Things That Go Boom

S2 Bonus – Amb. William Burns

When we left off with our second season, there were… a few things happening with Iran…

And Amb. William Burns has a unique perspective — he’s been down this road with Iran before, as one of the architects of the 2015 nuclear deal.

We ask Burns for a gut check on the current situation, from Iran’s threats to ramp up uranium enrichment, to the fallout from President Trump’s ‘exchange of love letters’ with North Korea. He also shares some of the lessons from “the most depressing brainstorming session” of his career.

William Burns served five presidents and retired as the State Department’s No. 2 official. Today he’s the head of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, in Washington, DC. His book is “The Back Channel: A Memoir of American Diplomacy and the Case for Its Renewal.”

The Takeaway

Ahead of North Korea Summit, President Trump Spurns U.S. Allies

On Tuesday, one of the most widely anticipated diplomatic events in recent history will be carried out at an island resort in Singapore, a summit between President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. The Takeaway speaks with the leader of Secretary Albright’s North Korea delegation when she paid a visit to the hermetic country. Plus, we review the new Supreme Court decision to uphold Ohio’s voter purge law; the recent decision by I.C.E. to house 1,600 detainees in federal prisons; a surge in assassinations of political candidates in Mexico; the legacy of racism in Russian soccer as the World Cup gets underway; and the Justice Department’s secret seizure of a reporter’s phone and e-mail records.

You can connect with The Takeaway on TwitterFacebook, or on our show page at TheTakeaway.org.

Women's March in Oakland, CA on 1-21-17  drew more than 60,000 people
Whose Century Is It?

Make America Kind Again

America became a global leader over the past century through openness, generosity, and soft power —the ability to attract, and to make others want to emulate your way of life, including inclusivity and equal rights. Donald Trump’s vision of America, as voiced in his campaign and reflected in his first words and deeds as president, has caused more global dismay than attraction. Will the Trump era mark the end of the American century? Listen in to hear some early takes.

The Takeaway

Losing Hope for Peace? New Attack Raises Questions About Syrian Ceasefire

Click on the audio player above to hear this interview.

Air strikes in northern Syria destroyed a Doctors Without Borders hospital on Monday, in a region patrolled by Russian and Syrian government warplanes. 

The strikes only strengthened doubts about the ceasefire in the region, recently brokered by Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

U.S. Senator John McCain denounced the deal at a security conference in Munich earlier this week.

“Mr. Putin is not interested in being our partner,” Senator McCain said. “He wants to shore up the Assad regime; he wants to reestablish Russia as a major power in the Middle East; he wants to use Syria as a live fire exercise for Russia’s modernizing military.”

Robert Ford served as U.S. Ambassador to Syria from 2011 to 2014. He watched the conflict evolve from a protest against President Bashar al-Assad to the multi-front conflagration of today. Ambassador Ford discusses the current state of the conflict, and whether the ceasefire might hold. 

The Takeaway

A Shaky Truce for a Fragile Syria

Click on the audio player above to hear this interview.

Last week, President Obama announced a two-week ceasefire in the Syrian civil war a with a cautionary note.

“If implemented, and that’s a significant if, this cessation could reduce the violence and get more food and aid to Syrians who are suffering and desperately need it,” President Obama said. “It could save lives. Potentially, it could also lead to negotiations on a political settlement to end the civil war so that everyone can focus their attention on destroying ISIL.”

The truce was set to begin over the weekend, and would be the first time that diplomacy would have brought any sort of quiet in the five year civil war.

Stephen Kinzer, currently a columnist at the Boston Globe, and a senior fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University, joins The Takeaway with the latest on the fighting, and why the U.S. was so late in using diplomacy to try to end the war. 

What you’ll learn from this segment:

Whether the ceasefire has stopped the fighting.
Why many have been skeptical of the temporary agreement.
How the international community is viewing Bashar Al-Assad in negotiations.

The Takeaway

Riding By Pluto, A Historic Agreenment, An Infamous Experiment

July 14, 2015: 1. What You Need to Know About the Iran Deal | 2. NASA’s New Horizons Mission Flies by Pluto | 3. Iranian-Americans Celebrate a Path to Normalcy | 4. Meet the Military’s First Openly Transgender Service Member | 5. The True Story Behind the World’s Most Infamous Psychological Experiment

President Obama and Aung San Suu Kyi
America Abroad

Burma at the Crossroads

This fall, Burma is scheduled to hold an historic presidential election. But with ongoing persecution of ethnic minorities and many other human rights issues, many wonder if it is ready for true reform.