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1 minutes | May 20, 2021
Hello everyone, Mike here, the producer of Black Diplomats. We have a couple of short announcements this week, so I thought I’d jump on your feed for the update.Terrell is dealing with a family emergency right now, so our regular episodes are postponed for a couple weeks. Please keep him in your thoughts.In more lighthearted news, we recently received a grant from the Ploughshares Fund to do a series on the Iran nuclear deal and the nuclear program in North Korea. Ploughshares has supported a lot of great people and a lot of great causes over the years, and we are genuinely proud to be welcomed into their community. We’re working on those episodes now, look forward to hearing them later this year.Thank you for listening!
37 minutes | May 8, 2021
Recognizing the Armenian Diaspora
After 100 years of lobbying the US government has finally recognized the Armenian genocide, carried out by the Turkish government in the transition out of the Ottoman empire.On this episode of Black Diplomats host Terrell Starr talks to Sophia Armen, a scholar and activist who lost eight members of her family in the genocide. She is the third generation of activists in her family who have fought to keep the memory of those bloody days alive. Armen talks about some of the details of the systematic removal of Armenians from Turkey, and reminds us that Hitler looked to the program as a model for his final solution. Terrell talks about his experience learning about how race functions in the Caucasus. They recognize the global nature of empire that underpins it all, and how different groups of oppressed people can work together to achieve reparations and healing. Thank you for listening!
65 minutes | May 2, 2021
Jewel of the Caucasus
The Republic of Georgia has a storied history in the heart of the Caucasus mountains.Host Terrell Starr first went there after the fall of the Soviet Union when they were still struggling to figure out a new way of life. In today’s episode of Black Diplomats he talks about that critical time, for him and for the nation of Georgia. He talks about living in the region as a Black man, and how he found ways to connect with his neighbors. Then Terrell talks to Eka Gigauri, a native Georgian who serves on the board of Transparency International and has been watching the political crisis in Tblisi with a close eye. Terrell wrote an article for Foreign Policy magazine on the situation last week and was eager to get up to speed with someone on the ground.These two old friends reminisce on the past, give us a tour of what Georgians have built in their country, and talk about what they’re looking forward to.Music by Tall Black Guy and Quintet Urmuli.Thank you for listening!
58 minutes | Apr 24, 2021
Ukraine, Navalny, and other people Putin is trying to kill
This week on Black Diplomats we’ve got a new format and new guests, but have faith - we’re still taking aim at white supremacist imperialism, and there’s nothing new about that.We’re all about giving platform to people who don’t get invited into mainstream media, and we’ve done a great job of it. We also want to broaden the foreign policy conversation by bringing in new audiences. One of the barriers for a lot of folks is basic context and geography, so we’re going to start filling in some blanks.Host Terrell Starr will be opening the show with news highlights and a little context for the interview, including his personal stories, racial analysis, policy expertise, and historical information. These bite-sized segments help make sense out of the news and cut through the propaganda. Our guests segments will be a little shorter, but we still won’t be talking to any Ukrainian ‘elites’!Journalist and filmmaker Olga Tokariuk brings us the perspective from Kyiv, where there isn’t any evidence of panic, or any surprise at Putin’s bluster. Eilish Hart is a journalist and researcher who writes about the former Soviet Union. She’s been keeping a keen eye on Alexei Navalny, and joins us to explain his recent hunger strike that ended on April 23.We hope you enjoy the new format!Thank you for listening!
74 minutes | Apr 18, 2021
Vets Want U.S. Out of Afghanistan
President Biden announced that he wants all US troops out of Afghanistan by 9/11/21, two decades after the attack that ostensibly launched our global war on terror. As usual, we’re hearing plenty of opinions from people who’ve never been there and don’t know what they’re talking about.This week on Black Diplomats host Terrell Starr is talking to three vets who have multiple tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. Isiah James was a “door kicker” as he calls it, a frontline grunt who saw the horrors of war firsthand. Richard Brookshire was an Army medic who dealt with the aftermath of battle, and Brittany Ramos DeBarros interacted with Afghan citizens as part of the ‘hearts and minds’ campaign.Three different experiences, three different perspectives, but they all agree - we should have been out of Afghanistan years ago. Our guests talk about their time in country, and point out that leaving Afghanistan doesn’t mean US imperialism has slowed down one bit - anyone ever heard of Africom?Thank you for listening!
