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Just World Podcasts

Author: Helena Cobban

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Just World Podcasts is an innovative podcast series on international affairs, run by the publishing house Just World Books which also provides this platform as a service to Just World Educational, a nonprofit headquartered in Virginia and Washington DC. The President of Just World Ed, veteran global-affairs writer and antiwar activist Helena Cobban, is the most frequent host on this podcast.
68 Episodes
This is the first one-third of a very rich conversation on food sovereignty topics that Just World Educational presented on November 28, as part of our latest webinar series “Beyond Survival: Food Sovereignty Challenges in Palestine and Worldwide.” This session of the series explores commonalities between the food-sovereignty struggles of Palestinians and of Native American and Black communities here in the United States.We’ll be releasing the next two portions of this conversation in upcoming podcast episodes. You can learn more about this whole project here.Support the show (
 Just World Educational's President, Helena Cobban, hosts the second session of the groundbreaking “US-China public dialogue” that JWE is holding in collaboration with the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University in Beijing. This dialogue session features two great specialists who discuss some of the currently contested issues in the trade, investment, technology, and other aspects of the two countries' relations.The featured experts are:Dr. Yukon Huang, a senior fellow with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Dr. Huang was formerly the World Bank’s country director for China and, before that, director for Russia. Dr. Huang is an adviser to the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and various governments and corporations. His latest book was Cracking the China Conundrum: Why Conventional Economic Wisdom Is Wrong (Oxford U.P., 2017).Mr. He Weiwen, a Senior Fellow with the Chongyang Institute and Vice Chairman of the Global Alliance of SMEs. Mr. He worked as Economic and Commercial Counselor in the Chinese Consulates General in San Francisco and New York, 1997-2003. He is the author of three books and 200 articles on economic and trade affairs.The full video of this conversation and the full video, audio, and transcript of the earlier dialogue session on security affairs are posted along with many related materials at this page on the Just World Ed website.Support the show (
 Just World Ed President Helena Cobban hosts the first session of the groundbreaking “US-China public dialogue” that JWE is holding in collaboration with the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University in Beijing. This dialogue session features two wonderful specialists who discuss some of the big-picture topics of contention in the relationship and dive in some detail into the thorny issue of the South China Sea.From Beijing (actually, Guangzhou, in southern China) we had Ambassador He Yafei, a Senior Fellow with the Chongyang Institute who has held many high-ranking diplomatic posts including as Counsellor of the Chinese Permanent Mission to the United Nations, and Vice Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.And from Washington DC we had Dr. Michael Swaine, who recently became the first Director of the East Asia Program at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Dr. Swaine is the author of numerous books and articles on strategic issues relating to China and other parts of East Asia. He is co-director of a multi-year crisis prevention project with Chinese partners… And he also advises the U.S. government on Asian security issues. Support the show (
At a time when US-China tensions seem to be increasing, Just World Educational is launching a new project on the shifting balance between the two countries, as Phase 2 of its continuing "World After Covid" project. In this phase of the project, JWE will be releasing the materials from each of the sessions held in podcast format as well as video and text. To see all the materials produced during this phase and the previous phase of the project, visit the "Resources" section of our website, today's episode, Ms. Cobban discusses key aspects of the strategic balance between the United States and China with Dr. Lyle Goldstein, who was the founding diorector of the China Maritime Studies Institute at the Naval War College in Newport, RI and author of a seminal 2015 book, Meeting China Halfway. Upcoming episodes of the podcast will present the audio from a groundbreaking public dialogue on US-China relations that Just World Edis organizing in collaboration with the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Beijing's Renmin University. More details of this dialogue can be found here.Support the show (
This episode is an inter-season special: an interview Just World Educational President Helena Cobban conducted with Frank Joyce, a veteran antiwar and workers-rights organizer who was the co-editor, along with Dr. Karin Aguilar-San Juan, of the 2015 anthology The People Make the Peace: Lessons from the Vietnam Antiwar Movement.In July this year, Frank Joyce and four other American antiwar activists went back to Ha Noi again: this time, to celebrate the launching of the Vietnamese edition of The People Make the Peace. You can read more about their latest visit to Vietnam in this blog post on Just World Ed’s website. In reflecting on this latest visit to Vietnam, Joyce argued that in the years after the antiwar activists of the 1960s and 1970s had succeeded in persuading the U.S. government to end the war, many of them started to experience an inferiority complex that led them to radically under-estimate the value of what they had achieved. In this this interview with Joyce, Ms. Cobban explored that proposition with him… and also, got his insights on some of the challenging issues that have faced the US antiwar movement in recent years.Support the show (
