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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

The end of Hong Kong

7/9/2020
Zack and Jenn talk about China's new national security law in Hong Kong, a ploy by Beijing to seize more control of the semi-autonomous city. They explain how the law vacates Hong Kong’s democratic freedoms and how Hongkongers have been responding. Then they zoom out to talk about what the world can do to address the increasingly horrific human rights abuses of Xi Jinping’s government — and why the integration of China into the global economy, while tremendously beneficial in many ways,...

Duration:00:39:45

Is Trump letting Putin get away with murder?

7/2/2020
Zack and Jenn break down the growing scandal surrounding intelligence reports that Russia paid bounties to the Taliban to attack US troops in Afghanistan. They walk through the evidence so far that Russia did this and what Vladimir Putin’s motivations might have been. Then they talk about the evidence that Trump knew about it and did nothing — and how this points to a much bigger problem for American foreign policy in the Trump era. References: Zack has a really great explainer on the entire...

Duration:00:44:53

North Korea blows up the peace process — literally

6/25/2020
Zack and Alex cope with Jenn’s absence by talking about one of their favorite topics: North Korea. In recent weeks, North Korea ramped up military tensions with South Korea and literally blew up the latter’s de facto embassy in the country. It seems that the US-led negotiating process with North Korea, ongoing since 2018, has conclusively failed. The team explains what happened, the deep strategic and political reasons behind the talks’ collapse, and then predict what might happen with North...

Duration:00:42:03

Don't buy John Bolton's book. Listen to this podcast instead.

6/18/2020
Zack, Jenn, and Alex go through the published excerpts from and quotes of John Bolton’s new book — a tell-all about his time as Trump’s national security adviser. They talk about the most shocking moment in the text, Trump’s alleged support for China putting Uighur Muslims in concentration camps, and run through some of the other revealing moments in the book and what they tell us about the way US foreign policy works today. Then they zoom out to this context: How much should we trust John...

Duration:00:40:46

The statues are coming down

6/11/2020
Zack, Jenn, and Alex continue last week’s conversation about the ongoing global reckoning surrounding race, this time focusing on the movement to remove controversial statues. In several Western countries — including the United States, Belgium, and the United Kingdom — people are demanding that statues of historically notable slave traders and imperialists be taken down. The Worldly team discusses the significance of these fights, and look to two other examples of countries that have dealt...

Duration:00:36:20

How the world sees the George Floyd protests

6/4/2020
Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss the global impact of the anti-police violence protests in America. They talk about large solidarity protests across Europe, explaining why and how they’re such a big deal, and how police violence against foreign journalists is affecting relationships with key allies like Australia. They also talk about how hostile dictatorships, like China and Iran, are exploiting racial tensions to hurt America’s global image and deflect criticism from their own human rights...

Duration:00:32:38

A Very British Scandal

5/28/2020
Alex and Jenn are joined by returning guest Jen Kirby to discuss the political scandal roiling the UK, in which a top political adviser to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings, got caught taking a 260-mile road trip while the rest of the country was on lockdown due to the coronavirus. The Worldly crew discusses why a seemingly trivial violation has become a huge political firestorm, and what it says about the US that something like this wouldn’t even register as a blip on the radar...

Duration:00:35:43

Hydroxychloroquine and the dangers of "medical populism"

5/21/2020
Zack, Jenn, and Alex talk about the global spread of the idea that hydroxychloroquine can treat coronavirus. Americans know it as Trump’s favorite drug, but the idea actually started with a famous contrarian doctor in France — and its most fervent acolyte in politics is the Brazilian president, not the American one. They talk about how faith in the drug spread globally, despite a lack of evidence and considerable reason to worry about its side effects, and how it exemplifies a style of...

Duration:00:33:11

A new “cold war”?

5/14/2020
Zack, Jenn, and Alex talk about the idea of a US-China “cold war” — a notion that’s been around for a while, but has become super popular since the coronavirus has turned into a blame game between the world’s two leading powers. They discuss what it would mean for the countries to be in such a conflict, compare it to the actual Cold War, debate whether the term really applies to the US, and wrap up by talking about how or whether tensions between Washington and Beijing could successfully be...

Duration:00:42:58

Worst. Invasion. Ever.

5/7/2020
Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss the bonkers story of a botched invasion attempt of Venezuela, reportedly led by a group of US-based mercenaries. They explain the truly bizarre backstory of the head merc, former Green Beret Jordan Goudreau; discuss how a slapdash plan to topple President Nicolás Maduro reportedly came together in partial coordination with the Venezuelan opposition; and zoom out to look at what this fiasco says about Venezuelan politics and the role of private military...

