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.

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.

I am also starting a new blog - as part of BBC News Online's new Analysis section.

The idea is that I draw on my experience of covering British politics (for longer than I care to mention), my spell as the BBC's first Europe editor my the time spent in the US, not to mention my fascination with China, the so-called Brics and the Mints nations to bring together some of the big themes and ideas behind the headlines. Connect the dots, peer behind the obvious. Even have a bit of fun. That's the plan any way.

I am a great believer in what we now call "transparency" - in other words being frank and blunt (Frank Blunt's World - now there's a title). This is a work in progress for me, and the BBC. It might veer off in unexpected directions, take wrong turnings, or morph into something unexpected. I hope it will be exciting and stimulating - please keep reading.

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'

Obama in Europe shows the limits of US power

Obama and Donald Tusk, Polish PM
Obama, shown with Polish PM Donald Tusk, will warn Putin to curb his territorial ambitions, but is unlikely to give a rousing speech

Whether he likes it or not, President Barack Obama's trip to Europe will be about Ukraine, Vladimir Putin and American power.

He may not stoop to pick up the geopolitical gauntlet thrown down by the Russian leader. He probably will set out new red lines - warning Mr Putin not to mess with Nato.

Read full article Obama in Europe shows the limits of US power

CO2 emissions: Obama's war of choice

Carbon emissions from coal fuelled power plant, Page, Arizona on 3 April 2014

There are, they say, wars of choice and wars of necessity. President Obama has embarked on a war of choice - one that will delight some Democrats but could cost others dearly.

Republicans claim it is a "war on coal", a toxic mix of executive overreach and dogma.

Read full article CO2 emissions: Obama's war of choice

Is US foreign policy 'vacuous, vapid and weak'?

President Obama with US Marines in Washington DC (April 2014)
President Obama is proud of ending America's foreign wars, but there is a growing chorus of criticism of his foreign policy

Under the blazing South Carolina sun on Parris Island, young men and women march in smart formation to the distinct rat-a-tat of the drums and the ump-pah of trombones of a military band.

These are the Marine Corps' newest graduates, the freshest faces in the most powerful fighting force the world has ever known, the United States military.

Read full article Is US foreign policy 'vacuous, vapid and weak'?

Mark Mardell: Tea Party loses battle, if not the war

Mitch McConnell
McConnell, shown on Tuesday night with wife Elaine Chao, easily despatched a well-funded opponent backed by the tea party

The Republican establishment in Washington is letting out a long sigh of relief - its standard bearers survived a concerted assault by the Tea Party.

Last night's primary elections will be taken as a significant turning point, the day the establishment fought back and won against conservative radicals.

Read full article Mark Mardell: Tea Party loses battle, if not the war

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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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