On this week’s podcast, Just World Educational's president, Helena Cobban, discusses the currently high tensions between the United States and Iran with Amb. Chas W Freeman, Jr., a very distinguished former American diplomatist and the author of a number of very informative books. The most recent of these are collections of his essays on, respectively, US-Chinese relations and US policies in the Middle East.This week’s podcast is linked to a column Ms. Cobban wrote that ran May 15 on the Mondoweiss website, under the title “Bolton pushing United States to over-reach in Iran”.In Ms. Cobban's interview with Amb. Freeman, he warns of some of the very dire effects that Pres. Trump's withdrawal from the six-party, 2015 Iran deal has already had on the rule of law internationally and on the continuing erosion of the safeguards the U.S. Constitution always placed on the executive branch's ability to enter willy-nilly into wars of choice. He warns of the dire consequences to be expected if Washington should get into a shooting war with Iran, and he assesses the roles that China, Russia, and the European countries that were also parties to the Iran deal might be able to play in defusing the tentions and de-escalating the conflict.Support the show (
This week’s podcast is Number Twelve in our multi-week “Story/Backstory” project, which explores Washington’s current policies in the Middle East, and the Middle East itself, in a broader historical perspective. It is a complement to a column by Just World Ed President Helena Cobbanthat ran May 8th on the Mondoweiss website, “Thinking fast and slow in reporting Israeli-Gaza fighting”, in which she drew on her own long background as a reporter in war and conflict situations. There's a handy "Checklist for anti-Palestinian reporting bias" that's posted on our blog, that goes along with this package, as well.In this episode, Cobban delves even deeper into the matter of anti-Palestinian reporting bias in the U.S. corporate media, and starts to explore steps that can be taken to reduce or even (we hope!) eliminate it.Support the show (
This timely episode focuses on Saudi Arabia's very destructive and now four-year-long war on Yemen, and the direct participation in it of some units of the U.S. military. In early April, the two houses of Congress enacted legislation to end this participation. Pres. Trump vetoed that legislation. Then yesterday, May 2, the Senate held a vote to try to over-ride the veto, and they failed.  The weekly podcasts in this "Story-Backstory" project are all linked to written opinion columns that get published a couple of days earlier… This week’s column ran May 1 on the Mondoweiss website, under the title “A crucial vote on Yemen, aka ‘Saudi Arabia’s Gaza’”. In this episode, host Helena Cobban discussed Yemen and the Saudi and US roles in the war there with Dr. Sheila Carapico, a Professor of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Richmond who is one of the United States’ foremost experts on Yemen and its relationships with its neighbors. She is also the editor of a 2016 anthology of writings about Yemen and its Arabia-peninsula neighbors titled Arabia Incognita: Dispatches from Yemen and the Gulf, which is available wherever fine books are sold.Support the show (
This episode in the "Story-Backstory" series is a complement to the article that Helena Cobban published on Mondoweiss on April 25, exploring a small window that the Mueller Report provided into the world of the influence-buying operations undertaken by the UAE and other rich Arab Gulf states in Washington DC. In this episode, Ms. Cobban interviews Ben Freeman of the Center for International Policy, to discuss the extensive influence operations undertaken in Washington by the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Israel. At one key point, Freeman notes that the same lobbying and p.r. firms that work for many of those actors also work for major US arms manufacturers!(Please note that there was no Episode 9 in this series, as we concentrated on producing online materials for last week's topic, instead.)Support the show (
Since late February, the large North African country of Algeria has been the site of a massive popular movement that every Friday brings millions of people into the streets demanding deepseated reform. The protests were sparked when the country’s ageing president Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced that he would be seeking a fifth term in office. Last week, Bouteflika announced that he would not run again, and also that he would immediately resign. The country’s very powerful army chief Gaid Salah also announced the postponement of the planned presidential elections until July. These steps did not satisfy the demonstrators, who turned out in very large numbers again last Friday—and early reports from today (April 12) say that the demonstrations are once again nationwide and large. Amin Khan, the guest on today’s episode, is an Algerian poet and thinker who was the author of a key article published April 5 in French that laid out a program for how Algeria might transition successfully from its current situation as a sclerotic quasi-dictatorship into a fully functioning democracy. You can read our English-language translation of Amin Khan's article-- and of another key document relating to the protests-- on the Just World Educational website, here.Most of the weekly podcasts in this series are linked to written opinion columns that get published a couple of days earlier… This week, because of the groundbreaking nature of Algeria’s popular uprising-- which has been sadly under-reported in the English-language media-- we’re doing things a little differently. For the text portion of this week’s project, there’s an interview that I conducted earlier this week with veteran Algeria specialist William B. Quandt. And for the podcast portion, we have this interview that I conducted in English, on Wednesday April 10, with Amin Khan.Support the show (
