Global Dispatches -- World News That Matters
About Global Dispatches -- World News That Matters
Named by The Guardian as "a podcast to make you smarter," Global Dispatches is a podcast for people who crave a deeper understanding of international news.
I caught up with Estonia's top military commander General Martin Herem at the Halifax International Security Forum in November. Estonia is a NATO member that borders Russia and I was interested in drawing out General Herem's perspective on the conflict in Ukraine. We kick off with General Herem's military and strategic analysis of the current state of play of the war in Ukraine. We then have an extended conversation about the implications of a long and drawn out war for frontline countries like Estonia -- and for Europe more broadly. He explains what he believes Ukraine needs to break the current military impasse, and why a long war in Ukraine undermines Estonian security. https://www.globaldispatches.org/
There is a mounting humanitarian emergency on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Since October, hundreds of thousands of Afghans living in Pakistan have fled back to Afghanistan. They are being forcibly repatriated by the Pakistani government which began a crackdown on so-called illegal immigrants, compelling the expulsion of over three hundred thousand Afghans in just the last few weeks. On the line to explain the unfolding humanitarian crisis is Samira Sayed-Rahman, director of policy advocacy and communications for The International Rescue Committee in Afghanistan. We kick off discussing the reasons for Pakistan's sudden crackdown and then discuss the crisis this is generating inside Afghanistan. We also discuss the complications of international humanitarian relief work in Afghanistan under Taliban rule.
This episode of Global Dispatches was recorded as a live taping of the podcast, produced in partnership with CGIAR, a global research partnership for a food-secure future dedicated to transforming food, land, and water systems in a climate crisis. Global Dispatches and CGIAR are partnering on a series of episodes about the nexus between climate and security. In our conversation today expert panelists discuss the multiple benefits of climate adaptation for disaster related displacement. The episode kicks off with some opening remarks from, Peter Laderach, Co-lead CGIAR Climate Security, Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT I then moderate a panel discussion featuring : Michelle Yonetani, Senior Policy Officer, Office of the Special Advisor to the High Commissioner on Climate Action, UNHCR Sandra Ruckstuhl, Senior Researcher, International Water Management Institute and Co-lead, CGIAR Fragility, Conflict and Migration Initiative Tasneem Siddiqui, Professor, University of Dhaka Raphaela Shveiger, Yale World Fellow, Yale University
I caught up with Congressman Jason Crow at the Halifax International Security Forum, a major global security conference held each year in Nova Scotia that brings together military leaders, politicians, media and civil society groups from democratic countries. Congressman Crow is a Democrat from Colorado, first elected in 2019 and someone widely viewed as a rising star in national security and foreign policy circles. We discuss the Israel-Palestine crisis, kicking off with a question about the propriety of calling for a ceasefire. We then discuss the impact this crisis is having in the broader Middle East, on domestic politics in the United States -- and why Israel should not repeat the mistakes of the US War on Terror.
