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Mark Mardell

Mark Mardell Presenter, The World This Weekend

Come here for discussion of the big ideas and issues behind the stories dominating the world's headlines.

East-West conflict set to run and run

  • 20 November 2014
  • From the section UK
Tony Abbott and Vladimir Putin
Hard-nosed diplomacy?

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott threatened to "shirtfront" President Putin over Ukraine.

This is apparently an Australian expression suggesting pushing into someone's personal space, squaring off for a fight, eyeball to eyeball, shirt button to shirt button.

This was rather undermined by pictures of the two men, side by side, cuddling koalas. Unless marsupial hugging has an Antipodean cultural meaning that eludes me it seemed a couple of kangaroos short of a boxing match.

But Mr Abbott was in a queue of English-speaking leaders who wanted to have a pop at Putin.

President Obama, the Canadian prime minister and, of course, our own David Cameron told him in their various ways to "get out of Ukraine" while muttering about more sanctions.

Read full article East-West conflict set to run and run

Time for German military to take more active role?

  • 13 November 2014
  • From the section UK
Soldier of the German armed forces plays the trumpet during a welcome ceremony
German soldiers are proud of their predecessors' sense of duty

Remembrance of the fallen, and the fall of a wall. How we remember the past defines the future.

Look at London, then at Berlin last weekend, and you will understand the intense debate in Europe's richest country - does it dare to lead again?

Read full article Time for German military to take more active role?

Disconnected generation ready to make Westminster pay

  • 6 November 2014
  • From the section UK
Voters
Many voters want to vote for "none of the above"

The ferry across the Thames ploughed a steady path, backwards and forwards, Essex to Kent, Kent to Essex, a soporific early-morning ride.

But politics, here and across the world, is perhaps moving outside familiar currents, into choppy waters, leaving mainstream politicians unsure if they are waving or drowning at the voters.

Read full article Disconnected generation ready to make Westminster pay

Is EU challenge too much for Cameron to stomach?

  • 29 October 2014
  • From the section Home
David Cameron
Europe presents David Cameron with a difficult balancing act

For a long while now I've realised that David Cameron has a porridge problem, just like Goldilocks.

But now it is becoming clear that Baby Bear may not be around to save him. Let me explain.

Read full article Is EU challenge too much for Cameron to stomach?

An ending - and a beginning

  • 7 October 2014
  • From the section Home

You might have guessed by now the gig is over, and I've left the house - sadly, my five year stint as the BBC's North America editor has come to an end so I leave the job, the blog and you in the extremely capably hands of my friend and colleague Jon Sopel.

But you can't get rid of me that easily. I've now returned to London to present The World This Weekend" on BBC Radio Four on Sunday lunchtimes and The World At One on Fridays, come high day and holiday.

Read full article An ending - and a beginning

Is Obama right over Iraq?

  • 13 June 2014
  • From the section Home
US President Barack Obama walks to the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, DC, 28 May 2014
Not going it alone: Obama's recent foreign policy speeches have stressed regional partnerships

The Obama doctrine, set out at West Point, appears to be in tatters as Iraq falls apart. The critics have been quick to point to what's happening there as another sign of the weakness of his foreign policy.

But there is another way of looking at it. That he's right.

Read full article Is Obama right over Iraq?

Mark Mardell: 'Illegals' and the Grapes of Wrath

A farm worker appeared near Gonzales, California, on 4 April 2013

The Fruit Tramps belt out their eponymous anthem to the delight of the line dancers stepping out, back kicking, hip wriggling, at the Crystal Palace music hall.

"They call us fruit tramps! Okies! White trash! Get off a my land!"

Read full article Mark Mardell: 'Illegals' and the Grapes of Wrath

Mark Mardell: Virginia Tea Party victory a harbinger

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor appeared in Richmond, Virginia, on 10 June 2014
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was defeated by Tea Party challenger David Brat

What Mark Twain really said was, "It has been reported that I was seriously ill - it was another man; dying - it was another man; dead - the other man again."

So, as I have been saying for many months, the death of the Tea Party has been exaggerated by those who rather hoped it was staggering towards extinction.

Read full article Mark Mardell: Virginia Tea Party victory a harbinger

A modern-day Grapes of Wrath

Family in Oklahoma in 1935
Many farming families were forced to migrate after a series of severe droughts

Seventy-five years after John Steinbeck wrote his searing portrait of the Joad family's journey west, what is life like now in Sallisaw, Oklahoma?

The horses splash around in a circle, linked to a central post, churning up the muddy water.

Read full article A modern-day Grapes of Wrath

Taliban tout Sgt Bowe Bergdahl prisoner swap 'victory'

US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl (right) waits before being released at the Afghan border
US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl (right) was released at the Afghan border

In the most striking moments of the long, triumphant Taliban video, Sgt Bowe Bergdahl blinks rapidly, looking rather dazed.

Perhaps he's unused to sunlight, perhaps he's close to tears.

Read full article Taliban tout Sgt Bowe Bergdahl prisoner swap 'victory'

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About Mark

Mark Mardell has been at the forefront of reporting and analysing major world events for radio and TV for 25 years.

Mark grew up in Surrey, was educated at Kent University in Canterbury and worked in commercial radio in Teesside, Leeds and London before joining the BBC.

As Newsnight's political editor and then chief political correspondent for the BBC's main TV and radio programmes, he reported on huge changes in British politics including the fall of Lady Thatcher, the rise of euro-scepticism, the formation of New Labour and the road to the Iraq war.

After the 2005 election Mark became the BBC's first Europe editor covering the birth of the Lisbon treaty and EU politics in all its guises. In 2009 he became BBC North America editor. He has also made radio documentaries on the relationship between China and the USA, and the future of the Republican party.

He's fascinated by the intersection of domestic and international politics and has now returned to the UK to present The World This Weekend and The World at One.

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