A Red Line in the Sand

Diplomacy, Strategy, and the History of Wars That Might Still Happen

From the islands of the South China Sea to Korea's DMZ, the tribes of Arabia across Africa and throughout Europe, red lines have been setting agendas and changing history for centuries.

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Latest Episode

Chapter 2: Origins, or Where Did Red Lines Come From?

In Episode 2 of A Red Line in the Sand, a companion podcast to the book of the same title, author David Andelman goes back to the beginning. He explains where red lines came from in the first place and how the concept evolved.

The origin of red lines takes us back to the Bible, the Indian epic Ramayana, and the charge of the Light Brigade and the Crimean War. These strategic lines turned red and grew thanks to the Red Line Agreement in the Middle East and Adolf Hitler’s drive towards World War II in Europe.

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Chapter 1: Flashpoints, or What is a Red Line?

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David Andelman outlines the limits and abuses of red lines, how they work, and the toxic role they can often play in international diplomacy.
Listen to Chapter 1: Flashpoints, or What is a Red Line?

Introducing: A Red Line in the Sand

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A Red Line in the Sand is the official companion podcast to journalist David Andelman's forthcoming book of the same title from Pegasus Books.
Listen to Introducing: A Red Line in the Sand

More About A Red Line in the Sand

Purchase the book here.

A longtime columnist for CNN and veteran correspondent for The New York Times and CBS News astutely combines history and global politics to help us better understand the exploding number of military, political, and diplomatic crises around the globe.

The riveting and illuminating behind-the-scenes stories of the world's most intense “red lines," from diplomatic and military challenges at particular turning points in history to the ones that set the tone of geopolitics today. More red lines exist in the world today than at any other single moment in history. Whether it was the red line in Munich that led to the start of the Second World War, to the red lines in the South China Sea, the Korean Peninsula, Syria and the Middle East.

As we traverse the globe, Andelman uses original documentary research, previously classified material, interviews with key players, and reportage from more than 80 countries across five decades to help us understand the growth, the successes and frequent failures that have shaped our world today.

Andelman provides not just vivid historical context, but a political anatomy of these red lines. How might their failures be prevented going forward? When and how can such lines in the sand help preserve peace rather than tempt conflict?

A Red Line in the Sand is a vital examination of our present and the future—where does diplomacy end and war begin? It is an object lesson of tantamount importance to every leader, diplomat, citizen, and voter. As America establishes more red lines than it has pledged to defend, every American should understand the volatile atmosphere and the existential stakes of the red web that encompasses the globe.

The Team

David Andelman

Commentator for CNN & NBC News Think. Formerly a foreign correspondent for The NY Times and CBS News; Exec. Editor of Forbes; editor/publisher of World Policy Journal.

Isabel Robertson

Producer, writer, & researcher based in CLE. She's worked on StoryCorps, Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me, and The Intercept. She serves on the ACLU-OH Board of Directors.

Sean Rule-Hoffman

Sean hails from Orange Village, OH. He earned a degree in Music Technology with a minor in Electronic Media and Film from Capital University in Columbus, OH.