The Message – Podcast

With 15 years of experience working in both the U.S. government and Washington DC think tank world, Reza Marashi breaks down American foreign policy, the lack of diplomatic engagement and military restraint that is guiding it, the cast of characters that are making this unsustainable problem worse, and how all of this is firmly not in the national interest of the United States.

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Episodes of this show:

Episode 9, Hostage-Taking and Peace-Making (February 12, 2020):

This week, Reza breaks down how Trump is militarizing U.S. foreign policy, how our intelligence agencies contradict Trump’s foreign policy, and why assertions that the Iran nuclear deal helped fund Iran’s military and regional proxies are less than honest.

Jason Rezaian, Global Opinions writer for the Washington Post, chats with Reza about Iran’s nasty hostage-taking habit, how to overcome this troubling trend, how to prevent another endless war that both Americans and Iranians don’t want, and much more.


Episode 8, Dismissing Diplomacy and Wandering Into War (February 6, 2020):

This week, Reza breaks down fallacious arguments against U.S. military withdrawals from the Middle East, why today’s drift toward war with Iran is eerily familiar, and why Israel rejected an opportunity for diplomacy with Iran.

Tyler Cullis, Associate Attorney at Ferrari & Associates P.C., chats with Reza about sanctions causing shortages of humanitarian goods in Iran, how U.S policies might change after the 2020 presidential election, and much more.


Episode 7, Sanctions, Syria, and Selling Out (January 30, 2020):

This week, Reza breaks down why sanctions cause medicine shortages in Iran, why our Syria policy is misguided, and why Trump’s “Deal of the Century” for Israelis and Palestinians is, in fact, quite the opposite. Azadeh Moaveni, Senior Gender Analyst at the International Crisis Group, chats with Reza about her new book, “Guest House for Young Widows: Among the Women of ISIS,” the conditions that draw women to ISIS, how the post-9/11 “war on terror” factored into the rise of ISIS, and much more.


Episode 6, Diplomatic Malpractice and Endless War (January 23, 2020):

This week, Reza breaks down why the Trump administration is scared of Iran’s foreign minister, why Saudi Arabia continues to do outrageous things, and why Trump’s Iran policy is par for the course in Washington DC.

Daniel Rogers, former American soldier and diplomat, chats with Reza about how fighting a war and working to rebuild the damage caused by war gave him a unique perspective on our lack of diplomatic engagement and military restraint, why a paradigm shift is needed to end our endless wars and avoid starting new ones, and much more.


Episode 5, Perfidious Policymaking and Extorting Europe (January 16, 2020):

This week, Reza breaks down the Trump administration’s shifting rationale for killing Qassem Soleimani, the questions that regime change advocates are never forced to answer, and Trump’s efforts to extort Europe into killing the Iran nuclear deal.

Shervin Malekzadeh, Visiting Assistant Professor at Colgate University, chats with Reza about why Iranians can both mourn Soleimani’s assassination and protest against their government, why recent protests in Iran are different than what we’ve seen in the past, and how what’s transpired over the past two weeks is a microcosm of the Iranian American experience since 1979.


Episode 4, Mayhem In The Middle East (January 9, 2020): This week, Reza gives the people a special episode dedicated to breaking down the Trump Administration killing Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani, why doing so was a bad idea, and the thinking behind Iran’s response going forward. Amir Handjani, Board Member at the Atlantic Council and Security Fellow with the Truman National Security Project, chats with Reza about Trump’s decision to kill a senior foreign government official in broad daylight, its impact inside and outside of Iran, and where U.S.-Iran relations might go from here.


Episode 3, Truth Bombs and Temper Tantrums (December 19, 2019): This week, Reza breaks down why chemicals weapons use in Syria is being questioned, why Saudi Arabia acts like a spoiled brat, and why the Trump administration’s professed solidarity with the Iranian people is less than honest. Mana Kharrazi, Executive Director of Iranian Alliances Across Borders (IAAB), chats with Reza about Trump’s travel ban and its roots in Obama’s presidency, its connection to sanctions and threats of war that have long been a staple of U.S. policy toward Iran, and how none of this is in the national interest of the United States.


Episode 2, Prisoner Swaps and Political Turbulence (December 12, 2019): This week, Reza breaks down why the recent US-Iran prisoner swap is a victory for diplomacy that Trump should replicate, why reports of President Rouhani’s demise are premature, and the tumult in US-Turkey relations. Negar Razavi, Visiting Assistant Professor at William and Mary, chats with Reza about the culture of expert impunity when it comes to Iran policy, the system of knowledge production in Washington that rewards ideologically-driven assessments of Iran, and how Washington has long claimed to care about the aspirations of the Iranian people but takes actions to the contrary.


Episode 1, Mayhem In The Middle East (December 5, 2019): This week, Reza breaks down why Saudi Arabia has become a liability to American interests, how Israel has misplayed its hand with Trump, and the metrics for determining viability of protests in the Middle East. Narges Bajoghli, Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins SAIS, chats with Reza about recent protests in Iran, the evolution of Iranian domestic politics, and the impact of America’s dysfunctional foreign policy foundations.



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