Angry Planet


What the War Means for Russia

Returning guest and Russia expert Mark Galeotti comes on the show to give his perspective on the war in Ukraine.

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More Episodes

Friday, May 12, 2023

Talking Turkey Ahead of the Vote

There are authoritarians and there are tyrants, and sometimes they’re the same person. But would a true tyrant put himself up to face the people in an election that could be free and maybe even fair?With Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, we’re going to find out the exact flavor of authoritarian he is on Sunday, May 14, and in the days immediately following. Erdogan has been in power in his nation of more than 80 million people for nearly two decades, and in some ways, he’s brought it to near ruin, with economic policies based more on his gut than sound economic theory.He’s also not much on newspapers, freedom of information, or freedom of speech.On the other hand, no one is going to doubt the importance of his country on the world stage. Erdogan has become something like the Bosporus itself, a gateway or meeting point between NATO and Moscow, and even Iran occasionally. That sounds good, but it hasn’t made the West particularly happy. In one of the most recent examples, Turkey’s veto is the only thing standing between Sweden and NATO membership. Erdogan says it has to do with Sweden harboring Kurdish terrorists, but, like buying S-400 missile batteries from Russia, it could just be a thumb in the eye of all concerned.Maybe the U.S. should just sell Turkey those F-16s it wants.The main question, however, is what Erdogan will do when all the votes are counted. If he loses, does he go away? If he wins, does he take away more freedoms from Turks and become the tyrant he always had the potential of becoming?To answer these questions, Angry Planet spoke with Steven Cook of the Council on Foreign relations. He had some surprising thoughts—and a wager.Angry Planet has a Substack! Join to get weekly insights into our angry planet and hear more conversations about a world in conflict. can listen to Angry Planet on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play or follow our RSS directly.
Monday, April 17, 2023

Why the West Loves 'ISIS Brides'

The Islamic State has largely fallen out of the western press with the weird exception of ISIS brides. And when we talk about the Islamic State, western press often ignores its broader crimes. The plight of the Yazidi, specifically, is largely ignored by press and NGOs.The plight of the so-called “ISIS bride,” however, is very much in fasion. But I wanted that photo and that testimony to lead off this post. Today’s episode is mostly about the women of the Islamic State, but the Yazidis are a crucial part of that story and we shouldn’t forget them.When Islamic State still had a caliphate that galvanized Western militaries, young men and women from around the world left their homes to join up. Their reasons were varied but their passion seems unwavering. Now the Islamic State is fractured and the Caliphate is in ruin but many of the fighters and so-called ISIS brides remain. Now, some of them want to go home, and Western media has looked at them with a shockingly sympathetic eye.Today’s show is a long interview with journalist Norma Costello, who has spent time in al-Hol where many of the women of the Islamic State now live. She’s written about them in UnHerd.Around the beginning of the pandemic, family and friends of Isis members began to gently craft a new narrative about their women. They had never supported the caliphate. They were innocents forced to travel there by men. They were, in their own way, victims. These grown women had been “trafficked” into Isis territory. Ignore the fact that many of them bought their own tickets.After we’re done talking about the Islamic State, Norma and I switch gears and get onto a very Angry Planet topic: Irish tankies and their strained relationship with Russia and its war in Ukraine.