Worldly

Worldly

By Vox

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

How the world sees the George Floyd protests

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 abuses — a tactic with deep Cold War roots. References: Here’s Vox’s story on the Lafayette Square attack by federal officials. Friend of the show Jen Kirby has a great piece on how the Floyd protests have gone global. The decolonization statistics Jenn cited come from the State Department. You can read more about the European cases Alex listed here. Alex wrote on the US-Australia rift over the attack on two Australian journalists. Here’s Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pausing for 21 seconds after fielding a question on events in the US. Time magazine had a good piece on US adversaries using the protests to criticize America. Hosts: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, Vox Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox), national security reporter, Vox   Consider contributing to Vox: If you value Worldly’s work, please consider making a contribution to Vox: bit.ly/givepodcasts   More to explore: Subscribe for free to Today, Explained, Vox’s daily news podcast to help you understand the news, hosted by Sean Rameswaram.   About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines.   Follow Us: Vox.com  Newsletter: Vox Sentences Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
04/06/2034m 10s

A Very British Scandal

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 screen of Trump administration scandals. References: The BBC has a great timeline of the Cummings scandal. There’s a smart, short explainer of the whole ordeal at Slate. You can watch the whole interview with the Scottish woman here. Vox’s Jen Kirby has an excellent profile of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Yes, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner really did skirt coronavirus guidelines to drive to New Jersey. Vox also has a thorough explainer on Trump accusing Joe Scarborough of murder. Hosts: Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, Vox Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox), national security reporter, Vox   Consider contributing to Vox: If you value Worldly’s work, please consider making a contribution to Vox: bit.ly/givepodcasts   More to explore: Subscribe for free to Today, Explained, Vox’s daily news podcast to help you understand the news, hosted by Sean Rameswaram.   About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines.   Follow Us: Vox.com  Newsletter: Vox Sentences Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
28/05/2038m 33s

Hydroxychloroquine and the dangers of "medical populism"

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 politics that academics have termed “medical populism.” References: The Guardian has a great story on the origins of how hydroxychloroquine became a global phenomenon. Here’s that study on “medical populism” we talked about so much. Populists around the world are turning to hydroxychloroquine, reports the Washington Post. The New York Times has a thorough profile of French doctor Didier Raoult. You can find the video of Brazilians singing about the drug to President Bolsonaro here. Hosts: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, Vox Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox), national security reporter, Vox   Consider contributing to Vox: If you value Worldly’s work, please consider making a contribution to Vox: bit.ly/givepodcasts   More to explore: Subscribe for free to Today, Explained, Vox’s daily news podcast to help you understand the news, hosted by Sean Rameswaram.   About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines.   Follow Us: Vox.com  Newsletter: Vox Sentences Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
21/05/2035m 38s

A new “cold war”?

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 dialed down. There are references to Blink-182, The Office, and thumb war. References: Alex wrote about how China is exploiting the coronavirus crisis to achieve its goals faster. Here’s Vice President Mike Pence’s China speech at the Hudson Institute. There really are a lot of stories — see here, here, and here — on the US-China “cold war.” Everything you wanted to know about the Thucydides trap. And here’s that Chinese rap video Jenn mentioned. Hosts: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, Vox Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox), national security reporter, Vox   Consider contributing to Vox: If you value Worldly’s work, please consider making a contribution to Vox: bit.ly/givepodcasts   More to explore: Subscribe for free to Today, Explained, Vox’s daily news podcast to help you understand the news, hosted by Sean Rameswaram.   About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines.   Follow Us: Vox.com  Newsletter: Vox Sentences Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
14/05/2045m 37s

Worst. Invasion. Ever.

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 contractors in world affairs. There is, of course, a lengthy discussion of Machiavelli. References: There are a lot of good reports on what happened, but this one by the Washington Post is comprehensive and easy to understand. Here’s the video of Jordan Goudreau announcing the raid. Now you can dig around Silvercorp USA’s Instagram page just like Jenn. This story from the Sun-Sentinel details Goudreau’s Puerto Rico trip to make money. Here’s a tweet featuring images of the IDs of the two captured Americans. The New York Post has a video of the moment the mercenaries were detained. New York magazine details some of the sillier moments. Hosts: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, Vox Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox), national security reporter, Vox   Consider contributing to Vox: If you value Worldly’s work, please consider making a contribution to Vox: bit.ly/givepodcasts   More to explore: Subscribe for free to Today, Explained, Vox’s daily news podcast to help you understand the news, hosted by Sean Rameswaram.   About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines.   Follow Us: Vox.com  Newsletter: Vox Sentences Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/05/2042m 43s

Otherworldly

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 also a surprise guest appearance at the very end! Oh, and LOTS of X-Files jokes. References: It’s true: The Pentagon officially released three videos showing three aerial objects it could not explain. Alex has two stories on Area 51. Popular Mechanics has a smart longread on the Pentagon’s secret UFO program. Here’s a video debunking the claim that images in the Pentagon’s release show alien spacecraft. Jenn noted all the now-declassified history of the US government’s digging into UFOs. Here’s stuff from the CIA, the FBI, the NSA, and the 1968 Condon Report.    Check out renowned international relations theorist Alexander Wendt’s UFO’s paper. Zack mentioned an article in the Conversation about why UFOs deserve scientific study. Byrd recommends this book about our “alien oceans.” Here’s Byrd’s conversation with the Vatican’s chief astronomer. Vox’s interview with a religion scholar on UFOs is worth your time. Hosts: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, Vox Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox), national security reporter, Vox   Consider contributing to Vox: If you value Worldly’s work, please consider making a contribution to Vox: bit.ly/givepodcasts   More to explore: Subscribe for free to Today, Explained, Vox’s daily news podcast to help you understand the news, hosted by Sean Rameswaram.   About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines.   Follow Us: Vox.com  Newsletter: Vox Sentences Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
30/04/2037m 51s

Two continents, one coronavirus time bomb

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 coronavirus will affect sub-Saharan Africa and South America. It’s worth understanding the crisis in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Richer countries are outbidding poorer ones on resources to combat the coronavirus, the New York Times reports. Politico notes that African countries want debt relief so they can focus on public health programs. The Guardian has an important story on the tough choices facing poor families in Latin America. Hosts: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, Vox Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox), national security reporter, Vox   Consider contributing to Vox: Your financial contribution will make vital explanatory journalism possible at a time when clear, concise information is needed more than ever. Thank you for supporting Vox.   More to explore: Subscribe for free to Today, Explained, Vox’s daily news podcast to help you understand the news, hosted by Sean Rameswaram.   About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines.   Follow Us: Vox.com  Newsletter: Vox Sentences Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
23/04/2039m 34s

W.H.O. is to blame?

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 disastrous WHO tweet Zack cited. Vox also has a piece on how China obfuscated early information on the coronavirus outbreak. Time has a story on what critics are saying about Trump’s WHO decision. In February, the Council on Foreign Relations had a blog post on the WHO’s missteps. The New York Times explains why Trump’s WHO play is just a way to shift blame. Here’s the clip of the WHO official hanging up on a reporter after questions about Taiwan. Vox’s explainer on the coronavirus has a lot of important information about the pandemic. Hosts: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, Vox Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox), national security reporter, Vox   Consider contributing to Vox: Your financial contribution will make vital explanatory journalism possible at a time when clear, concise information is needed more than ever. Thank you for supporting Vox.   More to explore: Subscribe for free to Today, Explained, Vox’s daily news podcast to help you understand the news, hosted by Sean Rameswaram.   About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines.   Follow Us: Vox.com  Newsletter: Vox Sentences Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
16/04/2035m 50s

No one has the coronavirus answer

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. References: The New York Times has a great piece about the reopening of Wuhan. CNN explains how there might be a second wave of coronavirus cases in Hong Kong. Alex has a piece for Vox on Sweden’s risky coronavirus strategy. The New York Times asks if it’s too late for Japan to declare a state of emergency. Here’s the Guardian article Zack mentioned. Vox’s explainer on the coronavirus has a lot of important information about the pandemic. Hosts: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, Vox Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox), national security reporter, Vox   Consider contributing to Vox: Your financial contribution will make vital explanatory journalism possible at a time when clear, concise information is needed more than ever. Thank you for supporting Vox.   More to explore: Subscribe for free to Today, Explained, Vox’s daily news podcast to help you understand the news, hosted by Sean Rameswaram.   About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines.   Follow Us: Vox.com  Newsletter: Vox Sentences Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
09/04/2036m 4s

A coronavirus “coup” in Hungary

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 facing rising authoritarianism in a Covid-19 world, and why a pandemic is so dangerous for democracy in general. References: Zack has a phenomenal long read on how democracy died in Hungary  Zack also wrote about how authoritarian states aren’t better at dealing with coronavirus Here’s the New York Times piece we referenced in the second half Al-Monitor notes how Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is using coronavirus to subvert democracy in Israel Glenn Greenwald’s comments saying digital surveillance could be “warranted” because of the coronavirus threat are in this BuzzFeed News story Politico reported on the emergency powers the Department of Justice sought during the coronavirus crisis Wired has a great piece on post-9/11 surveillance in the US Hosts: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, Vox Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox), national security reporter, Vox   More to explore: Subscribe for free to Today, Explained, Vox’s daily news podcast to help you understand the news, hosted by Sean Rameswaram.   About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines.   Follow Us: Vox.com  Newsletter: Vox Sentences  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
02/04/2038m 42s

The other global coronavirus epidemic: Denial

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 systems, denial seems to remain a huge problem. References: Vox has stories on Brazil, Spain, Italy, Mexico, and India, and many more are coming — so stay tuned.    Here’s the Reuters article Jenn cited on the show about Japan. Iranian leaders prioritized politics over health. Saudi Arabia announced its second death from coronavirus so far. The Post piece comparing the United States and Brazil that Zack mentioned. Hosts: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, Vox Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox), national security reporter, Vox   More to explore: Subscribe for free to Today, Explained, Vox’s daily news podcast to help you understand the news, hosted by Sean Rameswaram.   About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines.   Follow Us: Vox.com  Newsletter: Vox Sentences Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
26/03/2045m 43s

The US-China coronavirus blame game

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 to follow Vox’s coronavirus reading guide. Our colleague Jen Kirby wrote a great story on how Italy is dealing with the coronavirus. Our other colleague Dylan Scott wrote on why the term we discuss is racist. Check out Vox’s video about why diseases keep popping up in China. Here’s the Washington Post article Zack mentioned about how “the system” isn’t working this time. And here’s Alex’s piece on the US-China trade war that Jenn mentioned. Hosts: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, Vox Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox), national security reporter, Vox   More to explore: Subscribe for free to Today, Explained, Vox’s daily news podcast to help you understand the news, hosted by Sean Rameswaram.   About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines.   Follow Us: Vox.com  Newsletter: Vox Sentences Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
19/03/2041m 11s

Every country for itself

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 Trump’s Europe travel ban. Alex wrote about the Saudi-Russia oil price war. Italy criticized the EU for its slow response to help it deal with coronavirus. You can read about German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s speech here. Some Americans are paying up to $20,000 for a return flight from Europe. Hosts: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, Vox Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox), national security reporter, Vox   More to explore: Subscribe for free to Today, Explained, Vox’s daily news podcast to help you understand the news, hosted by Sean Rameswaram.   About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines.   Follow Us: Vox.com  Newsletter: Vox Sentences Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
12/03/2036m 42s

Trump and the Taliban make a deal

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. References: You can read the text of the peace agreement here. Here’s an Afghan official saying the US is negotiating the terms of its “surrender.” This is a really great analysis of some of the major flaws in the peace agreement.  Here’s the video of Gen. Mark Milley explaining that the peace agreement calls for a reduction in violence, not zero violence.  We mentioned that the Taliban controls a village on the outskirts of Kabul. Here’s a great piece about that village and what it tells us about the US failure in Afghanistan. Here’s the photo of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shaking hands with the top Taliban negotiator at the deal’s signing ceremony.  President Donald Trump said he had a “good conversation” on the phone with the Taliban’s top political leader. Alex mentioned a piece from the Council on Foreign Relations about the peace deal. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
05/03/2043m 2s

One of the worst crises of Syria’s civil war

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. Alex reported on Assad’s “siege, starve, and surrender” strategy as his forces overtook Eastern Ghouta. Turkey does want to send Syrian refugees to a “safe zone” in northern Syria. Turkey invaded northern Syria to fight US-allied Kurds near its border. Charity Navigator has a guide on the best places to donate support to people in Syria. Hosts: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, Vox Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox), national security reporter, Vox More to explore: Subscribe for free to Today, Explained, Vox’s daily news podcast to help you understand the news, hosted by Sean Rameswaram. About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Follow Us: Vox.com  Newsletter: Vox Sentences  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
27/02/2044m 2s

The debate didn’t cover foreign policy. So we did.

Zack, Jenn, and Alex break down the 2020 Democratic field’s positions on foreign policy — which were weirdly under-discussed in the most recent debate. They set up a spectrum, with Bloomberg on the (far) right flank and Bernie on the left, situate the other candidates along this line, and discuss the things that distinguish each candidate on the issues. Zack comes out as a free trader, Jenn heaps love on Biden’s detailed foreign policy answers, and Alex gets feisty. References: Alex wrote about the foreign policy splits among the frontrunners, as well as Buttigieg dodging questions. Here are the Council on Foreign Relations and New York Times foreign policy surveys. Alex conducted foreign policy interviews with Tom Steyer and Julián Castro. Biden has some explaining to do on his Iraq War stance, as does Bloomberg. Hosts: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, Vox Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox), national security reporter, Vox More to explore: Subscribe for free to Today, Explained, Vox’s daily news podcast to help you understand the news, hosted by Sean Rameswaram. About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Follow Us: Vox.com  Newsletter: Vox Sentences  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
20/02/2046m 7s

Could coronavirus collapse Chinese communism?

Zack and Alex talk about the politics of the coronavirus outbreak in China — why the Chinese government botched the initial response, why Chinese citizens are so angry about it, and the reasons why the problems with this response are inherent to the current Chinese governance model. They then debate the claim from many analysts that this is the most serious crisis for China’s regime since the 1989 Tiananmen Square uprising — and the (low) probability that this could trigger another revolution-minded uprising. References: Our colleague Julia Belluz has you covered on the coronavirus. Read her work here, here, and here. Read the nice things Chinese people have said about the late Li Wenliang after his death. Here’s the full clip of Bill Bishop speaking on coronavirus’ impact on China. Zack read an academic paper on the show on “symbolic legitimacy” and China.  This piece in the Guardian titled “If China valued free speech, there would be no coronavirus crisis” is worth your time. Hosts: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox), national security reporter, Vox More to explore: Subscribe for free to Today, Explained, Vox’s daily news podcast to help you understand the news, hosted by Sean Rameswaram. About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Follow Us: Vox.com  Newsletter: Vox Sentences  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
13/02/2042m 27s

Mini. Nuclear. Weapons.

Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss the Trump administration’s decision to put a mini nuclear weapon on a US submarine for the first time. They explain what a mini-nuke actually is, the reasons for this decision, the cases for and against doing it, and how to think about the future of nuclear weapons policy in a world of renewed great power politics and weakening arms control agreements. Zack confesses his fascination with pre-modern warfare, Jenn coins a Ringo Starr theory of nuclear policy, and Alex describes himself as an “end of the world enthusiast.” References: This is a really great summary of the debate on putting mini-nukes on submarines. Here’s a link to the Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review. Zack talked about Vipin Narang’s War on the Rocks piece on the discrimination problem when using low-yield nukes. Alex discussed Russia’s “escalate to de-escalate” strategy. Jenn mentioned the idea of a “nuclear taboo” and also referenced the book Thinking about the Unthinkable.  Here’s a link to the “mineshaft gap” scene in Dr. Strangelove. Alex broke the story about the Trump administration’s new landmine policy, and also wrote a great (and terrifying) feature on how nuclear war could kill us all. Hosts: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, Vox Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox), national security reporter, Vox More to explore: Subscribe for free to Today, Explained, Vox’s daily news podcast to help you understand the news, hosted by Sean Rameswaram. About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Follow Us: Vox.com  Newsletter: Vox Sentences  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
06/02/2044m 42s

The dark logic of Trump’s Israel-Palestine “peace plan”

Zack, Jenn, and Alex are joined by the Middle East Institute’s Khaled Elgindy to discuss the Trump administration’s new Israel-Palestine peace plan. They break down what’s actually in the proposal, the ways in which its provisions are profoundly skewed toward the Israeli side, and how it could change the reality for both sides even if its provisions are never implemented. References: Here’s a link to our special guest Khaled Elgindy’s excellent book Blind Spot: America and the Palestinians, from Balfour to Trump. You can read Alex’s explainer on the peace plan and his Q&A on what the Palestinians are likely to do now. Here’s Zack’s piece arguing the peace deal is a con. This is the Washington Post op-ed Zack read from in the episode. Hosts: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias), Senior correspondent, Vox Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox), national security reporter, Vox More to explore: Subscribe for free to Today, Explained, Vox’s daily news podcast to help you understand the news, hosted by Sean Rameswaram. About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Follow Us: Vox.com  Newsletter: Vox Sentences  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
30/01/2045m 21s

Hacking Jeff Bezos

Zack and Alex are joined by Weeds cohost Matt Yglesias to talk about the Saudi crown prince’s seemingly brazen hack of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos — by personally texting him a video that cybersecurity experts think contained advanced spyware. They explain the evidence that the Saudis are responsible (despite their denials), try to explore why Mohammed bin Salman would do something so obviously inflammatory, and suss out the implications for the future of the US-Saudi alliance. References: Here’s the UN report on the Bezos hack and FTI Consulting’s technical analysis of Bezos’s phone. Vox’s Sara Morrison notes that the Bezos hack could happen to anyone. Vox’s Jen Kirby also wrote up the Bezos news when it broke. Hosts: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias), Senior correspondent, Vox Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox), national security reporter, Vox More to explore: Subscribe for free to Today, Explained, Vox’s daily news podcast to help you understand the news, hosted by Sean Rameswaram. About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Follow Us: Vox.com  Newsletter: Vox Sentences  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
23/01/2043m 33s

