Russia

In a world that seems increasingly secular, the role of religion remains surprisingly strong. Across the globe, nearly nine out of 10 people say they have some affiliation with religion. Yet, at the same time, conflicts because of religion are on the rise.

“People value the ability to practice their own religion more highly than they do the ability of others in their country to practice their religion. So you could call that somewhat of a religious intolerance gap.” –Brian Grim, Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life

It seems that today you can’t turn on the television (or the radio) without hearing talk of American decline. The country is in the throes of a financial crisis, and grinding through two wars. China, India, Russia and others are sitting at the big kids’ table, and even a recent National Intelligence Council report warns that America’s unipolar moment is over. Others say, not so fast—the US has been declared dead before, but it turns out it was just resting. We take the measure of American power and leadership amid the rise of the rest. 

“It’s possible that after ten years we will have a very big war, because in Central Asia we see a lot of contradictions, there is Europe, [the] United States, China, Russia, Muslim terrorists, so it’s [a] dangerous combination of different interests.”
– Konstantin Simonov, Director of the National Energy Security Fund in Moscow

It’s the summer of political conventions: Democrats in Denver, Republicans in Minneapolis, and jocks in Beijing. The Olympics are more than just fun and games—they’re also a forum for international politics. China hopes to make its Olympic games the nation’s coming out party. It’s hardly the first time the five-ring spectacle has been the venue for national agendas or grandstanding—think Moscow in 1980 or Hitler’s Berlin. And so far, controversy has surrounded Beijing—Tibet, Darfur, protests, threats of boycotts.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 1990s, there was a chance for cooperation where there had once been conflict. And for a while it seemed friendship might replace the bitter legacy of the Cold War. But 18 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, relations between Washington and Moscow are once again icy.

Guests on this program include:

As America draws down troops from Afghanistan, cuts back on military spending and the size of its military, many worry that America’s leadership in the world and ability to protect its allies is eroding. On this edition of America Abroad we travel to Estonia, Japan, and Saudi Arabia to speak with US allies as well as officials and experts in Washington to understand how America’s defense cuts are perceived around the world.

As the 9/11 Commission releases its full report of the circumstances surrounding the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, America Abroad examines the United States' key 20th-century intelligence failures, including the attack on Pearl Harbor, the fall of the Shah of Iran, and the collapse of the Soviet Union. 

Guests on this program include: