0:54:00 mins

The Problem Podcast

U.S.-China Tensions: Threat Inflation and Balloon Deflation

When a Chinese spy balloon was spotted above the U.S. last week, Americans reacted the only way they know how—by shooting it out of the sky with a missile. But why do we keep insisting that China is our sworn enemy? We’re talking with Jessica Chen Weiss, the Michael J. Zak Professor for China and Asia-Pacific Studies at Cornell and Senior Fellow at the Asia Society Policy Institute’s Center for China Analysis, and John Glaser, adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute and host of Cato’s Power Problems podcast. We discuss America’s reflexive urge to escalate even the smallest threat, why our geopolitical position is actually way more secure than we’re led to believe, and whether we might figure out a way to share the world stage with China.


U.S.-China Tensions: Threat Inflation and Balloon Deflation

Ep. 225 Final Transcript


​​Jon: Hold on, hold on. I wish I could figure out. OK, speaker, I just switched it to speaker. Come on. Welcome to evenings with Grandpa. [JESSICA LAUGHS] Alright, here we go.


Jon: Hello everybody. Welcome once again to the podcast, The Problem with me. The Problem, Jon Stewart. This is the — I don’t know what it is. First week of February. Second week of February. It all runs together when you’re, it’s wintertime and you’re aging. Don’t forget to watch the Apple TV+ show. We got more episodes coming. I like everybody else right now am beyond myself in fear of balloons. They could be coming from anywhere ladies and gentlemen, they could be coming from the north, they could be coming from the south. If they are to rub together and you feel the hair on the nape of your neck go up, that is just static electricity that is not the Chinese in any way trying to infiltrate into your spinal column. But these balloons are obviously, very dangerous and today’s program we’re gonna talk to Jessica Chen Weiss, professor of China and Asia Pacific Studies at Cornell and Cato Institute Scholar, John Glaser, about why we’re not at war already. Are we to just stand here on our hands and let balloons run rough shot over this great country that we all love? Toccara Mallard and Robby Slowik, our writers are joining us today. Guys, thank you very much for being here. I hope you are staying safe. Uh —

Robby: I crawled out of the bunker to be here. I crawled out of the bunker. The second I saw that balloon in the sky I went underground. I knew it was time. [TOCARRA LAUGHS]

Jon: When I was a boy, balloons were nothing but joy. They were either at your birthday party or they were a blimp overhanging a football stadium. But ever since the movie “It,” balloons have been nothing but danger for this world. 

Robby: Yes, yes. China and clowns working together again, [TOCARRA LAUGHS] to instill fear in our hearts.

Jon: Is that what they’re doing? Tocarra, are you, have you been safe? Are you — Now you have children who are still somehow naive about the power of balloons. I’m sure when you go somewhere and they offer them a balloon, they will say, “Sure, I’d love a balloon.” Not realizing the Chinese, Tocarra!

Tocarra: Uh, I have a patriotic household. There are no balloons welcome in my home.

Jon: Can I tell you something? You’re an excellent American and I’ve always said that.

Tocarra: Thank you so much. And this balloon situation has been in the news for like a week now. 

Jon: Uh, this killed me. Uh, CNN tweeted “Tonight’s planned, broadcast of Dionne Warwick, ‘Don’t Make Me Over’ will be preempted for continuing live coverage of the U.S. military’s downing of a Chinese surveillance balloon.”

Tocarra: Wild. However, there are some people who are taking this incredibly seriously and like balloon is like code word for weapon. So like, you know, they’re, you know, they’re talking about, they’re on CNN or Fox News talking about TikTok, and they’re like, “A hundred million people have TikTok. That’s like a balloon in every home.” And it’s just like, well that’s, that’s a party. [JON LAUGHS]

Jon: Will the balloon now be the metaphor? Like in the way that the Trojan horse was done? It will now be — 

Robby: Yes.

Tocarra: Absolutely. 

Jon: — the Chinese balloon is the new Trojan horse. I think Maria Bartiroma was saying something along the lines of, “This balloon when it were they planning on it being shut down and now it’s dispersed thousands of solar powered surveillance devices for forever.”

Tocarra: No way, that’s wild.

Jon: Yeah. “for unlimited surveillance.” And you’re like, “They have f***ing satellites what is wrong with you people?”

Tocarra: Yeah. 

Jon: She blamed woke transgenderism in the military. And you know, when you talk about threat inflation, the rights work on trans people, boy, what a textbook — what a textbook example of threat inflation. 

Tocarra: Wow. 

Jon: That’s their f***ing —

Tocarra: That’s right. 

Jon: — Chinese surveillance balloon.

Robby: Watching the media like fight with themselves here to like, elevate the threat, but also have fun with a light story. There’s literally like, they’re like, “Tensions are already high with the nuclear superpower and experts are concerned this could degrade into a human annihilation event. Or is it all just hot air?” [LAUGHTER]

Tocarra: And they’re like “ha ha ha ha.”

Jon: They still gotta do the punny segueways, that are the hallmark —

Robby: Yeah. 

Jon: — of any news organization. 

Robby: Yeah. 

Jon: You know, it’s just nuts. They’re all, and the news anchors have to pretend that they’re also very sad about it. 

Tocarra: Mm-hmm. 

Jon: They’re very — “Hug your children tonight folks. Uh, but while you’re doing that, I’m gonna cum all over the teleprompter cuz I am excited.” [ROBBY LAUGHS]

Tocarra: [Tocarra sings section of “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life”] Time of my life. [JON LAUGHS]

Jon: “Dionne Warwick will not be heard tonight for continuing balloon coverage.” We’ll learn more about it and what is to be done of this balloon transgression with our two guests. And then we’ll come back and you guys let me know what you think. 

Tocarra: Fantastic. 

Jon: Alright. 


Interview with Jessica Chen Weiss and John Glaser Begins

Jon: Alright, everybody, this is very exciting. Two great guests today. We’ve got Jessica Chen Weiss. She is the Michael Zack, professor for China and Asia’s Pacific Studies at Cornell University, senior Fellow at the Asia Society Center for China Analysis. And we have John Glazer Cato Institute Scholar and host of Cato’s Power Problems Podcast. 

Jessica: Hey there.

John: Good to meet you. 

