Mark Leonard's World in 30 Minutes


Weekly podcast on the events, policies and ideas …

  • 30 minutes 9 seconds
    Algorithmic agendas: The globalisation of political technology

    Political technology, or the professional engineering of politics, has been endemic to Russia since the Soviet era. But these practices have now spread across the globe – with manipulation occurring in China, European countries, India, the United States, and many others. And the political engineering industry goes well beyond mere online disinformation. From data mining to astroturfing and propaganda apps, a global market is emerging for the whole gamut of manipulation techniques. 

    In this week’s episode, Mark Leonard welcomes Andrew Wilson, senior policy fellow at ECFR and professor of Ukrainian studies at University College London, to discuss political technology and the globalisation of political manipulation. Where did the term political technology originate? How does it spread? And what can democracies do to defend themselves? 

    This episode was recorded on 21 May 2024 


    Political Technology: The Globalisation of Political Manipulation, by Andrew Wilson 

    How to Steal a Presidential Election, by Lawrence Lessig and Matthew Seligman 

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    24 May 2024, 5:00 am
  • 25 minutes 49 seconds
    The sweet spot: Between de-risking from China and Europe’s green future

    A key priority for both the European Union and the United States is to reduce dependencies on China in green industries. Only this week, the United States announced a ramping up of tariffs on Chinese-made electric vehicles, solar panels, steel, and other goods. However, with China’s dominant position in the production of green technologies, European policymakers are facing difficult decisions when it comes to de-risking. Again and again, national security and domestic economic considerations have to be weighed against the effects of climate change.  

    In this week’s episode, Mark Leonard welcomes Robbie Diamond, founder and CEO of SAFE, and of its European Initiative for Energy Security (EIES), and Janka Oertel, director of ECFR’s Asia programme and co-author of ECFR’s upcoming policy brief on de-risking, to discuss de-risking and the future of Europe’s green industries. How should the EU tackle the issue of dependency on China? Is it possible to find a sweet spot between successful de-risking and not slowing down the green transition? And how is the US response different from the EU’s? 

    This episode was recorded on 15 May 2024 

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    17 May 2024, 5:00 am
  • 32 minutes 58 seconds
    A vision for the future: Adapting Europe’s single market

    When Europe’s single market was first conceived in the 1980s, the number of member states was half of what it is today, the Soviet Union still existed, Germany was not yet reunified, and the Chinese and Indian economies comprised less than 5 per cent of the global economy. Now, the European Union’s economic, political, and demographic landscape is almost unrecognisable. While the single market continues to be a cornerstone of European integration, it urgently needs strengthening to adapt to this changing global order.

    In this week’s episode, Mark Leonard welcomes former Italian prime minister and ECFR council member Enrico Letta to discuss his report examining the European single market’s future. Why is the single market so important? How can it be improved to meet today’s geopolitical challenges? And what are the dangers if the EU doesn’t adapt?

    This podcast was recorded on 26 April 2024.


    Salviamo l’Europa: Otto parole per riscrivere il futuro by Michele Bellini

    L’Europe enfla si bien qu’elle creva: De 27 à 36 États? by Sylvie Goulard

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    10 May 2024, 5:00 am
  • 34 minutes 19 seconds
    The European pulse: the election and beyond

    With the European Parliament election only one month away, there is feverish speculation about who will get the top jobs of Commission President, President of the Council, and High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. With predictions of a far-right surge and the influence of domestic politics, this electoral cycle will be crucial in shaping the very future of European politics. 

    Live from the ECFR staff retreat in Bologna, Mark Leonard welcomes Jana Puglierin, Célia Belin, José Ignacio Torreblanca, Arturo Varvelli, Maria Simeonova, and Piotr Buras, the heads of our Berlin, Paris, Madrid, Rome, Sofia, and Warsaw offices, respectively, to discuss the election. In addition to giving their best guesses as to who will get what jobs, they will take a closer look at how domestic politics is likely to influence the elections and shape the Europe that emerges from them. 

