Cold War

Joshua Landis explains rebel advances in Syria and new Saudi aggressiveness in its wars with Iran.

Then Suzette Grillot talks with University of Oklahoma German professor Bob Lemon and Oregon State University Cold War-era cultural scholar Sebastian Heiduschke about cinema and literature in East Germany.

The poster for the 1966 East German Western film 'Die Söhne der großen Bärin' (literally 'The Sons of the Great She-Bear'), directed by the Czechoslovakian filmmaker Josef Mach
Bahavd Gita / Wikimedia Commons

In 1949, postwar Germany officially split into two separate countries with the formation of the German Democratic Republic. Also known as East Germany, the GDR was isolated from the Western world for nearly three decades, but it developed its own, equally rich literary and cinematic cultures.

East Germany did begin producing motion pictures before it officially broke away from West Germany. The films initially were rooted in similar cinematic traditions, says Oregon State University German language professor and world culture scholar Sebastian Heiduschke. He says when the Berlin Wall went up, the similarities between East and West German filmmaking began to disappear.

Joshua Landis and Suzette Grillot discuss this week’s nuclear negotiations with Iran, and the release of al-Qaeda prisoners in Yemen and air strikes led by a Saudi coalition.

Later, a conversation with the former director of the National Clandestine Service Michael Sulick. The 30-year CIA veteran argues information leaks by people like Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden can cause far more problems than traditional spying ever did.

Michael Sulick, an American intelligence officer who served as Director of the U.S. National Clandestine Service from 2007-2010.
Sofarsogood2012 / Wikimedia Commons

Ukrainian Prime Misnister Arsenily Yatsenyuk said Friday that he thinks Russia might carry out a new offensive in the east of Ukraine, in spite of the ceasefire agreement reached in February.

Earlier this week anti-American protests in Iran marked 34 years since the storming of the Embassy in Tehran, and the start of the 18-month hostage crisis. Suzette Grillot talks about the anniversary with Joshua Landis, who also provides a brief update on Saudi Arabia's frustration with the U.S. over Syria.

Later, a conversation with Boston University modern European historian Jonathan Zatlin. He says parts of Europe's debt crisis can be explained by religious tension between the Protestant North and the Catholic South.

Raphaël Thiémard / Flickr Creative Commons

Allied powers divided war-torn Germany into four zones of occupation after World War II, with three of those zones uniting in 1949 to form what became known as West Germany.

The Soviet Union controlled the fourth zone, and East Germany remained within the Eastern Bloc’s sphere of influence for the next four decades.

Boston University modern European historian Jonathan Zatlin says the divided nation served as a tripwire for all the tensions of the Cold War, and that Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin worried a united Germany posed a security risk.

University of Oklahoma political economist and European Union expert Mitchell Smith joins the program for a conversation about the eurozone's economy slipping further into recession, and the American kicked out of Russia over accusations of spying for the CIA.

Veteran diplomat Richard Arndt speaks with Suzette Grillot and Joshua Landis about how the national security state changed U.S. diplomatic relations. He's the author of The First Resort of Kings: American Cultural Diplomacy in the Twentieth Century.

Raul P / Panoramio

The embarrassing arrest of a suspected CIA officer in Moscow is the latest reminder that even after the Cold War, the United States and Russia are engaged in an espionage battle with secret tactics, spying devices, and training that sometimes isn't enough to avoid being caught.

"There's nothing new here," says Suzette Grillot, the Dean of the College of International Studies at the University of Oklahoma. "We spy, everybody spies. There's a long history of spying between these two countries."