The entire Russian government just resigned

Zack, Jenn, and Alex talk about the recent resignation of Russia’s entire government — yes, you read that right. Guest Andrea Kendall-Taylor, a Russia expert at the Center for a New American Security, helps the team get a hold on what Putin’s play is: how he’s reorganizing the government to prepare for his own departure from the presidency, and what this means in the big picture for Russia’s future. They also talk about one of Zack’s weird dreams and the proper way to cook brussels sprouts. References: Check out our special guest Andrea Kendall-Taylor’s podcast “Brussels Sprouts,” her piece for Foreign Affairs titled “The New Dictators,” and her book “Democracies and Authoritarian Regimes.” Jen Kirby’s Vox writeup on the Russia shake-up is here. Reid Standish, the Moscow-based reporter Alex mentioned, wrote a great piece on Putin’s decision for Foreign Policy (and quotes Andrea). Zack wrote a piece in 2018 about the problems personalist authoritarian regimes have, linking it to Putin’s election that year. Hosts: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, Vox Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox), national security reporter, Vox More to explore: Subscribe for free to Today, Explained, Vox’s daily news podcast to help you understand the news, hosted by Sean Rameswaram. About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Follow Us: Vox.com  Newsletter: Vox Sentences  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
16/01/2043m 26s

Did Trump get Iran right? (ft. Sen. Tom Udall)

Zack, Jenn, and Alex break down the US killing of Qassem Suleimani — why it happened, what the Iranian response means, and what the long term consequences might be. Zack and Jenn get into a lengthy debate over whether killing Suleimani was wise, and Alex gets a behind-the-scenes look at the debate over reining in Trump’s Iran war powers in a Worldly exclusive interview with Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM). References: Here’s Alex’s piece with inside details on the disastrous Iran briefings for the House and Senate. Jenn and Zack offered the pro and con arguments for killing Qassem Soleimani. Vox has two interviews with experts making the cases for and against. Both Zack and Alex felt Trump’s Iran speech from the White House could’ve been better. And here’s Sen. Tom Udall announcing his support for the War Powers Resolution as well as his own Prevention of Unconstitutional War with Iran Act of 2019. Hosts: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, Vox Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox), national security reporter, Vox More to explore: Subscribe for free to Today, Explained, Vox’s daily news podcast to help you understand the news, hosted by Sean Rameswaram. About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Follow Us: Vox.com  Newsletter: Vox Sentences  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
09/01/2051m 23s

A very Worldly guide to 2019 — and 2020

Zack, Jenn, and Alex do a 2019 year in review — each one of them making a choice for biggest US foreign policy story of 2019, while the whole team debates just how important each of these events were. Then, after the break, they do the same for 2020 — making predictions about what the big stories will be. References: Here’s Alex’s great piece on how the Baghdadi raid went down:  Alex interviewed Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó about his failed push to overthrow Nicolás Maduro  Vox's Umair Irfan explained Trump’s formal withdrawal from the Paris climate accords Here’s a phenomenal feature on what Afghans think about US-Taliban peace talks and the possible withdrawal of US troops Zeeshan Aleem explained the latest in the US-China trade war for Vox  Hosts: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, Vox Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox), national security reporter, Vox More to explore: Subscribe for free to Today, Explained, Vox’s daily news podcast to help you understand the news, hosted by Sean Rameswaram. About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Follow Us: Vox.com  Newsletter: Vox Sentences  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
19/12/1946m 5s

India's assault on Muslim rights — and democracy

Zack and Alex are joined by Vox reporter Sigal Samuel to talk about two recent measures in India that, when combined, amount to a plan for stripping citizenship from hundreds of thousands of Muslims. They explain what the laws actually do, the scary Hindu supremacist ideology motivating Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the impact Modi’s premiership is having on Indian democracy. They then zoom out to put India in global context, comparing democratic backsliding there to what we’re seeing in the West and its persecution of Muslims to what you’ve seen in two other nearby countries (China and Myanmar). References: Sigal’s piece on the India laws is here. Read Dexter Filkins’ brilliant longread on India under Modi in the New Yorker. Zack’s piece on Hungary’s democratic backsliding is really worth your time. If you need a quick brush-up on the Kashmir crisis, Alex explains it for you in under 600 words. Netflix’s Hasan Minhaj talked about being barred from the “Howdy Modi” event, even though he was celebrated at it. Hosts: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox Sigal Samuel (@SigalSamuel), staff writer, Vox Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox), national security reporter, Vox More to explore: Subscribe for free to Today, Explained, Vox’s daily news podcast to help you understand the news, hosted by Sean Rameswaram. About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Follow Us: Vox.com  Newsletter: Vox Sentences  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
12/12/1941m 29s

That awkward NATO moment

Zack, Jenn, and Alex talk about the viral video of world leaders making fun of Trump at the NATO summit — explaining how Trump’s antics threatened the meeting and, somewhat more surprisingly, why they didn’t derail it. They then zoom out to talk about NATO’s more fundamental existential crisis — whether it makes sense to be protecting post-Communist European states against Russia — and the problems facing the alliance down the line. Jenn talks about her recent visit to Poland and how NATO looks on the ground there, Zack confesses his love for khachapouri, and Alex falsely claims that he hates to bring up Spain. References: You can read about the “mocking Trump” video on Vox here. NATO’s website explains it policy of enlargement. Zack’s piece on Hungary’s democratic backsliding is really worth your time. Zack also has a piece on how Trump is killing US alliances. Hosts: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, Vox Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox), national security reporter, Vox More to explore: Subscribe for free to Today, Explained, Vox’s daily news podcast to help you understand the news, hosted by Sean Rameswaram. About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Follow Us: Vox.com  Newsletter: Vox Sentences  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
05/12/1938m 37s

Today, Explained: Let's talk about that party in Spain

Spain's far-right party just won more than 50 seats in its parliament, reminding some of the country's fascist past. Yes, the party is called "VOX". Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
28/11/1926m 27s

2020 candidate Michael Bennet explains why Facebook is a national security threat

It’s a very special Worldly today, as Zack hosts Sen. Michael Bennet — the first Democratic presidential candidate to appear on Worldly. Their conversation ranges from big picture conversations about the global threat to liberal democracy to policy details on America’s troubled alliances with Israel and Saudi Arabia to why Sen. Bennet thinks Facebook should be understood as a national security threat.  Hosts: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox References: Here’s Sen. Michael Bennet’s presidential campaign website. Watch Bennet’s speech at the Council on Foreign Relations this week. Bennet spoke about his Facebook concerns on a previous Vox podcast. More to explore: Subscribe for free to Today, Explained, Vox’s daily news podcast to help you understand the news, hosted by Sean Rameswaram. About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Follow Us: Vox.com  Newsletter: Vox Sentences  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
21/11/1937m 50s

Coup in Bolivia?

Jenn, Alex, and special guests Ivan Rebolledo and Zeeshan Aleem talk about whether there was a coup in Bolivia or not. While the military asked President Evo Morales to step down, he had taken steps to maintain power after his term in office ended. It's a dangerous moment for the country, and it speaks volumes about new political dynamics sweeping Latin America. Hosts: Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, Vox Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox), national security reporter, Vox More to explore: Subscribe for free to Today, Explained, Vox’s daily news podcast to help you understand the news, hosted by Sean Rameswaram. About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Follow Us: Vox.com  Newsletter: Vox Sentences  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
14/11/1937m 58s

Introducing Reset

Apple removed an app that had been used by pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong. Turns out that has broad implications for democracy globally. If you enjoyed this episode, subscribe to Reset for free on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, Pocket Casts, or your favorite podcast app to get new episodes every week. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
12/11/1921m 49s

Arab Spring 2.0?

Zack, Jenn, and Alex talk about the massive protests in Iraq and what connection, if any, they might have with similar uprisings in Lebanon and Egypt. While there are major differences, they all share one thing in common: people just want their own functioning government. Hosts: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, Vox Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox), national security reporter, Vox More to explore: Subscribe for free to Today, Explained, Vox’s daily news podcast to help you understand the news, hosted by Sean Rameswaram. About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Follow Us: Vox.com  Newsletter: Vox Sentences  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
08/11/1942m 0s

Take the oil

Zack, Jenn, and Alex talk about Trump’s new Syria policy — sending US troops to protect oil fields and potentially selling the oil to the highest bidder. It’s a really bad idea! Hosts: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, Vox Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox), national security reporter, Vox More to explore: Subscribe for free to Today, Explained, Vox’s daily news podcast to help you understand the news, hosted by Sean Rameswaram. About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Follow Us: Vox.com  Newsletter: Vox Sentences  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
31/10/1940m 48s

Brexit, forever?

Zack and Alex are joined by Vox Brexit expert Jen Kirby to talk the latest on what’s going on in London. Due to some parliamentary “shenanigans” (Jen’s word choice), Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s drive to crash out of the EU by October 31 looks like it’s going to fail. The Worldly team breaks down exactly what happened and what could happen next — ranging from long-lasting limbo to another fateful election. Alex analogizes Brexit to a divorce, and Zack gives a heartfelt goodbye to their producer Byrd Pinkerton — who makes a little cameo at the end! Links to resources discussed:  What to know about Boris’s new Brexit deal  Parliamentary shenanigans, part 1 and part 2 The EU’s expected Brexit extension decision On Boris Johnson’s decent election outlook -- and Jeremy Corbyn’s dismal one Zack referenced a tweet by Nick Cohen Hosts: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox), national security reporter, Vox Jen Kirby (@j_kirby1), foreign and national security reporter,, Vox More to explore: Subscribe for free to Today, Explained, Vox’s daily news podcast to help you understand the news, hosted by Sean Rameswaram. About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Follow Us: Vox.com  Newsletter: Vox Sentences  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
24/10/1921m 40s

The four words that will decide impeachment

This was the week of confessions. Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney admitted to a Trump administration quid quo pro with Ukraine, with cameras rolling. EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland confirmed that President Trump made Rudy Giuliani the hinge of America’s Ukraine policy. And then the administration announced that the location for the upcoming G7 summit: Trump’s own resort in Doral, Florida. We break down the three stories that mattered most in impeachment this week. And then we dig into the four words that will shape the entire impeachment fight: “High Crimes and Misdemeanors.” What did they mean when they were added to the Constitution? How have they been interpreted through American history? And do Trump’s acts qualify? Welcome to Impeachment, Explained. If you enjoyed this episode, subscribe to Impeachment, Explained on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, Pocket Casts, or your favorite podcast app to get stay updated on this story every week. References: "Indispensable Remedy: The Broad Scope of the Constitution’s Impeachment Power" by Gene Healy "The case for normalizing impeachment" by Ezra Klein Credits: Producer and Editor - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Engineers - Malachi Broadus & Jeremey Dalmas Theme music composed by Jon Natchez  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
19/10/1953m 37s

Sen. Chris Murphy on why America's Syria failure goes beyond Trump

Worldly continues its series on progressive foreign policy with one of its leading proponents, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT). A member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Murphy has strongly criticized the way both Republicans and Democrats have conducted world affairs for decades and proposes a completely new path. In his chat with Alex, Murphy also blasts Trump's Syria policy, but he notes that America's failures there extend far beyond the president himself. Oh, and a 1988 Ford Taurus comes up. Links to resources discussed:  A piece that provides more background on the Syrian situation Senator Murphy’s Atlantic article Senator Murphy speaking at CFR Guest: US Senator Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) Host: Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox), national security reporter, Vox More to explore: Subscribe for free to Today, Explained, Vox’s daily news podcast to help you understand the news, hosted by Sean Rameswaram. About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Follow us: Vox.com  Newsletter: Vox Sentences Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
17/10/1928m 41s

Rep. Ro Khanna’s vision for a new, “progressive” foreign policy

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), one of the leading minds advocating for a radical rethinking of US foreign policy, sits down with Jenn for a conversation about what a “progressive” foreign policy would look like and how it would actually be applied in tough conflicts from Yemen to Iran to China. Links to resources discussed: We are conducting an audience survey to better serve you. It takes no more than five minutes, and it really helps out the show. Please take our survey here. Rep. Khanna referenced  Alexis De Tocqueville’s Democracy in America Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History?John Quincy Adams’ Warning Against the Search for “Monsters to Destroy”Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments And the writings of Katrina vanden Heuvel Here are two pieces that provide more background on Yemen More on Kissinger and realpolitik The NYT op-ed by Masuda Sultan that Khanna referenced Guest: US Congressman Ro Khanna (@RepRoKhanna), representing Silicon Valley's CA17 Host:Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, Vox More to explore:Subscribe for free to Today, Explained, Vox’s daily news podcast to help you understand the news, hosted by Sean Rameswaram. About Vox:Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Follow us:Vox.com Newsletter: Vox Sentences  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
10/10/1928m 58s

How Italy, Australia, and Britain got dragged into the Ukraine scandal

Zack, Jenn, and Alex break down the latest news in the Trump-Ukraine scandal — the emergence of related allegations about inappropriate administration requests to the governments of Britain, Italy, and Australia. They explain what happened in each case, look at the bizarre conspiracy theories behind all of this, and draw out the implications of a world in which US foreign policy is being increasingly enlisted in both the pursuit of falsehoods and the president’s reelection campaign. Links to resources discussed: If you want to listen to our last episode on the Trump-Ukraine scandal as a refresher, please do so. We mentioned Alex’s two pieces: one on Pompeo and another on how these four countries got embroiled in Trump’s conspiracy mess Zack wrote about how Trump’s Ukraine scandal is part of the president’s attack on democracy Here’s the Politico piece on a potential scandal whereby even a foreign government buys hotel rooms at Trump properties but has no one stay in them Trump is hoping his more politically allied leaders abroad will help him in the conspiracy investigations Here’s the Times of London piece about Trump and Boris Johnson discussing inquiries into the Mueller probe Zack mentioned George Conway’s piece in the Atlantic on why Trump is “unfit for office” MORE LINKS HERE We are conducting an audience survey to better serve you. It takes no more than five minutes, and it really helps out the show. Please take our survey here. Hosts:Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, Vox Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox), national security reporter, Vox More to explore: Subscribe for free to Today, Explained, Vox’s daily news podcast to help you understand the news, hosted by Sean Rameswaram. About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Follow Us: Vox.com Newsletter: Vox Sentences  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
03/10/1931m 58s

The whistleblower complaint: a close read

Zack, Jenn, and Alex dive into the just-released whistleblower report about Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. They explain what exactly it alleges about Trump and his administration — and the wider coverup operation it reveals. Bottom line? It sure looks like the president deliberately abused his powers of office for political gain — and then the White House engaged in a systematic, corrupt effort to hide his misconduct from the world. Links to resources discussed: The full text of the whistleblower complaint, with some context More background on the Ukraine scandal We read some key passages from the complaint that Alex highlighted on Twitter, namely this one, this one, this one, and this one. Zack’s close read of the “transcript” We are conducting an audience survey to better serve you. It takes no more than five minutes, and it really helps out the show. Please take our survey here. Hosts:Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), Senior Foreign Editor, VoxZack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), Senior Correspondent, VoxAlex Ward (@AlexWardVox), National security reporter, Vox More to explore:Subscribe for free to Today, Explained, Vox’s daily news podcast to help you understand the news, hosted by Sean Rameswaram. About Vox:Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Follow Us:Vox.com Newsletter: Vox Sentences  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
26/09/1921m 12s

War for Oil

Zack and Jenn are joined by Matt Yglesias to talk about the worrying fallout of an attack on Saudi oil facilities this weekend. The United States has blamed Iran for the attack, and President Trump tweeted that America is “locked and loaded” to retaliate — but so far, there hasn’t been a military response. The Worldly team talks through the debate over what the US should do, what Trump might be thinking, and the very real chance that escalation could trigger a recession. Jenn busts out some Arabic, Matt comes up with a new CSI spinoff, and Zack brings it back to the original Gulf War. Links to resources discussed: Jen Kirby’s explainer on the Saudi Arabia oil attacks. President Trump’s “locked and loaded” tweet Matt’s piece, “Trump’s weird ideas on the US-Saudi relationship, sort of explained.” He mentions the Washington Post article about Saudi visits to Trump hotels. The team discussed Lindsey Graham’s tweets about the situation. Jenn mentioned that Martin Indyk at Brookings also weighed in. There are broader reasons to be concerned about a recession, but also reasons tied to these events in Saudi Arabia. Politifact added nuance to the idea that the US is energy independent. Matt shouted out some oil price graphs. You can find them here. It’s been a busy week for foreign news! Zack mentioned articles about a promise made to a foreign leader, Justin Trudeau’s brownface scandal, and Trump’s pick for national security adviser. He also mentioned Today, Explained’s episode about the Israeli election. Hosts:Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), Senior Foreign Editor, VoxZack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), Senior Correspondent, VoxMatt Yglesias (@mattyglesias), Senior Correspondent, Vox About Vox:Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Follow Us:Vox.com Newsletter: Vox Sentences Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
19/09/1926m 42s

Why the US can’t win in Afghanistan

Zack and Alex are joined by Ben Pauker, Vox’s managing editor for news and a longtime foreign correspondent, to talk about the war in Afghanistan — and why the US can’t seem to win it. They discuss the reasons that Afghanistan is fertile ground for an insurgency, why the Taliban has become a particularly effective bunch of militants, and why the US’ ultimate goal — building up an Afghan government and military that can sure the country in its absence — is so hard to achieve. Come for the policy pessimism, stay for Zack’s oblique reference to a dril tweet. Read this interview Alex did with warfare expert Dominic Tierney on why the US has trouble winning wars. The New York Times has a good history (with pictures!) of why many have tried and failed to win in Afghanistan. Here’s how the US “won” in Iraq Alex wrote about how the Taliban has very slightly moderated its stances towards women and minorities in recent years. Yes, a Taliban fighter really did say “You have the watches. We have the time.” Here’s what you need to know about the US-backed president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai A US government report from this August found that the size of the Afghan army fell by 42,000 soldiers — mostly they had been paying 42,000 people who don’t actually exist.  Zack mentioned that the US even put treadmills in bases  Hosts: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), Senior Correspondent, Vox Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox), National security reporter, Vox Guest: Ben Paulker (@benpaulker), Managing Editor, Vox More to explore: Subscribe for free to Today, Explained, Vox’s daily news podcast to help you understand the news, hosted by Sean Rameswaram. About Vox :Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Follow Us: Vox.com Newsletter: Vox Sentences  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
12/09/1923m 8s

