podcast cover
News & Politics

Monocle 24: 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. Winner in the ‘best current affairs’ category of the 2018 British Podcast awards.
Centrism: the new populism?

30:00 | Feb 23rd

As Brexit draws nearer, British politics is facing another shake-up. This week, several members of both the Conservative and Labour parties left the government and opposition benches to form a new Independent Group. Andrew Mueller, Nina Schick, Sean ...Show More
The future of Kashmir

30:00 | Aug 10th

Description: Earlier this week, the special status that Kashmir had long enjoyed within India was revoked, communication was cut off, thousands of extra troops were deployed and politicians detained. Abolishing its special status was a promise made b...Show More
Explainer 177: Why has white nationalism re-emerged?

08:33 | Aug 7th

It is not news that white nationalism has returned to the US’s political discourse, but at least one of last weekend’s mass shootings appeared to offer further proof of how dangerous it has become. Why has a movement that had been cast to the fringes...Show More
Gender pay gap

30:00 | Aug 3rd

*Special episode in association with the Nordic Council of Ministers* The Foreign Desk has teamed up with the Nordic Council of Ministers for a series of five special episodes delving deeper into topics of global importance from the region, the fir...Show More
Explainer 176: Can land expropriation help heal South Africa?

07:42 | Jul 31st

This week an advisory report on land reform in South Africa has recommended changing the constitution to allow the government to seize land without compensation. The aim is to help ease the huge inequalities in land ownership between white and black ...Show More
Hong Kong’s stalemate

30:00 | Jul 27th

As the demonstrations in Hong Kong continue, we look at the stand-off between Beijing and the people of Hong Kong, and ask if Hong Kong’s government will ever have any real say in this. We hear from Badiucao, Fernando Cheung, Johnson Yeung, Diane Wei...Show More
Explainer 175: Who is Boris Johnson?

07:59 | Jul 24th

The UK has a new Prime Minister whose in-tray is dominated by the chaotic Brexit he did so much to bring about. Andrew Mueller discusses what the UK – and the world – can expect from Boris Johnson.
Russia’s disinformation war

30:00 | Jul 20th

Five years ago this week, Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board. As the investigation into what happened and Russia’s denial of any involvement continues, we look at the country’s modern propa...Show More
Explainer 174: Who wants to climb Uluru?

06:01 | Jul 17th

After many years of being asked not to climb Uluru, tourists visiting the rock will soon be banned from doing so. Most visitors to Uluru, which is sacred to Australia’s Indigenous people, have respected the request but some Australians seem more dete...Show More
A special relationship?

30:00 | Jul 13th

This week the UK’s ambassador to Washington, Sir Kim Darroch, resigned after confidential dispatches were leaked to the press. So how important is the relationship between these two countries now – and where is it heading? Andrew Mueller is joined by...Show More
Explainer 173: Will west Africa finally get its single currency?

05:24 | Jul 10th

The Economic Community of West African States has agreed, again, to adopt a single currency. Andrew Mueller asks what lessons have been learned from the euro and what benefits there might be for those who sign up.
The climate culture war

30:00 | Jul 6th

For those Democrats hoping to run against Donald Trump in the 2020 election, the question of what to do about the accelerating climate emergency has become a key campaign issue. But with much of their opposition denying that climate change is even a ...Show More
Explainer 172: Is Iran bluffing?

06:47 | Jul 3rd

As a reaction to the withdrawal of the US from its nuclear deal with Iran, foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif claimed that Tehran possesses more than 300kg of enriched uranium, exceeding the previously agreed limit. But with few allies, what optio...Show More
Islamophobia: a 21st-century hatred

30:00 | Jun 29th

Last year in the UK the Home Office recorded a 40 per cent increase in religious hate crimes – of which more than half were directed at Muslims. What does Islamophobia mean now for the people on the receiving end of it? And given the extensive media ...Show More
Explainer 171: Stonewall at 50

08:08 | Jun 26th

On the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, we take a closer look at the forces that have shaped LGBT history.
Somalia: could the world be doing more?

30:00 | Jun 22nd

It might feel as though the rest of the world has given up on Somalia. This is not, however, something the rest of the world can afford to do: the country’s perch on the Horn of Africa gives it extraordinary strategic importance. Though the money spe...Show More
Explainer 170: Will Mohamed Morsi’s presidency be remembered?

05:51 | Jun 19th

What effect will the passing of Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first properly elected president, have on Egypt and the wider Middle East? Andrew Mueller explains.
China’s surveillance state

30:00 | Jun 15th

Everybody is subject to a certain amount of surveillance, whether it’s CCTV cameras in our streets or websites monitoring our online movements to better sell advertising. But what happens when governments use this information to learn things we might...Show More
Explainer 169: What is going on in Moldova?

06:27 | Jun 12th

Until last week, Moldova had a crisis caused by a failure to form a government. Now it has a crisis caused by a government being formed. Andrew Mueller explains how events unfolded and looks at what might happen next.
Democracy: the Middle East and north Africa

30:00 | Jun 8th

At the start of this decade, thousands of protesters took to the streets across the Arab world seeking to bring down oppressive regimes. But filling the subsequent power vacuums didn't prove easy and many countries have been left with similar problem...Show More
Explainer 168: Australia’s first Indigenous minister for Indigenous Australians

07:05 | Jun 5th

For the first time in the 50-odd years that the role has existed, Australia’s minister for Indigenous Australians is an indigenous Australian. This may seem surprising; or not, given Australia’s less-than-perfect history on this front. Andrew Mueller...Show More
The war on fake news

30:00 | Jun 1st

Since the term “fake news” exploded into the common lexicon in 2016 it has been at the forefront of many political agendas. But thanks to resistance to internet regulation, and a lack of basic knowledge among many internet users, hyper-partisan, extr...Show More
Explainer 167: Why has Trump ramped up his war on the environment?

06:24 | May 29th

As the White House prepares to complete the rollback of the most significant federal effort to curb greenhouse-gas emissions, the latest move in Donald Trump’s attack on the environment, Ed Stocker asks why he has become such a champion of environmen...Show More
What does the Freedom party scandal mean for Austria?

30:00 | May 25th

Just days before the European parliament elections, seen by many as a referendum on populist parties across the continent, a video of Austria’s vice-chancellor – and leader of the far right FPO – was leaked, seemingly showing him offering a Russian c...Show More
Explainer 166: Was Australia’s shock election result really that shocking?

06:13 | May 22nd

As the results of Australia’s federal election were counted on Saturday night, those expecting a win for the left-wing Labor party had a bit of a shock. Despite years of opinion polls suggesting that opposition leader Bill Shorten only had to turn up...Show More
The US vs Iran: why now?

32:12 | May 18th

The US and Iran have never really been close. But over the past few weeks tensions have flared, leading to fears of open confrontation between the two. But where did the animosity begin and what are they fighting about this time? Andrew Mueller is jo...Show More
Explainer 165: Trump’s trade war: who stands to lose most?

06:01 | May 15th

As President Trump continues to fire shots in his ongoing trade war with China, Andrew Mueller asks if there’s any chance of him coming out on top – and who really loses if not.
Are South Africans losing patience with the ANC?

30:00 | May 11th

South Africa is gripped by political-corruption scandals, soaring unemployment and a continuation of the racial inequalities that the ANC fought so hard to overcome. Is the ruling party running out of ideas?
Explainer 164: What happened to democracy in Benin?

05:05 | May 8th

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...Show More
Coups d’etat: do they ever really work?

30:00 | May 4th

Coups d’etat have been enjoying something of a renaissance. But who really gains when they go right? What happens when they go wrong? And can it ever be guaranteed that the grass is greener on the other side?
Explainer 163: What is the One Nation party, and why won’t it go away?

