Streams

 

Foreign Policy

The Takeaway

Iran's Nuclear Ambitions Steal the Show at G-20

Friday, September 25, 2009

Nuclear disarmament is high on the international agenda this week with discussions at the United Nations and the G-20 summit. Adding to the sense of urgency are new reports that Iran has a second uranium enrichment plant, despite having previously admitted only to one. The U.S. and Iran are set to meet in a series of high-level talks next week. In Pittsburgh this morning, President Obama spoke about the need for Iran to halt their nuclear ambitions. GlobalPost's Charlie Sennott explains the international repercussions of this new revelation while Cindy Skrzycki, also from GlobalPost, joins us from Pittsburgh with the reactions from the G-20 meeting.

If you missed it, here are President Obama's comments on Iran's secret enrichment site:

Comment

The Takeaway

Iran: Twice the (Nuclear) Power

Friday, September 25, 2009

While in the Security Council of the United Nations, President Obama won unanimous adoption of a resolution to curb the proliferation and testing of nuclear weapons and move toward total disarmament, Iran continues to develop nuclear sites. This morning there are reports revealing the existence of a second uranium enrichment plant in Iran. The BBC's defense and security correspondent, Nick Childs, joins us with a look at what this announcement will mean for next week's high-level talks between the U.S. and Iran.

Comment

The Takeaway

Center Ring at the General Assembly

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The United Nations General Assembly convened in Manhattan this week, and everyone came! Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi wowed the crowd with a suggestion that the United Nations Security Council be renamed the "Terror Council," while Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad caused a walk-out by many delegations. John Hockenberry looks at the purpose of this global forum for world leaders in the 21st century. Is it reasonable to expect gravitas from the U.N., or is it just a just a way to bring together "the greatest show on earth?"

In case you missed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's speech, here it is:

Comment

The Takeaway

G-20 Leaders Descend on Pittsburgh

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The G20 summit kicks off in Pittsburgh today. Leaders from the world's biggest economies are gathering in the Steel City to develop plans for repairing the wounded global economy, reforming bank-bonus structures and continuing the climate change conversation. Out on the streets of Pittsburgh, residents are battening the hatches while hoping their city avoids the wrath Seattle faced in 1999. (Seattle saw riots and chaos on the streets during the World Trade Organization meetings in 1999.) Joining us for a view from the ground in Pittsburgh is Cindy Skrzycki, a correspondent for GlobalPost. And for an international perspective, we speak with GlobalPost correspondent Michael Goldfarb in London.

Read the Global Post's full G-20 coverage

Comment

The Takeaway

G-20 Eyes Banking Reform

Thursday, September 24, 2009

New York Times finance reporter Louise Story joins us with a look at how the world's biggest economies will tackle banking regulation at the G20 summit in Pittspurgh. Top of the agenda? Capital requirements, an issue the international community has never been able to agree on.

Comment

The Takeaway

President Obama's Push for Nuclear Disarmament

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Yesterday President Obama made nuclear disarmament a central theme of his speech to the General Assembly of the United Nations. Today he chairs a Security Council meeting on the issue. For a look at what the president needs to say and do to convince the world that he means business, we turn to two men who are experts in the realms of diplomacy, foreign policy and nuclear proliferation. Hans Blix served as director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from 1981 to 1997 before he was tapped to lead the U.N. committee charged with searching for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. We also speak to Joe Cirincione, president of the anti-nuclear Ploughshares Fund. He also wrote the book "Bomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons."

"On the Iranian issue, I think the focus in the Western world has been, perhaps, too much on the sanctions. All on the whips, and not so much on the carrots. If you want to get a country to act in a particular direction, the carrots are just as important. It's instructive to compare the attitude taken towards North Korea on the one hand and Iran on the other. North Korea, they [have been] offered diplomatic relations with both the U.S. and Japan if they scrap their nuclear program. They're also offered security guarantees. None of these elements have, so far, been raised publicly for Iran."
--Hans Blix

