“Open to Debate” Podcast: Should Ukraine Get Russia’s Frozen Assets? — Virtual Debate Taping September 19

9 September 2023

After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, economic sanctions were imposed on Russia by multiple countries, including the US and the EU. These sanctions targeted Russian individuals and entities, along with finance, aerospace, and other industry sectors. Consequently, certain assets located abroad were frozen and rendered inaccessible to Russians.

Should they go to Ukraine? Those arguing yes say it would serve as a form of restitution for perceived aggressions and annexations while also compensating for damages and economic disruptions. Those arguing no say it may overstep the bounds of international law and could set a concerning precedent, which would lead to escalated tensions and retaliatory actions.

On September 19, the award-winning debate series Open to Debate (formerly known as Open to Debate formerly known as Intelligence Squared U.S.) will tape a virtual debate on the question: “Should Ukraine Get Russia’s Frozen Assets?”

Arguing “YES” is former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers. Arguing “NO” is Council on Foreign Relations director of international economics Benn Steil. Editorial Board Chair of the Financial Times Gillian Tett serves as guest moderator.

The debate will not be released widely until October 13 via public radio, video and the Open to Debate podcast.

Open to Debate addresses a fundamental problem in America: the extreme polarization of our nation and our politics. We are the nation’s only nonpartisan, debate-driven media organization dedicated to bringing multiple viewpoints together for a constructive, balanced, respectful exchange of ideas. Open to Debate is a platform for intellectually curious and open-minded people to engage with others holding opposing views on complex issues.

We know debate works to find common ground: On average, 32% of the Open to Debate audience changes their mind on contentious topics after hearing a debate. That’s the power of debate done right, and at scale, it can change the direction we’re headed in America. Open to Debate is broadcast as a weekly public radio program, carried on NPR stations, including WNYC (#1 in the nation). Open to Debate is made available as a podcast, video series, and digital platform and records episodes with live audiences nationwide.

Visit opentodebate.org to become a member, access an archive of more than 220 debates, and attend live events.


* Lawrence Summers: Former Secretary of the Treasury
Lawrence Summers has held several senior policy positions, including Secretary of the Treasury under the Clinton administration and director of the National Economic Council for the Obama administration. He has also served as vice president of development economics and chief economist of the World Bank. Summers is a professor and president emeritus of Harvard University.

* Benn Steil: Senior Fellow and Director of International Economics at the Council on Foreign Relations
Dr. Benn Steil is senior fellow and director of international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations, where he is also the lead writer of their Geo-Graphics blog and the creator of eight web-based interactives tracking Global Monetary Policy, Global Imbalances, Global Trade, Global Growth, and more. He has written and spoken widely on international finance, monetary policy, financial markets, and economic and diplomatic history. The author of four books, his most recent, “The Marshall Plan: Dawn of the Cold War”, won multiple awards, including the New York Historical Society’s Barbara and David Zalaznick Prize for best work on American history and the American Academy of Diplomacy’s Douglas Dillon Prize.

* Gillian Tett: Editorial Board Chair and Editor-at-Large US of the Financial Times; Provost Elect of King’s College Cambridge
Gillian Tett is chair of the editorial board and U.S. editor-at-large of the Financial Times, where she oversees global coverage of the financial markets, and the incoming Provost of King’s College Cambridge as of October 2023. An award-winning journalist and best-selling author, Tett is also the co-founder of “Moral Money”, a twice-weekly newsletter on socially responsible business.