Monocle 24: The Foreign Desk-logo

Monocle 24: The Foreign Desk


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

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




Explainer 87: Who is the real Xi Jinping?

With the 19th Congress of the Chinese Communist party well underway, Monocle’s Hong Kong bureau chief James Chambers asks what is at stake for its leader and what are his aims for the next five years?

Duration: 00:06:37

Bonus feature: A new politics?

En Marche holds power in France, the far-right Alternative für Deutschland is challenging Angela Merkel’s uninterrupted grip on power in Germany and Greece’s radical left-wing group, Syriza, is the largest party in the Hellenic Parliament. In fact, newer movements have done pretty well of late. What’s behind their inexorable rise?

Duration: 00:18:37

Space: soft power’s final frontier

Is taking the giant leap into space still a muscle-flexing exercise for competing powers or has it become the blueprint for international co-operation? As Australia gears up to start its own space programme, we ask: what are countries looking for up there and is it worth it? Andrew Mueller talks to Susmita Mohanty, Matthew Agnew, Matthew Goodman and Commander Chris Hadfield.

Duration: 00:28:36

Explainer 86: Is the Dream still alive?

Children of illegal immigrants are still fighting for their right to remain in the US – and continue to be used as a bargaining chip by supporters of President Trump’s border wall. But, New York bureau chief Ed Stocker asks, are all hopes lost?

Duration: 00:05:31

Will Puerto Rico ever be the 51st state?

Puerto Rico’s recent referendum on statehood saw 97 per cent vote in favour of joining the US. But it wasn’t legally binding and the devastation of Hurricane Maria has left the island with more pressing issues – and a newfound resentment for the country they voted to join. Will Puerto Rico ever become the 51st state and does anyone really want it to happen? Andrew Mueller is joined by José Lopez, Brent Wilkes and Susanne Ramirez de Arellano.

Duration: 00:28:22

Kurdistan – the end of Iraq?

This week more than 90 per cent of Iraqi Kurds voted in favour of seceding from Iraq – a predictable result that has nonetheless wrongfooted everybody. Can Iraq be kept together? Does it matter if it isn’t? And could Kurdistan’s time have come at last? Andrew Mueller is joined by the KRG’s representative to the US Bayan Rahman, Kurdish journalist Mohammed Rasool and analysts Andrew Apostolou and Renad Mansour.

Duration: 00:30:20

Explainer 84: Timing is everything

Earlier this week Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe called a snap election. It wasn’t a surprise (observers had been predicting it for weeks) but, at a time when Japan is far from stable, our Asia bureau chief Fiona Wilson asks – why now?

Duration: 00:04:29

What’s next for Europe's broken democracies?

When Hungary and Poland joined the EU in 2004 hopes were high for the newest members. But as Europe itself goes through a troubled period they have started to lean away from the liberalism they once craved during Soviet rule. Is this a sign of things to come or will the pendulum swing back in Europe’s favour?

Duration: 00:30:01

Explainer 83: Kurdish independence, why now?

Semi-autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan has had its sights set on independence but, in a time of ever-increasing instability in the region, why now?

Duration: 00:04:21

Strained relations

Australia's non-compulsory postal plebiscite on equal marriage is well underway – but is it necessary, why has it taken so long and why is Australia making this so complicated? We speak to Tim Wilson MP, Josh Taylor, Christine Forster and veteran rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.

Duration: 00:28:31

Explainer 82: What is Fema’s future?

Tomos Lewis takes a look at Fema, the agency tasked with cleaning up the areas devastated by the recent hurricanes. With the Trump administration's assault on big-government spending underway, what might its future be?

Duration: 00:05:07

The Rohingyas – and the silence of Aung San Suu Kyi

As the violence against the Rohingya continues to intensify in western Myanmar and Aung San Suu Kyi remains defiantly silent, what is really happening inside the country and when is it time for the international community to step in?

Duration: 00:28:18

Explainer 81: Is the New Zealand election finally something worth talking about?

As New Zealanders prepare to head to the polls on 23 September, James Chambers profiles the contenders and asks whether they’re worth getting excited about?

Duration: 00:05:51

How to heal a nation

In countries ravaged by war, once the killing stops, the white flags are raised and gun-barrels are lowered, what hope is there that former enemies can once again co-exist as citizens of a single nation? We ask veteran BBC correspondent Martin Bell, Remembering Srebreneca’s Amra Mujkanovic, former special envoy to the Colombian peace process Dag Nylander and Rwandan-genocide survivor Jean Kayigamba.

Duration: 00:28:31

Explainer 80: Is sport still a soft power?

Sport can be a great way for a country to show its power over others. But that doesn’t always go as planned. Now, even hosting a major international event can cause considerable damage to a country’s reputation. So, Andrew Mueller asks, why bother?

Duration: 00:05:37

Democracies and the monuments of their past

During our summer series we’ve looked at art, architecture and personality cults of autocracies. But what happens when dictatorships end? In our final episode we turn to democracies and ask how countries deal with the symbols of their troubling past. From the confederate statues in the US to former Soviet monuments, how do we remember without glorifying ‘our’ history?

Duration: 00:28:55

Explainer 79: Too many tourists?

In Japan tourism is on the up. The government initiatives to attract more foreign visitors have worked but residents are feeling the strain.

Duration: 00:03:42

Autocracies and the personality cult

In part three of our summer series we explore how autocratic leaders have built a personality cult. We look at the personality traits needed to build one and look at dictators’ legacies once the parades cease and the statues are toppled. Author Kapka Kassabova tells us what it was like to grow up in a place where the leader’s portrait hung in every classroom and shop.

Duration: 00:29:01

Explainer 78: President Pence?

Donald Trump is taking a battering from “many sides”. The investigation into alleged meddling in the US presidential election has intensified; key aides have resigned or been sacked; and Trump has failed to convincingly condemn violence perpetrated by white supremacists. So, could Mike Pence be preparing for a tilt at the presidency?

Duration: 00:05:28

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