"Every president since Truman has called for the elimination of these weapons, including Ronald Reagan, who wanted to make them 'impotent and obsolete.' What's different is that Obama is calling for this vision and coupling it with a concrete program on how to get started, step-by-step. He's not doing it unilaterally; he's doing it with the Russians. He says, 'We have to start. The United States and Russia own 96% of all the weapons in the world. The U.S. has about 10,000, Russia has about 12,000 -- we have to take the first steps.' He's right about that, and he's acting on it."
--Joe Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund

Here are highlights of President Obama's address to the United Nations yesterday:

Comments [3]

The Takeaway

President Obama's UN Debut

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Yesterday President Obama took to the international stage as he made his United Nations debut. From yesterday’s climate change summit to tomorrow’s nuclear disarmament talk — and anticipated flourishes from Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Libya's Muammar Gaddafi along the way — we take a look at President Obama’s global positioning with worldly thinkers Richard Wolffe and Reihan Salam. Richard Wolffe is a journalist and author of the bestselling book "Renegade: The Making of a President." Reihan Salam is a fellow at the New America Foundation and editor of The American Scene.

Watch the president's address to the United Nations:

Comment

The Takeaway

Russian Reaction to Scrapped Missile Defense System

Friday, September 18, 2009

President Obama announced yesterday that he is abandoning plans for a missile defense shield. President Bush had slated the shield for development in Poland and the Czech Republic, but the defense scheme became an increasing irritation in U.S.-Russian relations, and President Obama has opted to go a different direction, asking for a mixed land/sea-based system to guard against Iranian missiles. So how is Russia reacting to the news? Olexiy Solohubenko, Russian affairs expert at the BBC, joins us with a look at how the story is being in reported in Russian media.

Comment

The Takeaway

Top Polluters Meet in Washington

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Copenhagen Conference, planned for December this year, aims to create a "Copenhagen Protocol" to address worldwide climate change.  In preparation for this winter's conference, representatives of 17 countries are meeting in Washington today for a major forum on energy and climate. Included in the meeting are some of the world's biggest polluters, including China and the United States. David Biello, associate editor for Scientific American, joins us with a look at what's on (and what should be on) this group's agenda as they prepare for Copenhagen.

To see climate change in action, watch this video from Extreme Ice Survey, with 26 time lapse cameras in Greenland, Iceland, Alaska, Canada, and Glacier National Park, the Extreme Ice Survey is creating the most comprehensive photographic survey of glacial change.

Comment

The Takeaway

EU Deems Third of Afghan Votes Suspect

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Preliminary tallies in the second-ever Afghan presidential election show incumbent President Hamid Karzai leading in the polls with 55% of the votes. But the cloud of suspicions about the election is not going away; yesterday, European Union monitors estimated that one third of the votes for Hamid Karzai are suspect. The Karzai campaign dismissed the EU findings, and the latest official results show that he has enough votes to win without a run-off — if the disputed votes are included. Rand Corporation's Christine Fair was an election monitor in Afghanistan and she joins us with a look at how the United States will respond to the mounting evidence of electoral fraud.

Comment

The Takeaway

Is Iraq Ready for Faster U.S. Troop Withdrawal?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Almost 100 people were killed yesterday as coordinated bomb attacks swept Baghdad. The truck bombs and mortar fire flattened buildings, collapsed highways, and left city residents stunned at the sudden increase in violence. The attacks came just as Iraqis consider a vote on whether to accelerate U.S. troop withdrawal. Today we discuss how the situation in Iraq is evolving with New York Times Baghdad correspondent Sam Dagher and Harvard Law professor Noah Feldman. Noah Feldman served as an advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq in 2003.

For more, read Sam Dagher's article, 2 Blasts Expose Security Flaws in Heart of Iraq, in the New York Times.

Comment

The Takeaway

Egyptian President to White House Today

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

President Obama is set to meet with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak today. The meeting is likely to be tense, as Obama is expected to push Egypt to make small – but important – concessions towards Israel. The Middle East peace process has been stalled for some time; if President Obama convinces Egypt to work with Israel, will this be the catalyst to once again restart progress in the Middle East? Michael Slackman, the Cairo bureau chief for the New York Times, joins us from Cairo with the Egyptian reaction to the two presidents' meeting.