Jon: Thank you both for, for joining us here today to talk about — it has been two days, three days since, China traversed our airspace with a balloon. My God, why are we not at war yet? Shouldn’t we have fired nuclear missiles by now? [JESSICA LAUGHS] I want to hear your thoughts, first, we’ll start with Jessica. Is it your sense that America is slightly overreacting to what is a banal provocation between two countries that are so intertwined economically and security wise. What do you think is happening?

Jessica: I think it’s a really unfortunate symbol of where we are at this point in our relationship with China. There was definitely a degree of domestic overreaction, particularly on Twitter and amongst a member of the commentariat, including sitting members of Congress. [JON LAUGHS] I think the administration, you know, handled it pretty prudently. 

Jon: Mm-hmm. 

Jessica: But, you know, ultimately I think their hand was a bit forced by the domestic outcry. 

Jon: Right. 

Jessica: There’s a looming symbol in our sky of something alien. Nonetheless, I think this was really a blunder on the Chinese side in terms of the left hand, not knowing exactly what their right hand was doing, on the eve of Secretary Blinken’s visit the first time in several years to China. And so it really, I think, has made it harder to get to that place of greater stability in the U.S.-China relationship. That that visit by Secretary Blinken was, was really aiming at.

Jon: Jessica brings up an excellent point, John, which is an overreaction by our commentariat, and Twitter and a government that reacts. And the only question I have about the prudent response from the United States is it was a balloon. And we shot it down with, I think a missile from a 200 million airplane. When, from what I understand I’ve been to Coney Island many times, I think a dart may have done it. [JESSICA LAUGHS] I think we could have done it with a tac, maybe a pin, something along those lines. What’s your thoughts on that idea that we’ve overreacted to a sort of banal provocation.

John: Yeah, I think we’re overreacting and I think threat inflation is kind of baked into a lot of U.S. foreign policy. I mean, I think back to, um, there’s a famous cla used to be classified document from the early Cold War called NSC-68, and the United States did something weird after the second World War. Previous wars we’d always demobilized after the war ended. 

Jon: Mm-hmm. 

John: And stopped spending so much money and we didn’t do that after World War II cuz of the Cold War set in. And leadership, I think, had to face a challenge. How do we convince, how do we maintain public support for having this sprawling global military presence that we’re not gonna leave Europe and not gonna leave Asia? 

Jon: Mm-hmm. 

John: And, someone’s memoirs, they said, “We need to make it clearer than truth.” [JON LAUGHS]

John: So they hyped the Soviet threat. Um, they made it scarier than it really was. They made it seem more threatening than it really was. You think about nine 9/11, right? What was our reaction to terrorism? It was the political equivalent of lighting our hair on fire.

Jon: Right.

John: Um, we ended up fighting a number of unnecessary lengthy wars, expending enormous blood and treasure. We changed our whole domestic system around based on the notion that we would have like another 9/11 every couple of years. 

Jon: Right. 

John: You know, it was a harbinger of things to come as opposed to a kind of lucky shot. 

Jon: Right. 

John: Um, so we exaggerated the threat of terrorism to maintain, you know, military operations in a number of countries with no borders or no end in sight, no victory that we can then come home from. Um, and so it’s very baked in.

Jon: About existential threats. It’s always, everything is existential. Terrorism is an existential threat. Uh, Jessica. You know, John makes a point. We’re coming outta 20 years of the global war on terror. We rewrote our intelligence policies. Uh, we all have to still take off our shoes, so that we show the terrorists that they can’t take away our freedoms, but they can take away our shoes. Uh, but immediately after pulling out of Afghanistan, I noticed the commentariat, everything shifted to “Now we’re in the era of great world rivalry again, great world power rivalry. And China, remember when we told you it was the global war on terror that was the existential threat? What we meant was it’s China and it’s Russia, and it’s existential again.” Where are we in that? Is this a calculated move? Or do they just not know what to do with themselves with this military industrial apparatus and they have to shift it to something?

Jessica: You know, I think there are a lot of different factors at work here. Uh, Jon, and I don’t wanna say that this is all, kind of an instrumental ploy, to pad budgets, although there may be an aspect of that taking place. I do think that there is, at the heart of it, a kind of strategic diagnosis. That, you know, China seeks to supplant the United States as the sole global superpower, and it has just been biding its time for decades while we were, you know, actually working together, frankly, in the war on terror. Um, and now that China has emerged more powerful, more capable, it’s now finally, you know, looking to take its place in the sun. Now, I want, I say that that’s a strategic diagnosis that I don’t necessarily agree with, but I think that there is that sort of that underpinning here, um, that leads many to see this in if not existential terms, nonetheless, you know, deeply threatening to, all that they hold dear. And I would say that here, where I think we’ve gone a little bit astray is assuming the worst, of China, assuming that China has, these maximalist intentions to really replace us, as at the top. Whereas I think even in the words of the, you know, U.S. intelligence community in the 2022 threat assessment. You know, that China seeks to become the preeminent regional power and a major player or major power on the global stage. And so I think there’s a big gap between, a power that wants to, you know, be able to, you know, seek, you know, deference, security for itself. Uh, globally and then a degree of preponderance, in the region. That’s very different from a country that, in the words of, I know for example, the Trump administration, you know, seeks to rape the United States and subvert democracy around the globe. Like these are, there’s a big gap there. And I worry that we have, in assuming that China has these, maximalist assessments or intentions that, we are in fact headed down a path where we, you know, give China little. Choice but to seek, to take us out because we are going to prevent them, from gaining any kind of, influence, and standing.

Jon: That’s the mindset that I want to talk about with you guys. This mindset that there is a global world order. We sit atop it. We are the dominant superpower, and if your economic engine of a billion, point two people, 1.2 billion people, if you are going to ascend, I’m afraid we’re gonna have to fight you. As opposed to it’s a big world. Economic conditions change, military conditions change, and we have to cooperate to best coexist in this environment. I don’t understand. And, and part of it is the global war on terror in many ways is what has allowed China quietly with their belt and road project in Africa, to corner markets for rare metals and those types of things. Our own interventionist ego has given them the space in the first place. And why can’t we say “It’s a big world. Congratulations on your economic success. You’re our biggest customer. We’re your biggest customer. How are we gonna do this guys?” Rather than, “Oh my God, you sent a balloon our way. Everybody to the nuclear silos.”

John: Yeah. I think you basically hit the nail on the head. I think what we’re talking about with the U.S.-China rivalry is we’re talking about the United States has this identity, about this role that it’s supposed to play in the world. 

Jon: Mm-hmm. 

