151 episodes

How the world looks through American eyes, and the myriad and unexpected ways that the world influences the United States.

Boston Calling BBC

    • Personal Journals

How the world looks through American eyes, and the myriad and unexpected ways that the world influences the United States.

    Taking responsibility

    Taking responsibility

    An impeachment trial is a rare event in the United States but there is something unprecedented about this one. President Trump's troubles are rooted in his approach to US foreign policy and diplomacy. The president is accused of pressuring Ukraine's president to investigate his political rival Joe Biden and his son, in exchange for US military assistance. The implications of the senate's verdict will be felt far beyond America's borders. Former US ambassador Nicholas Burns says that despite the pressure, diplomats from the US state department have acted courageously and have set a positive example for a new generation of foreign service officers.

    Also, the death of a US citizen in an Egyptian prison raises questions about US diplomacy; the internet has made cheating by students more digital and more global than ever before, and that has opened up business opportunities in places like Kenya; we look to the Mexico-Guatemala border where a new migrant caravan has been stopped by Mexican security forces; and we compare the cost of maternity healthcare in the US with other countries around the world.

    (Former Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns testifies during a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

    • 27 min
    Persian projects

    Persian projects

    The Trump administration insists that the president has a firm legal basis for ordering the attack that killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani. Legal scholars, though, are skeptical. We look into the American constitutional issues surrounding the president’s use of force.

    Also, the United States and Iran may no longer be on the brink of war, but Iran’s proxies, like Hezbollah, are armed and ready for revenge; An Israeli spy thriller goes on location in Iran, the story behind the production is a thriller unto itself; In Los Angeles, thousands of kilometres from Tehran, Muslim and Jewish Iranians come together for a long-awaited high school reunion; and Iranian-American author Dina Nayeri reflects on her refugee experience.

    (Anti-war activist march from the White House to the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC. Demonstrators are protesting the US drone attack which killed Iran's Major General Qasem Soleimani in Iraq. Credit: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images)

    • 27 min
    Power balance

    Power balance

    Retired US Army General David Petraeus has vast military and intelligence experience in the Middle East. He led US troops during some of the most critical years in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, with the assasination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, General Petraeus has some thoughts about the significance of this action.

    Also, after its initial retaliation for the killing of general Soleimani, Iran still has other options, like cyber-attacks against US targets; we’ll also take a look at how governments around the world use internet shutdowns to control the free flow of information; next, like with Iran, US-North Korea relations are also tense, but how did we get to this point?; and our own Rupa Shenoy looks back at a decade of protests around the world.

    (Iranian Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani (C) attends Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's meeting with the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) in Tehran. Credit: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

    • 26 min
    Hindsight is 2020

    Hindsight is 2020

    It's almost been 20 years since the war in Afghanistan started. The Afghan people want a solution and the US is trying to make a deal. Everyone wants to forge a pathway towards peace and stop the threat of nearly daily violence. Currently, peace talks between the US and the Taliban are developing and could be at an important stage.

    Also, a cache of previously unpublished documents, including interviews with top US policy makers, describe many of the failures from the war in Afghanistan. The White House’s former top advisor on Afghanistan, Douglas Lute, and a former anti-corruption officer at the US Embassy in Kabul, Sarah Peck, share their thoughts on the Afghanistan papers; As a US military veteran, author CJ Chivers shares his unique perspective on the Afghan war; and Feroza Mushtari grew up during the Taliban era, but she has become a force for change in the country's maternal health system.

    (US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad attends the Intra Afghan Dialogue talks in the Qatari capital Doha. Credit: Karim Jaafar/Getty Images)

    • 27 min
    Screen time

    Screen time

    Several former contractors, who did content moderation work for Facebook, are suing in Europe over the psychological trauma they say the work has caused them. The lawsuit is bringing new scrutiny to the content moderation ecosystem that Facebook and other platforms rely on to police what gets posted on their platforms. Author Sarah T. Roberts says that human content moderation isn’t going away anytime soon.

    Also, a North Korean cartoon called ‘Bunny Brothers and the Wolf’, may not be the thinly disguised anti-American propaganda it appears to be; Sesame Street, revolutionized children's television in the US, now it’s doing the same and around the world; and Blue’s Clues, an iconic kids TV program in the US has a new host, Filipino actor Josh Dela Cruz. He tells Marco what the reaction has been like among Asian-American kids.

    (Woman looking at the internet site of the online network Facebook. Credit: Classen/ullstein bild/Getty Images)

    • 27 min
    The allegiance edition

    The allegiance edition

    Susan Rice, National Security Advisor and UN ambassador during the Obama administration, joins us to talk about impeachment, Hunter Biden’s work in Ukraine, and the enduring legacy of Benghazi. Also, we look into President Trump’s latest executive order, which relies on a controversial definition of anti-Semitism; and there’s been a surge in applications for US citizenship ahead of elections in 2020 but wait times are getting longer and longer.

    (Former National Security Advisor Susan Rice speaks at the J Street 2018 National Conference in Washington, DC. Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

    • 27 min

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