World Affairs

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

1