98 episodes

With in-depth interviews with experts and leading policymakers, Trend Lines brings World Politics Review's uncompromising analysis of international affairs to the world of podcasts.

Trend Lines World Politics Review

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    • 5.0 • 3 Ratings

With in-depth interviews with experts and leading policymakers, Trend Lines brings World Politics Review's uncompromising analysis of international affairs to the world of podcasts.

    The War in Ukraine Is Changing How We Think of Drones and UAVs

    The War in Ukraine Is Changing How We Think of Drones and UAVs

    The war in Ukraine has led to a fundamental shift in public perceptions of the military utility of drones. Until now, most people saw drones either as a more or less harmless toy with certain implications for privacy on one hand, and as a complex military system that roams the skies searching for terrorists on the other.
    The proliferation of drones and the accompanying high-resolution videos of their exploits in Ukraine has blurred these borders. Modified commercial drones easily available in most electronics store across the world are dropping grenades on tanks and dismounted troops, while acting as accurate spotters for pinpoint artillery strikes. Their larger military counterparts are wreaking havoc on supply convoys and armored columns, and they allegedly even contributed to the sinking of the Russian missile cruiser Moskva, which sported one of the more capable air defense systems in Moscow’s Black Sea fleet. 
    That has made apparent what military planners and researchers have said for a while now: The military utility of unmanned aerial vehicles is still a work in progress, and the saturation of conflict zones with these systems will require changes in tactics and doctrine.
    To dive into these issues and their ramifications for both military planners and policymakers, Trend Lines is joined by Ulrike Franke, a senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, where she specializes in military technology, including unmanned aerial vehicles and artificial intelligence.
    Relevant articles on World Politics Review: 
    The Future of the Global Drone Market Will Not Be ‘Made in Europe’ 
    Anti-Drone Advocacy Just Took a Major Leap Forward 
    The Campaign to Ban ‘Killer Robots’ Just Got a Boost 
    Behind the Growth Market in Counter-Drone Technology 
    Trend Lines is produced and edited by Peter Dörrie, a freelance journalist and analyst focusing on security and resource politics in Africa. You can follow him on Twitter at @peterdoerrie.  
    To send feedback or questions, email us at podcast@worldpoliticsreview.com.

    • 41 min
    Turkey’s Contentious Foreign Policy and Domestic Politics

    Turkey’s Contentious Foreign Policy and Domestic Politics

    Turkey is nominally a close military and political ally of the United States and other NATO countries, as well as an important economic partner to the European Union. But reading headlines in recent months and years, one wonders how close the Turkish government really feels to its western partners.
    Under President Erdogan, Turkey has waged war against Kurdish allies of the United States in Syria and Iraq, and supported militias associated with al-Qaida, Hamas and other Islamic extremists. It has also developed a somewhat close relationship with Russia, even buying a Russian air defense system despite strident opposition from the United States—a decision which got it kicked out of the U.S.-led F-35 fighter jet program.
    In the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Turkey has, largely succesfully, tried to maintain good relations with both sides and act as a mediator, delivering weapons to Ukraine and refraining from sanctions on Russia.
    None of this can be understood without taking a close look at Turkey's domestic politics and especially its long-running economic crisis and the upcoming general elections in 2023 that could challenge President Erdogan's increasingly authoritarian grip on power.
    Steven A. Cook, senior fellow for Middle East and Africa studies at the Council on Foreign Relations joins Trend Lines from Washington to discuss Turkish foreign policy and domestic politics, and the relationship between the two.
    If you would like to request a full transcript of the episode, please send an email to podcast@worldpoliticsreview.com.  
    Relevant articles on World Politics Review:
    Erdogan Is Giving Turkey’s ‘Zero Problems’ Strategy Another Try 
    Sweden and Finland’s NATO Bids Hit a Roadblock Named Erdogan 
    Can Turkey’s Erdogan Rebuild the Bridges He Has Burned? 
    Erdogan’s Engagement Finds Willing Partners in Africa 
    Erdogan Has a Lot Riding on the Russia-Ukraine Crisis 
    Erdogan’s Obsession With Low Interest Rates Could Be His Downfall
    Trend Lines is produced and edited by Peter Dörrie, a freelance journalist and analyst focusing on security and resource politics in Africa. You can follow him on Twitter at @peterdoerrie.
    To send feedback or questions, email us at podcast@worldpoliticsreview.com