John: And we are indispensable. We are this benevolent hegemon. We’re supposed to provide public goods. We’re the actor of first resort in this order. [JON LAUGHS] You know, we designed this order. 

Jon: Yes. 

John: It’s ours. And, um, China’s rise in power is simply threatening that, and we’re clinging to it and not thinking strategically. This is how I basically think it works. Outsize power. 

Jon: Mm-hmm. 

John: Leads states to adopt outsize interests. As a state’s power expands, it’s what it considers to be its interest also expands. And then we have this narrative about indispensability, and that requires exaggeration. When you’re talking about foreign policy, the farther things get away from merely defending the country. 

Jon: Mm-hmm. 

John: You have to exaggerate it in order to maintain public support, and then over time, new generations of elites are socialized into these ideas. Then you have special interests, not only bureaucratic but the military industrial complex, they all have an interest in keeping us hyped up and fearful and thinking that every threat is existential. I think politics generally give the advantage to hawks. Nobody wins voters really by saying, “We’re being too tough on China.” [JON LAUGHS]

Jon: Right.

John: Um, and then finally, I think the news media is basically complicit in this hype and fear and threat inflation. Because —

Jon: Because that’s where that money comes from. That’s they’re incentivized from that. 

John: Yeah, but they want viewers and subscribers and that’s how you get people to pay attention. And so it’s this kind of, cycle in this feedback loop where everyone is fearful and everyone’s exaggerating every conceivable threat. And it’s not a real smart way to devise wise strategy.

Jon: No. I think to succinctly absolute power apparently corrupts absolutely. And it is, you know, Jessica this isn’t so much on the you know, China rivalry, but I wonder if World War II if we learned the wrong message. The message in World War II was, “We saved the day. Our military is what prevented the world from falling into darkness,” and I don’t necessarily disagree with, with some of that. But then afterwards, the idea was, “Well, let’s stay in Germany and Japan through the Marshall Plan and we’ll rebuild it in our image. And we will create, freewheeling democratic allies in regions that will allow us to expand even our military reach.” Is the lesson that we seem to have learned not only that we can influence the world, but we can control it. That we actually have the power to control through sanctions or military intervention or bombings or currency manipulations, or all kinds of other levers to not just influence, but control. And is that why China is seen to us as this anomaly that we have to stop?

Jessica: I think that I would probably look at the end of the Cold War as a set of lessons that we need to be very careful about learning from, because I think that many are now taking China as the new Soviet Union and we all, you know, dust off that playbook. At the end of the Cold War, the Soviet Union collapsed, and I think that was when you saw, you know, growing willingness on the United States part to intervene overseas you know, in addition to what we did during the early, aftermath of the World War II.

Jon: Mm-hmm. 

Jessica: But really it was really in the 1990s and the early 2000s that we kind of went, I think above and beyond in trying to remake other places, in our own sort of democratic image. 

Jon: Right. Well, we’ve been pulling coups though. [JESSICA LAUGHS] I mean, we’ve been, we’ve been couping and and influencing in South America and everywhere else for, you know, and then there’s the Korean War, like —

Jessica: Absolutely.

Jon: We’ve been at this a while.

Jessica: We absolutely have. And, but I do think that we’re at a really interesting point in our national conversation around endless war. 

Jon: Yeah.

Jessica: Around the wisdom of doing this because you have even very hawkish voices like. Representative Mike Gallagher saying in his op-ed, or maybe it was in a recent interview that, you know, “We no longer seek to, you know, transform others in our image.” And Jake Sullivan has said that, “You know, we don’t aim to transform China.” And yet I think that is, there’s still a kind of an overhang of habits that we have gotten into in terms of our human rights policies, our sanctions, et cetera, where we are accustomed to, you know, standing on the moral high ground and, using all the tools at our disposal by persuasion, inducement, threat coercion. And to get other countries to, you know, fall into line. 

Jon: Right. 

Jessicas: And I think that there is, again, there’s sort of this disconnect here, between what we recognize as now kind of this new reality of a world in which we are no longer, enjoying the same degree of preponderance that we enjoyed either at the end of World War II or the end of the Cold War. 

Jon: Right. 

Jessica: Um, but we haven’t quite caught up, I think, in terms of our rhetoric and our actions in, in many cases. To kind of discipline ourselves to this new reality. And I think that means that we’re, you know, still kind of in this still precarious position of potentially provoking more of a kind of counter reaction, to some of the, you know, more punitive, coercive measures. 

Jon: Yeah. It’s a cycle.

Jessica: Without the ability to kind of really, you know, you know, back it up ultimately.

Jon: And by the way, let’s not kid ourselves. You know, this idea of a moral high ground that somehow, our problem with China is their treatment of Uyghurs or their labor camps. Like that’s a joke. Like America’s problem with China is: they cornered the market on precious metals in Africa and they’re our supply line. And, you know, globalization gutted our manufacturing sector. Like, I don’t understand why we consistently pretend that this is all about, you know, we’re Diogenes looking for one just country that we can play with. John, what do you think of that?

John: Well, I agree. I mean, um, the notion that you know, U.S. policy makers really, really care about what’s happening to the Uyghurs or for Taiwanese independence or for democracy in Hong Kong. 

Jon: Mm-hmm. 

John: Just doesn’t pass the smell of test to me cuz they’re also simultaneously, you know, for years we’ve been helping the Saudis bomb the smithereens out of a defenseless and impoverished Yemen.

Jon: Different. That’s for a delicious, delicious oil. That’s a whole other mistake. 

John: Well, right. Think about the 90s in Iraq. How many people died as a result of the sanctions that we insisted we keep on. I mean —

Jon: Or the sanctions in Iran? Yeah.

John: We’re always allying with brutal dictatorships. It’s — some brutal dictatorships won’t obey us and fall in line. And therefore we need to hype up the democracy and human rights rhetoric. Look, I think it’s worth taking a look. It’s theory of mind is valuable in international politics. You want to be able to have an understanding of the way your adversary sees things. And I think it’s worth taking a look through China’s strategic lens, so to speak. So first of all, they have this narrative of a century of humiliation. You know, this 19th and early 20th century China was weak and taken advantage of by imperial powers. But what do they see when they look out? They see one of the highest concentrations in the world of U.S. military forces at the very southern end of the Japanese Archipelago.

Jon: I think we added four bases in the Philippines last week.

John: We just added four bases in the Philippines. 

Jon: Yeah. 