34 minutes | Apr 10, 2021
Pam Keith on Matt Gaetz and Dems in Florida
There’s a lot happening in Florida right now!From whatever the hell is going on with Matt Gaetz, to the governor acting like the pandemic is over, and the state legislature trying to restrict voting. Of course there are progressives all over the state fighting back, but where are the Democrats?This week Black Diplomats welcomes Pam Keith to try to make sense of it all. Keith ran for congress in Florida and has a plan for how to turn the state blue. Her razor sharp observations of the important battleground state are the best way to know what’s coming up.One thing on everyone’s mind - what’s going on with Florida Man fratboy Matt Gaetz?! Keith points out that he’s always had his dad get him out of trouble in the past, but he might be in too deep this time.Finally, Keith describes her plan for getting Florida out of the mess that’s been caused by the Republican political machine. Her new group, Fight 4 Florida, is learning lessons from movements all over the country and bringing real progressive change to Florida politics. Thanks for listening!
58 minutes | Apr 4, 2021
Black Diplomats on The Power Vertical
On this week’s episode of Black Diplomats we’re sharing an interview Terrell did on The Power Vertical, a podcast about Russian politics hosted by Brian Whitmore.They talk about Terrell’s op-ed in The Washington Post on Alexi Navalny, how race works in the former Soviet states, and what the US has to do to weaken Russian government interference in our society. How can we deal with urgent issues like race, without letting the Kremlin dictate the terms?Whitmore also asks about Terrell’s upcoming memoir, A Black Man on the Steppe. This episode is a chance to hear Terrell chop it up with a fellow Atlantic Council colleague. This is what it sounds like at the smartest table in the bar.The Power Vertical is an excellent podcast and blog for keeping up with Russian politics from an insiders perspective. Like Terrell, Whitmore has spend a lot of time in the former Soviet states and has a lot of friends in the region. These guys know their stuff.Thank you for listening!
61 minutes | Mar 29, 2021
Georgian political crisis with George Khelashvili
The political crisis in the Republic of Georgia continues.Parliament still isn’t functioning, and the accusations of creeping authoritarianism against the ruling party are getting louder.On this episode of Black Diplomats host Terrell Starr talks to George Khelashvili, an MP in the ruling Georgian Dream party. Khelashvili compares the situation in Georgia to the polarization in the United States, and he’s willing to get into details. From political prisoners to unfair elections, Khelashvili says it’s mostly a lot of hot rhetoric, and encourages the opposition party to take their seats so government can get back to work.Thank you for listening!
48 minutes | Mar 20, 2021
Georgian political crisis with Sergi Kapanadze
The country of Georgia is one of the former Soviet states still fighting for autonomy from the Kremlin. With the ongoing Russian military occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, it’s not just an academic discussion.Today on Black Diplomats we have Dr. Sergi Kapanadze, a professor and politician in the Georgian opposition party. Kapanadze explains why his party has decided not to take their seats in Parliament, their allegations of voter fraud in the last election, and how the United States can help untie this knot.With hopes of joining the EU and drawing their economy closer to Europe, many in Georgia are fearful they could slide the other direction, ending up looking more like Belarus than Austria. Kapanadze doesn’t believe most members of the ruling Georgian Dream party want a more authoritarian government. He’s not so sure about Georgia prime minister Irakli Garibashvili.Host Terrell Starr spent two years in Georgia during his time in the Peace Corps, so the fate of the country has a personal stake for him. You can hear his love for the Georgian people all through this conversation.Thank you for listening!
61 minutes | Mar 13, 2021
Matt Duss has advice for Bernie Sanders
Matt Duss is one of the good ones.A foreign policy advisor for Sen. Bernie Sanders, Duss is one of the folks in Washington trying to lead our government away from neoliberalism. After a career in progressive think tanks and left-leaning media, Duss started working for Bernie Sanders shortly after Trump was elected. They’ve got a lot done by D.C. standards, including the first invoking of the War Powers Resolution, to end U.S. assistance in the war in Yemen.Host Terrell Starr has plenty of questions, starting with a mental health check. Duss is a congressional staffer, after all. They talk about the attempted insurrection in January, how a congressperson like Sanders can impact foreign policy, and what Duss would like to see from the Biden administration.Duss is well known in DC as a thorn in the side of traditional corporate Democrats who are willing to support dictators if the trade deal is right. He’s taken plenty of barbs from both sides of the aisle for standing up for the human rights of Palestinians, among other things. Given Biden’s history as among the most old school of the centrist Dems, Terrell asks Duss if he thinks Sanders more progressive foreign policy has a chance of influencing the administration. He seems optimistic!Thank you for listening.
