Episode 12: Michael Totten

Guest: Michael Totten
May 21, 2013
Direct Link to MP3 File

Direct link to mp3 file. 

This week on International Edition, Judith Levy and Damian Counsell interview prize-winning foreign correspondent and policy analyst Michael Totten, who has reported extensively from the Middle East, the Balkans, and the Caucasus. Sohrab Ahmari of Commentary wrote of Michael that he “practices journalism in the tradition of Orwell: morally imaginative, partisan in the best sense of the word, and delivered in crackling, rapid-fire prose befitting the violent realities it depicts.”

Michael’s work has appeared everywhere from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The New Republic to Beirut’s Daily Star. He is the author of The Road to Fatima Gate: The Beirut Spring, the Rise of Hezbollah, and the Iranian War Against IsraelIn the Wake of the Surge; and Where the West Ends: Stories from the Middle East, the Balkans, the Black Sea, and the Caucasus. He has also recently published a novel called Taken. Michael talks with Judith and Damian about Syria’s descent into sectarian chaos, the American response to the escalating crisis, the Russian angle, and the Lebanese wild card. Join us for a candid and eye-opening discussion of one of the most dangerous hotspots in the world today.

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  1. Benjamin Glaser

    Great podcast, very informative. 

    Thanks again!

  2. Crow

    Ah, excellent! Good to see the show back in the feed, and as an admirer of Michael Totten’s work, I look forward to listening later today.

  3. Charlotte

    Hurray! Very happy to listen to a new International Edition. Totten’s a total hoss.

  4. DJ EJ

    Enjoyed the podcast very much! Having worked on an archaeological excavation in northwestern Syria for 12 years, Mr. Totten’s insights into how Syrians identify themselves was spot on. The lack of any larger unity across sectarian lines will indeed most likely prolong this civil war for years, and I fear the consequences of its conclusion for minority groups in the country. While our on-site excavation workers down in the valley were Sunni Muslim, we lived at a Catholic Church in a small Christian village in the mountains. Within the village were also Syrian Orthodox and Presbyterian affiliated congregations. A few miles walk down a mountain path was an Alawite village.

    We haven’t been in touch with anyone there for the last two years, either from the Sunni Muslim or the Christian village. I keep up with news of looting and destruction of archaeological sites in Syria through a few different Facebook pages, but more importantly, I am truly worried about what will happen to Syria’s Christian minority and my friends in both villages.

    Thanks again for an engaging podcast.

  5. CygnusA81

    Great podcast guys. I’ve been a huge fan of Michael for a while now, so I was glad you were able to book him for the show.

    On that note, I thought Damian’s accidental take-down of Michael was kind of funny.  I know that Damian didn’t mean it that way, but it was still funny.

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