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Altamar with Peter Schechter and Muni Jensen

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The Scramble for Syria

Syria's civil war has long ceased to be civil. The last two months have been a gut-wrenching reminder of how internationalized this conflict has become. As regional and world powers become more deeply entrenched, is there any way out of this tinderbox? Peter and Muni discuss with Joyce Karam, the Washington correspondent for Al-Hayat and The National, who's been following this war since its inception.


Brazilian Shock Therapy

A massive anti-corruption investigation has taken down some of Brazil’s most powerful people, including former president Lula, who’s still polling first in this October’s general election. What will become of his candidacy? What has allowed Brazil’s judiciary to become so effective? And is this all as positive as it seems from the outside? Political risk analyst Andrea Murta and law professor Diego Werneck Arguelhes join this week for a deep dive into the scandal that has captivated the...


Saudi Arabia's Enigmatic Crown Prince

Mohammed bin Salman has flung Saudi Arabia onto a new path. Some say he’s just what the country needs to kick its sclerotic economy into gear. Others say he’s a despot further polarizing an already unstable region. Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi and Princeton University professor of Near Eastern studies Bernard Haykel join this week to dissect the competing narratives.


Europe's Rough Year Ahead

Political turmoil is not unique to the US, it appears. Across the Atlantic, Europe is in flux. By and large, the center is eroding, fringe parties are strengthening, and Macron's ambitions to make the EU sexy again seem to fall on deaf ears. Peter and Muni talk to Mark Leonard, director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, to see whether this is a momentary hiccup or an inflection point for the continent.


2018: Latin America's Electoral Roller Coaster

As we cap off a crazy 2017, Latin America is gearing up for an even crazier 2018. Of the five (potentially six) presidential elections to be held in the region next year, those in Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico promise to be particularly contentious. Peter and Muni take a closer look at these three Latin American powerhouses and the key issues and candidates to watch in their upcoming races. They're joined by Venezuelan author and political scientist Moisés Naím to discuss broader trends in...


Mission Impossible in the Sahel?

What happened in last month's ambush that killed four Green Berets in Niger? And why are we in the region in the first place? Peter and Muni discuss events on the ground and US strategy (and its shortcomings) with ABC News senior foreign correspondent Ian Pannell and Washington Post Global Opinions editor Karen Attiah.


Iran and Congress: The Mideast Mess Gets Messier Still

Noting that the US doesn't have enough on its plate, Trump has decided to decertify the Iran nuclear deal, though it's up to Congress to decide what that means. With no shortage of bad behavior from Tehran in its own neighborhood, sabotaging the deal risks giving this "new Cold War" a nuclear component. Peter and Muni look at possible scenarios and outcomes with Jake Sullivan, former Deputy Assistant to President Obama and one of the architects of the Iran deal.


China and the New World Order

China has been steadily increasing its global footprint, and since January, the US has been rapidly scaling back its own. With that in mind, China's 19th Communist Party Congress had one overarching theme: China isn't emerging - it has emerged, and it's ready to be a leader. But what does that mean for the rest of us? Peter and Muni are joined by Bill Bishop, a China expert and founder of the Sinocism newsletter, to discuss Xi Jinping's consolidation of power, and what we can expect from...


Is Spain Coming Apart?

Peter and Muni are joined by professor and expert on Catalan secessionism Andrew Dowling to discuss causes, reactions, and prognoses for Catalonia's independence drive. They look at similar movements around the world and external factors (and actors) abetting this new rise of separatist sentiment.


Dotard v. Rocket Man

North Korea's rapid nuclear advances and a war of words between Trump and Kim Jong Un have added terrifying new dimensions to an old conflict. Arms control expert Jeffrey Lewis of Foreign Policy, and The New Yorker's Evan Osnos, one of the last American journalists to visit Pyongyang, join in to discuss the danger and possible off-ramps to the crisis.


Is the Populist Wave Here to Stay?

With more and more populist and authoritarian leaders popping up throughout the world, Peter and Muni look at underlying causes and give their prognoses for the liberal international order. Professor Soli Ozel joins in to look at long-term trends.


Trump and Mexico: Burning Bridges, Building Walls

A favorite punching bag of Trump's during the campaign, Mexico is at its wit's end. Peter and Muni look at all that we have to lose from making this loyal friend a foe. They're joined by Sen. Gabriela Cuevas, head of the Mexican Senate's Foreign Relations Committee, to weigh in on the danger.


Is Russia Winning?

Everyone is obsessing over President Donald Trump’s possible collusion with Russia during the 2016 election. Strategically speaking, how's that working out for Vladimir Putin? Our guest on this week’s episode, Prof. Mark Galeotti of Prague’s Centre for European Security, argues that Putin is actually not faring that well after all.


Centrisme Révolutionnaire: Does Macron Have the Answer to Populism?

Editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast Jon Avlon and Université d'Orléans historian and author Jean Garrigues discuss the political phenom Emmanuel Macron, and debate whether he truly has an answer to the wave of populism currently dominating many democracies.


A Way Forward after Trump's Cuba Backtrack?

James Williams of Engage Cuba speaks with Peter and Muni about President Donald Trump's recent reversal of the Cuba opening, and what it means for future relations with Havana.