The Foreign Desk
Explainer 164: What happened to democracy in Benin?
00:00 / 00:00
8 May 2019
Photo: Getty Images
The tiny west African country has been, in recent memory at least, a bastion of democracy. But just before this month’s elections, a new law effectively stopped all political parties but two – both favoured by the president – from running. Was this a bureaucratic fumble gone too far or is something more sinister afoot?
8 May 2019
Want more radio episodes like these in your inbox?
Sign up to Monocle’s email newsletters to stay on top of news and opinion, plus the latest from the magazine, radio, film and shop.
The Foreign Desk - latest episodes
With no end in sight to the bloody war in Ukraine, we ask what lessons can be drawn for parallel conflicts in Taiwan and Belarus. In a special episode recorded at the Globsec 2023 Bratislava Forum, Andrew Mueller speaks to…
Explainer 368: Clashes in Kosovo
At least 25 Nato soldiers and 52 Serb civilians have been hurt during violent clashes in northern Kosovo this week. Andrew Mueller explains what has led to this confrontation.
The battle for Sudan
Fighting continues in Sudan despite successive ceasefire deals. Is there a way to stop two rival soldiers from destroying their country? Andrew Mueller speaks to Yassmin Abdel-Magied, Kholood Khair and Mat Nashed.
Explainer 367: Bashar al-Assad’s return
Twelve years after Syria was expelled from the Arab League for atrocities committed by President Assad, he and his nation have been warmly welcomed back. Andrew Mueller explains what, if anything, has warranted this change…
Global swing states: can the west win them over?
Russia’s war in Ukraine has galvanised western alliances but many other countries feel no imperative to come down on either side. This new class of nations are the global swing states of the 21st century, enjoying a sign…
Explainer 366: What’s next for Thailand?
Though the people of Thailand have voted out the military in favour of the Move Forward Party, the way ahead remains unclear. Andrew Mueller explains why.
Baroness Catherine Ashton
Baroness Catherine Ashton, former high representative of the EU for foreign affairs and security policy, joins Andrew Mueller to discuss her remarkable career, the global response to the war in Ukraine and what it was like…
Explainer 365: Vladimir Putin’s Victory Day speech
Russia’s Victory Day parade was a more low-key affair this year, with the exception of a vitriolic speech by Vladimir Putin. Andrew Mueller dissects the meaning behind the words.
Eurovision: Ukraine in the spotlight
Last year’s Eurovision Song Contest was a demonstration of the extraordinary political and diplomatic potency of this curious annual circus. For many of the same reasons, this year’s Eurovision will be as well. What has it…
Explainer 364: The coronation of King Charles III
Andrew Mueller explains what to expect from the upcoming coronation of the British monarch.
In this special edition of ‘The Foreign Desk’, we speak to former spies from different intelligence services serving in different eras. We’ll find out how to recruit assets, disrupt communications, adopt false identities…
Explainer 363: Australia’s defence review
Australia’s defence review has identified an urgent need for the country to bolster its military personnel and weaponry, despite being in peacetime. Andrew Mueller discusses whether this conclusion is paranoid or has merit…
Thailand’s election: what is at stake?
The race to be Thailand’s next prime minister could result in a major opposition victory. Will the election be free and fair? Andrew Mueller speaks to Gwen Robinson, Kiara Kijburana and Pavin Chachavalpongpun, while James…
Explainer 362: What’s happening in Sudan?
Andrew Mueller explains the background of the deadly conflict in Sudan.
Georgia on the brink
Georgia’s imprisoned former president, Mikhail Saakashvili, has become a focal point for thousands of Georgians who are protesting against what they believe is the government’s increasingly authoritarian – and pro-Russian…