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The World Unpacked
46 minutes | 2 days ago
Can Democracy Make a Comeback?
More the 100 days into his administration, President Biden has faced a fraught moment for democracy. Within the last year, protests for racial equity have underlined the challenge of systemic racism in the United States, while dubious claims of election fraud culminated in the shocking assault on the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Across the globe, the military’s grip in Myanmar holds firm after a coup, while the Kremlin put political dissident Alexei Navalny behind bars. With Biden making democracy promotion a key element in his address to Congress last week, can democracy make a comeback?Ashley Quarcoo, a senior fellow at Carnegie, joins Laura to discuss the task of bolstering democracy at home in the United States and abroad.Read Ashley's latest work:"Can Biden Revive Democracy at Home and Abroad?""The Long-Term Impact of COVID-19 on U.S. Democracy""Reversing the Tide: Towards a New US Strategy to Support Democracy and Counter Authoritarianism"
48 minutes | 16 days ago
The Road Back to the Iran Deal
While the Biden administration has signaled an openness to reviving the Iran nuclear deal, whether that is possible is far from certain. An alleged Israeli attack on the Natanz nuclear facility and Iran’s response pledging to enrich uranium at even higher levels have only raised the stakes for new talks in Vienna.Cornelius Adebahr, a nonresident fellow with Carnegie Europe, sits down with Laura to unpack the complex negotiations, European leaders’ vital role to revive the JCPOA, and the prospects for a deal.Read Cornelius' latest pieces:Europe Is Late but Crucial in U.S.-Iran Nuclear TalksWhere's Europe on the Iran Nuclear Deal?
44 minutes | a month ago
Europe Under Pressure
Europe’s vaccine distribution has come under fire in recent weeks, jeopardizing the continent’s recovery and its relationships with important partners worldwide. Meanwhile, European leaders are reckoning with an emboldened China, while also welcoming the Biden administration’s new tone on the transatlantic alliance.Rosa Balfour, the director of Carnegie Europe, joins Laura to discuss how Europe can manage the pressures of the moment. Read Rosa's latest pieces:"Against a European Civilization: Narratives About the European Union""European Leaders Are Facing Their Armageddon"
46 minutes | a month ago
The Indo-Pacific’s Moment
As President Biden seeks to affirm America’s alliances and partnerships in Asia, countries in the region are jostling over maritime dominance in the Indo-Pacific. Marked by strategic choke points and vital shipping routes, the Indo-Pacific has long played a pivotal role in geopolitics and the flows of global trade. Darshana Baruah, an associate fellow and the director of Carnegie’s Indian Ocean Initiative, joins Laura to discuss the future of the Indo-Pacific and the power politics at play in the region.
44 minutes | 2 months ago
Beyond Arms Sales: Recalibrating US Security Assistance in the Gulf
Since his inauguration, President Joe Biden has put a hold on weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, sanctioned Saudi officials for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and pledged to end US support for Saudi-led offensive operations in Yemen. Taken together, these measures indicate that the administration is recalibrating the relationship between the US and its Gulf partners. Frederic Wehrey, a senior fellow in Carnegie’s Middle East Program and former U.S. Air Force officer with tours across the Middle East, joins Laura to discuss a rethink of security assistance in the Persian Gulf. The two also discuss how Fred’s experiences on the ground in Libya and Iraq have shaped his outlook on US military support in the region. Read more from Fred:“How Joe Biden Can Rein in Donald Trump’s Reckless Middle East Policy,” in Politiico“‘Our Hearts Are Dead.’ After 9 Years of Civil War, Libyans Are Tired of Being Pawns in a Geopolitical Game of Chess,” in Time“China's Balancing Act in Libya,” in Lawfare
30 minutes | 2 months ago
Is This the End for Democracy in Myanmar?
The coup in Myanmar on February 1 took the world by surprise as the military arrested civilian officials, including Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party won a landslide victory in parliamentary elections in November 2020. Many in the international community have condemned the coup, and thousands of protestors have taken to the streets this week.Sana Jaffrey, a nonresident scholar in Carnegie’s Asia Program, joins Laura to talk about how Myanmar got to this point and how the region and the West are responding.