06:49 | May 1st

As Australia prepares for the upcoming federal election, Andrew Mueller discusses one particular party that has endured more than its fair share of controversy – and he doesn’t feel sorry for it.
Ukraine’s new president: who’s laughing now?

30:00 | Apr 27th

No Ukrainian election has been as closely watched as last weekend’s presidential run-off. But was comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s landslide victory all about him or was it a rejection of the establishment?
Explainer 162: Why does Russia want a sovereign internet?

03:22 | Apr 24th

Russia has been no friend to the internet in recent years. First it introduced a swathe of tough online restrictions and now it wants to create a “sovereign internet”. Under this plan, the country’s internet service could operate independently from t...Show More
Libya: as simple as east vs west?

30:00 | Apr 20th

Renegade Libyan general Khalifa Haftar has been advancing towards Tripoli for some weeks now. It’s not clear what his aims are but most observers agree that further conflict is the last thing the country needs. So what is Haftar after – and what, mor...Show More
Explainer 161: Can Haiti prosper without a UN presence?

04:23 | Apr 17th

After 15 years, the final UN forces are pulling out of Haiti. But can the country, which has been gripped by political unrest, failing law enforcement and devastating hurricanes go it alone?
Netanyahu’s fifth term

30:00 | Apr 13th

Benjamin Netanyahu is all but certain to retain the office of prime minister of Israel. But with a number of corruption allegations against him and an increasing reliance on the sort of foreign allies of which Israel would once have been suspicious, ...Show More
Explainer 160: Libya: a new civil war?

05:14 | Apr 10th

As the so-called Libyan National Army, led by rebel general Khalifa Haftar, advances on Tripoli, Andrew Mueller asks what, if anything, Haftar is after and if this could lead to yet more violence in the troubled country.
What's eating Erdogan?

30:00 | Apr 6th

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared last weekend's local elections to be about the ‘survival of the nation’. That was until his ruling AK party suffered its biggest defeats in years. Votes are still being counted and the results are still...Show More
Explainer 159: Who is Slovakia’s new president?

05:04 | Apr 3rd

Last weekend Slovakia voted in its first female president, Zuzana Caputova. The anti-corruption activist has little experience of national politics but has vowed to change the way the country is run. However, what chance does she have of making a dif...Show More
Islamic State’s foreign fighters – what happens to them now?

30:00 | Mar 30th

When Kurdish fighters overran Islamic State’s last stronghold in Syria, victory was declared over the jihadist group. But many of Islamic State’s fighters and their families have survived the collapse of the caliphate. What should become of them? And...Show More
Explainer 158: Ukraine’s presidential elections: out with the old in with the new?

06:23 | Mar 27th

Do Ukrainians voting in the upcoming elections crave a fresh face for president or will they stick with what they know? Paige Reynolds asks whether Petro Poroshenko has done enough to stay in power.
Living with the past: reparations

30:00 | Mar 23rd

How do you put a price on historical injustice and who should pay for it? In the final part of this series, Andrew Mueller explores practical solutions to these difficult and often divisive questions. Deena Hayes-Greene and Dr William “Sandy” Darity ...Show More
Explainer 157: Oh Brexit, where art thou?

06:01 | Mar 20th

With just over a week until the UK was supposed to be leaving the EU, Andrew Mueller asks (yet again) what on earth is going on.
Living with the past: the legacy of empire

30:00 | Mar 16th

In this episode of our series looking at how countries reach an understanding with difficult aspects of their history, we look at empire – how we think about it, talk about it, teach it – and try to answer the question at the heart of the subject: wh...Show More
Explainer 156: What is a recession?

04:49 | Mar 13th

With Turkey’s economy officially in recession, Andrew Mueller asks what the phrase actually means, which other countries are experiencing one and whether the global economy should be worried.
Living with the past: Indigenous reconciliation

30:00 | Mar 9th

In the second episode of our series, we hear from Indigenous people in Australia, New Zealand and Canada about what reconciliation means in theory – and how it can work in practice.
Explainer 155: Why have Air India’s crew become cheerleaders?

04:25 | Mar 6th

Air India’s crew has been asked to bark patriotic exclamations at the end of cabin announcements. Andrew Mueller explores a strange new manifestation of Narendra Modi’s nationalism as India’s election approaches.
Living with the past: the Second World War

30:00 | Mar 2nd

There is probably no period in history more discussed than the Second World War. Every country involved suffered but Allied nations were able to console themselves that their losses were sustained in a noble cause. It hasn’t been as straightforward f...Show More
Explainer 154: Does Okinawa need the US military?

04:32 | Feb 27th

Why has Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe promised to push ahead with a controversial plan to relocate the US military base on the island of Okinawa, despite an overwhelming referendum result to the contrary? Monocle 24’s Rhys James explains.
Explainer 153: Why is Australia so worried about refugees?

09:24 | Feb 20th

How did Australia’s infamous asylum-seeker policies begin? Ben Rylan explains how the Tampa Affair in 2001 radically shifted the nation’s politics.
The Sudanese Spring?

30:00 | Feb 16th

Sudan’s cities have been gripped in recent months by large-scale demonstrations, originally sparked by an increase in the price of bread. Now some are demanding the departure of long-time president Omar al-Bashir. Since independence in 1956, Sudan’s ...Show More
Explainer 152: Will Spain see its third prime minister in a year?

04:05 | Feb 13th

Spain’s government has hit a dead end on its budget reforms, meaning a snap election looks all but certain. Will this help secure a fresh mandate for PM Pedro Sánchez or will it create less stability in the already fractured parliament?
Russia in Africa

30:00 | Feb 9th

Russia’s slow but steady spread across Africa has hardly gone unnoticed. Its projects include precious metals, diamonds, oil and nuclear research, as well as arms trading and military training. But is Russia just in it for the resources and economic ...Show More
Explainer 151: Ireland and Brexit

05:22 | Feb 6th

As the UK prepares to leave the EU, those caught in the crossfire are starting to feel understandably irritated that the government isn't getting its act together.
Venezuela: a solution at last?

30:00 | Feb 2nd

Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro has long outstayed his welcome – and it appears that the world’s patience is wearing thin, as countries and institutions begin recognising a rival leader. Andrew Mueller is joined by Lucinda Elliot, Francisco Toro ...Show More
Explainer 150: Has Donald Trump’s presidency benefited Taiwan?

04:31 | Jan 30th

The presence of US warships in the Taiwan Strait has buoyed leaders in Taipei. Monocle 24’s Rhys James asks if the self-ruled island can rely on Washington?
Church and state

30:00 | Jan 26th

The church’s influence on politics has been in decline in countries around the world for years. But as populism continues to rise, so does the chance for religious organisations to push their own agenda. Andrew Mueller is joined by Antonio Sampaio, M...Show More
Explainer 149: The Kuril Islands dispute: another pawn in Putin’s political game?

06:32 | Jan 23rd

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe was in Moscow this week to discuss an island dispute that arose in the aftermath of the Second World War. But after meeting 25 times, what real progress will be made this time around?
Yemen’s civil war: is the end in sight?

30:00 | Jan 19th

It is nearly four years since the start of Yemen’s civil war, which has turned into one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. It is also a complex conflict that seems to have reached a military stalemate. But is there an end in sight? Andrew Muel...Show More
Explainer 148: Can Emmanuel Macron reason with the yellow-vest protesters?

04:26 | Jan 16th

As France’s president Emmanuel Macron sets off on a countrywide tour of debates with protesters, Andrew Mueller asks if even the yellow vests themselves know what they want.
Flags: whose is best?

30:00 | Jan 12th

We wave them at sporting events, we paint them on our faces at national celebrations, we fly them from our tanks when we go to war. To some they are merely a useful way to distinguish between countries; to others they’re a symbol worth dying for. Why...Show More
Explainer 147: What will House Democrats do with their newfound power?

