May 26 - The Filmmaker of the PBS FRONTLINE Special "Obama at War"; The Rush to Build Nuclear Power Plants in the Troubled Middle East; A Marine Ecologist on the Lasting Effects of Oil Spills

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Full Program


Part 1

We begin with the most complicated foreign policy challenge President Obama faces, the collapse of Syria and the rise of the self-declared Islamic State that is now poised to destroy the ancient Roman city of Palmyra that is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Veteran Middle East correspondent Martin Smith joins us. He has covered the Middle East for PBS’s FRONTLINE for more than a decade, most recently with “The Rise of ISIS”, and we discuss his follow up FRONTLINE report that premieres tonight on PBS stations and online at, “Obama at War

Part 2

Then as if the region is not complicated enough, we discuss the explosive addition of civilian nuclear power reactors with Russia set to build 4 reactors in Turkey this year, having secured agreements to build more in Algeria, Egypt, Iran and Jordan, joining South Korea with contracts to build four plants in the United Arab Emirates. Bennett Ramberg, who served in the Bureau of Politico/Military Affairs in the George H.W. Bush Administration and is author of “Nuclear Power Plants as Weapons for the Enemy”, joins us to discuss his article in Foreign Affairs, “Nuclear Power to the People: The Middle East’s New Gold Rush” and the competition between Argentina, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Japan, the U.K., Russia and the U.S. who are bidding to enter the Saudi market to build up to 18 nuclear power reactors.


Part 3

Then finally we speak with Robert Miller, a Marine Ecologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, about the impact that the oil spill on the beaches near where the UCSB campus is situated is having on marine life, birds and mammals. He joins us to discuss the lasting damage that oil spills inflict on the marine environment after the surface oil is skimmed with the use of controversial dispersants.