John: We’ve been beefing up our presence in Australia. We have tens of thousands of troops in South Korea. We are the largest naval presence in the east and South China seas and we constantly patrol those seas in order to signal to China that we, uh, are going to defy their sovereignty claims. It’s a little bit provocative to China considering that those sea lanes are the ones that they use to import much of their commodities through the Malacca Strait, particularly oil, you know, it’s a major vulnerability for them.

Jon: But John, couldn’t you make the case though, that we’re just trying to now catch the balloons as they launch? 

John: Yeah.

Jon: That if you can get the balloon before it gets to 30,000 feet.

John: Well just think about if the reverse was the case. 

Jon: Yes. 

John: I mean, the United States, as you said, used its most advanced war plan to shoot out a balloon of the sky [JON LAUGHS] and, uh, we’re —

Jon: By the way, first air to air kill for the F22 was the balloon. 

John: Yeah, we have the Monroe doctrine. We have — we’re very itchy about people getting in our neighborhood. 

Jon: Sure, sure. 

John: We’re all over China’s neighborhood and we’re provoking them on some of their most sensitive issues. So I, you know, we shouldn’t be surprised if they’re on their haunches, and we should control ourselves and try not to get hysterical over things like balloons or, you know, China’s growing power.

Jon: Yeah, and Jessica, this is not to suggest that China and the United States are not rivals, but, you know, rivals is different than adversaries is different than enemies. And we are turning a rivalry into an adversary into an enemy, just through the gravity of our reaction cycle. Is China playing into that as well? Because look, if it’s good politics for us in a nationalist way, it’s probably good politics for China in a nationalist way. Everybody loves an enemy. Is that how it’s being perceived over there as well?

Jessica: The worst tendencies on both sides feed the other and give the other side evidence to say, here look, you know, we are really, there is no possibility of a peaceful coexistence, even though I think that there are plenty of, you know, pragmatists in both capitals. And frankly, I think the leadership in both, you know, countries right now doesn’t want a war, doesn’t want to, let this rivalry descend into, you know, open conflict. Um, but that said, they, you know, do face pressures, you know, and especially in the face of something that seems to be flagrantly provocative. They do need to respond in ways that are, you know, enable them to signal kind of that toughness that they’re not gonna be pushed around. You know, I was just in conversations with Chinese, you know, colleagues over virtual Zoom, um, you know, whereas essentially this is a defensive measure, they feel existentially threatened by our continued dominance and unwillingness to even allow China to, uh, continue to develop the kind of base level of economics. Um, but in terms of particularly high tech, you know, growth areas, ranging from semiconductors to clean tech and biotech. And then I think they’re most concerned about the direction of travel in terms of U.S. policy, toward Taiwan, uh, you know, where we, you know, for decades have, not recognized Taiwan as an independent state, but now you have, you know, former policy makers including, you know, Mike Pompeo and there’s, you know, resolution in Congress calling for the United States to recognize Taiwan, as an independent, entity. And so, you know, that’s throwing out the notion of, one China, you know, that we have this policy, they have a principle, unless it’s really, you know, suggesting that we’re on this most important issue, to Chinese Communist party leaders saying that it’s just no longer something that we just need to manage. We’re just gonna, you know, completely, you know, overturn the kind of modus vivendi that has, you know, prevented, you know, outright conflict in the Taiwan Strait for decades.

Jon: Right. Let’s be realistic about nobody’s really, you know, preventing anybody from, you know, this idea of China being humiliated or the United States being humiliated by a balloon. China’s economic development since, you know, Nixon went there in the 70s, has been astronomical. I mean, truly like nothing, I think the world has seen since the Industrial Revolution in terms of the speed at which it has created industry and the wealth that it’s generated. Like, they’re doing unbelievably well, and the idea that somehow they’re being humiliated economically, you know, we basically outsourced all of our manufacturing to them. And so I guess I’m not quite understanding their issue. I understand it in terms of Taiwan. What do you think is behind this sudden interest in the provocation cycle? Is it just that we no longer have the global war on terror to occupy ourselves with? Like, what’s behind this sudden escalation? On both sides.

John: Yeah, I mean, there’s probably a number of things going on. It’s over-determined. There’s just different causes and conditions that produce this kind of escalation spiral. One is this weird moment that we’re in. You know, I was not a fan of the previous President by any means, but occasionally he, you could catch him in some weird rhetoric where he didn’t seem like he wanted to continue global war, and I mean, his policies differed from his occasional rhetoric and his rhetoric differed from his rhetoric. [JON LAUGHS] Um, he didn’t know what he was talking about, but you know, I think that there was a moment. There is a moment of post-war on terror kind of, we’re, the American people aren’t really sure what we’re up to in the world. They’re not sure what gives drive and purpose to our foreign policy and China represents something we can all kind of get around. You notice Biden is framing it as democracy and autocracy. You know, that’s a way to frame the, uh, rivalry that will get American support that appeals to our identity as democracy good guys and just shuts out any nuance about how we could possibly reach a strategic agreement where we have peace as opposed to escalating spirals and possibly war.

Jon: Right, and economic growth. I mean, we’re, for God’s sakes, we’re already in a proxy war with Russia like that’s already on the books. We’re already in there I mean, we’ve gotten to the point where like you can have tanks, but you can’t have planes. Ah you can have planes, but you can’t have people, you’ll have people. Like we’re already in that proxy war cycle. Is this China trying to take advantage of that? Or is this just, it’s the only political way that these leaders feel like they get a win? Like how — I don’t doubt that there are people that believe, you know, very strongly that democracy and autocracy are at odds with each other, and I think they are. But a lot of the chaos that the United States interventions have caused, has actually strengthened the hand of the autocrats because people turn to them in times of chaos. Jessica, are we in some ways the architect of our own precarious war position right now by destabilizing other parts of the world?

Jessica: I would say that I don’t see leaders on either side looking to take advantage of the moment to instigate something. I see both sides really reacting in a kind of, they feel that they have, you know, entirely innocent and all the blame lies on the other side, but that they then are in this, you know, period of acute insecurity and thus need to react very strongly and do a lot to prepare for a conflict that, you know, may not be inevitable, but seems increasingly likely. And I think it’s that kind of mutual fatalism, uh, combined with a sense of, you know, extreme urgency that is kind of leading to sort of wayward statements and —

Jon: Right. But they see no alternative path, you think, Jessica? 

Jessica: Well, I think that the prospects for, I mean, there are fundamentally I think, some irreconcilable objectives here, particularly in the context of Taiwan. 