43 minutes | 3 months ago
Poison, Protests, and Putin
On January 18, opposition leader Alexei Navalny returned to Russia following his near fatal poisoning. Immediately after his arrival, he was arrested, prompting massive protests over the following weeks. Alexander Gabuev, senior fellow at the Carnegie Moscow center, joins Laura to discuss who took to the streets, what the protests mean for Putin’s regime, and what the future of the opposition movement looks like with Navalny in prison. To learn more:Follow Alexander Gabuev on TwitterOn GPS: Diplomatic Fallout from the Navalny Protests featuring Alexander GabuevOn GPS: Russians take to the streets featuring Alexander GabuevThe New Face of Russian Protest by Alexander BaunovRussian Protest in the Age of Online Transparency by Andrei Kolesnikov
47 minutes | 3 months ago
Elections and Democracy in Africa
Makila James was the U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Swaziland and later served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Africa and the Sudans until her retirement from the Foreign Service last year. In this week’s episode, Makila and Laura discuss the Biden administration’s priorities in Africa, as well as recent elections in Uganda and upcoming elections in Somalia. The two take a close look at democratic trends and how Africa’s youthful population is looking for America to engage.
30 minutes | 4 months ago
The Arab Spring at 10: Tunisia’s Unfinished Revolution
On December 17, 2010, a Tunisian street vendor named Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire to protest corruption and poor economic conditions. His death sparked mass popular protests in Tunisia that quickly carried over to other countries in the Middle East. Tunisia is often hailed as the success story of the Arab Spring. The protests that shook the country led to the ousting of long-time president Ben Ali in January 2011 and resulted in democratic elections. Sarah Yerkes, a senior fellow in Carnegie’s Middle East program, joins Laura to discuss the country’s progress – and challenges --- over the last decade.
32 minutes | 5 months ago
In a special end of year episode, Laura examines the most significant developments of 2020 in three key regions: Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. First, Evan Feigenbaum and Laura talk about the development of regional trade deals, the India-China border dispute, and the shaky way forward for US-China relations. Next, Rosa Balfour joins Laura to discuss about European cooperation on coronavirus, the continued migration crisis, and the challenges 2021 may bring for UK-EU relations. Finally, Aaron David Miller and Laura look at how the pandemic impacted the Middle East, tensions between Iran and the US, and the glimmer of hope offered by the normalization between Israel and several Arab states.
30 minutes | 5 months ago
A Crossroads for US-Latin America Relations
Despite close proximity, Latin America is a historically overlooked area of U.S. foreign policy. Muni Jensen, who co-hosts the Altamar podcast, joins Laura to discuss the incoming Biden administration’s likely priorities in the region, such as economic reform, climate change, and the impact of U.S.-China competition on Latin America. The two also talk about the unrelenting coronavirus pandemic, protests highlighting economic and social inequality in Argentina and Colombia, and political turmoil in Peru.
47 minutes | 6 months ago
The Future of US-China Relations
Tensions between the US and China have been escalating for years, with a downturn accelerating during the Trump administration. Given fundamental differences in worldviews and continued economic competition between the two countries, how likely are changes under President-elect Biden? Today, Laura speaks with Paul Haenle, the director of Carnegie-Tsinghua Center. They talk about Beijing’s view of the US election, Biden’s policy options, and the prospects for regional cooperation under new US leadership. Learn more:The World is Responding to A Changing ChinaChina in the World Podcast Programming note: The World Unpacked will take a short break to celebrate Thanksgiving. We’ll be back with a new episode on December 3rd. Stay safe and healthy!
29 minutes | 6 months ago
How Do Americans View Foreign Policy?
Democrats and Republicans are more divided than ever when it comes to assessing threats facing the United States and how America should engage in the world, according to findings of the 2020 Chicago Council Survey. Ivo Daalder, the president of the Chicago Council, joins Laura for a discussion about the survey’s findings. The two talk about how coronavirus impacts foreign policy attitudes, the future of NATO and US global leadership, and how deep political polarization manifests in the way we view the world. Read more about the survey here.
25 minutes | 7 months ago
Russian Disinformation and the Media: One Journalist’s Story
On September 1, 2020, more than twenty journalists worldwide learned they had unwittingly joined a Russian influence operation. One of them was Laura Walters, a journalist who had recently become a freelancer as she moved from New Zealand to London. Laura explains her interaction with Peace Data, the red flags she missed, and her reaction to learning that she had been involved in a Russian disinformation campaign. Then, Alicia Wanless, director of Carnegie's Partnership for Countering Influence Operations joins the show to do a deep dive into the world of foreign disinformation campaigns. Alicia and Laura discuss why influence campaigns have long targeted journalists, how non-experts can spot bots and trolls, and what the policymaking community should do to address this growing threat. Read more:"I was part of a Russian meddling campaign," by Laura Walters"How Journalists Become an Unwitting Cog in the Influence Machine," by Alicia Wanless and Laura WaltersVictim of Russian Influence Operation Offers Cautionary Tale video
43 minutes | 7 months ago
What Do the Abraham Accords Mean for Middle East Peace?