Just World Educational President Helena Cobban and guest Nora Lester Murad discuss Israel's continuing waves of attack against Palestinian life in Jerusalem, which Ms. Murad describes here as "The front-line of the Palestinians' ongoing Nakba." Ms. Murad is the co-author of the recently published book Rest In My Shade.This episode is a complement to the column Ms. Cobban published on this topic in Mondoweiss on April 3, 2019.Support the show (
Just World Educational president Helena Cobban and guest Amb. Peter Ford look at the implications of Pres. Trump's March 25 decision to break with decades of US policy and provide official US support for Israel's annexation of Syria's Golan. This episode is a complement to the column Ms. Cobban published on this topic in Mondoweiss, March 26.Support the show (
This episode of the "Story/Backstory" series is related to the column "Beating Israel's 'But Khamas!' ploy" that was released on the Mondoweiss website on March 20. In this episode, JWE president Helena Cobban tries something a little new. Instead of starting off by reading the text of the column, she briefly summarizes it, and then dives right into the deeper backstory, providing her take on what's needed to prevent this commonly used Israeli ploy from succeeding.    In the second half of this episode, she introduces some excerpts from the audio of a fascinating presentation that Ahmed Abu Artema, the Gaza-Palestinian poet who was the originator of the whole idea of the Great March of Return, gave on March 18 at the Carnegie Endowment in Washington DC.Support the show (
Just World Ed president Helena Cobban reads the column she had on this topic on Mondoweiss on March 13, which asked whether the Great March of Return movement that has swept the Gaza Strip for the past 50 weeks, may be the third great political movement to be born in Gaza. In the second half of this episode she discusses the Great March of Return with British-Palestinian author and activist Dr. Azzam Tamimi.Support the show (
Just World Ed president Helena Cobban first of all reads the column she published March 6 on Mondoweiss, "The two-state solution is dead. Let's plan for the one state." Then, she discusses the issue of one-state vs. two-state with special guest William B. Quandt, former Middle East advisor to Pres. Jimmy Carter...Support the show (
In this episode in our "Story/Backstory" miniseries, JWE president Helena Cobban first reads, then reflects on her most recent 1,300-word op-ed on U.S. policies in the Middle East. For more details on this project, visit the blog on our website.Support the show (
This is the first episode in our new "Story/Backstory" miniseries, which combines both the reading by JWE president Helena Cobban of her most recent 1,300-word op-ed on U.S. policies in the Middle East, with a slightly longer segment in which she reflects on some of the issues raised by the op-ed. For more details, visit the blog on our website.Support the show (
In this episode you’ll hear a conversation I held recently with Laila El-Haddad, a political analyst, author, and rights activist who is from a family deeply rooted in Gaza, Palestine, though she currently lives near Baltimore, Maryland. Laila is the author or co-author of three Gaza-themed books, including the famed "ethnographic" cookbook, The Gaza Kitchen: A Palestinian Culinary Journey.In this episode, Laila talks about how it was to be a Gaza Palestinian living outside Gaza during Operation Cast Lead, while knowing that her parents and many other loved ones were trapped inside the city. She and Helena discuss U.S. policy during and after Cast Lead, the best ways for international civil-society people to support Gaza today, and the new emergence of the Palestinian "Cultural Pride" movement.Support the show (
This episode features a conversation Just World Ed President Helena Cobban held  with Alice Rothchild, who’s a member of our Board of Directors and a veteran activist in the field of health and human rights. Alice is a recently retired OB/GYN who has authored three books on the health and rights situation in the areas currently under Israel’s control. The latest was Condition Critical: Life and Death in Israel/Palestine, which was published by Just World Books in Fall 2016.Dr Rothchild has spent significant amounts of time in Gaza on three occasions, in 2005, 2015, and 2017 and currently serves on the board of the Gaza Community Mental Health Foundation.Support the show (
In this episode, you’ll hear a conversation that Helena Cobban held recently with Joe Catron, Just World Educational's Director of Outreach, about the legacies of Cast Lead. Joe is a veteran social-justice activist who spent three-plus years in Gaza, from March 2011 through Fall 2014.  This is the fifth episode in a special mini-series we’re releasing as part of our “Cast Lead Plus Ten” project, which started on December 27th will run till at least January 17th. This project marks the anniversary of the “Operation Cast Lead” assault that Israel waged against Gaza during these same 22 days, exactly ten years ago. More details are on our website, here.Support the show (
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