World Affairs Councils Podcast
Cover to Cover: Robin Broad and John Cavanagh on “The Water Defenders”

Cover to Cover: Robin Broad and John Cavanagh on “The Water Defenders”

May 4, 2021

Listen now to WACA's Cover to Cover from Wednesday, April 28, 2021, featuring co-authors Robin Broad, Professor of International Development at American University, and John Cavanagh, Executive Director of the Institute for Policy Studies. 

The Water Defenders: How Ordinary People Saved a Country from Corporate Greed

At a time when countless communities are resisting powerful corporations—from Flint, Michigan, to the Standing Rock Reservation, to Didipio in the Philippines, to the Gualcarque River in Honduras—The Water Defenders tells the inspirational story of a community that took on an international mining corporation at seemingly insurmountable odds and won not one but two historic victories.

In the early 2000s, many people in El Salvador were at first excited by the prospect of jobs, progress, and prosperity that the Pacific Rim mining company promised. However, farmer Vidalina Morales, brothers Marcelo and Miguel Rivera, and others soon discovered that the river system supplying water to the majority of Salvadorans was in danger of catastrophic contamination. With a group of unlikely allies, local and global, they committed to stop the corporation and the destruction of their home.

Based on over a decade of research and their own role as international allies of the community groups in El Salvador, Robin Broad and John Cavanagh unspool this untold story—a tale replete with corporate greed, a transnational lawsuit at a secretive World Bank tribunal in Washington, violent threats, murders, and—surprisingly—victory. The husband-and-wife duo immerses the reader in the lives of the Salvadoran villagers, the journeys of the local activists who sought the truth about the effects of gold mining on the environment, and the behind-the-scenes maneuverings of the corporate mining executives and their lawyers. The Water Defenders demands that we examine our assumptions about progress and prosperity, while providing valuable lessons for those fighting against destructive corporations in the United States and across the world.

 

Cover to Cover: Charles Kupchan on Isolationism

Cover to Cover: Charles Kupchan on Isolationism

March 16, 2021

Listen now to WACA's Cover to Cover from Wednesday, March 3, at 2:00-3:00 PM ET, featuring Charles Kupchan, Professor of International Affairs in the School of Foreign Service and Government Department at Georgetown University, and Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Isolationism: A History of America’s Efforts to Shield Itself From the World

In his Farewell Address of 1796, President George Washington admonished the young nation “to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world.” Isolationism thereafter became one of the most influential political trends in American history. From the founding era until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States shunned strategic commitments abroad, making only brief detours during the Spanish-American War and World War I. Amid World War II and the Cold War, Americans abandoned isolationism; they tried to run the world rather than run away from it. But isolationism is making a comeback as Americans tire of foreign entanglement. In this definitive and magisterial analysis—the first book to tell the fascinating story of isolationism across the arc of American history—Charles Kupchan explores the enduring connection between the isolationist impulse and the American experience. He also refurbishes isolationism’s reputation, arguing that it constituted dangerous delusion during the 1930s, but afforded the nation clear strategic advantages during its ascent.

Cover to Cover: Kathryn Stoner on Russia Resurrected

Cover to Cover: Kathryn Stoner on Russia Resurrected

February 23, 2021

Listen now to WACA's Cover to Cover on Thursday, February 18, at 2:00-3:00 PM ET, featuring Kathryn Stoner, Deputy Director at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and a Senior Fellow at the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, and at the Center for International Security and Cooperation, all at Stanford University.

Russia Resurrected: Its Power and Purpose in a New Global Order

Stoner shows that Russia is neither as weak as we think, nor as strong as its leadership would like it to be viewed. This book directs a spotlight on the interac­tion between domestic politics and foreign policy to explain Russian power and purpose in the twenty-first century. From Russia's seizure of Crimea to its military support for the Assad regime in Syria, the country has reasserted itself as a major global power. Stoner offers an eye-opening reassessment of the country, identifying the actual sources of its power in international politics and why it has been able to redefine the post-Cold War global order. 

Cover to Cover: Secretary Michael Chertoff on the SolarWinds Hack and Cyber Security in a Digital Age

Cover to Cover: Secretary Michael Chertoff on the SolarWinds Hack and Cyber Security in a Digital Age

February 9, 2021

WACA's Cover to Cover webinar on Thursday, January 21, at 4:00-5:00 PM ET, featured Secretary Michael Chertoff, Former Secretary of Homeland Security (2005-2009). This webinar was moderated by Bryan Cunningham, Executive Director of the Cybersecurity Policy & Research Institute at UCI.

Exploding Data: Reclaiming Our Cyber Security in the Digital Age

The most dangerous threat we—individually and as a society and country—face today is no longer military, but rather the increasingly pervasive exposure of our personal information; nothing undermines our freedom more than losing control of information about ourselves. And yet, as daily events underscore, we are ever more vulnerable to cyber-attack. In this bracing book, Michael Chertoff makes clear that our laws and policies surrounding the protection of personal information, written for an earlier time, need to be completely overhauled in the Internet era.

This event was hosted by WAC Orange County with promotional partners including: World Affairs Councils of America, Los Angeles WAC & TH, and WAC San Diego.