05:56 | Jan 9th

After the so-called blue wave in November’s midterm elections, Democrats now control the House of Representatives. But will they be able to hold President Trump and his administration to account or will the new, progressive Congressional legislators ...Show More
Conspiracy theories: from obscurity to mainstream

30:00 | Jan 5th

Once traded among small pockets of people on society’s fringes, conspiracy theories (and those who believe in them) have become a powerful political force. How have they infected the mainstream?
2019... if we must

30:00 | Dec 29th, 2018

It seems that every year we look back and say, 'Could it get any worse than that?' But there has to be a limit... doesn’t there? Andrew Mueller is joined by Parag Khanna, Tom Nichols and Amelia Hadfield to find out what we can look forward to – or br...Show More
The world in 2018

30:00 | Dec 22nd, 2018

Andrew Mueller leafs through ‘The Foreign Desk’ archives to tell the story of another turbulent year.
Explainer 146: Will the campaign for a people’s vote on Brexit succeed?

11:01 | Dec 19th, 2018

With 100 days until the UK is set to leave the EU, campaigners are resorting to a variety of tactics to ensure the British public have the final say on the withdrawal agreement. Stephanie Sy-Quia asks if they will be successful and speaks to those le...Show More
Russia and the Middle East

30:00 | Dec 15th, 2018

Russia’s increasing presence is being felt across the Middle East. Not just in Syria, where it has been fighting alongside the Assad regime for almost three years, but also with business, arms and oil deals and numerous diplomatic trips to and from M...Show More
Explainer 145: Brexit. What fresh hell is this?

04:45 | Dec 12th, 2018

Confused about what's going on with the Brexit negotiations and inside Britain's parliament? So is Andrew Mueller – but he tries to make sense of it nonetheless.
Does Europe need an army?

30:00 | Dec 8th, 2018

A unified European army is not a new idea but whenever it’s raised it’s usually forgotten just as quickly. Will this time be any different? And, if it is, what would a unified military force look like? Andrew Mueller is joined by Elisabeth Braw, Ulri...Show More
Explainer 144: Who’s burning the Gävle goat?

04:57 | Dec 5th, 2018

It is tradition in the small Swedish town of Gävle to erect a giant straw goat to celebrate Advent. However it is also tradition, or at least it has become so, to try to destroy it in increasingly imaginative ways. Andrew Mueller investigates.
How democratic is the DRC?

30:00 | Dec 1st, 2018

On 23 December, voters in the Democratic Republic of Congo will choose a new president and hope to witness the country’s first peaceful transfer of power since gaining independence from Belgium in 1960. But the freeness and fairness of the elections ...Show More
Explainer 143: Why is Asia so behind on LGBT rights?

04:05 | Nov 28th, 2018

The results of last weekend’s referendum on equal marriage rights in Taiwan were unexpected – and have wider implications for LGBT rights across the continent. Monocle’s HK bureau chief, James Chambers, explores why Asia is so reluctant to change its...Show More
Europe's rogue states

30:00 | Nov 24th, 2018

When EU member states won't toe the line should they be punished – at the risk of inflaming populist resentments – or should the EU turn a blind eye and just hope others won’t have similar ideas? Andrew Mueller asks how the likes of Hungary and Polan...Show More
Explainer 142: Who are the DUP?

04:24 | Nov 21st, 2018

Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist party, a Protestant group that wishes to remain part of the UK and separate from its Catholic neighbours to the south, has just 10 elected representatives in the UK’s House of Commons. But, crucially, it also ho...Show More
Soft-power special

30:00 | Nov 17th, 2018

As Monocle’s annual Soft Power Survey hits newsstands, Andrew Mueller asks what countries can offer their international partners beyond trade and guns – or just the cold shoulder. Whether it’s sport, music, food, technology or a quick trip into space...Show More
Explainer 141: Is Merkel's departure a blow to liberal democracy?

05:46 | Nov 14th, 2018

As soon as Angela Merkel announced her exit from politics, international media were reporting the end of democracy as we know it – the final nail in the coffin of political decency. But, as our Berlin correspondent Kati Krause explains, it's nowhere ...Show More
The Trump effect

30:00 | Nov 10th, 2018

Last week’s midterms saw the election of record-breaking numbers of women and breakthroughs for minorities. Might Trump’s legacy be turning the US into everything his supporters like least – and fear most? Andrew Mueller is joined by former deputy ho...Show More
Explainer 140: Floral tributes

04:28 | Nov 7th, 2018

Every year the Royal British Legion, a charity that supports members and veterans of the British armed forces, raises money by selling poppies in remembrance of those who have died during service. Andrew Mueller explores how a well-meaning charity fu...Show More
Why ambassadors still matter

30:00 | Nov 3rd, 2018

Despite being the world’s most powerful country, the US has dozens of vacant ambassadorships in the capitals of some of its most important allies. Does the current administration’s disregard for America’s foreign service signal a shift in global atti...Show More
Explainer 139: Trump’s predictable October surprise

04:38 | Oct 31st, 2018

Although the group of asylum seekers travelling towards the US from Central America is real, the threat they pose to American citizens is not. With only a few days until the midterm elections, it doesn't take a political scientist to work out why Don...Show More
Xinjiang: China’s captive province

30:00 | Oct 27th, 2018

China does a good job of keeping its Uyghur minority out of international headlines. But, as more stories of huge numbers of Uyghurs incarcerated in detention centres emerge, so do less-than-convincing excuses from Beijing. What do the Uyghurs want t...Show More
Explainer 138: What does the Wentworth by-election mean for Australia’s conservatives?

05:48 | Oct 24th, 2018

In an historic upset, Australia’s governing coalition lost its one-seat parliamentary majority following a by-election in the Sydney electorate of Wentworth. Andrew Mueller explains why this comes as a shock, and asks if Australian conservatism has w...Show More
Saudi Arabia vs the world

30:00 | Oct 20th, 2018

When news broke earlier this month of the disappearance and alleged murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi the outcry was appropriately loud. But what about the war in Yemen, the human rights abuses, the support for terrorism around the world? Th...Show More
Explainer 137: Who will run against Trump in 2020?

06:44 | Oct 17th, 2018

The US midterms are only a few weeks away but Democrats seem just as concerned about who could go head to head with Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election. What’s certain is that local media is enjoying the guessing game. Ed Stocker, our Amer...Show More
Can Brexit be stopped?

30:00 | Oct 13th, 2018

Time is running out to reach a deal on what will happen when the UK leaves the EU in March – but as negotiators get ready for the next set of talks this week, campaigners are calling for another referendum. Can – and should – Brexit be stopped? We’re...Show More
Explainer 136: Why did Nikki Haley resign?

05:20 | Oct 10th, 2018

The US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, quit this week in what was, to many, a shock announcement. Along with speculation as to why, the question of who will replace her remains unanswered. Andrew Mueller gazes into his crystal ball.
Iraq: is the future here at last?

30:00 | Oct 6th, 2018

Just over 15 years since the US and UK invaded Iraq with a promise to remove Saddam Hussein and install democracy, the country is still struggling. Internal divisions and external interference aren’t making things any easier – but can a newly agreed ...Show More
Explainer 135: How is Canada pushing its feminist foreign policy?

06:03 | Oct 3rd, 2018

In Montréal at the end of last month, Canada’s foreign minister Chrystia Freeland and the EU’s commissioner of foreign affairs Federica Mogherini co-hosted a meeting of the world’s women foreign ministers – the first meeting of its kind to have been ...Show More
The war on drugs: time to surrender?

