World Affairs

On September 21, 2022, Vladimir Putin ordered a draft of Russian reservists, mobilizing up to 300,000 troops – the first such draft since World War II.

 

Just before Putin's military order, former US Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, spoke with Ray Suarez to give a sense of what we can expect from the war in Ukraine in the coming weeks and – perhaps – months, and how it’s impacting Russia’s international standing.

 

Guest:  

 

Michael McFaul, Professor of Political Science and Director of Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI), former U.S. Ambassador to Russia and author of From Cold War to Hot Peace

Host:

 

Ray Suarez

 

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: 9-26_World_Affairs.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:50pm PDT

Whether you’re a trader,  techie, or average joe, you’ve probably heard the words “crypto” or “bitcoin” swirling around the web. In the past year, digital coins – once viewed as the exclusive domain of tech millionaires – have shot to global prominence as the preferred currency of Russian oligarchs, Ukrainian resistance fighters, Salvadoran politicians, and everyone in between.

 

Despite the explosion of “cryptomania,” most people still know little about how the digital currency actually works. This week, we take a deep dive into the global world of cryptocurrency.

 

We start in Kazakhstan, where crypto miners are converting frigid winters into digital cash – and straining the country’s energy grid. Then, Ray Suarez sits down with Ukrainian crypto champion Michael Chobanian and skeptic Molly White to discuss the ways crypto may help or hurt a country in crisis.

 

Guests: 


Denis Rusinovich, co-founder of Maveric Group AG


Joanna Lillis, author of Dark Shadows: Inside the Secret World of Kazakhstan


Jonathan Levin, co-founder and CSO of Chainalysis Inc. 


Michael Chobanian, founder of KUNA exchange and president of the Blockchain Association of Ukraine


Molly White, software engineer and author of “Web3 is Going Just Great”

 

Host:

 

Ray Suarez


This program was produced with additional reporting from Levi Bridges. You can check out more of Levi's work here.

 

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: 9-19_World_Affairs.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

Between the passing of Queen Elizabeth and the election of a new leader, the world’s eyes are on the United Kingdom.

 

Until recently, British politician Liz Truss was a relative unknown outside of the UK. Now, as prime minister, she faces the country’s worst economic crisis in decades, the first monarchy changeover in seventy years, and a host of pressing foreign policy matters – notably, Ukraine, Brexit, and Northern Ireland.

 

On this week’s episode, we break down the global implications of new British leadership with Ronan McCrea, professor of law at University College London. He joins Ray to discuss the country’s changing voting laws, party politics, and how Truss’s governing approach may differ from past Tory leaders. Then, we travel to Northern Ireland, where the fate of a Brexit protocol – and the precarious peace between north and south – is back up for debate.

 

Guests:


Ronan McCrea, professor of law, University College London


Noel Large, tour guide, Ex-Prisoners Interpretive Center  

 

Host:


Ray Suarez

 

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: 9-12_World_Affairs_for_pod.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 3:08pm PDT

In today’s global economy, a single event – like a storm or virus outbreak – can impact access to basic necessities, like food for millions of people. Add to that a rapidly growing world population and many experts are wondering…  how will we keep everyone fed? In what ways will our lifestyles, and our international supply chains, adapt to meet the needs of a warming and increasingly crowded planet? 

 

On this week’s episode, we hear from two experts with competing visions of how we can sustainably feed a growing planet. Ray Suarez is joined by Raj Patel and Robert Paarlberg on a journey through the inequities and promise of our global food system.

 

Guests:  

 

Raj Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved and co-director of The Ants and the Grasshopper, University of Texas

 

Robert Paarlberg, author of Resetting the Table: Straight Talk About the Food We Grow and Eat, Harvard University

 

Host:

 

Ray Suarez

 

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: 9-5_World_Affairs.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

In collaboration with Foreign Policy, we bring you a story from “The Hidden Economics of Remarkable Women,” to look at how reforming marital rights could be the biggest first step toward gender equality.

 

Host Reena Ninan uncovers the lesser-known role of women’s rights in the fight to end apartheid, and how the current struggle to reform sexist property laws in South African courts is keeping this legacy alive.

 

Guests:

 

Agnes Sithole, South African marital law reformist

 

Sharita Samuel, South African lawyer

 

Host:

 

Reena Ninan, host, Foreign Policy’s “The Hidden Economics of Remarkable Women”

 

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: South_Africa_pt._2_for_podcast_feed.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

It’s been nearly thirty years since the fall of apartheid in South Africa. But what happens when the celebrations cease, the news cameras turn away, and the real work of democracy begins?

 

In this episode, a co-production with Foreign Policy, we take a look at South Africa’s path to political and economic equality.

 

First, political scientist Evan Lieberman joins Voice of America’s “Straight Africa Talk” host, Haydé Adams, to discuss the lingering “ghost of apartheid,” and why South Africa’s electoral future gives him hope. Then, we turn to a recent episode of Foreign Policy’s “The Hidden Economics of Remarkable Women.” Host Reena Ninan uncovers the lesser-known role of women’s rights in the fight to end apartheid, and how the current struggle to reform sexist marital and property laws in South African courts is keeping this legacy alive.

 

Guests:

 
Evan Lieberman, professor of political science at MIT


Haydé Adams, host, Voice of America’s “Straight Talk Africa”


Reena Ninan, host, Foreign Policy’s “The Hidden Economics of Remarkable Women”


Agnes Sithole, South African marital law reformist


Sharita Samuel, South African lawyer

 

Host: 


Ray Suarez

 

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: South_Africa_pt._1_for_podcast_feed.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

In 1804, Haiti became the first nation to free itself from slavery, much to the disdain of the U.S. and the world’s leading European powers. Scars of colonialism and generations of racism have set Haiti back, and the country has been paying the economic price for freedom for over 200 years.

 

Ray sits down with Haitian author Évelyne Trouillot and historian Leslie Alexander for a conversation about Haiti’s turbulent history since its revolution.

 

Guests:

 

Leslie Alexander, Professor of History at Arizona State University, activist and author

Evelyne Trouillot, Author, Poet and Professor of French at Universite d’Etat d’Haiti

 

Host:  

 

Ray Suarez

 

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: Haiti_REDUX_pt._2_for_podcast_feed.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:15am PDT

In the US, polls show that more and more Americans say they want and need public goods like education, infrastructure, and healthcare. So why do we struggle to implement them?

 

Policy expert Heather McGhee says this tension is a centuries-old, racialized system of zero-sum economics and politics, which dictates that progress for some must come at the expense of others. McGhee joins Ray to discuss her new book and podcast, The Sum of Us, and the burgeoning cross-racial alliances pushing for real change.

