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Worldly

Vox Media

We live in a confusing time, bombarded every day with news from around the world that can be hard to follow, or fully understand. Let Worldly be your guide. Every Thursday, senior writer Zack Beauchamp, senior foreign editor Jennifer Williams, and staff defense writer Alex Ward give you the history and context you need to make sense of the moment and navigate the world around you. Produced by Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

We live in a confusing time, bombarded every day with news from around the world that can be hard to follow, or fully understand. Let Worldly be your guide. Every Thursday, senior writer Zack Beauchamp, senior foreign editor Jennifer Williams, and staff defense writer Alex Ward give you the history and context you need to make sense of the moment and navigate the world around you. Produced by Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

Location:

United States

Networks:

Vox Media

Description:

We live in a confusing time, bombarded every day with news from around the world that can be hard to follow, or fully understand. Let Worldly be your guide. Every Thursday, senior writer Zack Beauchamp, senior foreign editor Jennifer Williams, and staff defense writer Alex Ward give you the history and context you need to make sense of the moment and navigate the world around you. Produced by Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

Language:

English


Episodes

Beijing’s bad tweet

12/3/2020
Jenn, Alex, and Jen talk about the diplomatic spat between China and Australia that erupted this week after a Chinese official tweeted a fake image of an Australian soldier threatening a young Afghan child with a knife. Though the image was fake, it highlighted real war crimes allegedly committed by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan. The crew explains why China, a notorious human rights abuser itself, is trolling Australia on Twitter about this issue, and how it fits into China's broader...

Duration:00:36:05

Fewer troops, forever wars

11/19/2020
Alex and Jen discuss President Trump’s decision to draw down the number of US troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. They explain the slapdash announcement and rushed plan, and the inherent tensions between wanting to end a long war and America’s responsibility to the people of the countries it has invaded. The gang also turns to what Trump’s Pentagon shake-up really means, and what President-elect Joe Biden should prepare to inherit in January. References: The US is drawing down troops in...

Duration:00:41:47

Lost in Transition

11/12/2020
Jenn, Alex, and Jen talk about the stalled transition process from President Trump to President-elect Biden. They discuss the possible national security implications and what Trump’s refusal to accept the election results says — and doesn’t say — about American exceptionalism. They conclude with how the world has reacted to the results, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s “ear to ear” smile during a congratulatory phone call with Biden. References: Why a smooth presidential...

Duration:00:41:51

If Joe wins

11/5/2020
Jenn, Alex, and guest host Jen Kirby — who will be filling in for Zack while he’s on paternity leave — talk about what a Joe Biden victory would mean for the world. At the moment of taping, Biden is on the cusp of winning the presidency and Republicans look likely to hold on to their Senate majority. Both results, if they pan out, would impact US foreign policy and how the world views America. The sleep-deprived Worldly gang lays it all out. References: Here’s the current state of the...

Duration:00:44:55

France, Islam, and free speech

10/29/2020
Jenn and Alex discuss the recent terror attacks in France that have occurred amid a national and international uproar about cartoons of the Prophet Muhammed and President Emmanuel Macron’s stance toward Islam in the country. They discuss what Macron’s push for an “Islam of France” really means, the complexities for Muslims to fully integrate into French society, and the ongoing debate about freedom of expression vs. respect for religion. They end by discussing the global response to what’s...

Duration:00:51:39

American democracy, hacked

10/22/2020
Zack, Jenn, and Alex put the upcoming American elections in global context. They explain why long polling lines and gerrymandered districts are very much not the norm among advanced democracies and how other countries avoid them. Then they dissect the latest news about Russian, Iranian, and other foreign interference in the 2020 election — and debate whether it even matters anymore. References: Here’s Alex’s piece for Vox on how other countries do elections better. And Jen Kirby wrote for...

Duration:00:48:12

Nigeria’s bad cop ring, Thailand’s playboy king

10/15/2020
Zack, Jenn, and Alex talk about two huge ongoing protest movements: demonstrations against police violence in Nigeria and against monarchical privilege in Thailand. The team breaks down the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), the violent police unit at the heart of the Nigerian protests, and talk about the problems with policing in that country in general and in international context. Then they discuss the student-led protests in Thailand — kicked off by authoritarian repression in the name...

Duration:00:45:00

The Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict

10/8/2020
Zack, Jenn, and Alex explain the fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh — a contested region inside Azerbaijani borders but populated largely by ethnic Armenians. They break down the Soviet-era origins of the conflict, discuss why the fighting has flared up in a particularly scary way this summer and fall, and then zoom out to the role that major powers like Russia and Turkey play. References: Alex wrote an explainer for Vox on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Also check...

Duration:00:37:48

India vs. Amnesty International

10/1/2020
Zack, Jenn, and Alex talk about Amnesty International’s decision to suspend operations in India — the only other country in which the human rights watchdog has done so besides Russia. They explain the pressure campaign from the Indian government, centering on an obscure anti-money laundering law, that forced Amnesty into this move and talk about the broader context of democratic decline under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Then they zoom out to put this in global context, connecting India’s...

Duration:00:46:17

Is Trump bringing peace to the Middle East?

