Mark Danner

On the Eve of a New Cold War?: Foreign Reporting in the Shadow of Ukraine


On the Eve of a New Cold War?

Foreign Reporting in the Shadow of Ukraine

J298, Fall 2022, Wed 1 — 4 pm, North Gate 106

Mark Danner

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February 2022 put an end to the post-Cold War era that began with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 — an era that had at its core American predominance, both military and political. Vladimir Putin’s decision to attack Russia’s neighbor not only killed many thousands — including thousands of civilians — it has unsettled the global balance of power in ways yet to be determined. Has the world entered a new Cold War, with a nuclear-armed Russia and the United States locked in a reprise of their bitter forty-year rivalry? Or are we witnessing the dawn of a multi-polar world, with a neo-Cold War rivalry in Europe and a rising China increasingly dominant in the Pacific? Or something altogether different? In this course we will explore this murky new world in preparing students to report on foreign policy from the United States and abroad. Our class sessions will be rooted in our discussion of some of the best contemporary foreign reporting.  Extensive reading, some writing.

Course Goals In this seminar we will seek to achieve three broad and interconnected goals:

  • To explore the present transitional moment in US foreign policy and highlight why it is important
  • To gain familiarity with certain current conflicts and “hot spots” abroad and at home and with those reporters covering them
  • To highlight basic techniques of reporting from abroad.


Class Requirements This seminar will be a mixture of lecture, class discussion and written assignments, backed up by selected readings of books and articles. The most important requirements are that students

*Attend all class sessions

*Keep up with reading and writing assignments

*Participate in discussions

*Do one presentation on a correspondent or a problem of foreign policy

*Complete two or three works of foreign reporting or commentary


A student’s record of attendance and participation in class discussion, together with the quality of their writing, will determine the success of our class and contribute the better part of the grade.


Schedule Note that classes will meet Wednesdays at 1 pm in North Gate 106 and will end at 4 pm. We will normally break for about 10 minutes at 2:30. Please plan to do any texting and telephoning you find necessary during the break.

Reading Our primary reading will draw largely from a number of books and articles of foreign reporting, classic and contemporary, and books and articles on foreign policy. I strongly urge you to obtain these books in your own copies and in the edition specified, either from local bookstores or from online suppliers, so that you will be able to highlight and annotate them.

Tracking the News A significant part of each class will be given over to tracking and discussing foreign policy as it takes shape around ongoing conflicts. Following these events closely in various publications, beginning with the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and other newspapers and websites, and familiarizing yourselves with the work of the leading contemporary foreign correspondents and commentators, is essential. Even if you are not a habitual newspaper reader, you must become one for this class. Also strongly recommended are The Guardian, The Economist, Foreign Policy and Foreign Affairs, among other publications.

Presentations Each student will make one presentation to the class. This may take one of two forms: first, present a discussion on the work and career of a foreign correspondent of your choice, contemporary or not. (If the correspondent is contemporary, work to secure an interview.) Second, take up a major issue or event in contemporary foreign policy and report or comment on it. We will be discussing these projects extensively in class sessions and in individual meetings. Use of multimedia and social media during the presentation is strongly encouraged.

Office Hours I will count on meeting with each of you individually at least once during the course of the term. We will make these appointments on an ad hoc basis. I am best reached via email, at My office is North Gate 32. My writing, speaking and other information can be found at my website,

Grading Students will be graded on their preparedness and their participation in class, the strength of their presentations and the quality of their written work, as follows:

Attendance     25 percent

Participation   25 percent

Presentation    25 percent

Writing           25 percent


Note that regular attendance is vital. Those who miss multiple classes will not do well in this course.


Films During the semester we hope to be screening a number of films that bear closely on the subject of foreign reporting and foreign affairs.

Syllabus and Texts Note the list of assignments and books below will certainly change during the semester. Some books we will read in excerpt, not in full. As the semester progresses some articles will replace books or supplement them. The syllabus will be regularly updated on bCourses and you will receive a fully revised syllabus at the end of the course.