Cover to Cover: Glenn Robinson on Global Jihad

Cover to Cover: Glenn Robinson on Global Jihad

December 14, 2020

WACA's Cover to Cover conference call on Wednesday, December 9, at 2:00-2:30 PM ET, featured Glenn Robinson, Associate Professor at Naval Postgraduate School and President of WAC Monterey Bay on his book, Global Jihad: A Brief History.

Most violent jihadi movements in the twentieth century focused on removing corrupt, repressive secular regimes throughout the Muslim world. But following the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, a new form of jihadism emerged - global jihad - turning to the international arena as the primary locus of ideology and action. With this book, Glenn Robinson develops a compelling and provocative argument about this violent political movement's evolution.

KNOW NOW: Firoz Peera on China’s Belt & Road Initiative

KNOW NOW: Firoz Peera on China’s Belt & Road Initiative

December 7, 2020

Listen now to WACA's KNOW NOW conference call on Wednesday, December 2, at 2:00-2:30 PM ET, featuring Firoz Peera, board member and past Chair of the World Affairs Council of Charlotte

The Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) is China’s ambitious multi-decade project to create a modern day version of the ancient Silk Road, a powerful route that provided the foundation for the very first wave of globalization across a vast Eurasian landscape. Mr. Peera will discuss the nature & scope of the BRI and its geo-strategic implications in this new age of great power rivalry.

Peera is a board member and past Chair of the World Affairs Council of Charlotte. With a strong interest in history and geopolitics, he has been an avid watcher of China’s ascendency to superpower status.

Cover to Cover: Lesley Blume on Hiroshima Revealed

Cover to Cover: Lesley Blume on Hiroshima Revealed

September 14, 2020

Listen now to WACA's Cover to Cover conference call from Thursday, August 6, at 2:00-2:30 PM ET, featuring Lesley Blume, award-winning journalist, historian, and New York Times bestselling author, on her book Fallout: The Hiroshima Cover-Up and the Reporter Who Revealed It to the World.

Just days after the U.S. decimated Hiroshima and Nagasaki with nuclear bombs, the Japanese surrendered unconditionally. But even before the surrender, the U.S. government and military had begun a secret propaganda and information suppression campaign to hide the devastating nature of these experimental weapons. The cover-up intensified as Occupation forces closed the atomic cities to Allied reporters, preventing leaks about the horrific long-term effects of radiation which would kill thousands during the months after the blast. For nearly a year the cover-up worked - until New Yorker journalist John Hersey got into Hiroshima and managed to report the truth to the world. Released on the 75th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing, Fallout is an engrossing detective story, as well as an important piece of hidden history that shows how one heroic scoop saved - and can still save - the world.

Cover to Cover: Kristian Coates Ulrichsen on Qatar and the Gulf Crisis

Cover to Cover: Kristian Coates Ulrichsen on Qatar and the Gulf Crisis

August 3, 2020

Listen now to WACA's Cover to Cover conference call from Thursday, July 16, at 2:00-2:30 PM ET, featuring Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, Fellow for the Middle East at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and an Associate Fellow of Chatham House’s Middle East and North Africa Program, on his book Qatar and the Gulf Crisis.

 

In 2017, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt severed diplomatic ties with Qatar, launching an economic blockade by land, air and sea. Well into its second year, the standoff in the Gulf has no realistic end in sight. With the Bahraini and Emirati criminalisation of expressing support for Qatar, and the Saudi labelling of detainees as ‘traitors’ for their alleged Qatari links, bitterness has been stoked between deeply interconnected peoples. The adviser to the Saudi crown prince advocating a moat to physically separate Qatar from the Arabian Peninsula illustrates the ongoing intensity - and irrationality - of the crisis. Ulrichsen offers an authoritative study of this international standoff, from both sides.

Cover to Cover: Mira Rapp-Hooper on America’s Alliances

Cover to Cover: Mira Rapp-Hooper on America’s Alliances

July 8, 2020

Listen now to WACA's Cover to Cover conference call from Tuesday, June 23 at 2:00-2:30 PM ET, featuring Mira Rapp-Hooper, Stephen A. Schwarzman Senior Fellow for Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and a Senior Fellow at Yale Law School's Paul Tsai China Center.

Shields of the Republic: The Triumph and Peril of America’s Alliances

Mira Rapp-Hooper reveals the remarkable success of America’s unprecedented system of alliances developed during the Cold War. Today, China and Russia seek to break America’s alliances through conflict and non-military erosion. Meanwhile, U.S. politicians and voters are increasingly skeptical of alliances’ costs and benefits and believe we may be better off without them. But what if the alliance system is a victim of its own quiet success? Rapp-Hooper argues that America’s national security requires alliances that deter and defend against military and non-military conflict alike.

Cover to Cover: Michael Klare on Climate Change

Cover to Cover: Michael Klare on Climate Change

June 1, 2020

Listen now to WACA's Cover to Cover conference call from Thursday, May 14, at 2:00-2:30 PM ET, featuring Michael Klare, Senior Visiting Fellow at the Arms Control Association and Professor Emeritus of Peace and World Security Studies at Hampshire College, on his book All Hell Breaking Loose: The Pentagon's Perspective on Climate Change

Of all major institutions in American society, none take climate change as seriously as the U.S. military and the Pentagon. Drawing on previously obscure reports and government documents, renowned security expert Michael Klare shows that the U.S. military sees the climate threat as imperiling the country on several fronts at once. The military now regards climate change as one of the top threats to American national security, and is busy developing strategies to cope with it.

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