58 episodes

Stories about the ins, outs, and whathaveyous of what keeps us safe. Hosted by Laicie Heeley. Things That Go Boom takes an unconventional look at critical global and national security issues -- so grab a beer and buckle up. It gets bumpy.

Things That Go Boom PRX

    • News
    • 4.7 • 273 Ratings

Stories about the ins, outs, and whathaveyous of what keeps us safe. Hosted by Laicie Heeley. Things That Go Boom takes an unconventional look at critical global and national security issues -- so grab a beer and buckle up. It gets bumpy.

    Cold Front - Tromsø

    Cold Front - Tromsø

    Putin’s war in Ukraine has European nations scrambling to cut off their supplies of Russian gas — both to further penalize Russia and to ensure the country can’t withhold its energy supplies as a blackmail tool. That transition has many European leaders turning to the Arctic for solutions like wind energy. But some Sámi activists in Arctic Europe say they’ve been backed into a corner after years of industrial development, and that what’s left of their traditional territory is not up for negotiation.

    GUESTS: Justin Ling, freelance journalist; Beaska Niillas, parliamentary leader in the Sámi Parliament in Norway and alternate member of the Saami Council

    ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

    “The Costs of Choosing Wind Power,” Sunna Svendsen, Inkstick Media
    ”Norway Surges Oil, Gas Profit. Now It’s Urged To Help,” Mark Lewis ft. Monika Scislowska, Associated Press
    ”Arctic Military Infrastructure: The Olavsvern case,” Wenche Irén Sterkeby and Vidar Hole, The Arctic Institute

    • 24 min
    Cold Front - Beijing

    Cold Front - Beijing

    China’s business activity in the Arctic has been attracting a lot of eyeballs. Its state-sponsored construction companies have been securing contracts for important infrastructure, and the country sees the resources in the polar regions as key to its future stability. That interest has the United States, sometimes called the “reluctant Arctic state,” perking up its ears.

    But all this new competition in the region — it puts Arctic peoples at the center of a tricky geopolitical tango. We speak to two leaders in Greenlandic governance about how the country is managing that dance.

    Reporting by Katie Toth.

    GUESTS: Willie Hensley, author; educator; former Alaska State Senator; Marisol Maddox, Senior Arctic Analyst, Wilson Center; Mia Bennett, Assistant Professor, University of Washington; Pele Broberg, Member of Parliament for Greenland; chair, Partii Naleraq; Aaja Chemnitz Larsen, Member of Parliament for Denmark; chair, Conference of Arctic Parliamentarians; Col (Ret.) Pierre LeBlanc, Canadian Armed Forces

    ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

    “How a Failed Social Experiment in Denmark Separated Inuit Children From Their Families,” Tara John, CNN

    “What Rights To Land Have Alaska Natives?: The Primary Question,” Willie Hensley, Alaskool

    “Could the Arctic Be a Wedge Between China and Russia?” Jeremy Greenwood and Shuxian Luo, War on the Rocks

    “Let’s (Not) Make A Deal: Geopolitics and Greenland,” Jon Rahbek-Clemmensen, War on the Rocks

    “American Imperialists Have Always Dreamed of Greenland,” Paul Musgrave, Foreign Policy

    • 26 min
    Cold Front - Yellowknife

    Cold Front - Yellowknife

    Noel Cockney and Randy Henderson have seen what a warming North can do to their home.

    Manning an educational Indigenous fish camp an ice road away from Yellowknife, Canada, they slice and dice fish out of Great Slave Lake and chop wood to keep people warm in the subzero spring temperatures. It’s cold — and they like it this way.

    Cold in the North means connectivity, as people zip around on ice roads and snowmobiles. It makes for soft, marketable furs for trappers and cozy nights at home. And as the temperature warms, those things are at risk.

    For decades, leaders of Arctic countries like Russia, Norway and the USA could set aside their differences and find common ground on environmental issues in the region. The Arctic was treated less like a zone of competition, and more like a tool to build diplomatic rapport. But Russia's war in Ukraine has totally upended that dynamic — and shattered the trust of the West. So — in a region where Russia controls half of the Arctic shoreline — how do we fight climate change now?

    Reporting by Katie Toth.