Course Assistant Our course assistant this semester will be Julietta Bisharyan. Julietta will be updating the syllabus with notes from each class, taping the sessions, keeping a list of presentations and otherwise making the trains run on time. Julietta can be reached via email at



Vincent Bevins, The Jakarta Method: Washington’s Anticommunist Crusade and

the Mass Murder Program that Shaped Our World (Public Affairs, 2020)

Marie Colvin, On the Front Line: The Collected Journalism of Marie Colvin (Harper, 2012)

Paul Conroy, Under the Wire: Marie Colvin’s Final Assignment (Weinstein, 2013)

Mark Danner, The Massacre at El Mozote: A Parable of the Cold War (Vintage, 1994)

Mark Danner, Stripping Bare the Body: Politics Violence War (Nation, 2009)

Adam Hochschild, King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa (Mariner, 2020 [1998])

Nathaniel Rich, Losing Earth: A Recent History (MCD, 2019)

David Wallace Wells, The Uninhabitable Earth (Penguin, 2019)

Anjan Sundaram, Stringer: A Reporter’s Journey to the Congo (Doubleday, 2013)

Peter Pomerantsev, Nothing is True and Everything is Possible, (PublicAffairs, 2015)

David Grossman, The Yellow Wind, (Picador, 2002)



Evgeny Afineevsky, Winter on Fire (2015)

Jennifer Baichwal, Anthropocene (2018)

Davis Guggenheim, An Inconvenient Truth (2006)

Matthew Heineman, A Private War (2018)

Joshua Oppenheimer, The Act of Killing (2012)

Gillo Pontecorvo, Battle of Algiers (1966)

Gillo Pontecorvo, Burn! (1969)

Oliver Stone, Salvador (1986)

David Attenborough and Johan Rockstrom, Breaking Boundaries (2021)

Daniel Roher, Navalny (2022)

Alex Gibney, Citizen K (2019)

Jessica Kingdon, Ascension (2021)

Ari Folman, Waltz With Bashir (2008)

Ra’anan Alexandrowicz, The Law in These Parts (2011)

Dror Moreh, The Gatekeepers (2012)


Tentative Syllabus


Note the emphasis here on the word, “tentative,” for the list will change during the semester and some books and readings will replace others


August 31 – Foreign Reporting in the Shadow of Ukraine

Covering Ukraine. Ukraine and how it changes things. Afghanistan. The historical moment and the plan of the course. The Biden Administration and the reshaping of US foreign policy. The end of the“forever wars.” The tilt toward Asia. Where we start and where we’ll finish. Being a foreign correspondent. Reading your colleagues. Doing the job. Dividing the world. War and peace. Looking at the present world. Afghanistan: the end of the forever war. Covering Afghanistan. Foreign policy and domestic politics. Goals of the course: Learning the hot spots. Judging foreign policy. Mastering the trade. Course requirements. Presentations.


Julietta’s Notes

  • syllabus is flexible
  • Russia has the most nuclear weapons
  • really a war against the U.S.
  • most Ukrainians supported Russia before the war began
  • Ukrainian refugees all over the world
  • coup de main: blow with a fist (how Russia initially expected the war to be like)
  • bombing of civilians in Ukraine (a genre of stories due to high frequency)
  • Washington Post story on train bombing in Ukraine
    • reporters need to be prepared and pay attention to details when they arrive on the scene
    • note word choice and small details
  • class doesn’t have to focus on war, can be other topics
  • consider Taiwan, Myanmar, etc.
  • presentations: doesn’t have to be limited to the two options
  • commentary: put your own thoughts/opinions on a particular topic
  • “death to the syllabus” — emphasis on learning over focusing on grades
  • Michael Hare — did dispatches
  • go to office hours at least once during the semester
  • get together as a group to watch the films
  • think about the sort of stuff you want to cover
  • annotate the readings as he will ask you to read your favorite passage
  • look at what good reporting exists on the the topics you’re interested in (Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, rise in nationalism, Chinese colonialism/influence in Africa/South America, humanitarianism, energy/security, refugees)
    • see if there’s good documentaries, long-form pieces, books, etc. on these topics
  • read the paper!
  • no final project in this class
  • don’t do something because you have to do a presentation, do it because you want to


September 7 –– Dying to Get the Story: Marie Colvin in Syria

Required Reading

  • Selections from Marie Colvin, On the Front Line: The Collected Journalism of Marie Colvin (Harper, 2012)
    • Syria Coverage pg. 514-529
    • Jenin: the bloody truth pg. 224-233
    • Chechnya & East Timor pieces 137-167
  • Paul Conroy, Under the Wire: Marie Colvin’s Final Assignment (Weinstein, 2013)


  • Matthew Heineman, A Private War, 2018

Suggested Reading

  • Lindsey Hilsum, In Extremis: The Life and Death of the War Correspondent Marie Colvin (2018)