This episode was recorded as a live taping of the podcast, produced in partnership with CGIAR, a global research partnership for a food-secure future dedicated to transforming food, land, and water systems in a climate crisis. It is part of a series of episodes about the nexus between climate and security, and in our conversation today expert panelists discuss the multiple benefits of climate Adaptation for Peace Building and Human Security. The episode kicks off with some opening remarks from, Cesare Scartozzi, Climate Finance and Peace Specialist, Senior research fellow, CGIAR/Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT I then moderate a panel discussion featuring : Grazia Pacillo, Senior Scientist and co-lead CGIAR FOCUS - Climate Security Catherine Wong, Team Leader for Climate and Security Risk at the United Nations Development Programme Helana de Jong is Senior Specialist for Fragility with the COP28 UAE Presidency
In early November the United States and China held their first talks on nuclear security and arms control since 2019. The talks came ahead of a much anticipated meeting between President Biden and President Xi in San Francisco. There were no tangible outcomes from these initial nuclear security talks, but the fact that they happened at all is a sign of progress according to my guest today Rachel Elizabeth Whitlark. She is an Associate Professor in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Nonresident senior fellow in the Forward Defense practice of the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security. She is also author of the book "All Options on the Table: Leaders, Preventive War, and Nuclear Proliferation" which includes archival research on how past US administrations approached the Chinese nuclear program. And as you will see from our conversation, that history is instructive for understanding why China may be seeking to expand its nuclear program today. https://www.patreon.com/GlobalDispatches https://www.globaldispatches.org/
The much anticipated Ukrainian counteroffensive began in earnest in June and certainly made some gains, but nothing approaching expectations. Ukraine's top military commander admitted the conflict was a stalemate, likening it to the trench warfare of World War One. Meanwhile the world's attention has shifted to the Middle East and the future of American support for Ukraine is uncertain. Joining me from Kyiv is journalist Tim Mak. He's been in Ukraine for most of the last two years to report on the war, first for NPR ans now on his substack publication called The Counter-Offensive with Tim Mak. We kick off discussing the current state of the war in Ukraine and the significance of the top commander's remarks. We then discuss how this seemingly bleak moment for Ukraine is impacting the lives of Ukrainians and the domestic political implications of a future in which an outright Ukrainian victory is looking less and less likely.
The International Criminal Court is opening an investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity in Israel and Palestine following the October 7 attacks and Israeli military action in Gaza. This may set into motion a process that leads to ICC indictments of Israelis and Palestinians. Joining me to explain what this investigation may look like and how it may unfold is Mark Kersten, Senior Consultant of the Wayamo Foundation and an Assistant Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of the Fraser Valley, in British Columbia. https://www.patreon.com/GlobalDispatches https://www.globaldispatches.org/
The conflict in Israel and Gaza is escalating, but it has so far not spread in any major way across the region. But so long as the conflict persists, it could just be a matter of time until other fronts of this war open up. Middle East scholar Dalia Dassa Kaye explains how the Gaza war may ignite the entire middle east. She is a senior fellow at the UCLA Burkle Center for International Relations and a Fulbright Schuman visiting scholar at the Centre for Advanced Middle Eastern Studies at Lund University. We spoke on Tuesday, October 31 about a why a wider regional war is very much in the realm of possibility.
Today's episode was recorded as a live taping of the podcast, produced in partnership with CGIAR. It is part of a series of episodes about the nexus between climate and security. The episode kicks off with some opening remarks from, Shalini Roy, a Senior Research Fellow in the Poverty, Gender, and Inclusion Unit at the International Food Policy Research Institute, IFPRI. It then includes a moderated discussion featuring : Dan Gilligan, Director of the Poverty, Gender and Inclusion Unit at IFPRI and Co-Lead of the CGIAR Gender Equality Initiative Ana Solórzano, Social Protection Advisor for Climate and Resilience at the World Food Program Zahrah Nesbitt-Ahmed, Research Lead at the Centre for Disaster Protection Raashee Abhilashi, Regional Project Coordinator and Consultant, Climate Change Group, at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)
An opposition candidate named María Corina Machado overwhelmingly won a primary in October to challenge Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro in presidential elections next year. Maduro was the hand picked successor to Hugo Chavez and has been in power since 2013, overseeing an economic freefall and social dislocation of a massive scale. All the while, Maduro has tightened his grip on power through authoritarian means. Elections in Venezuala have not been free nor fair. But there was a significant political breakthrough this month that suggests things might be different this time. In negotiations in Barbados, the Maduro government agreed to allow competitive elections in 2024. In response, the United States lifted some key sanctions on Venezuela. For the first time in long time, there is a decent chance that Venezuela may move past Maduro. On the line with me to help understand these key recent developments is Mariano de Alba, a senior advisor for the International Crisis Group. We kick off discussing the background of Maduro's main challenger, María Corina Machado, before having a longer discussion about what this agreement in Barbados means for Venezuela's political future.