    • 40 min
    The New Space Race Has Already Begun

    The New Space Race Has Already Begun

    The first space race, between the United States and the Soviet Union, was a geopolitical and ideological struggle between superpowers. Now five decades in the past, it pushed the limits of technology to extremes and realized some long-held dreams of humanity, like putting a human on the moon. But after the enormous gains of the 1950s and 60s, space exploration advanced more gradually. More countries developed space programs, but between 1961 and 2000, only the Soviet Union, the United States and China put humans into space. After the U.S.’s Apollo program came to an end, humans never returned to the moon, and ambitious plans to expand human exploration to other planets were shelved. And with the end of NASA’s Space Shuttle program, the U.S. seemed to become disinterested in the final frontier, even contracting human launches out to Russia. Over the past decade, something changed. In 2004, U.S. Congress required NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration to legalize private spaceflight. Then, in 2015, it passed the Spurring Private Aerospace Competitive and Entrepreneurship Act, better known as the SPACE Act, which expanded the rights to explore and exploit space to private citizens in the U.S. 
    During that same time, an internet entrepreneur named Elon Musk founded the aerospace company SpaceX with the goal of developing cheaper and more reliable access to space and, ultimately, to build a colony on Mars.
    Today, SpaceX has developed and launched its partially reusable rocket, Falcon 9, more than 150 times. The company is on the cusp of introducing a fully reusable launch system, Starship, with a lift capacity of more than 100 tons to low-Earth Orbit. SpaceX and other private companies have also developed vehicles that can put humans into space, as well as “mega-constellations” of satellites that promise to provide high quality and affordable internet access independent of terrestrial infrastructure.
    At the same time, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has brought an end to decades of cooperation between Washington and Moscow in space, putting even the future of the International Space Station into question. Meanwhile, China is aggressively pushing its space program, as are India and other nations.
    Arguably, the world is already in the age of a new Space Race. And this time, it is multipolar, with everyone from superpowers to startups participating. 
    Joining Trend Lines to discuss all this and more is Eric Berger, a senior space editor at Ars Technica and author of “Liftoff,” a book on the rise of SpaceX.
    Relevant articles on World Politics Review:
    As New Space Powers Emerge, NASA More Unreliable as Partner 
    Colonizing Space Is Not the Solution to Our Problems on Earth 
    Small States Can Play a Big Role in Space 
    The U.S. Space Program Is Back, but It Can’t Go It Alone 
    China’s Space Ambitions Have Washington on Edge 
     
    Trend Lines is produced and edited by Peter Dörrie, a freelance journalist and analyst focusing on security and resource politics in Africa. You can follow him on Twitter at @peterdoerrie.  
    To send feedback or questions, email us at podcast@worldpoliticsreview.com