Comment

The Takeaway

Assessing Secretary Clinton's Trip to Africa

Friday, August 14, 2009

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ends her 11-day trip across Africa today with a stop in the nation of Cape Verde. The State Department calls Clinton’s Africa trip a success, but her critics brush it off as little more than a “goodwill listening tour." Jendayi Frazer, former assistant secretary of state for Africa under the Bush administration, helps The Takeaway assess the significance of Clinton's trip.

Comments [1]

The Takeaway

A Conversation with Afghanistan's U.S. Ambassador

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Shortly after taking office, President Obama made the war in Afghanistan a high military priority when he authorized 21,000 additional troops to be sent to the region. This move returned to center stage what had long been termed "the forgotten war." Today, as the presidential election in Afghanistan nears, the Taliban makes headlines, and the American troop presence grows, the world is paying close attention. To assess the situation in the region and to take stock of U.S.-Afghan relations, The Takeaway is joined by Ambassador Said Tayeb Jawad, Afghan ambassador to the United States.

"I think eradication is not effective because we have to prevent cultivation. Once the poppy is cultivated it’s too late. If you eradicate you push the farmers into the hands of the terrorists and the Taliban. If you don’t, the money will feed the terrorists and the Taliban. And in order to prevent cultivation you have to give an alternative to the farmers."
– Afghan Ambassador Said Tayeb Jawad

Comment

The Takeaway

President Obama and the Clintons: Frenemies?

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Michael Crowley, a senior editor of The New Republic, joins The Takeaway with a look at the recent adventures of Bill and Hillary Clinton. The couple are dominating the headlines this week with Bill Clinton's coup in North Korea and Hillary Clinton's lengthy trip to Africa. Has the president decided to bring the Clintons' back into the fold for their expertise? Or is he following the cautionary phrase, "keep your friends close and your enemies closer"?

Comments [2]

The Takeaway

Iranian Paranoia: Is It Justified?

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Earlier this summer, protests spilled onto the streets of Tehran in the days following Iran's June 12 presidential elections. At the time, some voices inside Iran's halls of power alleged that outside influence was to blame for the seemingly spontaneous uprisings. The Iranian intelligence chief claimed Western and "Zionist" forces were somehow behind it all. Crazy talk? The Takeaway talks with Stephen Kinzer, author of All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror who explains that Iran's history with the outside world has left them justifiably paranoid of foreign influence.

Comment

The Takeaway

Redefining U.S. Relations with North Korea

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Bill Clinton’s brief trip to Pyongyang secured the freedom of two American journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, who were imprisoned in North Korea. But what does the visit between Clinton and the elusive Kim Jong Il say about the future of U.S.- North Korean relations? The Takeaway's guest, Professor Charles Armstrong, is Director of the Center for Korean Research at Columbia University. He explains how the former president's visit could help break through the diplomatic log jam.

Comment

The Takeaway

Diplomacy: Secretary Clinton's Africa Agenda

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Africa for the Obama administration’s first serious tour of the continent. Jendayi Frazer, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs under President George W. Bush talks with The Takeaway about the significance of Clinton's visit and the issues she'll confront. Also joining the conversation is Martin Plaut, the BBC's Africa editor.

Comment

The Takeaway

The State of Power in Iran

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Today Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was sworn in for his second term as Iran's president. Have the weeks of post-election protests undermined Ahmadinejad's power and status in his own country? And what would a weakened Tehran mean for global diplomacy? The Takeaway talks to Roger Hardy, Middle East analyst for the BBC.

Comment

The Takeaway

Rocky Start for Ahmadinejad's Second Term

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was officially inaugurated to his second term as President of Iran today under a dark cloud of voter irregularity and popular dissent. And that dissent is going all the way up the ranks of power. In silent protest, several senior figures, members of Parliament and high ranking clerics were notably absent at a ceremony where the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei formally approved the 2nd term presidency on Monday. Joining The Takeaway to describe what a second Ahmadinejad term may have in store for Iran and the world is Shaul Bakhash, Clarence J. Robinson Professor of Middle East History at George Mason University in Virginia.

Even though he announced intentions to introduce reforms and make a more prosperous economy it seems hardly likely given the policies he pursued in the past, which were based more on the distribution of goodies rather than investment in productive programs.
—Shaul Bakhash on Ahmadenijad's second term as Iran's president

Comments [1]