Monocle 24: The Foreign Desk

Monocle 24: The Foreign Desk


Presented by Steve Bloomfield, 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.


What’s missing from the US elections?  

Let’s be honest, this has been a horrible American election. And while they are never bloodless discussions about policy, it would be nice to talk about some of the issues that really matter. So this week we do talk about them: healthcare, education and gun control.

Explainer 38: How the US votes  

Scores of Americans have already voted thanks to many states that facilitate early voting. But once you’ve actually cast your vote, how much it counts really depends on where you are in the country.

Somalia votes  

Somalia has been without a functioning government for more than 25 years. The fact that it is about to hold a presidential election should be seen as progress but the more you learn about how the election works the less excited you’ll be.

Explainer 37: Japan and Russia’s dispute over the Kuril Islands  

In December Russian president Vladimir Putin will fly to Nagato for a summit with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe. Ending Tokyo’s longstanding dispute with Moscow over the southern Kuril Islands will be a top priority. We discuss why.

Who is António Guterres?  

António Guterres will be the next secretary-general of the UN. His appointment was surprising in a number of ways – for a start, he had the full public support of the Security Council. But it was also surprising because he’s no pushover. What sort of secretary-general will he turn out to be?

Explainer 36: Is Turkey’s future in Nato?  

Although Turkey has been in Nato for more than 60 years and has its second-largest armed forces it has never felt entirely welcome. As President Erdogan rows with the West and makes friends with Russia, we ask whether his country’s future is in Nato.

The Dutch and the far-right  

Next year one of the most liberal nations in the world, the Netherlands, will hold an election that could see a far-right politician come out on top. We learn how even if Geert Wilders wins it doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll become prime minister.

Explainer 35: Should Japan have a seat on the UN Security Council?  

Prime minister Shinzo Abe knows that in order for Japan’s voice to be heard he has to be as direct as possible. Last week, before he made his address to the UN, Abe wrote an op-ed making the case for Japan to be given a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.

‘The Good Immigrant’  

The immigration debate in the UK is, like in so many countries around the world, not known for its nuance. Charged with racism and the fear of ‘otherness’, it seems that a nation that was built on immigration should be better than this. A new book called ‘The Good Immigrant’ is trying to change that with essays that are funny, angry, thought-provoking – and much needed. Monocle’s Steve Bloomfield is joined by the book’s editor Nikesh Shukla and one of its essayists Musa Okwonga.

Explainer 34: How the minor Bosnian-Serb referendum could have a major impact  

The ethnic-Serb half of Bosnia is gearing up for a referendum that could exacerbate the already deep splits in the country. They will be deciding whether Republika Srpska Day should continue to be celebrated on 9 January each year. But there’s more to the vote than meets the eye.

UN peacekeeping  

The men and women of the UN are the civilised world’s last line of defence against war and chaos. Yet looking at Rwanda, Somalia, Darfur and South Sudan, we know that UN peacekeeping doesn’t always work. So how can it be fixed?

BONUS - Introducing The Global Election  

Introducing a brand new show on Monocle 24: The Global Election. The United States votes for a new president in November. But this isn’t an election that affects only Americans – it matters to the rest of the world too. From war and peace, to the economy and the environment, what happens in America has an impact on us all – and a large part of that is influenced by the president, whoever he or she may be. Join Steve Bloomfield and guests as they discover what this election could mean for the rest of the world.

Explainer 33: Britain and Iran: friends again?  

Earlier this month British Airways resumed the direct route between London and Tehran, a significant step in an ongoing rapprochement between the two countries. We discuss their complicated relationship.

Europe’s left-wing insurgents  

Since the global financial crisis of 2008 a wave of left-wing populist parties have sprung up across Europe. But nearly a decade on very few have managed to break through and win elections. Instead their darker, fear-mongering opposites on the right have enjoyed more electoral success and – arguably – had a greater influence on the political landscape. Can Europe’s populist left build on their initial success or will they fade away?

Explainer 32: What does “Brexit means Brexit” mean?  

The UK prime minister says “Brexit means Brexit”. But what does “Brexit means Brexit” mean?

Renzi’s gamble  

Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi has called a referendum on his country’s constitution. But while most Italians agree that change is needed, polls suggest that Renzi may lose. Why? The economy is in trouble, corruption remains rampant and Renzi is no longer as popular as he once was. Is this it for Europe’s one-time golden boy or will Renzi’s gamble pay off?

Explainer 31: Can Le Pen win?  

The Front National may do well in the first round of French elections but they rarely win the second. That means Marine Le Pen can’t win the French presidency, right? Don’t be so sure.

Spotlight on Angola  

When José Eduardo Dos Santos first came to power in Angola, Jimmy Carter was president of the US and Leonid Brezhnev was leader of the Soviet Union. Some 37 years later Dos Santos’s grip on power remains as strong as ever. Next year he will once again lead his party, the MPLA, into elections that he will surely win. But as the oil-dependent economy crumbles and the crackdown intensifies, will ordinary Angolans find a way to fight back?

Explainer 30: Athletes claiming asylum  

For some sportsmen and women from poor countries, the chance to perform abroad isn’t simply about representing their nation. Sometimes it’s about an opportunity to escape.

Ukraine: 25 years of independence  

It has not been an easy quarter-century; Ukraine has had to contend with revolutions and counter-revolutions, endemic corruption, unaccountable oligarchs and splits within the country. The Minsk agreement between Ukraine and Russia is under threat, while the government of Petro Poroschenko is hardly inspiring much confidence. So where next for Ukraine?

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