67 minutes | Mar 6, 2021
Navalny, Race & Russia
On this episode of Black Diplomats, host Terrell Starr convenes a panel of experts to talk about the recent decision by Amnesty International to revoke the “prisoner of conscious” status from Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Starr wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post about the decision this week, criticizing the simplified discourse in the West.In order to bring some nuance to the conversation Starr hosts Kimberly St. Julian-Varnon, Dr. Rano Turaeva-Hoehne, and Irina Kuznetsova, three women who follow Russian politics with a keen eye to the racial dynamics of the region. They break down Navalny’s racist statements, how his attitudes fit into the context of Russian imperialism, and what they think opposition parties need to do to move forward.And don’t miss the hilarious sidebar on babushka culture. There has to be a bench.Thank you for listening!
48 minutes | Feb 27, 2021
Rep. Karen Bass Wants Diversity in the State Department
This is the episode of Black Diplomats where Rep. Karen Bass starts the soft diplomacy on Terrell, trying to talk him into joining the State Department!Bass represents California’s 37th district in Los Angeles, and is a fierce advocate for all the good things. As Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa she has regular contact with folks from the Continent and a lot of good ideas for how we can improve our behavior on their behalf. She’s involved in the Represent America Abroad Act to diversify our diplomatic corps, and the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to bring incremental change to American policing. Terrell asks her if the bill goes far enough, and she provides the kind of candid answer you don’t usually get from politicians.As they get deeper into her roots, we find out that being a foreign policy wonk is nothing new to Karen Bass. She cut her teeth protesting against the Vietnam War and was dedicated to the anti-apartheid movement in the ‘80s. Her critical analysis of white supremacy in the global context is honed to a razor’s edge, and on display in this episode.Near the end of their conversation Bass breaks down America’s history of supporting bad actors in Africa, and then flips it - suggesting Terrell should help diversify the State Department by signing up for service! He is a Black Diplomat, right?Thanks for listening!
53 minutes | Feb 24, 2021
Black & Asian Solidarity with Alicia Garza and Shaw San Liu
Today on Black Diplomats we’re honored to host Alicia Garza, one of the three co-founders of the Black Lives Matter Global Network, and Shaw San Liu, Executive Director at the Chinese Progressive Association. They’ve known each other for many years, after meeting as on-the-ground organizers from their respective communities who were looking to find solutions to common problems.Host Terrell Starr asks them about the recent spate of racist violence against Asian people, the way divisions are sown in communities of color for economic reasons, how COVID has impacted their work, and what it will take to reimagine safety in our society to include everyone.This is a very powerful episode of Black Diplomats about building bridges across racial boundaries to create a better world for us all.Thank you for listening!
59 minutes | Feb 20, 2021
Building Peace with Iran
On this week’s episode of Black Diplomats, host Terrell Starr does what very few American journalists do - talk to Iranians about Iran.Iran is surrounded by nuclear armed adversaries and American military bases. It is reasonable for them to feel threatened, but that’s a perspective we rarely hear in the U.S. media, because we keep being force fed the same crewcut white boys going on about the mullahs.Today we have two Iranians and a nuclear policy analyst on to provide some context to the conversation.Negar Mortazavi is an Iranian-American journalist, columnist for The Independent, and host of the Iran Podcast. Ellie Geranmayeh is a senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations who advises governments and companies on developments with the Iran nuclear deal. They both have deep personal and family ties to Iran that inform their understanding of these nuanced issues.Michelle Dover is the host of the Ploughshares Fund podcast and a nuclear non-proliferation expert who has followed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action from its first draft.They get into the details of the JCPOA, the current status of the deal after Trump pulled the US out, Biden’t plans, and what peace in the Middle East could look like. This is a great episode that fills a lot of gaps left by the standard American reporting.Thank you for listening!
59 minutes | Feb 17, 2021
Turning Florida Blue with Pam Keith
Pam Keith has a unique perspective from growing up in Turkey, Morocco, Syria, Brazil, and several U.S. cities, as the daughter of Ambassador Kenton Keith. She was an Officer in the Navy and a lawyer with some of the largest firms in the nation, before running for Congress from the 18th district in Florida.Host Terrell Starr has lots of questions! Their conversation went for more than two hours, so we’ve broken it up into two parts.Part one went out earlier this week. In part two they talk about living abroad, how foreign service changed their perspective on America, and Keith’s plans for becoming the Stacey Abrams of Florida.This episode of Black Diplomats is a deep dive on the state of America, with two seasoned analysts who have no fear.Thank you for listening!
