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

August 13, 2021 50 mins
In the very! last! episode! of the Worldly podcast, Zack interviews renowned economic historian Adam Tooze about his forthcoming book, Shutdown — an early history of the year 2020, one that felt to many like the end of the world as they knew it. Zack and Adam discuss what the fateful year taught us about the global economic system, the rise of China, and the stability of the US-led world order. And don’t miss goodbye messages from ...
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Zack, Jenn, and Jen Kirby look at how authoritarianism has become internationalized, through the lens of two recent news stories: 1) Fox News host Tucker Carlson choosing to broadcast his show from Hungary this week; and 2) a Belarusian Olympian in Tokyo seeking asylum out of fear of punishment by the Lukashenko regime after she criticized her coach on social media. They discuss what happened in both of those cases, as well as what...
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July 30, 2021 41 mins
Zack, Jenn, and Jen Kirby discuss the political crisis gripping Tunisia following the president’s decision to fire the prime minister and suspend parliament. Tunisia was the big “success story” of the Arab Spring: the one country whose revolution produced a real, albeit rocky, transition to democracy — a democracy that is now in crisis. The gang explains what’s going on, what it all means for Tunisia’s future, and how — or whether ...
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July 23, 2021 45 mins
Zack Beauchamp, Jenn Williams, and Jen Kirby discuss the explosive revelations that a number of governments around the world, from Saudi Arabia to Hungary to India, have been using military-grade spyware made by an Israeli firm to secretly hack into the phones of journalists, activists, and political opponents. They explore what we know about the NSO Group, the Israeli company who sold this software; what the technology does; how g...
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July 16, 2021 52 mins
Worldly guest co-host Jen Kirby talks to Michael Bustamante, professor of Latin American history at Florida International University and the author of Cuban Memory Wars: Retrospective Politics in Revolution and Exile (2021), about Cuba’s recent protests, the largest in decades. They discuss the origins of the current crisis and what it means for thousands of Cubans to take to the streets to resist the country’s regime. They also ta...
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July 9, 2021 46 mins
Frequent Worldly guest cohost Jen Kirby talks Turkey with NBA player and activist Enes Kanter. Kanter was born in Switzerland to Turkish parents and raised in Turkey, but his criticism of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's ongoing human rights crackdown has made Kanter persona non grata in that country. They discuss how President Joe Biden has handled Turkey so far; the troubling kidnapping of a Turkish-Kyrgyz schoolteacher, ...
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July 2, 2021 23 mins
A special repost from the folks at Today, Explained! While the Worldly team is out enjoying the holiday weekend in the States, TEX host Sean Rameswaram helps walk you through what’s going with Brexit right now — chatting with The Atlantic’s Tom McTague about where things are at right now in the UK/EU divorce. They explain (among other things) why it’s taking so look, how Prime Minister Boris Johnson has handled certain things well,...
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Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss the European soccer dustup over Hungary’s new anti-LGBTQ law. They explain what the Hungarian law does, how the country’s increasingly authoritarian leader Viktor Orbán is using it — and soccer — to further his anti-democratic political aims, why the EU opposes the measure so strongly, and how all of this spilled over into Europe’s marquee soccer tournament. Also, the Worldly team says goodbye to Alex. ...
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June 18, 2021 48 mins
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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June 12, 2021 46 mins
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/6wDS...
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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 4, 2021 50 mins
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 shipping, I...
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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 14, 2021 58 mins
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 replicating ...
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April 23, 2021 9 mins
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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April 23, 2021 59 mins
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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