The Pivot is a global affairs podcast by Globely News on the leaders, states, networks, ideologies, and technologies that are reshaping the world order.

Episodes are available on Amazon Music, Audacy, iHeart Radio, iTunes, Pocket Casts, RadioPublic, Spotify, TuneIn Radio, YouTube Music, and many other podcast applications.

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U.S.-China Green Metals Race Heats Up in Central Africa — Season 3, Episode 13

Episode Description: Cobus van Staden of the China in Africa podcast and host Arif Rafiq discuss two competing corridors that are at the heart of the great power race for green metals in the Central African Copper Belt: the Western-backed Lobito Corridor from Angola to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia and the China-constructed and potentially soon-to-be revamped Tanzania-Zambia Railway (TAZARA). They unpack the great power dynamics that anchor this competition, the complicated histories of the Lobito Corridor and TAZARA, and how all this fits into or may not fit into the development strategies of regional states Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, and Zambia.

Hezbollah and Israel: The State of Play — Season 3, Episode 12

Episode Description: Ali Hashem of Al Jazeera English and host Arif Rafiq discuss the prospects for a full-blown conflict between Hezbollah and Israel. The episode looks at the history of conflict between the two belligerents, including the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war, assesses how both parties have adapted and evolved since then in anticipation of another war, and explains what’s driving the escalating strikes on both sides of the Blue Line since the October 7 attacks. Hashem and Rafiq also address the Iran factor and its influence over Axis of Resistance partner Hezbollah.

Gaza: Famine, Genocide, and the Day After — Season 3, Episode 11

Episode Description: Khalil Sayegh of the Agora Initiative joins host Arif Rafiq to discuss conditions on the ground in Gaza, what kind of political future awaits the Palestinian people, and his views on the response of Christian Zionists in the U.S. to the mass killings of Palestinians.

The Modi Legacy — Season 3, Episode 10

Episode Description: India’s general elections begin this month and are likely to bring Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party back to power for a third consecutive term. King’s College London Prof. Christophe Jaffrelot and host Arif Rafiq discuss the fundamental features of Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist project developed in the “laboratory” of the Gujarat state and applied nationally over his first two terms as prime minister. They explore how Modi commandeered India’s Hindu nationalist movement and refashioned it into a Modi-centric populism, backed by a vigilante-driven social surveillance regime and marked by crony capitalism. They assess what an India after Modi might look like and whether democracy and secularism can bounce back once his reign has come to an end.

The Horn of Africa’s Game of Ports — Season 3, Episode 9

Episode Description: University of Maryland Professor Michael Woldemariam joins host Arif Rafiq to discuss the recent maritime access agreement between Ethiopia and the breakaway region of Somaliland. They address landlocked Ethiopia’s problem of geography, its regional aspirations, the challenges of federalism and fragmentation in Somalia and Ethiopia, and the contestation between great and regional powers, including the U.S. and China, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Turkey.

China’s War on the Uyghurs — Season 3, Episode 8

Episode Description: Uyghur activist Nury Turkel (@nuryturkel) speaks with host Arif Rafiq on China’s persecution of the Uyghur Muslims; the systems of coercion, surveillance, and collective punishment directed at the Uyghurs; and how you, the listener, may be unknowingly consuming products made in part through forced Uyghur labor.

Indonesia ‘After’ Joko Widodo — Season 3, Episode 7

Episode Description: Jacqui Baker (@indobaker) of Murdoch University joins host Arif Rafiq to discuss Prabowo Subianto’s victory in Indonesia’s presidential elections, the legacy and political future of outgoing president Joko Widodo, and the durability of the economic and political status quo in this rising Southeast Asian power.

Guyana: The World’s Newest Petrostate — Season 3, Episode 6

Episode Description: Jay Mandle, a professor emeritus of economics at Colgate University, joins host Arif Rafiq to discuss whether Guyana, now the world’s newest petrostate and fastest-growing economy, can leverage its newfound wealth to change its destiny and avoid the “resource curse.”

The Many Political Lives of Anwar Ibrahim — Season 3, Episode 5

Episode Description: Meredith Weiss, a professor of political science at the University at Albany, joins host Arif Rafiq to discuss the many political transformations of Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim over his political career. A prominent Islamist student activist, Anwar was cultivated by longtime Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad as his heir apparent, only to be victimized and imprisoned by him later. As a dissident, Anwar became an outspoken Muslim democrat both at home and on the global stage. Today, his politics, in the view of some, can be described as post-Islamist. Anwar Ibrahim’s fascinating political journey is not his story alone: it is that of Malaysia too.

The IRGC’s Battle for the Middle East — Season 3, Episode 4

Episode Description: Naval Postgraduate School professor Afshon Ostovar joins host Arif Rafiq to discuss how Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) transformed from being a ragtag militia to a preeminent outside force in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere in the Middle East. They explore the IRGC’s network of partners, including the so-called Axis of Resistance, and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of how IRGC leverages these groups as part of its strategy of asymmetric warfare against its adversaries and rivals, including the U.S. and Israel.

The China Challenge — Season 3, Episode 3

Episode Description: Ali Wyne, a senior advisor at the International Crisis Group, joins host Arif Rafiq to discuss the implications of Taiwan’s recent elections, how China is responding to the results, the risks of a U.S.-China war over Taiwan, and the broader challenge of managing a rising China.