    GUESTS: Randy Henderson, Land-Based Co-ordinator and Community Mentor, Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning; Noel Cockney, Regional Programmer and Safety Co-ordinator, Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning; Dalee Sambo Dorough, International Chair, Inuit Circumpolar Council; Andrea Pitzer, Author, Icebound: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World; Mia Bennett, Assistant Professor, University of Washington

    ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

    "How Putin’s War Is Sinking Climate Science,” Andrea Pitzer, Nautilus

    "How War in Ukraine Is Changing the Arctic,” The Economist

    • 24 min
    Move Slow and Fix Things

    Move Slow and Fix Things

    The House and Senate were always supposed to check the president’s power in foreign affairs. But when partisan loyalties and an onslaught of domestic issues make legislation nearly impossible… what’s a congress to do?

    This week, we talk to Representative Ro Khanna (D-CA) about how Congress can take back its power in foreign affairs – and finally get some things done. We discuss his efforts to stop the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, the animating power of a passionate public, and why he’s optimistic about the future of congressional power in American foreign policy.

    GUEST: Congressman Ro Khanna, represents California’s 17th Congressional District

    ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

    War Powers Resolution of 1973, Nixon Library

    Trump Vetoes Measure to Force End to U.S. Involvement in Yemen War, Mark Landler and Peter Baker, The New York Times

    Saudi warplanes carpet-bomb Yemen with US help. This must end, Berine Sanders and Ro Khanna, The Guardian

    Dignity in a Digital Age, Ro Khanna, Simon & Schuster

    • 24 min
    This Really Happened

    This Really Happened

    Covert action has supported our nation’s security goals for decades — from fighting the Cold War to killing Osama Bin Laden. But it’s also part of a long American history of justifying the means to an end, one that’s led to unethical and illegal actions across the world.

    You could spend hours reading about past covert affairs without understanding how the executive branch manages missions or the classified intel around them — and, it’s not just you. Congress is tasked with overseeing those efforts, and even it has a hard time breaking through the layers of bureaucracy meant to keep our secrets safe.

    But when the war drum starts beating, where does it leave lawmakers tasked with checking and balancing? Two skeletons in the CIA’s closet might help give us some answers.

    GUESTS: Lana Ponting, MKULTRA Survivor; Julie Tanny, MKULTRA Survivor; Oona Hathaway, Yale University; Sam Worthington, InterAction

    ADDITIONAL READING:

    Secrecy’s End, Oona Hathaway, Minnesota Law Review

    Covert Action, Congressional Inaction, Stephen R. Weissman, Foreign Affairs

    Brainwashed: The echoes of MKULTRA, Canadian Broadcasting Association

    In Vaccines We Trust? The Effect of The CIA’s Vaccine Ruse on Immunization In Pakistan, Monica Martinez-​Bravo and Andreas Stegmann, Journal of the European Economic Association

    • 34 min
    To Appropriations and Beyond!

    To Appropriations and Beyond!

    When Congress created Space Force back in 2019, it looked to some like a wild idea from President Trump had just gone and become the sixth branch of the armed forces. But the US military has been using space for decades, and the importance of space to civilians and the military alike means that Space Force actually has a lot on its plate. As Congress considers the defense budget and the ways military activity in space can evolve, its decisions could have long-lasting consequences.

    GUESTS: Maj. Mike Lyons (USA, ret.), Fellow at the Truman National Security Project; Theresa Hitchens, Senior Space Reporter at Breaking Defense; Katherine Kuzminski, Senior Fellow and Director, Military, Veterans, and Society Program at the Center for a New American Security; Dr. Laura Grego, Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow at the MIT Laboratory for Nuclear Security and Policy

    Special thanks to Dr. Robert Farley.

    ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

    What's With All the U.S. Space-Related Agencies?, US Department of Defense.

    Space Threat Assessment: 2021, Center for Strategic and International Studies.

    The Politics of Space Security, James Clay Moltz, Stanford University Press.

    Biden’s 2023 defense budget adds billions for U.S. Space Force, Sandra Erwin, Space News.

    • 26 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
273 Ratings

273 Ratings

HPRI ,

Superb

Thought provoking, interesting, lively, and at times hilarious. Really well done. Can’t recommend highly enough.

Ham@2400132 ,

Persian

فارسی

Hjalmus ,

Outstanding

Enjoy the reporting and different perspectives on current and historical events. Well made and easy to listen to. Thank you!

Top Podcasts In News

The New York Times
NPR
The Daily Wire
New York Times Opinion
Cumulus Podcast Network | Dan Bongino
The Daily Wire

You Might Also Like

Roman Mars
NPR
PRX
Vox
NPR
New York Times Opinion

More by PRX

PRX and Greater Good Science Center
Snap Judgment and PRX
The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX
Futuro Studios and PRX
WNYC and PRX
PRX