The case for foreign policy restraint

In this special crossover episode, Weeds host Matt Yglesias talks to Emma Ashford, Research Fellow in Defense and Foreign Policy at the Cato Institute. It's a wide ranging discussion covering everything from China to the middle east, our relationship with Russia since the cold war, and the defense budget. They also explore the difference between restraint and realism, and whether or not Trump is an isolationist. Guest Host: Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) Guest Emma Ashford (@emmamashford) More to explore: Subscribe for free to The Weeds. On Vox’s twice-weekly policy and politics podcast, Matthew Yglesias is joined by Ezra Klein, Dara Lind, Jane Coaston and other Vox voices to dig into important national issues, including healthcare, immigration, housing, and everything else that matters. About Vox: Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
05/09/191h 0m

Boris's Great British Brexit-Off

Zack and Jenn are joined by Vox foreign writer Jen Kirby to talk about UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to “prorogue” Parliament — meaning suspend it for five weeks — during the runup to the October 31st Brexit deadline. They explain how this is an obvious maneuver to prevent Parliament from blocking a no-deal Brexit, and then break down what Parliament could do in response, and how all of this represents a serious challenge for British democracy. Here’s Jen Kirby’s explainer on the whole proroguing controversy. We mentioned that the UK government’s own analyses suggest a no-deal Brexit would be a disaster for the UK. And here’s a link to our past episode “The looming Brexit catastrophe” on what a no-deal Brexit could mean for Britain. The UK House of Commons Library has a good summary of how proroguing normally works. Here’s more on how the opposition Labour Party was planning to thwart Johnson before all this happened. Here’s a member of Johnson’s Conservative Party, Dominic Grieve, calling Johnson’s move "tantamount to a coup against Parliament." We referenced this BuzzFeed article about possible ideas Johnson has floated to try to force Brexit through. Business Insider has a good piece explaining the debate about how involved the queen should get in all this. Hosts:Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), Senior Foreign Editor, VoxZack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), Senior Correspondent, VoxAlex Ward (@AlexWardVox), National security reporter, Vox More to explore:Subscribe for free to Today, Explained, Vox’s daily news podcast to help you understand the news, hosted by Sean Rameswaram. About Vox:Vox is a news network that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Follow Us:Vox.com Newsletter: Vox Sentences  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
29/08/1919m 30s

The Amazon is on fire

In Jenn’s and Alex’s absence, Zack is joined by Umair Irfan, a climate change reporter at Vox, to talk about the wildfires raging in Siberia, Greenland, and — most worryingly — the Amazon rainforest. They explain why preserving the health of the massive rainforest is vital to addressing climate change, and how the policies of Brazil’s right-wing populist president, Jair Bolsonaro, have helped cause the wildfires and jeopardized the Amazon rainforest’s very survival. Umair tells stories from his recent visit to Brazil, while Zack recalls a sweaty walk to work. Links! Here’s Umair’s piece on all the fires raging around the world right now. Vox’s Jen Kirby explained Bolsonaro 101. Some background on Bolsonaro’s environmental policy. It’s very bad! Bolsonaro has gone after indigenous rights since literally the first day of his presidency. São Paulo’s drought problem has been really serious. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s big new report on land use and climate change. Information on one of several international initiatives to protect the Amazon. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
22/08/1923m 59s

INF'd

Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss the recently deceased Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty — a Cold War-era agreement that was supposed to stop the US and Russia from putting destabilizing missiles too close to each other. They explain where the treaty came from, why it mattered, and why Trump pulled out of it — and cap it off with a discussion of whether the treaty’s demise was a good thing or not. Zack does his best (worst?) Yaakov Smirnoff impression, Jenn breaks down the song “99 Red Balloons” at length, and Alex laughs at Mikhail Gorbachev’s jokes. Alex’s recent INF treaty explainer US President Reagan and Soviet leader Gorbachev sign the INF in 1987 Here’s the full text of the treaty if you want to read it yourself. The Worldly hosts prefer this cover of “99 Red Balloons” by Goldfinger, but their producer Byrd maintains that the Nena version is best. Editorial director Liz Nelson, meanwhile, recommends this version from the punk band 7 Seconds. Zack mentioned that there were several times we came close to nuclear war thanks to misinterpretations or accidents. If you want to know even more, we recommend reading the chilling book Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety. Here’s more background on the Obama administration’s policy toward the INF treaty and Russia’s apparent violation of it. And here’s then-US Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats in November 2018 laying out the evidence the intelligence community has showing that Russia violated the terms of the treaty. Oh, and here’s Russia’s government denying it did so, and instead accusing the US of having violated the treaty. Also, more on the “missile gap” Here is a smart op-ed laying out the case for pulling out of the treaty and building more of these missiles, and here’s a smart op-ed laying out the case against pulling out of the treaty. Here’s some more background on National Security Adviser John Bolton’s well-known loathing of arms control agreements.  And we mentioned that China recently warned the US that it would take unspecified “countermeasures” if the US were to deploy these missiles near China. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
15/08/1922m 5s

India’s power grab in Kashmir

Zack, Jenn, and Alex talk about India’s decision to revoke Article 370 of its constitution, the provision giving special status to the majority-Muslim state of Jammu and Kashmir, a decision that has sparked a political crisis with Pakistan. The Worldly team explains why Kashmiri autonomy is so sensitive, the ideological reasons why Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose to do something so destabilizing and provocative, and what this could mean for the always-volatile India-Pakistan relationship. Alex has an explainer about India’s Kashmir power grab. The New Yorker has a good piece on the India-Pakistan partition. Vox also has an explainer on the violence between Pakistan and India earlier this year. A part of Article 370 of India’s constitution reads: “[T]he President may, by public notification, declare that this article shall cease to be operative or shall be operative only with such exceptions and modifications and from such date as he may specify.” India’s home minister said Modi’s government would give Jammu and Kashmir its statehood back once normalcy returned to the area, but also that Modi’s government still lays claim to Pakistan’s part of Kashmir. People, including Pakistan’s prime minister, are afraid there will be ethnic cleansing. Pakistan’s army chief said his nation would “go to any extent” to protect Kashmir’s residents, and Imran Khan, the prime minister, warned that a fight could break out. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
08/08/1921m 9s

Are the US and Turkey heading for a divorce?

Zack, Jenn, and Alex break down the tension between the US and one of its major NATO allies, Turkey. The most recent fight is over Turkey’s purchase of a Russian missile system, but that’s emblematic of a much deeper rift relating to the Turkish government’s drift towards authoritarianism and the two ally’s diametrically opposed policies in Syria. They also then venture some guesses about whether this could get better — but since this is Worldly, you probably know where our hosts are going to come down on that. Links! Alex explains the background on the S-400 missile situation. Turkey’s bid to join NATO was approved in 1951 (though it was technically effective in 1952). Here’s a diplomatic cable from 1964 on how the Johnson administration’s handling of Cyprus shaped the US-Turkey relationship (wasn’t good!) Alex’s piece also has a good short explanation on Gulf War tensions between the US and Turkey. Here’s a Zack piece on the complicated US-Turkey-Kurdish tensions in Syria. And another Zack piece on Turkey’s conflict with Kurdish separatists inside its borders. Pastor Andrew Brunson, explained. And here’s some solid background on how Turkey and Russia are growing closer. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
01/08/1925m 41s

Introducing Land of the Giants

Land of the Giants is a new podcast from Recode and the Vox Media Podcast Network about the five major technology companies (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google – or “FAANG”) that have reshaped our world. Each season focuses on one of the giants and explores the ways that it’s changed our lives – for better and for worse. The first season is about The Rise of Amazon and is hosted by Recode’s Jason Del Rey. Enjoy this special preview of the first episode, Why You’ll Never Quit Amazon Prime, and subscribe to Land of the Giants for free in your favorite podcast app to hear the rest of the episode and to get new episodes automatically. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
31/07/1913m 12s

Boris and Brexit

Zack and Jenn are joined by Jen Kirby, Vox’s chief Brexit correspondent, to discuss the UK’s new prime minister: Boris Johnson. They trace his rise to power, his political persona that is both funny and troubling, and his distinct lack of political conviction. They also discuss why we should be skeptical that Johnson can make a Brexit deal by October 31, as he’s suggested he would — and what could happen if he doesn’t. Here’s Boris, explained. And Boris explained, again, just in a lot fewer words. In the Guardian, Jennifer Rankin and Jim Waterson examine the impact of Johnson’s journalism. Jenn Williams explains Johnson’s offensive comments. The Guardian describes the zipline malfunction seen ’round the world. Jen Kirby writes on how Brexit finally brought Theresa May down. The future of Brexit under Boris ... maybe. Boris Johnson says Britain’s can-do spirit can solve Brexit, in the Daily Telegraph. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
25/07/1923m 22s

Meet the Space Force

Alex Ward joins The Weeds' Jane Coaston  and Matt Yglesias to explain Trump's more-tedious-than-it-sounds plan for military domination of the final frontier. Recommended reading: “Trump really, really wants troops in space” by Alex Ward “Trump wants a ‘Space Force.’ We have many questions.” by Alex Ward “Trump’s call for a Space Force, explained” by Alex Ward Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
18/07/1946m 4s

A very special relationship episode

Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss the saga of Kim Darroch, the recently-resigned UK Ambassador to the US. Some of Darroch’s private cables back home, where he referred to President Trump as “inept” (among other things), were leaked and published in a British tabloid — leading to a sequence of events that led to Darroch’s resignation and reveals quite a lot about Britain’s post-Brexit standing in the world and the US-UK relationship. For elsewhere, they discuss the Women’s World Cup — why some countries are much better than others at women’s soccer and the surprisingly deep socio-political reasons that the US is particularly dominant. References! Here’s the Daily Mail’s piece on the leaked cables. The Atlantic has a good piece on how Boris Johnson effectively sank Kim Darroch’s chances of keeping his job. This is the “Love Actually” scene Alex talked about. Yes, a British parliamentarian called Johnson Trump’s poodle in a tweet WikiLeaks has already released thousands of diplomatic cables Political science shows more equality for women leads to better soccer teams The University of Rochester explains Title IX The US has the best infrastructure to nurture women’s soccer than anywhere in the world Here’s the Buzzfeed piece Jenn noted about young girls inspired by the US women’s national team Our sister podcast -- Today, Explained -- did an entire episode on the equal pay issue Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
11/07/1925m 8s

Under pressure (Live!)

The long-awaited Worldly live episode is here! In a taping at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Zack, Alex, and Jenn discuss the notion of “maximum pressure” — a phrase coined to describe Trump’s North Korea policy that has turned out to describe the closest thing we have to a Trump doctrine. They discuss what “maximum pressure” is, how effective (or not) it’s been, and which countries Trump has used it on. They also have a great time at the taping — well, Jenn and Zack do, because they make fun of Alex a whole lot. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
04/07/1929m 4s

The Democratic (foreign policy) debate

It’s a Democratic debate special! Zack, Jenn, and Alex break down the big foreign policy issue dividing the candidates: whether the liberal international order the United States set up after World War II is working, and what reforms are necessary if it isn’t. They examine the views of four leading candidates — Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren — and analyze a really revealing exchange from Wednesday night’s debate. Here’s Alex’s piece describing the ideological split among 2020 Democrats. You can watch Biden’s speech here… …and Buttigieg’s here… ...and Warren’s here… ...and Sanders’s here. Zack’s beef with Bernie Sanders’s 2016 positions on trade. Vox explained the debate’s winners and losers. The Pentagon released the names of the two deceased soldiers. Zack has an explainer on Tulsi Gabbard’s fake pacifism. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
27/06/1923m 40s

How close are we to war with Iran?

Zack and Alex break down the past few weeks of worrying news about Iran. They discuss (what seem to be) Iranian attacks on oil tankers, Iran announcing that it was thinking about breaking the terms of the nuclear deal, and the US sending more troops to the region. Then they discuss what it all means: just how interested certain parts of the Trump administration are in war with Iran, the ways in which Iran’s actions are playing into their hands, and how similar this situation is to the Bush administration’s march to war with Iraq. Come see our live show on June 24! Alex’s most recent update on the drone attack. Here’s John Bolton’s original statement on Iran Alex has an explainer on the entire US-Iran standoff The Council on Foreign Relations has a detailed explainer on the Strait of Hormuz See the video and pictures of the oil tanker attacks released by the US military Both Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel say it looks as though Iran is behind the oil tanker attack Japan’s government won’t say Iran is responsible, even though a Japanese company owned one of the damaged vessels This Vox video explains the Iran nuclear deal in three minutes Here’s Alex again on the US sending 1,000 troops to the Middle East Yes, John Bolton has called for regime change in Iran  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
20/06/1922m 10s

The fight to save Hong Kong

Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss the huge protests in Hong Kong that erupted over a controversial amendment to the city’s extradition law — and why the fight is really about protecting the city’s freedoms from Beijing’s attempts to repress them. They play audio clips recorded and sent to the show by protesters in Hong Kong explaining why they’re demonstrating and what it’s like on the ground, and discuss the big-picture issues surrounding democracy and rights in China. Zack ends the show with a characteristic monologue, Alex makes the obligatory Guns N’ Roses joke, and Jenn declares herself “old.” Links: Alex’s explainer has the background on Hong Kong and the recent extradition law change. Jenn described this video in which protesters rushed to put out tear gas grenades as they rained down on the crowd. How Hong Kong remembers Tiananmen. This is a good article on the belief that economic liberalization in China would produce a shift toward democracy — and why that didn’t happen. The details on Xi Jinping’s historic power grab last year. A past episode on China’s “concentration camps” for Muslims in Xinjiang province. The Great Firewall, explained Vox’s Johnny Harris, who helped us with this show, did an episode of his YouTube show “Borders” on the Hong Kong-mainland divide. The Worldly live show taping is at 6:30 ET on June 24 at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy! Here’s the registration link. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
13/06/1919m 10s

Jamestown: Utopian for Whom?

Nice Try! is a new podcast from Curbed and the Vox Media Podcast Network that explores stories of people who have tried to design a better world, and what happens when those designs don't go according to plan. Season one, Utopian, follows Avery Trufelman on her quest to understand the perpetual search for the perfect place. Enjoy this special preview of the first episode, Jamestown: Utopian for Whom, and subscribe to Nice Try! for free in your favorite podcast app. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
12/06/1911m 48s

Bloodshed in Sudan

Jenn and Alex explain how months-long protests to oust a brutal dictator in Sudan, once so hopeful, have fallen victim to a bloody repression campaign. After initial peaceful talks, a government-linked paramilitary group decided to attack demonstrators, killing as many as 100 people and dumping bodies in the Nile River. The worry now is that Sudan is turning into another Arab Spring-like horror story, meaning that another repressive regime may ultimately survive despite the will of the people. Jenn shows off her Middle East expertise, Alex hosts Worldly for the first time, and both hope the Sudanese protesters get justice. References: This piece from Vox’s Jen Kirby outlines how the military coup that ousted Bashir happened and why protesters still weren’t satisfied. And this piece from former Vox intern Salwa Sadek takes a look at the women who have been at the forefront of the protest movement in Sudan. Here’s more on what we know about the death toll so far and the reports of sexual assault against protesters. This is a great article about how the Rabaa Massacre in Egypt ended the Arab Spring. For a good primer on the Arab Spring more generally, check out The Arab Uprisings: What Everyone Needs to Know. Jenn also mentioned that this week was the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre in China. The New York Times has a great collection of their recent coverage of that event here. And as promised, here’s the reservation link to our LIVE SHOW! bit.ly/link-worldly Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
06/06/1917m 15s

European Dis-union

Jenn, Alex, and special guest Jen Kirby (who goes by Kirby in our shows) explain the shocking results of the European parliamentary elections. The world's second-largest exercise in democracy produced big wins for Europe's left-wing Green Party, some gains for far-right politicians, and a collapse of traditional centrist parties. The gang breaks down what these results actually mean for the people of Europe, the European Union, and the rise of fringe parties around the world. The result, it seems, is that extremist parties may be more mainstream now than you think. Jenn shows off her hosting chops, Alex records under a hot blanket, and Kirby drops some sweet, sweet European politics knowledge. As promised, here’s the reservation link to our LIVE SHOW! bit.ly/link-worldly Here’s Jen Kirby’s fantastic piece explaining what happened in the elections. This has a good breakdown of the voter turnout in past elections and how much higher it was this time around. If you want to know more about the policy positions of European Green parties, you can read all about them here on their website. We quoted a political scientist who told Germany’s The Local about the Green parties capturing “the zeitgeist.” That’s from this article.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
30/05/1919m 7s

Collusion in Austria

Zack, Jenn, and Alex break down how a six-hour video of a far-right party leader drinking in Ibiza brought down Austria’s government. The story involves a fake Russian oligarch’s niece, a far-right party founded by former Nazis, and a plot to subvert the country’s independent media. The Worldly hosts make sense out of this sprawling drama, and explain what it tells us about the broader far-right movement across Europe. Alex tells us what it’s like on the ground in Austria (he’s actually there), Zack practices his German pronunciations, and Jenn manages not to curse for once. Alex wrote a fantastic explainer on the whole scandal. Der Spiegel, one of the two media outlets that viewed the secret video, has a great piece laying out everything that was on the tape. Here’s a selection of clips from the longer conversation, with subtitles.  This feature on Hungary from Zack explains why references to trying to build a media landscape like Viktor Orbán’s are so scary. Here is the anatomically implausible music video for the Vengaboys song that has become the anti-Strache anthem. Jenn mentioned this Vox article about the far-right parties in Europe joining forces to win seats in the European parliamentary elections. The head of Germany’s far-right party AfD said Austria’s scandal was “singular” and had nothing to do with them. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
23/05/1923m 0s

