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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

How Nigeria explains the climate crisis

4/22/2021
In a very special Earth Month episode, Zack, Jenn, and Alex use Nigeria as a case study to uncover the deep reasons why it’s so hard for the world to quit fossil fuels. Nigeria is a country deeply threatened by climate change, but it’s also one with a major oil industry that hopes to lift millions out of poverty — a feat that has never been done without some degree of reliance on dirty energy. The team explains how these barriers affect the prospects for mitigating climate change in both...

Duration:00:59:18

America is finally leaving Afghanistan

4/15/2021
Zack, Jenn, and Alex talk about President Joe Biden’s announcement that all remaining US troops will withdraw from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021 — the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that launched the war. They discuss what the US withdrawal means for the near-term future of Afghanistan, why Biden finally made the tough call that his predecessors couldn’t (or wouldn’t), and what that decision tells us about how Biden sees the future of US military engagement abroad. References:...

Duration:00:54:58

Jordan’s royal family feud

4/8/2021
Zack, Jenn, and Alex break down the royal drama that has roiled the normally quiet kingdom of Jordan this week: The king has accused his half-brother, the former crown prince, of a vague conspiracy against the crown and has put him under house arrest. The Worldly crew lays out what we actually know about what happened, what led to this family tension spilling out into the open, what political instability in Jordan could mean for the broader Middle East, and whether the Biden administration...

Duration:00:43:05

Is Myanmar heading for civil war?

4/1/2021
Zack, Alex, and returning guest Jen Kirby talk about the potential for a “bloodbath” in Myanmar. Since the military deposed the democratic government in a February 1 coup, pro-democracy protesters and armed ethnic groups have risen up against the junta. They’ve been met with extreme violence, leading to more than 500 dead and concerns from experts that a broader civil war is coming. The Worldly crew explains how this horrible situation came to be, what may come next, and what — if anything —...

Duration:00:41:58

Your questions about the world, answered

3/25/2021
In a very special Worldly episode, Zack, Jenn, and Alex answer YOUR questions! From the many great listener questions sent in over the last several weeks, the gang picked four to answer in this week’s episode: What is “the Quad” and how does it fit into geopolitics in the Indo-Pacific; what’s driving migration to the US from Central America; why Imperial Japan’s use of Korean forced labor and “comfort women” in the 1930s and ’40s continues to complicate relations between Japan and South...

Duration:00:50:01

Europe’s vaccine disaster

3/18/2021
Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss the raft of problems stymying Europe’s vaccine rollout, which has been slower and messier than expected, given some of the earlier successes the continent had controlling infection rates. They talk about why some countries decided to pause administering the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and how the EU’s decision to negotiate for vaccines as a bloc, rather than as individual countries, slowed down the rollout and exacerbated tensions between some of the wealthier and...

Duration:00:54:59

The Trump of the Tropics vs. the Bernie of Brazil

3/11/2021
Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss the huge news out of Brazil this week, where a judge annulled the corruption conviction of the country’s former leftist president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, opening the door for him to possibly run for president in 2022. The gang talks about what Lula was accused of, the debate about whether the case was fairly prosecuted, why Lula is revered by many of the country’s poor but loathed by its conservative elites, and how his return to the political scene could set...

Duration:00:44:59

The future of the US-Saudi relationship (ft. Sen. Chris Murphy)

3/4/2021
Zack, Jenn, and Alex debate whether the US should continue to treat Saudi Arabia as a close partner given its atrocious human rights abuses and the declining US dependence on Middle Eastern oil. In the second half of the show, Jenn interviews Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) about his proposed strategy for a new US approach to the Persian Gulf. References: Read Sen. Murphy’s Foreign Affairs piece on a new Middle East strategy Read Alex’s profile about Sen. Murphy’s foreign policy views. Alex also...

Duration:01:04:07

Why Biden hasn’t reentered the Iran deal — yet

2/25/2021
Zack, Jenn, and Alex break down why the Biden administration hasn’t yet reentered the Iran nuclear deal. They explain that the process of rejoining is more complicated than it might seem, but that it’s still likely the deal will come back eventually. They then debate the pros and cons of rejoining the accord and how well the Obama foreign policy team — many of whom have joined the Biden administration — handled the pact. One point of agreement: The Trump administration’s Iran policy failed....