Jon: Mm-hmm. 

Jessica: And I think where they see the path for this sort of so-called peaceful unification, seeming less and less likely given the demographic and political changes on the island of Taiwan. And so —

Jon: Mm-hmm.

Jessica: — in that context, I think it’s been much harder for you know, the Chinese leadership to tell their, you know, people like, and especially in the context of actions that the United States is also undertaking that you know, that purely a peaceful process will lead to their desired outcome. Now, this is not a change in their fundamental objectives. It’s been what they’ve wanted. You know, really since the, it was in their view, an unfinished civil war. But this has really made it, you know, sort of all the pillars of stability in the Taiwan’s trade had really eroded, you know, first under the pressure of these, you know, political changes in Taiwan, with China’s growing military capabilities, and then also I think this reaction by the United States, which in turn is doing more to provoke and accelerate that erosion. It’s really hard because, you know, in a kind of clear moral picture, you know, Taiwan’s the democracy, you know, China’s the autocracy, why wouldn’t you just do everything you could to support Taiwan? 

Jon: Right. 

Jessica: The problem with that kind of thinking is that you have to anticipate, “OK, how is China gonna react?” So these kind of congressional visits to Taiwan, which are ostensibly to support the island are actually more likely to precipitate the very kind of military reaction that we saw after Speaker Pelosi — 

Jon: Right. 

Jessica: — you know, went, and now we’re gonna maybe, Speaker McCarthy, um you know, where does this end? I mean, this is dangerous because it, I think it will set in motion potential actions by the United States or by actors on Taiwan, they’re gonna have a presidential election in 2024 as well. That could really just, you know, lead to the, a significant crisis here that I think we would be very hard pressed to maintain in the current circumstances.

Jon: Right. John, that’s, she brings up a really interesting point that you had touched on earlier and I want to get back to a little bit, which is also the forces that exist outside of the political realm in terms of the media that are built to embrace crisis and catastrophe and urgency. I thought Wolf Blitzer was going to have, maybe a four hour erection when he thought that they might shoot down the balloon, and he kept saying to every guest that came on “There was a general, an Air Force General, four star, who says, we’ll be at war with China by 2025”, and the guests all had to be like, I think he was just talking to it, like trying to psych his guys up, like I don’t think that’s, he wasn’t making that as a prediction, but it was every, “But is it, are we heading to a conflict?” But the question begs the issue of like, and if we are, should we cover it like this? There is atmospheric pressure. There is barometric pressure enforced by media, uh, that this is a narrative, that this is a story, that this has an inevitable conclusion, and that by not going to war, it will be a disappointing finale. 

John: Yeah, I mean the news media for sure is kind of set up to amplify a lot of this threat inflation that we get from the government, um, on national security threats. And they do. And even in the less gross form, you know, the print form basically. [JON LAUGHS] You know, broadcast journalism —

Jon: That’s how print should advertise itself. The New York Times should say, “All the news that’s less gross than the 24 hour news networks.” 

John: Well, it is less egregious in this particular sense than radio and television. But you know, also there are also incentives baked in there. Like if you are a reporter and you get, um, you know, a source providing you information that suggests a threat, you know, you’re liable to give credit to those sources and those claims. I honestly think a big part of the path to a stable relationship with China is coming to appreciate how much flexibility we have. The United States is a profoundly secure nation. 

Jon: Yes! 

John: We are one of the richest in the world. We have a huge territory, lots of national resources. We have weakened plant neighbors to the north and south, and a bunch of fish to our east and west.

Jon: Perhaps armed? Could you see us going to war with the dolphin? 

John: Perhaps armed fish. Yeah, the Chinese might put, some guns on a dolphin or something, but, um, no, we have an incredibly, we’re a hegemon in our own hemisphere.

Jon: Right. 

John: We have no challengers, you know, we have nuclear deterrent. You know, nobody’s gonna come marching onto the shores of Florida and take us over. We are incredibly secure, and yet everything that we perceive in the outside world is supposed to be this existential threat.

Jon: Right.

John: If we chill out, if we just calm down and realize that we’re actually really safe and secure I think it’ll allow a lot more flexible posture with China. You know, where we can accommodate them in some respects and not in others, and that’s a possible route to developing a stable relationship. But if we don’t take a chill pill, I don’t see it happening.

Jon: Chill pill? I don’t — yeah. Well, once, when we’re paying more to Lockheed Martin than we are for the entire State Department, I don’t know if chill pills are on order, but Jessica, and what about China? They have an enormous standing army. They have nuclear deterrents. They’re a giant country. Nobody is gonna overrun them. Uh, they’re secure as well. And what I don’t understand is whatever happened to the customer is always right? We are each other’s best customers. It’d be like, you know, you’ve got a relationship with your local coffee shop and you guys, they sell you coffee and you sell them cups and yet you decide to go to war over seating by the window. Like it’s, none of this is existential to our freedoms. These are economic competitions, and I don’t understand, like who is gonna buy all of China’s stuff if they go to war with the United States? 

Jessica: Well, there’s a lot to unpack. 

Jon: Oh yeah! Coffee analogies, everything. Go at it. [JESSICA LAUGHS]

Jessica: I mean, I think that there’s a, you know, at least some, you know, recognize that China should, you know, we should still keep buying underwear and teddy bears from China. 

Jon: OK.

Jessica: It’s just, that we don’t wanna be dependent on them for what, you know, are considered these choke point or advanced technologies that will transform the future. I’m not exactly sure how, but you know, there’s this envisioning of where the future of potential military conflict might go, and we need to make sure that we’re at the — we need to maintain our dominance, right? I mean that literally, That is what Jake Sullivan said in his speech last fall. “We need to maintain not just a relatively, but an absolute lead over China and these, you know, critical technologies that are of foundational importance.” But he didn’t spell out exactly how these kinds of controls are gonna lead to that and what that loss of control or even that little, the advantage, what might lead to. And I do think that there is, you know, what there is a — the military piece when it comes back to what we were talking about at the beginning, I, you know, does the United States need to maintain, primacy across every, domain, across every region of the world? Is that even, is that an illusion, uh, that we have it now?

Jon: Mm-hmm. 

Jessica: And do we need to recapture it? To what lengths are we willing to go in terms of first, our own military spending. Uh, can we do it with only military spending? Cuz we’re not doing a whole lot of new trade agreements. Um, and you know, to what extent are we willing to kind of sac again, as we did during the Cold War.