Julietta’s Notes

  • Marie Colvin movie shows her humanity and how it informs her reporting
  • she’s there to bear witness, to show the world this is happening
  • what motivates journalists to keep doing what they do?
  • will discuss syllabus next week
  • 1941-45 = WW2 (U.S. involvement)
  • 1950-53 = Korean War
  • 1961-75 = Vietnam War
  • S. lost Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libyan War in this century
  • 1989 = Fall of the Berlin Wall
  • 1991 = Gulf War + Dissolution of the Soviet Union
  • Cold War = inbred hostility that goes on for a long time. you don’t attack your adversary, but you attack their allies
    • S. killed Vietnamese, Koreans, Iraqi, Salvadorians
  • proxy war = Vietnam War because Soviets were supporting Vietnam
  • triangular diplomacy
  • proxy war for U.S. = Russia-Ukraine War because U.S. is supporting Ukraine with ammunition
  • 1949 = Chinese communists took over China; democrats lost China
  • S. had no relations with China in 1972
  • triangular diplomacy between China-U.S.-Russia
  • Russia’s relationship with China was strong at the time because both were communists, close geographically, and both had common political interests.
  • relationship between China and U.S. have worsened
  • Midwest = key to Trump’s victory because many manufacturing and agriculture there and China is unpopular with the Midwest
  • Soviets didn’t do anything when Berlin Wall fell
  • Nato expansions
  • Putin said he would not tolerate Ukraine joining Nato
  • Nato article 5 says if one NATO country gets attacked, everyone is attacked
  • Sweden and Finland joined NATO recently because of close proximity to Russia
  • nuclear plant in Ukraine
  • Germany dependent on Russia for fuel
  • the West doesn’t want Russia to be humiliated because of potential instability
  • Trump was planning to leave NATO in his second term



September 14 –– Central America, Haiti and the Cold War

Required Reading

  • Mark Danner, The Massacre at El Mozote: A Parable of the Cold War (Vintage, 1994)
  • Mark Danner, Stripping Bare the Body: Politics Violence War (Nation, 2009), “Beyond the Mountains,” Part 1

Recommended Reading

  • Mark Danner, Stripping Bare the Body: Politics Violence War (Nation, 2009), “Beyond the Mountains,” Parts 2 & 3


  • Oliver Stone, Salvador

Michael’s Notes

  • Big news of the week is Ukraine retaking Russia’s territory
  • War has large geopolitical consequences
  • Wire services were traditionally pretty different from newspapers but nowadays they are much more similar
  • Q-head story – kind of story
  • The Washington Post wrote that Danner sent out. Q-head is the name for an analytic piece, you talk to experts. These experts have handles on
  • Michael Kofman is quoted a lot. Has a twitter feed that gives updates on the war. He’s a good expert on the Russian military.
  • The assignment is to do an analytic piece on Ukraine, not how the Russian military is screwed.
  • Call up a bunch of people, ask pointed questions, and get quotes.
  • Definitely emphasis your affiliation with The Washington Post. Michael Kofman and other such people are more likely to talk to you even if they don’t know who you are.
  • Before you call him you get what you’re going to say down.
  • You want the interview to happen then. Basic rule of journalism. Get the quote now.
  • Lede if important since you are deciding what the story is about. That lede is three or four hours of analysis boiled down to a single sentence.
  • You can begin ledes with images e.g. “amid the battered tanks and forgotten rifles signify the crushed hopes for the Russian military and President Vladimir Putin
  • You call the Pentagon first because they are the hardest to get a hold of.
  • Say it’s your first day on the job, and you call the official spokesperson “hi i’m doing an analytical piece on the war in Ukraine and the recent counteroffensive by Ukraine in the past few days … can you provide a military analyst for me to talk to?” Or something along those lines.
  • We want to put together an analysis of the Russian military’s, its problems and their chances going forward. I would prefer something on the record, but obviously the ground rules are up to you. But I do need quotations.
  • When you are dealing with officials or analysts, you have to consider your interests (that you need them) and their interests (how they want to be represented in national media)
  • “When somebody says something smart on TV, ‘it does happen’ you write that down.”
  • Senior is a cloudy term nowadays for senior us defense officials
  • The Russian section at the bottom of the WaPo piece points to the future for the Russian political implications
  • WaPo piece was well put together, subtle, shape to the story
  • Nytimes reporters were in Balakliya
  • Lede is them keeping their eyes open
  • This story is about what happened here with particular details like the jumping on the trucks or clothes hanging
  • Reflects is a bad verb and shed a harsh light is also bad. Loquacious. They are vague verbs.
  • Danner describes his and Colvin’s writing as vivid
  • POLITICS IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE – ORWELL – Danner says best short piece on writing
  • Read aggresviley, that’s how you learn. Take it apart, what did the reporter have to do? What’s your opinion on the piece? Was it successful? Why or why not>?
  • The massacre is a Tick Tock piece – a reconstruction … you can in and say here’s what happened. The Nytimes does it all the time with big events.
  • Goal with the piece for Danner was to prove that this massacre did happen definitively
  • John Hersey Hiroshima was the only prior piece that took up a whole issue of the New Yorker
  • Always try to get introduction from one source to another
  • The question of obligation for interviewing sources is fraught
  • Most importantly when you are doing interviews is building trust. That you can demonstrate a level of knowledge and care to earn their respect. At the end of the interview you ask if who else should you talk to and if they can give you an introduction
  • Danner: “books are never fact checked.”Danner says to sources sometimes “I’ll speak to you under any basis you want.” Then if you get a good quote you can bargain for that quote.
  • If you get a critical email about your article ask yourself, would you have reacted differently and changed the story if you received that message before the story was published?


