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Affairs / Podcast

The Foreign Desk

Presented by Andrew Mueller, this is Monocle 24’s flagship global-affairs show featuring interviews with political leaders and in-depth analysis of the big issues of the day. Featured as a ‘best classic podcast’ in the iTunes best of 2016 collection.

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Latest episode

South Africa after Zuma – what next?:

After Jacob Zuma was eased out of office by his own increasingly embarrassed party, is President Cyril Ramaphosa the right person to rebuild the African National Congress and revive South Africa? Andrew Mueller is joined by Desné Masie, Martin Plaut and former ANC MP Melanie Verwoerd.

Latest episodes

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21517 Feb 2018
30 min

South Africa after Zuma – what next?: 

After Jacob Zuma was eased out of office by his own increasingly embarrassed party, is President Cyril Ramaphosa the right person to rebuild the African National Congress and revive South Africa? Andrew Mueller is joined by Desné Masie, Martin Plaut and former ANC MP Melanie Verwoerd.

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14 Feb 2018
5 min

Explainer 102: Why is US infrastructure in such a mess?: 

Donald Trump announced this week he wants Congress to authorise $200bn (€161bn) to spend on roads, highways, ports and airports. New York bureau chief Ed Stocker asks how US infrastructure got into this mess and if president Trump’s plans are really going to solve the problem.

The full episode of ‘The Foreign Desk’ is back on Saturday: this week we’re looking at South Africa and the ANC after Jacob Zuma. Be sure to subscribe to get each new episode.

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21410 Feb 2018
30 min

Whose side is Turkey on?: 

In the past week Turkey has returned to war in Syria, using tanks furnished by one Nato ally to fight the allies of another, while allying in turn with Nato’s main rival, Russia. Elsewhere, Turkey – which once aspired to join the EU – has frozen relations with the Netherlands. Does all this add up to a coherent foreign policy? If so, what is it? And how worried should Nato be about the reliability of its second-largest military?

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7 Feb 2018
4 min

Explainer 101: Sporting unity: 

As we head towards the opening of the Winter Olympics, Monocle’s Asia bureau chief asks if combining the North and South Korean women’s hockey team is something to be celebrated or just a sacrifice for political gain.

The full episode of The Foreign Desk is back on Saturday – this week looking at Turkey’s foreign policy – be sure to subscribe to get each new episode.

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2133 Feb 2018
30 min

Fighting season: 

In spring, as the weather heats up in Afghanistan, so does the fighting. In a country that has been home to foreign forces and UN troops for more than 16 years, it’s a time to assess how far the country has come since the US invaded back in 2001. How many more fighting seasons can the country take? Andrew Mueller is joined by Michael Semple, Shukrya Barakzai and Patrick Hennessey.

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31 Jan 2018
6 min

Explainer 100: How should we speak of the unspeakable?: 

Poland’s government wants to extend its laws against Holocaust denial to include suggestions of Polish complicity. Andrew Mueller asks if this will really prompt constructive discussion?

The full episode of ‘The Foreign Desk’ is back on Saturday – this week we’re assessing the US’s 16-year military involvement in Afghanistan. Be sure to subscribe to get each new episode.

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21227 Jan 2018
30 min

Citizenship for sale: 

Andrew Mueller looks at the theory and practice of buying and selling passports: how it works, who does it, whether we should be worried about it and how it might change our ideas of what nationality means. Andrew is joined by joined by Atossa Araxia Abrahamian, Julia Rushchenko and Sandeep Parmar.

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24 Jan 2018
5 min

Explainer 99: Call it a day? : 

As we approach Australia Day, large numbers of Australians are wondering what exactly there is to celebrate on 26 January.

The full episode of The Foreign Desk is back on Saturday – be sure to subscribe to get each new episode.

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21120 Jan 2018
30 min

Donald Trump: one down, three to go: 

He has been the president of the US for exactly one year. And, if all goes to plan, he'll remain so for at least three more. Love him or hate him, there's no denying that Donald Trump has changed American, and possibly global, politics in profound and unexpected ways. Andrew Mueller is joined by a panel of experts to discuss the highs and lows – and what to expect next.

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17 Jan 2018
4 min

Explainer 98: Disputed definition: 

What's in a name? Well, if you’re Greek and that name happens to be ‘Macedonia’, rather a lot. But is there an end in sight for what may be the world’s least-dignified diplomatic standoff?

‘The Foreign Desk’ returns on Saturday. Listen to hear us examine Donald Trump’s first year in the Oval Office and be sure to subscribe to get each new episode.

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21013 Jan 2018
30 min

The evolution of protest: 

Last year gave the world much to protest. Political instability and social injustice led to millions taking to the streets in 2017 and even more to social media to make their voices heard. But as the masses rebel, the authorities clamp down – leading to new and inventive ways of showing discontent. So how has protest changed over the years and where is it heading? Andrew Mueller is joined by Rachael Jolley, Stefan Dickers and Dr Fern Riddell.

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10 Jan 2018
6 min

Explainer 97: Where is the Republican resistance?: 

With seemingly no one standing in Trump’s way as he nears his one-year anniversary as US president, Monocle’s New York bureau chief Ed Stocker goes in search of the Republican party’s resistance.

‘The Foreign Desk’ is back on Saturday 13 January, when we look at the history and evolution of protest. Be sure to subscribe to get each new episode.

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2096 Jan 2018
30 min

National anthems: 

Some are rousing, others are melancholy and some are just plain dreary. They’re belted out at sporting events, chanted in the streets to bring nations together and used as a political tool by those in power. But what makes a great national anthem great, why are so many so terrible and, most importantly of all, which is the best? Andrew Mueller is joined by journalist Alex Marshall, author and broadcaster Clemency Burton-Hill and former diplomat John Everard.

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20830 Dec 2017
30 min

Reasons to be cheerful in 2018: 

Monocle’s bureaux staff look ahead to 2018 in terms of elections, surprises and, hopefully, some reasons to be cheerful.

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20723 Dec 2017
30 min

The world in 2017: 

We look back through the archives to tell the story of a tumultuous year, from Donald Trump’s erratic presidency and troubles in the Middle East to the rise and fall of populism in Europe and some questionable referendums.

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