By Mike Coté
Join host Mike Coté (and occasional guests) for analysis and commentary on American politics, foreign affairs, and international relations, from a historically-informed perspective. Listen in for news and opinion without the hyperbole, reflexive partisanship, and lack of nuance.
Rational PolicyMay 13, 2023
Episode 16 - Looking to 2024
Yes, it's that time already.
Whether you like it or not, the 2024 presidential election is ramping up. We are only a short while from the start of debates and voters will begin candidate selection in fewer than 9 months (crazy, I know). If you haven't been paying attention, now is the time to start. And this is the place. Learn about each candidate on both sides of the aisle, the state of the race poll-wise, potential political issues which will dominate the 2024 cycle, and get a few predictions thrown in for good measure. Enjoy!
Episode 15 - Foreign Telegram, April 2023
The Foreign Telegram has returned, just in time to recap some fascinating and important international events from the month of April 2023. In this dispatch, we discuss the unfolding chaos in Sudan and the lackluster American response when it comes to evacuating its citizens, detail the penetration of Chinese Communist Party secret police stations in the US and around the world, and touch on the imprisonment of a courageous Russian dissident, Vladimir Kara-Murza. The month has been a whirlwind of news from abroad; let the Foreign Telegram lay it all out for you.
Episode 14 - A Fortnight of Foreign Fails
The Biden administration's foreign policy has been largely disastrous, with major crises happening nearly every month. The past two weeks have put this in stark relief. Three major stories showcase these foreign policy failures: revelations on the Chinese spy balloon, the release of an official report on the Afghanistan withdrawal, and the biggest intelligence leak since at least 2017. All three of these events show the administration deflecting blame, gaslighting the American people, and alienating our allies. Listen in to hear how!
Episode 13 - Foreign Telegram, March 2023
Coming in just under the wire, here's your Foreign Telegram for March 2023. In an extremely busy month for international affairs, four stories stood out. In the realm of political protest, France and Israel have been in constant uproar over controversial government plans. In France, President Macron has pushed a hike in the retirement age, while in Israel, Prime Minister Netanyahu's coalition seeks changes to the nation's judiciary. The other overarching topic in March 2023 was diplomacy, particularly of Asian countries outside of Asia. China has had a busy month, brokering a surprise rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia - sidelining the US - and doubling down on its "no limits partnership" with Russia with a state visit to Moscow. Japan, China's primary regional rival, also expanded its diplomatic reach this month, with visits to India and, more importantly, Ukraine. The blocs of the 21st century are forming as we speak.
Tune in for detailed analysis of all four of these key geopolitical events. Take a break from the hectic pace of domestic affairs with a Foreign Telegram.
Episode 12 - One Year of War
The Russian war in Ukraine has been going on for over a year now, with hundreds of thousands of casualties on each side. What has happened over the past 12 months of conflict? Where does the war stand now? What will happen next? What lessons can we take away from this conflict? Those questions and more are answered in this episode of the Rational Policy podcast, commemorating and recapping a year of warfare.
Episode 11 - Foreign Telegram, February 2023
It's that time of the month again - time for another Foreign Telegram! February 2023, although a short month, has been chock-full of international events and news. In this Telegram, we detail three of the biggest stories of the month: the Chinese spy balloon, the devastating earthquake in Turkey/Syria, and the South African military exercises with China and Russia. Listen in for the information, analysis, and history you need to make sense of the world today.
Episode 10 - Myth America
Progressive historians have been trying to rewrite American history for decades now, from Howard Zinn to the 1619 Project. The newest addition to this effort is Myth America, a compilation of historical essays purporting to debunk the myths of American history as understood by conservatives. Instead, they merely promulgate a whole host of progressive myths to replace them. In this episode of the Rational Policy podcast, we delve into Myth America chapter-by-chapter, breaking down the failures, falsehoods, and fabrications which fill its pages. If you enjoy a thorough historical argument, listen in!
Episode 9 - Foreign Telegram, January 2023
Happy New Year! January 2023 has been replete with interesting stories in the world of international affairs. We've seen an absurd overreaction to the new Israeli government, political rioting from left and right in Peru and Brazil, and utter chaos in Mexico driven by cartel violence. In this Foreign Telegram, we discuss all three - recapping recent events, discussing the history behind the headlines, analyzing their impact, and explaining why they matter. Strap in for a whirlwind tour around the world of foreign policy in January 2023!