30:00 | Sep 29th, 2018

Canada will shortly become the next of only a handful of countries to legalise recreational marijuana. How will this affect the illegal drug traders who remain untouchable to the governments trying to stop them? Andrew Mueller is joined by Misha Glen...Show More
Explainer 134: Naming Macedonia

03:30 | Sep 26th, 2018

After more than 30 years the naming dispute between Macedonia and Greece could finally be over. But, as Monocle’s news editor Peter Firth explains, the final hurdle – a referendum this weekend – could send the whole process back to the start.
Autonomous weapons and the future of war

30:00 | Sep 22nd, 2018

Advances in military technology pose profound questions of morality and law – as well as opportunity on the battlefield. But what happens when (and the time is not far off) weapons can think for themselves? Andrew Mueller is joined by former fighter ...Show More
Explainer 133: What is the significance of Mexico City’s mariachi murders?

05:12 | Sep 19th, 2018

Five people were killed after three men dressed as mariachi musicians started shooting in a busy tourist area in Mexico City. The capital has largely escaped the violence of other regions but is this changing? And will president-elect Andrés Manuel L...Show More
Brazil’s baffling ballot

30:00 | Sep 15th, 2018

The lead-up to next month’s elections has been nothing short of extraordinary, even by Brazilian standards. But the results should not be overlooked given that the victor will take charge of South America’s biggest economy. Who will win – and can the...Show More
Explainer 132: The EU vs Viktor Orban

06:44 | Sep 12th, 2018

This week, MEPs voted in favour of unprecedented disciplinary action against Hungary over alleged breaches of the EU's core values. Prime minister Viktor Orban has been accused of attacking the media and refusing refugees, as well as promoting anti-S...Show More
What does Brexit mean for British Overseas Territories?

30:00 | Sep 8th, 2018

Among the ever-increasing number of things that weren’t really considered during the run up to the Brexit vote was what would happen to Britain’s 14 overseas territories. For some it might pose some minor inconveniences but for others it could cut of...Show More
Explainer 131: Korean train diplomacy

04:47 | Sep 5th, 2018

Can a rail link connecting North and South Korea help ease tensions between the countries? And, if so, why isn’t it being allowed to go ahead? Monocle’s Asia editor at large Kenji Hall explains.
Is Kosovo's border in the right place?

30:00 | Sep 1st, 2018

Previously a red line at the negotiating table, the idea of a land swap between Serbia and Kosovo is now being touted by both countries’ leaders. However, the idea hasn't been received well by the international community – or even by many of those li...Show More
Explainer 130: Iran: parliament vs president

05:28 | Aug 29th, 2018

This week Iran’s parliament moved a step closer to impeaching president Hassan Rouhani. Despite his high public ratings, the dire economic situation since the US pulled out of the nuclear deal have led to his colleagues losing faith in his leadership...Show More
Global leaders: Narendra Modi

30:00 | Aug 25th, 2018

In the final part of our summer series on global leaders, we profile Indian prime minister Narendra Modi. He campaigned on a promise to modernise India – a task not for the faint of heart – but since taking office his lifelong links with hardcore Hin...Show More
Explainer 129: The people vote again?

05:14 | Aug 22nd, 2018

Since the UK voted to leave the European Union there have been many attempts to try to stop it from happening. The most recent comes in the form of a donation from the founder of fashion brand Superdry. Andrew Mueller asks if the People’s Vote campai...Show More
Global leaders: Miguel Díaz-Canel

30:00 | Aug 18th, 2018

In part three of our summer series on global leaders we profile Cuba’s new president Miguel Díaz-Canel. After almost 60 years, the revolutionary Castro brothers have handed over power. Andrew Mueller – joined by Helen Yaffe, Cristina Escobar and Vict...Show More
Explainer 128: Pacific Islands Forum

04:29 | Aug 15th, 2018

At the beginning of September, the 18 full-time members of the Pacific Islands Forum will gather on the tiny atoll of Nauru. Our Hong Kong bureau chief James Chambers explains why not everyone is looking forward to attending, and why some aren’t allo...Show More
Global leaders: Theresa May

30:00 | Aug 11th, 2018

In part two of our summer series on global leaders we profile UK prime minister Theresa May. The Conservative party leader was handed the poisoned chalice of Brexit little more than two years ago. Andrew Mueller – joined by Terry Stiastny, Andrew Gim...Show More
Explainer 127: What does Ontario’s new premier tell us about politics in Canada?

06:36 | Aug 8th, 2018

Anyone wanting a glimpse of what might be unfolding in Canadian politics should look to Ontario, which has just elected Doug Ford – brother of the late crack-smoking mayor of Toronto, Rob – as its new premier. In the opening weeks of his time in offi...Show More
Global leaders: Benjamin Netanyahu

30:00 | Aug 4th, 2018

In part one of our summer series on global leaders we profile Israeli prime minister Benjamin ‘Bibi’ Netanyahu. Soon to be the country’s longest-serving PM, he is also one of its most divisive. We speak to his [biographer](https://www.hurstpublishers...Show More
Explainer 126: Nine-Fairfax – merger or takeover?

06:05 | Aug 1st, 2018

The loosening of media-ownership rules in Australia was meant to protect companies from a changing marketplace. But could it see the disappearance of a trusted newspaper publisher? Karen Middleton of ‘The Saturday Paper’ explains.
Airline soft power

30:00 | Jul 28th, 2018

As the northern hemisphere gears up for holiday season Andrew Mueller explores the importance of flag-carriers to a country’s brand and asks if they’re managing to keep up with their budget competitors. Featuring Tyler Brûlé, Tristan McAllister and C...Show More
Explainer 125: Who’s fighting who in the Golan Heights?

06:43 | Jul 25th, 2018

Tensions are rising over the Golan Heights, as a Syrian military offensive approaches Israeli-occupied land. Monocle’s Beirut correspondent Lizzie Porter visits the contested area to find out why – and to speak to those displaced by war.
Pakistan’s election: a turning point?

30:00 | Jul 21st, 2018

On Wednesday 100 million registered voters in Pakistan will have the chance to decide their next prime minister. But the military remains a powerful political force and corruption is rife so what chance does the winner have of making positive change?...Show More
Explainer 124: Why is Spain digging up its past?

04:10 | Jul 18th, 2018

Spain’s socialist government is planning to exhume the body of the country’s former dictator, Francisco Franco. Although controversial, is this an opportunity for the nation to move on from Franco’s divisive legacy?
Scotus: how long can it stay impartial?

30:00 | Jul 14th, 2018

This week Donald Trump nominated his second justice to the Supreme Court. Brett Kavanaugh, if approved by the senate, can expect to be in his new job for the rest of his life. But is the court, which is supposed to be impartial to party politics, vee...Show More
Explainer 123: Brexit: what the heck is going on now?

06:20 | Jul 11th, 2018

Just over two years after the UK voted to leave the EU, prime minister Theresa May’s government finally came up with a plan on how to do it. But many members of that government were so unhappy with the plan they resigned. So, Andrew Mueller asks, wha...Show More
A world without Nato?

30:00 | Jul 7th, 2018

Nato’s heads of state and government will meet in Brussels this week. With Russia becoming more defiant and the US less interested in co-operation, does the alliance have a future and, if so, what does it look like? Andrew Mueller is joined by Robert...Show More
Explainer 122: Trudeau’s town-hall strategy

09:52 | Jul 4th, 2018

Canada’s economy is growing and its immigration policies have been met with little hostility. However, relations with its largest trading partner, the US, are unpredictable and the man who has led the resurgence of ‘brand Canada’ internationally is f...Show More
Why are we still scared of immigration?

30:00 | Jun 30th, 2018

People have always travelled the world in search of discovery. Only recently have borders been imposed and restrictions been placed on those who wish to relocate. But, in the case of some of the world’s most prosperous countries, immigration is what ...Show More
Explainer 121: Who does Hong Kong support in the World Cup?

04:48 | Jun 27th, 2018

Every four years, football fever peaks worldwide. But for those whose national team didn't make the finals, deciding who to cheer for can be a surprisingly political choice. Our Hong Kong bureau chief, James Chambers, finds out who has the territory’...Show More
An Ethiopian Spring?

