Monocle 24: The Foreign Desk-logo

Monocle 24: The Foreign Desk

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London, United Kingdom




Monocle foreign editor Steve Bloomfield tackles some of the world’s biggest issues, featuring in-depth analysis and interviews with global leaders.




Autocracies and architecture

Christopher Lord discusses the relationship between governance and architecture. For example, what does the layout of your parliament building say about your government? And why has work by so-called 'starchitects' started popping up in surprising corners of the world? With Razan Alzayani, Yasser Elsheshtawy, David Mulder van der Vegt, Peter Murray and Charlotte Skene Catling.

Duration: 00:31:46

Explainer 77: Is Kagame really that popular?

After winning yet another election with well over 90 per cent of the vote – and a similarly high turn out – is Rwanda's Paul Kagame really that popular? And if so, why?

Duration: 00:05:03

Autocracies and art

In part one of our summer series we explore the relationship between autocratic regimes and art. From lewd fantasy art collections and obscene home decor to the vast and impressive – not to mention expensive – state collections of Qatar. We ask why power and money rarely lead to good taste.

Duration: 00:28:44

Explainer 76: Do political scandals still matter?

Whether it was a secret affair, colluding with the enemy or saying something they shouldn’t have near a microphone, when a scandal emerged politicians used to prepare for the end of their careers. But is that still the case – and if not, what could it mean for political integrity?

Duration: 00:07:16

Trump: 42 months to go

Donald Trump’s first six months in the Oval Office have given us plenty to talk about. His policies aren’t passing, his tweets keep coming – and what about that wall? But accusations against him and his closest allies are building, so how long can it last?

Duration: 00:29:40

Explainer 75: Communist beach party

Every August the inner circle of China’s communist party decamp to a woody coastal compound 300km east of Beijing. But is this just a chance to top up a tan or two or is it about political tactics and securing power?

Duration: 00:04:02

Venezuela: can Maduro hold on?

Unofficial referendums, spurious elections, strikes and riots – the ongoing instability in Venezuela is taking its toll on the people that live there. But could things have been different? And what can be done to return the country to normality?

Duration: 00:29:22

Explainer 74: Cultural boycotts

After a drawn-out media spat, Radiohead played a concert in Israel this week. But why were people so against it – and what were they hoping to achieve?

Duration: 00:04:37

No place like home

In 1965 the UK separated the Chagos Islands, an archipelago in the middle of the Indian Ocean, from Mauritius to form the British Indian Ocean Territory. Everyone living there was evicted and they have been fighting to return ever since. After a vote in the UN referred the matter to the International Court of Justice, is now the time for Chagossians to return home?

Duration: 00:28:06

Explainer 73: The decline and fall of Chris Christie

After a term steeped in controversy, has the political career of the outgoing governor of New Jersey come to an end? And if so, what’s next?

Duration: 00:06:30

Hong Kong’s 20-year handover hangover

Twenty years after the “one party, two systems” treaty guaranteed Hong Kongers’ democratic rights, we ask if China has kept its promises and whether the UK should have been a better advocate for its former colony. We get the verdicts from Lord Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong; Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive; Nathan Law, one of the key figures of the Umbrella Movement and the youngest lawmaker in Hong Kong’s history; and China Dialogue’s Isabel Hilton.

Duration: 00:28:08

Explainer 72: What’s next for Yuriko Koike?

The Tokyo governor’s political career is going from strength to strength despite pervading attitudes – but what’s next for her?

Duration: 00:04:14

Mosul: the end of the fight against Isis?

In Iraq, Mosul is all but recaptured from Islamic State. In Syria, Raqqa looks likely to be freed next. Does the caliphate have a future if it holds no territory? And how can the retaken cities be rebuilt to stop IS coming back?

Duration: 00:29:44

Explainer 71: Canada’s 150th Birthday

As Canada reaches the ripe old age of 150, Tomos Lewis asks what, exactly, is Canada celebrating?

Duration: 00:05:36

The Gulf – another Cold War?

As tensions continue to rise between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Andrew Mueller asks if the co-ordinated shunning of Qatar by many of its neighbours is just a distraction – and where this political stalemate could be heading.

Duration: 00:28:17

Explainer 70: Who are Mali’s Islamists?

After Sunday’s attack on a tourist resort just outside Bamako, Andrew Mueller asks who are Mali’s Islamists and what do they want?

Duration: 00:04:15

Does independence always matter?

Independence movements don’t always mean a heroic struggle against oppression. Some countries that appear functional and pleasant to the outside world are home to people who do not agree. They want to be free – but from what?

Duration: 00:30:16

Explainer 69: How will Hong Kong celebrate its return to China?

As Hong Kong prepares to celebrate 20 years since its return to the motherland, Monocle’s Ceinwen Thomas asks who is celebrating what?

Duration: 00:04:21

Horn of Africa – Kenya

In the last part of a special series looking at the Horn of Africa, we turn to Kenya ahead of this year’s election. Its old problems are still unresolved. So what sort of nation will emerge after the vote?

Duration: 00:29:18

Explainer 68: Is the US becoming a rogue state?

Monocle’s Steve Bloomfield on what it means if the leader of the US walks, talks and acts like an autocrat.

Duration: 00:03:30

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