Worldly

Worldly

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.

Episodes

June 17, 2021 48 min
Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss President Joe Biden’s big trip to Europe, where he met with the other leaders of the G7 and NATO countries as well as with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The gang examine what Biden actually accomplished on his trip, discuss the furor that erupted on Political Science Twitter over a comment Biden made during a press conference, and debate whether the Putin meeting was as important as the media hype m...
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Now & Then is a new podcast from CAFE hosted by award-winning historians Heather Cox Richardson and Joanne Freeman. Every Tuesday, Heather and Joanne use their encyclopedic knowledge of US history to bring the past to life. Together, they make sense of the week in news by discussing the people, ideas, and events that got us here today. Learn more: https://cafe.com/now-and-then/ Listen on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/...
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Zack and Jenn talk about the horrifying discovery of the remains of 215 children at a so-called “residential school” in Canada. They talk about the history of these schools, which were a centerpiece of Canada’s long-running effort to wipe out Indigenous culture and identity, and how the discovery of the children’s bodies is forcing a political reckoning with this history among white Canadians. Then they compare how Canada is handli...
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June 3, 2021 50 min
Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss the political earthquake happening in Israel that could soon see longtime Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ousted from power by a shaky coalition of far-right, centrist, leftist, and Islamist parties. They explain how this unlikely coalition came together, why it could easily fall apart, and what the possible end of the Netanyahu era means for the future of Israel and its conflict with the Palestinians...
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Zack, Jenn, and Alex explain why WWE wrestling superstar John Cena issued an apology to China this week over a comment he made about Taiwan while promoting his new Fast & Furious 9 movie — and what it says about China’s increasing efforts to use its economic might to censor statements it doesn’t like from American celebrities and companies. In the second half of the show, the gang answers listener questions about global shippin...
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Zack, Jenn, and Alex take a look at how, after more than a week of fighting, the war between Israel and Hamas is already reshaping the contours of the broader Israeli-Palestinian conflict — deepening entrenched political realities, shaking up alliances, and reframing how the various players view their roles in the fight and the prospect of finding a peaceful solution to the decades-long conflict. References: Zack wrote for Vox ab...
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May 13, 2021 58 min
Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss the ongoing fighting between Israelis and Palestinians — the worst violence the conflict has seen in seven years. They explain how the fighting arose out of tensions in Jerusalem, how the militant group Hamas escalated things, and the cycle of violence that keeps pushing Israel and Hamas toward war. Then they discuss what, if anything, could be done to improve the situation — and why the US seems so imp...
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On a special bonus Worldly, Zack interviews Rep. Ro Khanna — the vice-chair of the House’s India Caucus — on the covid crisis in that country. They talk about how things got so bad in India and what it says about the state of India’s political institutions and democracy. Then they talk about the US response, where Rep. Khanna gives an inside view of how the Biden administration decided to increase its commitment to India — and make...
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Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss the political implications of the ongoing Covid-19 catastrophe in India, where cases are skyrocketing, overwhelming the country’s health care system. They look at how much Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is to blame for the crisis and the degree to which it’s creating political problems for Modi both at home and abroad. In the second half, they talk about the recent local election in West Beng...
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Zack, Jenn, and Alex are joined by special guest Julia Belluz, Vox's senior health correspondent, to talk about how Vietnam has managed to keep its total coronavirus deaths to just 35 — yes, you read that right, 35 — in part by completely sealing its borders with one of the world’s strictest travel bans. The gang discusses what led Vietnam to take such drastic measures, why they seem to have worked so well, and whether replicat...
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April 23, 2021 9 min
Twelve of Europe’s richest soccer teams tried, and failed, to create their own elite tournament in a naked money grab. Worldly’s Alex Ward, arguably Vox’s top soccer fan, explains why the move angered basically everyone and the scheme failed — for now. References: Alex wrote an explainer on the Super League and how the fans killed it. Support Worldly by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts Learn more about...
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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 a...
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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 ...
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April 8, 2021 42 min
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 th...
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April 1, 2021 42 min
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 situa...
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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 c...
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March 18, 2021 55 min
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 rollo...
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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 conservativ...
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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’...
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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 ...
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