 

Guest:  

 

Heather McGhee, economic policy expert and author of The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together

 

Host:

 

Ray Suarez

 

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: Haiti_REDUX_pt._1_for_podcast_feed.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

Warrior cultures throughout history have developed unique codes. These codes have shifted over the centuries, so what does “the code of the warrior” mean in the 21st century, and what are the ethics on the modern battlefield

 

Shannon French, Inamori Professor in Ethics at Case Western Reserve University, joins Ray Suarez to chart the ever-evolving field of military ethics and its central role in keeping both civilians and soldiers safe.

 

Guest:

 

Shannon French, Inamori Professor of Ethics at Case Western University

 

Host:  

 

Ray Suarez

 

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: Air_Wars_pt._2_for_podcast_feed.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

The so-called “War on Terror” has defined US foreign policy for the past twenty years. The dense web of overseas conflicts and the growing use of remote weaponry, like drones, has left many average Americans feeling disengaged from the human toll of war. 

 

Journalist Azmat Khan says our ignorance  isn’t an accident. She was recently awarded a Pulitzer Prize for her work uncovering the US military’s systematic failure to investigate civilian casualties in the ongoing US fight against ISIS. Khan sits down with Ray Suarez to discuss what accountability looks like in the age of remote warfare, and the importance of civilian oversight in US military action.

 

Guest:

 

Azmat Khan, investigative reporter for the New York Times Magazine

 

Host:

 

Ray Suarez

 

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: Air_Wars_pt.1_for_podcast_feed.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

Aminatta Forna was a child when Sierra Leone fell into a brutal, ten-year civil war. Now, 20 years later, she’s working to ensure that Sierra Leoneans shape the country’s postwar narrative.

 

Forna joins Ray to chat about legacy, trauma, and forging identity – and joy – in the aftermath of violence, in her recent essay collection, The Window Seat: Notes from a Life in Motion.

 

Guest:

 

Aminatta Forna, award-winning writer and author of The Window Seat: Notes from a Life in Motion

 

Host:

 

Ray Suarez

 

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: Sierra_leone_pt._2_for_podcast_feed.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

War captures headlines… but what happens when the rubble clears? How does a country – and its people – rebuild after tragedy?

 

Chernor Bah was a child when Sierra Leone fell into a brutal, ten-year civil war. Now, 20 years later, he’s working to ensure that Sierra Leoneans, especially women, are at the center of the country’s postwar narrative and development.

 

Bah shares how his early experiences with war and humanitarian aid inspired to create Purposeful, an Africa-rooted organization that challenges the long held assumption that men – and white donors – should dictate redevelopment in the Global South.

 

Guest:

 

Chernor Bah, co-founder and CEO of Purposeful

 

Host: 

 

Ray Suarez

 

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: Sierra_leone_pt.1_for_pod.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

Dr. Atul Gawande has had a varied, celebrated career in medicine. He’s been a physician, a writer, and now he’s the Global Health Assistant Administrator at USAID. Dr. Gawande has always said the task of sharing medical progress with every corner of the planet is “the most ambitious thing we’ve ever attempted.” From facing a global public health system weakened by COVID-19, to families seeking support caring for aging loved ones, Dr. Gawande is focused on “generational work” at USAID, and about how society can step up. 

 

In this episode, Dr. Gawande and Ray Suarez discuss taking public health work to the global stage, and the immense challenges that lie ahead.

 

Support for this podcast episode was provided in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation.

 

Guest(s):

 

Dr. Atul Gawande, writer, physician, and Assistant Administrator for Global Health for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) 

 

Host:  

 

Ray Suarez

 

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: Aging_show_Pt._2.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

By 2030, it’s estimated one out of every six people on Planet Earth will be over 60. In Japan, nearly 30% of the population is already over 65. But Poland, Romania, Cuba, Serbia, and South Korea? They’re some of the fastest-aging societies on the planet, as well.

 

Ray Suarez chats with Joseph F. Coughlin, founder and director of the MIT AgeLab, about how leaps in technology have led to longer life spans — and why it may be the key to making the most out of borrowed time. Then, Motoko Rich, Tokyo bureau chief for The New York Times, shares how this demographic force is already being felt in Japan, the poster “grandparent” for aging societies worldwide.

 

Support for this podcast episode was provided in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation.

 

Guests:

 

Joseph F. Coughlin, PhD, Founder and Director of MIT’s AgeLab

 

Motoko Rich, Tokyo Bureau Chief for the New York Times

 

Host:  

 

Ray Suarez

 


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: 8-1_World_Affairs_Pt.1_for_podcast_feed.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

Forty years later, the anniversary of Vincent Chin’s death reminds us Anti-Asian hate crimes haven't gone away. Filmmaker Renee Tajima-Peña, who co-directed the documentary, “Who Killed Vincent Chin?” and activist Helen Zia talk with Ray Suarez about the ongoing fight to recognize diverse Asian-American histories, challenging stereotypes and what justice means today. 

 

For more information, check out Renee Tajima-Pena’s documentary, Who Killed Vincent Chin?, and Tajima-Pena’s docuseries, Asian Americans.

 

Guests:

 

Renee Tajima-Peña, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker and Professor of Asian American Studies at UCLA

 

Helen Zia, activist, executor of the Vincent and Lily Chin estate, and author of books including Last Boat out of Shanghai and My Country vs. Me

 

Host:

 

Ray Suarez

Direct download: 7-25_World_Affairs_for_podcast_feed_Pt._2.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

On a summer night in 1982, a Chinese-American man named Vincent Chin was brutally murdered by two white men in a racially-motivated attack in Detroit. His death, and the failure of the courts to hold his killers accountable, sparked a civil rights outcry and marked a turning point for the Asian-American community. 

 

We revisit an interview with filmmaker Renee Tajima-Peña about her documentary, “Who Killed Vincent Chin?” to learn about the movement sparked by Chin’s story.

 

For more information, check out Renee Tajima-Pena’s documentary, Who Killed Vincent Chin?, and Tajima-Pena’s docuseries, Asian Americans.

 

Guests:

 

Renee Tajima-Peña, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker and Professor of Asian American Studies at UCLA

 

Host:

 

Ray Suarez

Direct download: Vincent_Chin_Pt.1_for_podcast_feed.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

Bill Browder was a prominent foreign investor in Russia until he was banned by President Vladimir Putin. In a gripping interview with Ray Suarez, Browder recounts a hunt for missing money that led him to discover a corruption and conspiracy plot involving Putin’s inner circle. Browder breaks down the Russian government’s lethal response, the landmark Magnitsky Act, and what Putin’s past can teach us about what he might do next - in Ukraine and beyond.

 

But first, we revisit a brief excerpt from Ray's 2021 interview with prominent Putin critic, Fiona Hill. In it, she warns us that the big mistake people often make is, "underestimating Russia and underestimating somebody like Vladimir Putin."

 

Ray's interview with Bill Browder was recorded as part of a live event at the Aspen Institute on July 12, 2022.

