests to propaganda campaigns to affecting how well money laundering regulations are enforced, beyond the traditional intelligence purpose of just knowing what’s going on. He describes how a change in the makeup of modern spies has made them quite difficult for the open societies so characteristic of Western culture to deal with.

Be sure to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, and follow our host Richard Aldous @RJAldous and Edward Lucas @edwardlucas on Twitter.

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