ChinaTalk

Jordan Schneider

Tech and US-China Relations

  • 1 hour 29 minutes
    EMERGENCY POD: JD Vance's Economics + How to SPR Critical Minerals + Policy Entrepreneurship

    What does JD think about currency, tariffs, and industrial policy?

    How has the Strategic Patroleum Reserve evolved into new relevance with some fun new powers over the past few years, and how can America take lessons from this success and apply them to addressing critical minerals?

    And what secrets of policy entrepreneurship can Arnab teach me?

    To discuss we have on Arnab Datta of Employ America and Matt Klein of The Overshoot podcast.

    Plus we get some parent corner!

    Outtro music: Melody by Ash Island (matched my mood of wanting to scream things I don't understand) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHWWGm0nxYk

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    17 July 2024, 1:57 am
  • 40 minutes 56 seconds
    Sen. Young on Tech Legislation

    Where is Congress on AI? How will a second Trump term impact US innovation? Does Congress have what it takes to step up and legislate in a world without Chevron?

    To discuss, ChinaTalk interviewed Senator Todd Young of Indiana (R). He’s a rare breed on Capitol Hill these days: an actual legislator. Sen. Young drafted the Chips and Science Act with Sen. Schumer and is the co-author of my personal favorite bill this Congress which aims to establish an Office of Global Competition Analysis. He announced earlier this year that he would not be endorsing Trump’s candidacy this cycle.

    We get into…

    • Biden’s woes
    • The case for an office of tech net assessment
    • The future of tech legislation post-Chevron
    • The Senate’s AI Policy Roadmap and where the GOP is on AI regulation
    • Chinese espionage and high-skill immigration policy


    Outtro music: AC/DC - Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (Youtube Link)

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    15 July 2024, 11:01 am
  • 1 hour 15 minutes
    EMERGENCY POD: Biden and Shakespeare

    How can Shakespeare help explain the dynamics we're seeing around Biden today?

    We get into King Lear, Richard II, Macbeth and Coriolanus to illustrate themes on conniving courtiers, political marriages, and politicians facing the end.

    Joining us today: Eliot Cohen, author of The Hollow Crown, two dramaturgs Drew Lichtenberg and Kate Pitt, as well as actor Phil Schneider.

    Kate's substack: https://shakespearenews.substack.com/

    Phil's still looking for an agent! Reach out to me [email protected] to connect with him!

    Outtro music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEqnXNsAFL8

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    12 July 2024, 1:59 am
  • 48 minutes
    A National Vision for Competitiveness

    What will it take for the US to remain competitive in 21st-century technologies? Is high state capacity a thing of the past?

    To discuss, ChinaTalk interviewed David Lin, Abigail Kukura, and Venkat Somala from the Special Competitive Studies Project. SCSP’s new report outlines exactly how America should compete in the tech-powered future of geopolitics. 

    We get into…

    • The role of public-private research partnerships and SCSP’s relationship with the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence;
    • A strategy for upgrading US institutions with the help of emerging technologies like AI;
    • The historical decline of government-backed research in the US;
    • China’s industrial espionage and the potential for stolen innovations to consolidate authoritarianism across the globe;
    • Bureaucratic moonshots and techniques for communicating urgency to the slow-moving American polity.


    Our past episode on tech net assessment: Crafting A National Tech Strategy and Reviving Net Tech Assesment (Spotify Link) (Apple Podcasts Link)

    Our past episode on bureaucratic moonshots: Peter Harrell on Bureaucratic Barriers to Competition (Spotify Link) (Apple Podcasts Link)

    Outtro music: SadSvit - Касета (Youtube Link)

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    2 July 2024, 10:46 am
  • 1 hour 5 minutes
    Scale's Alex Wang on the US-China AI Race

    How could AI change the global balance of power? What could the US and allies do to preserve national moats?

    To discuss, ChinaTalk interviewed the CEO of Scale AI, Alex Wang. In a blog post announcing Scale’s $1 billion fundraising success, Alex wrote that Scale is aiming to grow into the world's data foundry for AI.

    Alex grew up in Los Alamos, New Mexico, with two physicist parents who worked in the national labs, and he started Scale in college.

    I am particularly excited to have Alex on the show because he is perhaps the only private-sector AI leader working with the DoD and thinking seriously about the national security implications of AI.