30:00 | Jun 23rd, 2018

After years of political oppression, violent protests and internal conflicts, could Ethiopia’s new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, lead the country into a new era? Andrew Mueller is joined by Mohammed Ademo, Michala Wrong and Ahmed Soliman.
Explainer 120: Separating families – is the White House right to blame lawmakers?

05:54 | Jun 21st, 2018

Images of children in detention centres have shocked the world this week but even after signing an executive order to keep families together, Trump still insists that Congress and the Democrats are to blame. Is this more of Trump’s trademark deflecti...Show More
Do we still need international summits?

30:00 | Jun 16th, 2018

With so many international summits taking place it’s hard to keep up, let alone remain interested. The recent meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, however, reignited the media’s passion for a handshake photo opportunity. Was the interest foc...Show More
Explainer 119: Who is really going to win the World Cup?

05:00 | Jun 13th, 2018

Lifting the trophy at the end of the World Cup would be great, sure. But for the 31 other countries taking part, all will not be lost when their time in the tournament is done. The underdogs, the unexpected victors, the villains – every team, and the...Show More
Who is killing Mexico's mayors?

30:00 | Jun 9th, 2018

The run-up to Mexico’s elections in July have been far from ordinary: many of the candidates have been killed and even more have decided that it isn’t worth the risk. But is this just part of the election process in one of the world's most violent co...Show More
Explainer 118: Why is Bashar al-Assad going to North Korea?

05:24 | Jun 6th, 2018

When North Korean state media announced this week that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad was to visit Kim Jong-un the world reacted with a collective ‘Huh?’ But the two leaders have plenty in common and, as Andrew Mueller explains, this won’t be the f...Show More
Do sanctions really work?

30:00 | Jun 2nd, 2018

Sanctions are a good way for a country to show that they are unhappy with the way another country is acting but who do they really punish? And are they just the easy option? Andrew Mueller is joined by Andrea Berger, Shashank Joshi and Nahlah Ayed.
Explainer 117: What does a high-speed railway project have to do with diplomacy in Southeast Asia?

03:55 | May 30th, 2018

One of Southeast Asia’s largest infrastructure projects has stalled. But, as our Asia editor at large Kenji Hall explains, the high-speed rail link between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore was about far more than a quick connection across the border.
EU enlargement: one out, who’s in?

30:00 | May 26th, 2018

The UK is still hellbent on leaving the EU. Meanwhile, Macedonia and Albania are set to be the next countries to join the union. As with any organisation, however, growing too large comes with its own set of risks. So how many members is too many? Wh...Show More
Explainer 116: Does the student press still matter?

06:14 | May 23rd, 2018

Student newspapers have long played a part in shaping the conversation on campus, as well as, sometimes, nationally. But is the rise of online journalism and ever-decreasing budgets putting that at risk? Our Toronto bureau chief Tomos Lewis hopes not...Show More
Does China really want to rule the world?

30:00 | May 19th, 2018

China is fast becoming, if it isn’t already, the world’s next superpower. But how questionable are the methods it’s using to sustain its influence over those it seeks to control, and does it really want to be leader of the not-so-free world? Andrew M...Show More
Explainer 115: Why are there so many international summits?

05:44 | May 16th, 2018

Apec, Brics, EEC, Saarc – the list goes on, and you’d be forgiven for finding the abundance of international summit acronyms overwhelming. Our Hong Kong bureau chief thinks it’s time for a spring clean.
Hezbollah: what does it want now?

30:00 | May 12th, 2018

The Shi’a militia Hezbollah and its allies did well in Lebanon’s overdue parliamentary election. But what does it mean for the future of the movement – and what might that mean for the wider Middle East? Andrew Mueller is joined by Lina Khatib, Habib...Show More
Explainer 114: Malaysia’s election – a depressing choice

04:48 | May 9th, 2018

Malaysia’s recent general election left plenty to be desired. But with more young voters than ever before, Andrew Mueller asks why the country has been forced to choose between the scandal-plagued incumbent and his nonagenarian former mentor.
The Iran nuclear deal: does Trump have any better ideas?

30:00 | May 5th, 2018

The Iran nuclear deal is under scrutiny yet again, and not just from Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. But what are the alternatives? And what would an end to the deal mean for Iran, as well as the wider region? Andrew Mueller is joined by Aniseh Bassir...Show More
Explainer 113: Is Taiwan running out of friends?

05:23 | May 2nd, 2018

When the Dominican Republic announced this week that it was establishing diplomatic ties with China, Taiwan lost yet another ally. However, most countries made the switch in 1971, so what has taken the Dominican Republic so long and, as Andrew Muelle...Show More
Macron: one year on

30:00 | Apr 28th, 2018

For a centrist, Emmanuel Macron has divided opinions and/or confirmed that you can’t please of all of the people all of the time. But it doesn’t seem to be deterring him, a year into his presidency, from attempting to reform French institutions and m...Show More
Explainer 112: Armenia protests: what they want and when they want it

04:47 | Apr 25th, 2018

After almost two weeks of protests, Armenia’s most powerful politician has stepped down as prime minister after only five days in the job. But, as Andrew Mueller explains, the transition – so far, at least – seems more peaceful than might have been e...Show More
The price of inaction: Syria and what happens when we do nothing

30:00 | Apr 21st, 2018

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 Ha...Show More
Explainer 111: The Summits of the Americas

06:23 | Apr 18th, 2018

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 regio...Show More
The Commonwealth: a members' club worth joining?

30:00 | Apr 14th, 2018

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 Eu...Show More
Explainer 110: Why has Trump sent troops to the southern border?

05:20 | Apr 11th, 2018

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.
Who wins in a trade war?

30:00 | Apr 7th, 2018

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

04:59 | Apr 4th, 2018

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?
Anti-semitism: the eternal lunacy

30:00 | Mar 31st, 2018

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 amplifi...Show More
Explainer 108: Not cricket

05:47 | Mar 28th, 2018

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.
Dropping the gun?

30:00 | Mar 24th, 2018

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

05:17 | Mar 21st, 2018

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. ...Show More
The Russian threat to democracy

30:00 | Mar 17th, 2018

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 th...Show More
Explainer 106: Why does Bolivia want the world's biggest flag?

05:48 | Mar 14th, 2018

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 C...Show More
Full up?

30:00 | Mar 10th, 2018

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

04:44 | Mar 8th, 2018

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 Le...Show More
Why Italy’s election matters

30:00 | Mar 3rd, 2018

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.
Explainer 104: Who’s who in Hong Kong’s by-election?

06:31 | Feb 28th, 2018

Hong Kong’s legislative council is gearing up for a by-election on 11 March. But with so many key players, some of whom are currently on bail from jail terms, it’s difficult to know who’s who. Our Hong Kong bureau chief James Chambers breaks things d...Show More
Korea opportunities

30:00 | Feb 24th, 2018

As the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics draw to a close, Andrew Mueller asks if the cross-border goodwill between North and South Korea can last.
Explainer 103: Why are Portugal and Angola arguing again?

05:01 | Feb 21st, 2018

Angola’s recent corruption purge, after a 38-year rule by José Eduardo dos Santos, should have led to even better relations between the country and its former coloniser, Portugal. But, as Monocle’s Carlota Rebelo explains, one trial that should have ...Show More
South Africa after Zuma – what next?

30:00 | Feb 17th, 2018

After Jacob Zuma was eased out of office by his own increasingly embarrassed party, is President Cyril Ramaphosa the right person to rebuild the African National Congress and revive South Africa? Andrew Mueller is joined by Desné Masie, Martin Plaut ...Show More
Explainer 102: Why is US infrastructure in such a mess?

05:00 | Feb 14th, 2018

Donald Trump announced this week he wants Congress to authorise $200bn (€161bn) to spend on roads, highways, ports and airports. New York bureau chief Ed Stocker asks how US infrastructure got into this mess and if president Trump’s plans are really ...Show More
Whose side is Turkey on?