September 21 –– Colonial Africa

Required Reading

  • Adam Hochschild, King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa (Mariner, 2020 [1998]


  • Gillo Pontecorvo, Battle of Algiers
  • Gillo Pontecorvo, Burn!


Michael’s Notes

  • UNGA is happening
  • If you want to make a statement on world affairs you do it there.
  • Declarations and their relationships to heads of state
  • Putin gave a shocking speech to the nation on the war.
  • Crimea had a referendum and has officially be annexed by Russia
  • Russia is going to commit international crime by annexing the parts of Ukraine that have been occupied
  • They will go door-to-door with troops and ask people how they will vote for Russian annexation
  • People are fearful that so they will vote yes in large numbers
  • Annex is another level vs occupying
  • No one gives credence to this annexation BUT there is a lot of sympathy for Russia in Crimea. In Donbos
    Donbos is highly industrial region. Large Russian speaking population. It is unclear if there was a free referendum, without fear, what percentage would vote to join Russia.
  • It is clear they would vote currently to join Russia, cause there is fear.
  • Putin saying he will respond to attacks on Russian territory by any means ie nuclear weapons
  • Tactical nukes are small – you can hold it
  • Can be used on mass troop formations, or cities. Equivalent to Hiroshima or 18,000 tons of TNT
  • Using a tactical nuke would be a political act and crosses a line that has never been crossed
  • No succession mechanism in Russia if president dies
  • No polit bureau – group of policy leaders at top who make decisions eg national security council
  • Stakes are heightened by lack of clear succession plan
  • It’s very worrying that Putin looks visibly stressed in his speech – Danner doubts it is an act but doesn’t rule it out entirely
  • Nixon used mad men act against north Vietnamese for using nukes
  • Linkage – under what situations do US and Europeans allies have diverging opinions if a tactical nuke is launched. Europeans would want to end war now. Baltic states wouldn’t want to end because now they are under threat.
  • US doesn’t have many tactical nukes.
  • Escalation Theory – would suggest US should respond with same kind of weapon.
  • US should take tactical nuke and attack Town on
  • US has around 6500 rules
  • Land based nukes are provocative – tempting in a crisis to attack Russian land-based nukes
  • That is called crisis instability -When Danner was in school US and Soviets had 30000 nukes each
  • Some nukes were buried
  • 20 minutes from launch to impact for Russian
  • Someone who follows president around with briefcase of launch codes called “the football”. It’s always with him.
  • Submarines aren’t unstable
  • Presidential speeches set policy
  • Side note: no one touches the queen. You don’t touch the sovereign cause they are appointed by god
  • Trump didn’t talk about democracy in his foreign policy speeches. “We all act in our own interests.” Invoking new nationalism. This was a shock to the UN. The US not beating on the democracy drum.
  • Permanent security council members have the power to veto. So if you want to condemn
  • If the UN is really against the Russian invasion why don’t they send in troops
  • Many countries are critical of the 5 permanent members system
  • Expanding the permanent 5 would make it more dysfunctional
  • Lord Isabel said NATO was created to Keep the Americans In (Europe), the Russians out and the Germans down (Americans troops based there so they can’t rise)
  • Next week we are doing Indonesia book and movie and the act of killing
  • US has threatened sanctions against China if they were to give military weapons
  • Having one independent view of history helps inform your reporting
  • Ukraine and Russia have a colonial relationship
  • People act like he’s nuts but this is what he truly wants
  • We are still in a colonial era but it’s submerged
  • Congo was vast killing
  • People outside Congo, like the US, helped facilitate this to different degrees of awareness
  • Adam has used this methods to write a number of bestsellers
  • So-called popular history not academic
  • What is the essence of colonialism?
  • Enormous shift in wealth from subjugated and colonial powers
  • Haiti at one point was the richest colony in the world because it grew lots of sugarcane
  • Congo was one of the worst cases for human suffering colony
  • Burn! Assigned for next week
  • Colonialism is you empty countries of their natural resources and/or make them grow things for you
  • Traditional colonialism started breaking down in 20th century after WWII
  • WWII destroyed imperial system of Britain, France and the U.S. in the Philippines
  • Battle of Algiers shows decolonization process leading to conflict
  • 9/11 was due to the US’s Neo-colonial position in the Middle East
  • Battle of Algiers you want to keep in mind three dates
    – When it came out
    – The time the movie took place
    – When the movie was made1950s-60s period of decolonization was violet, even in cases when the occupier voluntary leaves
  • Millions of Indians died after Britain “voluntary” left
  • French did not want to leave Algiers and Vietnam
  • US was taken its war and fighting a Neo-colonial war
  • US had just escalated in Vietnam- killing 1-2 million people through mostly aerial bombardment
  • Algiers and Burn! Director was communist and grew up rich and was a tennis player
  • He was looking at Vietnam as the U.S. carrying on this tradition of colonialism
  • US came and took France’s place in Vietnam
  • Algiers is serving as a metaphor for Vietnam
  • Terrorism is one way to build a movement
  • Algiers film is basically accurate, down to the milk bar sequence
  • Revolution has awoken the nation to its authentic selves
  • Marlon Brando considered Burn! his best film
  • Next week we are doing Indonesia book and movie and the act of killing
  • Pentagon did showing of Algiers film in summer of 2003 when things were going bad in Iraq
  • JFKs first famous speech as a senator was about Algeria
  • We have a Neo-colonialism – no one wants to govern a country but you still want the resources so a private company handles it