 

Guests:

 
Bill Browder, financier and author of Freezing Order: A True Story of Money Laundering, Murder, and Surviving Vladimir Putin’s Wrath

 

Host(s): 


Ray Suarez

Direct download: 7-18_World_Affairs.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

Financial experts are warning that the global economy could be headed toward recession. At the same time, the pandemic, war and displacement, and the climate crisis have left many people concerned about keeping a roof over their heads.

 

In this week’s episode, sponsored in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, we take on the global housing crisis – its roots, its demands, and how we can solve it. Ray Suarez digs deeper into two homegrown, people-powered housing initiatives for urban and rural communities across South Asia. Then, Ray is joined by Lydia Stazen, the executive director of the Ruff Institute of Global Homelesssness, to discuss how small-scale local programs can be scaled internationally to eliminate street homelessness on every continent.

 

Guests: 

 

Adithya Jain, co-founder and CEO of Tvasta Construction

 

Yasmeen Lari, Karachi-based architect

 

David Ireland, CEO of World Habitat

 

Lydia Stazen, executive director of the Ruff Institute of Global Homelessness

 

Host: 

 

Ray Suarez

Direct download: 7-11_World_Affairs.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

In 1971, the United States was at a crossroads: The economy was stagnating, inflation was high and Americans were starting to feel like they were losing their competitive edge. Sound familiar? 

 

In the second episode of our two-part series on inflation, we return to a conversation between NPR’s Chief Economics Correspondent Scott Horsley and Jeffrey Garten, an influential economist who served in multiple presidential administrations. They explore Nixon’s consequential decision to abandon the gold standard, how this move created the modern global economy, and what this can tell us about inflation and fears of a recession.

 

Guest:

 

Jeffrey E Garten, Dean Emeritus, Yale School of Management, former Undersecretary of Commerce, and author of Three Days at Camp David: How a Secret Meeting in 1971 Transformed the Global Economy

 

Hosts:

 

Philip Yun, host of World Affairs

 

Scott Horsley, NPR's Chief Economics Correspondent

Direct download: 7-4_World_Affairs.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

Inflation in the U.S. has reached its highest point since 1981. In developing nations, the problem is even worse. The UN says thirty-seven nations are in need of food, but can't afford it, triggering fears of food riots. So what makes prices for necessary things – like food and fuel – so volatile? 

 

This week, we revisit a conversation with filmmaker Rupert Russell about his book and film, “Price Wars: How the Commodities Markets Made Our Chaotic World.” Russell connects the dots between the cost of bread and oil to political upheaval around the world, and he explains why price swings by market players cause famine, conflict and crisis. 

 

Guests:  

 

Rupert Russell, author and director of Price Wars: How The Commodities Markets Made Our Chaotic World

 

Hosts: 

 

Ray Suarez

 

 

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: 6-27_World_Affairs_for_podcast_feed.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

Diversity has often been seen as the United States’ defining strength, but today some Americans see it as a threat. And this isn’t new. Throughout history, differences of religion, ethnicity, and origin have driven states around the world to war, violence, and extreme division. However, German-American political scientist Yascha Mounk says this isn’t the only path. 


On this week’s episode, Mounk joins Ray to discuss his new book, “The Great Experiment: Why Diverse Democracies Fall Apart And How They Can Endure,” which challenges the assumptions of a modern pluralist society and imagines how diverse democracies might succeed in an increasingly polarized political landscape.

 

Guest:

 

Yascha Mounk, associate professor at Johns Hopkins University, contributing editor at The Atlantic and author of The Great Experiment: Why Diverse Democracies Fall Apart and How They Can Endure

 

Host:

 

Ray Suarez

Direct download: 6-20_World_Affairs.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

In the second part of his interview with Ray, author Wajahat Ali discusses how the war on terror shaped attitudes towards Muslims in the United States, and how the Muslim-American political identity evolved in its aftermath. And despite his family’s American Dream being destroyed by US law enforcement, Ali manages to find optimism in a story of our country that is still being written.

 

Guest:  

 

Wajahat Ali, author of Go Back to Where You Came From: And Other Helpful Recommendations on How to Become American 

 

Host: 

 

Ray Suarez, host of World Affairs

 

Direct download: Waj_Program_pt2_for_podcast_feed.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

Even though writer and humorist Wajahat Ali was born and raised in Northern California to Pakistani parents, he gets told every day to "go back to where you came from.” Today, more than half of US citizens under 18 can trace their ancestry to Africa, Asia, and Latin America, yet many feel unwelcome in their own country. “The tragic history of America is that the rest of us have fought for a country and love a country when it doesn’t love us back,” Wajahat told Ray Suarez in a recent interview about his new memoir, Go Back to Where You Came From: And Other Helpful Recommendations on How to Become American. Wajahat takes readers on a journey to his childhood, figuring out the lines and boundaries of race and ethnicity on the fly, to an adulthood punctuated by the September 11 terrorist attacks, and an era of rising anxiety and suspicion of brown people of various origins in the years after. Through his personal stories, Ali manages to tackle the dangers of Islamophobia and white supremacy, with humor and insights into national security, immigration, and pop culture. 

Guest:  Wajahat Ali, author of Go Back to Where You Came From: And Other Helpful Recommendations on How to Become American 

Host: Ray Suarez, host of World 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: Waj_pt._1_for_podcast_feed.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

From mass shootings in the United States to Vladimir Putin’s brazen invasion of Ukraine, it can feel like the world is in a constant state of turmoil. Homeland security expert Juliette Kayyem has a prescription for learning to live in an “Age of Disasters.” In her new book, The Devil Never Sleeps, she explains how an international “architecture of preparedness” can help communities anticipate, assess, and manage urgent crises like gun violence and climate change. She talks with Ray Suarez about what global communities–and their leaders–can do to prepare before disaster strikes close to home.

 

Guest:

 

Juliette Kayyem, faculty chair of the Homeland Security Project and the Security and Global Health Project at Harvard University and author of The Devil Never Sleeps, Learning to Live in An Age of Disasters.

 

Host: 

 

Ray Suarez

 

Additional Reading: 

 

The Problem With 'Lone Wolf' Shooters

Design Your Organization to Withstand Future Disasters

How Leaders Prepare to Communicate in a Crisis

Direct download: Juliette_Kayyem_Segment_for_podcast_feed.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

Ray Suarez sits down with Ivo Daalder, President of the Chicago Institute on Global Affairs and former US Ambassador to NATO, to discuss the alliance’s evolution, the Russian “wake-up call” that placed it back in the news, and the future–and feasibility–of trans-atlantic defense.

 

To hear more from Ambassador Daalder, check out his weekly World Review podcast.

 

Guests:  

 

Ivo Daalder, President of the Chicago Institute of Global Affairs

 

Host: 

 

Ray Suarez

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

Apart from a distinct history and culture, Canadians have a vastly different political, legal and medical system from the United States. Yet there are times when the politics of the two North American neighbors move in rhythm. On today’s episode, Ray Suarez talks to Kelly Gordon, assistant professor of political science at McGill University in Montreal, about the nuances of abortion access and abortion politics across our northern border.  