The art of trade war

Zack, Jenn, and Alex examine Trump’s trade war with China, which appears to be back on after negotiations failed to produce a deal. They run through how we got here, what’s happened so far in terms of escalating tit-for-tat tariffs, and what the costs of economic tensions between the world’s two largest economies are for ordinary Americans, Chinese citizens, and the world. On Elsewhere, they discuss a disturbing story about a Malaysian teenager who died by suicide after polling her Instagram followers on whether she should live or die — and what this says about the problems of managing social media’s dark side worldwide. Links: Our colleague Matthew Yglesias has an explainer on Trump’s China trade war. Some recent research shows the complexity and murkiness of the debate over US job losses from trade with China. The New York Times has a great piece outlining the various ways China manipulates US companies that want to do business in China, including forcing them to hand over valuable intellectual property. The Peterson Institute for International Economics has a timeline of the US-China trade war. Here’s a really good episode of Marketplace from September 2018 that explains why prices on goods don’t go up immediately in a trade war. The IMF estimated that the trade war may cause a 0.2 percent slowdown in the global economy. Jessica Chen Weiss explains at the Washington Post how China is rolling out nationalist propaganda over the trade war. We played a CNN clip of a conversation with a farmer. A brief description of the Malaysia Instagram story. A list of international suicide prevention hotlines. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
16/05/1923m 24s

Slouching towards an Iran war

Zack, Jenn, and Alex talk about a scary rise in tensions between the US and Iran in the past week — a (possibly inflated) Iranian plot against American troops in the Middle East, and an Iranian announcement of plans to stop abiding by the terms of the nuclear deal. National Security Adviser John Bolton, who has long supported going to war with Iran, appears to be intentionally escalating the situation — and it’s not clear how much of an off-ramp there is. On Elsewhere, they discuss dictatorial Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s move to overturn the results of an election he doesn’t like, and what it says about the new model of authoritarianism in places like Turkey and Hungary. References! You can read Bolton’s entire Iran statement here. Alex has an explainer on the standoff. The Daily Beast reports that the Trump administration inflated Iran intelligence.  Iran declared that it wouldn’t abide by certain parts of the nuclear deal. Zack has you covered on Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran deal and what it means. Alex has a long feature on worsening US-Turkey ties that details many of Erdogan’s authoritarian actions. Here’s the Amnesty International statement on how Turkey jails tons of journalists. CNN has a good piece on the Istanbul mayoral elections and why the results were such a big deal. It’s worth watching two videos of protesters in Istanbul banging pots and pans. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
09/05/1923m 17s

Venezuela’s phantom coup

Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss the strange non-coup in Venezuela this week. Juan Guaidó, the parliament leader the US considers the country’s legitimate president, claimed the military was about to overthrow actual President Nicolás Maduro in a Tuesday video — and then nothing happened. The Worldly crew discusses how we got here, what this could mean, and the US role in all of this. On Elsewhere, they do the show’s first dive into art history, looking at a poster from Germany’s far-right party that prominently features a 19th-century Orientalist painting. Links: Alex has an explainer on how the Guaidó-Maduro standoff began. Here’s the Guaidó video with English subtitles, and the video of protesters being run over. Alex also explains the Guaidó video and how it kicked off a week of protest and chaos. The full Patrick Shanahan and John Bolton tweets, and Mike Pompeo on Fox Business. America’s spotty record in Latin America, briefly explained. Here’s why Trump’s Venezuela envoy, Elliott Abrams, doesn’t have the most trustworthy record. Anti-interventionists have lived in Venezuela’s embassy in Washington for weeks, and that’s led to clashes between them and ati-Maduro activists. An art publication explains the ins and outs of the AfD “Slave Market” saga. You can also read the booklet we cited about the painting. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
02/05/1922m 6s

Trump is stoking a civil war in Libya

Zack, Jenn, and Alex talk about the recent violence in Libya — where a militia led by strongman Khalifa Haftar is threatening to topple the internationally recognized government. They explain how we got to this point, and the depressing role President Donald Trump is playing in all of this. On Elsewhere, they talk about a major dustup between the Philippines and Canada over (literal) garbage. Zack has trouble defending Canada, Jenn breaks down the word “warlord,” and Alex refers to Muammar Qaddafi as a “sunglasses icon.” References: Here’s some background on the 2011 Libya intervention and why it went poorly. ISIS took over a city in Libya. As Jenn pointed out, the fighting over Tripoli has led to at least 220 deaths. Here’s the evidence that Haftar is implicated in atrocities and war crimes. This Council on Foreign Relations backgrounder highlights Haftar’s supporters. According to the White House, Trump spoke with Hafter. Bloomberg reports that Trump gave Haftar a green light to attack Tripoli (the White House denies this). The US has a long history of allying with rights-abusing governments. The US-Saudi alliance, explained. More on Canada’s trash. The HuffPost has a great longread on why the US and wealthy nations send their recycling to Southeast Asia. And here’s a good primer on the problems with waste shipping to East and Southeast Asia. Listen to more of Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte’s press conference. Duterte’s drug war has killed thousands. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
25/04/1917m 43s

Maybe collusion, probably obstruction [Special Crossover Edition]

Ezra Klein joins Zack, Jenn, and Alex in a crossover episode with The Weeds on Robert Mueller’s just-released report. They explain the special counsel's main findings on collusion with Russian election interference and on obstruction of justice and why they aren’t good for Trump. Then they zoom out and talk about what this whole episode reveals about the health of American democracy and how this gives a green light for Russia and other authoritarian powers to intervene in future US elections. Given how important this report is, and how early they got up to cover it, your intrepid hosts were too tired for jokes this week — sorry. The full text of the report, compiled by Alex for your reading pleasure A refresher on who's who in the Trump-Russia universe Here's a look at the collusion section of the report from Zack Here's another take from Zack on Attorney General William Barr's worrying role in all of this Ten examples of potential obstruction in Mueller's report How 11 legal experts evaluate the claims of obstruction Zack and Future Perfect's Dylan Matthews break down the big winners and losers from the report The Big Vox Explainer on the Mueller report If you liked this episode, we think you’ll like The Weeds and The Ezra Klein Show. Tap to learn more and subscribe for free to get new episodes. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
18/04/1939m 3s

The end of the two-state solution?

Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss the results of Tuesday’s election in Israel, which are set to give incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a fifth term in office. They explain why his end-of-campaign promise to annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank is such a big deal and how his desperation to wriggle out of corruption charges could lead to this explosive proposal becoming a reality. Zack explains that people don’t like being in jail, Jenn’s disturbingly lengthy commute is revealed, and Alex compares the Israeli legislative process to player trades in fantasy baseball. References: Zack wrote about the Israeli election results and what it could mean. Vox also has a good explainer on the indictments threatening Netanyahu. Here’s Netanyahu promising to annex the West Bank. Netanyahu’s likely coalition could help repel indictment while he’s prime minister. Finally, take a look at Zack’s short explainer on the West Bank. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
11/04/1919m 2s

Brunei just made gay sex punishable by death

Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss the wealthy authoritarian nation of Brunei’s horrific new criminal code, in which men who have sex with men can be executed by stoning. They delve into the possible reasons Brunei’s sultan is adopting this code, explain how it’s rooted in a very particular and regressive interpretation of Islamic law, and then zoom out to talk about the international reaction — both the necessary organizing to put pressure on the government of Brunei and the ways in which the law is being used in the West to tar Muslims as a whole. On Elsewhere, they talk about the potential closure of the island of Komodo to tourists because people keep stealing Komodo dragons, and then implore Worldly listeners not to keep massive poisonous lizards as pets. Jenn invents the phone number 1-800-Allah, Alex compares religions to apps, and Zack uses the word “dang.” The BBC has a great explainer on the Brunei law and what it all means. The New York Post goes into detail on the “sex-obsessed world” of Brunei (and yes, it mentions the yacht named “Tits”), and 60 Minutes did a great documentary on it. It’s worth noting, as this AFP report does, that Brunei hasn’t executed anyone for decades. As Zack mentioned, the LGBT community of Brunei has spoken out against the law and worries what it means for them. Celebrities like George Clooney and Ellen DeGeneres have called for a boycott of Brunei-owned hotels. The BBC has a very short explainer on Sharia law (but you should just listen to Jenn’s explanation again). If you want to learn more, though, there’s a really great (and accessible) book by two leading scholars called Shariah: What Everyone Needs to Know that’s basically a book-length explainer. Here’s the archival record of the Sean Hannity segment from 2014. This is Zack’s big feature on Islamophobia and the Trump administration. As Jenn mentioned, there are polls taken regarding Muslim views on Sharia law. They typically differ around the world. National Geographic has everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Komodo dragons. The Washington Post reported on the smuggling ring that stole more than 40 Komodo dragons for roughly $35,000 each. If you want to watch the full BBC Komodo dragon attack, it is very worth it.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
04/04/1922m 59s

The latest Israel Gaza flare-up

Zack, Jenn, and Alex break down the latest round of fighting between Israel and militants based in the Gaza Strip. They run through how it started, the reasons why it may or may not escalate, and what it tells us about the perpetual state of instability on the Israel-Gaza frontier. On Elsewhere, they talk about the EU’s move toward banning Daylight Saving Time — and yes, there is a Brexit tie-in. Jenn and Zack ask “who among us” hasn’t accidentally fired off a rocket, and Alex explains his abuela’s extremely strong opinions on time changes. Alex has an explainer on the recent fighting between Israel and Gaza. Rockets from Gaza usually target parts of Israel’s south. As Zack noted, the Israeli military assessed that the first rocket attack toward Tel Aviv was a mistake. Polling shows Gantz’s party has a slight lead over Netanyahu’s. Jenn noted the indictments plaguing Netanyahu. An expert told Alex that Netanyahu would respond forcefully but “within reason.” The Gaza Strip faces many problems, including protests against Hamas’s leadership. Jenn cited some reporting that Iran might have been involved. Listen to Vice President Mike Pence’s full speech at AIPAC. Jenn referenced her friend Lauren Mellinger’s research on Hamas as a hybrid organization. It’s true: European lawmakers voted to end clock shifts starting in 2021. Spain changed its own time zone decades ago to be in line with Nazi Germany. Listen Today, Explained’s great episode on Trump’s Golan Heights decision. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
28/03/1924m 1s

Understanding the New Zealand attack

Zack, Jenn, and Alex delve into the dark far-right echo chamber that seemingly motivated the New Zealand mosque shooter. They talk about the French origins of apocalyptic theories about nonwhites and Muslims overrunning the West, how those ideas went global, and how Islamophobic nationalists are locked in a cycle of violence with jihadists. On Elsewhere, they answer some more listener Brexit questions — looking specifically at how Scotland and the broader EU are thinking about the UK’s impending break with Europe. Zack shows off his recollection of offensive Steve King quotes, Jenn continues her tradition of doing horrible accents from the UK, and Alex claims all Brexit questions can be answered in three words. Vox’s Jane Coaston has a great breakdown of the white nationalist rhetoric in the shooter’s manifesto. We discuss works by Jean Raspail and Renaud Camus in the context of the shooting. Our former Vox colleague Sarah Wildman also interviewed Camus. We referenced two specific tweets. First, one from Rep. Steve King. And then here’s then-candidate Donald Trump’s March 2016 tweet. The Daily Beast has a great piece on the little girl whose died in a 2017 terror attack in Sweden. YouTube and Facebook have both discussed why their efforts to take down the shooter’s video failed. Sean Illing's interview with a filmmaker who spent months interviewing both neo-Nazis and jihadists. And here’s the piece Zack referenced abouut how ISIS-linked media is already using the New Zealand attack in the group’s propaganda. Aja Romano explained how the New Zealand shooter’s manifesto was steeped in the far-right memes and rhetoric found on 8chan.    Here’s the NPR interview with former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd All Worldly’s past Brexit coverage, all in one place! Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon saying Brexit makes Scottish independence even more likely. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
21/03/1926m 10s

Introducing Switched on Pop

Vox takes culture seriously. Our coverage seeks to understand how our cultural touchstones work -- and what they reveal about who we are. That's why we’re excited to introduce you to Switched on Pop. It's a podcast that digs into the cultural context and musical theory of pop music, and it's now part of the Vox Media Podcast Network. In this episode, you'll meet hosts Nate Sloan and Charlie Harding. You'll hear some of their favorite interviews, as they pull back the curtain on how pop hits work their magic. You can subscribe to Switched on Pop wherever you get your favorite shows.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
15/03/1913m 19s

Algeria’s election, UK’s rejection

Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss the big-deal political developments in Algeria — where longtime ruler Abdelaziz Bouteflika has decided not to run for a fifth presidential term. The decision was a big victory for a protest movement in the authoritarian country, but now nobody knows who’s going to be running Algeria in the near future. On Elsewhere, they continue answering listener questions about Brexit, this time focusing on questions about Russian interference and the real reasons why so many Brits wanted to leave the EU to begin with. Zack ponders European cheese regulations, Alex puns on the name Arron Banks, and Jenn talks about Britain’s (formerly) “rockin’ economy.” Links! Alex has an explainer on the Algerian protests which you can read here Bouteflika gave in to protesters by stepping down Protesters worry the canceled elections may be a stalling tactic You can follow updates of all the recent Brexit votes here Russia intervened in the Brexit election via Twitter bots US intelligence agencies openly detail how Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election Britain’s Channel 4 has all you need to know about the Arron Banks scandal Vox has a handy guide to Cambridge Analytica Zack mentioned — and has reviewed — the book Whiteshift Oxford University published a summary about migration in the UK Here’s an early Vox explainer on the refugee crisis in Europe More on the Nigel Farage billboard Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech Some research about the impact that immigrants have had on the UK economy  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
14/03/1927m 22s

D'oh Canada

Zack, Jenn, and Alex talk about the major political scandal rocking Canada in which top officials, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, may have pressured the attorney general to rule in favor of a powerful Canadian company facing criminal charges. For Elsewhere, the crew answers some of your burning questions about Brexit: What happens if there’s no deal, and why doesn’t Britain just have another vote on Brexit? Zack finds an optimistic lesson in the Canadian scandal, Jenn makes her French Canadian grandmother proud, and Alex can’t pronounce “SNC-Lavalin.” Our own Jen Kirby wrote a great explainer on the Canada scandal. Here’s another in-depth read on what a DPA is, and its history in Canada and abroad. Global News published a full transcript of Jody Wilson-Raybould’s testimony.  The CBC has a good breakdown of the key moments in Gerald Butts’s testimony. Here’s another good read about the case the prime minister’s team is making. Zack has written about Trudeau’s squeaky-clean image before.  The Trudeau press conference that happened right before our taping. More on the improved state of conservative poll numbers in Canada. Listeners who want to know what effects a no-deal Brexit might have will enjoy this comprehensive list. The article Zack really enjoyed about Canada's health democratic system. If you’d like to read more about Jeremy Corbyn changing tack on a second referendum, Jen Kirby has it covered. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/03/1925m 3s

Four countries, two nuclear crises

Zack, Jenn, and Alex break down the week’s big nuclear news — the US-North Korea summit in Vietnam and the recent round of hostilities between India and Pakistan. They go over the nitty-gritty of Trump’s somewhat surprising failure to strike a deal with Kim Jong Un, explaining how the talks collapsed, and what it means for the future. Then they talk about why the conflict over Kashmir is flaring up, and just how worried you should be about a war between these two nuclear-armed states. Zack powers through a cold, Alex powers through a North Korea-related lack of sleep, and Jenn makes a fantastic pun on the phrase “peace out.” Here are two articles Alex wrote explaining what happened at the summit. For background, here’s where we were in 2017 and how the first North Korea summit changed everything. Alex’s exclusive on what the deal could have looked like. A full transcript of the summit press conference. Alex mentioned that National Security Adviser John Bolton’s position is very hawkish.  The India-Pakistan escalating tensions, summarized. Our Worldly episode about Kashmir. More on Jaish-e-Mohammed and Daniel Pearl. Zack mentioned the party dynamics in India — here’s a deeper dig into those. We took a clip from this video of a captured Indian pilot. The Pentagon statement that the acting defense secretary was only calling American officials. Zack talked about the role the US played in the 2001 India-Pakistan crisis.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
28/02/1926m 26s

Four songs that help explain the world

This week’s show takes all four of our popular Elsewhere music segments and puts them together in one special episode! Zack, Jenn, and Alex take you through a range of different acts: pioneering K-pop artists, a dissident Turkish Marxist band, one of Zack’s favorite British indie artists, and a Nigerian spin on Childish Gambino’s “This is America.” They play a bit of each song and then talk about the important messages they contain about the country they hail from. It’s a little break from the headlines, and a chance to learn about international culture and politics from an angle that the show doesn’t usually take. The Suga song we played, “The Last 마지막” Check on Vox’s Netflix show, which has an entire episode dedicated to explaining K-pop. K-Pop stars are increasingly singing and talking about mental health. But it’s still unusual. Most K-Pop is sanitized after years of censorship. It’s fun, fluffy, romantic but chaste stuff, not things like, “I was afraid of people, so I hid in the bathroom and stared at myself.”  Vox has all you need to know about BTS, the world’s chart-topping K-pop band. Suicide ranks as the top cause of death among those ages 10 to 39 in South Korea. Grup Yorum are longtime sympathizers of a Marxists terrorist group in Turkey, DHKP-C. Here’s the song we played a short segment from. Currently, 11 members of the band are in jail; two have sought asylum in France. In October, the lawyer defending the arrested Grup Yorum members in trial was himself jailed.  “The Fall of Home” by Los Campesinos Falz’s adaptation of “This is America,” “This is Nigeria.” NPR did a deep dive on the song and discussed it with Nigerian scholars.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
21/02/1923m 0s

Brexit’s biggest hurdle: Ireland

Zack and Jenn are joined by Jen Kirby, one of Vox’s foreign affairs reporters, to discuss what has emerged as the biggest hurdle to the Brexit process: the border between the Republic of Ireland and British-controlled Northern Ireland. They go back in time, starting with the 1920s and going forward to the Northern Irish conflict known as “the Troubles,” to examine the reasons why keeping the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland open is so important. They explain how Brexit threatens to close the border, and how this issue is derailing the entire Brexit process. Zack notes that people don’t like walls, Jenn says the phrase “totes not renegotiate,” and Kirby blasts the “butterflies and unicorn” vision for Brexit. Jen Kirby recommends this wonky deep-read on the backstop. Here’s more on Gerry Adams’s role in the Troubles and the allegations that he was directly involved in the IRA’s violent activities … and here’s more on his forthcoming cookbook. Our explainer of the historic vote down that Jen Kirby mentioned … and our episode breaking down that historic vote. Jen’s piece on this comes out soon!  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
14/02/1926m 52s

