Episode 67 of the Irregular Warfare Podcast explores the complicated relationship between US foreign policy and democratic values, and the risks and opportunities associated with exporting liberal norms through security force assistance.

Our guests begin by describing the role that promoting liberal values, such as human rights and democracy, play in security cooperation. They then examine the inherent tension between promoting liberal values and accomplishing national security interests when working with partner nations. The conversation concludes with a discussion on the relative impact of advising and influencing partner nations at the tactical and institutional levels, and whether policymakers should seek to tie US values to security force assistance in the future.

Ambassador Dennis Ross is counselor and William Davidson distinguished fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. As a highly skilled diplomat, he has served at the top levels of government in multiple administrations and was instrumental in shaping US involvement in the Middle East peace process. Ambassador Ross is the recipient of the State Department’s highest award and holds a PhD from UCLA.

Dr. Renanah Joyce is an assistant professor of politics at Brandeis University and a fellow with the Irregular Warfare Initiative. Dr. Joyce received her PhD from Columbia University and has held positions at Harvard, MIT, and the Pentagon. Dr. Joyce’s article, “Soldiers’ Dilemma: Foreign Military Training and Liberal Norm Conflict,” recently published in the journal International Security, addresses US security force assistance and serves as the anchor for this episode.

Ben Jebb and Kyle Atwell are the hosts for Episode 67. Please reach out to Ben and Kyle with any questions about this episode or the Irregular Warfare Podcast.

The Irregular Warfare Podcast is a production of the Irregular Warfare Initiative (IWI). We are a team of volunteers dedicated to bridging the gap between scholars and practitioners in the field of irregular warfare. IWI generates written and audio content, coordinates events for the IW community, and hosts critical thinkers in the field of irregular warfare as IWI fellows. You can follow and engage with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or LinkedIn.

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter for access to our written content, upcoming community events, and other resources.

Image credit: Sgt. 1st Class Whitney Hughes, National Guard Bureau