Guests:  

 

Kelly Gordon, assistant professor at McGill University

 

Host:

 

Ray Suarez

Direct download: Kelly_Gordon_Segment_Final_REV1_for_podcast_feed.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

When a leaked U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion revealed plans to overturn Roe v. Wade, Amnesty International labelled it a victory of an emboldened global anti-abortion movement. The court’s decision, however, could place the United States at odds with regional trends across Latin America – where a transnational pro-choice “Green Wave” movement is growing, despite historic cultural and religious opposition.  

What is the future of abortion in the Americas? We tackle that question–and where the U.S. fits into a changing reproductive health landscape–this week on World Affairs. We begin with a Mexican physician, who provided clandestine abortions in the country for over twenty years. Then, Ray is joined by Colombian attorney, Ximena Casas, to discuss the legal frameworks dictating abortion rights north and south of the U.S. border.

 

Guests:  

 

Gregory Berger, documentary filmmaker

Estela Kempis, Mexican physician

Ximena Casas, women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch

 

Host:

 

Ray Suarez

Direct download: Reproductive_Rights_pt._1_for_podcast_feed_REV2.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

We're releasing our latest episode early this week in light of the recent tragedy in Buffalo. Please take care of yourselves.

 

The recent mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York left ten dead, three injured, and a city–and country–reeling. Within hours of the deadly attack, evidence emerged that the 18-year-old gunman’s crimes were racially motivated, explicitly targeting the area’s Black community.

 

Buffalo is the most recent in a string of high-profile acts of violence inspired by the “great replacement theory,” an extremist doctrine based on the unsubstantiated belief that non-white populations will “replace” and subjugate white majorities across the globe.

 

Once confined to the radical fringe, replacement theory has now entered mainstream conservative rhetoric, peddled by prominent right-wing figures like Tucker Carlson and J.D. Vance, and shared in online networks from El Paso to Christchurch. On this week’s episode, Ray Suarez sits down with Daniel Byman, a counterterrorism expert and author of Spreading Hate: The Global Rise of White Supremacist Terrorism, to discuss the roots of the global white power movement, how extremism spreads, and what the mainstreaming of violence as a political tactic means for targeted communities–and democracy–in the world today.

 

Guests:

 

Daniel Byman, Senior Fellow at Brookings Institution and professor at Georgetown University

 

Host(s):

 

Ray Suarez, co-host of World Affairs

Direct download: 5-23_World_Affairs_for_podcast_feed.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 11:00am PDT

When the Biden administration announced that the United States would accept up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees, hundreds began to show up daily at the US-Mexico border. With a scarcity of appointments at US consulates in Europe, for those who could afford airfare, this circuitous route was their best option. “At the peak of it, there were over a thousand Ukrainian nationals,  enough to fill a shelter in Tijuana,” KPBS immigration reporter Gustavo Solis explained to Ray Suarez. “They would get picked up at the airport and volunteers would be ready. There was even a guy playing music for them – like a welcome party in Tijuana.” Then they would be processed the next day. As you might imagine, that streamlined process isn't the same for most other refugees seeking asylum in the United States. Depending on your country of origin, entering the US at the San Ysidro crossing between Tijuana and San Diego can be quite a bit more complicated...or even impossible.

Guest: Gustavo Solis, Investigative Border Reporter for KPBS

Host:  Ray Suarez, host of World 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: Gustavo_Segment_for_podcast_feed.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

As early as November 2021, the Biden administration began to declassify military intelligence about a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine and share it with the public. As declassified material poured in, the world watched the massive grinding gears of Russia's war machine creep towards Kyiv. Despite what seemed imminent—almost obvious—the White House and the State Department were under intense scrutiny. It wasn’t clear whether the strategy of opening the information floodgates would disrupt Moscow’s actions or provoke Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine. On this week’s episode, Ray Suarez discusses President Biden’s Ukraine strategy with US State Department Counselor Derek Chollet. 

Guests:  Derek Chollet, Counselor of the United States Department of State

Host:  Ray Suarez, co-host of World Affairs

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

Direct download: Chollet_Segment_for_podcast_feed.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

On February 9th, the U.S. Senate confirmed Chantale Wong as the U.S. Executive Director of the Asian Development Bank. On that day, she became the first LGBTQ person of color and the first "out" lesbian, to hold the rank of ambassador in the U.S. For the past 30 years, Ambassador Wong has spurned tradition and overcome challenges to forge her own trailblazing path, breaking barriers along the way. Her journey began in 1960, when at the age of six, her grandmother smuggled her out of Shanghai, and has included a thirty year career in public service, including stops at San Francisco's Public Utilities Commission, NASA, the Treasury Department and a brief stint as photographer for the late Congressman John Lewis. During this Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, we celebrated the life and career of Chantale Wong at a live event on May 3, 2022. This is an excerpt of her conversation with Dean Fealk.

Guest: Ambassador Chantale Wong, U.S. Executive Director, Asia Development Bank

Host:  Dean Fealk, World Affairs trustee and co-managing partner at DLA Piper.

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: Chantale_Wong_Segment_for_podcast_feed_REV2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

After a thirty year civil war, Sri Lanka rebuilt its economy, with the help of foreign investment. But when the pandemic forced the small island nation to shut its borders, things began to unravel. Now, the war in Ukraine and skyrocketing food and fuel prices are pushing the country into deeper economic turmoil, political unrest, and violence.  

 

Today, Sri Lanka owes a staggering $50 billion to regional neighbors, like China, and international lending institutions, like the World Bank. And it isn’t the only country in this situation. Ray Suarez talks with Washington Post’s Gerry Shih, and Asanga Abeyagoonasekera, a Sri Lankan geopolitical analyst, to understand why–and how–nations like Sri Lanka accumulate foreign debt, what it means for everyday citizens …and why it can be so hard to pay back.

 

Guests: 

 

Gerry Shih, India bureau chief, Washington Post 

 

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera, senior fellow at the Millenium Project

 

Host: 

 

Ray Suarez, co-host of WorldAffairs

Direct download: Sri_Lanka_Segment_for_podcast_feed_REV1.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

"At the end of the day, he believed it would be too great a gift to the regime—too great a gift to Putin—if he stayed away."

Daniel Roher is the award-winning director behind "Navalny," a film that documents Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny's journey from Germany to a Russian jail. Roher was given unprecedented access to Alexei Navalny while he was in Berlin recovering from an attempted assasination, searching for the Russian agents who tried to poison him, and eventually returning to Russia where he was inevitably imprisoned. 

"Navalny" offers an intimate portrait of the man intent on undoing Vladimir Putin and his ongoing search for justice. The film premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival and is now streaming on HBO Max.