Duration:00:45:05

The world’s great powers

2/18/2021
Zack, Jenn, and Alex break down one of the DC foreign policy world’s hottest new catchphrases: “great power competition.” It’s the idea that international politics in the 21st century will be dominated by a struggle for influence between the US, China, and (to a lesser extent) Russia. The gang talks about what the concept actually means and whether it’s a useful framework for understanding international politics today and in the future. References: Dan Nexon’s Foreign Affairs article...

Duration:00:52:24

Protesting farmers, India's democracy, and Rihanna

2/11/2021
Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss the huge farmers’ protests in India. They explain the very real policy debate over new agricultural reform laws that sparked the protests, and how that debate has now been obscured by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist politics, international celebrity activism, and online trolls. Oh, and they talk about Rihanna. Yes, that Rihanna. References: Vox’s Jariel Arvin explains the Indian farmers’ protest. And he also writes about why India’s government is...

Duration:00:41:41

Myanmar’s coup has no heroes

2/4/2021
Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss the recent coup in Myanmar, in which the Myanmarese military deposed the country’s quasi-democratic government and detained its civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, along with hundreds of members of her political party. They look at why this happened, explain why both sides in this fight are morally compromised, explore what the Biden administration and the international community can (and can’t) do in response, and project what this means for the future of...

Duration:00:40:42

Why Putin wants Alexei Navalny dead

1/28/2021
Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss the nationwide demonstrations in Russia in support of dissident opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who returned to the country this week from Germany, where he was recuperating from a poisoning believed to be an assassination attempt directed by the Kremlin. Navalny was immediately arrested upon his arrival, sparking protests across the country. The gang discusses who Navalny is, why President Vladimir Putin views him as a threat to his grip on power, and what the...

Duration:00:46:14

Biden’s World

1/21/2021
Zack, Jenn, and Alex host the first Worldly episode of the Biden administration, the show’s first-ever episode when Donald Trump is not president. They discuss how US foreign policy will differ under Biden — and surprising ways it might stay the same — on topics ranging from China to Middle Eastern alliances to climate change. References: Alex has a thorough explainer on Biden’s foreign policy. Zack wrote that it’s okay to feel hope after Biden’s inauguration. Here’s Biden putting the US...

Duration:00:46:05

Was it terrorism?

1/14/2021
Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss how the US Capitol insurrection fits into the broader spectrum of far-right political violence in the US. They debate whether the incident should be considered an act of terrorism, and if so, what that means in terms of how to craft policy responses to the threat. They end by looking at President Donald Trump’s role in uniting disparate far-right groups, from white supremacists to eco-fascists to anti-government militias, into a loose but dangerous coalition that...

Duration:00:44:22

America, humiliated

1/7/2021
Zack, Jenn, and Jen Kirby discuss the assault on the US Capitol by a pro-Trump insurrection that has shaken America to its core. They look at the intelligence and law enforcement failures that allowed a mob to so easily seize one of the pillars of American government despite the US having spent billions on national security since 9/11. In the second half of the show, they talk about the damage the siege has done to America’s image abroad and what that means for the future of global politics...

Duration:00:44:35

Hindsight is 2020

12/17/2020
Jenn, Alex, and Jen wrap up 2020 by discussing the biggest stories that flew under the radar this year because of, well, everything. They talk about the war in Ethiopia, a major leadership change in Japan, and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s constitutional amendments that allow him to stay in power basically for life. Then they turn to the big storylines they’re watching in 2021, including the end of Angela Merkel’s chancellorship in Germany, Joe Biden’s Latin America policy, and...

Duration:00:49:58

The last Brexit

12/10/2020
Jenn, Alex, and Jen talk about how Brexit is for real — for real! — happening on January 1, but it won’t be so easy. Three sticking points stand between a UK-EU trade deal: fishing, keeping a level economic playing field, and a mechanism to dispute rule breaking. These may seem simple on the surface, but they’re deeply important issues that speak to larger concerns among Europeans and in global politics. The gang finishes up by reflecting on the wild ride this whole Brexit omnishambles has...

Duration:00:41:45

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