9/24/2020
Zack, Jenn, and Alex break down the “peace deals” between Israel and two Gulf states, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. They explain what’s in the agreements, how they happened, and why Trump is using the agreements to sell himself as a peacemaker. Then they zoom out and explain what the agreements tell us about Middle Eastern geopolitics — and whether they’re likely to make things better or worse in the region. References: You can read the official documents of both normalization deals...

Duration:00:52:13

The new politics of energy (ft. Daniel Yergin)

9/17/2020
Zack, Jenn, and Alex are joined by a special guest — eminent energy politics expert Daniel Yergin — to talk about the way that the shale revolution and rise of renewables are changing global politics. In the first half, the hosts discuss the big picture: America’s shift from a net importer to a net exporter of energy, among other things, has made the Middle Eastern oil cartel far less central to global politics than it once was. In the second half, Alex talks with Yergin about his new book...

Duration:00:55:42

Trumped-up intelligence

9/10/2020
Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss a striking new whistleblower complaint about US intelligence under Trump from DHS official Brian Murphy. They run through a series of examples of twisting intelligence, including at least one potentially criminal offense, on topics ranging from immigration to Russian election interference to white nationalist terrorism — and zoom out to discuss how credible these complaints are and why, if true, they paint such a damning picture of US foreign policy under Trump....

Duration:00:47:26

Europe’s second coronavirus wave

9/3/2020
Zack, Jenn, and Alex talk about the second Covid-19 wave hitting Spain — and to a lesser extent, Europe in general. They break down the specifics of what happened in Spain: how too-fast reopenings and a decentralized political system helped the virus come roaring back. Then they analyze a strange fact about the European second wave: Though cases are increasing, the death rate remains low (for now). References: The New York Times has a great story on Spain’s second wave which the gang cited a...

Duration:00:44:15

How Donald Trump sees the world

8/27/2020
Zack, Jenn, and Alex move from Biden’s foreign policy to Trump’s — examining the record the incumbent president has racked up in his first term and what might happen if he wins a second. They debate what accomplishments the president can claim (if any) and discuss the ways his reelection could transform the world. Come for the foreign policy analysis, stay for the monologue about Jean Baudrillard. References: The Council on Foreign Relations has a good overview of Trump’s first-term foreign...

Duration:00:44:45

How Joe Biden sees the world

8/20/2020
Zack, Jenn, and Alex take the Democratic National Convention as an opportunity to talk about Joe Biden’s foreign policy. They go deep into his long and seemingly contradictory record as a policymaker, discuss what he’s said he’s going to do if elected, and contrast his worldview with the views of Trump and Obama. Ultimately, it seems like Biden wants to take the world back to the way that it was before Trump was elected — but has a very personal way of trying to get there. References: Here’s...

Duration:00:39:38

Vaccine nationalism

8/13/2020
Alex and returning guest Jen Kirby talk about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s claim that Moscow has developed a coronavirus vaccine. They discuss how Russia skipped several safety steps and how the announcement highlights the troubling problem of “vaccine nationalism.” Basically, it’s every country for itself when creating a Covid-19 vaccine instead of working together — which could make it harder for the world to stop the pandemic. References: Here’s Jen Kirby’s excellent “vaccine...

Duration:00:38:50

The last safeguard against nuclear war is about to fall

8/6/2020
To mark the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, Zack, Jenn, and Alex talk about an alarming series of recent US withdrawals from nuclear arms control agreements. They explain the history of nuclear arms control, why the US has turned against them (especially in the Trump era), and why this makes the small but still very scary risk of nuclear war go up. They also talk about some other scary nuclear news — China’s recently uncovered support for Saudi Arabia’s nuclear program — and...

Duration:00:45:53

No troops for you

7/30/2020
Jenn and Alex discuss the Trump administration’s controversial decision, formally announced this week, to move forward with a plan to withdraw nearly 12,000 troops from Germany. Critics from both parties say it’s a gift to Russia, while the Pentagon argues it’s a necessary repositioning of forces to better deter Russia in Eastern Europe. President Trump, though, says he’s doing it because Germany isn’t paying its fair share in NATO (a misleading claim at best). Alex and Jenn talk through the...

Duration:00:41:13

The moral urgency of the Uighur crisis

7/23/2020
Zack, Jenn, and Alex talk about the Chinese government's systematic detention of tens of thousands of Uighur Muslims in concentration camps, where many are subjected to torture, brainwashing, and other human rights abuses. They get into the disturbing details of what China is actually doing in these camps, what’s motivating the Chinese leadership to engage in such atrocities, and why the US and international community aren't doing enough to stop it. They conclude by discussing what we can...

Duration:00:45:37

Israel was going to annex the West Bank. It didn't.

7/16/2020
Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss the stalled Israeli plan to unilaterally annex parts of the West Bank. The deeply controversial move was supposed to take place on July 1, but at the last minute Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided not to go through with it — for now, at least. The Worldly crew looks at what factors may have led to his sudden reversal and what might happen next. In the second half of the show, the gang examines how the politics in the Democratic Party around the US-Israel...

Duration:00:49:41