KGOU

World Views

Fridays 4-4:30 p.m., 6:30-7 p.m. and Saturdays 6-6:30 a.m.

World Views is hosted by Suzette Grillot, Dean of the College of International Studies at the University of Oklahoma, with regular analysis from Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at OU, and Rebecca Cruise, the College's Assistant Dean and a security studies and a comparative politics expert. Each week's show focuses on specific global topics in a roundtable discussion, followed by in-depth interviews with experts and news makers.

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U.S. and other diplomatic officials say discussions within the Obama administration in favor of providing arms to the Syrian rebels are gaining ground amid new indications that President Bashar Assad's regime may have launched additional chemical weapons attacks.

Joshua Landis, the Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, says eliminating Syria's air defenses would be the first step before inspectors could determine if the regime did indeed use chemical weapons.

"Once you've destroyed the Syrian military, you're in Iraq in a sense," Landis says. "We were criticized in Iraq because we only had 100,000 troops to protect an entire country."

Francisco Osorio / Flickr

Students in Chile took to the streets of Santiago again last month protesting for reform of the country’s education system.

The BBC reports the students started a second wave of protests this decade in 2011, but the April demonstration was the first of 2013.

Mario Waissbluth teaches industrial engineering at Universidad de Chile. In 2008 he founded Educación 2020, a nongovernmental organization that wants to improve primary and secondary education in the country.

“Forty percent of the kids that go out to university don't understand what they read,” Waissbluth told KGOU’s World Views. “And they are grabbed by a university sector completely and fully deregulated, for profit, which abuses them to the point that we've had the explosions that we've had.”

This time last week Americans were just starting to learn about the troubled Russian region of Chechnya after authorities released the identities of the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings.

Rebecca Cruise discusses women in combat and the U.S. drone program with NPR's Rachel Martin. Before taking over the host's chair of Weekend Edition Sunday, she reported from both Iraq and Afghanistan, and served as the network's national security correspondent.

Gilad Rom / Flickr

Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized the West Thursday for refusing to declare Chechen militants terrorists and for offering them political and financial assistance in the past, in light of the revelation that Boston Marathon bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had Chechen roots.

The U.S. has urged the Kremlin to seek a political settlement in Chechnya and provided humanitarian aid to the region during the two separatist wars that began in 1994.

"Violence and conflict has happened in Chechnya for centuries," University of Oklahoma College of International Studies Dean and KGOU’s World Views host Suzette Grillot says. "This goes back to the 16th Century when there's been war after war after war. So it's been a volatile region for some time."

Technical Sergeant William Greer / United States Air Force

In January, former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced the end of the U.S. military’s 19-year-old ban on women officially serving in combat roles.

“Every time I visited the warzone, every time I've met with troops, reviewed military operations, and talked to wounded warriors, I've been impressed with the fact that everyone - men and women alike - everyone is committed to doing the job,” Panetta said. “They're fighting and they're dying together. And the time has come for our policies to recognize that reality.”

Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin covered national security issues for NPR from 2010-2012. She told KGOU’s World Views the change in policy recognizes the reality on the ground, but also will afford women the opportunity to compete for top-level spots in very elite military units.

Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum

Hundreds gathered Friday morning at the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum to mark the 18th anniversary of the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

Hans and Torrey Butzer, along with their partner Sven Berg, designed the Outdoor Symbolic Portion of the memorial while living in Berlin in 1997. As Americans living in Germany, Hans Butzer says that blended environment guided their artistic vision for the project.

Suzette Grillot and Rebecca Cruise discuss the death and legacy of Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and the heightened tensions between North Korea, the U.S., and its allies as the reclusive country threatens to launch a medium-range ballistic missile.

Retired State Department official and former U.S. Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson returns to World Views for a conversation about Iran, the energy industry, and nuclear security.

yeowatzup / Flickr

The White House is trying to tamp down concern over a new intelligence report showing North Korea could arm a ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead.

The Defense Intelligence Agency says in a newly revealed report that it has "moderate confidence'' that North Korea knows how to deliver a nuclear weapon on a ballistic missile.

“The United States seems to be taking this a little bit differently as we're thinking about the deliverance capabilities of these nuclear missiles that we've started to see tested,” says Rebecca Cruise, the Assistant Dean of the University of Oklahoma College of International Studies and a regular contributor to KGOU’s World Views.

David Holt London / Flickr

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher will be remembered Wednesday during a funeral with full military honors at St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Suzette Grillot, the host of KGOU’s World Views and the Dean of the University of Oklahoma’s College of International Studies, says debates about Thatcher’s legacy and even her funeral suggest Britain is still deeply divided.