September 28 –– Americanization: Indonesia and Sixties Genocide

Required Reading

  • Vincent Bevins, The Jakarta Method: Washington’s Anticommunist Crusade and the Mass Murder Program that Shaped Our World (Public Affairs, 2020)


  • Joshua Oppenheimer, The Act of Killing


 Julietta’s Notes

  • development of colonialism and globalization in the Cold War
  • look at how conflicts are developing logituntitely and lagitutivately in front of us
  • current conflicts: Ukraine, Iran
  • POA: prime optical area
    • upper right in print newspapers, the place where the most important stories are of the day
  • top stories of the week: Iranian protests, Russian mobilization,
  • Putin’s speech after Biden’s speech and his vow to defend Russia
  • referendum if areas are part of Russia, if Ukraine attacks areas that Russia claims, Russia will consider it an attack on Russia
  • fragile point in the allies, people have different interests
  • Ukrainians don’t want to negotiate right now b/c they’re winning right now
  • the other party wants to negotiate because they’re losing
  • threat of nuclear use
  • gas leak
  • situation is very explosive
  • EU in a vulnerable position because of oil/gas, U.S. in a different relationship in regards to gas because we don’t buy any gas from Russia.
  • China & India big purchasers of Russian gas
  • S. has rocky relationship with Saudi Arabia (other big gas producer)
    • US journalist killed in Saudi
  • Christine Amanpour rejected interview with Iran’s president because she didn’t want to wear a hijab
    • should she have interviewed him?
  • What should the U.S. do for Iranian women?
    • vocally support Iranian women?
    • offer refuge for Iranian women in the U.S.?
  • no one really knew about the genocide in Indonesia before the documentary
  • interesting documentary because it shows the “winners” aka the executioners
  • executions supported by the U.S. b/c U.S. supported the coup and government
  • S. gave Indonesians lists of communists
  • the U.S. “Americanized” the world after “winning” the Cold War; featured in doc (playing golf, buying Rolexes, escalators in malls, Al Pacino references)
  • sequel to movie, “The Look of Silence” — more focused on those who suffered vs those who did the killing
  • book shows the way U.S. helped its clients
  • communism vs capitalism: rivalry of systems
  • “othering” against communists; fear that the communists will get us; race plays a role in the hysteria
  • “you may not be interested in politics, but politics is interested in you”
  • group think in human history
  • this midterm election will be very important
  • if you can get people frightened, they will seek shelter; Trump builds himself as a strong man
  • look at the election news, not just foreign news
  • the dynamics of what people want or are frightened of are the same
  • CIA influence, “The Man Who Kept the Secrets”