Duration:00:41:08

Otherworldly

4/30/2020
The Worldly team takes a break from the coronavirus doom and gloom to talk about some other big news: the Pentagon’s confirmation this week that it has, in fact, filmed at least three instances of unidentified flying objects (UFOs). They break down the footage, debate what the videos might actually show, talk about the Cold War history of US government investigations into UFOs, and explore how UFOs play into international relations and deeper concepts about religion and humanity. There’s...

Duration:00:34:57

Two continents, one coronavirus time bomb

4/23/2020
Zack, Jenn, and Alex talk about the coronavirus situation in sub-Saharan Africa and South America, two regions that have so far been mostly spared the worst of the virus. They explain why experts say there could soon be major outbreaks on both continents, and discuss the structural reasons why the social distancing policies that have helped slow the spread of the disease in Asia, Europe, and the US may not be feasible in Africa and South America. References: Alex has stories on how the...

Duration:00:37:27

W.H.O. is to blame?

4/16/2020
Zack, Jenn, and Alex talk about Trump’s plan to freeze US funding for the World Health Organization (WHO), ostensibly in retaliation for its failures in the early days of the coronavirus outbreak. The team discusses the very real problems with the organization’s response and why cutting global health funding during a pandemic is both dangerous and geopolitically shortsighted. References: Vox has a story explaining how Trump’s poor coronavirus response isn’t the WHO’s fault. Here’s that...

Duration:00:35:04

No one has the coronavirus answer

4/9/2020
The Worldly team looks at efforts at reopening in East Asia, including Wuhan, China, and argues that the early data suggests this might be premature — that Singapore and Hong Kong are experiencing a rough second wave of coronavirus infections, indicating that social distancing didn’t end the disease but merely put its spread on pause. They then take a look at two countries that were slow to impose restrictions in the first place — Sweden and Japan — where the situations are now looking grim....

Duration:00:34:51

A coronavirus “coup” in Hungary

4/2/2020
Zack, Jenn, and Alex explain how coronavirus is causing a global crisis for democracy — starting with Hungary, where Prime Minister Viktor Orbán assumed dictatorial powers thanks to a legislature controlled by his party, effectively suspending democracy for an indefinite period of time. They explain the background necessary to understand what happened in Hungary and the implications for the country and Europe — and, then, in the second half, zoom out to talk about several other countries...

Duration:00:38:59

The other global coronavirus epidemic: Denial

3/26/2020
Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss a striking pattern in countries around the world — their leadership’s denial about the threat posed by coronavirus. They show how denial helped the disease spread out of China and contributed to serious outbreaks in places like Iran and the United States, and note that — despite everything that happened — denial is still happening in places like Mexico and Brazil. They conclude by trying to explain why, in such different countries with such different political...

Duration:00:46:20

The US-China coronavirus blame game

3/19/2020
Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss Trump’s offensive insistence on calling the coronavirus the “Chinese virus” — why it’s both an attempt to deflect domestic political blame and part of a much broader geopolitical war with the Chinese government over who should be held responsible for the pandemic. They then run through the competition for global leadership between Washington and Beijing during the crisis — and explain why China, perhaps implausibly, may actually be winning. References: Make sure...

Duration:00:41:04

Every country for itself

3/12/2020
Zack, Jenn, and Alex record an episode on coronavirus from their respective homes, under self-isolation. They talk about the politics of Trump’s ban on European travel to the US and explore why the European Union seems to be neglecting to help Italy in its time of need. They also explain how the virus has led to a massive drop in oil prices — and why, at this particular time, this could seriously destabilize political systems around the world. References: Vox’s Jen Kirby wrote a story on...

Duration:00:35:28

Trump and the Taliban make a deal

3/5/2020
Zack, Jenn, and Alex talk about the historic US-Taliban peace agreement that was just signed as a first step toward ending the war in Afghanistan. They discuss the terms of the deal, the serious obstacles that remain to actually achieving peace in the country, and why, even if it is shaky and possibly already unraveling, the deal is still a really big achievement. Zack gets serious about the costs of war, Jenn geeks out on terrorism (again), and Alex talks about texting with the Taliban....

Duration:00:40:31

One of the worst crises of Syria’s civil war

2/27/2020
Zack, Jenn, and Alex talk about perhaps the single worst humanitarian crisis in Syria’s civil war — the ongoing situation in Idlib, where 3 million people are trapped in a province under assault by Bashar al-Assad and his allies. They explain how we got to this point, why the situation is so dangerous, and what could happen next. References: Our colleague Jen Kirby wrote a great explainer on the conflict in Idlib. Jen mentioned the book Assad, or We Burn the Country, which you can find here....

Duration:00:42:59