Jon: Mm-hmm. 

Jessica: You know, put aside our values, hold our nose and work with whoever it is that’s willing to join with this in standing against China. And we’ve heard that now India is of, is now of course our most important partner in this and, you know, we invite them to our summit for democracy, even though that they are, you know, rapidly cracking down on their, domestic opposition and media freedom. So, you know, it’s that kind of like whitewashing of, our, you know, we only call out the abuses where there’s a geopolitical interest in doing so, and we’re willing to kind of —

Jon: Mm-hmm. 

Jessica: You know, be a little bit quieter, on those issues when it’s not. And so, you know, here, I think that there are, you know, I wanna be clear that I think that there are reasons that, um, you know, the United States and China are going to continue to experience friction. We’re not just each other’s biggest customers, although, you know, trade levels are at a record high —

Jon: Friction is fine, friction is fine, war is not.

Jessica: Absolutely. And so I think what we really need to get down to is the business of figuring out how could we coexist? What would be acceptable to us that would also be acceptable to them, so that we can begin to reduce this sense of existential insecurity, which doesn’t make a lot of sense in the context of the geography, the nuclear weapons that we’ve you know, you just laid out. I think a really critical area here is this idea that somehow we are each inside, each other’s gates. Um, that I think that the balloon incident really — 

Jon: Mm-hmm. 

Jessica: — I think brought that to the fore here in the United States. And I mean, it’s, I really worry in the, you know, the upcoming presidential election season that, that kind of rhetoric is really going to, you know, lead to really excessive efforts to scrutinize or even just completely kick out —

Jon: Mm-hmm. 

Jessica: — foreigners. Um, particularly those who dissent —

Jon: Demonize.

Jessica: Yeah. 

Jon: Demonize, sure. 

Jessica: Um, because really that’s been the secret sauce, you know, to America’s, you know, success and also to what we, you know, stand for in the world stage, which is, you know, “Bring us your huddled masses.” Right? It’s this idea that, attracting, the best and brightest and making them, you know, feel included and welcome and to contribute. That I think we’re really close to losing that. I mean, we already, the surveys suggest that, you know, 60% of Chinese-born scientists don’t feel welcome or safe here in the United States. 40% of international, or, you know, early career scientists are thinking about leaving the United States. And so this is a really, essentially an own goal here.

Jon: Well, we’re certainly not averse to cutting off our noses, despite our faces, and we’ve done it, in the past. And, you know, it’s interesting, look, we talk about Franklin Roosevelt, the most progressive president in the history of the United States. Well talk about a guy that defied democratic norms, four terms. He in interned the Japanese. You know, America has always used threat as an excuse to limit, you know, rights, democratic norms, all kinds of other things. And it’s just surprising to me. It, again, I hate to keep going back to that World War II analogy, but you know, it’s like when the Allied powers in Russia carved up the world to figure out, you know, Russia, “OK, you get, you get this part of Berlin and we’ll take this sector and you get that.” And, and they divided the spoils. And in some ways, that’s what we’re doing apparently with China. It’s, this is what it comes down to is, OK, what are the spoils of the less developed world gonna be for China and the United States? How are we gonna divvy up our profits? And I know that’s a very cynical way to look at it, but it’s hard not to look at it as, you know, it’s got, you know, notes of colonialism and notes of dividing the spoils of war, doesn’t it?

John: Sure. Jessica mentioned primacy. 

Jon: Mm-hmm. 

John: This is the grand strategy that we’ve pursued for a long time. And I think one of the things that it does is it makes us unable to prioritize when we’re making strategy. And so you talk about the world — the lessons in World War II. I think one of the main lessons that policymakers learned, and I think it was the wrong lesson, is that we can’t wait. We always have to be deterring first. We have to act, and you know, Munich is like the lesson that everyone took. You can’t make concessions cuz the adversary’s appetite grows with its power, you know? Grows with its hunger. And that meant that we had to be everywhere. We have to be over in Asia to stop China before they even think about it. We have to be in Europe to —

Jon: Right.

John:  — stop Germany from re-arming and protect Europe from Russia and so on. And, that be everywhere and do everything and deter everyone and fight everyone. And keep everyone in line means we can’t prioritize and make real strategy. And I think that’s part of what’s clouding our view here.

Jon: Doesn’t that hollow us out? I mean if you think about empire and you look at it in terms of empire, 800 bases stretching across the world, it’s a vast amount of territory to police and isn’t what destroyed Russia from the inside trying to manage all these other territories: Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, f***ing Poland. Like it’s that — isn’t that what had them collapse? Is that they just got too hollowed out and I mean, half of our discretionary budget is military. Are we not going to be less secure by not at least focusing more on our own infrastructure? And our — and when I say infrastructure I mean human capital as well. So I don’t know how you guys feel about that part of it, and maybe that’s getting too theoretical about the idea of like empires that overstretch, but it feels awfully tenuous to me. 

John: No, I don’t think that’s over theoretical. I mean, occupational duties are not profitable and they’re expensive. And, that has been the ruin of many nations throughout history is just overextending themselves — 

Jon: Mm-hmm. 

John: — with foreign priorities and forgetting things at home. I actually think our quote unquote competition with China, it would go much better for us if we focused on things at home. You know, maintaining that open immigration system where we welcome others in. Having a very healthy and robust economy and, you know, investing in education and these kinds of things that will give us edges over China and all kinds of ways that spending enormous sums on weapon systems that we don’t actually need will, you know? So I totally agree.

Jon: But when the balloons come, who will pop them? Jessica, final word there. In your mind,  what’s a better vision of a rebalancing of this conflict and what would be a smarter path for not just China, but for America to choose as this thing, you know, develops?

Jessica: So I think the most important thing is that we are driving toward a positive sum inclusive vision of the future that includes not just the United States, but also China, other major powers in the, frankly, the world rather than seeing this as you put it, kind of something for the United States and China to divvy up. I don’t think that we’re there yet. I think we’re not an even willing to concede that we would allow China to be, you know, dominant anywhere. I think we’re still wanting to be the partner of choice everywhere. And so I think the most important thing is that positive affirmative vision. But beyond that, I think it’s really important that we begin to think about making threats, and kind of rewards or assurances much more conditional on China’s behavior. I think right now we’re kind of in an all out rush to build our capabilities, you know, constrain theirs in areas where we think it matters, which is leading to just kind of the acceleration of this tit for tat spiral. And we are at risk of over militarizing these frictions and making it harder to find diplomatic solutions or you know, carefully finesse arrangements, where we avoid coming to blows over issues where frankly, we haven’t decided collectively whether or not we are willing to send, you know, troops to fight for Taiwan. And I think it’s really dangerous in that kind of setting where we haven’t really had these kind of frank conversations with ourselves to be putting the rhetoric so far out ahead of that conversation. And so I don’t think that we should precipitously withdraw from, you know, around the world. I think that could invite more challenges, but I think we need to be much smarter about trying to negotiate, you know, conditional ways to lower the temperature to reduce frictions. 

