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The Spectator Podcast: Trump’s peace plan

19 July 2018

4:30 PM

19 July 2018

4:30 PM


Earlier this week, Trump met Putin. But beneath the outcry against Trump’s press conference, a peace plan for Syria was slipped out. Is America withdrawing its troops and leaving Assad in place? We also ask – should we push back the March 2019 deadline for Brexit negotiations? And last, why is communism still chic?

While the Twittersphere obsesses over Trump’s Helsinki press conference, a peace plan for Syria was designed, one that would see President Assad stay in place after years of civil war. Middle East expert John R Bradley explains the complex regional relations in this week’s cover – Israel and the US both want Iran out of Syria, and Russia has agreed to help with that, provided it gets access to the warmwater ports in Syria it has always wanted. In return, Russia will sweeten the deal for Iran with billions of investment into Iranian oil and gas, and America can withdraw its troops. Ambassador Robert Ford, US Ambassador to Syria under Obama, and Owen Matthews, the Spectator’s man in Moscow join the podcast. Owen argues that this peace plan is a coup for Putin:

‘Putin has achieved an enormous amount with a tiny expenditure of blood and treasure. It’s been a triumph for him… Russia has proved it’s back in the king making business in the Middle East’.

Now for Brexit. Matthew Parris suggests in this week’s magazine that maybe we should talk about it for longer – that is, past the March 2019 deadline. He argues that surely it’s the best thing to do for the country considering the shambolic Brexit negotiations so far. Matthew joins the podcast with Labour politician and former Chair of Vote Leave, Gisela Stuart. Gisela argues that even if we could extend the deadline, we won’t want to:

‘If economic uncertainty is the problem then delaying further and further, all your doing is entrenching all the very things you think we should not be dealing with.’


Recently on Good Morning Britain, Piers Morgan got into an argument – with a real life communist.

His interlocutor is Ash Sarkar, a writer and activist close to the Corbyn left. After this fiery exchange, the Twittersphere exploded in her favour and even Teen Vogue gave her an interview. But why do rich and chic youngsters obsess over communism so much, Toby Young asks in this week’s magazine. Douglas Murray poses the question in stronger terms on Coffee House – asking, how are Communists not just apologists for a fatal ideology? Aaron Bastani, author of the upcoming book ‘Fully Automated Luxury Communism’ and a colleague of Ash Sarkar, and Kate Andrews from the Institute of Economic Affairs go head to head. Aaron believes that modern technology makes communism more relevant than ever, arguing that:

‘We are in the first stages of a new mode of production emerging from capitalism, automation plays a key role in that… Just as capitalism represents an upgrade on feudalism in a panoply of ways, the same is true of communism.’

Kate couldn’t disagree more. Tune in for a fiery clash of minds.

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