Guest:  

Daniel Roher, documentary filmmaker and director of "Navalny"

Host: 

Ray Suarez, co-host of WorldAffairs

Direct download: NAVALNY_for_podcast_feed_REV1.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

For the last century, Finland has walked a diplomatic tightrope between East and West. A former Russian imperial holding and Soviet target, the independent nordic nation boasts a free market economy, EU membership, and regional defense partnerships. Yet, Finland has previously stopped short of formally joining NATO, the West’s major military alliance–maintaining a pragmatic policy of forced neutrality along its 800-mile border with Russia. That is, until Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine.

How does a country survive the threat of Russian aggression? Ray Suarez talks with Henri Vanhanen, advisor to the Finnish National Coalition Party, about his country’s recent pivot toward NATO membership–both in parliament and the polls–and what it could mean for the future of international security. 

Featuring:

Henri Vanhanen, foreign policy and EU advisor for the Finland National Coalition Party

Ray Suarez, co-host of WorldAffairs

Finland 101, by Ray Suarez

Maybe you’ve noticed how often Finland comes up during the Ukraine coverage, and wondered why? Here’s a quick little history…a thousand pages in a few seconds.

For centuries, the Finns have had to thread their way, as a people, through the conflicts of other big powers in their part of the world. Ethnically and linguistically distinct…they’re not their Swedish neighbors to the west or their Russian neighbors to the east…but they had to fend off both to remain themselves.

For centuries Finland was fought for, or fought over, by Russians and Swedes. As the 20thcentury began, Finland was part of Czarist Russia…then the Czar abdicated and the Empire collapsed. The Finns flirted with Communism, and with monarchy, before becoming a republic with a new president in 1919.

Josef Stalin wanted Finland back for the USSR. The Soviets invaded, shortly after the Nazis bulldozed Poland in 1939. The Finns fought back ferociously. They inflicted heavy casualties. The Soviets eventually recognized Finland’s independence, signed a peace treaty, and permanently seized about a tenth of Finland’s territory, incorporating it into the USSR.

The Finns would remain independent, somewhat free of Soviet domination after the Second World War, but that freedom came at a cost. Finland gave up more territory, and population, and diplomatic freedom of movement. The country lived in a gray area between east and west during the Cold War. Its status even got a dismissive name…Finlandization, used to describe a forced neutrality, an expensive freedom. 

Finland had a market economy, democratically elected governments, freedom of speech, and growing prosperity….all the while staying aloof from the expanding European Union, and certainly NATO, the western military alliance.

When the Soviet Union collapsed, much as Czarist Russia did, Finland had an escape hatch… denounced its earlier treaties, joined the EU, adopted the Euro, but remained outside NATO, sharing an eight hundred mile border with the Russian Federation.

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

When the British government handed Hong Kong over to China in 1997, it was with China’s promise that Hong Kong’s relative autonomy would be preserved, under the framework known as “one country, two systems.” But in recent years, China has cracked down on the region’s freedoms, especially freedom of press. One example is the 2020 arrest of media mogul Jimmy Lai, founder of the pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily, who helped catalyze an opposition movement. In 2021 Lai was arrested again, and sentenced to 13 months in jail for participating in a vigil marking the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.

 

On this week’s episode of WorldAffairs, World Affairs CEO Philip Yun talks with Mark Clifford, who was the director of Apple Daily’s parent company at the time of Lai’s arrest. Clifford, a journalist, activist, and president of the Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong, has a new book, Today Hong Kong, Tomorrow the World: What China’s Crackdown Reveals About its Plans to End Freedom Everywhere.

 

Guests:  

 

Mark Clifford, president of the Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong, journalist, activist 

 

 

Host: 

 

Philip W. Yun, President and CEO, WorldAffairs

Direct download: Mark_Clifford_for_podcast_feed_REV1.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

Danish sculptor Jens Galschiøt’s “Pillar of Shame,” a 26-foot copper-cased monument to the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, stood for nearly a quarter century outside the student union at Hong Kong University. The tower-like statue of human faces contorted by suffering was installed in 1997, just before the handover of Hong Kong to the People’s Republic of China. In December 2021, under cover of darkness, the university removed the statue. It’s a move many say is an overt attempt to suppress the memory of the brutal crackdown—and part of a broader effort by China to erase Hong Kong’s history of independence. On this week’s episode, we hear from Galschiøt, the sculptor who built the “Pillar of Shame.” Then, Ray Suarez talks with former NPR Beijing correspondent Louisa Lim about China’s brazen efforts to stamp out free speech in Hong Kong, the city she grew up in. Lim shares the experiences she chronicled in her new book Indelible City, an emotional eyewitness account of the pro-democracy protests and a reflection on Hong Kong’s identity.

 

Guests:  

Jens Galschiøt, Danish sculptor

Louisa Lim, author of  “Indelible City: Dispossession and Defiance in Hong Kong 

Host: 

Ray Suarez, co-host WorldAffairs

Direct download: HK_for_podcast_feed_pt.1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:29pm PDT

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, we are confronted daily with images of atrocities. But what constitutes proof of a war crime in the digital age? It’s a question a new generation of experts is answering. In December, the United Nations Human Rights Office teamed up with lawyers at UC Berkeley to release a new set of legal guidelines for gathering and verifying war crimes. The “Berkeley Protocol” establishes norms for authenticating open source and social media evidence of human rights violations, and it stands to usher in a new era for punishing those who commit these horrors. In the past, war crimes were proven with extensive witness testimony and conventional forensic evidence, often gathered slowly and well after the fact  by government agencies. Now, researchers can use an array of digital tools, including social media videos, satellite imagery, and geolocation, in real time. By codifying professional standards in the field, the Berkeley Protocol aims to shore up the admissibility of digital evidence in court and could change the future of prosecuting these heinous crimes.   

On this week’s episode of WorldAffairs, Ray Suarez talks with Alexa Koenig, executive director of the Human Rights Center and Investigations Lab at Berkeley Law, which has been at the forefront of this new legal frontier in human rights.

Direct download: Koenig_Segment_for_podcast_feed.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 3:50am PDT

When President Biden calls Vladimir Putin a “war criminal” and says that Russia’s war in Ukraine amounts to “genocide,” what does it mean? Do such prounouncements place obligations on the United States? Does it threaten some sort of legal jeopardy for the Russian president? When an artilleryman a thousand yards away sends a projectile slamming into an apartment building full of civilians, is that a war crime? Is the soldier who released the shell more or less responsible than the politician a thousand miles away who ordered the assault on a city? Ray Suarez tackles these questions with a war-crimes prosecutor and a former student organizer who played a critical role in the downfall of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, who was the first sitting head of state indicted for war crimes.

 

Guests:  

Ivan Marovic, International Center on Nonviolent Conflict 

Alex Whiting, war-crimes prosecutor and visiting professor at Harvard Law School

Host: 

Ray Suarez, co-host WorldAffairs


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: War_Crimes_Pt.1_for_podcast_feed.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:59am PDT

Even with the heat turned up on Russian oligarchs—and more recently, his own family—Vladimir Putin’s wealth remains one of the biggest mysteries for law enforcement, investigative journalists, and anti-corruption activists.


