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Affairs / Podcast

The Foreign Desk

​Presented by ​Andrew Mueller, Monocle 24’s flagship global-affairs show features​ expert guests ​and in-depth analysis of the big issues of the week. Winner in the ‘best current affairs’ category of the 2018 British Podcast awards.

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Muqtada al-Sadr and the future of Iraq:

Last week Iraq held a parliamentary election several months early, with Shia cleric and militia commander Muqtada al-Sadr emerging as the winner. What kind of Iraq does al-Sadr want? Andrew Mueller is joined by Sofia Nitti, Jane Arraf and Renad Mansour.

Latest episodes

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20 Oct 2021
5 min

Explainer 288: Trying to Trump the legal system : 

Earlier this month, Joe Biden allowed the US National Archives to grant access to the first batch of documents requested by the House Committee investigating January’s Capitol riots. Donald Trump has responded with a lawsuit to suppress these documents, citing executive privilege. Andrew Mueller explains what success this might have outside the courtroom.

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40716 Oct 2021
30 min

Muqtada al-Sadr and the future of Iraq: 

Last week Iraq held a parliamentary election several months early, with Shia cleric and militia commander Muqtada al-Sadr emerging as the winner. What kind of Iraq does al-Sadr want? Andrew Mueller is joined by Sofia Nitti, Jane Arraf and Renad Mansour.

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13 Oct 2021
27 min

Explainer 287: Nordic Council of Ministers series, part six – Sustainable food choices: 

Many of us want to make more sustainable choices when we shop for food but Nordic governments are going a step further and integrating climate issues into their official dietary suggestions. As the region awaits the new, updated Nordic Nutrition Recommendations next year, drawn up by the Nordic Council of Ministers, we hear from those involved in creating them and about the issues involved in trying to nudge the Nordics to eat more sustainably.

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4069 Oct 2021
30 min

Nearly 10 years of ‘The Foreign Desk’: 

In this special edition of ‘The Foreign Desk’, Andrew Mueller and the team look back at some highlights of the show’s contribution to Monocle 24’s first decade.

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6 Oct 2021
6 min

A curveball for Cuba: 

At least nine Cuban baseball players have defected during a tournament in Mexico. Andrew Mueller reflects on history’s most notable examples.

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4052 Oct 2021
30 min

Coalition politics: the highs and lows: 

Germany faces months of tough negotiations to form a coalition government following the country’s federal election on Sunday. As the intense process of horse-trading and manifesto-trimming gets underway, we examine the strengths and weaknesses of coalition-building. When are coalitions effective? What are the secrets to making one work? And what’s it like to actually negotiate one? Andrew Mueller speaks to Quentin Peel, Françoise Boucek and Sean Kemp.

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29 Sep 2021
5 min

Is France back on top? : 

A week after the AUKUS fallout, France has confirmed a defence deal with Greece, providing the latter with warships and combat aircraft. The timing couldn’t be better and, as Andrew Mueller explains, this long-awaited pact might provide President Macron with more than just money.

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40425 Sep 2021
30 min

Total Recall: What happens when diplomatic relations turn sour? : 

France has recalled its ambassadors to the US and Australia as a response to the new AUKUS deal and Australia’s cancellation of a French submarine contract. But what do such gestures really mean? Do some countries just want to make a scene? How does a diplomatic spat actually work? Andrew Mueller speaks to Agnès Poirier, Quentin Peel and John Everard.

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22 Sep 2021
6 min

France and Algeria: can you pardon the past?: 

France has, not for the first time, attempted to apologise to the Harki community for its treatment of them following the country’s historic war with Algeria. But are President Macron’s morals and motives closely aligned?

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40318 Sep 2021
30 min

Why is populism all the rage?: 

Police have increased security around the US Capitol ahead of a planned pro-Trump rally on 18 September. The expected demonstrations have brought a new wave of concern about the rise of populist anger. What is fuelling this resentment? Is far-left and far-right populism growing in Europe? And what does all this mean for democracy? Andrew Mueller speaks to Tom Nichols, Evan Osnos and Marlene Laruelle.

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15 Sep 2021
5 min

Nicaragua: How to write yourself into exile: 

Once a good friend and political ally of Nicaragua’s president Daniel Ortega, novelist Sergio Ramírez finds himself an enemy of the state. Andrew Mueller explains how this plot developed.

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40211 Sep 2021
30 min

Did we win the war on terrorism?: 

As the US commemorates the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, the Taliban are back in power in Afghanistan. How has the threat of terrorism changed in the two decades since the beginning of the War on Terror? Andrew Mueller speaks to Nathan Sales, David Kilcullen and Farah Pandith.

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8 Sep 2021
6 min

Guinea: back under military rule: 

Guinea is no stranger to military coups but it had been hoped that the appointment of the country’s first elected leader, President Condé, would mark a new era of democracy. A little more than a decade, and a constitutional amendment, later Condé was ousted. Andrew Mueller explains what we know so far.

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4014 Sep 2021
30 min

A New Dawn for Zambia?: 

It was a case of sixth time lucky for Hakainde Hichilema, who has become Zambia’s new president after five unsuccessful attempts. He inherits a troubled economy but his victory has raised hopes for change. How has he triumphed at last? And what effect might he have on aspiring leaders across Africa? Andrew Mueller speaks to Bizeck J Phiri, Michael Kaluba and Steph Chungu.

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1 Sep 2021
6 min

Are Israel and Palestine really working things out?: 

Israel’s defence minister and deputy prime minister, Benny Gantz, paid a visit to the West Bank, marking Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas’s first official meeting with a senior Israeli politician in more than a decade. Andrew Mueller explains how this appears to be more than it really is.

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