Sun, 19 November 2017
Zimbabwe has had exactly one leader in its entire 37 year history as an independent country. That was, until November 14th Robert Mugabe was deposed in an apparent coup.
What happens next is still very much in the air. Right now, Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace are under an apparent house arrest, though it seems he may soon be forced into exile. Meanwhile, his recently sacked vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa seems to be calling the shots.
On the line with me to discuss recent events in Zimbabwe and offer some deeper context in which to understand how, after 37 years Robert Mugabe's time in power has abruptly come to an end is Amb John Campbell, who is the Ralph Bunche senior fellow for Africa policy studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, DC.
Amb. Campbell explains how an intra-party rivalry over who might succeed the 93 year old Robert Mugabe seems to have triggered this coup. We also discuss Mugabe's history as a singularly fascinating liberation leader who for a time presided over a booming economy, until, that is, he ruined it, for reasons Ambassador Campbell explains.
If you have 30 minutes and want to understand how the coup unfolded and what might come next, then have a listen.
Direct download: Zimbabwe_and_the_fall_of_Robert_Mugabe_Explained_-_Global_Dispatches.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:13am EST
Thu, 16 November 2017
Over the last several weeks, ISIS has been systematically losing territory. Its last stronghold in Iraq, the city of Hawija, was liberated in early October. A few weeks later, ISIS' de-facto capitol in Raqaa, Syria fell to US-backed forces.
ISIS no longer controls any major city in the region.
With the group mostly defeated on the ground, the international community is starting to think through some difficult and fraught questions of how best to bring ISIS to justice for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during their brutal reign.
On the line with me to discuss some of the options that the international community is weighing, and also some of the key obstacles for bringing to justice those who committed war crimes in Iraq and Syria, is Dr. Zachary D. Kaufman.
Zachary D. Kaufman is a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and teaching at Stanford Law school -- he is also, like me, a Humanity in Action senior fellow.
Direct download: ISIS_War_Crimes__-_Global_Dispatches2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:56pm EST
Mon, 13 November 2017
Peter Galbraith helped uncover and confront two genocides. As a staffer in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the 1980s, Peter compiled evidence of Saddam Hussein’s genocide against the Kurdish people. Later, as the United States Ambassador to Croatia during the 1990s, he used his position to call for more forceful intervention on behalf of besieged populations in the Balkans. We discuss both these events, plus what it was like to be born the son of the 20th century’s most celebrated public intellectuals and liberal icons, John Kenneth Galbraith.
Peter recently wrote a piece in the New York Review of Books about how the Trump administration is approaching the Kurdish situation. In it, he discusses some recent events in Kurdish region, including the Iraqi governments decision to forcefully—and violently — respond to an independence referendum in the Kurdish region. This leads to an extended conversation that includes stories from Peter’s nearly 35 year engagement with Kurdish politics — I think you will agree its riveting and interesting stuff. we also discuss Peter’s time in the Balkans and the unique way he sought to draw attention to ongoing mass atrocities there.
Wed, 8 November 2017
Saudi Crown Price Mohammad bin Salman consolidated power in a pretty dramatic fashion by detaining would-be rivals and diminishing other power centers in the country. These moves coincided with an apparent rocket attack, launched from Yemen, toward the vicinity of an airport in Riyadh. That sparked a very dramatic decision by the Crown Prince to impose a total blockade of Yemen.
That decision could have a profoundly devastating impact on the situation in Yemen, where nearly the entire population is affected by an ongoing conflict that is pitting an Iran-backed rebel group against the Saudi-backed government. The rebel group controls much of northern part of the country, including the capitol Sana’a and the largest port, Hodeidah. Saudi Arabia (with American backing) controls all sea and air lanes around the country.
Yemen is already the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, with 7 million facing starvation and over 900,000 sickened with cholera.
If access to Yemen remained shut down, “I can’t imagine this will not be one of the most devastating humanitarian catastrophes we’ve seen in decades,” says the head of the World Food Program.
On the line with me to discuss this all is Scott Paul of Oxfam America. Scott, who has spent time in Yemen and lobbies the US government on behalf of humanitarian access in Yemen, explains the situation on the ground right now--and as you'll see there is a great lack of clarity about this apparent blockade. We also discuss more broadly the political environment in the Yemen and the broader middle east that giving rise to the ongoing catastrophe in Yemen.
Mon, 6 November 2017
Donald Trump's approach to sovereignty is not unique in American history. There is a longstanding political tradition that seeks no compromise with the world and see's all interactions with allies and adversaries as zero sum. What is different is that no American President has held these views until now.
Stewart Patrick is author of the new book The Sovereignty Wars Reconciling America with the World. The book examines how debates about sovereignty in the United States shape American foreign policy, and also the liberal international order --that is the patchwork of treaties and agreements and institutions like the United Nations that help set the rules of international relations.
We discuss the implications of Donald Trump's apparently narrow view of sovereignty on American foreign policy. It's a high minded conversation--and a good one.
Stewart Patrick is a senior fellow and director of the program on international institutions and global governance at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). He was a guest on the show last year for episode 116 in which he discusses his life and career.
