Monocle 24: The Foreign Desk

Monocle 24: 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.


The Rohingyas – and the silence of Aung San Suu Kyi  

As the violence against the Rohingya continues to intensify in western Myanmar and Aung San Suu Kyi remains defiantly silent, what is really happening inside the country and when is it time for the international community to step in?

Explainer 81: Is the New Zealand election finally something worth talking about?  

As New Zealanders prepare to head to the polls on 23 September, James Chambers profiles the contenders and asks whether they’re worth getting excited about?

How to heal a nation  

In countries ravaged by war, once the killing stops, the white flags are raised and gun-barrels are lowered, what hope is there that former enemies can once again co-exist as citizens of a single nation? We ask veteran BBC correspondent Martin Bell, Remembering Srebreneca’s Amra Mujkanovic, former special envoy to the Colombian peace process Dag Nylander and Rwandan-genocide survivor Jean Kayigamba.

Explainer 80: Is sport still a soft power?  

Sport can be a great way for a country to show its power over others. But that doesn’t always go as planned. Now, even hosting a major international event can cause considerable damage to a country’s reputation. So, Andrew Mueller asks, why bother?

Democracies and the monuments of their past  

During our summer series we’ve looked at art, architecture and personality cults of autocracies. But what happens when dictatorships end? In our final episode we turn to democracies and ask how countries deal with the symbols of their troubling past. From the confederate statues in the US to former Soviet monuments, how do we remember without glorifying ‘our’ history?

Explainer 79: Too many tourists?  

In Japan tourism is on the up. The government initiatives to attract more foreign visitors have worked but residents are feeling the strain.

Autocracies and the personality cult  

In part three of our summer series we explore how autocratic leaders have built a personality cult. We look at the personality traits needed to build one and look at dictators’ legacies once the parades cease and the statues are toppled. Author Kapka Kassabova tells us what it was like to grow up in a place where the leader’s portrait hung in every classroom and shop.

Explainer 78: President Pence?  

Donald Trump is taking a battering from “many sides”. The investigation into alleged meddling in the US presidential election has intensified; key aides have resigned or been sacked; and Trump has failed to convincingly condemn violence perpetrated by white supremacists. So, could Mike Pence be preparing for a tilt at the presidency?

Autocracies and architecture  

Christopher Lord discusses the relationship between governance and architecture. For example, what does the layout of your parliament building say about your government? And why has work by so-called 'starchitects' started popping up in surprising corners of the world? With Razan Alzayani, Yasser Elsheshtawy, David Mulder van der Vegt, Peter Murray and Charlotte Skene Catling.

Explainer 77: Is Kagame really that popular?  

After winning yet another election with well over 90 per cent of the vote – and a similarly high turn out – is Rwanda's Paul Kagame really that popular? And if so, why?

Autocracies and art  

In part one of our summer series we explore the relationship between autocratic regimes and art. From lewd fantasy art collections and obscene home decor to the vast and impressive – not to mention expensive – state collections of Qatar. We ask why power and money rarely lead to good taste.

Explainer 76: Do political scandals still matter?  

Whether it was a secret affair, colluding with the enemy or saying something they shouldn’t have near a microphone, when a scandal emerged politicians used to prepare for the end of their careers. But is that still the case – and if not, what could it mean for political integrity?

Trump: 42 months to go  

Donald Trump’s first six months in the Oval Office have given us plenty to talk about. His policies aren’t passing, his tweets keep coming – and what about that wall? But accusations against him and his closest allies are building, so how long can it last?

Explainer 75: Communist beach party  

Every August the inner circle of China’s communist party decamp to a woody coastal compound 300km east of Beijing. But is this just a chance to top up a tan or two or is it about political tactics and securing power?

Venezuela: can Maduro hold on?  

Unofficial referendums, spurious elections, strikes and riots – the ongoing instability in Venezuela is taking its toll on the people that live there. But could things have been different? And what can be done to return the country to normality?

Explainer 74: Cultural boycotts  

After a drawn-out media spat, Radiohead played a concert in Israel this week. But why were people so against it – and what were they hoping to achieve?

No place like home  

In 1965 the UK separated the Chagos Islands, an archipelago in the middle of the Indian Ocean, from Mauritius to form the British Indian Ocean Territory. Everyone living there was evicted and they have been fighting to return ever since. After a vote in the UN referred the matter to the International Court of Justice, is now the time for Chagossians to return home?

Explainer 73: The decline and fall of Chris Christie  

After a term steeped in controversy, has the political career of the outgoing governor of New Jersey come to an end? And if so, what’s next?

Hong Kong’s 20-year handover hangover  

Twenty years after the “one party, two systems” treaty guaranteed Hong Kongers’ democratic rights, we ask if China has kept its promises and whether the UK should have been a better advocate for its former colony. We get the verdicts from Lord Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong; Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive; Nathan Law, one of the key figures of the Umbrella Movement and the youngest lawmaker in Hong Kong’s history; and China Dialogue’s Isabel Hilton.

Explainer 72: What’s next for Yuriko Koike?  

The Tokyo governor’s political career is going from strength to strength despite pervading attitudes – but what’s next for her?

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