New York Times investigative journalist Mike McIntire explains to us what his reporting has uncovered about Putin’s strategy for avoiding sanctions, the Western advisors who shield his inner circle from financial scrutiny, and maybe, perhaps, where the Russian President is ultimately hiding his riches.

 

Guests:

 

Mike McIntire,  investigative reporter The New York Times

 

Host:  

 

Ray Suarez, co-host WorldAffairs

 

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: McIntire_Segment_for_podcast_feed.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

A complex web of shell companies, offshore banks and hidden transactions has concealed the wealth of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his oligarchs for years. With international sanctions aimed at staunching the flow of money that funds Russia's war in Ukraine, a new nonprofit reporting collaboration led by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project and the Guardian, launched the Russian Asset Tracker. It's the most comprehensive database to date that catalogs the assets of Russians with links to Putin. On this episode of the podcast, we follow the money trail to better understand the connection between Putin’s power and his oligarchs. Then we explore the legal mechanisms for seizing these assets. 

Guests:

Drew Sullivan, co-founder of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project 

Karen Greenaway, former special agent in the FBI's International Corruption Unit

Host:  

Ray Suarez, co-host WorldAffairs

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: Russian_Assets_for_podcast_feed.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

Teklia Zumuy fled Eritrea, a small and autocratic nation in the Horn of Africa, in 2016. He sought out for a new life in Europe, and hoped to eventually bring his wife and three young daughters with him. But as he attempted to cross the Mediterranean Sea on a small wooden boat, Teklia and his companions were apprehended by the Italian Coast Guard and handed over to Libyan militias. He was held there for over two years, with inadequate food or health services, and with no way to contact his family. Teklia is one of hundreds of migrants whose stories are told in a new book by investigative journalist Sally Hayden. In My Fourth Time, We Drowned, Hayden reports on a shadowy immigration system, created by the European Union, which captures and imprisons African migrants in Libya, keeping them from reaching European soil. In Libya, they endure starvation, scorching temperatures, beatings and rape -- and are sold to human traffickers. In an interview with Senior KQED editor Rachael Myrow, Hayden also explains the role that western institutions have played in this humanitarian crisis.

 

Featuring:

Rachael Myrow, senior editor of KQED's Silicon Valley News Desk

Sally Hayden, author of My Fourth Time, We Drowned and Africa correspondent for the Irish Times

Teklia Zumuy, teacher and refugee

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: Hayden_Segment_for_podcast_feed.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

In times of crisis, one of the most painful decisions people face is whether to stay or leave: to risk abandoning their homes, personal belongings, and sometimes, loved ones. 10 million Ukrainians have been forced to flee their homes this month. Many have been displaced within their country. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has called this exodus Europe’s fastest growing refugee crisis since World War II.

 

In this episode, we hear audio diaries from two people on opposite sides of the crisis. First, filmmaker Iryna Tsilk, who we first met in the weeks before the invasion, takes us through her decision to leave Kyiv where her husband is fighting as a soldier in Ukraine’s Territorial Defense Forces. Then, a Russian-Ukrainian student living in Germany named Alex records his story from the road. The week after Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine, Alex traveled to a border crossing with Poland, joining a ragtag army of volunteers providing humanitarian assistance and safe passage to those fleeing Ukraine.

 

Guest Contributors:

 

Iryna Tsilyk, filmmaker and director of “The Earth is Blue as an Orange

 

Alex Gerz, Russian-Ukrainian student based in Kassel, Germany

 

Host(s):  

 

Ray Suarez, WorldAffairs co-host

 

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: EU_Refugees_Pt._1_for_podcast_feed.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

Last week, President Biden announced the U.S. is accepting 100,000 Ukrainian refugees.

 

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman was three years old when he and his family fled Odessa for a better life in the U.S. He, along with his twin brother Yevgeny, rose through the ranks of military service, to the role of Eastern European affairs expert on the National Security Council. Vindman’s past and present converged on the stand when he appeared as a lead witness in the first impeachment of President Donald Trump, which dealt with the U.S. relationship to Ukraine.

 

In the second part of our interview with Lt. Col. Vindman, he speaks with Ray Suarez about the phone call that changed everything, how his immigrant experience inspired his courageous testimony, and why he says President Trump and figures within the GOP have “blood on their hands,” and set the stage for Vladimir Putin’s inevitable invasion of Ukraine.

 

And World Affairs CEO, Philip Yun, pays tribute to the late Madeleine Albright.

 

Guest(s):

 

(Ret.) Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, director for European and Russian affairs at the National Security Council from 2018 to 2020

 

Host:  

 

Ray Suarez, World Affairs co-host

 

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: Vindman_Pt._2_for_podcast_feed.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

When Alexander Vindman warned the world about President Donald Trump's July 2019 phone call with Ukranian President Volodymr Zelensky, he says he was thinking about the U.S. Constitution and his duty as an American. But as a retired army Lieutenant Colonel and former director of European affairs for the National Security Council, Vindman was also thinking about the role that a sovereign and democratic Ukraine plays in U.S. national security interests.

 

In part one of Alexander Vindman’s conversation with Ray Suarez, they discuss how Ukraine, Russia, and the world have been changed by Putin’s war.

 

On the hesitancy of Western powers to get involved, Vindman says, “There is wishful thinking about the fact that we could return to a world before this war. And that's impossible for me. To me, it's clear that we're in a cold war.”

 

Guest:

 

(Ret.) Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, director for European and Russian affairs at the National Security Council from 2018 to 2020

 

Host:

 

Ray Suarez, WorldAffairs co-host

 

What do you think about the war in Ukraine? What coverage on the war would you like to hear from us? We’d love to hear from you. Send us a message at feedback@worldaffairs.org.

 


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: 3-28_World_Affairs_Pt._1_for_podcast_feed.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

This is not the first time Russia invaded a neighboring country that was being considered for entry into NATO. In 2008, Moscow took advantage of a conflict in Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia as a justification to invade. A brutal five day war followed and today, 20% of Georgia’s internationally recognized territory remains under Russian military occupation. Journalist Levi Bridges traveled to the former Soviet republic of Georgia to see the remnants of its 2008 war with Russia – and what the conflict can or can’t tell us about Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine.  This is part 2 of a three-part series looking at how Vladimir's Putin consolidates power in former Soviet republics. Please be sure to listen to part 1: A War Between Dictators and the Free World with Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and watch the podcast feed for part 3 to drop on Thursday.

