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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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Latest episode

Does Europe need an army?:

A unified European army is not a new idea but whenever it’s raised it’s usually forgotten just as quickly. Will this time be any different? And, if it is, what would a unified military force look like? Andrew Mueller is joined by Elisabeth Braw, Ulrike Franke and Christian Mölling.

Latest episodes

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12 Dec 2018
4 min

Explainer 144: Brexit. What fresh hell is this?: 

Confused about what's going on with the Brexit negotiations and inside Britain's parliament? So is Andrew Mueller – but he tries to make sense of it nonetheless.

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2578 Dec 2018
30 min

Does Europe need an army?: 

A unified European army is not a new idea but whenever it’s raised it’s usually forgotten just as quickly. Will this time be any different? And, if it is, what would a unified military force look like? Andrew Mueller is joined by Elisabeth Braw, Ulrike Franke and Christian Mölling.

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5 Dec 2018
4 min

Explainer 144: Who’s burning the Gävle goat?: 

It is tradition in the small Swedish town of Gävle to erect a giant straw goat to celebrate Advent. However it is also tradition, or at least it has become so, to try to destroy it in increasingly imaginative ways. Andrew Mueller investigates.

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2561 Dec 2018
30 min

How democratic is the DRC?: 

On 23 December, voters in the Democratic Republic of Congo will choose a new president and hope to witness the country’s first peaceful transfer of power since gaining independence from Belgium in 1960. But the freeness and fairness of the elections are already being called into question. So, what hope does whoever wins even have of governing a country as large and as troubled as the DRC? Andrew Mueller is joined by Tom Wilson, Stanis Bujakera Tshiamala, Jason Stearns and Francesca Bomboko.

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28 Nov 2018
4 min

Explainer 143: Why is Asia so behind on LGBT rights?: 

The results of last weekend’s referendum on equal marriage rights in Taiwan were unexpected – and have wider implications for LGBT rights across the continent. Monocle’s HK bureau chief, James Chambers, explores why Asia is so reluctant to change its conservative views.

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25524 Nov 2018
30 min

Europe's rogue states: 

When EU member states won't toe the line should they be punished – at the risk of inflaming populist resentments – or should the EU turn a blind eye and just hope others won’t have similar ideas? Andrew Mueller asks how the likes of Hungary and Poland – and now Italy – should be dealt with.

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21 Nov 2018
4 min

Explainer 142: Who are the DUP?: 

Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist party, a Protestant group that wishes to remain part of the UK and separate from its Catholic neighbours to the south, has just 10 elected representatives in the UK’s House of Commons. But, crucially, it also holds the balance of power and is vital in helping Theresa May push forward with her plans for Brexit. So, what should we know about them? Monocle 24’s Rhys James reports.

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25417 Nov 2018
30 min

Soft-power special: 

As Monocle’s annual Soft Power Survey hits newsstands, Andrew Mueller asks what countries can offer their international partners beyond trade and guns – or just the cold shoulder. Whether it’s sport, music, food, technology or a quick trip into space, soft power can (if deployed correctly) win hearts, minds and new allies.

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14 Nov 2018
5 min

Explainer 141: Is Merkel's departure a blow to liberal democracy?: 

As soon as Angela Merkel announced her exit from politics, international media were reporting the end of democracy as we know it – the final nail in the coffin of political decency. But, as our Berlin correspondent Kati Krause explains, it's nowhere near that bad. In fact, it's quite the opposite.

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25310 Nov 2018
30 min

The Trump effect: 

Last week’s midterms saw the election of record-breaking numbers of women and breakthroughs for minorities. Might Trump’s legacy be turning the US into everything his supporters like least – and fear most? Andrew Mueller is joined by former deputy homeland security adviser Amy Pope, UCL’s Jeffrey Howard and US Naval War College professor Tom Nichols.

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7 Nov 2018
4 min

Explainer 140: Floral tributes: 

Every year the Royal British Legion, a charity that supports members and veterans of the British armed forces, raises money by selling poppies in remembrance of those who have died during service. Andrew Mueller explores how a well-meaning charity fundraiser has become yet another frontline in the 21st century’s culture wars.

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2523 Nov 2018
30 min

Why ambassadors still matter: 

Despite being the world’s most powerful country, the US has dozens of vacant ambassadorships in the capitals of some of its most important allies. Does the current administration’s disregard for America’s foreign service signal a shift in global attitudes to diplomacy, when picking up the phone for a direct government-to-government chat has never been easier? Andrew Mueller is joined by John Everard, Chas Freeman and Tiina Intelmann to discuss the importance of diplomatic missions.

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31 Oct 2018
4 min

Explainer 139: Trump’s predictable October surprise: 

Although the group of asylum seekers travelling towards the US from Central America is real, the threat they pose to American citizens is not. With only a few days until the midterm elections, it doesn't take a political scientist to work out why Donald Trump has decided that now is the time to react – by sending more than 5,000 troops to the border with Mexico. Andrew Mueller asks why voters keep buying Trump’s lies.

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25127 Oct 2018
30 min

Xinjiang: China’s captive province: 

China does a good job of keeping its Uyghur minority out of international headlines. But, as more stories of huge numbers of Uyghurs incarcerated in detention centres emerge, so do less-than-convincing excuses from Beijing. What do the Uyghurs want that China fears so much? And could this type of persecution spread to China’s other ethnic and religious minorities? Andrew Mueller is joined by Isabel Hilton, Megha Rajagopalan, Gene A Bunin and Dolkun Isa.

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24 Oct 2018
5 min

Explainer 138: What does the Wentworth by-election mean for Australia’s conservatives?: 

In an historic upset, Australia’s governing coalition lost its one-seat parliamentary majority following a by-election in the Sydney electorate of Wentworth. Andrew Mueller explains why this comes as a shock, and asks if Australian conservatism has wandered deep into the ideological weeds.

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