How America’s longest war might finally end

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07/02/1922m 58s

Trump’s intelligence failure

Zack, Jenn, and Alex break down a new intelligence report that directly contradicts President Trump’s views on key policy issues from ISIS to climate change. The report caused Trump to blast his own spies on Twitter, writing that “Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!” — a shockingly public attack that illustrates just how broken US foreign policy is under Trump. On Elsewhere, the group runs through a medley of interesting topics they couldn’t cover during the month of music segments, a lightning round that ranges from Russian post offices selling beer to a rogue Japanese city mascot. Links: We talked a lot about the most recent Worldwide Threat Assessment report this episode. You can read it in full, or read Alex’s write-up. We dropped in clips of Trump on North Korea, Iran, climate change, Vladimir Putin, and ISIS. This oral history of how Obama and his intelligence officials talked about Osama bin Laden is worth your time. Yes, Trump basically called US spies Nazis one time. The evidence that both the intelligence community and the Bush administration screwed up Iraq intelligence before the 2003 war is quite overwhelming. The BBC has covered the new availability of beer at Russian post offices. Here’s the New York Times article about Chiitan that Zack referenced. The video of Chiitan stealing a baseball bat from a locker. Enjoy the full F-35 rollout rave experience for yourself. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
31/01/1922m 57s

Venezuela has two presidents

Zack, Jenn, and Alex break down the political crisis in Venezuela — a country in economic free fall where two men are each claiming to be the sole legitimate president. They run through 20 years of Venezuelan history, explaining how a unique economic-political ideology called “Chavismo” brought us to this point, and discuss what could happen next now that the Trump administration has backed one of the men's claims. On Elsewhere, they wrap up the music series with a breakdown of an ingenious Nigerian riff on Childish Gambino’s “This Is America.” Zack doesn’t totally hate something Trump did, Alex goes down a YouTube rabbit hole, and Jenn tries to chart a middle ground for what could happen next in Venezuela. Alex wrote a very thorough explainer on all the goings-on in Venezuela. This piece will give you even more backstory on Hugo Chavez, and the team recommended this explainer on how things went so terribly wrong with the Venezuelan economy.  For more on Maduro taking over after Chavez’s death in the controversial 2013 election, Jenn suggested this piece. We also have a piece diving into the elections from last year. And here are more examples of the effects that the economic downturn is having — from shortages of toilet paper to shortages of food. Zack said that most of the country is living under the poverty line as part of the worst depression anywhere on the planet. Here’s the analysis to back that claim.  Maduro’s approval rating is very low. Alex cited a Wall Street Journal op-ed written by Vice President Mike Pence. Here it is in full. We also played part of this address from Pence. Trump mentioned a military option in Venezuela at one point. More on that here. Jenn recommended this explanation of George H.W. Bush’s rhetorical support for the 1991 Iraqi uprising and the subsequent massacre that occurred when the US ultimately decided not to intervene to stop the government crackdown. She also mentioned the uprising in Egypt. Zack suggested this book for anyone who wants to read more about the history of US interventions in Latin America and South America. Alex and Jenn talked about a small, unsuccessful military mutiny in Venezuela. Zack talked about Vincent Bevins’ Twitter thread wondering what the future holds for Venezuela. On Elsewhere, we heard Falz’s adaptation of “This is America,” “This is Nigeria.” NPR did a deep dive on the song and discussed it with Nigerian scholars.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
24/01/1925m 53s

Bollocks to Brexit

This week, Zack, Jenn, and Alex break down the UK parliament’s very big, very bizarre week of voting. On Tuesday, Parliament rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal by a huge margin; on Wednesday, they voted to keep May in office despite having just shot down her central policy. The Worldly team breaks down how this could have happened, what it means, and what happens to Brexit next. On Elsewhere, they continue the music series with a focus on one of Zack’s favorite bands — the British indie group Los Campesinos! — and how one of their newer songs reveals some of the social divisions fueling right-wing populism in the West. Zack gets angry about Brexit, Jenn reveals some confusion about “economics,” and Alex cites well-known European politics scholar Katy Perry. Links! Brexit votes this week, explained Zack mentioned that the Bank of England predicts that a No Deal Brexit could be worse for the country than the Great Recession. Jenn mentioned that a second referendum was gaining popularity. Here’s Vox’s Jen Kirby’s Q&A with People’s Vote UK, the grassroots organization that’s leading the campaign to hold a second referendum. Zack mentioned that a leave claim proved false the day after the first vote. Specifically, it was a health care funding claim that turned out to be false. The BBC interview with a British woman about a second referendum. Zack’s piece arguing that there’s nothing May could have done.  “The Fall of Home” by Los Campesinos Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
17/01/1922m 32s

One of the world’s worst dictators is facing an uprising

This week, Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss the burgeoning protest movement against Sudan’s longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir. Bashir, who was responsible for the Darfur genocide and once sheltered Osama bin Laden, did not face a major uprising during the 2011 Arab Spring — but now is dealing with something similar, an uprising that could topple his regime. On Elsewhere, they continue the series on music, this time discussing a Turkish band called Grup Yorum that has gotten into major hot water with the country’s government. Zack has thoughts on the piccolo, Jenn breaks down Lindsay Lohan’s unlikely Turkish connection, and Alex quotes Heath Ledger’s Joker. References and further reading: If you want to dig deeper into Omar al-Bashir’s relationship with Osama bin Laden, Jenn recommends this book. For more on the Sudanese government’s role in the 1993 WTC bombing, page 121 of this book is a good place to start. The BBC has a very informative Q&A about Darfur. The official ICC page for al-Bashir. Jenn recommends this book for anyone who wants to understand the civil war that eventually led to South Sudan’s independence. This piece goes into more detail on the US decision to lift the sanction on Sudan. We played a small clip from this longer Al Jazeera segment on the Sudan protests, and Alex described this video of the protests. If you want to read more about the protests and the price of bread, the team recommends these three pieces. Jenn talked a little bit about “ghost troops,” but here’s more information on those.   Sudanese protesters were killed on Wednesday as part of the crackdown. A more in-depth read on Mubarak stepping down in Egypt. A guide to how the Syrian civil war started, which explains why people are worried about something similar in Sudan. Why Sudan didn’t get large Arab Spring protests back in 2011. Here’s why one Sudanese expert thinks the military might topple al-Bashir. Jenn mentioned a Daily Beast interview with a former CIA agent who talked about Sudan. Grup Yorum are longtime sympathizers of a Marxists terrorist group in Turkey, DHKP-C. Here’s the song we played a short segment from. Currently, 11 members of the band are in jail; two have sought asylum in France. In October, the lawyer defending the arrested Grup Yorum members in trial was himself jailed.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
10/01/1922m 57s

Trump's surprise troop withdrawal

Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss what President Donald Trump’s surprise decision to withdraw US troops from Syria means for that country, ISIS, and Iran. After all, nobody — including leading US officials and America’s allies — really wants Trump to do this. For Elsewhere, the crew kicks off a four-part series on how musicians around the world are using their songs to illuminate serious issues in their countries. This week, they discuss a K-pop song that highlights South Korea’s growing mental health crisis. Zack compares a South Korean song to Linkin Park, Jenn blasts Obama, and Alex suggests a slogan for Trump. References: Here’s what you need to know about Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from Syria. This BBC piece gives a good overview on Obama’s Syria strategy. The Trump administration said it would stay in Syria to keep Iran out. Oops. You can listen to the full clip of Pompeo’s remarks here. Vox made a video about the Kurds and their efforts to create their own state. As Zack noted, Turkey has attacked the Kurds in Syria before. It appears Turkey’s president told Trump that his country would defeat ISIS. Vox has Mattis’s resignation letter. Without US long-term protection, the Kurds have asked Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime for help. Jenn said Obama lost Syria, an argument many experts make. Many experts, including US officials and allies, say the withdrawal is a mistake. Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL Brett McGurk said soon before the withdrawal decision that the US would stay in Syria for the foreseeable future. The US military was in Syria without any real congressional authorization. Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu asked Trump for a slow withdrawal from Syria. Jenn recalls Trump blaming Obama for his withdrawal from Iraq, thereby giving ISIS the space to grow in power. Trump clearly views Syria as a land of “sand and death.” The Suga song we played, “The Last 마지막” Check on Vox’s Netflix show, which has an entire episode dedicated to explaining K-pop. K-Pop stars are increasingly singing and talking about mental health. But it’s still unusual. Most K-Pop is sanitized after years of censorship. It’s fun, fluffy, romantic but chaste stuff, not things like, “I was afraid of people, so I hid in the bathroom and stared at myself.”   Vox has all you need to know about BTS, the world’s chart-topping K-pop band. Suicide ranks as the top cause of death among those ages 10 to 39 in South Korea.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
03/01/1921m 37s

One refugee’s story in Hungary

In this re-run Jenn, Zack, and Alex Ward discuss Europe’s political meltdown over migration, which Zack got a firsthand look at during a trip to Hungary last week funded by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. They start by airing Zack’s interview with Ibrar Hussein Mirzai, a young migrant who made the harrowing journey to Hungary from Pakistan, and zoom out to explain how the anti-migration sentiment that made Ibrar’s journey miserable also produced serious political turmoil in Germany. Some parts of this episode are a little out of date. The original ran in July 2018. Links: The man we heard from in this episode, Ibrar, was also featured on NPR. You can hear more from him and see a picture of him in that story. An in-depth look at Merkel’s migrant deal from the New York Times. For more context on the Hungary-Germany relationship, Zack recommends this piece.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
27/12/1816m 41s

Hindsight is 2018

Zack, Jenn, and Alex wrap up 2018 by looking back at three of the most dramatic foreign policy decisions President Trump made in 2018 — and whether, in retrospect, they turned out to be as dramatic as we’d initially thought. For Elsewhere, Zack pushes back on the fundamental premise of the conversation in the first part of the show and argues that, #actually, Trump’s decisions are still bad, regardless. Zack sings some Miley Cyrus, Jenn explains that the Gestapo were, in fact, Nazis, and Alex treats us to his adorably atrocious Southern accent. Links: Trump doesn’t believe his own government’s report that the climate is changing for the worse. Vox has done a lot of coverage on Trump’s policy toward Saudi Arabia after the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. It’s worth reading Trump’s statement on his final decision on what to do. Here’s a good explainer on Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. Some analysts, including the New York Times editorial board, called Trump’s move a “failure.” The worry was moving the embassy would imperil US-Palestine relations. But they weren’t that good, even in previous administrations. The Saudi-Iran spat is now more central to Middle East issues than the Israel-Palestine one. Read the agreement between North Korea and the US signed in Singapore. A little explainer of the Jan meme Zack referenced. Despite what Trump says, North Korea is still a threat. As Jenn noted, North Korea at one point threatened to bomb Guam. North Korea greatly accelerated and improved its nuclear and missile programs in 2017. Yes, Trump actually said he and Kim Jong Un “fell in love.” It’s worth reading the full transcript of the Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki. Alex mentioned how Trump once invoked the Nazis when describing American intelligence agents. Watch this Vox video to understand how the US became the world’s superpower and stabilizing force. Trump, slowly but surely, has been increasingly tough on Russia. He’s even started a trade war with China to push back on its trading practices. And ISIS has lost the vast majority of its territory since Trump took office.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
20/12/1827m 7s

It was China, in the Marriott database, with the hack

Zack and Jenn discuss the massive hack of Marriott, in which the information of as many as 500 million people was stolen. China appears to be the culprit — part of a broader cyber assault on US institutions that amounts to a massive Chinese intelligence coup against America. On Elsewhere, they discuss British Prime Minister Theresa May’s uncomfortably close victory in a vote challenging her leadership of the Conservative Party, and what that means for the future of Brexit. Zack adopts some British vocabulary and Jenn vents about the many irritations of the security clearance process. The team cited this New York Times piece about the hacks throughout the episode.   The full Fox & Friends interview with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo can be found here. If you want to read more about the security clearance process, Jenn recommends this FAQ. Zack mentioned that the CFO of Huawei was arrested in Canada, but here's a much more in-depth look at what that means. And for more context on the no-confidence vote, Vox has two pieces you might enjoy.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
13/12/1816m 5s

2 French 2 Furious

Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss the protests currently raging in France. They began as a reaction to President Emmanuel Macron’s gas tax hike, but have evolved into a much wider rebuke of his allegedly elitist, out-of-touch presidency. For Elsewhere, they break down the late President George H.W. Bush’s hugely consequential foreign policy legacy — both for good and for ill. Zack advises Macron not to act like a god, Jenn nerds out on Middle East history, and Alex tries his hand at French. Macron wants to increase the price of gas by 30 cents to $7.36 a gallon. France’s economy isn’t doing too hot, as Jenn mentioned. Macron fancies himself as a political centrist, which may explain why he’s berated from across the political spectrum. Macron has proposed many labor reforms, the source of the current controversy. Jenn and Alex note that people in the lower and middle classes don’t like “Macronomics.” Zack still can’t believe Macron compared himself to a god. Macron lambasts his citizens for not understanding why he wants to reform France’s economy, as Zack mentioned. Jenn referenced Alex’s piece with stunning photos of France during the protests. There will likely be a protest on Saturday that could turn more violent, a scary prospect since four people have already died. The riots in Paris are the worst since 1968, per Alex, when French students aimed to change the country’s culture. France said it would back down from the gas tax hike, for now. As Zack noted, some experts have called for a gas tax around the world to incentivize people to stop driving. Here’s a quick guide to former President George H.W. Bush and the Panama invasion, which Alex described. Some historians still criticize the invasion. Jenn talked about the First Gulf War. The State Department has a short history of it. Some people argue the Panama invasion led Bush to use military force against Iraq in Kuwait. Jenn mentioned the amazing fact that the US only needed 100 hours to defeat the Iraqis. Bush didn’t do anything about Saddam Hussein retaliating against Shiites and Kurds that opposed him. Kuwait put Bush’s face on towers to celebrate him after his death. Zack noted that Bush came into office at the tail end of the Cold War. Zack details how Bush proved instrumental in helping Germany to unify after the Cold War. Bush says he wasn’t really into the “vision thing.” Alex disagrees. Germany thought about leaving NATO, but Bush ensured it stayed in the alliance. Angela Merkel, the current German chancellor, attended Bush’s funeral in Washington.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
06/12/1822m 18s

A trio of unlikely senators work to stop the Yemen war

Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss the Senate’s historic War Powers vote on Wednesday, the first step toward reining in US participation in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen. The US has been supporting Saudi Arabia with weapons and intelligence for years, but the Senate just took a major — unprecedented, in fact — step toward stopping it. On Elsewhere, they run through the UK’s deal with the EU on the terms of Brexit and why Parliament might end up rejecting the deal in December. Zack does a terrible British accent, Jenn manages to repeatedly work the word “omnishambles” into the conversation, and Alex talks about a “garden of unicorns.” References: Alex Ward wrote a great explainer on the recent Senate vote. The full clip of Sens. Mike Lee and Bernie Sanders speaking about the war in Yemen on NBC. For a deeper dive on the Khashoggi murder, you can listen to our last episode, or read our latest Khashoggi coverage here.   Trump offered his full-throated support for Saudi Arabia in an (as Alex put it) childlike statement. Jenn paraphrased Sen. Chris Murphy’s reaction to the Senate vote, but his direct quote is here: "I’ve been at this for 3 years, and I am blown away by this.” Zack interviewed Murphy in 2015 and he discussed similar themes. A top Saudi Arabia expert told the New York Times that the Senate vote was an “unprecedented setback” for the US-Saudi alliance. A little nuance to add to Jenn’s point about Germany’s support of the war in Yemen. Directly after Jamal Khashoggi’s death, Germany announced that it would stop exporting arms to Saudi Arabia, but then approved an arms sale anyway. Jenn mentioned that other Western countries support the Saudi-led war in Yemen, including the UK, Germany, and France. Alex mentioned that the senators wanted to hear from CIA Director Gina Haspel before their vote, but couldn’t. Here’s some backstory on that. Jenn walked through a couple of things that did not push us to break our relationship with Saudi Arabia, including  Saudi involvement in 9/11 and the Saudi coalition bombings of school buses. She also offered Vox’s Brian Resnick’s piece about psychic numbing as a possible explanation for the impact that Khashoggi’s murder has had. Zack noted that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is actually destabilizing the Middle East, despite US assurances to the contrary, and Jenn offered the Qatar blockade as an example.   For further reading on our Brexit Elsewhere, Jenn recommends this explainer on the Brexit deal and this explainer on the economic effects that Brexit will have.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
29/11/1824m 15s

The case for (and against) open borders

On Future Perfect, Vox’s Dylan Matthews tackles provocative ideas with the potential to radically improve the world – ideas like opening up our borders. One of the most reliable, best-documented ways to lift someone in a poor country out of poverty is to let them come to the US (or another rich country). That’s the argument made by Fabio Rojas, a self-described advocate of open borders. "Open borders" is often used as a punching bag by immigration opponents, but Rojas argues it could dramatically reduce poverty without costing Americans jobs. Leon Fresco works to help get real immigration legislation passed. He's very skeptical. Find Future Perfect on Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | ART19  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
22/11/1823m 11s

China’s “concentration camps” for Muslims

Zack and Alex are joined by James Palmer, an editor at Foreign Policy magazine, to discuss a terrible and under-discussed humanitarian crisis: China’s repression of its Uighur Muslim minority. In Xinjiang province, where most Uighurs live, China has set up a series of concentration camps designed to brainwash Uighurs and stamp out their culture and religion. As many as 1 million people are currently in those camps. The Worldly team breaks down how this is happening, what it says about modern China, and what (if anything) the world can do to stop it. Uighurs, explained James Palmer shouted out this piece on Uighur camps by Rian Thum, and an older piece he himself had written called The Strangers He also cited the Urumqi riots as part of the lead up to the introduction of the camps. This New York Times piece provides more details about those. Palmer mentioned that a prominent Uighur footballer was sent to the camps. His story here. Here’s more on China’s social credit score and use of facial recognition software — both of which Palmer suggest have been blown out of proportion. He also talked about the failure of facial recognition software in England. Zack mentioned a BuzzFeed report that dug into apps used to police the Chinese public. Groups that aim to “Free Tibet” remain, including this one.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
15/11/1825m 5s

Jeff Sessions is out. Is Robert Mueller next?

