Wed, 30 August 2017
Cutting Edge Research Finds a Link Between the Cost of Getting Married and the Outbreak Violent Conflict
My guest today, Hillary Matfess of Yale, has discovered that there is a link between bride prices and violent conflict.
She is the co-author of a fascinating new paper that appears in the current, Summer 2017 issue of the academic journal International Security. In it, she and her co-author Valerie Hudson identify how the cost of getting married can lead to the outbreak of violent conflict and war.
Brideprice is sometimes known more commonly as dowry payments, but it is essentially, as Matfess explains, wealth that would-be grooms must transfer to the family of his would-be wife. In this way, brideprice acts as a regressive flat tax that poorer younger men pay to wealthier, older men. 75% of the world's population lives in societies that practice brideprice in one form or another
Anyone who has ever taken an international relations or security class knows that there are volumes of research on what causes the outbreak of violent conflict. Through case studies, which Matfess discusses in this conversation, the paper demonstrates how fluctuations in brideprices can lead to the outbreak of violent conflict. It is fascinating research with very real-world policy implications.
Fri, 25 August 2017
In Kazakstan this week, the international atomic energy agency is opening a new facility that will serve as a bank for low enriched uranium.
This facility is known as the LEU fuel bank and its opening is the result of over a decade of work by my guest Senator Sam Nunn.
Now the idea behind the, bank which Senator Nunn explains in detail is basically this. countries that want to use civilian nuclear power must either build their own enrichment facilities, or must purchase enriched uranium on the open market. the concern with the former is that facilities that enrich uranium for civilian purposes could also be used to enrich uranium for a nuclear bomb. The bank is basically an insurance policy to dissuade countries from wanting to build their own enrichment facilities because if for some reason the market is disrupted and supplies cut off, the county can get their fuel from this bank, which stores enough fuel to power a mid sized city for three years.
Senator Nunn is a former US senator who is co-chair of the NGO the Nuclear Threat Initiative. For years, the Nuclear Threat Initiative has been working behind the scenes to set up this bank and they got a big boost when Warren Buffet pledged 50 million to the cause. And in this episode Senator Nunn tells the story behind the LEU bank and why its advent is an important boon for international security and non-proliferation.
Sat, 19 August 2017
Poland is in the midst of a democratic backslide. The country's politics is dominated by the far right Law and Justice Party, which has embarked on a series of moves to curb the independence of the judiciary and free press. This has put Poland on a collision course with the European Union, of which it is a member. It has also earned the government the praise and support of Donald Trump--indeed Trump visited Poland this summer and delivered a rabble rousing speech appealing directly to right wing elements in Polish politics.
So how did we get here? And how threatened is liberal democracy in the heart of Europe? On the line with me to discuss the situation in Poland and why what happens in Poland matters to the rest of the world is Konsanty Gebert
Konstanty Gebert is an Associate Fellow at the European Council for Foreign Relations and an international reporter and columnist at Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland’s largest daily publication. He was also a speaker at the Humanity in Action International Conference in Berlin this year.
If you have 20 minutes and want to learn why democracy in Poland is under threat right now, have a listen.
Direct download: Polands_Democratic_Backslide_-_Global_Dispatches_Podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm EDT
Tue, 15 August 2017
Tensions are very clearly escalating on the Korean Peninsula, with the North making unrelenting progress on their nuclear and ballistic missile programs, and the United States president now overtly threatening a new war.
In the meantime, the United Nations Security Council, which of course includes China, the United States and Russia, passed a new round of sanctions on North Korea intended to force Pyongyang back to the negotiating table -- but as of yet it is unclear if these new sanction will succeed in that regard.
So what are the policy options right now? And if North Korea does succeed in developing the capacity to reliably hit the United States with a nuclear weapon can it even be deterred from doing so? What would happen if the United States strikes North Korea first? What diplomatic paths are still open right now? On the line to discuss these questions and more is Dr. Jim Walsh of MIT. He discusses the current situation and why deterrence might be the least bad option we face.
Direct download: Can_North_Korea_Be_Deterred__-_Global_Dispatches.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:47pm EDT
Wed, 9 August 2017
After receiving dozens of emails from podcast listeners asking for career advice, I decided to put together this special episode in which your questions are answered. On the line are Paul Stronski and Alanna Shaikh, two individuals who have had varied careers in world affairs. Paul is a senior fellow with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Alanna is a consultant who has worked with several international development and global health organizations. They were on hand to answer questions from listeners who joined a virtual conference call, or emailed me ahead of time.
Topics covered include: how to pull off an early-to-mid career shift. How to pick the right grad school program; how to network; how to land that first job; and many other topics.
Become a premium subscriber to unlock bonus episodes, earn other rewards, and support the show!
Direct download: Careers_in_International_Affairs_a_panel_discussion_with_your_questions_answered.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:13pm EDT
Fri, 4 August 2017
Somalia is ground zero for an emerging trend in global affairs-- the nexus between climate change and conflict. My guest today, journalist Laura Heaton spent years reporting on how climate change and conflict feed off each other in profoundly destabilizing ways in horn of Africa.
She's the author of a feature story in Foreign Policy magazine that uses the work and life story of a British Scientist named Murray Watson to explain how climate change in Somalia has exacerbated conflict -- both local and international -- and how that conflict and insecurity has inhibited policies to mitigate the destabilizing effect of climate change.
Watson went missing on 2008 after being kidnapped in Somalia, and it was assumed that his trove of ecological research went missing with him -- until Laura uncovered its existence in an attic in the British countryside.
Direct download: Somalia_is_Caught_in_a_Conflict-Climate_Nexus_-_Global_Dispatches.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:20pm EDT