The many dimensions of what’s at stake in U.S. foreign aid spending are explored in two crisply edited, new episodes of the prize-winning podcast, The Brookings Cafeteria.

In Part 1, Madeleine Albright, Richard Blum, Stephen Hadley, Brookings’ George Ingram and other experts weigh in with analysis and commentary.

It’s an excellent 50-minute primer, ranging from origins of U.S. foreign assistance after World War II to pivotal questions Congress budget makers must answer in coming weeks. Questions on issues such as the role of U.S. leadership in the world, concerns over fragile states and whether it makes sense for 25 different government agencies to have a hand in making U.S. foreign aid policy.

Part 2 features interviews with Carolyn Miles, CEO of Save the Children; John Feeley, U.S. Ambassador to Panana; Brookings’ Homi Kharas and other prominent voices in global aid.

Among other topics, they note remarkable successes and how to gauge them, accelerating roles of technology and the private sector, China’s well-designed new approaches, and how aid opens growth opportunities for U.S. business. The 45-minute program leads off with a separate, timely Brookings analysis of simmering tensions between Congress and the White House.

To have a listen, go here and here to Brookings Cafeteria home page. A full transcript of Part 1 is available at the first link.