Podcast: Islamism and Democracy: Finding Models for the Middle East and Preserving Our Own

Temptations of Power: Islamists and Illiberal Democracy in a New Middle East

In episode 29 of Covert Contact Brookings Institution senior fellow and author of Temptations of Power: Islamists and Illiberal Democracy in a New Middle East joins me to discuss the difficult relationship Islamist movements have with democracy and power at the state level in general. Years of research, and deep contacts, led Shadi to some unexpected findings about how Islamist movements navigate through political systems. We also discuss the state of affairs in the United States – primarily the apparent increase in, and acceptance of, anti-Muslim bigotry in the 2016 presidential campaign. It is a fascinating discussion that reflects the challenges inherent in democracy and serves as a reminder that the tensions balanced by democracy could also destroy it if society rejects or loses the shared value system that makes it all possible.

Related Links
Follow @shadihamid on Twitter
Temptations of Power: Islamists and Illiberal Democracy in a New Middle East
Brookings Institution: Shadi Hamid

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Podcast App Recommendations: Overcast & Pocket Casts

There are countless ways to access podcasts but Overcast is my personal favorite. If you’re on an Apple device and you want to subscribe to Covert Contact it’s an excellent choice.

Pocket Casts is available for iOS,Android, and Windows and is every bit as good as Overcast – and no doubt many would say better. The bottom line is that you can’t go wrong with either one of these apps. Both can substantially improve your podcast listening experience, help you discover exciting new content, and turn you into hopeless a podcast addict in short order. That’s why I’m letting you know about them.

I’ve linked to even more options on the Covert Contact blog. Drop me a line via the contact form and let me know how you listen.

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A Special Thanksgiving Podcast

Episode 28 is available now. Normally I’d spend this day surrounded by friends and family. I hope that’s what many of you are doing. But today I have some kind of bug. It’s nothing serious, just a minor cold, but I have relatives with compromised immune systems and I’m staying home so as not to put them at risk.

I did still manage a bit of a Thanksgiving feast thanks to my girlfriend, who I am very thankful for. She drove out to Chinatown and managed to secure an entire Peking Duck meal (not easy on a holiday) and brought it back to me earlier today. I’m definitely thankful for her.

I am also thankful for you. I appreciate those of you who listen. I managed to produce 8 episodes last month and the response has exceeded my expectations. I talk to some of you on Twitter but there are huge portions of the Covert Contact audience that I haven’t connected with. Please feel free to drop me a line at covertcontact@protonmail.com or via the contact form. I’d love to hear what you think of the show and what you’d like to hear in the future.

I don’t want to dwell on negatives today or get overly political so I’ll just say this. I am very thankful for those of you out there who are quiet. The vast majority of people on this planet are decent. You’re focused on your families and your communities. You move between the extremes and you are often the victims of, or shouted down by, those on the extremes. You mind your own business and you are quiet and decent. You don’t hate people who are different than you. You don’t try to force your beliefs on others, you don’t abandon your principals out of fear. I am thankful that most of you are like this. However, the world seems to have taken a darker turn recently. So, as we approach the new year I hope to see more decent people stand up and speak out when confronted hatred, bigotry, or ignorance wherever they see it. Decent people can’t be quiet in difficult times or extremists will be able to set the agenda.

Before I sign off I want to say thank you to those who have been on the show and those of you who have quietly supported me as I tried to create this podcast – people like William Tucker, Francesca Recchia, Phil Walter, Max Abrahms, Stilgherrian, Ty Mayfield, Andy Priest, Naveed Jamali, Howard Kaplan, Andy Yen, David Gomez, and many others. I am only able to do this with the support of good friends and smart people who willing to share their ideas with others.

I am also thankful for my friends around the world who, often in the face of terrible media reports and an uninformed public, are working around the clock to secure the safety of others. Your work is appreciated here.

I hope all of you have something to be thankful for today and can pause and reflect on that even if you’re not celebrating an American holiday.

Thanks for listening.

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Podcast: Turkey Shot Down a Russian Jet – Where Do We Go From Here?

Putin called today’s downing of a Russian Su-24 by a Turkish F16 a “stab in the back” but it this was certainly not an unproved attack. In fact it follows countless warnings from Turkey that violations of its airspace (and aggression against its interests on its border) will not go unchecked. Terrorism analyst and counterintelligence pro William J. Tucker joins me again for a look at this event, the circumstances that got us here, and where we might be going.

Related Links
All episodes featuring William J. Tucker
Follow William J. Tucker on Twitter

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