Zack, Jenn, and Alex break down the implications of President Donald Trump firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, both for the Russia investigation and for the rule of law. On Elsewhere, they discuss how the Democratic takeover of the House could result in some much-needed scrutiny over America’s role in Saudi Arabia’s vicious war in Yemen. Zack says most dictators are men, Jenn points out that women can also be power-hungry queens, and Alex explains that House Democrats are Democrats … in the House. Mueller Investigation 101 A little more information about Sessions’s confirmation hearings. More on the history of the Trump-Sessions feud. As Zack said, the president reportedly screamed at Sessions. Trump actually called Sessions “Mr. Magoo.” And Jenn mentioned several Trump tweets about Sessions. As Alex claimed, Trump wanted to fire Sessions even before midterm elections results were in. Jenn mentioned Matt Whitaker’s “Mueller lynch mob” tweet. More on what the investigation revealed about Paul Manafort. Here’s the interview in which Matt Whitaker suggested reducing funding for the Mueller investigation. A deeper look at what degradation of democracy looks like in other countries. Whitaker spoke often with Trump and seemingly lobbied for Sessions’s job. Here’s a Vox video to get you up to speed on the Yemen war, and an article about war crimes in Yemen. A bipartisan group of senators tried — and failed — to stop American involvement in the Yemen war earlier this year. Alex spoke with House Democrats about their plans for Yemen in the next Congress. There may be legislation voted on at the end of the month to end US support for the Yemen war. We played a short clip from Trump’s conversation with Axios about Yemen, but here’s the longer version.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
08/11/1821m 38s

Why fringe groups are winning around the world

Jenn, Alex, and returning special guest Alina Polyakova discuss what a presidential election in Brazil and a stunning political announcement in Germany have in common: the collapse of centrist leadership worldwide. The center-left and center-right have broadly governed world affairs since World War II, but a mix of economic problems and growing immigration have led fringe groups to gain power around the globe. It’s a potentially dangerous development that threatens to upend how the world has mostly governed itself for more than 70 years. Jenn usurps Zack’s traditional hosting role, Alex somehow fails to make a soccer reference, and Alina corrects many of Alex’s bad takes. We based the episode around Alex’s piece on the decline of centrist leadership around the world. Alex mentioned the Bretton Woods agreement that led to many of the world’s global institutions. Alina noted how the European Union rose from the ashes of World War II. International relations theory nerds will appreciate the “End of History” reference. We didn’t have enough time to talk about Brazil’s “Operation Car Wash,” but watching this Vox video will get you up to speed. Jair Bolsonaro made a horrifying statement that he would rather have a dead son than a homosexual one. Bolsonaro has had so many sexist moments, a compilation video was made. And yes, Bolsonaro praised the country’s dark past with torture as he voted to impeach former President Dilma Rousseff — who herself was tortured. For more on Bolsonaro, read Jen Kirby’s piece for Vox. Millennials around the globe don’t seem to think democracy is that important, as Alina pointed out. Read about the two October elections — one in Bavaria and the other in Hesse — that doomed Angela Merkel. Here’s why Merkel has been the vanguard for status-quo, centrist politics, and why that led to her downfall. Merkel’s troubles began in 2015 when she let in more than a million refugees.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
01/11/1826m 14s

Duck and cover

Zack, Jenn, and Alex address one of the world’s biggest threats: nuclear war. There’s a small but still very real chance that nuclear weapons will be used in our lifetimes; the gang discusses how that could happen — and what it would look like if the bomb actually went off. For Elsewhere, they end the episode on a “high” note: discussing the impact of Canada’s recent legalization of marijuana. Zack comes up with a new nuclear Pokémon, Jenn complains about “dirty hippies,” and Alex finds a way to talk about the World Cup. Throughout the episode, we drew on Alex Ward’s story about how a nuclear war kills you. As we mentioned, Worldly’s dug deep in to the possibility of nuclear war between India and Pakistan before. And here’s Yochi Dreazen’s piece on what a war between the US and North Korea would look like. We’re still at war with North Korea formally, for real. Jeffrey Lewis’s book, The 2020 Commission Report on the North Korean Nuclear Attacks Against the United States: A Speculative Novel There’s a Tumblr of Kim Jong Un looking at things, and it makes Jenn and the Worldly crew laugh every time The Trump administration’s new nuclear strategy calls for more little nukes -- how cute. For more on the treaty we just pulled out of, check out yesterday’s episode of Today, Explained Here’s the nuclear bomb simulator Alex mentioned Here are the basic facts of Canada’s weed legalization. Zack mentioned a Brookings Institution report on how Uruguay is doing just fine after legalizing pot. Zack also talked about “norm cascades,” a term coined by scholars Martha Finnemore and Kathryn Sikkink Check out the Future Perfect podcast!  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
25/10/1827m 33s

Introducing Future Perfect

A sneak peek at Vox’s newest show, about provocative ideas with the potential to radically improve the world. Host Dylan Matthews tackles big questions about the most effective ways to save lives, reform prisons, fight global warming, and end world poverty, from decisions in Congress to choices in our everyday lives. Find Future Perfect on Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | ART19 
20/10/1821m 59s

A murder and an outbreak

On a special episode of Worldly with two main segments, Zack talks with Alex about the latest in the Jamal Khashoggi saga and then interviews Vox health writer Julia Belluz on the worrying Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Zack and Alex examine how the US political system is responding to the mounting evidence of Saudi guilt, and Julia explains why this looks like one of the worst Ebola outbreaks in history. This is a pretty dark episode, so not a lot of jokes — sorry fam. Vox has been following the Khashoggi story closely. You can find some of the latest articles here, here, and here. We talked about Sen. Lindsey Graham’s and Sen. Marco Rubio’s strong pushback against Saudi Arabia. Here’s a video of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo telling the press he doesn’t “want to know any of the facts.” But it does look like Pompeo pressed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman hard in private during their meeting this week. President Donald Trump says he doesn’t want to punish Saudi Arabia to the point that it jeopardizes $110 billion in arms sales and because Khashoggi was a US resident, not citizen. But it turns out the $110 billion weapons sale is fake news. Trump compared the Khashoggi case to the controversy over Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s alleged past of sexual assault. Yes, really. American leaders have rarely done much to change Riyadh’s behavior. Here’s an interview Alex did with an expert that touches upon that. The Washington Post published Khashoggi’s final column posthumously. Julia recommends this article for more details about the current Ebola outbreak in the DRC. She also discussed a recent outbreak that was successfully contained using vaccines. Zack mentioned that conflict zones in Syria have also had problems controlling the spread of infectious disease. Here’s the survey Julia mentioned of people’s attitudes towards vaccines and clinics.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
18/10/1820m 44s

Where is Jamal Khashoggi?

Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi dissident-in-exile and Washington Post columnist. Khashoggi went into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to get some paperwork, and then never came out; it’s looking like the increasingly repressive Saudi government either kidnapped or killed him, and is now having to face the consequences. On Elsewhere, they discuss a recent attempt to ban same-sex marriage in Romania that backfired spectacularly. Jenn teaches the team how to pronounce Arabic names, Alex makes the “wah-wah” noise, and Zack is shocked that the show ended on a positive note for once. Vox’s Alexia Underwood wrote a great explainer on the Khashoggi situation. Alexia also recommends this piece with more background on Khashoggi. You can read Khashoggi’s columns in the Washington Post. As Jenn mentioned, the New York Times dug into the identities of the 15 men.   US intelligence reportedly suggests Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s rendition to Saudi Arabia Jenn walked us through the larger pattern of disappearing activists. Here are two good pieces that dive into that in more detail, one from the Washington Post and one from the New York Times. We also dove into this in our most recent episode about Saudi Arabia. As Zack mentioned, women who fought for rights in Saudi Arabia were then detained. NPR interviewed Khashoggi about this at the time. The Daily Beast found out that Khashoggi planned to start a pro-democracy group for the Middle East. The blank space where Khashoggi’s column should be. The US may soon place sanctions and enact other punishments on Saudi Arabia. Top US officials — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Adviser John Bolton, and White House adviser Jared Kushner — have spoken with Mohammed bin Salman about the Khashoggi situation. Jenn cited another piece of pushback — from the tech sector. And from the New York Times. Alex mentioned that a lot of money was spent on the referendum. The number is somewhere between 40 and 50 million dollars. More on previous failed attempts at legalizing same-sex unions in Romania.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
11/10/1821m 33s

International Court of Screw You

On this week’s Worldly, Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss a recent International Court of Justice ruling ordering that the US needs to relax its sanctions on Iran — and the Trump administration’s volcanic response. They put this in context of America’s broader foreign policy history, and debate just how hostile the United States is to constraints on its actions. On Elsewhere, they discuss Melania Trump’s first solo trip abroad to several African countries, and what it tells us about the Trump administration’s thinking on foreign aid. Zack compares the US to a petulant teenager, Alex sings a Beauty and the Beast song, and Jenn shows off her knowledge of Egyptian Sesame Street. Alex wrote about the ICJ’s ruling mostly favoring Iran over the United States. Jenn spoke about the 1955 US-Iranian Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights. Before he became Trump’s top national security aide, John Bolton constantly berated international courts. Here’s just one example. America history with the ICJ has been contentious for years, as this interview by the Council on Foreign Relations confirms. Our hosts walked through a lot of different international agreements and accords, among them the Paris Climate Accord, the UN Law of the Sea Treaty, the Arms Trade Treaty and NRA efforts around it. The team also dug into the Bush administration’s specific reasons for not joining the ICC, the International Criminal Court-- the fear that the ICC might prosecute the US for war crimes. For a broader take on the US’s historical relationship to international treaties, Zack recommends this Politico piece. He also suggests this Brookings opinion piece on President Barack Obama’s role as an international reformer, and points out that Obama was far more friendly to ICC than his predecessors. Jenn had some pushback. She brought up Obama’s record on drone strikes. Also, here’s a South African civil society group that submitted a docket to the ICC to have the Obama administration investigated for war crimes over drone strikes, here’s the Obama administration saying the ICC won’t have jurisdiction over what US forces do in Mali, and here’s the Obama administration’s official policy toward the ICC as of 2010. Going further back in Democratic history, here’s Bill Clinton recommending that his successor not ratify the ICC treaty. We pulled a clip from this Melania Trump press conference. Jenn walked us through USAID’s new approach… and Egyptian sesame street. For more on the cons of foreign aid, Zack recommends The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor by William Easterly For evidence that it’s probably still a net benefit, Getting Better: Why Global Development Is Succeeding--And How We Can Improve the World Even More by Charles Kenny More on the Trump administration’s efforts to cut foreign aid And an analysis of what foreign aid can do for national security Americans think the US doles out too much foreign aid, even though it’s a relatively small percentage of the US budget. Zack mentioned Pepfar and its success This is the New York Times story Alex briefly alluded to in his final comment. Here are the Today, Explained episodes on the Brazilian elections and the United States-Mexico-Canada agreement, a.k.a. USMCA… and the Weeds episode on USMCA!
10/10/1823m 28s

The looming Brexit catastrophe

Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss the state of Brexit: The United Kingdom’s ongoing negotiation over the terms of its departure from the European Union. The process has involved months of turmoil between UK Prime Minister Theresa May and hardline members of her party, and the UK and EU are still far apart — and if there’s no resolution, things could get bad for the UK pretty soon. On Elsewhere, they discuss an ironic situation in China: The ruling Communist Party has cracked down on a Marxist student group at the country’s most prestigious university. Zack geeks out on political science research, Jenn discusses high school lock-ins, and Alex throws a water bottle across the room. References: If you want to know the intricacies of the Chequers plan, Jenn recommends this BBC article. Listen to former Brexit Secretary David Davis say that the Chequers plan “is almost worse than being in” the EU here. Alex wrote about Boris Johnson quitting as the UK’s foreign secretary over the Chequers plan. Zack said the best political science shows that people in the UK voted for Brexit mainly because of issues with immigration. Here’s one example of that political science. Migration is good for the UK’s economy, as CNN reports. The Guardian has a few projections of what would happen if there’s no deal on Brexit between the UK and EU. In the worst-case scenario, the Royal Air Force may have to fly food and medicine around the country, aircraft made with UK parts might be grounded, and more. There’s a chance the UK will hold a second referendum on Brexit, as Zack mentioned. Here’s Peking University’s English-language website, where you can check out its School of Marxism. Chinese President Xi Jinping lauded the school for its work on Marxist thought.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
10/10/1823m 52s

Trump’s plan to tank the Chinese economy

Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss President Trump’s massive new escalation in his trade war with China — new tariffs that mean half of all imports from China are now being taxed. They break down how these tariffs will actually affect Americans, Trump’s overall strategy of hurting the Chinese economy, and why this isn’t likely to end well for anyone. On Elsewhere, they chat about the Polish president’s bold new gambit to build a US military base on his soil — and name it Fort Trump. Zack does a Jerry Seinfeld voice, Jenn learns an exciting fact about Jared Kushner’s Amazon search history, and Alex confesses his love for the fashion lobby. References! The statement from the president announcing tariffs. Throughout the episode, we quoted Alex’s reporting; Jenn also referenced Matt Yglesias’s explanation of the trade war. Jenn quoted a guest on Marketplace. To hear the full interview, check out “Tariffs, but make it fashion” from September 17, 2018. Here’s more on how Peter Navarro was hired. This Politico piece digs deeper into Trump’s historical positions on various Asian countries. More details and background on the Fort Trump situation. We discussed Trump’s Saudi Arabia visit and his visit to the Forbidden City. Here’s a former Pentagon official explaining why NATO allies won’t like Trump unilaterally deciding to put a base in Poland.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
20/09/1822m 46s

Did al-Qaeda win?

Zack, Jenn, and Alex break down the debate over the legacy of the 9/11 attacks: Did al-Qaeda get what it wanted? On Elsewhere, we look at Russia’s latest bizarre attempt to deflect blame for the UK spy poisoning by posting a questionable interview with the supposed suspects. Zack makes an epistemology joke, Alex negs Salisbury, and Jenn labels Russians a “tropical people.” References: The Foreign Policy article that kicked off this conversation.   During the conversation about torture in the US, Jenn mentioned a Dick Cheney quote and Alex referenced a quote from President Obama. Jenn recommends this article for deeper understanding about al-Qaeda’s goal of bleeding America economically and militarily to convince the country to get out of the Middle East. She also cited this statement of the organization’s goals from 1998. And here’s more on the “Why aren’t we attacking Sweden?” argument. Ayman al-Zawahiri’s Knights Under the Prophet’s Banner recounts his early days in Egypt, and Gilles Kepel’s book Muslim Extremism in Egypt: The Prophet and Pharaoh talks about the history of the jihadi movement in Egypt. And Jenn recommends this article about US counterterrorism assistance to Egypt in the 1990s. More on Jared Kushner’s friendship with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. Jenn read from two Al Qaeda 9/11 anniversary messages, one from 2017 and one from this week. Zack mentioned research into the Iraq war’s role in the 2008 recession, and the fact that people born after 9/11 are now able to enlist. The RT interview that we discussed in Elsewhere. And an explanation of Johny Johny, for listeners fortunate enough to have so far avoided this corner of the internet.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
13/09/1829m 40s

A looming disaster in Syria

Zack, Jenn, and Alex dissect the looming crisis in Idlib, the last big rebel stronghold in Syria, which will soon be the target of a vicious Assad regime offensive. The roughly three million people in the region, many of whom were displaced from previous rounds of fighting, are in dire straits — and it’s not clear what the United States, or the rest of the world, plans to do about any of this. On Elsewhere, they examine former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's improbably woke Twitter account. Zack discusses the intricacies of Soviet propaganda, Jenn tells Trump to call Putin, and Alex invokes the time-honored “whoa if true” maxim. References! We draw on Alex’s reporting for a lot of the first segment. For more, read The looming fight for Idlib, Syria’s last main rebel stronghold, explained. Zack talked about the “siege, starve, surrender” approach. He also mentioned that starvation as a method of warfare is a war crime. A few times over the course of the episode, Alex mentioned the humanitarian crisis brewing in Idlib. He dives into that in his piece, but also recommends this story from the Atlantic. For more on the difficulties that humanitarian groups have faced trying to bring aid to the region, check out this story from Al Jazeera. Alex also referenced the 2017 chemical weapons attack on Khan Shaykhun. Zack drew some comparisons with Libya. To read about that situation in more depth, he recommends this piece. Jenn described President Trump’s interview with the Daily Caller, but you can also read a full transcript. https://dailycaller.com/2018/09/05/full-transcript-trump-daily-caller-interview/ She also mentioned the Putin-Trump press conference in Helsinki. Alex briefly summarized Turkey’s position, but if you want to read further, he recommends this article. For Elsewhere, the team discussed this piece by Vox’s Alexia Underwood about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Twitter. The SNL digital short Iran So Far is well worth watching.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1825m 48s

Deal or no deal

Zack and Alex are joined by a special guest — Weeds host Dara Lind — to discuss the way President Trump makes deals with foreign countries. They break down the big news of the week on nuclear negotiations with North Korea and NAFTA talks with Mexico and Canada, and point to a common thread: Trump announces an agreement that doesn’t actually solve the problem it’s supposed to, and might not even work, forcing his aides to scramble and clean up the mess. Zack channels Jenn while she’s on vacation, Dara explains NAFTA by referencing Avril Lavigne, and Alex explains that 2 and 3 are different numbers. References! We dig into Alex’s reporting this episode. Here’s his full piece on the promises made at the North Korea summit in Singapore. And here are the four points Alex also mentioned. The whole team discussed this piece out of Tokyo Business Today.   Dara’s been on Worldly since, but here’s the episode she mentioned where they talk about the rise of Trump’s war cabinet:   Dara gave us a quick primer on NAFTA, but if you’d like to go into more depth, Zack recommends this piece. Alex started to dig into some of the details about the new NAFTA negotiations. You can read more about those here. As Dara mentioned, the NAFTA “deadline” of Friday is set by an artificial concern: The three countries want to ink a deal with the current president of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, before he leaves office December 1. More on the Canadian and US all-night negotiations that Dara mentioned. Alex and Dara brought up Trump’s beef with Canadian dairy. Zack described this Cabinet meeting, and we heard Jeff Sessions speak.   Dara reminded us that Trump is extremely over Sessions, because he doesn’t think Sessions’s praise is pleasing enough to the ear (apparently the AG “talks like he has marbles in his mouth”). We quoted the final Trump-Clinton debate twice. Here’s a full annotated transcript of that debate.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1828m 56s