Guests:

Liana Chlachidze, Ergneti village resident

Galina Kelekhsaeva, German language teacher 

Gerard Toal, professor of government and international affairs at Virginia Tech

Shalva Dzebisashvili, head of political science at the University of Georgia in Tbilisi

Nino Tsagareishvili, legal advisor to German development agency GIZ

Host:  Ray Suarez

Reporter: Levi Bridges

Direct download: Georgia_for_podcast_feed.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:05am PDT

Belarus, a former Soviet republic which shares a 700 mile border with Ukraine, has been used as a staging ground for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has long had strong ties to the Kremlin, but he has become increasingly dependent on Putin since he retained power after a contested election in 2020. International observers recognized the true victor as Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who is now leading her country’s democratic movement in exile. An English teacher and mother, she rose to prominence when her husband was jailed for publicly speaking out against the regime. In a conversation with Ray Suarez, Tsikhanouskaya warned, “This is not a war between Russia and Ukraine. It's a war between dictators and the free world. And there’s a moral obligation of every person in this free world to be with those who are fighting.” 

Guest: Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, exiled leader of the Belarusian democratic movement

Host: Ray Suarez, co-host of World Affairs 

This is part 1 of a three-part series looking at how Vladimir's Putin consolidates power in former Soviet republics. Please be sure to listen to part 2 If Putin Succeeds in Ukraine, Is Georgia Next? and watch the podcast feed for part 3 to drop on Thursday.

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: Belarus_Segment_for_podcast_feed.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 5:19am PDT

As the war in Ukraine drags on, global alliances are shifting, sometimes in surprising ways. A delegation from the White House recently made a secret trip to Caracas to discuss the possibility of easing sanctions on Venezuelan oil just as the Biden administration is planning to ban Russian oil imports. A few days later, Venezuela freed two jailed Americans in an apparent goodwill gesture. One of the freed prisoners was among six Citgo oil executives arrested in 2017 and convicted on charges the U.S. government says were fabricated. Five of the men still remain in prison. Venezuela is not alone in its use of hostage diplomacy. Russia recently announced the arrest of WNBA player Brittney Griner. She is one of at least three Americans held unjustly by Russian authorities. On this week’s episode, we meet the State Department’s lead hostage negotiator, an innocent man who was held hostage for 544 days in an Iranian prison and his brother who led the campaign to free him. Their conversation was recorded in front of a live audience at the World Affairs Center in San Francisco.

 

Guests:  

Ambassador Roger Carstens, Special Envoy to Hostage Affairs at the US Department of State

Jason Rezaian, Washington Post global opinions writer, host of 544 Days and author of Prisoner 

Ali Rezaian, consultant and leader of the “Free Jason and Yegi” campaign 

Hosts: 

Philip Yun, President and CEO of World Affairs

Lily Jamali, senior reporter at American Public Media’s Marketplace

Direct download: WA_220314_Freeing_American_Hostages.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 4:22am PDT

What motivated Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine and how is his war changing the balance of power between Russia, the US, Europe and China? First, a voice from the ground: Katia Iakovlenko, a writer who lives in Irpin, a suburb of Kyiv, shares how extreme hardship has unified her country. Then, former US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul tells Ray Suarez how it feels to be scolded by Vladimir Putin and explains how the US missed critical opportunities to spread democracy in post-Soviet Russia. 

Guests:

Katia Iakovlenko, writer and curator based in Kyiv

Michael McFaul, US ambassador to Russia (2012-2014), director at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies

Host:  Ray Suarez, WorldAffairs co-host

Additional Reading:

"Eat Me, Drink Me--This is a War," by Kateryna Iakovlenko 

“From Cold War to Hot Peace: An American Ambassador in Putin’s Russia,” by Michael McFaul

Editor's note: Since we recorded this episode, Katia Iakovlenko safely escaped Irpin, which has sustained heavy shelling from Russian forces.

This episode was produced in partnership with Stanford Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies podcast WorldClass

If you appreciate this program 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: McFaul_Segment_for_podcast_feed.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 3:05am PDT

When Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping met before the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, it was the Chinese head of state’s first in person meeting with another world leader in two years. Declaring that China and Russia’s friendship had “no limits,” the two authoritarian leaders signaled they were more aligned than ever and determined to present a united front against the US. Then, Russia invaded Ukraine. Wall Street Journal chief China correspondent Lingling Wei joins Ray Suarez to discuss the diplomatic tightrope Beijing is walking as Moscow’s global isolation grows. 

Guest: Lingling Wei, chief China correspondent at the Wall Street Journal

Host:  Ray Suarez, WorldAffairs co-host

Recommended reading: 

“China Declared Its Russia Friendship Had ‘No Limits.’ It’s Having Second Thoughts,” by Lingling Wei

“Superpower Showdown,” by Bob Davis and Lingling Wei

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: Wei_Segment_for_podcast_feed.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:13am PDT

“It's not a given that the democratic values will rule the 21st century. This is the first real test of what those values will be.” Congressman Ami Bera, a Democrat from California, joined Ray Suarez to talk about countering aggression from Russia and China, why immigration is such an important part of American history, and overcoming political disunity in foreign policy. 

Guest: Rep. Ami Bera (D CA-7), physician and chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia, and Nonproliferation.

Host:  Ray Suarez,co-host of WorldAffairs 

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: Bera_Segment_for_podcast_feed.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

WorldAffairs host Ray Suarez remembers Paul Farmer, the late physician and champion of global public health who inspired many by example. Beyond opening clinics and distributing life saving medications in Haiti and other developing nations, Dr. Farmer worked to change the way healthcare is delivered to the world’s most vulnerable–through compassion and genuine partnership. 

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: Farmer_Segment_for_podcast_feed.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

According to the USDA, shoppers are paying more than seven percent more than they were last year for their groceries. In developing countries, it’s even worse. The UN says thirty-seven nations are in urgent need of food, but can't afford it. But while food prices soar, so do Wall Street’s profits.

 

WorldAffairs host Ray Suarez talks with Rupert Russell about his new book and film, “Price Wars: How the Commodities Markets Made Our Chaotic World.” He introduces us to people whose lives have been upended by skyrocketing food and gas prices around the world and explains how the global financial system drives famine, conflict, and crisis.

 

Guest:

 

Rupert Russell, author and director of Price Wars: "How Commodities Markets Made Our Chaotic World"

 

Host:

 

Ray Suarez, co-host, WorldAffairs

 

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: 2-21_World_Affairs_for_podcast_feed.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

Is the US on the verge of a second Civil War? Acclaimed author Barbara Walter suggests that American exceptionalism, the belief that things are different here, may have blinded us to patterns we’ve seen previously around the world.

 

From the former Yugoslavia to South Africa to Brazil, Walter and WorldAffairs host Ray Suarez examine risk factors that can contribute to the outbreak of violence, and how social media adds fuel to the fire. If bipartisan discord and events like January 6 are signs of instability within American democracy, what can we do to turn it around?

