Global Dispatches -- World News That Matters

Mark Leon Goldberg

  • 1 hour 6 minutes
    What Russia's New Pact With North Korea Means for the United Nations | Debut of "To Save Us From Hell," Our New Podcast About the UN

    This is the debut of "To Save Us From Hell," our new weekly chat show about the United Nations. "To Save Us From Hell" is a project of Global Dispatches and features weekly conversations between co-hosts Mark Leon Goldberg and Anjali Dayal about the latest news and happenings around the United Nations. They discuss the implications of Vladimir Putin's visit to North Korea for the UN, recent progress on Gaza and Sudan at the Security Council, and who should replace the outgoing top UN humanitarian official, Martin Griffiths.

    To Save Us From Hell is a project of Global Dispatches and is supported entirely through the paid subscriptions of our supporters. You can access a discounted subscription here: 

    To Save Us From Hell is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and everywhere you get your podcasts. Go here to learn more:




    20 June 2024, 11:00 am
  • 26 minutes 16 seconds
    What Snap Elections in France Mean For Europe and the World

    Elections for the European Parliament saw sweeping gains for far-right parties in Germany and France. It was in France that these election results led to the surprising—and very daring—decision by Emmanuel Macron to dissolve parliament and call for snap elections. The first round of these legislative elections will be held on June 30th.

    Macron is facing a challenge from the far-right National Rally, a party that used to be known as the National Front, which was founded by the Nazi-adjacent Jean-Marie Le Pen and is now led by his daughter, Marine Le Pen. These elections could lead to the far right winning enough seats in the French parliament to lead the government.

    On the line to discuss the European Parliament elections in general and the results in France is Art Goldhammer, a senior affiliate at the Center for European Studies at Harvard. He explains the political dynamics leading up to these snap elections, and we have a long conversation about the implications for Europe should France be led by the hard-right National Rally.

    17 June 2024, 2:00 am
  • 26 minutes 38 seconds
    How Will a Chastened Narendra Modi Lead India?

    India's election was supposed to be a coronation for Narendra Modi. Instead, he got a comeuppance. India is, of course, the world's largest democracy, and after a nearly month-long election season, the final results were declared in early June. Narendra Modi and his political party, the BJP, fared much worse than expected. They secured far fewer seats in the Lok Sabha, the parliament, than anticipated, and now Modi and the BJP will have to form a coalition government after losing an outright majority.

    On the line to discuss the election results and what they mean for Indian politics and foreign policy going forward is Michael Kugelman, director of the Wilson Center's South Asia Institute and also the deputy director of the Wilson Center's new Indo-Pacific program. As Michael Kugelman explains, the outcome of this election suggests a growing skepticism among the Indian public of Modi's brand of Hindu nationalism and the authoritarian tendencies he's embraced.

    13 June 2024, 2:00 am
  • 6 minutes 16 seconds
    Introducing: "To Save Us From Hell," Our New Podcast about the United Nations!

    "To Save Us From Hell" is a new weekly chat show about the United Nations. Each week, two veteran UN watchers break down the latest news from the United Nations, giving our audience insights into what is driving the agenda at UN headquarters and in its operations around the world.

    Co-host Mark Leon Goldberg is a veteran journalist who’s the editor-in-chief of UN Dispatch and founder of Global Dispatches. He's covered the UN for nearly 20 years. Anjali Dayal is a Professor of International Relations at Fordham University who’s written widely about the UN and teaches students about its intricacies. They are teaming up for this one-of-a-kind podcast that will launch in the middle of June.

    For full access to the show at a discounted price, please visit 


    10 June 2024, 4:00 pm
  • 32 minutes 4 seconds
    Are We Really Close to a Ceasefire Deal in Gaza?

    On Friday, May 31, President Biden made a surprising announcement about a ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas. Biden laid out the terms of this three-phased cessation of hostilities and said that this deal was proposed by Israel and sent to Hamas. The optics of a U.S. president making public what he said was an Israeli proposal made many people question whether or not Israel was fully behind this deal. Meanwhile, Biden aimed much of his remarks at Hamas, urging them to accept this ostensibly Israeli deal. At the time of recording, Hamas has neither accepted nor rejected this proposal.

    My guest today is Joel Braunold, managing director of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace. We kick off by discussing what is included in this ceasefire agreement before having a long conversation about the reactions and responses to the Biden announcement by Hamas and Israel. We spend a good deal of time discussing some of the motivations behind Hamas' approach to a ceasefire deal and the complex domestic politics in Israel surrounding this deal.

    Check out our new weekly podcast about the United Nations! 


    9 June 2024, 5:00 pm
  • 27 minutes 59 seconds
    Mexico's Most Violent Election

    Claudia Sheinbaum will be the next President of Mexico. In national elections on June 2, the protégé of President López Obrador and former Mayor of Mexico City won a landslide victory, earning nearly 59% of the vote. She is a former climate scientist and will be the first woman and the first person of Jewish origin to lead the overwhelmingly Catholic country.

    But beyond the presidency, there were over 20,000 positions at all levels of government up for election, and it was in these state and local elections that things turned violent. Very violent. This was by far the bloodiest election in Mexico's history, with over 30 candidates assassinated during the campaigning.

    My guest today, Falko Ernst, is the senior analyst for Mexico at the International Crisis Group. As he explains, this election-related violence is a product of criminal gangs competing for control, influence, power, and wealth. We kick off by discussing Claudia Sheinbaum's background and her unique approach to violent crime as mayor of Mexico City. We then discuss the dynamics that led to violence in the lead-up to these elections and what can be done to disrupt criminal gangs' sway over local politics in Mexico.