China’s economy has been exhibiting troubling signs. Property prices are falling, making households less wealthy and curtailing consumer spending. High government debt, a declining population, and America’s policy moves are combining to pose Chinese policymakers a serious challenge. How is Beijing navigating the country’s economic slowdown? How will China’s struggles impact the global economy? For answers, watch FP’s Ravi Agrawal in discussion with three experts: Economist Adam Posen; the Wall Street Journal’s chief China correspondent, Lingling Wei; and James Palmer, author of FP’s weekly China Brief newsletter. This episode is a special cross promotion for FP Live, the flagship podcast from Foreign Policy Magazine, hosted by Foreign Policy Editor in Chief Ravi Agrawal. If you like Global Dispatches, you will certainly want to subscribe to FP Live.
President Biden wrapped up a brief visit to Israel on Wednesday. The trip was also intended to include a meeting in Amman, Jordan with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, King Abdullah of Jordan and President Sisi of Egypt. That leg of the trip was abruptly cancelled following the tragedy at the hospital in Gaza. Meanwhile, the humanitarian situation in Gaza is becoming increasingly dire. According to the latest reports from the United Nations, fuel is running out and water supplies are dangerously low. Some one million people are displaced and several hundreds of thousands have fled to southern Gaza near the Egyptian border in the hopes of finding some modicum of refuge and relief. My guest Nancy Okail is President of the Center for International Policy, a think tank in Washington, D.C. She is also an Egyptian activist and scholar and in our conversation explains some of the political considerations that are driving Egypt's response to the unfolding crisis over its border. Moments before I caught up with her, President Biden had delivered a speech in Tel Aviv in which he announced an agreement from Israel's War Cabinet for the provision of humanitarian relief into Gaza, from Egypt. We kick off discussing President Biden's speech before having a longer conversation about what the Israel-Hamas war looks like from the perspective of the Egyptian government.
Since the early 2000s, Tobacco use has declined steadily and in some cases very sharply nearly everywhere in the world except China. According to the world health organization, Tobacco use for people 15 years or older declined globally from 34% in the year 2000 to 23% last year. But in China, tobacco use has remained relatively stable -- falling just 1%, from 27 to 26 percent in the last two decades. A new piece of investigative journalism offers one key explanation of why China has been such an outlier to this global trend, namely the political influence of China's national tobacco monopoly. My guest today, Jason McClure, a correspondent with The Examination, a new non profit investigative news agency focused on global health. He is one of the authors of the report detailing the ways in which the state-run China National Tobacco Corporation successfully undermined Tobacco use reduction efforts in China. How China Became Addicted to its Tobacco Monopoly" https://www.theexamination.org/articles/how-china-became-addicted-to-its-tobacco-monopoly
The crisis in Israel and Gaza--and Southern Lebanon and the West Bank -- is unfolding rapidly. Following the Hamas attacks on Saturday, Netanyahu promised to “return fire of a magnitude that the enemy has not known.” Israel has already launched heavy airstrikes on Gaza and seems to be readying a ground invasion. Meanwhile, unrest in the West Bank has resulted in 11 Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers, and in Southern Lebanon Hezbollah has been trading rocket fire with Israel. Joining me to discuss this crisis is Daniel Levy, who is head of the U.S. Middle East Project and is a former peace negotiator under the governments of Israeli Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Ehud Barak. We kick off discussing why the Hamas attack happened when it did, the strategic logic underpinning Hamas' actions, Israel's likely response, the implications of this episode for Israeli domestic politics, and the prospect that this might devolve into a wider regional conflict. Newsletter at GlobalDispatches.org Premium podcast episodes.
The World Bank and International Monetary Fund annual meetings are taking place in Morocco this month, and for the first time in a long time there is real momentum around enacting reforms to how these decades old institions operate. A big boost to a reform agenda came at the G-20 meeting in India in early September when President Biden backed a reform agenda to increase the World Bank's capacity to support low and middle income countries with better loans aimed at promiting sustainable development. He also announced he'd ask congress for an additional $25 billion for the World Bank. This was significant for a number of reasons. First, it demonstrated a responsiveness to the criticism of developing world countries who have long sought better financing options for climate compliant economic development projects. Second, the US is the largest shareholder at the World Bank, so what the US president says carries a great deal of weight. On the line to discuss some of the proposed reforms--and the many political pitfalls along the way -- is Karen Mathieson, project director at the Center for Global Development. We kick off with a discussion of why the World Bank needs reform before having a longer conversation about the proposals now on the table.