American Jews: Beyond the Tropes — Season 3, Episode 2

Episode Description: Journalist Emily Tamkin, author of “Bad Jews,” joins host Arif Rafiq to discuss the evolving and often contentious debate over what it means to be an American Jew and how today’s conversations about Jews, whiteness, and wealth fit into the broader historical, American Jewish experience. They also discuss the parallels between neoconservatism in the 60s and 70s and today’s counter-progressivism — or anti-wokeism — among Jewish public intellectuals. The conversation concludes with Tamkin’s thoughts on the crisis of American Zionism.

The Bangladesh Paradox — Season 3, Episode 1

Episode Description: Ali Riaz, a distinguished professor of political science at Illinois State University, joins host Arif Rafiq to discuss how deep and durable Bangladesh’s socio-economic gains are and whether they can be sustained under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s authoritarian regime.

The El-Sisi Guide to Ruling Egypt — Season 2, Episode 8

Episode Description: Hesham Sallam of Stanford University joins host Arif Rafiq to discuss Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s 10 years as ruler of Egypt and how this one man has dominated Egypt, its institutions, and its 110 million people for a decade. They dive deep into El-Sisi’s motives, how his brand of authoritarianism differs from those of his predecessors, and what the future holds for this new pharaoh and the 110 million people over whom he rules.

Venezuela’s Long Crisis — Season 2, Episode 7

Episode Description: University of Denver professor Francisco Rodríguez joins host Arif Rafiq to discuss Venezuela’s long political and economic crises, the drivers of its instability, the role played by the U.S., its links to the migrant crisis, and the potential for a way out.


  • Francisco Rodríguez, Rice Family Professor of the Practice of International and Public Affairs, University of Denver, Josef Korbel School (@frrodriguezc)

India’s Global Assassination Program — Season 2, Episode 6

Episode Description: Murtaza Hussain of The Intercept joins host Arif Rafiq to discuss India’s global assassination campaign, its modes, methods, and motivations, and what it means for the future of India’s partnership with the United States and the West. They discuss how India utilizes local criminal networks as part of its global assassination campaign and whether law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and Canada are doing enough to protect their citizens from threats from India.


Arab Americans of Metro Detroit: A Long Journey From the Margins to Political Power — Season 2, Episode 5

Episode Description: University of Michigan-Dearborn Professor Sally Howell joins host Arif Rafiq to discuss the history of the Arab Americans of Detroit and Dearborn and their rise as a force that is not only reshaping the political landscape in Michigan but could also play a decisive role in choosing the next president of the United States.


  • Sally Howell, History Professor, University of Michigan-Dearborn

Saudi Arabia: How the Gaza War Impacts MBS’s Plans to Transform the Region — Season 2, Episode 4

Episode Description: Rice University scholar Kristian Ulrichsen joins host Arif Rafiq to discuss how the October 7 attacks by Hamas have impacted Saudi Arabia’s moves toward normalizing ties with Israel, its relations with Iran, and plans by its de-facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to transform the country’s economy and society through Vision 2030.


  • Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, @Dr_Ulrichsen, Fellow, Baker Institute, Rice University

Hamas: Between Politics and War — Season 2, Episode 3

Episode Description: King’s College London Professor Jeroen Gunning joins host Arif Rafiq to discuss Hamas’s ideology, internal struggles between pragmatists and hardliners, competition with other Palestinian groups, and use of violence against Israel.


  • Jeroen Gunning (@GunningJeroen), Professor of Middle Eastern Politics and Conflict Studies, King’s College London

Netanyahu’s Wars — Season 2, Episode 2

Episode Description: International Crisis Group Mairav Zonszein joins host Arif Rafiq to discuss the mood on the ground in Israel after the October 7 attacks by Hamas, how it may shape Netanyahu’s decision-making, and what the ongoing crisis means for the future of his government, his legacy, the fate of the Israeli state, and the question of Israeli-Palestinian peace.


  • Mairav Zonszein (@MairavZ), Senior Israel-Palestine Analyst, International Crisis Group

The Palestinian Question: Past, Present and Future — Season 2, Episode 1

Episode Description: Middle East Institute senior fellow Khaled Elgindy joins host Arif Rafiq to discuss the latest developments in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, the potential Israeli ground invasion, and the visit of President Joe Biden. The conversation wraps up with an assessment of the future of the Palestinian national movement.


  • Khaled Elgindy (@elgindy_), senior fellow, Middle East Institute and former advisor to Palestinian peace negotiators.

Narendra Modi’s Dark Vision of a New India — Season 1, Episode 3

Episode Description: As India’s election results are set to be announced, we take a deep dive into Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of a “New India” and the danger it poses to Muslims and other minorities, free speech, and academic inquiry in India.


Can Imran Khan Build a ‘New Pakistan’? — Season 1, Episode 2

Episode Description: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has pledged to build a “New Pakistan.” In a time of austerity, he must somehow fuel economic growth and human development, with meager resources. Is he up to the task?


  • Mosharraf Zaidi, Columnist, The News
  • Salman Masood, Pakistan Correspondent, The New York Times

The Rise of White Nationalism and Transnational Islamophobia Season 1, Episode 1

Episode Description: Shared animosity toward Muslims has produced a transnational alliance of convenience between white nationalists, Hindutva extremists, and hardline supporters of Israel.


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