October 3, 2022 — Just days before Putin invaded Ukraine, Russian authorities detained U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner on reported minor drug charges. Seven months later, Putin’s war rages on … and Griner—a Black lesbian athlete—remains in Russian custody, facing a brutal nine-year sentence that experts say may be politically motivated.
With her sentencing, Griner joins a growing list of US citizens detained abroad—not by rogue terrorist groups, but by established foreign governments. This week, ESPN investigative reporter TJ Quinn and hostage expert Dani Gilbert join Ray to discuss how state-endorsed hostage-taking creates leverage for autocrats—like Putin—upends American diplomatic norms, and places civilians in the crossfire.
The Kremlin’s Kim-ouflage
Andrei Lankov, Director at NK News, joins Ray Suarez to explain why Kim Jong Un is solidifying relations with Russia… and not China.
Two Dictators Walk Into a Bar: What We Learned From the Putin-Kim Summit
Ray Suarez speaks with New York Times’ national security reporter Julian Barnes about Russia’s alleged arms deal with North Korea, and what it means for the war in Ukraine.
Why Detroit’s Auto Workers Are On Strike
In this special rerun episode, Mark Phelan, auto writer and columnist for the Detroit Free Press, joins Ray Suarez to break down why electric vehicles and wages are a red line for autoworkers.
Regulating Big Tech: Is TikTok Still on the Clock?
Ray Suarez speaks with Gerard de Graaf about strengthening US-EU cooperation on digital affairs. Then, Caitlin Chin returns with an update on the latest digital drama between Washington & Beijing... and the pending...
Molière Out, Mercenaries In: Powers and Politics in Françafrique
Ray Suarez sits down with security analyst Fola Aina and journalist Nabila Ramdani to discuss the coup in Niger – and across former French colonies in the Sahel region.
Blood and Butter: Why Russia’s Economy is Falling Faster Than Prigozhin’s Plane
Ray Suarez speaks with Catherine Belton, The Washington Post’s Russia reporter, about the mercenary organization’s future and the price Russians — ordinary and oligarch — are paying for Putin’s power plays.
Putin’s Prigozhin Trap, with Anne Applebaum
Historian Anne Applebaum argues that Putin needed a spectacular act of violence after Prigozhin’s challenge to his power. She and Ray discuss what this means for a fragile Russia.
China’s Dream of Global Dominance
Aug. 28 — The aftermath of the Chinese surveillance balloon saga reveals a growing diplomatic divide between the US and China. Where does this mistrust come from? Authors Orville Schell and John Delury join host Ray...
QAnon’s German Blitz
Ray Suarez and journalist Julia Ebner explore how once-fringe movements like QAnon are popping up in European political circles.
Trump-ing Tradition: American Democracy at the Crossroads
Ray Suarez and New York Times columnist Tom Edsall explore whether we’ve passed a point of no return in American politics.
Why Detroit’s Auto Workers Are Pumping the Breaks on EVs
Mark Phelan, auto writer and columnist for the Detroit Free Press, joins Ray Suarez to break down why the threat of EVs is a red line for autoworkers.
Scott Galloway: Dislike by Design, How Big Tech Drives ‘American Enragement’
Ray Suarez sits down with NYU professor Dr. Scott Galloway to explore how Silicon Valley’s profit-chasing – and unchecked influence – is destroying American society… and our kids.
Blue-Check Blues and Trauma X-Posure: Coping with Viral Violence
UC Berkeley researchers Alexa Koenig and Andrea Lampros join Ray Suarez to break down how everyday exposure to trauma is affecting social media users worldwide.
General Petraeus’ Guide to Diplomacy… and Deterrence with China
General David Petraeus offers insights on how small nations can contend with formidable superpowers, and how President Volodymyr Zelenskyy scored the role of a lifetime.
Ambassador Katherine Tai: Buy Local, Trade Global? (Even With China…)
US Trade Representative Katherine Tai tells Ray Suarez about APEC's vision for the future of global commerce, and what a 'worker-centered' US trade policy looks like.
Fact-Checking a Crisis: Scientists vs. Science Deniers
Researcher Christopher Reddy joins Ray Suarez to discuss his new book, “Science Communication in a Crisis,” and why scientists may be part of the problem in science denialism.
How to Talk To Your Child About the End of the World
David Gessner and his daughter, Hadley, join Ray Suarez to discuss his new book, “A Traveler’s Guide to the End of the World,” and to share what it's like talking about the climate crisis with your kid.