30:00 | Feb 10th, 2018

In the past week Turkey has returned to war in Syria, using tanks furnished by one Nato ally to fight the allies of another, while allying in turn with Nato’s main rival, Russia. Elsewhere, Turkey – which once aspired to join the EU – has frozen rela...Show More
Explainer 101: Sporting unity

04:58 | Feb 7th, 2018

As we head towards the opening of the Winter Olympics, Monocle’s Asia bureau chief asks if combining the North and South Korean women’s hockey team is something to be celebrated or just a sacrifice for political gain. The full episode of The Foreign...Show More
Fighting season

30:00 | Feb 3rd, 2018

In spring, as the weather heats up in Afghanistan, so does the fighting. In a country that has been home to foreign forces and UN troops for more than 16 years, it’s a time to assess how far the country has come since the US invaded back in 2001. How...Show More
Explainer 100: How should we speak of the unspeakable?

06:09 | Jan 31st, 2018

Poland’s government wants to extend its laws against Holocaust denial to include suggestions of Polish complicity. Andrew Mueller asks if this will really prompt constructive discussion? The full episode of ‘The Foreign Desk’ is back on Saturday – t...Show More
Citizenship for sale

30:00 | Jan 27th, 2018

Andrew Mueller looks at the theory and practice of buying and selling passports: how it works, who does it, whether we should be worried about it and how it might change our ideas of what nationality means. Andrew is joined by joined by [Atossa Araxi...Show More
Explainer 99: Call it a day?

05:32 | Jan 24th, 2018

As we approach Australia Day, large numbers of Australians are wondering what exactly there is to celebrate on 26 January. The full episode of The Foreign Desk is back on Saturday – be sure to subscribe to get each new episode.
Donald Trump: one down, three to go

30:00 | Jan 20th, 2018

He has been the president of the US for exactly one year. And, if all goes to plan, he'll remain so for at least three more. Love him or hate him, there's no denying that Donald Trump has changed American, and possibly global, politics in profound an...Show More
Explainer 98: Disputed definition

04:53 | Jan 17th, 2018

What's in a name? Well, if you’re Greek and that name happens to be ‘Macedonia’, rather a lot. But is there an end in sight for what may be the world’s least-dignified diplomatic standoff? ‘The Foreign Desk’ returns on Saturday. Listen to hear us e...Show More
The evolution of protest

30:00 | Jan 13th, 2018

Last year gave the world much to protest. Political instability and social injustice led to millions taking to the streets in 2017 and even more to social media to make their voices heard. But as the masses rebel, the authorities clamp down – leading...Show More
Explainer 97: Where is the Republican resistance?

06:41 | Jan 10th, 2018

With seemingly no one standing in Trump’s way as he nears his one-year anniversary as US president, Monocle’s New York bureau chief Ed Stocker goes in search of the Republican party’s resistance. ‘The Foreign Desk’ is back on Saturday 13 January, wh...Show More
National anthems

30:00 | Jan 6th, 2018

Some are rousing, others are melancholy and some are just plain dreary. They’re belted out at sporting events, chanted in the streets to bring nations together and used as a political tool by those in power. But what makes a great national anthem gre...Show More
Reasons to be cheerful in 2018

30:00 | Dec 30th, 2017

Monocle’s bureaux staff look ahead to 2018 in terms of elections, surprises and, hopefully, some reasons to be cheerful.
The world in 2017

30:00 | Dec 23rd, 2017

We look back through the archives to tell the story of a tumultuous year, from Donald Trump’s erratic presidency and troubles in the Middle East to the rise and fall of populism in Europe and some questionable referendums.
Explainer 96: South Africa’s next president

05:34 | Dec 20th, 2017

With Jacob Zuma set to step down as leader of the ANC, Andrew Mueller looks at his replacement and asks if he’s got what it takes to make the ANC deserve its mandate?
Alabama shakes?

30:00 | Dec 16th, 2017

This week all eyes were on Alabama. An election that would normally go unnoticed – even by a good number of the state’s inhabitants – became a litmus test for politics in the US. But was Democrat Doug Jones’ victory over the controversial Republican ...Show More
Explainer 95: Why is Saudi Arabia liberalising?

04:50 | Dec 13th, 2017

Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s drive for liberalisation in Saudi Arabia continued this week with the announcement that, after 35 years, cinemas will finally be allowed to operate in the country. Although this push should be welcomed, Andrew Muell...Show More
Yemen after Saleh

30:00 | Dec 9th, 2017

The war in Yemen has been long, complicated and devastating for the people that live there. But is the death this week of former leader and Arab strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh a catalyst for positive change or the start of yet more turmoil? Andrew Muel...Show More
Bonus: David Miliband on refugees

18:11 | Dec 8th, 2017

The UK’s former foreign secretary and the head of the IRC, David Miliband, talks to Andrew Mueller about his new book ‘Rescue’, the refugee crisis and foreign intervention.
Explainer 94: Canada’s First Nations

06:26 | Dec 7th, 2017

Despite boasting about its diversity and multiculturalism, Canada still has a long way to go to repair relations with the communities that lived on the land long before the settlers arrived. Toronto bureau chief Tomos Lewis asks what else Justin Trud...Show More
Post-Putin Russia

30:00 | Dec 2nd, 2017

At some point, be it soon or not, Vladimir Putin will stop being the president of Russia. But after 18 years at the top and no clear line of succession, is it possible to imagine what that Russia might look like – and who or what could even replace h...Show More
Explainer 93: Is India losing its influence in Nepal?

06:03 | Nov 29th, 2017

With Nepal’s landmark general election heading into the next stage, Hong Kong bureau chief James Chambers explains why Kathmandu’s towering neighbours, China and India, are watching closely.
Zimbabwe after Mugabe: now what?

30:00 | Nov 25th, 2017

Robert Mugabe’s 37-year rule has come to an end amid jubilation at home and relief abroad. Emmerson Mnangagwa has been sworn in as the new president of Zimbabwe and faces the daunting task of rebuilding the country – and of meeting the hopes and expe...Show More
Explainer 92: What next for Angela Merkel?

05:06 | Nov 22nd, 2017

After talks to form a new coalition government collapsed, the chancellor of Germany is facing the biggest crisis of her political career. Andrew Mueller asks what’s next for Angela Merkel?
Does Japan need a military?

30:00 | Nov 18th, 2017

Since the Second World War Japan has been a pacifist nation. But during that time it has built up an impressive defence force that, if it was a fully fledged military, would be the eighth largest in the world. In an ever more unstable region is it ti...Show More
Explainer 91: Should Democrats be feeling confident?

05:46 | Nov 16th, 2017

With a recent string of electoral successes under their belts and the all-important mid-terms on their way next year, New York bureau chief Ed Stocker asks if the Democrats finally have something to celebrate.
Trouble in the House of Saud

30:00 | Nov 11th, 2017

After an abrupt and significant week in Saudi Arabia, from shock resignations to missile interceptions, Christopher Lord looks at the state of the House of Saud and the reasons behind its recent change of strategy. Also in the studio: Ahmed Al Omran,...Show More
Explainer 90: Should South Korea have better missiles?

03:24 | Nov 8th, 2017

With Donald Trump taking his first tour of Asia, all eyes are on a region wracked with tensions. But would more missiles be helpful or detrimental to the situation?
A ‘new era’ for China?

30:00 | Nov 4th, 2017

Xi Jinping is, officially, China’s most powerful leader since Chairman Mao – his doctrine is enshrined in The Party’s constitution forever. But is China really at the start of a ‘new era’? Or have corruption, a slowing economy and the authoritarian r...Show More
Explainer 89: What is the Balfour Declaration?

