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WHO NEEDS THE UNITED NATIONS? Reforming the United Nations

with Victor Davis Hanson, Jane Walesvia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, October 25, 2004

In 2003, the secretary general of the United Nations appointed a 16-member commission to assess the threats to worldwide security in the twenty-first century. The commission came back with a number of recommendations for reforming the UN itself. Is this institution so important that it must be preserved and reformed? Or, given its lack of response to the crisis in Iraq, the ongoing nuclear crises in North Korea and Iran, and the humanitarian crisis in the Sudan, is the UN beyond reform? Perhaps it has outlasted its usefulness. Peter Robinson speaks with Victor Davis Hanson and Jane Wales.

LATIN AMERICA GOES SOUTH: Political Reform in Latin America

with Stephen Haber, Alvaro Vargas Llosavia Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, October 21, 2004

Over the last quarter century, Latin America appears to have made remarkable political and economic progress—an undeniable shift towards democratic government and free market economics. Yet during the last five years, several Latin American countries have experienced one political and economic crisis after another. Why? Have democratic and free market reforms failed Latin America? Or are enduring problems of governmental structure still to blame? Peter Robinson speaks with Stephen Haber and Alvaro Vargas Llosa.

HOMELAND INSECURITY: Homeland Security

with Frances Edwards, Stephen Flynnvia Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, October 21, 2004

The terrorists behind the 9/11 attacks took advantage of vulnerabilities in a critical part of America's infrastructure—our air transportation system. Experts have pointed to similar vulnerabilities in our nation's food supply, our ports, and our chemical and nuclear facilities. Congress and the Bush administration responded to the threat of other such attacks by creating the Department of Homeland Security. But has the government done enough? What more should we be doing to defend against potentially devastating domestic terrorist attacks? And just how much can we do without infringing on our freedom and way of life? Peter Robinson speaks with Frances Edwards and Stephen Flynn.

AN AMERICAN HIROSHIMA: Preventing Nuclear Terrorism

with Graham Allison, Scott Saganvia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, September 20, 2004

Many experts believe that it is almost inevitable that terrorists will soon have the ability to detonate a nuclear weapon in the heart of a major American city. How can we stop them? What are the specific threats that we face and how should we respond to them? Do we face a greater danger from nuclear weapons that may have been stolen from the former Soviet Union or from the clandestine efforts of rogue nuclear scientists? And if the threat has increased since 9/11, why hasn't the United States done more to contain it? Peter Robinson speaks with Graham Allison and Scott Sagan.

A LINE IN THE TEST TUBE: The Debate over Stem Cells

with Ramesh Ponnuru, Irving Weissmanvia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, September 20, 2004

Proponents of embryonic stem cell research proclaim the potential of the research to find cures or treatments for many diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. Opponents say the use and destruction of human embryos in the conduct of this research are immoral. In 2001, President Bush announced a ban on federal funding involving any new lines of embryonic stem cells. But calls to lift the ban continue, as do movements to increase funding at the state level. Which side of the debate is right? Is embryonic stem cell research ethical or not? Peter Robinson speaks with Ramesh Ponnuru and Irving Weissman.

VIVE LA DIFFERENCE: Gender Differences and Public Policy

with Steven Rhoads, Deborah Rhodevia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, August 27, 2004

When it comes to public policy, is it time to take sex differences seriously? There is no disputing the biological differences between men and women. But how do or should these biological differences influence the roles that men and women play in modern society? Are efforts to create equality in every venue of life—from sports, via programs such as Title IX, to the working world, via the pursuit of subsidized child care and maternity leave—ultimately beneficial for women or harmful? Peter Robinson speaks with Steven Rhoads and Deborah Rhode.

SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY: The Global AIDS Crisis

with Carol Adelman, Greg Behrmanvia Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, August 26, 2004

The global AIDS pandemic is now in its third decade. Although treatments have improved and infection rates have slowed in the West, AIDS continues to take a staggering toll in Africa. And experts believe that Eurasia, particularly Russia, China, and India, may be next. Is the United States doing enough to combat the global AIDS crisis? Should the United States continue its current policy, which includes an emphasis on getting antiretroviral drugs to millions who can't now afford them? Or does the United States need to focus more on pressuring affected countries to reform their inadequate social and economic institutions? Peter Robinson speaks with Carol Adelman and Greg Behrman.

WHAT, U.S. WORRY? Is the United States Losing Its Competitive Edge?

with Craig Barrett, Stephen Moore, Peter A. Thielvia Uncommon Knowledge
Wednesday, July 28, 2004

In the last decade and a half, India and China have both engaged in extensive economic reforms, in effect bringing their joint population of some 2.3 billion into the worldwide system of capitalism and free trade. Those 2.3 billion people, many of whom are extremely well educated, are by and large willing to work harder and for less pay than are Americans. Are India and China's expanding and modernizing economies threatening America's long global dominance of science, technology, and industry? If so, what should we do about it? Peter Robinson speaks with Craig Barrett, Stephen Moore, and Peter A. Thiel.

UNCONVENTIONAL WISDOM: Torture and the War on Terror

with Peter Berkowitz, Jenny Martinezvia Uncommon Knowledge
Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Before September 11, we took it for granted that only nations or states could wage war on the United States. After 9/11 it became obvious that war could also be waged by terrorists operating anonymously and in the shadows. Are the laws of war—the Geneva Conventions, the International Convention on Torture—suited to this new reality of war? Whom may we detain? How may we interrogate those we detain? In the war on terror, do the laws of war permit us to be as tough as we need to be? Peter Robinson speaks with Peter Berkowitz and Jenny Martinez.

TIME HAS COME TODAY: Global Population and Consumption

with Paul Ehrlich, Steven Haywardvia Uncommon Knowledge
Wednesday, July 28, 2004

In 1990 the United Nations forecast that world population would peak at around 11 billion by the middle of this century. Now many experts believe the peak will be closer to 8 or 9 billion people. Is this slowing of global population growth good news for the earth's environment? Or do we still need to worry about the dangers of overpopulation and overconsumption? Peter Robinson speaks with Paul Ehrlich and Steven Hayward.

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For more than a decade the Hoover Institution has been producing Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson, a series hosted by Hoover fellow Peter Robinson as an outlet for political leaders, scholars, journalists, and today’s big thinkers to share their views with the world. Guests have included a host of famous figures, including Paul Ryan, Henry Kissinger, Antonin Scalia, Rupert Murdoch, Newt Gingrich, and Christopher Hitchens, along with Hoover fellows such as Condoleezza Rice and George Shultz.

“Uncommon Knowledge takes fascinating, accomplished guests, then sits them down with me to talk about the issues of the day,” says Robinson, an author and former speechwriter for President Reagan. “Unhurried, civil, thoughtful, and informed conversation– that’s what we produce. And there isn’t all that much of it around these days.”

The show started life as a television series in 1997 and is now distributed exclusively on the web over a growing network of the largest political websites and channels. To stay tuned for the latest updates on and episodes related to Uncommon Knowledge, follow us on Facebook and Twitter