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Foreign Policy Expert Talks Potential Global Conflicts, Challenges For 2018

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Stewart Patrick heads the International Institutions and Global Governance programs at the Council on Foreign Relations. His latest book, “The Sovereignty Wars: Reconciling America with the World,” has brought him to Louisville to speak at a World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana event Tuesday evening.

I spoke with him about how America is dealing with the numerous hot spots around the world, like North Korea, and how partisan politics at home makes consensus on any particular policy difficult. You can hear our conversation in the player above.

Interview Highlights

On a potential showdown with North Korea:

"Clearly the most important crisis or potential crisis that we face is a potential showdown with North Korea. It's on everybody's mind. It's tier one in terms of its impact and its probability. It's a very complicated situation because North Korea obviously has been, though several U.S. administrations, improving its nuclear capabilities and moving towards an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States. The question is what can the United States do about it at this stage?"

On a country that could pose problems for the U.S. but is a bit under the radar:

"Basically, Venezuela is in economic free fall right now. And despite the incredible difficulties that are facing the Venezuelan population, interestingly the government of Nicolas Maduro, who is increasingly becoming a dictator, he has consolidated power over that country. It's a country where a huge proportion of the country is actually suffering from hunger there and malnourishment.

"There is a humanitarian crisis brewing there. And in addition to the human suffering there could be regional destabilization, unless somehow that situation is stabilized and Maduro is pressed upon and forced in a sense to actually conduct legitimate elections that gets that country back on a legitimate path. But right now in our own hemisphere, we have the prospect of a failed state that has catastrophic consequences spilling over its borders.

Stewart Patrick will speak at the World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana’s event at the University of Louisville’s Club and Alumni Center Tuesday at 6 p.m. There's more information about the event here. 

Bill Burton is the Morning Edition host for LPM. Email Bill at bburton@lpm.org.