On Shifting Ground

In August, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi landed in Taipei and stood shoulder-to-shoulder to Taiwanese officials. She said her visit was to honor the US’s unwavering support for Taiwanese sovereignty. Leaders in mainland China – who have made the annexation of Taiwan a key political priority – were furious.

 

This week, Ray takes a close look at Taiwan: its colonial past, vibrant democratic tradition, and what recent disputes over independence could mean for its people — and national security – today. We hear directly from a range of Taiwanese voices on the ground, including speakers from the two major political parties vying for influence in the country’s domestic sphere. 

 

Guests:  

 

Jeremy Huai-Che Chiang, Taiwanese student and research assistant with Taiwan-Asia Exchange Foundation

 

Syaru Shirley Lin, professor at the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia

 

Guan Fu, research associate at Taiwan Democracy Progressive Party (DPP)

 

Steven Wang, former staffer the Kuomintang (KMT) Party

 

Host:

 

Ray Suarez, host of On Shifting Ground with 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.

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New name...same award-winning insights.

 

"On Shifting Ground with Ray Suarez" drops on October 31st.

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When Joe Biden took office, he promised to pull the US out of costly wars in the Middle East and take a harsher stance toward human rights violations in the region. But this past year, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine – and the ensuing energy crisis – have thrown a wrench in Biden’s strategy. And longtime ally Saudi Arabia is giving the US the cold shoulder, cutting oil production weeks before midterm elections.

 

This week, Ray Suarez sits down with two Middle East policy experts to debate the best path forward for US engagement in the region. Quincy Institute Executive Vice President Trita Parsi and Brookings Institution senior fellow Shadi Hamid break down their new books, that OPEC news, and the uneasy policy balance between oil, guns, and human rights.

 

Guests:

 

Shadi Hamid, senior fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings Institution

 

Trita Parsi, co-founder and executive vice president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft

 

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.

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In the past few years, there’s been a growing number 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. 

 

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.

 

Guest: 


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

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Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PST

President Barack Obama delivered over 450 speeches during his tenure, but one of his most famous was entirely unscripted. Back in 2015, as the country mourned the victims of Charleston church shooting, the president spontaneously began to sing. And for longtime staff speechwriter Cody Keenan, Obama’s famous “Amazing Grace” speech epitomized the power of oration to guide Americans in times of immense national crisis. 

 

This week, Keenan joins Ray to discuss his new book, “Grace: President Obama and Ten Days in the Battle for America.” In it, he pulls back the curtain on the presidential writers’ room, and how the administration strove to bring a country together. 

 

Guest:

 
Cody Keenan, partner at Fenway Strategies and former White House Director of Speechwriting

 

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.

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Cuba is a small island nation of 11.3 million people, but the country has long loomed large in the American political imagination. Viewed as both a hostile pro-Soviet neighbor and an anti-imperialist revolutionary, Cuba has held a contentious relationship with the US. The Obama administration began to repair the strained diplomatic relationship, but the invasion of Ukraine and enduring Trump-era sanctions are once again inflaming deep-rooted Cold War tensions.

 

In this week’s episode, we explore the deep roots of Cuban internationalism…and its impact on everyday Cubans. We begin with historian William Kelly, who charts Cuba’s little-known history of solidarity with Ukraine—and how Cuba’s pro-Putin stance is turning this history on its head. Then, Ray is joined by Pulitzer-Prize-winning author Ada Ferrer, whose new book Cuba: An American History offers a new take on US-Cuba relations.

 

Guests:

 

William Kelly, lecturer in Caribbean Studies at Rutgers University

 

Ada Ferrer, Julius Silver Professor of History and Latin American Studies at New York University and Pulitzer-Prize-winning author of Cuba: An American History 

 

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.

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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 40 Americans are currently held captive around the world–not by terrorist groups, but by foreign governments. On today’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

 

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.

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Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PST

Just days before Putin invaded Ukraine, Russian authorities detained U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner on reported minor drug charges. Seven months later, Putin’s war rages on … and Griner—a Black lesbian athlete—remains in Russian custody, facing a brutal nine-year sentence that experts say may be politically motivated. 

 

With her sentencing, Griner joins a growing list of US citizens detained abroad—not by rogue terrorist groups, but by established foreign governments. This week, ESPN investigative reporter TJ Quinn and hostage expert Dani Gilbert join Ray to discuss how state-endorsed hostage-taking creates leverage for autocrats—like Putin—upends American diplomatic norms, and places civilians in the crossfire.

 

Guests:

 

TJ Quinn, investigator reporter and senior writer at ESPN

 

Dani Gilbert, hostage expert and Rosenwald Fellow in U.S. Foreign Policy and International Security at Dartmouth College

 

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: Griner_Pt._1_for_pod.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:00am PST

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