A painting on the walls of the former U.S. embassy in Tehran
David Holt London / Flickr

Iranian state television says the Islamic Republic inaugurated two key nuclear-related projects Tuesday, just days after another round of talks with world powers seeking to limit Tehran’s atomic program.

Retired State Department official Lawrence Wilkerson described what he calls “delusional security” in foreign policy that’s bubbled up in both Tehran and Washington, D.C. over the last three to five years.

“It's come to a peak ostensibly over the nuclear issue, but what it's coming to a peak over really is a power struggle in the Gulf for who's going to be the power to be reckoned with outside the United States,” Wilkerson says.

On Tuesday the U.N. General Assembly approved a treaty to regulate the global arms trade, and the panel explores what role the CIA is playing in Arab and Turkish military aid to Syria.

Ambassador Cynthia Schneider joins Suzette Grillot and Joshua Landis to discuss how culture influenced her diplomacy while representing the United States in the Netherlands between 1998 and 2001.

isafmedia / Flickr

The U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly approved the first international treaty regulating the multi-billion dollar global arms trade Tuesday.

Iran, North Korea and Syria voted "no" on Tuesday, while Russia and China, both major arms exporters, abstained.

Suzette Grillot is the co-author of the 2009 book The International Arms Trade. She says Syria opposed the treaty because it does nothing to prevent weapons from flowing to non-state actors, like the Syrian opposition.

Focus Features / NBCUniversal

While serving as the U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands in 2001, Cynthia Schneider used Hollywood to approach sensitive drug issues between American and Dutch officials.

Schneider invited embassy staffers focusing on drugs, and their counterparts in the Dutch Ministry of Justice, to a screening of Steven Soderbergh’s Oscar-winning film Traffic.

“It's a very powerful film that shows the intricacies of drug trafficking, and really shows how complicated it is,” Schneider says. “That was a fantastic experience because it kind of leveled the playing ground, and after seeing that film together we were able to have the most honest, direct conversation that we ever had, and really make progress.”

Rebecca Cruise and Suzette Grillot discuss the banking crisis in the Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus, and the decision to re-try American student Amanda Knox in Italy.

University of Oklahoma Italian language and literature professor Jason Houston joins Grillot from Arezzo, Italy. He's been following the Catholic Church's transition of power in the Vatican, and speculates what the last voluntary papal resignation in 1294 could teach us about 2013.

urbanlegend / Flickr

Banks in Cyprus are open for normal business for the second day, but with strict restrictions on how much money their clients can access, after being shut down for nearly two weeks to prevent people from draining their accounts as the country's politicians sought a way out of an acute financial crisis.

"They were weakened by the fact that they had too many investments in Greek companies," said Suzette Grillot. "So they've become another victim of the Greek financial crisis."

vatican / YouTube

The world’s 1.2 billion Catholics are celebrating Holy Week, and Pope Francis is preparing for his first Good Friday and Easter Mass as pontiff. It’s been exactly a month since Pope Benedict XVI stepped down from the office of the papacy, which has given observers time to reflect on the historic transfer of power.

“This will stand out as a moment that Church historians will talk about for the next 600 years,” said University of Oklahoma Italian language and literature professor Jason Houston. He says if Benedict set a precedent for resignation that future pontiffs would follow, “he has changed the papacy in a way that no one has since probably the 11th Century. [But] I don't think that's going to happen.”

Provided / ahmed-ahmed.com

Audiences most likely know Egyptian-American stand-up comedian Ahmed Ahmed as a member of the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour.

“Comedians have become, most recently, cultural ambassadors of the world,” Ahmed said. “Whether you're in Africa, or America, or Russia, or Asia, laughter is the common language of the world.”

Suzette Grillot,  Joshua Landis, and Rebecca Cruise discuss the election of Pope Francis, the financial situation of the Vatican, and the influence of the New World on the Catholic Church.

Deputy Director for Research at the Mohyla School of Journalism at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy Anastasiia Grynko joins Grillot and Cruise for a conversation about media ethics and transparency in Ukraine and other post-Soviet countries.

The Vatican

On Friday, Pope Francis paid a heartfelt tribute to his predecessor Benedict XVI, saying his faith and teaching had "enriched and invigorated" the Catholic Church and would remain its spiritual patrimony forever.

Francis offered the respects during an audience with the cardinals who elected him to succeed Benedict, whose resignation set in motion the extraordinary conclave that brought the first prelate from the New World and the first Jesuit to the papacy.

Joshua Landis, the Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, says the hope among many Catholics is that the Church moves away from such strong European influence.

jf1234 / Flickr

In 2004, a disputed presidential election in Ukraine sparked a two-month series of economic and political protests known as the Orange Revolution.

The U.S. Department of State reported in 2006 that Ukrainian media outlets were freer and politically diverse than any time since the country gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

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