Jon: Mm-hmm. 

Jessica: I don’t think that trust is necessarily what we are aiming toward, but we could reduce the kind of headlong rush toward enmity that’s really not actually making us more secure.

Jon: Right. And by the way, to be clear,  I’m not talking about America curling up in a ball and ignoring the rest of the world, but I am talking about this mission creep that has occurred over the last 50 or 60 years that appears to be unsustainable. John, final thoughts for you on what you think might be a preferable road to go or the road you think we may be headed on?

John: Yeah, I mean, this goes back to something I said earlier, which is essentially that we need to appreciate better what our actual geopolitical position is. And if we understand that we’re safe and secure, I think we’ll be able to prioritize and we’ll also be able to look around the world and see things that we’re doing that we probably shouldn’t be doing that’ll allow more resources for the things that we should be doing. Jessica says we shouldn’t withdraw precipitously, OK. I think we should withdraw. It’s a question of how precipitous, we don’t need to be militarily present in 70 or 80 countries around the world. We don’t need 800 military bases and we need to find a way to recognize China’s growing need for an identity that is commensurate with its power, and we need to acknowledge our own kind of, as you were saying before, Jon, our own ego. We have way too much ego in the game of international relations and we need to check that. And I think  it’s not impossible to come to some rational, kind of realpolitik arrangement with China that isn’t just an engine for hype and fear and threat and conflict.

Jon: Well, I thank you guys very much and the hope is then that also the mechanism we have in this country that creates that fear will also have a sobering moment  and we’ll try and consider that ratings aren’t necessarily worth getting people killed. But thank you guys, both very much. Jessica Chen Weiss, John Glaser. Jessica of course, the Michael J. Zak Professor for China and Asia-Pacific Studies at Cornell University, senior fellow at the Asia Society Center for China Analysis. John Glaser, Cato Institute Scholar, host of Cato’s Power Problems podcast. Thank you both so much for being here. I really appreciated it.

Jon: Thanks, Jon. 

Jessica: So great to be with you.

Interview with Jessica Chen Weiss and John Glaser Ends


Jon: Wow. Let me say this. I always find it interesting when I have a conversation with two people who very clearly know what they’re talking about. [LAUGHTER]

Robby: Yeah. 

Jon: And do so with no histrionics, no rhetorical flourishes. No devices. Just standard knowledge delivered crisply.

Tocarra: Matter of factness.

Robby: Can I just say, when you have the right conversation with a libertarian, it’s like these guys rule, you know [LAUGHTER] And then you veer off path a little bit and they’re like, “The rich should privatize eyesight.” And you’re like, “Whoa, what happened?”

Jon: “What just happened?” Yeah, it’s it. It’s interesting that the libertarian viewpoint is just one of like, “Hey, we should really reconsider just how big footing we want to get on the world stage.” Although I think he probably goes further than that, but she was very much like, “I don’t know. They are kind of, you know.”

Robby: Yeah. She was much more institutional thinking that way. 

Jon: Yeah. Yeah. I thought so too. Fascinating though. Why do you think it’s so easy to just fall into these new rivalries and new teams? Like we just got out of Al-Qaeda and ISIS being our, they were in our division. 

Robby: Mm-hmm. 

Jon: That’s who we were fighting. Then all of a sudden, We’re in the conference championship against China?

Robby: Right. Yeah. I think there’s this like famous, like post Cold War saying, right? That like when the USSR fell, we slayed the dragon and it just turned into a bunch of snakes. 

Tocarra: Yeah. 

Robby: And our national security apparatus doesn’t know how to sell or handle a bunch of snakes. You know, we don’t know how to do a bunch of little enemies. You know, when Russia comes back to the forefront, like it is, it’s like “The Boys Are Back In Town’ starts playing cuz they’re like, we love this. We have one guy in China is a perfect one guy. To  aim at for Americans to understand. You can wrap your head around this guy is the bad guy.

Jon: Right.

Tocarra: Yeah. I mean, I think you said it perfectly, like we don’t know how to handle rivalry, like it’s a straight pipeline to enemy.

Jon: Right. Rivalry to adversary, to enemy, right. 

Tocarra: Exactly. That’s right. 

Tobby: Yeah. 

Jon: Tocarra, what is your, I’m curious, you know, I don’t know if you talked to your family about it, but you know, you, you come from a military family. Do they look at this and go like, “Here we f***ing go again.” 

Tocarra: A military intelligence family. 

Jon: Ahh.

Robby: Balloon folks.


Tocarra: Balloon, balloon, balloon people. Balloon people. My sister was like, ”Yeah, I mean, lot of balloons. We can talk about it later over an encrypted situation, but not right now. But I mean, the balloons, they’re, they’re usually there.” [LAUGHTER]

Jon: Meanwhile, we’ve got balloons up there watching us. 

Robby: Yes.

Tocarra: 100%. 

Jon: The intelligence agencies have balloons in our skies watching us. 

Robby: Yeah.

Tocarra: Yes.

Robby: I do love that we’ll spend billions and billions on satellites and China’s like, “Let’s go to Party City or Sharper Image {LAUGHTER] you know, we’ll knock this out a couple hundred bucks.”

Jon: Is there a guy on the ground with the little controller? 

Robby: Yeah. 

Jon: My favorite party goes, “These are controlled balloons, these are motorized.” And then they described it as like, it has like little fans on it. [LAUGHTER].

Robby: Yeah. We’re gonna need the F22 to take this one out. By the way, I hope when that guy landed, no one to high five that by, this was not a dog fight. This was a carnival game in the sky. You don’t get numbers for this.

Jon: Trust me. In the new “Top Gun,” whatever the third installation will be, there will be balloon man.


Tocarra: Oh, absolutely. 

Jon: You have to, you’ll have Iceman, you’ll have Maverick, and then you’ll have balloon boy. 

