Lenze Interview – Podcast February 6, 2023

Balloons, Borders, And Bullies. Steve Williamson and Karen McClelland welcome Professor Paul Lenze, Jr. back to the show to discuss recent events affecting US foreign policy. They begin by talking about the Chinese spy balloon that was shot down after crossing the U.S.

Lenze cautions, “I would be careful in calling it aggression because it wasn’t physical aggression. We don’t know if it was an error. China and the U.S. still have a relationship because we’re heavily dependent on each other’s economies.” As for Xi Jinping’s threat of China invading Taiwan, he says, “Given what’s happened with Ukraine, Xi is unlikely to invade Taiwan in the near term.”

Turning to Ukraine, Lenze says the one big surprise is that the countries of Europe banded together, especially given how reliant they have been on Russian gas. But, he notes, “Given the fact that he [Putin] is doubling down, I don’t think we’re going to see this end anytime soon.” He predicts that two things can happen: There could be enough domestic protests to cause Russia to leave. Or there could be negotiations.

To put these things in context, Lenze has written a new book called, Searching for Monsters to Destroy, American Foreign Policy in a Multi-polar World. It examines American power in the world and how it has declined since 2001. It also looks at how China and Russia have engaged with the US over the crises from 2001 to 2023.

Asked if America can and should maintain its position of power in the world, he says, “Yes…but we have to find common ground with emerging powers like China because we have shared interests.” Lenze claims the authoritarianism we see in the world is a byproduct of influence and colonialism over the years. He says, “We need to defend the liberal international order. But it’s going to be a challenging endeavor.”

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