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Middle East

Suzette Grillot talks with University of Oklahoma political scientist Keith Gaddie about West Africa's worst Ebola outbreak in history, and Monday's anniversary of Britain's entry into World War I.

Later, a conversation about education and development in Africa with OU economist and international and area studies professor Moussa Blimpo.

Government of the United Kingdom / Wikimedia Commons

Monday marked 100 years since the British declared war on Germany, after the Germans ignored Belgium’s refusal to allow troops to pass through its borders to France.

Four years and 16 million lives later, World War I set the stage for the rest of the 20th century. A century later, University of Oklahoma political scientist Keith Gaddie says the hot points of global conflict in the 21st century can be traced to the consequences of “the Great War” in Europe and Asia.

Joshua Landis joins Suzette Grillot for a conversation about the situation in Iraq and the U.S. response to the escalating violence by Sunni militants.

And Rebecca Cruise and University of Oklahoma Iranian Studies professor Afshin Marashi speak with Mohamad Tavakoli, a professor of history and Near and Middle Eastern civilizations at the University of Toronto. He studies Persianate society – arguing that in the pre-modern world, Iranians, the Ottoman Empire, the South Asian Indian Mogul empire, and even Central Asians all spoke a common language.

Nina Aldin Thune

Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, nationalism and colonialism created fixed borders between societies that otherwise shared common ethnic backgrounds, language, and culture.

If you separate the world by regions, India and Iran don’t initially appear to have much in common. But in the 1960s, University of Chicago historian Marshall Hodgson introduced the concept of Persianate society – arguing that in the pre-modern world, Iranians, the Ottoman Empire, the South Asian Indian Mogul empire, and even Central Asians all spoke Persian.

KGOU's "World Views" contributor Joshua Landis's blog "Syria Comment" makes this list from "Policy Mic."

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

I'm Melissa Block. And we begin this hour with the war in Syria and the possibility of U.S. involvement. Today, in Damascus, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used the opportunity of May Day to make a rare public appearance. He visited a power plant and said, we hope that by this time next year, we will have overcome the crisis in our country.

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.

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.

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.”

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