Falling (Communist) Blocs and the Rise of Tetris
Screenwriter Noah Pink tells Ray Suarez how he discovered the true story behind “Tetris,” from the Cold War race to secure the rights to the classic video game to its escape from the former Soviet Union.
A Twitter Coup? Pics or Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Mutiny Didn’t Happen
Ray Suarez speaks with Jen Kirby, Vox’s Foreign and National Security Reporter, about fact verification and conflict reporting amidst state propaganda and viral Twitter memes.
Money Talks, Kingdom Walks: Global Finance and Saudi Politics
Eric Pelofsky, Deputy Chief of Staff and Vice President of the Rockefeller Foundation, joined Ray Suarez days before the Summit for a New Global Financing Pact in Paris to share how international financial institutions...
PlateGate: The Conspiracies About What We Eat
Laicie Heeley, Executive Producer and Host of “Things That Go Boom,” joins Ray Suarez to break down how cracks in our food system have paved the way for international conspiracy theories about the ongoing food...
French Identity and the Battle for the Baguette
Ray Suarez speaks with French legal scholar Rim-Sarah Alouane about the "great replacement theory", and what it takes to be considered “French first.”
Is Kosovo on the Verge of Renewed Conflict?
Anatol Lieven, journalist and Eurasian Program Director at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, joins Ray Suarez to explain why ethnic tensions are once again flaring up in the Balkans.
How Erdoğan Plans to “Make Turkey Great Again”
Ray Suarez speaks with Merve Tahiroğlu, Turkey Program Director at the Project on Middle East Democracy about Erdoğan’s imperial ambitions.
Georgia’s Dilemma: Wait on the West, or Succumb to Putin?
Reporter Levi Bridges takes us on the ground to the former Soviet state of Georgia where we hear about the dangers of standing up to Russia.
Marie Yovanovitch: The Ambassador Who Testified Against Trump
Ray Suarez spoke with retired Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch about a lifetime of public service, and why she remains optimistic about Ukraine’s fight for freedom.
CityNerd Debunks the “15-Minute City” Conspiracy
The 15-Minute City has the potential to address many challenges of city living— but it hasn’t been without its critics. CityNerd creator Ray Delahanty joins Ray Suarez to debunk anti-urbanism conspiracies.
Secretary Pete Buttigieg: Leading the EV Charge at APEC
Ray Suarez speaks with US Secretary Pete Buttigieg about repowering America.
When Your Country Doesn’t Trust You
In this episode, we revisit the story of Wen Ho Lee, a Taiwanese-American scientist who was falsely accused of spying for the Chinese government.
Two Asian Americans on How an Election Changed Their Lives
World Affairs President & CEO Philip Yun and California Assemblymember Alex Lee share how an election changed their lives.
Why We Need a New Immigration Narrative
Ray Suarez speaks with Aarthi Shahani, author of the memoir "Here We Are: American Dreams, American Nightmares," about her family's painful path to citizenship and how America's broken immigration system is used as a...
Reformer to Enforcer? Biden’s Immigration Policy
Sabrina Rodriguez, national politics reporter at The Washington Post, joins Ray Suarez to explore America's broken immigration system.
The Masculinity Crisis: What’s a Man to Do?
Ray Suarez speaks with Idrees Kahloon, DC bureau chief at The Economist, about how men have been pushed to the sidelines.
Is It a Man’s World?
Angela Saini, author of "The Patriarchs: How Men Came To Rule," joins Ray Suarez to break down what the "patriarchy" is, and how it operates.
Tom Nichols on the Dangerous Politics of Narcissism
Tom Nichols, staff writer at The Atlantic, joins Ray Suarez to break down what Trump's historic indictment — and the fight for the truth in the US – means for the coming 2024 elections.
What’s Newsworthy? A Behind the Scenes Look at Global Dispatches
Ray Suarez sits down with Mark Goldberg, host of "Global Dispatches," to explore how international journalism can remain vital.
The Free Press, Held Hostage
Gulnoza Said, CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator, joins Ray Suarez to discuss the ongoing threats to free press around the world.
Why is America So Afraid of China?
Ray Suarez sits down with Nancy Qian, James J. O'Connor Professor of Managerial Economics & Decision Sciences at Kellogg MEDS, Northwestern University, to discuss the China-rooted land panic.