October 5 –– Congo

Required Reading

  • Anjan Sundaram, Stringer: A Reporter’s Journey to the Congo



Julietta’s Notes

  • watch Putin’s speech to judge/know what’s going on
  • the new fascist prime minister in Italy compared to Mussolini; Putin is probably a better example of a fascist leader now
  • Putin said the U.S. set a precedent when they nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki
  • Putin trying to retake the colonial empire
  • Crimea is the one warm water part that Russia had
  • oil prices raised, ruining Biden as he approaches midterm elections
  • notice how the CNN broadcast newsreader words things regarding Putin’s speech
  • innovation in authenticity videos for journalists
    • WAPO for Iran protests
    • OSINT, geo-locating
  • watch Edward Said video
  • Jose Delores is the name of the Nicaraguan national hero
  • no professional actors in Battle of Algiers except for Jean Martin, who played Colonel Philippe Mathieu
  • look of documentary
  • Battle of Algiers is about how you start an insurgency and how it becomes and inserrection and then becomes a revolution
  • to put down an insurgency, you have to use torture
  • read the “Battle of Casbah” if you’re interested in insurgency
  • Americans lost Iraq and Afghanistan wars
  • Burn – about how we go to the war that we’re in
  • a lot of Global South is extractive; dependent on Western industry to do that
  • William Walker – agent of provocation/intelligence agent, stages an uprising
    • real person but in Nicaragua
  • Burn! reminiscent of what was happening in Vietnam
  • finish Stringer for next week
  • presentations
    • ex: what would nuclear war use in Ukraine look like?
    • ex: the hijab uprising in Iran
    • preferably something we haven’t talked about yet
    • talk about the coverage, the flaws in coverage, etc.
    • do a Russian unit
    • a climate change unit and watch the coverage of COP27 in Egypt
    • either you follow a particular journalist/photographer/writer and get to know their work/interview them and do a presentation on their work/career
    • or, do a thematic piece on a particular foreign story that’s going on now



October 12 –– The MegaStory: The World of Climate Change

Required Reading

  • Nathaniel Rich, Losing Earth: A Recent History (MCD, 2019)


  • Jennifer Baichwal, Anthropocene
  • Davis Guggenheim, An Inconvenient Truth


  • Julietta – Nagorno-Karabakh War

Julietta’s Notes

  • Biden says we’re in an Armageddon in regard to potential nuclear exchange
  • all administrations are required to produce a national security strategy
  • US defense budget is about $800 billion
  • dept of defense created about WW2
  • Ukraine bombed Crimea bridge
  • during war, you can kill civilians but only if it’s proportionate in 2008, Russia went into Georgia and seized part of it
    • US put sanctions on Russia but didn’t intervene
  • “Winter on Fire” — film about uprising in Ukraine
  • Ukraine’s former president was a Russian sympathizer and fled to Moscow in 2014
  • In 2016, Putin put a bridge connecting Crimea to Russia
  • Why doesn’t the US/West get more involved to help Ukraine?
    • fear of nuclear exchange
  • The US is doing as much as it can to help Ukraine without risking a nuclear exchange
  • “mutually assured destruction”: no incentive to strike because you will be hit back
  • submarines, ICVEMs
  • Ukraine no longer has nuclear weapons with a guarantee that their borders would be protected (1994)
  • more people covering the issue because of President’s worst
  • “Crime against humanity”
  • escalate to deescalate
  • China and India both supporting Russia
  • Cuban Missle Crisis – the closest US and USSR got to nuclear exchange
  • climate change – slow apocalypse
  • we’ve known about climate change since 1979
  • nuclear exchange would lead to global warming
  • Effective of short chapters/visuals in magazine version of Rich’s book
  • shows how much our politics have changed on climate change
  • “free issue”
  • the Russian-Ukraine war making it harder to combat climate change



October 19 –– The MegaStory: The World of Climate Change

Required Reading



  • Michael – Nord Stream Pipeline Sabotage

Julietta’s Notes

  • office hours tomorrow from 9-11 am
  • danner’s generation is the one to mainly blame for climate change
  • be conscious of the kind of news we’re getting and what information is being brought to the public realm
  • Putin is the type to double down
  • more coverage of what the Russians are doing, not what the Ukrainians are doing
  • Russia bought kamikaze drones from Iran (self-destructive drones)
  • what is Russia attacking? – Russia is attacking morale of the Ukrainian population by targeting power/energy grids and civilian buildings
    • people will want to give up if their resources keep getting destroyed/their lives become more difficult
  • Russia’s biggest lack is manpower
  • Tanks easier to move forward during wintertime / winter is good time for tank warfare
  • civilians vulnerable in wintertime, super cold and need energy/heat source
  • Europeans also dependent on Russia for energy supplies; will make politicians in Europe unpopular when fuel prices skyrocket
  • follow Liz Truss story in UK; result of Brexit
  • nuclear talk is settled a little
  • next week might be on Russia and Haiti
  • situation in Haiti; calls for an American intervention
  • what would America gain from invading Haiti at this point in time? to stop migration during election season?
  • climate change will be something you’ll be covering because it’s your future
  • “recommended reading: There Is No Planet B: A Handbook for the Make or Break Years” – Mike Berners-Lee
  • “then” and “now” when talking about climate change
  • follow the campaign, intertwined with climate change


