WorldAffairs

Last week, there were seven mass shootings in seven days. And though other nations with better gun control see this as an American problem, the US has been exporting its gun problem abroad for years. Arms traffickers thrive on the country’s inconsistent gun laws. And while President Biden is urging Congress to create stronger gun regulations, it’s unclear whether they will take any meaningful action beyond the usual “thoughts and prayers.” In this episode, journalists J Brian Charles and Ioan Grillo join us to talk about how complicated gun violence is, and how tighter gun laws could help reduce it.

 

Guests:

J Brian Charles, journalist covering guns, race and inequality for The Trace

Ioan Grillo, journalist and author of Blood Gun Money: How America Arms Gangs and Cartels

 

Produced by Madeleine Wood, Teresa Cotsirilos, and Jarrod Sport

If you appreciate this episode and want to support the work we do, please consider making a donation to World Affairs. We cannot do this work without your help. Thank you.

Direct download: 03_29_21_America_Gun_Problem.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

Ten years since the war in Syria began and one month in office, President Biden launched his first airstrikes in Syria. The targets were Iranian backed militia groups in response to attacks on American personnel in Iraq. This is just one manifestation of the dangerous proxy wars at play in Syria, involving Russia, Iran, Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United States. The Syrian people are caught in the crossfire and have essentially lost their country. An estimated six hundred thousand people have been killed and twelve million people have been displaced. So what’s happened to the people who were forced to flee? And What does justice for Syria’s people look like? What happened with Syria's chemical weapon stockpile? What can the international community do to bring justice for the Syrian people? In this episode, a Syrian filmmaker, an author and refugee, and a journalist who covers national security explain how we got here.  

Guests:

Feras Fayyad, documentary filmmaker, Last Men in Aleppo and The Cave

Tima Kurdi, author of The Boy on the Beach: My Family’s Escape from Syria and Our Hope for a New Home

Joby Warrick, national security reporter for The Washington Post and author of Red Line: The Unraveling of Syria and America’s Race to Destroy the Most Danger Arsenal in the World

If you appreciate this episode and want to support the work we do, please consider making a donation to World Affairs. We cannot do this work without your help. Thank you.

Direct download: 03_21_20_Syria.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 5:09pm PDT

When Israelis head to the polls on March 23, it will be the fourth time in just two years. The most recent coalition government fell apart last December, when the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) failed to pass a budget, automatically triggering new elections. The vote is regarded as a referendum on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who is facing corruption charges. At the same time, Israel leads the world in COVID-19 vaccinations and is normalizing relations with some of its Arab neighbors. The Palestinians have been sidelined and will likely hold their own elections in May. In this week’s episode, we get two perspectives on the region’s political transitions, one Israeli and one Palestinian.

 

Guests:

Shlomi Kofman, Israel’s Consul General to the Pacific Northwest

Khaled Elgindy, Director of Middle East Institute’s Program on Palestine and Israeli-Palestinian Affairs

 

If you appreciate this episode and want to support the work we do, please consider making a donation to World Affairs. We cannot do this work without your help. Thank you.

Direct download: 03_15_21_Israeli_Palestinian.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:29pm PDT

On February 1, Burma’s military stormed the country’s capital, arrested its elected leaders, and declared a military state of emergency. Since then, protesters throughout Burma (also known as Myanmar) have taken to the streets, even as the military threatens more violence. Dozens of people have been shot and killed by the military junta, and the crackdown has been compared to the 1989 protests and massacre in China’s Tiananmen Square. Burma was supposed to be a transitioning democracy, and the power-sharing agreement between its military and civilian leadership was regarded as one of the Obama Administration’s major foreign policy achievements. So, what went wrong? In this episode, we talk with former US Ambassador to Malaysia Joseph Yun and Thant Myint-U, a former diplomat, historian and author, about what fueled the coup and what’s different about this protest movement.


Editor’s note: You may be wondering why we are using “Burma” rather than “Myanmar." For decades, the country was called “Burma,” after the dominant Burman ethnic group. But in 1989, one year after the ruling junta brutally suppressed a pro-democracy uprising, military leaders changed the country’s name to “Myanmar.” Out of sympathy with Aung San Suu Kyi and other advocates for democracy many people, and the United States government, continue to use “Burma.” For further explanation, please see this Associated Press article.

 

Guests:

Joseph Yun, former US ambassador to Malaysia and former US Special Representative for North Korea Policy

Thant Myint-U, historian, conservationist, former diplomat, and author of many books including “The Hidden History of Burma: Race, Capitalism, and the Crisis of Democracy in the 21st Century”

 

If you appreciate this episode and want to support the work we do, please consider making a donation to World Affairs. We cannot do this work without your help. Thank you.

Direct download: 03_08_21_Burma_Protests.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:29am PDT

Computer security experts at the Department of Homeland Security sighed in relief after seeing minimal Russian interference in the 2020 elections. What they didn’t realize was that hackers were in the process of performing what might be the largest and most sophisticated cyberattack on the United States. SolarWinds is named after the software hackers used to breach computers throughout the federal government, including nuclear labs and the Department of Homeland Security, the agency charged with keeping us safe. Today, more than 35 countries have the technology to perform a major attack on the US while only nine have nuclear capabilities. In fact, cyberattacks are much easier to get away with because they’re hard to track and retaliate against. This week on WorldAffairs, New York Times reporters David Sanger and Nicole Perlroth join us to talk about the threat of cyberwarfare, how the United States is uniquely vulnerable, and whether or not there is something we can do to prevent it.

 

Guests:

Nicole Perlroth, Cybersecurity Reporter, The New York Times and author of This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends

David Sanger, National Security Correspondent, The New York Times and author of The Perfect Weapon

 

If you appreciate this episode and want to support the work we do, please consider making a donation to World Affairs. We cannot do this work without your help. Thank you.

Direct download: 03_01_21_Perlroth_Sanger_Solarwinds.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

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