100 episodes

International lawyer Robert Amsterdam and other members from the Amsterdam & Partners LLP team host a wide range of special expert guests to discuss leading international political and business issues.

Departures with Robert Amsterdam Amsterdam & Partners LLP

    • News
    • 4.8 • 45 Ratings

International lawyer Robert Amsterdam and other members from the Amsterdam & Partners LLP team host a wide range of special expert guests to discuss leading international political and business issues.

    The Murderous Ideology of Franco's Spain

    The Murderous Ideology of Franco's Spain

    The story of the rise of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco in 1936 is often overshadowed by that of the country's civil war and its entanglement across the other major developments in Europe at the time. But Spanish fascism was also driven by an enduring set of beliefs - which were so thoroughly odious and absurd - that it is a significant challenge to unravel how so many came to support the dictatorship and permit its genocide.
    Sir Paul Preston is among the greatest living historians on this period in Spain, and the Departures podcast was fortunate to host him on a discussion of his most recent book, "Architects of Terror: Paranoia, Conspiracy and Anti-Semitism in Franco’s Spain."
    In his conversation with Robert Amsterdam, Preston explores the rather insane alleged scheme for world domination by a non-existent "Jewish-Masonic-Bolshevik Conspiracy," and how so many people bought into this false propaganda leading to the slaughter of half a million people. Despite the fact that Spain had only a tiny minority of Jews and Freemasons, Franco and his inner circle were ardent believers in this fabricated conspiracy and spread the notion that the survival of Catholic Spain. With this conspiracy, there were also the establishment's economic interests, which required the complete elimination of all Jews.
    A harrowing history of a hidden holocaust, Preston's book highlights how so much danger comes with disinformation, and how the most extreme ideologies can enter the mainstream.

    • 23 min
    Surviving Putin

    Surviving Putin

    Marina Litvinenko has seen a lot in her life.
    In 2006, her husband, the former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, was assassinated by radioactive poisoning by agents of the Russian government. Her unrelenting quest for justice and answers has led through the courts, the media, and the highest levels of diplomacy - and yet, after all this time, there were people in the UK who still did not heed her warnings about dealing with Vladimir Putin before last year's invasion of Ukraine.
    In this conversation with Robert Amsterdam, Marina discusses her campaign, views and insights on the conflict in Ukraine, and how the West should deal with punishing those around Putin (while avoiding isolation of independent Russian citizens).

    • 24 min
    Italy's indulgent nostalgia for Mussolini

    Italy's indulgent nostalgia for Mussolini

    The period during which 'Il Duce' Benito Mussolini ruled Italy as prime minister from 1922 to 1943 remains as confusing and contested today as it did during the disastrous postwar years, due mainly to a series of myths about the man, his government, and facism in general.
    In the new book from the decorated historian Paul Corner, "Mussolini in Myth and Memory: The First Totalitarian Dictator," the author ruthlessly interrogates these myths, and explores what it means when we have such a large section of the Italian population continue to live in a fictional memory of a past "when the trains ran on time."
    Speaking in his interview with Robert Amsterdam, Corner explains that his book is about illusion, about the creation of towering myths. "We don't remember things to get them right," he says, "we remember them to get them wrong."
    Addressing the mistaken claims that Mussolini was somehow "strong" and "decisive" in memory, Corner documents all the incredibly inefficiencies, incompetence, corruption, and violence perpetrated by his highly repressive regime during these decades. There was not a sliver of "good governance" in fascist Italy, but a chaotic and intolerant regime which sought power, first under revolutionary socialism before switching to far-right nationalism, and has benefitted improperly from a historical narrative that has wrongly rehabilitated by parties seeking to benefit politically in today's environment.

    • 26 min
    Nobody wants a war fought over the South China Sea

    Nobody wants a war fought over the South China Sea

    It may just be a smattering of insignificant rocks and reefs along the Nine-dash line between the Philippines and China, but in recent years this area has become the focus of the world's most complex and dangerous maritime dispute. China's growing influence and willingness to project its will against smaller neighbors and US allies has drawn Washington into a set of intersecting disputes, while placing significant pressure on America's commitment to established international law regarding open seas.
    This week on Departures we are pleased to feature Gregory Poling, the Southeast Asia Program and Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC. Poling is the author of the new book, "On Dangerous Ground: America's Century in the South China Sea," which offers a detailed and highly engaging history of Washington's involvement in this part of the world and how the current tensions evolved from past unsettled issues.
    Poling's book takes issue with the China-centric narrative which has become embedded in the global conversation about these territorial claims, and puts the focus on strategic decisionmaking happening not just in Beijing and Washington, but also among many other smaller neighboring Southeast Asian countries with interests at play.

    • 24 min
    Manipulating Information and faking democracy

    Manipulating Information and faking democracy

    In the age of information and with growing calls around the world for democracy, Vladimir Putin, Lee Kuan Yew and Alberto Fujimori are redefining what it means to be a dictator in the 21st century. Through the manipulation of information, media, and using censorship, this new breed of despots are covertly monopolizing power under the guise of democracy. 
    Sergei Guriev and Daniel Treisman's new book, "Spin Dictators: The Changing Face of Tyranny in the 21st Century," explores these new methods of discipline, postmodern propoganda, and global pillage to control the masses, while counselling the way forward for democracies and the global community at large. 
    In his discussion with Robert Amsterdam, Guriev explains the difference between spin and fear dictators, and how free societies tendencies towards innovation can save democracy; as well as current political structures in Israel and Georgia, debating how they could be at risk of sliding into this new version of authoritarianism.
    His research highlights the importance of current democracies holding themselves accountable for missteps as a means to reduce whataboutism by these dictators for the purpose of mass manipulation. 

    • 29 min
    Playing in the grey in the shadow economy

    Playing in the grey in the shadow economy

    In international finance, the difference between what is legal and normal and what is criminal and corrupt is often unclear, a disparity made worse by an overlapping series of laws and regulations which in some cases can put U.S. competition at a disadvantage.
    These networks of illicit finance, shell corporations, and offshore structures used by global elites to create, move, and conceal vast amounts of wealth is explored in great detail by Prof. Kimberly Kay Hoang in her new book, "Spiderweb Capitalism: How Global Elites Exploit Frontier Markets."
    Hoang's investigation, which involved some 350,000 miles of travel and dozens of field interviews with executives and market players, sheds light on this secretive and poorly understood corner of the global economy.
    In her discussion with Robert Amsterdam, Hoang explains how shell corporations can be set up to move funds from statelets like Guernsey, to more well known offshore havens like the Cayman Islands, as well as Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Delaware, among many others. Her investigaiton brings fresh insights to the shortcomings of laws like the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), which has imposed very high compliance costs on US companies but has done little to halt the activity of other players.

    • 28 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
45 Ratings

45 Ratings

James.C52 ,

Best Podcast Out There

Bobs ability to consistently land these world class subject matter experts is hugely impressive, and his ability to engage them in esoteric, in-depth discussions makes this the best podcast around. I’m so happy this podcast was recommended to me, as it’s equal parts educational, entertaining and engrossing.

Msupp123 ,

Fantastic politics/iR podcast

This is a great podcast for anyone interested in international affairs. The guest list is impressive - it seems every new IR book that comes out is covered here and the conversations with authors and other guests are always insightful.

nermeoxz11 z ,

Excellent China Analysis

A very insightful analysis of the role of domestic popular opinion in China on Beijing’s foreign policy priorities.

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