Paul Poast Pod Transcripts

By Paul Poast, Mar 24 2020 09:44AM

Paul Poast Podcast

Episode 2 Recorded 13MAR20


Welcome to the Paul Poast Podcast in which he discusses a variety of national security topics.

Professor Poast is an Assistant Director of the Chicago Project on Security & Threats (CPOST) and the author of three books, The Economics of War, Organizing Democracy, and Arguing About Alliances.


In this second episode, interviewed by Peter Wolf, a CPOST researcher, Paul discusses the long-term implications of the COVID-19 virus and how it could change global power relations.

You can follow him on @ProfPaulPoast.



Interviewer: Recently you did a thread about the coronavirus which you link to other people's work. It was very informative. I noticed you came to four conclusions at the end of this thread. The first one was, we've seen this before. The second one was, governments must treat the pandemic as a security issue in order to respond adequately. Number three was, government might use the security framing for extreme measures. Number four was that it could change the global power relations.


Those are some big takeaways. I thought we might be able to work through those. Just number one, we've seen this before. There's been a lot of talk about the Spanish Flu recently. What are some of your thoughts on this as an IR scholar?


Prof. Poast: Absolutely. It's interesting. Actually one of my lectures in intro to IR, we talk about what's called existential risk. These are Institutes like the future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University being an example, Future of Life Institute at MIT. These are places that think about risks to humanity, potential type of events that could substantially could kill, to be blunt, kill a substantial number of people in the world and make it possible that civilization, as it's currently structured, couldn't go on. That's what these Institute's study about. We talk about it in the course, but we talk about these and these run from anything, from a major nuclear war to asteroids, that's one other thing they look at.