Welcome to Pacific Pundit! I'm Van Jackson, host of this podcast series on geopolitics, foreign policy, history, and "the future of warfare." The show's niche is on the intersection of the United States and the Asia-Pacific. We're here to make sense of the world's most important region, and America's role in it.
A reflection of my own background, the Pacific Pundit podcast is a hybrid of foreign policy debates, history, current events, and international relations theory. Also like me, the podcast focuses overwhelmingly on the Asia-Pacific region, but sometimes has to wander outside of it to better make sense of what's going on in it. I'm not the only pundit who'll appear on the show, but I'll be the regular honcho. We're an independent podcast, distributed by War on the Rocks.
Who is Van Jackson? I'm a political scientist and foreign policy hustler. I started my career in the Air Force at age 17. I worked in the Office of the Secretary of Defense while moonlighting as a PhD student. I've taught at Georgetown University, Hawaii Pacific University, and Catholic University, and I've held a number of think tank affiliations (CNAS, CFR, and Pacific Forum CSIS). I've published all kinds of research; some of it's really good. I even testified before Congress, on Asian security trends in 2015. Right now I'm at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu, and in mid-2017 will be joining Victoria University of Wellington as a Senior Lecturer in IR & Strategic Studies.
Scholars and policy practitioners of my generation know you've got to specialize in some area of foreign policy if you want to establish a career foothold, but that it's not always enough; breaking through in the tough international affairs industry means you've got to be willing and able to do it all, get smart on new issues quickly, and find signals where others hear only noise. So that's what I've tried to do. Along the way I've collected a diverse range of experience, primarily as an Asia and Korea hand, and eventually branching out to defense policy, strategy, IR theory, security studies, and historical sociology. I also know way more about nukes than I ever expected. Hopefully that eclecticism makes for an interesting podcast.
If you really want the full download on me, you can visit my personal website here. I created that site because it's what they tell young scholars interested in academic jobs to do--create a portfolio for yourself online where you can hang your research. But now that I have it, I don't need to clutter the Pacific Pundit site with too many of my humble brags; I have an entire separate site for that!
I hope you enjoy the show. I'm always interested in feedback and listener ideas. And if you ever want to guest blog or possibly appear on the show, just let me know! #FPHustla (I'm a Hustla Music Video)
Thanks to Tre Hester for production, editing, and musical arrangements on Pacific Pundit (and Tre Hester with Ranson Vorpahl for the Oriental G-Funk Intro/Outro)