04:29 | Nov 1st, 2017

This week marks the centenary of the Balfour Declaration – a short paragraph that paved the way for the establishment of the State of Israel. What did it say and why are we still talking about it 100 years later?
Who really runs the White House?

00:05 | Oct 28th, 2017

As commander in chief of the US and so-called leader of the free world, President Trump has achieved surprisingly little during his time in office. However, the country is still running and decisions are being made – but by whom? Andrew Mueller is jo...Show More
Explainer 88: Why do politicians cry?

07:23 | Oct 26th, 2017

For some it’s a sign of weakness, for others an outpouring of genuine emotion – something the public can connect with. Toronto bureau chief Tomos Lewis asks when is it ok for a politician to cry?
Gaza’s Future

30:00 | Oct 21st, 2017

After a decade of isolation from the West Bank, not to mention military bombardment from Israel, Hamas has finally reached an agreement with the Palestinian Authorities. But is it enough to bring The Strip in from the cold – and do the other big regi...Show More
Explainer 87: Who is the real Xi Jinping?

06:38 | Oct 18th, 2017

With the 19th Congress of the Chinese Communist party well underway, Monocle’s Hong Kong bureau chief James Chambers asks what is at stake for its leader and what are his aims for the next five years?
Bonus feature: A new politics?

18:40 | Oct 16th, 2017

En Marche holds power in France, the far-right Alternative für Deutschland is challenging Angela Merkel’s uninterrupted grip on power in Germany and Greece’s radical left-wing group, Syriza, is the largest party in the Hellenic Parliament. In fact, n...Show More
Space: soft power’s final frontier

30:00 | Oct 14th, 2017

Is taking the giant leap into space still a muscle-flexing exercise for competing powers or has it become the blueprint for international co-operation? As Australia gears up to start its own space programme, we ask: what are countries looking for up ...Show More
Explainer 86: Is the Dream still alive?

05:33 | Oct 11th, 2017

Children of illegal immigrants are still fighting for their right to remain in the US – and continue to be used as a bargaining chip by supporters of President Trump’s border wall. But, New York bureau chief Ed Stocker asks, are all hopes lost?
Will Puerto Rico ever be the 51st state?

30:00 | Oct 7th, 2017

Puerto Rico’s recent referendum on statehood saw 97 per cent vote in favour of joining the US. But it wasn’t legally binding and the devastation of Hurricane Maria has left the island with more pressing issues – and a newfound resentment for the coun...Show More
Explainer 85: American gun laws

05:27 | Oct 4th, 2017

In the aftermath of the attack in Las Vegas, Andrew Mueller asks if anything can make the US change its gun laws.
Kurdistan – the end of Iraq?

30:00 | Sep 30th, 2017

This week more than 90 per cent of Iraqi Kurds voted in favour of seceding from Iraq – a predictable result that has nonetheless wrongfooted everybody. Can Iraq be kept together? Does it matter if it isn’t? And could Kurdistan’s time have come at las...Show More
Explainer 84: Why has Shinzo Abe called a snap election now?

04:30 | Sep 27th, 2017

It wasn’t a surprise (observers had been predicting it for weeks) but, at a time when Japan is far from stable, our Asia bureau chief Fiona Wilson asks – why now?
What’s next for Europe's broken democracies?

30:00 | Sep 23rd, 2017

When Hungary and Poland joined the EU in 2004 hopes were high for the newest members. But as Europe itself goes through a troubled period they have started to lean away from the liberalism they once craved during Soviet rule. Is this a sign of things...Show More
Explainer 83: Kurdish independence, why now?

04:22 | Sep 20th, 2017

Semi-autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan has had its sights set on independence but, in a time of ever-increasing instability in the region, why now?
Strained relations

30:00 | Sep 16th, 2017

Australia's non-compulsory postal plebiscite on equal marriage is well underway – but is it necessary, why has it taken so long and why is Australia making this so complicated? We speak to Tim Wilson MP, Josh Taylor, Christine Forster and veteran rig...Show More
Explainer 82: What is Fema’s future?

05:03 | Sep 14th, 2017

Tomos Lewis takes a look at Fema, the agency tasked with cleaning up the areas devastated by the recent hurricanes. With the Trump administration's assault on big-government spending underway, what might its future be?
The Rohingyas – and the silence of Aung San Suu Kyi

30:00 | Sep 9th, 2017

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?

05:52 | Sep 6th, 2017

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

30:00 | Sep 2nd, 2017

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, ...Show More
Explainer 80: Is sport still a soft power?

05:38 | Aug 30th, 2017

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

30:00 | Aug 26th, 2017

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....Show More
Explainer 79: Too many tourists?

03:43 | Aug 23rd, 2017

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

30:00 | Aug 19th, 2017

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...Show More
Explainer 78: President Pence?

05:29 | Aug 16th, 2017

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 b...Show More
Autocracies and architecture

30:00 | Aug 12th, 2017

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 c...Show More
Explainer 77: Is Kagame really that popular?

05:03 | Aug 9th, 2017

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

30:00 | Aug 5th, 2017

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 p...Show More
Explainer 76: Do political scandals still matter?

07:16 | Aug 2nd, 2017

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 i...Show More
Trump: 42 months to go

30:00 | Jul 29th, 2017

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...Show More
Explainer 75: Communist beach party

04:02 | Jul 26th, 2017

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?

30:00 | Jul 22nd, 2017

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

04:37 | Jul 19th, 2017

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

30:00 | Jul 15th, 2017

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...Show More
Explainer 73: The decline and fall of Chris Christie

06:30 | Jul 12th, 2017

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

30:00 | Jul 8th, 2017

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...Show More
Explainer 72: What’s next for Yuriko Koike?

04:14 | Jul 5th, 2017

The Tokyo governor’s political career is going from strength to strength despite pervading attitudes – but what’s next for her?
Mosul: the end of the fight against Isis?

30:00 | Jul 1st, 2017

In Iraq, Mosul is all but recaptured from Islamic State. In Syria, Raqqa looks likely to be freed next. Does the caliphate have a future if it holds no territory? And how can the retaken cities be rebuilt to stop IS coming back?
Explainer 71: Canada’s 150th Birthday

05:36 | Jun 29th, 2017

As Canada reaches the ripe old age of 150, Tomos Lewis asks what, exactly, is Canada celebrating?
The Gulf – another Cold War?

28:17 | Jun 24th, 2017

As tensions continue to rise between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Andrew Mueller asks if the co-ordinated shunning of Qatar by many of its neighbours is just a distraction – and where this political stalemate could be heading.
Explainer 70: Who are Mali’s Islamists?

04:16 | Jun 21st, 2017

After Sunday’s attack on a tourist resort just outside Bamako, Andrew Mueller asks who are Mali’s Islamists and what do they want?
Does independence always matter?

30:16 | Jun 17th, 2017

Independence movements don’t always mean a heroic struggle against oppression. Some countries that appear functional and pleasant to the outside world are home to people who do not agree. They want to be free – but from what?
Explainer 69: How will Hong Kong celebrate its return to China?

04:21 | Jun 14th, 2017

As Hong Kong prepares to celebrate 20 years since its return to the motherland, Monocle’s Ceinwen Thomas asks who is celebrating what?
Horn of Africa – Kenya

29:18 | Jun 10th, 2017

In the last part of a special series looking at the Horn of Africa, we turn to Kenya ahead of this year’s election. Its old problems are still unresolved. So what sort of nation will emerge after the vote?
Explainer 68: Is the US becoming a rogue state?