    We discuss:

    • The three key factors limiting rapid AGI takeoff, and how quickly these barriers will be overcome;
    • China’s strengths and weaknesses in the race for AGI;
    • National security implications for winning (or losing) the AI race;
    • Prospects for AI net assessment and the case for a Manhattan project for data;
    • Methods to prevent AI espionage without kneecapping innovation or profiling immigrants.


    Outtro music: Zach Bryan - Pink Skies (Youtube Link)

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    25 June 2024, 9:18 am
  • 1 hour 30 minutes
    Taiwan War + Grand Strategy for Cold War II

    Is Cold War II upon us? What should America do to prevent it from becoming a hot war? 

    To discuss, ChinaTalk interviewed Dmitri Alperovitch. Dmitri emigrated from Russia in 1994 at age 13. He co-founded the leading cybersecurity startup Crowdstrike, and has spent the past four years running his new think tank, the Silverado Policy Accelerator. 

    He's also the author of the new book World on the Brink: How America Can Beat China in the Race for the Twenty-First Century. 


    We discuss:

    • Lessons from Cold War crises that almost went nuclear;
    • Underappreciated parallels between the Soviet Union and China today;
    • Groupthink in Washington as well as in Silicon Valley;
    • What a productive economic relationship with China would look like given national security concerns;
    • Some bold military and diplomatic recommendations for Taiwan;

    … and more!


    Work with Matt at Open Philanthropy: Clickable link, URL: https://jobs.ashbyhq.com/openphilanthropy/f33460e1-e092-46ae-918a-85338ffad9a3

    Kennedy's speech to the American people regarding the Berlin Wall: JFK Library.

    Outtro music: Leningradskie mosty from 1957 USSR

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    17 June 2024, 12:10 pm
  • 1 hour 9 minutes
    The Best Chinese Songs of 2024 - with Concrete Avalanche

    Jake Newby is the author of Concrete Avalanche, a free newsletter about music from China. Today, he's here to play you some of his favorite tracks from 2024 thus far — including everything from psychedelic rock to rare Uyghur folk, and from Beijing kawaii core to Tibetan Buddhist chants mixed with footwork.


    00:00:00 'Narcissus' Death' — Backspace (read more)

    00:05:38 '红喷泉' — Pepper Heart (read more)

    00:09:35 'Mail from the River' (live) — Wang Wen (read more)

    00:15:30 '她的力量来自海洋' — Yang Haisong & Wang Xiaofeng (read more)

    00:22:32 'Ollie' — 西红、CNdY (read more)

    00:26:43 'Lost in Bamboos' — Cola Ren (read more)

    00:30:38 'Southern Shanghai' — Voision Xi (read more)

    00:34:20 'Liquid' — Duck Fight Goose (read more)

    00:36:54 '玉林敬酒歌‘ — Run Run Run (read more)

    00:40:35 'Mountains in Yukashima' — Birdstriking (read more)

    00:45:38 'SonicBaby' — XIAOWANG (read more)

    00:48:25 'My Vagina' — Fakeorgasm (read more)

    00:50:25 'Mantra of Vajra Armour' — Howie Lee (read more)

    00:54:08 'Bash Bayawan Muqam' — Mekit Dolan Muqam Group (read more)

    00:59:13 'Μῆνιν ἄειδε, θεὰ παραμαινομένη ἐμοῦ...' — Ὁπλίτης (read more)

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    14 June 2024, 11:30 am
  • 1 hour 15 minutes
    Shakespeare and Power

    Are politicians and actors two sides of the same coin? Can you become a better public speaker by studying soliloquies? What can Shakespeare teach us about the nature of power?

    To discuss, ChinaTalk interviewed Eliot Cohen: SAIS professor, military historian, and counselor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. He is also the author of The Hollow Crown: Shakespeare on How Leaders Rise, Rule, and Fall

    Co-hosting is Jordan’s little brother, actor Phil Schneider. He recently graduated from Yale where he starred in a production of Hamlet. He’s played Romeo, Octavius Valentine, Richard II, and Leontes. Also, he’s looking for a new agent — reach out at [email protected]!

    They discuss: 

    • Royal/executive power — what getting it does to you, and why relinquishing it is so hard;
    • Court intrigues of yore (and today);
    • Timeless techniques for exhorting and manipulating the masses;
    • What makes a great speech;
    • What it really means to be an effective leader, and how great leaders know when it's time to quit.