    • 32 min
    Everyone Has Come Out on the Losing End of Ethiopia’s Civil War

    Everyone Has Come Out on the Losing End of Ethiopia’s Civil War

    In 2019, Ethiopia’s young and dynamic prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to resolve the longstanding tensions between his country and Eritrea. His announcement of domestic political reforms were received well both abroad and at home, many Ethiopians had felt excluded by a political system seen as having been captured by the country’s Tigrayan ethnic minority.
    Today, none of this enthusiasm is left. In late 2020, long-running tensions between the central government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, once the dominant ethnic party in the ruling coalition, escalated into a full-blown civil war. The conflict has been characterized by shocking atrocities and abuses on all sides. More than 2 million people have been forced to flee their homes, and political repression has increased in the wake of the war.
    On March 24, Abiy’s government and Tigrayan forces declared an indefinite humanitarian truce in Tigray, and some humanitarian aid has since reached the area. But the conflict, which has shattered Ethiopia’s image as an economic and political powerhouse in the region, is far from resolved.
    On this week’s episode of Trend Lines, William Davison, the International Crisis Group’s senior analyst for Ethiopia, joins Peter Dörrie to unpack the background of the conflict and the latest developments in Ethiopia.
    Relevant articles on World Politics Review:
    How Abiy’s Effort to Redefine Ethiopia Led to War in Tigray 
    Tigray Is Being Deliberately Starved to Death 
    The U.S. Needs Sharper Tools to Stop the War in Ethiopia 
    Getting to a Sustainable Endgame in Ethiopia Will Be an Uphill Climb 
    Trend Lines is produced and edited by Peter Dörrie, a freelance journalist and analyst focusing on security and resource politics in Africa. You can follow him on Twitter at @peterdoerrie.  
    To send feedback or questions, email us at podcast@worldpoliticsreview.com

    • 42 min
    Macron’s Reelection Bid Just Got More Complicated

    Macron’s Reelection Bid Just Got More Complicated

    French President Emmanuel Macron is comfortably ahead in the polls for the first round of France’s presidential election, which takes place Sunday. With far-right candidate Marine Le Pen likely to finish second, the second-round runoff is shaping up to be a repeat of 2017.
    But while Macron won in a landslide in 2017 with more than 60 percent of the vote, this time the gap is much narrower, with less than 10 percent separating Macron and Le Pen in opinion polls and the momentum clearly in Le Pen’s favor.
    Macron came into office on an ambitious and popular foreign policy agenda that portrayed the European Union not as a problem, but as a solution, particularly to the pressures the country faces as a result of globalization. But Macron has often struggled to communicate his vision to the French electorate, even as he suffers from his image of being detached from the population’s everyday problems, especially the spiraling cost of living.
    On this week’s episode of Trend Lines, Célia Belin, a visiting fellow in the Brookings Institution’s Center on the United States and Europe, joins Peter Dörrie to discuss how foreign policy is intersecting with electoral politics in France’s presidential election, and what a possible second term for Macron—or a first term for Le Pen—might look like.
    Relevant articles:
    Monsieur Fixit
    The Making of Macron’s Worldview
    For Macron, Being Right on European Strategic Autonomy Isn’t Enough
    France’s Security Law Debacle Shows the Dangers of Macron’s ‘Le Pen-Lite’ Agenda
    Trend Lines is produced and edited by Peter Dörrie, a freelance journalist and analyst focusing on security and resource politics in Africa. You can follow him on Twitter at @peterdoerrie.  
    To send feedback or questions, email us at podcast@worldpoliticsreview.com .

    • 43 min
    The International War on Waste

    The International War on Waste

    Plastics, e-waste and other hazardous waste are routinely traded across borders in what amounts to an “out of sight, out of mind” approach for the rich countries that produce them. The story is more complicated for the communities that receive and dispose of the waste. 
    Hazardous waste poses risks to the health of local communities and the environment, spurring attempts to ban its movement across borders. But in countries like Turkey, Vietnam and Ghana, waste is often processed to extract its residual value. The important source of income it provides explains why those efforts have been of limited success and questionable usefulness.
    To discuss the risks but also the complexity of the international trade of hazardous wastes, Kate O’Neill joins Peter Dörrie on Trend Lines. O’Neill is a professor at the University of California Berkeley’s Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, where she specializes in researching waste, the circular economy and global environmental governance. 
    Relevant articles on WPR:  
    Cuts to Waste Imports in East Asia Put Pressure on World’s Producers 
    Toxic Waste Spill in Ivory Coast Exposes 'Dark Underbelly' of Globalization 
    E-Waste Is Taking Over the World. 5G Will Make It Even Worse 
    Can the World Win the War on Plastic? 
    Trend Lines is produced and edited by Peter Dörrie, a freelance journalist and analyst focusing on security and resource politics in Africa. You can follow him on Twitter at @peterdoerrie

    • 29 min

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