The Trump-Fox News-white nationalist feedback loop

Zack, Jenn, and Alex talk about Trump’s late-night tweet about the alleged persecution of white South African farmers. They explain what’s actually happening in South Africa, how Trump’s take on the situation has its roots in an international white nationalist movement, and how Fox News is helping turn these extreme ideas into actual US foreign policy. On Elsewhere, they discuss the recent revelation that Iran has been engaging in a Russia-style disinformation campaign on social media — and why the US can’t seem to fight back against foreign meddling in its politics. Alex recalls his old AOL screen name, Zack reveals a little too much about what the word “cyber” means to him, and Jenn leavens a dark episode with talk of cute cats and dogs. References: Jenn’s piece on President Trump’s South Africa tweet, which we reference throughout the episode.    Jenn mentioned that experts contest this narrative. Here are several pieces from Quartz, the New Statesman, and the BBC that dig into that idea further. If you’d like to read more about apartheid in South Africa, this Smithsonian piece is a good place to start. We quoted this tweet from President Trump and this tweet from the South African government, and mentioned this Ann Coulter tweet. Jenn touched on the group that pushes this narrative about white South African farmers under attack, but you can read more about them in this HuffPost piece. More background on Charleston, South Carolina, shooter Dylann Roof. Zack gave a shout-out to Carlos Maza’s Strikethrough video about white supremacists and Tucker Carlson. Jenn mentioned this Guardian piece walking through the journey this narrative took from South Africa to the far right. For Elsewhere, we played a clip from this interview with John Bolton. Here’s a deeper dive into the fake Iranian and Russian accounts. Jenn gave a specific example of a fake Iranian account calling out a Republican candidate for Holocaust denial. For more on the Iranian accounts impersonating Bernie Bros, this Daily Beast piece is a good resource. Alex mentioned Stuxnet, and the hacking of both a dam and JP Morgan. Alex also said that various officials feel they have no real directive from the president on cyber initiatives. Here’s more on that.   If you want to know a little more about how vulnerable to cyber threats we really are, Alex recommends this piece.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1822m 57s

Talking Turkey (and its economic crisis)

Zack, Jenn, and special guest Matt Yglesias discuss the economic crisis crippling Turkey — and how its feud with the Trump administration over a detained American pastor is making things even worse. On Elsewhere, Jenn and Zack examine the very real and very disturbing pirates of the Caribbean. Zack demonstrates his thorough mastery of Turkish acronyms, Matt challenges Turkey’s right to the biggest airport, and Jenn reveals the lengths she’d go to protect her dog. References: For some background on Erdogan, watch this Vox video on Erdogan’s slide toward authoritarianism. Zack mentioned the history of military coups in Turkey, but we couldn’t go into it in detail. Here’s an in-depth piece with the long, bizarre backstory. A little more on Erdogan’s son-in-law as finance minister. As Zack mentioned, there have been lots of Turkish megaprojects, including an airport and a bridge. The Washington Post article Jenn quoted to describe the situation for people living in Turkey. Jenn talked about Erdogan’s possible deal with Putin. If you want more details, she recommends this Wall Street Journal article. All the ins and outs of the fight over Pastor Brunson that Jenn described. And more information on the tariff hikes and retaliatory measures touched on at the end of the first segment.   We’ve described the situation in Venezuela on Worldly before, but this is also a great Vox video on the collapse of Venezuela. Zack referenced this Washington Post article “They Be Pirates.” And Jenn cited this Bloomberg Businessweek piece about the collapse of Venezuela’s fish industry and how the Venezuelan Coast Guard and National Guard are also getting involved in piracy.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1827m 42s

Saudi Arabia picked a fight with...Canada?

Zack, Jenn, and Alex explore the utterly bizarre diplomatic fight between Saudi Arabia and Canada — and why it has everything to do with the ruthless ambition of Saudi’s young new crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. On Elsewhere, they discuss a big scoop Alex got on what the US is asking from North Korea in their nuclear arms negotiations — and what that tells us about how those negotiations are going (spoiler: not very well). Zack finally grants his Canadian fiancée’s wish to do a Canada episode, Jenn proposes a new location for a Trump hotel, and Alex reveals his unique nickname for the Saudi crown prince. References! Jenn’s piece on the Saudi Arabia-Canada fight (and a shorter, more up-to-date version here) The tweet from the Canadian foreign ministry that kicked things off Jenn specifically described one tweet with an image of a plane flying towards the Toronto skyline, and cited some Washington Post reporting. Here’s an article on the Saudi-owned media outlet al-Arabiya putting out a video calling Jordan Peterson a political prisoner. As we mentioned, there’s a Today, Explained episode that goes into much more depth on Jordan Peterson’s ideology! Zack also wrote a Peterson explainer. For more on the 2014 human rights violations that Alex mentioned, read this executive summary. Zack and Jenn talked about Mohammed bin Salman’s rise to power. Here’s that story in more depth. Sarah Wildman wrote a great piece for Vox last year about Saudi princes being held at a Ritz-Carlton. As Alex mentioned, Saudi Arabia is currently bombing civilians in Yemen and has a diplomatic blockade against Qatar. And just this Thursday, the Saudi-led coalition bombed a school bus full of children in Yemen, killing at least 43 people, at least 29 of whom were children under the age of 15. Jenn quoted this essay from the Globe and Mail at the end of the first segment. We spent most of Elsewhere discussing Alex’s recent North Korea piece.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1823m 47s

A man, a plan, Iran

On this week’s episode, Zack, Jenn, and Alex look at the economics behind Trump’s offer to sit down with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. The Iranian economy is in trouble after the US withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal, due to the impending threat of new sanctions; Trump hopes this will pressure the Iranians to come back to the negotiating table, but it might actually backfire. On Elsewhere, they talk about Google’s plan to move into China by building a censored search engine, and the ways tech giants are like mini states. Alex reveals his love of pistachios, Jenn expresses distaste for Bing, and Zack pinpoints the “Iranian carrot.” References! We played a clip from a recent Trump rally in Tampa, Florida. The full rally can be found here. Jenn read a quote from this Chicago Tribune article, which also goes deeper into the Iranian economy. Alex gave us a recap on America’s previous sanctions and the Iran nuclear deal. More details here. He also mentioned that the Iranian currency has dropped dramatically since 2012. In discussing the protests, the team referenced the Green Movement. Zack suggests this research on the effects of sanctions as further reading. The Intercept piece that broke the Google Project Dragonfly story. More on Google’s first go-round in China, and on Operation Aurora. Jenn ran through some censorship specifics. She gave the example of the Winnie the Pooh ban and, more recently, the crackdown on women calling out sexual assault. Alex mentioned that Google employees pushed back against Pentagon contracts.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1825m 38s

It’s gettin hot in here, so get really concerned about global stability

Zack, Jenn, and Alex dig into the heat wave wreaking havoc across the Northern Hemisphere, spreading a wildfire in Greece so hot that cars are melting on city streets. They get special science guest Umair Irfan to explain the connection between this heat wave and climate change, and then talk about what we’ve seen this summer as a harbinger of the global disruptions to come as the earth continues to heat up. For Elsewhere, they talk about some rare good news that you may not have heard — the formal end to the 20-years-long conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Zack explains authoritarian stability via a Jurassic Park reference, Jenn gets super excited about collective action problems, and Alex somehow manages to turn the conversation back to North Korea. Umair’s Vox piece mentioned by Jenn about why heat waves are so dangerous. Report talking about sleep detecting air conditioners. Piece mentioned by Alex where a Japanese meteorologist talks about high temperatures becoming the norm. A good piece explaining why greenhouse gases are falling under Trump Recent DOD study on climate related risks to national security. Good article on how Ethiopia and Eritrea found peace after 2 decades of conflict. Worldly has been nominated for this year's People's Choice Podcast Awards! You can vote for our show for free by going to podcastawards.com, or by tapping the link in the show notes. Voting ends on Tuesday, July 31st, so don't wait! Go to podcastawards.com right now to cast your vote for Worldly.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1832m 50s

From Russia, with love (and hacking)

Zack, Jenn, and Alex examine the evidence of Russian meddling in the 2016 election — and how much of it President Donald Trump had already been shown before his meeting in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin. They dig into the Justice Department’s indictment of 12 Russian military intelligence operatives, which came out just before Trump went to Helsinki, and another indictment announced the day of the Helsinki meeting targeting a Russian woman named Maria Butina who allegedly plotted to infiltrate the NRA. For Elsewhere, they look at the unrest in Nicaragua, which has killed some 300 people. Zack tells everyone how to pronounce “Guccifer,” Alex celebrates having gone to the same school as a Russian spy, and Jenn wishes she could dye her hair “red like Mother Russia.” We didn’t go deep into the actual press conference this episode, but if you want to read more about America’s geopolitical suicide, Zack wrote a great piece this week. Alex explained why we didn’t just give things up to Russia — we also didn’t get much in return. Zack mentioned this recent New York times story several times throughout the episode. Jenn talked about Vox writer Andrew Prokop’s breakdown of the Mueller indictment. This is the piece Jenn recommends for anyone who wants to read more about Maria Butina. This is the video of her short interview at FreedomFest Jenn touched on Alexander Torshin momentarily but suggests this for anyone who wants to do a deeper dive. More on Jenn’s point that Russia funded fake Black Lives Matter protests and other fake rallies Jenn gave a shout out to Vox writer Jen Kirby’s roundup of all the times opportunities Trump had to call out Russia for election meddling For Elsewhere, we talk about Nicaragua. For more on that story, Alex suggests this Washington Post piece. Here’s a short Washington Post video of protests in Nicaragua. As Zack promised, some research showing Nicaraguan commitment to democracy The response from Heather Nauert that Jenn paraphrased. Want more Nicaragua coverage? Check out Today, Explained’s episode on the issue.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1824m 35s

Has Trump actually been good for NATO?

Jenn, official new Worldly co-host Alex Ward, and special guest Dr. Alina Polyakova discuss President Trump’s big NATO summit this week and his upcoming meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump has openly criticized the NATO military alliance and said he wants a better relationship with Russia. But Alina, an expert who studies Europe and Russia, argues the NATO alliance is actually in a lot better shape now than it has been in years. Jenn gets really excited about exclamation marks, Alex makes his debut as an official member of the Worldly crew, and Alina compares Trump’s treatment of NATO allies to an abusive relationship. Links! Here's a primer on NATO, in case you wanted to go into more depth than our quick overview We talked a lot about Russia's relationship with Ukraine in this episode, and about the Baltics. Here's some reading on both of those situations. Here's what we expected from the NATO summit and a good run down of what's actually happened. Alina also has a really good WSJ write up of NATO and the Trump presidency. Looking ahead: Alex recommends this guide to Trump's meeting with Putin. Vote for us in the People's Choice Podcast Awards!  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1823m 9s

Why Europe turned its back on migrants

Jenn, Zack, and recurring guest Alex Ward discuss Europe’s political meltdown over migration, which Zack got a firsthand look at during a trip to Hungary last week funded by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. They start by airing Zack’s interview with Ibrar Hussein Mirzai, a young migrant who made the harrowing journey to Hungary from Pakistan, and zoom out to explain how the anti-migration sentiment that made Ibrar’s journey miserable is fueling the biggest challenge to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government yet. On Elsewhere, they talk about Mexico’s election of a new president — the leftist anti-corruption crusader Andrés Manuel López Obrador (or AMLO, for short). Zack recounts a visit to the heavily policed Hungarian border fence, Jenn pronounces AMLO’s full name correctly, and Alex does his best Thomas Friedman impression. Links: The man we heard from in this episode, Ibrar, was also featured on NPR. You can hear more from him and see a picture of him in that story. An in-depth look at Merkel’s migrant deal from the New York Times. For more context on the Hungary-Germany relationship, Zack recommends this piece. A piece written for Vox about AMLO’s election and what it might mean. You can also hear more about AMLO on Today, Explained. They devoted a whole episode to him and to the Mexican election this week.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1825m 51s

The military’s biggest challenge? Trump.

Jenn sits down with returning guest Alex Ward and special guest Loren DeJonge Schulman, a defense expert at the Center for a New American Security, to talk about why the hell the Pentagon keeps getting caught off guard by big decisions coming from the White House. From Trump canceling military exercises with South Korea to creating a new “space force” to asking the military to prepare to house thousands of immigrant children on US military bases, Secretary of Defense James Mattis seems to be completely out of the loop these days. The gang talks about what that means for Mattis, Trump, and US foreign policy going forward. Jenn imagines Mattis’s inner thoughts, Alex decides that space war is boring, and Loren makes an awesome reference to the Netflix show The Crown.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1829m 52s

Blame China?

On a special goodbye Worldly — it’s Yochi’s final episode, sadly — he, Jenn, and Zack talk about President Donald Trump’s looming trade war with China, which could soon make it more expensive to buy everything from an iPhone to an air conditioner. The US has imposed tens of billions of dollars worth of tariffs on Chinese imports, Beijing is hitting back, and it’s all heading in a pretty dangerous direction. On Elsewhere, the team says goodbye to Yochi, who’s returning to full-time writing, and celebrates what he’s done for the show. Someone was definitely cutting onions in the studio during the taping of this episode. Throughout the episode, we talk about what a trade war might mean. Zeeshan Aleem wrote a great explainer on this. Jenn walked us through the tariffs back and forth right at the top of the show. You can read more specifics about those tariffs here and here. The Verge also had a great piece about what this might mean for tech manufacturing. More context on the delegation that went to Beijing to talk about tariffs without much success. Here’s a piece that dives into Trump’s rhetoric about Asia and trade going back decades, and one that looks very specifically at what he said about Japan. When Zack said that some people call this IP theft the greatest theft in history, the exact quote was “the greatest transfer of wealth in history.” Yochi also talked about foreign agents and spying more generally.   Jenn mentioned that companies complain about Chinese trade practices. There’s a great Planet Money episode this week that touches on why those companies don’t necessarily say things explicitly. Here’s the piece that Zeeshan wrote a few months ago about disagreements between Trump advisers. Here’s the Washington Post piece about the navy hack and the submarine warfare intelligence that was gathered as a result. Yochi cited a few Republican lawmakers grilling Wilbur Ross on tariffs. Here’s a write up of that grilling, and here’s the full session on C-SPAN.   Yochi shouted out Zack’s writing on manufacturers who have been affected by China. Zack walked us through some of economist David Autor’s research on the effect US-China trade ties have had on American jobs.   We pulled a clip from Trump’s appearance on the Bernie and Sid show and from this interview with Larry Kudlow. And here’s the wild trailer for Death by China. For more trade war content, check out this great Today, Explained episode about the Chinese tariffs and this one, about the tariff fight we’re having with Mexico, Canada, and the EU. This episode of The Indicator and this episode The Daily are also great!    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1826m 55s

The Art of the Deal, by Kim Jong Un

On an all-summit episode of Worldly, Zack and Jenn are joined by actual North Korea expert Jeffrey Lewis (host of the Arms Control Wonk podcast) for an in-depth analysis of how the Trump-Kim meeting actually went. They talk about how the US didn’t get very much, while North Korea got exactly what it wanted and more. They also give a somewhat counterintuitive take on how the summit, which led President Donald Trump to cancel US-South Korea military exercises, could actually be good for South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Zack talks about his taste in Batman movies, Jenn gives terrible microwave advice, and Jeff compares North Korean propaganda to Fox News. Our guest, Jeffrey Lewis, is the host of the Arms Control Wonk podcast and the director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies Here’s a good breakdown of the contents of the agreement and some of the winners and losers from this summit. Jenn published a transcript of the summit press conference. We discussed the press conference throughout the podcast. Jeff Lewis mentions that this is not the first time North Korea has made denuclearization agreements. He shouts out a few of those past agreements over the course of the podcast, but here’s a timeline of past agreements, all in one place.   We played a clip from Sean Hannity’s interview with President Trump on Fox News after the Summit in which the president praises Kim Jong Un. When Jeff Lewis was explaining the challenges that a dictator can face at home, he mentioned former Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, who was executed. Jeff also shouts out Michael Wolff’s book, Fire and Fury, when talking about Trump’s trip to Saudi Arabia. We dive deep into South Korean politics in this episode. Here’s a primer on some of that. As Zack and Jeff discussed, North Korean news published a photo of John Bolton and Kim Jong Un shaking hands. Jenn shouted out Yochi’s recent piece about all the ways China is the real winner in this summit.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1834m 11s

Trump and Kim, sitting in a hotel, T-A-L-K-I-N-G

Zack, Jenn, and returning guest Alex Ward talk about the possibilities — and perils — of President Trump’s upcoming nuclear summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore on June 12. On Elsewhere, they discuss the wild story of how Iceland’s soccer team went from being one of the world’s worst to qualifying for the 2018 World Cup. Zack shares memories of his 5-year-old self playing soccer, Jenn does her best Viking war chant, and Alex makes a bold World Cup prediction. Alex will have a piece out early next week at Vox with lots more details about the summit setup. Keep your eyes peeled. In the meantime, here’s his recent piece about the latest rescheduling of the summit. Zack mentioned that the Washington Post’s John Hudson was kicked out of the Capella hotel. Jenn talked about the complicated dance the US and North Korea have been doing around paying for hotel accommodations. Here’s more on that. Alex mentioned that Kim might be worried about a coup back at home during the summit. Jenn talked about Trump’s language after his meeting with Kim Yong Chol, and how he shifted to managing expectations about the summit. You can listen to the announcement he made here. As Alex mentioned, Yochi wrote a great piece about what war with North Korea might look like … just in case you wanted to read up on the worst-case scenario.   Alex also mentioned that National Security Adviser John Bolton has yet to convene a principals committee meeting of the National Security Council. If you want a textual deep dive into the Iceland World Cup underdog story, Alex recommends this Sports Illustrated piece. Alex was not making up Iceland’s meteoric rise in the football rankings. For the full visual effect of the Icelandic announcer freaking out and the Icelandic chant, please enjoy these videos.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1824m 3s