October 26 –– Russia

Required Reading


  • Evgeny Afineevsky, Winter on Fire
  • Daniel Roher, Navalny

Julietta’s Notes

  • besides Ukraine war, two major conflicts being distracted by war
    • China-Taiwan
    • climate change
  • the West/US embassy was somewhat involved in the Ukrainian protests in 2013/2014
  • important to know about this protest to understand the Ukrainian/Russian attitude for current events
  • retrograde: movie on afghanistan
  • Navlany — Nazi comments
  • read about the election
  • election fraud theories – cars that drop off fake ballots
  • vigilante groups in Arizona/Nevada trying to “combat election fraud”


November 2 –– Russia

Required Reading


Julietta’s Notes

  • elections in Brazil and Israel
  • pay attention to federal interest tax increase
    • part in power gets blamed
    • attempt to lower inflation
  • Republicans and Democrats running on different issues
    • Republicans running on crime and the economy
    • Democrats running on reproductive rights, environment, and the extremism of Republicans
  • war in Ukraine and end of pandemic = current economic system
  • reporters talk to national security advisors
  • national security council
  • why are we in the present situation in Ukraine and what can we expect to happen in the
  • understand the outlet you’re pitching to
  • go into your pitch very prepared (already talk to some sources and having done research)
  • Russian defense budget increasing
  • trust your gut instruct when war reporting regarding safety
  • what will we cover the rest of the semester?
    • Israel-Palestine conflict
    • China: Taiwan, labor/economy, Ughurs
    • Mali and France
    • Myanmar
  • class next Friday at 2 pm at Mark’s house
  • next week: China
  • you could still do a writing if you want to / op ed? Mark will look over it for you/edit it



November 9 –– China

 Required Reading



  • Vera – Energy in Ukraine
  • Anabel – Marguerite Higgins

Julietta’s Notes

  • midterm elections resetting the way the country is run
  • polls were wrong / should not be relied upon, they chart the arc of the story
  • roe v wade being overturned = power back to states
  • more female voters this elections
  • strategist = paid to run campaigns/consultant; shouldn’t be used as a journalistic commentator
  • real reason to capture narrative of “red wave” to suppress voters from the other side
  • abortion is a winning issue; abortion is supported by a majority of Americans
  • back in 1934, democrats won seats in congress instead of lose
  • republicans will control propitiations
  • Kremlin watching election, hoping for Republicans to win so the US will stop sending money to Ukraine
  • stock = part of the company
  • bond = owning debt of the company
  • things changing fast in China
  • 60s: famine in China
  • Nixon would red bait, accuse people of communism
  • lots of new buildings, architecture in China
  • vast class of new wealthy people in China
  • China expanding nuclear power
  • possible war in East Asia between China and Taiwan
  • assembly industry
  • workers in Haiti exploited but its still better than them not having a job at all, the only other alternative
  • companies will leave areas if workers threaten to unionize
  • China’s cultural revolution
  • China and the US will be in war in the next 5 years



November 16 –– China

Taiwan Films

Taiwan Pieces

Buzzfeed pieces on Xinjiang

Supplementary Information


  • Jesse – Brittney Griner

 Julietta’s Notes

  • Climate conference in Egypt; big/developed nations, like the U.S., will pay for damages caused by climate change
  • climate change = artifact of the most developed nations
  • colonizing nations were able to industrialize earlier; underdeveloped nations are still playing catch up and paying the brunt of the industrialization of developed countries
  • China is considered a “developing nation” by the UN
  • the world has made some progress
  • ice caps and coral will be gone with 2 degree warming; also rise in sea levels. Florida will disappear. Bangladesh and Japan will be impacted.
  • likely that other states will follow California
  • by 2049, Xi Jinping wants to establish China’s power because it will be 100 years since the Chinese Revolution
  • one China policy = taking back autonomous regions of China
  • Xinjiang = “the new territory”
  • Taiwan used to be seized by Japan
  • China is expanding its navy and challenging its power in the Pacific
  • period of danger = now and 2027-2028 (when China has built up its military and Taiwan and US have been behind, giving China a better opportunity to invade Taiwan)
  • US is trying to get Taiwan to shift to porcupine strategy = you can invade Taiwan, but you can’t ingest it; focus on defense
  • politically motivated generation in Taiwan; older generation more open to a peaceful rejoining with China
  • does the US have the obligation to protect Taiwan in the name of democracy?
  • significant inflation in the US if the US got involved in a war with China vs Taiwan
  • immediate upsurge in the level of deaths in a potential war
  • trade would be cut off, difficulties for Japan and Taiwan to get their oil
  • could be a war of years
  • would differ from Ukraine because it’d be more of a sea-range war
  • catastrophic effects on the world economy
  • Xinjiang = “preventing terrorism” in regime’s mind