Diego Garcia is a small Island in the dead center of the Indian Ocean that is part of the Chagos Archipelago. In the early 1970s, the United Kingdom, which controlled the Islands, leased Diego Garcia to the United States for use as a military base. However, in the process of transferring Diego Garcia to the US, the United Kingdom forcibly expelled the island's native population and that of the surrounding Chagos Archipelego. Thousands of Chagossians were exiled from their homeland, most of whom were forced to Mauritius, which is over 2,000 kilometers away. The forced deportation of Chagossians was a crime against humanity committed 50 years ago. But only recently has it gotten its day in court. My guest today, Philippe Sands is a famed international lawyer who has taken on the cause of righting his historic wrong. His recent book "The Last Colony: A Tale of Exile Justice and Courage" tells the story of the Chagossian exile and the effort to secure justice for Chagos islanders. We kick off our conversation with a brief history of the Island before we discuss the series of legal victories in both British courts and the International Court of Justice in the Hague that has lead to final negotiations underway to support the return of Chagosians to their homeland.
On September 19th, Azerbaijan launched a swift military offensive against ethnic Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh, a long disputed region. Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a bloody war over this territory following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, which resulted in de-facto Armenian control over what is internationally recognized to be Azerbaijani territory. That status quo existed for nearly 30 years, until September 2020 when Azerbaijan launched a surprise military offensive routing ethnic Armenian forces. Russia brokered a ceasefire and installed Russian peacekeepers to enforce a truce. But Azerbaijan had the clear military advantage. Meanwhile Russia's invasion of Ukraine undermined its role in the region. So, Azerbaijan took the initiative and now a de-facto ethnic cleansing is underway as tens of thousands of ethnic Armenians flees their homes--and their homeland since the middle ages. Joining me from Yerevan, Armenia to discuss this unfolding crisis is Olesya Vartanyan, Senior Analyst for the South Caucasus region at the International Crisis Group.
Justin Trudeau dropped a bombshell before Parliament last week when he accused the government of India of assassinating a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil. Hardeep Singh Nijjar was a Sikh dissident living in British Columbia when he was gunned down by assailants outside his place of worship. Nijaar had long agitated for an independent Sikh state apparently putting him in the crosshairs of Narendra Modi’s government. The idea that a democracy like India would carry out a hit on North American soil is a major development — and one that will complicate American foreign policy as well. Joining me to discuss this situation is Justin Ling, a Canadian journalist and author of the Bug Eyed and Shameless Substack. We kick off discussing what we know thus far about these accusations and then have a longer conversation about what this means for Canadian diplomacy and American foreign policy going forward. Get the newsletter Listen on Spotify? Here's our premium feed
When Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, there was a brief moment when it seemed possible that this crisis might inspire European governments to turn away from fossil fuels. Russia was a huge supplier of natural gas to many European markets, and with those supplies suddenly cut off, there was an opportunity to replace Russian fossil fuel with clean energy. That did not happen. In fact, just the opposite occurred. According to research by my guest today Jeff Colgan, European investments in clean energy fell precipitously following Russia's invasion of Ukraine as governments scrambled for fossil fuels. Jeff Colgan is the Richard Holbrooke Professor of Political Science at Brown University and co-author of a new report, "Letting Europe’s Energy Crisis Go to Waste: The Ukraine War’s Massive Fossil Fuel Costs Fail to Accelerate Renewables' We kick off discussing the state of Europe's energy transition from fossil fuels to renewables prior to Russia's invasion of Ukraine and then have an extended conversation about how and why Europe doubled down on Fossil fuels during the energy crisis that followed.