Why China and the US are Saber-Rattling Over Taiwan
On this episode, Ray Suarez speaks with Dr. Joel Wuthnow about China's potential invasion of the island it claims as its sovereign territory.
Saudi Arabia’s Thirst for Arizona’s Water
Ray Suarez speaks with Dr. Natailie Koch, author of "Arid Empire: The Entangled Fates of Arizona and Arabia," about mining water, from Arizona to Arabia.
Saudi Arabia Turns Off the Tap: Will Gas Prices Spike?
On this episode, Ray Suarez sits down with Jim Krane, author of "Energy Kingdoms: Oil and Political Survival in the Persian Gulf,” to discuss OPEC's surprise oil cuts, and what that means for your wallet.
War Games: The High Stakes of North Korea’s Nuclear Armament
In this episode, Siegfried Hecker talks about missed opportunities to denuclearize North Korea. Then, Ray Suarez explores the escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula with Dr. Victor Cha.
State Department’s Matt Murray on Trade with Asia, and US-China Relations
In this episode, Ray Suarez talks with Ambassador Matt Murray, senior US official for APEC, about whether the US and China can find common ground in trade on the Asian continent.
TikTok On the Clock: Inside the Efforts To Ban the Video App
Ray Suarez sits down with Caitlin Chin, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, to discuss Congress' efforts to ban the Chinese-owned video app, TikTok.
Why Russia Is Stealing Ukraine’s Future
In today's episode, Ray talks with post-Soviet expert Nicholas Eberstadt to understand why Russia's historic population collapse is fueling Putin's brinkmanship in Ukraine.
The ICC Issues A Warrant for Putin… What Happens Next?
Beth Van Schaack, ambassador-at-large for Global Criminal Justice at the DOS, tells Ray Suarez why it's so challenging to prosecute war criminals.
Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Fighting Authoritarianism in Exile
In this episode, we revisit Ray's conversation with Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya to understand how women might light a new path of leadership, and why there is still more work to do following the...
Can Microloans Lift Women Out of Poverty?
Bank run? How about banks run by women? Ray Suarez sits down with Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President & CEO of Women's World Banking and author of "There's Nothing Micro About A Billion Women: Making Finance Work For...
21 Economies Walk Into a Conference Room…
In this episode, Ray Suarez talks with APEC research head, Carlos Kuriyama, about how the global economy can bounce back from the pandemic.
The Children the Pandemic Left Behind (And How We Can Help Them Catch Up)
Ray Suarez is joined by the World Bank's Norbert Schady, Chief Economist for Human Development, and Mamta Murthi, Vice President for Human Development, to discuss COVID-19's hidden economic crisis.
What A Veteran Writer from the New Yorker Learned Covering the Ukraine War
Joshua Yaffa wasn't a war correspondent, but The New Yorker writer became one when Russia invaded Ukraine. In this episode, he joins Ray Suarez.
Ambassador McFaul: How the Ukrainians Can Break Through
In this episode, Ambassador Michael McFaul tells Ray Suarez why the global response to the current crisis will determine who wins or loses.
From Russia with Love: Escaped Russians Face History
In part two of our Ukraine anniversary special, journalist Levi Bridges tells the story of the Russian exodus, and the cultural reckoning that followed.
Bill Browder: Putin’s Stalemate in Ukraine
In the first part of our Ukraine anniversary special, Bill Browder joins host Ray Suarez to answer what Putin might do next – and how long this war may last.
Kerning Cultures Presents: Armenian Pilgrimages
A new generation of Armenian pilgrims are traveling to what is now eastern Turkey in the hopes of locating their ancestral homes. In this episode, the podcast Kerning Cultures brings us the story of Armenian-American...
The Siege of Stepanakert: A Post-Soviet Conflict in Ukraine’s Shadow
The siege of Nagorno-Karabakh is now in its 64th day, leaving 120,000 ethnic Armenians cut off from food, fuel and medicine. In this episode, journalist Lara Setrakian and advisor to the state minister of Artsakh Artak...
Has the NRA Gone Global?
In this episode, Ray Suarez sits down with Bloomberg News reporter Neil Weinberg to explore how the National Rifle Association forged ties went global.
Storming Brasilia: Bolsonaro’s Second Amendment Culture War
How did Brazil's love of guns lead to an attack on its Congress earlier this year? Ray Suarez speaks with Reuters reporter Gabriel Stargardter about Brazil's version of the January 6th Insurrection, and the Latin...