 

Guest:

 

Barbara Walter, author of “How Civil Wars Start

 

Host:

 

Ray Suarez, co-host, WorldAffairs

 

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: 2-14_World_Affairs_for_podcast_feed.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

The Winter Olympics have begun. China wants the Beijing Games to showcase the country’s meteoric rise, but American legislators and an international coalition of activists see the Games as an opportunity to spotlight China’s human rights record.

 

First, we hear from U.S. track and field star Raven “Hulk” Saunders about the Olympic podium protest ban. Then, WorldAffairs host Philip Yun talks with a former State Department colleague, Bennett Freeman, about the campaign to pressure China to change. Finally, journalist Mary Kay Magistad speaks with two leaders from China’s persecuted Uyghur minority about surveillance, repression, and state violence in the shadow of the Winter Olympics. 

 

Guests:

 

Raven Saunders, 2021 silver medalist for U.S. Olympic Track and Field team

Bennett Freeman, former deputy assistant secretary of state, democracy, human rights and labor 

Zumretay Arkin, program manager at World Uyghur Congress

Nury Turkel, vice chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and senior fellow at the Hudson Institute

 

Hosts: 

Philip Yun, co-host, WorldAffairs

Mary Kay Magistad, associate director at Center on U.S.-China Relations at Asia Society

 

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: 2-7_World_Affairs_for_podcast_feed_REV1.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

Imagine yourself explaining to your child how to stay safe during a military attack while you try to remain focused on your job and enjoy life in the face of impending war. These seemingly incompatible and contradictory goals have become a daily routine in Ukraine and they're at the heart of Iryna Tsylik's award winning film, The Earth is as Blue as an Orange. Tsylik takes us inside the lives of a family living in Eastern Ukraine, in the declining coal region of Donbass, where a low-grade war has been going on since 2014. The war has outlasted more than two dozen ceasefires between Ukraine, Russia, and Russian-backed armed separatists. With more than 13,000 casualties to date and troops already in the region, Donbass is one of the many routes by which Russia could launch a larger scale invasion in the near future. WorldAffairs producer Andrew Stelzer spoke with Iryna Tsylik about her film and how her identity as a Ukrainian has been shaped by art, politics and a war that’s now been going on for almost 8 years.

If you have not already done so, please be sure to listen to Ukraine Part 1: A Young Country with an Old History, where you’ll learn about Ukraine’s Maidan revolution, which precipitated war in the Donbass.

Guests:  

Iryna Tsilyk, filmmaker and director of The Earth is Blue as an Orange

Hosts: 

Ray Suarez, co-host, WorldAffairs

Andrew Stelzer, producer, WorldAffairs

Direct download: Iryna_Segment_for_podcast_feed.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

The Russian military is on the move toward the border with Ukraine. President Biden and European leaders have warned Russia against an invasion, suggesting military action will trigger a response. Caught in the middle, and almost completely drowned out in the din, are the voices of more than 40 million Ukrainian people living in one of the biggest countries in Europe.

 

In part one of a two-part story about Ukraine, we fill in some of the blanks on the backstory of Ukraine. Historians Katherine Younger and Emily Channell-Justice tell Ray Suarez the story of modern Ukraine, and why embracing Western values has made Ukraine a threat to Vladimir Putin. 

 

Guests:

Katherine Younger, research director, Ukraine in European Dialogue at The Institute for Human Sciences


Emily Channell-Justice, director, Temerty Contemporary Ukraine Program at Harvard University.

 

Host:

 

Ray Suarez, co-host, WorldAffairs

 

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: Historians_Segment_for_podcast_feed.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

In 2008, Jason Rezaian made a life changing decision to move to Iran and follow his dream of being a foreign correspondent. He fell in love, became a reporter for the Washington Post, and even played host to Anthony Bourdain in the Iran episode of Parts Unknown. Then, Jason’s life was turned upside down when he was arrested and held hostage in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison for 544 days. At least forty Americans are currently held captive around the world–not by terrorist groups but by foreign governments.

On this week’s episode, we hear Jason’s story and why he thinks it’s essential that the US government and media change the way they talk about American hostages abroad so we can finally bring them home.

Guests:

Jason Rezaian, Washington Post global opinions writer, host of 544 Days and author of Prisoner 

Yeganeh Rezaian, senior researcher at the Committee to Protect Journalists

Kate Woodsome, documentary filmmaker at the Washington Post

Host:

Ray Suarez, co-host, WorldAffairs

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: 1-24_World_Affairs_for_podcast_feed.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

With the rapid spread of Omicron and CDC guidelines changing on a near-daily basis, the pandemic can feel more confusing than ever. To help make sense of it all, we bring you this week’s episode two days ahead of schedule.

Even in the face of a highly infectious variant, COVID vaccines still offer the best protection from severe illness and death, but 40% of the world’s population, mostly in low income countries, have yet to receive a first dose. With so many people unvaccinated, new variants will continue to emerge. So, what can be done to break vaccine gridlock and bring this pandemic to an end?

On this week’s episode, Dr. Luciano Cesar Azevado, an ICU doctor in São Paulo, explains how Brazil went from being a COVID hotspot to a world leader in vaccinations. Then, Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, talks with Ray Suarez about overcoming the challenges of vaccine distribution in hard to reach areas.

Guests: 

Dr. Luciano Cesar Azevado,  ICU physician and professor of critical care and emergency medicine, Sírio-Libanês Hospital in São Paulo, Brazil

Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO, GAVI, The Vaccine Alliance

Hosts:

Philip Yun, CEO, World Affairs

Ray Suarez, co-host, World Affairs

Direct download: 1-17_World_Affairs_for_podcast_feed.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

When footage of rioters storming the US Capitol streamed live in 2021, some far-right extremists in Germany watched it like a soccer game. The European nation has spent decades confronting its dark history, but neo-Nazi and conspiracy theorist movements continue to rise in Germany, and around the world.

 

In this rebroadcast from last year, Ray Suarez talks with two domestic intelligence agents: one in Germany and the other in the United States. What have they learned in their fight against violent extremism?

 

Guests:

Stephan Kramer, chief of intelligence for the German state of Thuringia

Michael German, Brennan Center for Justice at NYC Law School and former FBI agent

 

Host:

Ray Suarez, co-host of WorldAffairs

 

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: 1-10_World_Affairs_for_podcast_feed.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

One year after supporters of former President Donald Trump violently stormed the Capitol,  how do we make sense of the January 6 insurrection? Historian Ruth Ben-Ghiat returns to WorldAffairs to discuss modern authoritarians and the “leader cult” created around former president Donald Trump. With a majority of Republicans believing the false claim that voter fraud helped Joe Biden win the 2020 election, could Donald Trump be reelected in 2024? If weaknesses in our democratic institutions aren’t addressed, Ben-Ghiat warns, the real danger lies in the blueprint left for future leaders.

 

Guest: Ruth Ben-Ghiat, professor of history and Italian studies at New York University and author of Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present

Host: Ray Suarez, co-host of WorldAffairs

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: 1-3_World_Affairs_for_podcast_feed.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

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