56 minutes | Feb 13, 2021
Impeaching White Supremacy with Pam Keith
Pam Keith has a unique perspective from growing up in Turkey, Morocco, Syria, Brazil, and several U.S. cities, as the daughter of Ambassador Kenton Keith. She was an Officer in the Navy and a lawyer with some of the largest firms in the nation, before running for Congress from the 18th district in Florida.Host Terrell Starr has lots of questions! Their conversation went for more than two hours, so we’ve broken it up into two parts.In part one, they start by talking about the white supremacist insurrection on January 6th, and why Keith thinks there were so many members of the armed forces in the crowd. Starr also asks about the impeachment process, and the chance of a conviction. Keith believes the process of impeachment has outlived its usefulness, and has some thoughts on what could replace it.This episode of Black Diplomats is a deep dive on the state of America, with two seasoned analysts who have no fear.Thank you for listening!
56 minutes | Feb 7, 2021
Rethinking America with Malcolm Nance
Malcolm Nance is a security specialist, intelligence analyst, author, military vet, and much more. He’s also a Black man in America, and a Black Diplomat overseas. On today’s episode host Terrell Starr asks Nance-stradamus to break down the missteps of the Trump administration, and what Biden will have to do to repair the damage. As two people who have a deep understanding of the history of global affairs, they put modern conflicts with places like Russia and Iran into historical context. Some of our allies don’t get off too easy either - looking at you Saudi Arabia.Thank you for listening!
28 minutes | Feb 3, 2021
Black Diplomats on Pod Save the World
Terrell appeared on the excellent show Pod Save the World, a podcast by Tommy Vietor and Ben Rhodes, two long serving members of the Obama administration. Rhodes introduces Terrell by pointing out that he isn’t just talking about changing policy, he’s helping change the whole mindset of American power. These guys get it.Rhodes talks about being in rooms where Obama was the only one who isn’t white, and asks Terrell about the importance of diversity in those rooms. Terrell points out that it isn’t just about skin color, it’s also about listening to folks who want to dismantle the whole neo-liberal structure and rethink how we move in the world. The conversation goes from there, into elections, Russia, white supremacy, and how the Black Lives Matter movement has emboldened new voices that deserve to be heard.This is a powerful episode and a great example of why Terrell’s perspective is having a real impact on the conversation.Thank you for listening!
32 minutes | Jan 25, 2021
Terrell on Press The Button
This week on Black Diplomats we’re playing a recent episode of the Press the Button podcast from the Ploughshares Fund that features Terrell Starr talking about American nuclear policy, what “healing” means for our politics, and how white supremacy colors our views of our adversaries. It’s a great episode of the PTB podcast, and a fun opportunity to hear Terrell sit on the other side of the table as a guest.An engaging podcast on nuclear policy and national security, Press the Button is co-hosted by defense experts Tom Collina and Michelle Dover of Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation. This weekly podcast features top officials and experts discussing the latest developments on Iran, North Korea, nuclear weapons, military budgets and foreign policy. Press the Button offers diverse views on one of the most important issues of our time: preventing nuclear war. A new episode of Press the Button is available every Tuesday.
74 minutes | Jan 16, 2021
The White Supremacist Insurrection
On today’s episode of Black Diplomats, host Terrell Starr is joined by two military vets, Arti Walker-Peddakotla and Shaniyat Chowdhury, to talk about the violent white supremacist insurrection on January 6th, where supporters of disgraced ex-president Donald Trump brutalized Federal employees and vandalized the Capitol. At this point we’ve seen there were a lot of ex-military in the crowd, so Terrell wants to know - did Arti or Shan serve with anyone who supports this movement, and what can the rest of us do to protect ourselves from them?Intro: 00:00 Terell, Arti and Shan talk about the white supremacist insurrection on January 6th, and what they make of the presence of so many military vets in the crowd. 20:00 Serving an administration that doesn’t serve you. 32:00 The problem with politicians (hint: they’re distracted and lazy).37:00 Running for and serving elected office. Both guests have been through political campaigns, what did that experience teach them about moving policy?How has 2020 prepared you for 2021?47:00 Defunding neo-liberalism!Closeout: 64:00 What’s everyone looking forward to in 2021? Thank you for listening!
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