November 23 –– Thanksgiving Week (No Class)



November 30 –– Middle East


Required Reading






  • Iqra – Eritrean-Ethiopian Conflict


Julietta’s Notes

  • China’s latest protest – biggest protest since Tiananmen Square
    • coincided with the rise of CNN/24 hour cable / deregulation
    • seemed like the rise of democratic society
  • rise of covid cases in China > strict lockdown in China > fire in Urumqi > protests
  • democracy gap in China
  • China’s “Zero COVID Policy” vs US’s “Flatten the Curve COVID Policy”
    • larger vaccination rate in US
    • China’s unique approach to lockdown the disease
  • China’s vaccines less effective than Pfizer and Moderna; China insisted on using their on vaccine
  • low vaccination rate amongst elderly in China
  • fire started from power strip; firetrucks allegedly couldn’t reach the fire due to perimeter created by lockdowns
  • A4 protests – A4 is the size of paper commonly used in China; used as a symbol of protest against censorship
    • white color of paper also as memorial to those who died
  • some people protesting against COVID lockdown policies, some protesting for both lockdown policies and censorship
  • China has since loosened restrictions a bit (in hopes of stopping protestors who were mainly against the COVID policy)
  • silent arrests happening
  • police checking people’s phones in public to check keywords
  • Times reporter covering protests in China
  • potential stories: protests in China against COVID, censorship and how it can/can’t catch up, Urumqi fire, talking to neighbors, etc., explainer on how the COVID pandemic led to the fire, interview people at virgils worldwide, how to share protest images on social media in China
  • big tech companies have to self-censor themselves by hiring content managers to delete sensitive images in order to survive in China
  • Israel vs Palestine
  • unlikely for a war between Arab nations and Israelites due to peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan
  • The Gatekeepers – interviewed at a moment in which they have a grim moral sense as the peace deal was looming
  • Israelis ruling over population larger than them that cannot vote
  • Jews began emigrating to Palestine at the end of the 19th century
  • Israel largely formed as a result of the genocide of the Jews after the Holocaust
  • two major waves of emigration
  • the US gives a lot of money to Israel since the late 60s
  • Trump = “ most pro-Israel US president” in the sense of supporting policies in Israel
  • US support of Israel goes back to Harry Truman
  • under one state system, Palestine would most likely become a secular state and there wouldn’t be a Jewish state
  • Jewish culture wouldn’t most likely disappear
  • Israel’s politics shaped be antisemitism
  • Area C – Jordan valley
  • Israel lost secular state in 60s
  • Biden administration doesn’t like dealing with Israel’s current president
  • class next week: 1-4 pm at Grizzly Peak
    • talk about careers and general foreign stuff


December 7 –– Foreign Reporting


Required Reading

  • Orville Schell, “Xi’s Shattered Illusion of Control,” Foreign Affairs, Dec. 5, 2022




Presentation: Ayla – Amy Goodman and Democracy Now!


Julietta’s Notes

  • China has thrown out zero covid policy, in large part in response to protests
    • how would you report on this? monitor covid rates, check in with protestors, what will be the economic effect on China? how will the markets deal with this?
  • don’t just cover breaking news, be prepared for what will come
  • Orville Schell’s piece — It’s hard to predict protests in China, protests have happened in China’s history, Chinese people are fed up with covid just like anyone else
  • China’s communism is Leninist capitalism
  • Hybrid capitalist system in both China and Russia but in different ways
    • “gangster capitalism in Russia”
  • after Cold War, US emerged as most powerful nation
  • US tried to be humanitarian nation trying to stop mass killings after World War 2 but hasn’t done it — explored in Corridors of Power
    • the film talks bout the decisions the US made to intervene or not to intervene in conflicts worldwide
  • “Responsibility to Protect” – if in a country there are widespread atrocities, the recognized sovereign has the responsibility to stop it. if they don’t take action, the international community has to stop them.
  • should the U.S. intervene in international conflicts?
    • racial components on the countries they choose and choose not to intervene in
    • is it do nothing or send troops? is there a middle ground way to intervene without using military forces?
  • importance of empathy in journalism and going where the silence is
  • Allan Nairn – East Timor New Yorker piece
  • value yourself after you graduation. you’ll get a job, just try to get a job that replenishes you