Learning From Past Fights With Inflation
As we slouch towards economic recovery, what can we learn from past fights with inflation? In this episode of "On Shifting Ground," Ray Suarez speaks with author and economist J. Bradford DeLong about who is most...
On Borrowed Time: How Tech Layoffs Threaten Silicon Valley’s Immigrant Workers
Tech reporter Pranav Dixit has found that drastic tech worker cuts have left immigrant programmers and computer scientists wondering if it's worth staying in the U.S.
What ISIS Can Teach Us About Drone Warfare in Ukraine
In the age of remote warfare, how do we judge accountability when the rules of engagement remain murky? We revisit Ray's conversation with investigative reporter Azmat Khan and ethics professor Shannon French.
What Will a Republican Majority in the House Mean for US Foreign Policy?
In this episode, Ray Suarez and Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow Chris Tuttle discuss the impacts of the midterms on US foreign policy.
Why Congressman Andy Kim is Worried About War With China
In this episode, Rep. Andy Kim sits down with World Affairs CEO Philip Yun to discuss foreign policy in 2023 and the growing disconnect between Washington and the American people.
January 6th and the Global Far Right Revival
In this episode, authors Ruth Ben-Ghiat and Julia Ebner join Ray Suarez to discuss authoritarianism and misinformation to answer how we can prevent the next January 6.
The Fight to Keep Native Kids on Tribal Lands
Ray Suarez is joined by Tammerlin Drummond, creator and host of the “Gold Chains” from the Northern California chapter of the ACLU. Then, Jenn Williams, host of Foreign Policy’s show, “The Negotiators,” talks...
A Family Flees Genocide: Lisa Phu on Her Mom’s Story in “Before Me”
In this special episode, we share "Before Me", a five-part podcast series following one woman's life—from Cambodia to America—over the course of decades. The story was created, written, and produced by Lisa Phu,...
Spreading Abortion Lies on TikTok
What does the anti-#abortion agenda look like across social media? Who are they reaching? In this episode of "On Shifting Ground," Ray Suarez Reveal producer Alaa Mostafa and UC Berkeley Human Rights Center...
A Post-Roe World: Poland’s Pro-Choice Fight
On this episode of "On Shifting Ground," Ray Suarez speaks with author and feminist Agnieszka Graff about Poland's war on abortion – and how a historic protest movement is fighting back.
How Technology Fights – and Fuels – Misinformation
CEO of PeaceTech Lab, Sheldon Himelfarb, sits down with Ray to discuss what makes our present-day information crisis so unique – and dangerous. Then Alexa Koenig, Executive Director of UC Berkeley’s Human Rights...
Larry Brilliant on Stopping The Next Pandemic
Epidemiologist Larry Brilliant joins Ray Suarez to break down what the global pandemic response community got wrong (and right), the enduring geopolitics of vaccination and the urgent need to build a more...
Welcome to “On Shifting Ground”
New name...same award-winning insights. "On Shifting Ground with Ray Suarez" drops on October 31st.
Hate Speech and Extremism: What to Listen For Ahead of Midterm Elections
Ray Suarez sits down with Daniel Byman, a counterterrorism expert and author of Spreading Hate: The Global Rise of White Supremacist Terrorism, to discuss the roots of the global white power movement, how extremism...
Grace: Cody Keenan on Writing for President Obama – and That Charleston Speech
President Barack Obama delivered over 450 speeches during his tenure, but one of his most famous was entirely unscripted. Back in 2015, as the country mourned the victims of Charleston church shooting, the president...
Cuba Revisited: From Cold War to Normalization – and Back Again
In this week’s episode, we explore the deep roots of Cuban internationalism…and its impact on everyday Cubans. We begin with historian William Kelly, who charts Cuba’s little-known history of solidarity with...
Ambassador Michael McFaul on Putin’s “Failed” War
Former US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul and Ray Suarez explore what we can expect from the war in Ukraine in the coming weeks and – perhaps – months, and how it’s impacting Russia’s international standing.
Cryptomania: How Cryptocurrency Can Save—or Destabilize—a Country
Ray Suarez takes a deep dive into the global world of cryptocurrency — from Kazakhstan to Ukraine.
Boris Out, Liz In: The Global Impact of the British Election
Ronan McCrea joins Ray Suarez to break down the global implications of new British leadership. Then, we travel to Northern Ireland, where the fate of a Brexit protocol – and the precarious peace between north and south...