    Nixon's Farewell speech: Youtube link.

    Outtro audio: Orson Welles Recounts Crossing Paths With Hitler And Churchill. Youtube link.

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    10 June 2024, 9:24 am
  • 51 minutes 57 seconds
    Why America Didn't Invade Taiwan: WWII Lessons for Xi's Invasion

    One does not simply invade Taiwan — but George Marshall once thought long and hard about it. In 1944, in the middle of the island-hopping campaign, American war planners set their sights on Japanese-controlled Formosa.

    What did the American invasion plan look like? Why did Marshall decide to go another route? What lessons do this and other amphibious invasions hold for Taiwan’s current force posture?

    To discuss, ChinaTalk interviewed US Army Field Artillery Lieutenant Colonel J. Kevin McKittrick, currently at the Air War College in Alabama and a veteran of multiple deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Co-hosting today is our resident Taiwan consultant Nicholas Welch.

    We discuss:

    • The US military’s aborted plan to invade Taiwan during WWII;
    • Why bigger is better when it comes to amphibious assaults;
    • What the US got right and the CCP gets wrong about civil-military relations;
    • Taiwan’s defense concept, and the opportunities presented by “operational pause”;
    • The awful, unending relevance of traditional artillery in modern war;
    • And why the US doesn’t need its own “rocket force” … yet.


    Outtro music: 被動 (Passive) by 伍佰 Wu Bai&China Blue. Youtube Link.

    Photo: White House, July 29, 1942. Left to right: Admiral Ernest King, Admiral William Leahy, and General George Marshall. | Wikimedia Commons

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    6 June 2024, 1:23 pm
  • 1 hour 32 minutes
    Preventing an Invasion of Taiwan

    Taiwan’s government agencies are battered by 5 million cyberattacks every day. China is holding invasion drills at a replica of Taiwan’s presidential palace in Inner Mongolia. Last week, the PLA openly rehearsed an encirclement of Taiwan in so-called “punishment drills.”

    What happened to deterrence in the Taiwan Strait? Can the status quo be saved?

    To discuss strategies for avoiding WWIII, ChinaTalk interviewed Jared McKinney of the Air War College and Peter Harris of Colorado State University, who recently co-authored a monograph entitled, “Deterrence Gap: Avoiding War in the Taiwan Strait.

    Co-hosting today is ChinaTalk’s resident Taiwan consultant, Nicholas Welch.

    We discuss…

    • Evidence of deterrence decay in the status quo;
    • The difference between constraints and restraints, and how they fit together to form a lattice of successful deterrence;
    • Whether symbolic solidarity with Taiwan does more harm than good;
    • The values and costs of strategic ambiguity;
    • How Taiwan can optimize its deterrence posture;
    • Lessons from the dance of death between Iran and Israel;
    • Objective factors for measuring invasion risk, and whether the world should be scared about 2027;
    • How to analyze decision trees for fundamentally irrational decisions;

    ... and more!


    Outtro music: MJ116, 辣台妹 (HOT CHICK) - Official music video: MJ116【辣台妹 HOT CHICK】- (youtube link)

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    3 June 2024, 11:01 am
  • 1 hour 12 minutes
    Sovereign AI

    Good AI is good and bad AI is bad, but how do lawmakers tell the difference? Will AI bring the world together or balkanize the internet beyond repair? Why do governments even need cloud computing anyway?

    To discuss, ChinaTalk interviewed Pablo Chavez, a fellow at CNAS and former Vice President of Google Cloud's Public Policy division, as well as the inestimable investing tycoon Kevin Xu. Xu, formerly of GitHub, is the founder of Interconnected, a bilingual newsletter on the intersections of tech, business, investing, geopolitics, and US-Asia relations.

    In this interview, we discuss:

    • The digital sovereignty movement and the lessons we can learn from China's Great Firewall;
    • The value and risks of open source architecture in the future of AI governance;
    • Meta’s long history of open source and how Llama fits into that strategy;
    • The geopolitical and cultural forces driving nations to pursue their own AI strategies;
    • The viability of sovereign AI initiatives in the face of global tech giants.

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    28 May 2024, 11:01 am
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