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Markos Kounalakis

US Public Radio Series

America Abroad is an award-winning documentary radio program distributed by Public Radio International (PRI) and broadcast on public radio stations nationwide. Each month, we take an in-depth look at one critical issue in international affairs and U.S. foreign policy.

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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. 

"I think that public diplomacy has been done as if the channels of communication are the same as the 1980s. They have completely and radically changed, and I think Americans need to understand that the rules of the game have changed." 
–Lahcen Haddad, Professor at Mohammed V University

“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

“One of the most important lessons of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is that military success is not sufficient to win.” 
– Secretary of Defense Robert Gates

"In these environments, such as Afghanistan and Iraq, it isn’t a classical war of armies facing each other but rather it is a state and nation building, building institutions that serve the people." 
– US Representative to the U.N. Zalmay Khalilzad

Lebanon has been a political and religious powder keg for decades. It’s a nation known for its intellectual and cultural capital, and its political instability. Lebanon was built on a shaky sectarian foundation with religious identity at the heart of its political system. History has shown that when there is a palpitation, it can have deadly consequences. This summer, after two years of political paralysis and a couple of bloody spasms, Sunni, Shia, and Christian factions compromised and formed a consensus government.

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