Every Friday, Guardian columnist and former Washington correspondent, Jonathan Freedland, invites experts to help analyse the latest in American politics. From politicians to journalists covering the White House and beyond, Jonathan and his guests give listeners behind the scenes access to how the American political machine works.
Copping out? Biden skips UN climate conference
The UN’s Cop28 climate conference has kicked off in Dubai this week – but one notable absence will be the US president. Joe Biden pledged to make the fight against climate breakdown one of his top priorities when he took office, and news of his absence from this year’s gathering has frustrated activists. Jonathan Freedland speaks to one such activist, Jerome Foster, who in 2021 became the youngest adviser to the White House when he was asked to sit on its environmental justice advisory council
Henry Kissinger and the man who wanted to confront him
Henry Kissinger, the former secretary of state under Richard Nixon, died at the age of 100 this week. One of the most famous and powerful diplomats of the 20th century, some will remember him as the person who won a Nobel peace prize for his work negotiating the end of the Vietnam war. For others, he will forever be known as a war criminal. So what is Kissinger’s legacy? This week, Jonathan Freedland speaks to journalist and author Michael Goldfarb about how Kissinger came to be one of the most powerful people of the 20th century, and why back in the 1970s he had the opportunity to criticise the man to his face – and chose not to. Does he regret staying quiet?
Did the assassination of JFK kickstart the conspiracy theory movement?
This week marked 60 years since President John F Kennedy was shot dead as he travelled in the back of a car through the streets of Dallas, Texas. From the moment the news broke, people had their theories about what happened. So why did the assassination of JFK spawn dozens of conspiracy theories that have persisted for decades? Is there a reason why Americans are quick to believe their government is covering something up? And despite multiple examples of when conspiracies turn dangerous, are politicians today, including Kennedy’s own nephew, using conspiracy theories for political gain? This week, Jonathan Freedland speaks to Prof Kathryn Olmsted, author of Real Enemies: Conspiracy Theories and American Democracy, World War I to 9/11
Will Biden lose voters over response to Israel-Hamas war?
On Wednesday, the UN security council voted to back a resolution calling for a humanitarian pause in Gaza and the release of all the Israeli hostages held by Hamas. The US and the UK abstained on the resolution, saying they could not give their full support because it did not explicitly criticise Hamas. Joe Biden is facing growing calls to demand a ceasefire in Gaza. In a letter presented to him on Tuesday, more than 500 political appointees and staff members criticised the extent of the president’s support for Israel. But what about the communities directly involved? What do Arab-American and Jewish American voters think of Biden’s response since the 7 October attacks? Jonathan Freedland speaks to Dr James Zogby, of the Arab American Institute, and Jodi Rudoren, of The Forward, to discuss it
Elections 2023: Republicans lose big on issue of abortion
Tuesday was a big night for the Democrats, with big wins in some unexpected places: Ohio, Virginia and Kentucky. Abortion rights advocates were celebrating, their hopes lifted ahead of next year’s presidential election, despite some gloomy polls for Joe Biden. Republicans, meanwhile, like the presidential candidates who took to the debate stage on Wednesday, are reeling. So what do the results mean for 2024? Should Republicans rethink their message on abortion? And why is it that despite Donald Trump spending the week in court on trial for fraud, it’s Joe Biden who’s suffering in the polls? Jonathan Freedland is joined by Tara Setmayer and Simon Rosenberg to discuss it all.
Speaker Johnson, Israel, government shutdown and Virginia
The new speaker of the House of Representatives, Mike Johnson of Louisiana, faces the tough task of uniting a fractured Republican party, and preventing a quick-approaching government shutdown. Jonathan Freedland and Marianna Sotomayor of the Washington Post discuss what we have learned about his approach to the job from his first week with the gavel. Plus, as we prepare for next week’s off-year elections, Jonathan speaks to Carter Sherman about Virginia – the last remaining southern state without extensive abortion restrictions. They look at why results there could prove pivotal for Republican chances in 2024
Balanced and insightful
I always learn when I listen
Excellent Insight to US politics
A real favourite of mine for getting a brief insight into US politics. Jonathan is excellent and so are the guests. Well worth listening to.
Informative and balanced.