Direct download: How_Trumps_Radical_Approach_to_22sovereignty22_is_shaping_International_Relations_-_Global_Dispatches.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:22am EST
Thu, 2 November 2017
If California were a country, it would be the sixth largest economy in the world. Its population is greater than countries like Poland and Canada.
So what happens in California can very much impact the rest of the world. And one fairly direct manifestation of California's global relevance is in the state's approach to climate change. Earlier this summer, California revamped its Cap-and-Trade program. This is a policy innovation intended to curb emissions by creating a market around greenhouse gasses like carbon. Companies can buy and sell permits to each other to release set amounts of greenhouse gasses.
That's one way California is having a global impact. There are others as well. On the line with me to discuss California's global impact is California State Senator Ben Allen. Senator Allen represents about 1 million people in communities around Los Angeles and he has been in the State Senate since 2014. We discuss California's approach to climate change, and also some strategies that Senator Allen and his colleagues are employing to blunt some of the effects of the federal government's decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement. We also discuss some other issues of transnational concern, like ensuring the eduction of immigrant children is not interrupted should they the get deported.
Ben Allen (like me) is a Humanity in Action Senior Fellow.
Direct download: State_Senator_Ben_Allen_Discusses_Californias_Global_Impact__-_Global_Dispatches_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:33pm EST
Fri, 27 October 2017
Farida Nabourema spoke from an undisclosed location in West Africa, out of fear for her personal safety. Farida is a prominent Togolese activist and these are very tense times in Togo. Several people were killed in protests in recent months amid a growing opposition movement that is calling for the re-instatement of presidential term limits. These term limits are guaranteed under the Togolese constitution, but nonetheless are being ignored by the regime.
Togo is a small country in west Africa, with a population of about 7.5 million people. It has been ruled for the last 50 years by the same family. Eyadéma Gnassingbé came to power in 1967 and ruled until his death in 2005, whereupon his son, Faure Gnassingbé became president. Faure is ruling to this day and is seeking to undertake some moves of dubious constitutionality that could extend his rule far into the future.
It is in this volatile political environment that Farida is engaging her activism and supporting a movement to enforce president term limits and a return to democracy.
We have a very interesting conversation, not only about Togo, but also about the role of anger in sustaining an opposition movement and also the strategic value of non-violence. We also discuss how she became an activist, which you will learn was something she very much grew up with.
Direct download: Farida_Nabourema_-_Global_Dispatches_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:33pm EST
Wed, 25 October 2017
Safwan Masri set out with a simple question: of all the countries caught in the turmoil of the Arab Spring, how is it that Tunisia was the only country to successfully replace a long ruling despot with a more or less functioning democracy? His new book Tunisia: An Arab Anomaly takes a deep dive into that question, examining Tunisia's history, politics and, crucially some decades old educational reforms.
This is a very interesting conversation about both the Arab Spring, and Tunisia's unique experience. It is the Arab Spring success story--so far at least--and Safwan Masri helps me understand why.
Safwan Masri is Executive Vice President for Global Centers and Global Development at Columbia University.
Direct download: Tunisia_is_the_Arab_Spring_Success_Story_-_Global_Dispatches.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:59pm EST
Fri, 20 October 2017
Exactly two weeks to the day before this interview, Beatrice Fihn received a phone call from Norway. It was the Nobel Committee informing her that the NGO she leads, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize.
The committee cited ICAN, as the NGO is known, for its work to achieve an international treaty against nuclear weapons. The treaty is often compared to the Landmine Ban Treaty and Convention Against Chemical Weapons in that it invokes broadly humanitarian principles to ban what is an inherently indiscriminate weapon. The treaty was finalized in July and has already gained over 50 signatories from governments, with many more expected in the near future.
What does this treaty hope to accomplish? What logic do Beatrice Fihn and her colleagues use to press their case against countries who include nuclear weapons as part of their national security strategies? How will winning the Nobel Peace Prize affect her organization's work? Fihn discusses these questions at length, and explains how campaigning to abolish nuclear weapons takes a kind of fearlessness and disregard for traditional power dynamics. (And it's worth pointing out that this is a treaty that is opposed, at least for now, by all nuclear weapons possessing states.)
We also discuss Beatrice Finh's life and career and how she first became interested in nuclear issues. It's an inspiring conversation.
We kick off with a discussion about the moment she learned her organization had won the Nobel Peace Prize.
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Wed, 18 October 2017
A case that is pending before the Supreme Court of the United States could have profound implications for human rights and corporate social responsibility around the world. The case is called Jesner vs. Arab Bank. It is a lawsuit in which The plaintiffs allege that Arab Bank, which is a Jordanian financial institution, facilitated payments to terrorist groups that carried out attacks in Israel, killing and injuring them.
Now a case involving foreign victims of a terrorist attack carried out on foreign soil by a foreign group would typically not be the business of the US legal system. But the plaintiffs in this case are pursing damages using a law that has been on the books since the 18th century, called the Alien Tort Statute. And according to my guest today, Dr. Zachary Kauffman, if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the Plaintiffs this statute could influence corporate decision making and even US foreign policy.
Zachary Kauffman is a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and teaching at Stanford Law school -- he is also, like me, a humanity in action senior fellow.
Direct download: Jesner_V_Arab_Bank_-_Global_Dispatches.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:41pm EST