    The podcast was recorded on 28 April 2024


    Battle redux: Macron, Le Pen, and France’s European election campaign by Célia Belin 

    The long shadow of the populists: Donald Tusk’s first 100 days by Piotr Buras 

    Turning point or turning back: German defence policy after Zeitenwende by Jana Puglierin 

    Hanging in the balance: How to save Bulgaria’s foreign policy from political turmoil by Maria Simeonova 

    La hora más crítica de la Unión Europea by José Ignacio Torreblanca 

    The Atlantic is not enough: The Italian government’s difficult relations in Europe by Arturo Varvelli  

    The European Union as a War Project: Five Pathways toward a Geopolitical Europe by Mark Leonard  

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    3 May 2024, 5:00 am
  • 35 minutes 28 seconds
    High stakes in the strait: US -China competition and Taiwan’s future

    Taiwan has come to represent a strategic flashpoint in US-China relations. As Beijing ramps up its political and military pressure on Taipei, any escalation could trigger a major conflict between the two powers. Unlike Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, China may have to reckon with direct US intervention if it chose to invade Taiwan. Alongside this, the US-China strategic competition is rising, with the United States’ strategic approach involving aggressive export controls, maintaining tariffs, and creation of alliances in the Indo-Pacific.

    In this week’s episode, Mark Leonard welcomes Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder and chairman of national security think-tank Silverado Policy Accelerator, to discuss US-China competition and the likelihood of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan. What would the consequences of an invasion be? What can the US do about it? And what role should Europeans play in all of this?

    This episode was recorded on 25 April 2024


    To Run the World: The Kremlin's Cold War Bid for Global Power by Sergey Radchenko

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    26 April 2024, 9:27 am
  • 37 minutes 35 seconds
    Pathways to peace in Gaza: The prospects for Palestinian statehood

    As the world awaits Israel’s response to Iran’s Saturday attack, the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza persists and the territory remains on the brink of famine. While Israel’s attention is momentarily diverted towards Iran and its proxies, prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu insists he is still planning an offensive on Rafah, discussions around a ceasefire and hostage exchange remain in deadlock, and a possible two state-solution recedes further into the distance.  

    In this week’s episode, Mark Leonard welcomes senior policy fellow Hugh Lovatt and chief of programmes and communications at the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, Muhammad Shehada from Gaza, to discuss the war in Gaza and the prospects for Palestinian statehood. What pathways for a solution to the conflict remain? Should the emphasis continue to be on Palestinian statehood, or on self-determination in a broader sense? Can Europeans play a constructive role in finding a peaceful solution? 

    This episode was recorded on 17 April 2024 


    Crossing the Divide: Intergroup Leadership in a World of Difference by Todd Pittinsky 

    The Bank Manager and the Holy Grail: Travels to the Weirder Reaches of Wales by Byron Rogers  

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    19 April 2024, 5:00 am
  • 32 minutes 19 seconds
    Podcast special: Iran attacks Israel

    On Saturday evening, Iran launched a major attack on Israeli territory, with a combination of 300 drones and missiles. Israel’s air defense seems to have intercepted most of these and the airspace over Israel and Jordan has since been reopened.

    In this special episode, Mark Leonard welcomes Julien Barnes-Dacey, director of ECFR’s Middle East and North Africa programme, and Hamidreza Azizi, visiting fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin, where he focuses on Iranian foreign policy and regional issues. But the attack remains historically unprecedented and leaves the Middle East sliding to the edge of a regional war. What motivated Iran to attack? How will Israel respond? And what role is the us playing?

    The podcast was recorded on 14 April 2024

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    14 April 2024, 12:13 pm
  • 28 minutes 7 seconds
    Shifting sands: The geoeconomic triumphs of the Gulf

    Amid growing geopolitical fragmentation and the rise of middle powers, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia stand out for their successful attempts to reinvent themselves as regional linchpins. Despite having to operate within an increasingly difficult economic environment, the Gulf states have simultaneously expanded their ties with China, Europa, Russia, and the United States and reaped remarkable economic rewards in the process. 