Last month, Bahrain and the UAE moved to normalize relations with Israel, signing a peace deal dubbed “The Abraham Accords.” Veteran Middle East peace negotiator Aaron David Miller joins Laura to talk about what the newly signed deal really means for Middle East peace. Aaron and Laura discuss the likelihood of future deals in the region, how Iran views the move, and where the deal leaves the Palestinian cause. They also examine how U.S. policy toward the Middle East may change depending on the outcome of November’s election. Read more from Aaron:Arab-Israeli progress seemed impossible. That’s because of old assumptions.Good News for the Gulf and Israel Mean Bad Tidings for the PalestiniansDon’t let the United Arab Emirates play us the way Mohammed bin Salman didThe Middle East Just Doesn’t Matter as Much Any LongerSuccess in the UAE-Israel Accord Is Good News for Everyone Except the Palestinians
38 minutes | 8 months ago
Europe’s Post-Pandemic Trajectory
Rosa Balfour, the director of Carnegie Europe, joins Laura to discuss the challenges and opportunities presented to Europe by the coronavirus pandemic. In this wide-ranging conversation, Rosa and Laura talk about regional challenges facing Europe, including Brexit, rising anti-EU sentiments, and the protests in Belarus, along with foreign policy challenges, like Europe’s role in the U.S.-China standoff and countering a resurgent Russia. They also talk about Europe’s evolving leadership role in the world. Read Rosa’s piece on the future of Europe as part Carnegie’s new digital magazine, “The Day After: Navigating a Post-Pandemic World.”
39 minutes | 8 months ago
The Day After: A Post-Pandemic Middle East
Author Kim Ghattas joins Laura as part of Carnegie’s new digital magazine, “The Day After: Navigating a Post-Pandemic World.” Kim and Laura discuss how countries across the region are handling the coronavirus pandemic and its devastating economic and social impacts. As we look ahead to a post-pandemic world, they talk about what governments should ask themselves to help mitigate the damage, the contrasting views from Tehran and Riyadh, and the hope of the region’s youth. To read Carnegie’s digital magazine, click here.
37 minutes | 8 months ago
Human Rights at Home and Abroad
Bishop Garrison, Director of National Security Outreach at Human Rights First, joins Laura for a wide-ranging discussion about how human rights issues impact policymaking at home and abroad. They talk about the evolution of norms and values, how government leaders grapple with sometimes competing goals, and the role of nonprofit, corporate, and civil society actors in promoting human rights. Bishop also tells Laura about his work supporting former U.S. military translators in Iraq and Afghanistan, the impact of the Black Lives Matter movement on national security, and what makes him hopeful for the future. Reading list:An Appeal to the National Security Community to Fight Racial InjusticeCongress Must Act to Protect Those Who’ve Supported Us in SyriaVeterans Praise Bipartisan Legislation Providing Lifelines to Afghan Allies
38 minutes | 9 months ago
The Shock to Hong Kong
In late June 2020, Beijing passed a new national security law for Hong Kong. Among other things, the law carries harsh penalties for acts of secession, subversion of the government, and collusion with foreign powers. It also tightens government oversight of media outlets and NGOs. And it creates parallel law enforcement and judicial channels in the city that answer to Beijing.Shibani Mahtani, the Hong Kong bureau chief for the Washington Post, joins Laura to talk about what the changes mean for the people of Hong Kong and the city's identity as a cosmopolitan center of global commerce.Read more from Shibani here.
42 minutes | 9 months ago
Lebanon: On the Brink
In October 2019, millions of Lebanese demonstrators took to the streets to protest widespread corruption amid deteriorating economic conditions. Since then, the economy has plunged into free fall, with simultaneous banking, currency, and public finance crises. Laura talks to Maha Yahya, director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, about what Lebanese citizens are experiencing, how the country’s economy got to the breaking point, and what meaningful reform would look like.Programming note: This episode of The World Unpacked was taped one day before this week’s tragic set of explosions in Beirut, which killed more than 100 people and wounded thousands more. While the full details of the incident are still becoming known, we have added a brief addition from Maha about how this week’s tragic events are likely to impact the country’s already fragile state. Read more from Maha:All Fall DownAt A Breaking PointA Storm of ImperfectionLebanon’s Economic Crisis: A Ten Point Action Plan for Avoiding a Lost Decade
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