Feeding 7.9 Billion…Without Wrecking the Planet
On this week’s episode, we hear from two experts with competing visions of how we can sustainably feed a growing planet. Ray Suarez is joined by Raj Patel and Robert Paarlberg on a journey through the inequities and...
Zero Sum, Zero Change: What Racism Costs Everyone
Policy expert Heather McGhee joins Ray Suarez to discuss her new book and podcast, "The Sum of Us", and the burgeoning cross-racial alliances pushing for real change.
“The Code of the Warrior” and Ethics on the Modern Battlefield
Shannon French, Inamori Professor in Ethics at Case Western Reserve University, joins Ray Suarez to chart the ever-evolving field of military ethics and its central role in keeping both civilians and soldiers safe.
A Blurred Civilian/Soldier Line? Accountability in the Age of Drones
Ray Suarez speaks with journalist Azmat Khan about accountability in the age of remote warfare, and the importance of civilian oversight in US military action.
Dr. Atul Gawande’s Prescription for COVID and Aging: What Can We Learn?
In this episode, Dr. Gawande and Ray Suarez discuss taking public health work to the global stage, and the immense challenges that lie ahead.
The New Story of Old Age: What Japan and the Pandemic Can Teach Us About Living Longer
MIT AgeLab's Joseph F. Coughlin talks about how leaps in technology have led to longer life spans — and why it may be the key to making the most out of borrowed time. Then, NYT's Motoko Rich shares how this demographic...
Forty Years After Vincent Chin, Asian Americans Continue to Fight Hate
Ray Suarez speaks with filmmaker Renee Tajima-Peña and activist Helen Zia about the ongoing fight to recognize diverse Asian-American histories, challenging stereotypes and what justice means today.
The Story of Vincent Chin, and How It Became A Rallying Cry for Asian Americans
In this episode, we revisit an interview with filmmaker Renee Tajima-Peña about her documentary, “Who Killed Vincent Chin?” to learn about the movement sparked by Chin’s story.
Bill Browder on Exposing Russia’s Web of Corruption, and Surviving Putin’s Wrath
In a gripping interview with Ray Suarez, Browder recounts a hunt for missing money that led him to discover a corruption and conspiracy plot involving Putin’s inner circle.
Scaling Up: Local Solutions to End Global Homelessness
Ray Suarez digs deeper into two homegrown, people-powered housing initiatives for urban and rural communities across South Asia. Then, Lydia Stazen shares how small-scale local programs can be scaled internationally to...
“Nixing” the Gold Standard: The Secret Meeting Behind Today’s Inflation
In the second episode of our two-part series on inflation, we return to a conversation between NPR’s Chief Economics Correspondent Scott Horsley and Jeffrey Garten, an influential economist who served in multiple...
Price Shock: The World Economy, Upside Down
In this episode, we revisit a conversation with filmmaker Rupert Russell about his book and film, “Price Wars: How the Commodities Markets Made Our Chaotic World.
How To Save Diverse Democracies
Yascha Mounk joins Ray Suarez to discuss his new book, “The Great Experiment: Why Diverse Democracies Fall Apart And How They Can Endure,” which challenges the assumptions of a modern pluralist society and imagines...
“Becoming American” with Wajahat Ali, Pt. 2
In the second part of his interview with Ray Suarez, author Wajahat Ali discusses how the war on terror shaped attitudes towards Muslims in the United States, and how the Muslim-American political identity evolved in its...
“Becoming American” with Wajahat Ali, Part 1
“The tragic history of America is that the rest of us have fought for a country and love a country when it doesn’t love us back,” Wajahat told Ray Suarez in a recent interview about his new memoir, Go Back to...
The Age of Disasters and the Future of Crisis Management
Ray Suarez speaks with "The Devil Never Sleeps" author, Juliette Kayyem, about what global communities can do to prepare before disaster strikes close to home.
NATO’s Past, Present & Future
Ray Suarez sits down with Ivo Daalder, former US Ambassador to NATO, to discuss the alliance’s evolution, the Russian “wake-up call” that placed it back in the news, and the future–and feasibility–of...
A Shadow Immigration System to Keep Migrants Out of Europe
KQED senior editor Rachael Myrow speaks with Sally Hayden, an Irish investigative journalist, about a shadowy immigration system funded by the E.U. which captures and imprisons North African migrants before they ever...