    In this week’s episode, Mark Leonard welcomes senior policy fellow Agathe Demarais, visiting fellow Cinzia Bianco, and policy fellow and Deputy Head of ECFR’s Paris office, Camille Lons, to discuss the geoeconomics of the Gulf. How have the UAE and Saudi Arabia managed to juggle different competing powers? What lessons do their strategies hold for other middle powers? And what should the European Union be doing to pursue its own interests in the region? 

    This episode was recorded on 11 April 2024 


    3 Body Problem – a Netflix TV Series by David Benioff, Daniel Weiss, and Alexander Woo 

    Blind Man’s Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage by Sherry Sontag and Christopher Drew, with Annette Lawrence Drew 

    The Power of Currencies and Currencies of Power by Alan Wheatley 

    There’s Still Tomorrow – a film by Paolo Cortellesi 

    Hosted on Acast. See for more information.

    12 April 2024, 12:52 pm
  • 38 minutes 17 seconds
    From crisis to crisis: evaluating Biden’s foreign policy

    With the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and the war in Gaza, US president Joe Biden has been forced to deal  with some major foreign policy crises. Guiding him through these, a team of seasoned foreign policy professionals, among which Antony Blinken, Bill Burns, Avril Haines, and Jake Sullivan, were brought on to “restore” America’s foreign policy after four years of Donald Trump’s presidency.


    In this week’s episode, following the launch of ECFR’s Washington office, Mark Leonard welcomes national security reporter at Politico, Alexander Ward, and research director and director of ECFR’s new US programme, Jeremy Shapiro, to discuss Biden’s foreign policy performance. Has it been a success? Where has it fallen short of the goals Biden set? And has his team of foreign policy experts lived up to the promise of restoring America’s foreign policy?


    This episode was recorded on 27 March 2024




    The Internationalists: The Fight to Restore American Foreign Policy after Trump by Alexander Ward


    20 Days in Mariupol - an AP News and Frontline documentary film by Mstyslav Chernov


    Collisions: The Origins of the War in Ukraine and the New Global Instability by Michael Kimmage 

    Hosted on Acast. See for more information.

    5 April 2024, 5:00 am
  • 40 minutes 56 seconds
    The role of international law and justice in a fragmented world

    The wars in Ukraine and Gaza have led questions of international law and justice to filter into everyday discourse. Both conflicts are deeply rooted in complicated and at times controversial discussions concerning the validity of territorial claims, the permissibility of use of force, the role of the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice in prosecuting wrongdoers, and the complexities of international humanitarian law.


    In this week’s episode, Mark Leonard welcomes ECFR senior policy fellow Anthony Dworkin to discuss the role of international law and justice in an increasingly fragmented world. What are the limits of international law? Is there any merit in accusations of Western double standards? And what role can international law play when it comes to justice in Ukraine, Gaza, and other places around the world?

    This episode was recorded on 13 March 2024 


    Equality: The History of an Elusive Idea by Darrin M. McMahon

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    29 March 2024, 6:00 am
  • 39 minutes 33 seconds
    Under fire: Unpacking Germany’s defence policy drama

    It has been a rocky month for German defence policy. With a naval frigate almost shooting down a US drone in the Red Sea by mistake, discussions of military officers on the deployment of Taurus missiles leaking, and Olaf Scholz and Emmanuel Macron openly arguing about military aid to Ukraine, Germany’s policy on European defence is embroiled in internal and external intrigue. 

    In this week’s episode, Mark Leonard welcomes senior policy fellow Ulrike Franke and senior policy fellow and head of ECFR’s Berlin Office, Jana Puglierin, to discuss the current state of Germany’s policy on the war in Ukraine and European defence. What does the recent turmoil say about Germany’s strategic culture and its so-called Zeitenwende? What are the sources of tension for Franco-German defence relations? And how much potential does the attempted revival of the Weimar triangle between Berlin, Paris, and Warsaw have for agreeing on a common path forward? 

    This episode was recorded on 18 March 2024 


    Zeitenwende: The Bundeswehr’s Paradigm Shift by Léo Péria-Peigné and Elie Tenenbaum 

    Breaking Bad – an AMC television series  

    Hosted on Acast. See for more information.

    22 March 2024, 5:15 am
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