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All democracies are fragile—here are the early signs of civil war at home and abroad

Part 2 of TED Radio Hour episode What Topples Democracies.

Based on her work for a CIA task force aimed at predicting civil wars, political scientist Barbara F. Walter examines the rise in extremism and threats to democracies around the globe and at home.

About Barbara F. Walter

A specialist in international security and professor of international affairs at the University of California, San Diego, Barbara F. Walter has dedicated her career to studying war. Her research on civil wars, domestic terror and violent extremism has led her to interview members of Hamas in the West Bank, ex-Sinn Fein members in Northern Ireland and former FARC members in Colombia. It has also led her to experience some dicey situations, including being interrogated by members of Myanmar's military leadership and threatened with a machine gun by an Israeli soldier.

Walter previously served on the US Central Intelligence Agency's Political Instability Task Force, helping predict where civil wars would break out around the world. She is a permanent member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a consultant for the World Bank, the United Nations and the U.S. Departments of Defense and State. She is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her most recent book is the New York Times bestseller How Civil Wars Start: And How to Stop Them.

This segment of TED Radio Hour was produced by Rachel Faulkner White and Chloee Weiner and edited by Sanaz Meshkinpour. You can follow us on Facebook @TEDRadioHour and email us at TEDRadioHour@npr.org.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Manoush Zomorodi is the host of TED Radio Hour. She is a journalist, podcaster and media entrepreneur, and her work reflects her passion for investigating how technology and business are transforming humanity.
Rachel Faulkner is a producer and editor for TED Radio Hour.