    6 June 2024, 2:00 am
  • 29 minutes 45 seconds
    A Prison Camp for Islamic State Fighters in Syria is a Humanitarian Disaster and Security Challenge

    After the Islamic State was largely defeated on the battlefields of northern Syria in 2019, thousands of fighters and their families were placed in detention facilities in the region. By far the largest of these detention camps is Al Hol, which at its peak held over 70,000 people from several dozen countries. Today, over 50,000 people live in Al Hol, which is essentially an open-air prison. The vast majority of people living there are children.

    My guest today, Sarhang Hamaseed, is the director of Middle East Programs at the United States Institute of Peace and is intimately involved with efforts to help repatriate families currently stranded in this prison camp. When we caught up, he had recently returned from Iraq, working on programs to support the reintegration of Iraqi families in Al Hol. In our conversation, Sarhang Hamaseed explains why this festering prison camp in northern Syria is both a humanitarian and security crisis that deserves broader international attention.

    3 June 2024, 2:00 am
  • 32 minutes 29 seconds
    How a Novel Solution in Global Development Came To Life

    Some of the most heavily indebted countries in the world are also the ones most vulnerable to climate-induced natural disasters. When a hurricane, cyclone, or massive drought hits a country, officials can be faced with the choice of either servicing their debts or paying for disaster recovery. As the pace and scale of natural disasters increase due to climate change, some policy entrepreneurs have introduced the idea of including so-called "Pause clauses" in loan agreements that would enable the country to suspend debt payments for a period of time as it recovers from a natural disaster. The best-known champion of this idea is the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley. This was her signature proposal in a suite of reforms to international financing policies for climate-vulnerable countries known as the Bridgetown Initiative.

    My guest today, Michael Sheldrick, tells the story of how Pause Clauses went from an idea on paper to a policy now widely implemented by the World Bank in his new book: "From Ideas to Impact: A Playbook for Influencing and Implementing Change in a Divided World." Michael Sheldrick is a co-founder of Global Citizen and devotes a chapter of his book to the successful implementation of Pause Clauses. (The book covers much more than Pause Clauses, but it is what we focus on in our conversation today because it is such a good example of policy entrepreneurship in the face of a seemingly intractable problem.)

    From Ideas to Impact: A Playbook for Influencing and Implementing Change in a Divided World


    30 May 2024, 2:00 am
  • 21 minutes 14 seconds
    Why Georgia's Foreign Agents Law Undermines Democracy and Human Rights

    Over the past several weeks, hundreds of thousands of people in the Republic of Georgia have taken to the streets to protest against a law making its way through parliament that would force many NGOs to register as foreign agents. The law is modeled on similar measures in Russia that led to the near wholesale criminalization of pro-democracy and human rights civil society groups. This move in Georgia's parliament is being pushed through by a political party led by an oligarch who made his fortune in Putin's Russia. It is also happening at the same time as Georgia is seeking to establish closer ties with the West and join the European Union.

    On the line to discuss what this law actually says, how it may impact Georgia's future, and human rights inside Georgia is Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director for Europe & Central Asia at Amnesty International.

    28 May 2024, 2:00 am
  • 34 minutes 20 seconds
    Everything You Want to Know About the ICC Case Involving Israel and Hamas

    On Monday, May 20th, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim Khan, applied for arrest warrants for three senior Hamas leaders and for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. The Hamas leaders include the top official in Gaza, Yahyah Sinwar, Hamas’ military commander Muhammad Deif, and Ismail Haniyeh, the Qatar-based political leader of Hamas. These three men were charged with crimes related to the October 7th attack and their treatment of hostages in captivity. On the Israeli side, Netanyahu and Gallant were charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity, including using starvation as a method of warfare.

    For those of you who subscribe to the Global Dispatches Newsletter, you'll know that I've been expecting this shoe to drop since November, when Karim Khan first warned Hamas and Israeli officials that his office has jurisdiction in relation to this conflict. Well, this ICC action has now happened, and on the line with me to discuss what these applications for arrest warrants mean and where this ICC case may be headed next is Mark Kersten. He is an assistant professor of criminal justice and criminology at the University of the Fraser Valley who specializes in International Law. He's also a senior consultant at the Wayamo Foundation.

    I daresay you will not find a more informed conversation about the ICC from any other podcast out there. To support our work, please become a paying supporter at Global Dispatches at: 

    23 May 2024, 2:00 am
  • 29 minutes 45 seconds
    Why Can't More Humanitarian Aid Get to Gaza?

    For humanitarian professionals, people whose job it is to deliver aid in conflict and disaster zones, Gaza is unique. Unlike other crises that suffer from lack of attention, the situation in Gaza is a top priority for governments around the world. Accordingly, there is no shortage of aid available to stem the crisis, which in some parts of Gaza has crossed the famine threshold. Rather, it is distributing the aid that has become the challenge, both in terms of getting the aid through Israeli inspections and, once in Gaza, getting the aid to where people need it most.

    My guest today, Jeremy Konyndyke, is the President of Refugees International and a veteran humanitarian professional who served as head of USAID's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance from 2013-2017. We kick off discussing why humanitarian groups, the United Nations, and the Biden administration are so concerned about a full-scale Israeli assault on Rafah in southern Gaza. We then discuss the propriety of a humanitarian pier the US is constructing off the coast of Gaza and why the crisis in Gaza is so different from other humanitarian crises around the world. We conclude our conversation with an important discussion of the crisis in Darfur, and specifically the complicity of the United Arab Emirates in supporting a genocidal paramilitary.

    20 May 2024, 2:00 am
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