An update on the dynamic situation in Pakistan. Fan favorite Waqas Ahmad (@worqas on twitter) is back to talk about the massive march and nationwide protest of May 25 in Pakistan, which ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan called. Imran Khan called the protest off on May 26 in the face of escalation and repression, giving the government six days to call a new election (this is posted on day six). When Waqas and I organized this talk, we were in the middle of the protests and saw an explosive situation developing. I’m posting it now in the middle of what is probably a temporary calm.
In the latest episode of Kung Fu Yoga with Carl Zha, we talk about the bombing at Karachi University where a suicide bomber killed herself, three Chinese teachers, and a driver. The Baloch Liberation Army claims responsibility. We ask: what does bombing Chinese teachers in Karachi have to do with Baloch liberation? What is going on in Balochistan? What is China’s footprint there and what are its investments? How is this event being perceived and understood in China? And what role does the US have in it?
The ouster of Imran Khan continues to play out. We’re asking: 1. Was it a coup? 2. How can we understand Imran Khan’s foreshortened time in government and his ruling coalition? 3. How important are these events for the people of Pakistan – are they just elite maneuvering or do they have deeper implications? 4. How US-centric is too US-centric in understanding these things, as opposed to understanding regional actors and their roles and especially local power blocs and class dynamics. A friendly debate with Pakistani activist and academic Ayyaz Mallick.
Was Imran Khan ousted in a US-backed regime change, or is Imran Khan crying conspiracy over a routine non-confidence vote? Was the memo real or exaggerated? Are the mass protests a sign of a cult-like following or a repudiation of a sleazy change of power? Was Imran Khan not a part of the very establishment that just threw him out? What will be the implications for Pakistan’s relationship with China? For Afghanistan? I discuss these questions with journalist Waqas Ahmed.
A new youtube channel, the Cadre Journal, has been publishing hour-long in-depth interviews with Communist party activists and others on and largely from the Global South. I was happy to be invited on to talk to them about the history of the US in the DR Congo and Rwanda. Check out their channel – they’re doing an interview a day almost, and they’re all really good.
More than a decade later it is well past time to look at how the Syrian Civil War really started – with a US-orchestrated regime change campaign with continuities going back to European colonialism and with continuous US regime change efforts against Syria from 1949 on. I’m talking with William Van Wagenen, who has written a series of long-read articles about the war on Syria for the Libertarian Institute. We go in great depth about US social media-based regime change efforts, the US-Saudi recruitment of the “Jihad, Inc.” international brigade, and how these two forces handled the early events leading up to the war, from multiple failed attempts to spark a revolution to an ultimately successful attempt to spark a civil war and a partition of the country that was leading inexorably to collapse and an Islamic State takeover until Russia intervened in 2015.
Talking to Gabriel Rockhill, professor and director of the Critical Theory Workshop. Ever wonder why the CIA thought it was worthwhile to sponsor European left-wing academic theories? We talk about Derrida, Foucault, Arendt, and why even if you think obscure academic theory isn’t important, you might be mistaken. Author or editor of nine books, Rockhill is currently working on a book tentatively titled The Intellectual World War: The CIA’s Failed Attempt to Kill the Idea of Communism.
I interviewed Scott Ritter, former Marine, weapons inspector, and current author and writer about the war in Ukraine. We start with his experiences as a young member of the US military studying the Soviet Union and preparing for war with Russia; then talk about the surprises when he actually met Russians under conditions of detente. I asked him, since everybody seems to be an armchair military analyst, how we could be better at it. Then we talk about Russia’s goals, the situation in Ukraine, how Russia’s conducting the war so far (we talked on Day 9), and the prospects for Ukraine becoming “another Afghanistan”.
I’m joined by AER’s favorite doctor Tarek Loubani and by another doctor (this time a doctor of history), Dorotea Gucciardo, a lecturer in the history of medicine. I ask Tarek why he believes vaccine mandates work; I ask Dorotea how, as a non-scientist, she evaluates medical information. Then we talk about the Ottawa convoy, which has now dispersed to Canadian cities, and local efforts to prevent the convoys from preventing medical workers from doing their work.