Atul Singh and Glenn Carle together host The Dialectic, a podcast by Fair Observer. Singh is the founder, CEO and editor-in-chief of Fair Observer, an independent nonprofit media organization that publishes more than 2,500 voices from over 90 countries. Carle is a former CIA officer who retired as the deputy national intelligence officer. He is a noted author and a top geopolitical analyst.
The Rajput and the WASP
Singh is a Rajput and Carle is a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP), two communities that have both their similarities and their differences. Together, they will dive under the surface and look around the corner to make sense of the world. In this episode, they speak about their backgrounds and what they intend to do with the podcast.
Singh was born in Goa and traveled a lot as his father served as a military surgeon. His mother, a literature scholar, ensured, as Singh puts it, “a first world education in a third world country” for him and his brother. As Carle points out, Singh would have preferred conquering kingdoms in the 4th or 5th centuries but had to make sense of today’s mundane world that is based on spreadsheets and presentations. Singh has been an officer, a scholar (he has degrees from Oxford and Wharton) and a man of the world.
Carle was born in Boston, went to college at Harvard five kilometers away from his home across the Charles river. Carle was a top athlete who played ice hockey for Harvard. He studied in France, did operations for the CIA, lived in Europe and has retired to his ancestral home. In more ways than one, Carle is a caricature of the old WASP stereotype.
Singh and Carle are old friends, and have known each other for more than a decade. They met whilst Carle was introducing his book on the war of terror, The Interrogator: An Education. The book holds insights from Carle’s work for over two decades at the CIA, or the “agency” as he is accustomed to calling it. As his wont, Singh was springing up from his seat with focused and persistent questions for Carle. The wry spy notes Singh’s questions were not aimed at scoring points in the room but rather to understand the context of the author’s thoughts.
Carle managed to find Singh after his session, much to the younger man’s surprise. They had a good conversation and Carle gave Singh the first tour of Capitol Hill. It began a friendship that has led to this podcast.
Singh’s curiosity about international issues and world affairs stems from childhood. His father gave him four history books: British and Indian, Soviet and American. This made him realize that different cultures had different perspectives and he wanted to explore them more fully.
Carle’s pursuit of world affairs stems from his keen interest to go beyond what he knew. He wanted to live abroad where he would often be the only American. Carle thoroughly enjoyed exploring other cultures and challenging the so-called “normalcy” of living in one culture.
Singh has eclectic experience as an officer and an intellectual. He marries energy and integrity, in Carle’s words. Carle admires Singh’s fundamental quality of speaking the truth as he sees it, a quality increasingly disappearing in political leaders and public figures these days. Carle brings judgment and wisdom after a lifetime of great erudition and rich experiences.
At first sight, the Rajput and the WASP make strange comrades-in-arms. One might rightly wonder what makes their paths cross? Despite the dramatic divergence in their backgrounds and personalities, it is their similar historical, philosophical and social views that brings them together. The Dialectic aims to examine the world through different lenses, and enable you to see a bit more clearly and perhaps, act a touch more wisely.
[Harshitha Gadde and Throvnica Chandru wrote the first draft of this piece.]
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.
The Dialectic is a podcast by Fair Observer. Your hosts, Atul Singh and Glenn Carle, will give you their unique perspectives on world affairs.
Atul is the founder, CEO & editor-in-chief of Fair Observer, an independent media organization that has published more than 2,500 voices from around the world. Glenn retired as the Deputy National Intelligence Officer after more than two decades in the CIA and is the author of the The Interrogator.