Good evening, podcast listeners! In the perfect coda to an eventful year and a great primer for what’s ahead, Walter Russell Mead, Editor-at-large and Director of The American Interest Online, returns to the podcast to lend his expertise to a discussion of goings-on around the globe.
WRM assesses the winners and losers of 2014, lauding President Xi’s terrific year, while noting that China didn’t enjoy the same degree of success as the country’s increasingly powerful leader. He looks at the progress Modi, India, Abe, and Japan all made last year, before shifting focus to Europe and fixing Angela Merkel and Germany in his crosshairs.
As for Vladimir Putin, WRM remarks on the “piece of very bad luck” that has hampered his geopolitical maneuvering: the oil price crash and the effect it is having on the Russian economy. He reminds us, however, that the question in eastern Europe should not be “how strong is Russia?” but rather “how weak is Ukraine?”
Also discussed are the rampaging destruction of Ebola and Boko Haram in Africa, the failings of social media activism, the rapid rise of ISIS, the Saudi’s series of strategic successes, the U.S. energy renaissance, America’s best Mr. Magoo impression, and expectations for a more active American foreign policy.