Beacon HT 2019, Week 5: "What should the West do to support the Syrian people?" - Dr. Lina Khatib, Prof. Eugene Rogan

Podcast in which Beacon Editor, Joe Davies, talks to Dr. Lina Khatib, Head of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House, and Prof. Eugene Rogan, Director of the Middle East Centre at St. Antony's College, University of Oxford, on "What can - and should - the West do to support the Syrian people?".

In 2011, the Syrian people took to the street to peacefully protest against the Assad regime, demanding democratic reforms and the release of political prisoners. The past 7 years since has seen the West fail to prevent the regime's chemical attacks on innocent civilians, fail to take sufficient steps to protect the estimated 5 million refugees that have fled Syria, and fail to help Syria shift to a path of peacebuilding and reconciliation. These are issues the West must not continue to ignore. But, what can be done to ensure a transition to a new leader, and a democratic regime in Syria? Or is an emboldened Assad an inevitable outcome of this violent conflict?

Put simply, what can - and should - the West do now to support the Syrian people?

Beacon TT 2018, Week 8: "The authoritarian legacies of Portugal and Spain" - Catarina Leao

In this episode the of the Beacon, Nicholas Chin speaks to Catarina Leao, a DPhil student in Politics at Wolfson College, studying the effect of authoritarian legacies on political positions. In the podcast they discuss the likelihood of democratic transition, and how the authoritarian histories of Portugal and Spain have influenced the rise of new populist parties in these countries.

Beacon TT 2018, Week 7: "Interview with Edward Lucas"

To celebrate the arrival of The Beacon on Apple PodcastS, we're rereleasing some of the best episodes from previous years.

In this episode of The Beacon, Verity Bligh interviews Edward Lucas, senior editor at The Economist and author of “New Cold War” and “Cyberphobia”. They discuss past and present Russian power politics, the importance of cyber-security and the future of journalism in a world of “fake news”.


Edward Lucas’ book recommendations:

  • “The Engineer of Human Souls” by Josef Skvorecky
  • “The Captive Mind” by Czeslaw Milosz
  • “The Great Terror” by Robert Conquest
  • “Gulag”, “Iron Curtain” and “Red Famine” by Anne Applebaum
  • “Bloodlands” by Timothy Snyder

Beacon TT 2018, Week 6: "Where is US foreign policy going?" - Prof. Stephen Walt

In this week's special episode of The Beacon, Stephen Walt gives a guest lecture to the Oxford International Relations Society on the topic "Where is US foreign policy going?". Walt is Professor of International Relations at Harvard University and is on the editorial board of Foreign Policy and numerous other International Relations and Security Studies journals. Walt is known for proposing the balance of threat theory, in which states' alliance behaviour is determined by the threat they perceive from other states. States generally balance by allying against a perceived threat, although very weak states are more likely to bandwagon with the rising power in order to protect their own security. This worldview informs Walt's lecture as he begins by talking about US President Donald Trump. 

Beacon TT 2018, Week 5: "The Independent Diplomat" – Carne Ross

Archie Philipps speaks with Carne Ross, former British diplomat and founder and Executive Director of Independent Diplomat, the world’s first non profit diplomatic advisory group, which helped gain South Sudan statehood, and is currently advising the Syrian Opposition. Topics discussed in this podcast include  the changing nature – and potential disintegration -  of states, the Middle East conflict, and the failings and future of diplomacy


Beacon TT 2018, Week 4: "The Legacy of WWII for China Today" – Professor Rana Mitter

In this week's episode of The Beacon, Robert Pieters interviews Professor Rana Mitter to discuss the continued relevance of China's experiences of the Second World War for its contemporary international relations. Professor Mitter, based at the Oxford University China Centre, is a leading authority on modern China, having authored several books on the topic, including China’s War with Japan, 1937-45: The Struggle for Survival in 2013. As China becomes more and more important on the global stage, there are thus few people better placed to discuss the topics of how the wartime experience continues to colour China's relationships with its neighbours, and how narratives of the war continue to shape how China conducts itself internationally today.

Beacon TT 2018, Week 3: "A Grim Situation: Trump’s US and the Iran Deal" – Amin Saikal

In this week’s special episode of “The Beacon”, uploaded the day after Trump withdrew the US from the Iran Deal, Tandee Wang, an international contributor from the Australian National University, talks to Amin Saikal about the deal and its consequences for the Middle East region and the international community.  

Saikal is a Professor of Political Science and Director of the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies at the ANU. His major works include “Iran at the Crossroads” (2016), “Zone of Crisis” Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and Iraq” (2014) and “Modern Afghanistan: A History of Struggle and Survival” (2012). Last year, he was co-leader of Australia’s first high-level dialogue with Iran in over a decade. Saikal is therefore perfectly placed to share his insights on the uncertain relationship between the US and Iran in the age of Trump. 

Beacon TT 2018, Week 2: "Make the opportunity happen – Women in IR" – Kori Schake and Caitlin Vito

In this week’s episode of “The Beacon”, Verity Bligh talks to Kori Schake and Caitlin Vito at the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS). Kori Schake is Deputy-Director General of the IISS and was previously a research fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace. Caitlin Vito is Coordinator for the Deputy Director-General’s Office at the IISS and is a regular contributor to its publications on armed conflict and migration issues. Kori is also a regular panel-member on David Rothkopf’s Deep State Radio podcast and Caitlin is a fellow avid podcast listener. Together, they talk about engaging young women in International Relations, nerd out about podcasts and reflect on the way in our life-choices shape both our careers and world-views.

Beacon TT 2018, Week 1: "Kant, Populism and the EU" - Prof. Simon Glendinning

Discussing the philosophical narratives around the European Union, Millie Radovic interviews Professor Simon Glendinning of the London School of Economics. A graduate of Oxford, Prof. Glendinning has focused much of his research on European Philosophy which he teaches at the European Institute of the LSE. Discussing how some of these enduring concepts, particularly Immanuel Kant’s ideas, relate to the EU today, Millie and Prof. Glendinning talk about what Kant may have said about Brexit, populism, and the notion of a European identity.

Beacon HT 2018, Week 6: Refugees, Reconstruction and Syria - Matthieu Cimino

With the manifest failure of the international community to act to save Syria's citizens and the recurrent infringement of any UN Security Council-backed resolution for a nationwide ceasefire, most recently after a week which has seen the relentless bombardment of Eastern Ghouta, this week's episode of The Beacon sees Adam Mazarelo interviewing Matthieu Cimino, Marie-Skɫodowska Curie researcher at the University of Oxford and an associate researcher at the IREMAM, Aix-en-Provence. They discuss a broad range of topics relating to the ongoing war in Syria: from the war's effects on neighbouring Lebanon and the prospects of return for refugees and reconstruction of the country, to the historical context of the Assad regime's rhetoric on Salafi Jihadism.