Episode 8 - Antisemitism
Antisemitism has been in the news lately after the antics of Kanye West and Kyrie Irving pushed these hateful messages to massive audiences. We've heard these anti-Jewish sentiments condemned as awful and despicable, but a deeper examination is necessary. What really is antisemitism and why does it matter? How has it evolved and shifted throughout history? How does it operate as a conspiracy theory, and why has it been so prevalent for so long? Is anti-Zionism antisemitism? How do different communities espouse these similarly prejudiced beliefs? And, most importantly, what should we do to confront these noxious ideas?
All these questions and more will be answered in this episode of the Rational Policy podcast. If you want to understand antisemitism so as to best rebut it, this is the show for you.
Episode 7 - Foreign Telegram, November 2022
November 2022 has been a busy month in terms of international affairs. We've seen continuing protests against the theocratic regime in Iran, major counteroffensives by Ukraine against Russia, and the COP27 global climate conference in Egypt. In this Foreign Telegram, we discuss all three - recapping recent events, analyzing their impact, and explaining why you should care about each. So sit back, relax, and enjoy this tour around the world of foreign policy!
Episode 6 - 2022 Midterm Recap
The 2022 midterm elections were quite eventful, seeing mixed results in the Senate, House, and gubernatorial elections. Listen in to this episode of the show to hear the latest updates, analysis of the various races, and overall takeaways from the election. Will the Republicans dump Trump? Will the Democrats double down on Biden? Will American voters ever have candidates they want to vote for, instead of merely voting against the other guy? Tune in for these answers and more.
Episode 5: In Defense of Foreign Aid
Foreign aid is a topic which is often raised by members of the Foreign Policy Horseshoe - NatCons on the right and progressives on the left - in an attempt to claim that this money would be better spent at home on American citizens. This understanding of foreign aid is not only totally wrong, it runs counter to history and American interests abroad. Foreign aid is a critical aspect of a strong, deterrent foreign policy; in this sense, it prevents war far more than the supposed "anti-war" members of the Foreign Policy Horseshoe. Listen in to hear some of the major misconceptions about foreign aid debunked, learn about its usefulness in advancing American goals, and understand how best it can be defended.
Episode 4: Energy Policy at Home and Abroad
Why are gas prices so high? That question is on the lips of everyday people across the country. The answer is complex, and is based on the linkages between foreign and domestic affairs, as well as how they impact and are impacted by energy policy. Listen in to find out more and hear a detailed breakdown of the factors which are driving energy inflation.
Episode 3: Foreign Telegram, October 2022
In episode 3 of the Rational Policy Podcast, host Mike Coté premieres a new recurring format - the Foreign Telegram. In this Foreign Telegram, for October 2022, Mike discusses three major topics in international affairs that have been on his mind over the past few weeks: Italian elections, Iranian protests, and the escalating Russo-Ukrainian War. Starting off, Italy's recent parliamentary elections are briefly explored and mainstream narratives about the right-wing victors debunked. The reaction to this event is a microcosm of the broader trend over the past decade or so of populist issues being overlooked by the EU. Next, Mike talks about the growing anti-regime protests in Iran which were sparked by the religious police killing of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman, for the "crime" of improper hijab. He recaps the situation, analyzes the potential impact, and lays out several suggestions for US policy. Also touched on are some common criticisms of this hawkish and direct approach. Lastly, the escalating war in Ukraine is broken down and major recent events explained, from the Ukrainian counteroffensives, to the Russian mobilization and annexation of Ukrainian territory. Mike also considers the Nord Stream pipeline sabotage, the nuclear rhetoric emanating from Moscow (and isolationist reactions), and what may happen next. Tune in for this comprehensive session on foreign policy and America's role in responding to recent events.
Episode 2: God Save the Queen
In this episode of the Rational Policy Podcast, host Mike Coté dives into the biggest international story of the week: the death of Queen Elizabeth II. He covers the topic from a historical perspective, exploring the life of the Queen, the changes which made her a link to a lost past, and her sense of duty, as well as the future potential of the monarchy to remain a going concern. After this obituary, the absurd reactions to the Queen's death from the progressive corners of media and academia are detailed and debunked, with a focus on explaining how various news stories mislead and hide the ball. Finally, Mike defends the Queen against these ahistorical assaults and musters a strong case that the British Empire itself was more good than bad. Stay tuned to the end for a review of Timothy Snyder's Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin.
Episode 1: The Foreign Policy Horseshoe
In this inaugural episode of the Rational Policy Podcast, host Mike Coté introduces himself, the concept for the podcast, and discusses a topic of perennial interest: the linkages between far right & far left on foreign policy. This foreign policy horseshoe is fundamentally antagonistic to American power and must be repudiated if we wish to win the 21st century for American ideals and global security.