Robby & Tocarra: balloon Boy. 

Jon: “What’s what? we got three MIGS coming up and then we also have what appears to be the guy from ‘UP’.. No, no.It’s a Chinese spy balloon.”

Tocarra: Exactly. 

Robby: Yeah.

Jon: I really hope it’s just, a bunch of Radio Shack s*** that was thrown at that. [LAUGHTER] It actually wasn’t even a spy thing. They were, you know what they were probably doing, you know how in everybody’s house now you have that one box filled with all your old electronic s*** [LAUGHTER] that you just like is obsolete hopefully it’s just them trying to get rid of all that s***. 

Robby: That’s just them passing it off to us to eventually end up in the floating island of trash in the sea. 

Jon: Oh, right. Did you watch the — is the State of the Union, did that happen? Did that happen last night?

Tocarra:  No, no, no. We’re recording before the State of the Union

Jon: Are you gonna watch? 

Tocarra: Oh, um, I am gonna watch, but I only to prime myself for the rebuttal that’s gonna happen. 

Jon: Oh.

Tocarra: That Sarah Huckabee is leading.

Jon:  Oh, you enjoy the rebuttal? 

Tocarra: Oh, absolutely. Oh, it’s a theater. Oh my God. [LAUGHTER]  I’m gonna have my popcorn, my opera gloves. I’m gonna have a good time.

Jon: Are you, do you, when you watch at home, do you stand and clap at the proper times? Do you participate in the up and down of it? 

Robby: Yeah, very often I’m singing the National Anthem through most of it, so that’s a bit distracting. 

Jon: You have to.

Robby: I always, like, when I watch the State of the Union, the comic in me always takes over and I’m just like, this is a tough room. This is 50% of the people hate you instantly. You’ve got your opener sitting behind you just kind of judging the job you’re doing. [TOCARRA LAUGHS] It’s a rough one. It’s just a funny room where you can be like “We need to be a country where people can have clean water and access to affordable healthcare.” And that hits 48% of the room. 

Tocarra: Everyone stands yeah. Yes, water.


Jon: Some people just do this. “Afford what?” 

Robby: No. 

Jon: “Oh, dare you, sir. F*** that. It won’t happen.” 

Robby: Yeah. The only100%  hit is war. The only 100% hit is like, we need to bomb China essentially.

Jon: I wonder if  at some point a president will say, you know, “Tonight,” because I always wait for that rabble rousing, the orgasm of the speech, “And the State of the Union.” Sometimes they’ll deliver it up front, sometimes from the back,” The State of the Union.” And then, then just pause and say, “well, quite frankly, we f***ed.”


Robby:  “It’s been, it’s been better if I’m being honest.”

Jon: “ If I’m being honest. Have you been on Twitter there, there are crazy people out there. They believe crazy things.”


Robby: “Have you guys rode the subway recently?”

Tocarra: Yeah. Robby, Jon, can I ask you guys a question? 

Robby: Yes. 

Jon: Please.

Tocarra: You know, I know the State of the Union, it’s acquired by the U.S. Constitution, but do we think it’s still relevant?

Jon: I mean, I think if, if you’re the president, I don’t know how you would pass it up. 

Tocarra: Right? 

Jon: It’s an opportunity to stand for an hour. And no matter if you’re getting applause or not, applause from the other side and just say how great you are. It is. It’s an address about all the things you say you’re gonna do that you don’t really have to do. You know what might be nice if the state of the union is followed by the midterm report where you just talk about all the s*** you said you were gonna do that. Like “Yeah, we, nah, that was that thing about universal healthcare that was a —”

Tocarra: You can’t clap during that.

Robby: We were dealing with a balloon. Yeah.

Jon: Yeah. How long before you think the State of the Union devolves into a fistfight? Because we are perilously close to those, you know, public access, Belarus TV parliamentary like just all out brawls. Like we’ve had a couple of you lies. Couple of people have shouted. I mean the Republicans almost came to blows when they were choosing McCarthy’s speaker. 

Tocarra: That’s right. That’s right. 

Jon: How close do you think we are to just flat out f***ing fisticuffs on the floor of Congress during a State of the Union, which is the only time maybe those folks ever get to like really interact with each other. 

Robby: I would love to see Katie Porter just smack McCarthy in the back of the head with the whiteboard. wrestling chair style, you know?

Jon: Oh, you actually, a wrestling brawl might be the way to go. 

Robby:Yeah. I think it’s gonna break out. Yeah. I mean, I remember like seeing those, like Taiwanese parliament, fistfights thinking like, “How could this happen?” And now when I watch American Congress, I’m like, “How could this not happen? I mean how are you guys not hitting each other at this point?”

Jon: Yeah. 

Tocarra: I don’t want anyone to get hurt, alright. I don’t wanna condone violence. However —


Jon: No. You didn’t need a disclaimer at the time of that Tocarra. [TOCARRA LAUGHS] Nobody’s believing you to have blood lust.

Tocarra: However —

Jon: Yeah.

Tocarra: I would love some proper screaming. 

Jon: OK.

Tocarra: I really would. I need some screaming, I need some name calling. I need, you know, “You lucky they’re holding me back.” I need like, the threat of violence, but I don’t need the actual violence.

Jon: OK. Are you talking about like question time kind of s***? Like British parliamentary, like [gibberish]

Tocarra: Absolutely.

Jon:  Or do you mean like, Uh, you know where two rival groups that are like, we’re —

Robby: The Sharks and the Jets? 

Tocarra: Yeah. Like yes. 

Jon: You want choreo?

Tocarra: A little bit, yeah.

Robby: You know, how do we feel about a Royal Rumble style thing?

Jon: I’d love to see that. 

Robby: You know, cuz they’re already a door opens, one person announces someone.

Jon: Last congressperson standing. 

Robby: That’s what I’m talking about. 

Jon: That would be the way  to go.

Tocarra: Well then there’s some music choices that need to be made.

Jon: It would be Seth Rollins would be the way to go. [LAUGHTER] Guys, thank you very much as always for joining Tocarra Mallard, Robby Slowik. I also want to thank Jessica Chen Weiss, John Glazer. We will see you guys next week and remember the shows on Apple TV+, and thank you. Nice work guys. 

Robby: Thank you, Jon. Bye everybody. 

Tocarra: Whoa. See ya.


Jon: The Problem with Jon Stewart Podcast is an Apple TV+ podcast and a joint Busboy Production.