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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. Nominated in the ‘best current affairs’ category for the 2018 British Podcast awards.

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Latest episode

The price of inaction: Syria and what happens when we do nothing:

When the US, the UK and France decided last week to launch airstrikes in Syria reactions were predictably divided. But has the idea that we shouldn’t intervene in other countries’ problems actually made them worse? Andrew Mueller is joined by Haid Haid, Simon Adams and Leslie Vinjamuri.

Latest episodes

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22421 Apr 2018
30 min

The price of inaction: Syria and what happens when we do nothing: 

When the US, the UK and France decided last week to launch airstrikes in Syria reactions were predictably divided. But has the idea that we shouldn’t intervene in other countries’ problems actually made them worse? Andrew Mueller is joined by Haid Haid, Simon Adams and Leslie Vinjamuri.

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18 Apr 2018
6 min

Explainer 111: The Summits of the Americas: 

The meetings wrapped up last weekend – but there was a certain leader noticeably missing from the attendees. Monocle's Toronto bureau chief Tomos Lewis asks if the lack of US involvement has left the door open for others to take the lead in the region.

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22314 Apr 2018
30 min

The Commonwealth: a members' club worth joining?: 

As the Commonwealth Games draw to a close, and the Commonwealth heads of government meeting opens, Andrew Mueller asks if it is a happy family of democracies or just the ghost of a past empire. With Kwasi Kwarteng MP, Shruti Kapila, Bisi Alimi and Euripides Evriviades, the high commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus.

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11 Apr 2018
5 min

Explainer 110: Why has Trump sent troops to the southern border?: 

Donald Trump’s decision to send National Guard troops to the border with Mexico has provoked a mixed reaction. But, as our New York bureau chief Ed Stocker explains, he’s by no means the first US president to do so.

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2227 Apr 2018
30 min

Who wins in a trade war?: 

As the tariff spat between the US and China continues, Andrew Mueller asks if winning a trade war is even possible and, out of all the opponents in the world, why has president Trump chosen China?

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4 Apr 2018
4 min

Explainer 109: What does China’s recent success mean for Taiwan?: 

Since Chinese president Xi Jinping asserted his power in the Communist party, the country has gone from strength to strength. But what does this mean for Taiwan and are Chinese power plays causing unrest on the island?

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22131 Mar 2018
30 min

Anti-semitism: the eternal lunacy: 

It would be wrong to describe anti-semitism as resurgent: it never went away. But it has become more voluble – and, in certain circles, more respectable. This episode looks at how the ancient conspiracy theory of furtive Jewish power has been amplified and legitimised by social media and by modern populism around the world, on the left and the right. Andrew Mueller is joined by Deborah Lipstadt, Daniella Peled and David Aaronovitch.

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28 Mar 2018
5 min

Explainer 108: Not cricket: 

As a seemingly small on-field kerfuffle grips his home nation, Andrew Mueller asks why Australia is dropping its bundle over a scratched cricket ball.

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22024 Mar 2018
30 min

Dropping the gun?: 

For decades US schools have fallen victim to deadly attacks and nothing has changed. However after one of the more recent and most deadly the mood has changed – and it’s the pupils, not the politicians, who are leading the way. Could this finally mark a shift in attitudes? Andrew Mueller is joined by Alexandra Glorioso, Robert Spitzer and Columbine survivor Austin Eubanks.

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21 Mar 2018
5 min

Explainer 107: Will Shinzo Abe become Japan’s longest-serving prime minister?: 

A few months ago it was as though nothing would stop Shinzo Abe from becoming Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, a title he would gain in November 2019. But now there’s a scandal on the front pages and pressure is mounting within his own party. Kenji Hall ponders Abe’s political survival.

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21917 Mar 2018
30 min

The Russian threat to democracy: 

This weekend Russians head to the polls in what might be one of the least-contested presidential elections in history. Not content with fixing his own country’s election, Vladimir Putin has been making a habit of influencing others. So what should the international community be doing to try to stop this meddling – and what responsibility falls to social networks?

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14 Mar 2018
5 min

Explainer 106: Why does Bolivia want the world's biggest flag?: 

This past weekend Bolivians displayed a flag that stretched over 200km. Andrew Mueller explains why this has little to do with an attempt to break the world record for the biggest flag and rather more to do with a longstanding maritime dispute with Chile.

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21810 Mar 2018
30 min

Full up?: 

Italy is the latest European country whose election has effectively been a referendum on immigration. Concerns about jobs, way of life and struggling public services are important issues. But can a country ever really be full and what can be done to persuade the public that theirs isn’t?

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8 Mar 2018
4 min

Explainer 105: Why Canada doesn’t have budget air travel: 

In most of the world’s major economies, hopping on a budget flight is as common as getting on a train or a bus. But in Canada ultra-low-cost air travel is a sector that largely doesn’t exist. Is this about to change? Our Toronto bureau chief Tomos Lewis explains. The full episode of ‘The Foreign Desk’ is back on Saturday. This week we look at the issue of immigration. Be sure to subscribe to get each new episode.

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2173 Mar 2018
30 min

Why Italy’s election matters: 

As Italians head to the polls this weekend, Andrew Mueller is joined by Gianni Riotta, Enrico Franceschini and Stephanie Kirchgaessner to discuss what’s at stake for Italy and Europe, and why Silvio Berlusconi is back in the political limelight.

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