03:30 | Jun 8th, 2017

Monocle’s Steve Bloomfield on what it means if the leader of the US walks, talks and acts like an autocrat.
Horn of Africa – Ethiopia

26:58 | Jun 3rd, 2017

In the second of a three-part special looking at the Horn of Africa, we explore a country in a state of emergency: Ethiopia. Protests have put the government under pressure and hundreds have been killed. So what’s next?
Explainer 67: Mongolia votes

04:04 | May 31st, 2017

Monocle’s Asia editor at large, Kenji Hall, looks at the upcoming election in Mongolia.
Horn of Africa – Somalia

22:13 | May 27th, 2017

In the first of a three-part special looking at the Horn of Africa, Steve Bloomfield explores a country in a state of flux: Somalia. The threat of terror, corruption and famine are high and help from outside often does more harm than good. Is Somalia...Show More
Explainer 66: What’s next for Manchester?

04:17 | May 25th, 2017

After Monday night’s terrorist attack at a concert in Manchester, Monocle’s Chris Lord looks to the past for hope for his home city’s future.
Russia’s foreign policy

30:00 | May 20th, 2017

Russia has had an impact on a vast range of the world’s biggest stories in recent years: from the war in Syria to the unrest in Ukraine and the election in the US. Monocle’s Steve Bloomfield is joined by former Kremlin adviser Alexander Nekrasov and ...Show More
Explainer 65: Who really rules in Iran?

07:40 | May 17th, 2017

With Iranians going to the polls this weekend, our features editor asks if the votes really matter?
Covering the UK election

26:30 | May 13th, 2017

The UK goes to the polls next month but enthusiasm for the vote is somewhat limited. For the media, reporting on this election is no easy task. Steve Bloomfield is joined by George Parker, political editor for ‘The Financial Times’, Gaby Hinsliff, po...Show More
Explainer 64: Venezuela’s protests

03:12 | May 11th, 2017

For more than six weeks there have been near-daily demonstrations across the country, but the big question is 'what happens next'?
Rouhani's ‘referendum’

28:13 | May 6th, 2017

On 19 May Iranians get to decide their next president. In an election that’s more a test of current president Hassan Rouhani’s policies than an act of democracy, its importance might seem secondary to those elsewhere. But with domestic economic probl...Show More
Explainer 63: Government shutdowns

06:38 | May 3rd, 2017

As the US government struggles to agree on a budget for the rest of the fiscal year, Ed Stocker looks at why government shutdowns have become so common.
Trump’s first 100 days

29:29 | Apr 29th, 2017

We look at five key days that have defined Donald Trump’s presidency so far: from healthcare, to the relationship with the media, turning against old allies, imposing a travel ban and the ongoing investigation into links with Russia.
Explainer 62: Democratic choices

03:05 | Apr 27th, 2017

It can be rare on election day to be faced with a candidate that really represents your values. So if you're faced with a ballot paper full of maybes, what are your options?
The legacy of colonialism

29:35 | Apr 22nd, 2017

Countries that were colonised don’t tend to forget – but for the colonisers it’s a little more complicated. We look at three different periods in colonial history: Belgium and Congo; Portugal and Angola; and the UK and India.
Explainer 61: If Theresa May wins the election, will she win big?

03:46 | Apr 19th, 2017

The UK prime minister’s decision to hold a general election in June makes political sense. However, if she wins but her victory is not as impressive as she hopes, will it all have been worth it?
What does the election mean for France?

30:00 | Apr 15th, 2017

As Europe’s next big election draws closer, France has a choice to make: socialist, far-right populist or straight down the middle. But what are the issues that matter to the only people who matter, and is there anything the candidates can do at this...Show More
Explainer 60: What Donald Trump means for Congo

04:23 | Apr 12th, 2017

Congo’s presidential election was supposed to happen last year as Joseph Kabila’s second five-year term came to an end – but he doesn’t want to stand down. Under President Obama the US took a leading role in putting pressure on Kabila to step aside. ...Show More
The French election and Europe

29:53 | Apr 8th, 2017

France’s presidential election has 11 candidates, from established parties and no party at all. The winner will not just take France in a new direction but will also have a major impact on the future of Europe as a whole.
Explainer 59: The new partnership at the heart of Europe

04:18 | Apr 6th, 2017

If Emmanuel Macron is elected as the French president next month it could revive one of the most important relationships in global politics: the Franco-German axis.
The future of Ireland

28:50 | Apr 1st, 2017

The UK and Ireland have a long and bloody past but since the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 the countries have remained mostly at peace. But since Britain’s exit from the EU, the relationship between the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and the r...Show More
Explainer 58: Donald Trump’s big diplomatic test

03:56 | Mar 31st, 2017

We’ve seen how Donald Trump’s administration dealt with Australia, Germany and the UK. If this is how he deals with his closest allies, how will he act when it comes to Turkey and China?
After Mosul

29:38 | Mar 25th, 2017

The battle for Mosul was supposed to be over by now but the coalition has found it harder than it predicted. The toll has been great: hundreds of civilians have died and tens of thousands have fled. What happens next?
Explainer 57: Why Trump needs the media

03:46 | Mar 22nd, 2017

As the fallout from the US secretary of state Rex Tillerson’s tour of Asia shows, treating the media like the enemy can cause problems.
Iceland’s triumph

29:33 | Mar 18th, 2017

No nation fell as far during the 2008 global financial crisis as Iceland. But unlike other countries Iceland decided to hold those responsible for the crash to account. Now, nine years on, the country has recovered. What can other nations learn from ...Show More
Explainer 56: Should we be working fewer hours?

04:40 | Mar 15th, 2017

The dream of working less and relaxing more is not a new one. But for too long we’ve talked about work purely in terms of money.
Why the Dutch election matters

28:21 | Mar 11th, 2017

The first of Europe’s big-three elections of 2017 takes place next week; in the Netherlands it is yet another test for liberal democracy. Monocle’s Steve Bloomfield is joined by Philippe Remarque, editor in chief of ‘De Volkskrant’, and [Emilie van O...Show More
Explainer 55: When Angela meets Donald

03:30 | Mar 8th, 2017

German chancellor Angela Merkel heads to Washington to meet Donald Trump. It will be his trickiest meeting since taking office – Merkel is one of the few world leaders who has made no attempt to hide her disdain for him.
Brexit – what Europe wants

30:00 | Mar 4th, 2017

At some stage this month the UK prime minister Theresa May will trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, formally announcing that the UK wishes to leave the European Union, kickstarting two years (or more) years of negotiations. We’ve heard a lot fro...Show More
Explainer 54: Why Turkey’s referendum matters

05:45 | Mar 1st, 2017

Turkey is gearing up for a constitutional referendum in April that could give executive powers to President Erdoğan. Our Istanbul bureau chief Christopher Lord explains how important and disruptive this could be for the country.
The revival of American satire

28:24 | Feb 25th, 2017

President Trump presents a formidable challenge to satirical writers, broadcasters, comedians and visual artists. What are the ins and outs of covering such an unpredictable president and more importantly, how do you satirise the self-satirising?
Explainer 53: Nato’s Trump card?

04:54 | Feb 22nd, 2017

Could Donald Trump’s presidency end up leaving Nato better armed and better defended?
North Korea in the age of Donald Trump

29:09 | Feb 18th, 2017

Kim Jong-un now finds himself facing a foe who also understands the awesome and disorienting power of unpredictability. How will North Korea negotiate the age of Donald Trump?
Explainer 52: What will Brexit mean for the UK’s border with Ireland?

05:07 | Feb 15th, 2017

With the triggering of Article 50, Brexit will mean that the UK will have a physical border with the EU. But how would that work?
Who is Martin Schulz?

29:41 | Feb 11th, 2017

As Germany gears up for the federal election in September, we profile SPD’s candidate for chancellor, Martin Schulz. After a successful stint as European Parliament president, his popularity at home is growing. But is it enough to beat Angela Merkel?
Explainer 51: The Southern Cameroons crisis

04:36 | Feb 8th, 2017

Southern Cameroons is predominantly English-speaking, whereas the rest of Cameroon speaks French. While this might not seem like a big deal it has been at the centre of a conflict between both region and in recent weeks, the squabble has flared up ag...Show More