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February 26 2014

15:37

January 14 2014

08:21

America’s Cultural Exports Now

How the world sees the United States. American cultural exports now, from Miley Cyrus to “The Hunger Games.”

WreckingMiley

A still from pop singer Miley Cyrus’ music video for her song “Wrecking Ball.” (Vevo)

Guests

Martha Bayles, humanities professor at Boston College. Author of “Through a Screen Darkly: Popular Culture, Public Diplomacy and America’s Image Abroad.”

From Tom’s Reading List

The Washington Post: Now Showing: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Americans — “Today, as we witness the decline of America’s reputation around the world, we’re paying far more attention to Franklin’s first stratagem than to his second. Indeed, despite a mounting stack of reports recommending drastic changes in the organization and funding of public diplomacy, very little of substance has been done. And most Americans, including many who make it their business to analyze public diplomacy, seem unmindful of the negative impression that America has recently been making on the rest of humanity — via our popular culture.”

ThinkProgress: From Angry Birds To Shark Energy Drink, Five Cultural Exports That Are Big In Myanmar — “Lots of folks in Myanmar wear t-shirts in English–my favorite, spotted in Bogyoke Aung San Market, was ‘We Love Fixed Gear Bikes’ –but among the most frequent are shirts for metal bands, particularly Metallica and Led Zepplin. I’m told, though, that the most popular metal band in Myanmar is Iron Cross (not the hardcore band from the Washington, DC area, but a local iteration) that’s popular in part because of its role playing benefits for Cyclone Nargis recovery.”

The Hollywood Reporter: Soul-Searching in China Over Weak Movie Sales Abroad — “While China’s domestic box office in 2012 was a hefty $2.8 billion, overseas earnings were just 1.1 billion yuan ($180 million), down nearly 50 percent on the $330 million clocked up in 2011. ’The dissemination of Chinese films overseas in 2012 saw few highlights, and it’s worrisome,’ said Huang Huilin, director of the AICCC, to Chinese media outlet Global Times.”

Read An Excerpt From “Through a Screen Darkly: Popular Culture, Public Diplomacy and America’s Image Abroad” By Martha Bayles

November 14 2013

05:36

Iranian Peace Talks Stay Stuck

The US and Israel are split over negotiations with nuclear Iran. We’ll look at the arguments, and the stakes.

Guests

Michael Hirsh, chief correspondent at National Journal. (@MichaelPHirsh)

Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Co-chair of the Project on U.S. Middle East Nonproliferation Strategy. (@dubo1968)

Suzanne Maloney, senior fellow in foreign policy at the Brookings Institute’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy. (@MaloneySuzanne)

From Tom’s Reading List

Wall Street Journal: The Case for Stronger Sanctions on Iran — “The Geneva negotiations indicate that Mr. Rouhani’s bosses are willing only to make concessions that are easily revoked or not much of a nuclear impediment to start with. The U.S. and its allies seem much more likely to get the attention of the supreme leader and the Revolutionary Guards if the pain from sanctions is so intense that a choice has to be made between economic collapse and the nuclear program.”

CNN: Bad Iran deal worse than no deal — “The problem is that the Iranian leadership does not operate by Western standards. Seldom does the Iranian government place the wellbeing of its population above its own revolutionary ideology. The Supreme Leader considers himself the Deputy of the Messiah on Earth. Sovereignty comes from God; what the Iranian people may think is beside the point.”

Haaretz: Netanyahu’s rage at Iran nuclear deal is fueled by 1938 Western betrayal at Munich — “Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, to paraphrase Groucho Marx, cannot accept any agreement that Iran has agreed to. Conversely, the only nuclear accord that Israel can live with is one that Tehran can’t. Actually, nothing short of complete and utter dismantlement of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure can convince Israel that the mullahs in Tehran have changed their ways. That Iran has given up its quest for nuclear weapons. That Tehran is no longer pursuing a bomb with which to achieve regional hegemony and to threaten Israel with extinction.”

October 28 2013

13:17

Saudi Arabia, Iran And A Region In Flux

Saudi Arabia, Iran , and the new geo-political calculus of the Middle East, with America awkwardly in the middle.

Ever since FDR famously sailed into the Suez Canal to meet with Saudi King Ibn Saud in 1945 on the American destroyer the USS Quincy, the United States and Saudi Arabia have been deep strategic partners in the Middle East.  Plenty of stresses, as the US allied with Israel and the Saudis flexed their massive oil power and exported Wahabi Islam.  But the Saudi monarchy had also been an American bedrock in the region.  Now the talk is of potential crackup in the partnership.  That’s big.  Up next On Point:  Saudi fury as the US charts a new course in the Middle East.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Stephen Kinzer, professor on International Relations at Boston University and a former New York Times correspondent. Author of “The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles and Their Secret World War” and “Reset: Iran, Turkey and America’s Future.” (@StephenKinzer)

Dr. Abel Aziz Aluwaisheg, Assistant Secretary General for Negotiations and Strategic Dialogue at the Gulf Cooperation Council. (@abuhamad1)

Dan Drezner, professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, columnist at Foreign Policy Magazine and senior editor at The National Interest. (@DanDrezner)

From Tom’s Reading List

Arab News: Saudi move highlights need for UN Security Council reforms — “The timing of the Saudi decision on Friday appeared to be related in particular to the failure of the UNSC to stop the carnage perpetrated by the Syria regime. Over the past 30 months, the Syrian regime has killed over (100,000) of its own people, while forcing seven million Syrians to be either refugees outside their country, or displaced inside it. UN human rights agencies and special commissions have documented crimes committed by the Syria regime, including mass killings, torture, rape, collective punishment and wholesale destruction of towns and neighborhoods. They have also named key officials who are believed to be behind crimes against humanity committed in Syria.”

Foreign Policy: On Syria, You Say Bureaucratic Politics, I Say Realism — Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off – “Clearly, a lack of consensus among Obama’s top foreign policymakers buttressed his own stated reluctance to get too deeply involved in Syria.  That said, the policymakers with the most influence over the president were articulating a rationale for why continued conflict might not be a bad thing.”

The Guardian: New President Hassan Rouhani make the unimaginable imaginable for Iran — “Finding a way to bring Iran back into the world’s mainstream will be Rouhani’s principal challenge. His power is limited, though in the fluid world of Iranian politics, he is likely to accumulate more. His adversaries, most notably supporters of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel and the United States, ridicule him as a puppet of repressive mullahs.”

May 12 2011

15:00

Kissinger On China

We talk with Henry Kissinger about China and the American future.

April 28 2011

15:00

Syrian Spring, Arab Spring

We peer into the uprising and brutal crackdown in Syria. Will the "Arab Spring" come to a grinding halt at Syria's doorstep, or will it sweep away the Assad regime along with the others?

June 09 2010

14:00

Turkey’s Moves, U.S.-Israel Impact

With Israel and Turkey now sharply at odds, a big American observer says embrace Turkey, and one day Iran--and Israel.
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