The nuclear standoff nobody's talking about

Yochi, Jenn, and Zack dive into the nuclear standoff between India and Pakistan, one of the most dangerous but least known military conflicts in the world. On Elsewhere, they look at the mysterious case of a Russian journalist who was reportedly murdered at the hands of the Kremlin only to suddenly turn up alive and well. Yochi name drops Led Zeppelin, Jenn name drops some international relations theory, and Zack spoils the TV version of Sherlock.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1827m 29s

Trump’s breakup note to Kim Jong-un, explained

On a special all-North Korea episode of Worldly, Yochi, Jenn, and Zack talk about President Trump’s surprise cancellation of his planned summit with Kim Jong Un — a decision Trump announced literally as the Worldly crew was sitting down to record the podcast. Trump scrapped the meeting in a strangely personal letter to Kim that alternated between reading like the world’s worst breakup note and threatening to use America’s “massive and powerful” nuclear arsenal against the North. We would put jokes down here but it all happened too fast and we’re still processing. References: Trump’s letter to Kim Jong Un canceling the North Korea summit Here’s a piece with more helpful background on the lead-up to this summit collapse, and a longer C-SPAN clip where Trump answered some questions about his thoughts on the summit. We pulled clips of both National Security Adviser John Bolton and Vice President Mike Pence speaking about the Libya model. Jenn mentioned Pete Hegseth on Fox News suggesting that Kim Jong Un “probably doesn't love being the guy that has to murder his people all day long. Probably wants normalization."   Zack mentioned that many international relations scholars see status as a motivator for countries’ actions.   Zack and Yochi went back and forth on previous talks with North Korea. Jenn mentioned Pompeo’s meeting with Kim. Here’s a piece about Kim asking for US investment in North Korea’s economy, and what Pompeo communicated about those meetings. Talking about concessions North Korea has made, Jenn brought up the recent explosion at a North Korean nuclear test site.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1823m 58s

The Arab world has abandoned Gaza

Yochi, Jenn, and Zack discuss Israel's killings of dozens of Palestinian protesters in Gaza and why many Arab countries seem willing to give Israel a pass and instead focus on what they see as a growing threat from Iran. On Elsewhere, they look at Vladimir Putin's recent opening of a $4 billion bridge between Russia and the portion of Ukraine that Moscow had conquered and illegally annexed. Yochi stumbles over his Russian pronunciations, Jenn remembers watching beauty pageants as a child, and Zack defends the manliness of truck drivers. References! Yochi went on Today, Explained to give you all the background you need on the events in Gaza. You can also read Alexia Underwood’s explainer for that backstory.   Yochi picked 2014 as a concrete example of past protests held in reaction to Israel-Palestine tensions. Jenn walked through some of the smaller protests we saw this time around. She also talked about protests in Iran that weren’t related to the events in Gaza. A more in-depth look at “Linkage theory,” which Zack brought up as an older model for the Israel-Palestine conflict. Jenn was talking about the surprising alliance between Israel and Saudi Arabia. Here’s a little more information about that. More context on the tweet from Bahrain’s foreign minister about Israel’s “right to defend itself by destroying sources of danger.” Zeeshan Aleem has this explainer on BDS in Palestine and more about the movement’s apartheid roots. We pulled the clip of Mustafa Barghouti from this BBC interview. Yochi gave a shout-out to Zack’s piece “Trump, Gaza, and the ‘blank check’ approach to Israel.” If you want to see Putin’s dramatic truck ride for yourself, there’s a video here. And finally, the Instagram celebrity cat that upstaged Putin.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1824m 26s

America is out of the Iran deal. Now what?

On a special episode of Worldly, Yochi, Jenn, and Zack talk about President Trump's historic and dangerous decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, a move that angered America's closest allies and potentially set the stage for a new Mideast war. Israel and Iran started trading blows within a day of Trump's decision, and the situation could quickly get worse as American friends and enemies adjust to the new reality Trump has created. Yochi compares economic sanctions to football, Zack offers a hot take for the ages, and Jenn says the technical term for a trade war is "some real shit." Zack’s big explainer about what it means that we’ve withdrawn from the Iran deal … and some more context in a quicker form from Alex Ward. Yochi quoted Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s statements on the recent strikes. Here’s more background on that quote. As Jenn mentioned, we touched on some of the implications of an Iran-Israel war last episode. Alex also has a great piece on this that touches on the recent strikes. Yochi mentioned a previous strike that killed seven Iranian military personnel. Soon after becoming the new US Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell tweeted, “German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately.” Yochi talked about this tweet and the response it elicited from a former German ambassador. Zack dived into some fun wonky policy surrounding “blocking regulations” and how Europe might use them to deal with the current sanctions. Here’s the piece Zack was quoting when he said that an expert believes the Iran deal would have kept Iran from getting a nuclear bomb until at least 2041. John Bolton’s 2015 New York Times opinion piece “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran.” We played a clip of Bolton talking about that op-ed. It was from an interview he did with Jon Stewart back in 2015. Jenn mentioned a more recent op-ed Bolton wrote for the Washington Post slamming the Iran deal.    She also mentioned that the International Atomic Energy Agency and a variety of other experts agreed that the Iran deal was effective. Yochi mentioned that President George W. Bush had had a request for bunker-busting bombs from Israel and declined. Here’s an old New York Times article with more details. Here’s the “winners and losers of the Iran deal” piece that Yochi suggested. For more information on the Iran deal, please check out Wednesday’s episode of Today, Explained.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1827m 25s

A war between Israel and Iran could really happen

Yochi, Jenn, and Zack talk about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s over-the-top media blitz designed to sway President Trump to nix the Iran nuclear deal and about how Israel’s shadow conflict with Iran is threatening to explode into a new Mideast war. On Elsewhere, they discuss the Ukrainian government’s abrupt decision to stop cooperating with the Mueller probe after Trump agreed to sell the country advanced US-made missiles. Yochi awards Paul Manafort the gold medal in the Trump Corruption Olympics, Jenn insists ledgers are “sexy,” and Zack busts out some Latin. Links: We spent the first part of the episode discussing this powerpoint speech from Netanyahu, but you can watch it in full here. You can also watch Netanyahu’s full Fox and Friends interview. Zack wrote a piece about that interview, if you’d like some more background and context. We reference it a few times in the show. And here’s Zack’s piece about the IAEA report that already documented a lot of the things covered in Netanyahu’s presentation. Yochi mentioned that he’d covered the finalization of the Iran deal under President Obama. Zack has also covered the Iran deal and was suspicious of claims that the Obama administration made. We got a bit technical this episode about Iran building bases, so here’s some more background information on that. Yochi mentioned Neri Zilber’s piece about Iran and Israel’s shadow war. You can read that piece in full here. Jenn and Zack were talking about the ways that the history of the Iranian regime informs its approach to the Iran deal and to Israel. Here’s a reading suggestion from Jenn on that. Here’s the 2015 Foreign Policy piece by Phillip Smyth that Jenn mentioned about Iran’s plans to use Syria as a new front in its fight against Israel Yochi quoted a Ukrainian official at the beginning of Elsewhere. That quote came from this New York Times piece. For a slightly different take on Ukraine’s intelligence sharing with the Mueller investigation, read this New York magazine piece.   The team talked about Michael Cohen’s many, many scams. And here’s more about the mystery of who took pro-Ukrainian language out of the Republican Party’s 2016 platform.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1834m 0s

The ideology behind the Toronto terror attack, explained

Yochi, Zack, and special guest Dara Lind discuss Monday's bloody terror attack in Toronto, which was carried out by a member of a fringe anti-woman movement called "incel," short for "involuntary celibate." On Elsewhere, they talk about how French President Emmanuel Macron used an official visit to Washington to charm President Trump in private and then bash him subtly in public. Zack explains black pills, Dara says there's a cheat code for Donald Trump, and Yochi can't shake the mental image of Trump brushing dandruff off Macron's shoulder. References! Throughout the episode, we’re drawing on Zack’s explainer on incel. Here’s a good breakdown of Monday’s attack and how it unfolded. Zack mentioned that Reddit banned the first incel forum. Here’s some more information about that. Yochi talked about school shooters emulating the Columbine shooters, and the ways research around that topic might apply here. This New Yorker piece walks through that research. The response to Elliot Rodger written by the father of one of his victims. Watch President Macron and President Trump’s dandruff exchange.   You can also watch Macron’s full speech to Congress, or read some of the most interesting quotes from that speech and some analysis of his visit. Zack and Dara discussed Macron’s election. Here’s more background on that. Yochi mentioned awkward handshakes several times. Here’s a rundown of some of Trump’s many awkward handshakes. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 24/7, free, and confidential support for people in distress. 1-800-273-8255  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1832m 25s

The promise and peril of Trump’s North Korea meeting

On a special all-North Korea episode, Yochi, Jenn, and Zack talk about CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s secret meeting with Kim Jong Un, the clearest sign yet that the Trump administration is serious about setting aside the belligerent rhetoric and having a historic face-to-face summit between Donald Trump and Kim. There’s no guarantee the meeting will happen, or that the two men will strike a deal. One thing is clear, though: The diplomatic push is the biggest and riskiest gamble of Trump’s entire presidency. Yochi tries to quote Jenn’s colorful language and fails, Jenn says “shit kickin’” like a true Texas girl, and Zack says a lot of funny stuff that got cut in editing. Links! The Washington Post piece that Jennifer referenced breaking the news that Pompeo met with North Korean leadership Yochi wrote a piece about what a war with North Korea would look like. Spoiler: It’d be grim. Yochi mentioned Zack’s piece about Trump’s policy contradictions Zack mentioned that National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster was sometimes perceived as a moderate but also pushed for more hawkish approaches. Here’s some more context on that. Jenn mentioned that Tillerson and Pompeo had very different relationships with Trump, and went into what that might mean for their influence on his foreign policy choices. This article goes into that a little more. We have a lot of pieces about North Korean denuclearization at Vox, but here’s one from Jenn that talks about what that denuclearization might mean and walks through some of the possible trade-offs that might be made to get there. Jenn’s take was that some of the “madman” rhetoric out of the White House might have foreign leaders scared. Here’s the piece about Xi that she mentioned while defending that take, and another piece diving into the subject. She also mentioned interviews with a high-level North Korean defector. Zack sided with North Korea experts who are skeptical of the idea that North Korean leaders are scared of Trump’s rhetoric. Here’s a piece that outlines their pushback. The Washington Post piece we pulled the statistics on South Korean support for reunification from. Jenn touched on the differences between the current and previous presidents of South Korea. Zack spoke about political data from the US that suggests political identity is shaped early. Our daily Vox podcast, Today, Explained, also has some fantastic foreign policy episodes!  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1826m 48s

Trump has no Syria strategy. Obama didn't either.

Yochi, Jenn, and Zack talk about President Trump’s threats to bomb Syria after a brutal chemical weapons attack there — and why a US military strike won’t have much impact on the country’s civil war. On Elsewhere, they talk about Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who just cruised to reelection despite (or perhaps because of) his anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, and at times anti-Semitic rhetoric. Zack shows off his knowledge of Emerson, Yochi mocks Bashar al-Assad’s unusually long neck, and Jenn decides it’s okay to body-shame a genocidal dictator. Show Notes! -The war in Syria, explained. -For more background on Syria, listen to the latest Today, Explained primer. -Yochi mentioned photos that make Aleppo look like Leningrad after WWII. -Zack mentioned “siege, starve, and surrender” as a strategy. Here’s a lot more context on that. -Jenn talked about the ways Russia and Assad spin the narrative around chemical weapons attacks. -More reading on the Russian nerve agent attack in the UK that Yochi mentioned, and on the killing of Kim Jong Nam. -Yochi mentioned two Pentagon leaks — one involving Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and the other involving Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford. -This BBC piece gives some good background on Prime Minister Orbán, and on his statements about George Soros. -Jenn mentioned Sarah Wildman’s piece about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Europe-bashing hot mic. -Zack talked about the demographic trends in Hungary, drawing on this article in the Guardian. -And this piece talks about Orbán running on an anti-immigrant platform even though there are more anti-immigrant billboards than immigrants and refugees who were let into Hungary in all of 2017.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1830m 3s

A clear guide to the Israel-Gaza crisis

Yochi, Jenn, and Zack talk about the growing crisis on the Gaza-Israel border, where Israeli troops killed 19 Palestinians during violent clashes with protesters, sparking fears of all-out war. On Elsewhere, they turn to Malaysia, which just passed the world’s first law banning “fake news” — clearing the way for journalists to be imprisoned if they anger the government. The Malaysian law is the latest and strongest example of how President Trump’s rhetorical war on the American media is spurring other world leaders to wage a literal one. Zack sings the Law and Order theme song, Yochi recalls a trip to Gaza City, and Jenn offers a creative idea for a new CSI spin-off. References: Jenn's explainer on the violence at the Gaza-Israel border US envoy Jason Greenblatt's comments on Hamas State Department's comments on Hamas Jeff Goldberg's conversation with Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman NYT piece on Malaysia's 'fake news' ban  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1828m 37s

The rise of Trump's war cabinet (Weeds crossover!)

It’s Part 1 of a special crossover with Vox’s The Weeds. On this week’s Worldly, Yochi, Zack, and Weeds host Dara Lind discuss Trump’s national security cabinet reshuffle — and whether the appointment of incoming National Security Adviser John Bolton increases the risks of war with North Korea and Iran. Trump spent his first year in office surrounded by officials preaching policies of relative restraint, but those advisers have been pushed out and replaced with ones who want the US to tear up the Iran nuclear deal and prepare for war with North Korea. Yochi talks about knife fights, Zack confuses everyone by making a Meghan Trainor joke, and Dara sings the praises of sexy alliances.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1833m 55s

Trump’s Russia policy? What Russia policy?

Yochi, Zack, and special guest Alexia Underwood talk about why President Trump's top aides begged him not to congratulate Vladimir Putin for winning this week's sham Russian election -- and why Trump ignored them and did so anyway. On Elsewhere, they talk about Venezuela's decision to take a page from the Bitcoin playbook and develop the world's first state-run crypto currency, the petro, and why Russia may soon roll out one of its own. Alexia shows off her Arabic accent, Zack deftly uses the phrase "fiat currency," and Yochi marvels at the possible creation of the phrase "crypto-ruble."  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1831m 8s

Putin’s poisonings

Yochi, Jenn, and Zack talk about the poisoning of a former Russian spy in the UK with a deadly nerve agent. The British government says Russia was behind the startling attack, but it’s not clear how far they — or the Trump administration — are willing to go in response. On Elsewhere, they talk about how a French far-right party tried to rebrand itself to hide its racist and anti-Semitic history, but wound up adopting the name of an infamous group that cooperated with the Nazis during World War II. Zack shows off his French, Jenn thinks “Le Google” is a thing, and Yochi bids a fond farewell to former Secretary of State Rex “Mr. Charisma” Tillerson.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1827m 33s

Rexit special!

On a special bonus episode of Worldly, Yochi, Jenn, and Zack talk about President Trump finally firing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson after publicly and privately mocking him for months. The good news: world leaders will know that Tillerson’s replacement, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, actually speaks for the president. The bad news: Pompeo has lied about US intelligence in the past to help Trump score political points -- and is incredibly hawkish on Iran and North Korea.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1816m 4s

Make Italy Great Again

Yochi, Jenn and Zack talk about how Italy's elections may have paved the way for a far-right prime minister who sees Vladimir Putin as a role model, wants to close mosques, and openly talks about deporting 500,000 migrants. On Elsewhere, they talk about the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's decision to revoke a human rights award it had given to Aung San Suu Kyi, a pop culture icon and Nobel Peace Prize winner, because of the genocide unfolding in her native Burma. Yochi translates some Italian, Zack bumps the microphone, and Jenn manages to hide her deep hatred of U2.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1827m 2s

Why Xi Jinping’s power grab is dangerous for China — and the world

Yochi, Zack and Jenn talk about China's decision to allow President Xi Jinping to rule the country indefinitely, a move that means the world's biggest country will likely grow even more repressive at home and aggressive abroad. On Elsewhere, they discuss a bizarre legal fight in Panama that erupted when the owners of a Trump-managed hotel in Panama tried to fire the Trump Organization, only to see the Trump employees literally brawl with both Panamanian police and the private security guards sent to evict them. Zack accuses Yochi of buying into Chinese propaganda, Jenn reminisces about Jimmy Carter’s peanut farm, and Yochi decides which kind of Chinese bear he is.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1832m 42s

The strange saga of “Putin’s chef”

Yochi, Jenn, and Zack discuss special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictments of 13 Russians accused of meddling in the 2016 elections, including a billionaire with extraordinarily close ties to Vladimir Putin. On Elsewhere, they talk about the corruption scandals that may soon bring down Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu -- one of the most powerful leaders in the Middle East -- and remake the political landscape of the entire region. Yochi puts his Hebrew skills to good use, Zack busts out his best Russian accent, and Jenn laments that she’s never received a gift from Mariah Carey’s ex-husband. References: Matt Yglesias' article about why the case for Russian collusion is getting stronger Good article on "Putin's chef" that Yochi mentioned Explanation of the Israel corruption scandal Israeli police just recommended indicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for corruption “If they want to see the devil, let them”
07/09/1849m 0s

Russian mercenaries, Israeli airstrikes, and the bloody future of the Syrian civil war

Yochi, Zack, and special guest Alexia Underwood talk about the evolution of Syria’s civil war and how a conflict that once pitted Syrian against Syrian has now drawn in at least six outside countries. Just this past week, Israel carried out waves of airstrikes inside Syria, US troops battled Russian mercenaries, and Iranian operatives in Syria sent a drone into Israeli airspace — all signs of how this deadly war could continue to escalate. On Elsewhere, they discuss a high-level conference in the Middle East that highlighted America’s growing isolation and irrelevance under President Trump. Yochi gives a shout-out to Epcot Center, Zack boasts about the luxurious hotel where he spent the past week, and Alexia shows off her Arabic skills. ReferencesUN official says more than 1,000 civilians died in Syria in first week of FebruaryIran sends a drone on a mission in Isreali airspaceRussian contractors reportedly killed in attack on military base in Syria Further ReadingThe Economist explains gender budgetingIsrael’s Deepening Involvement with Syria’s RebelsA very helpful map explaining tension in Syria and the surrounding region  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1833m 44s

Bonus: The Podium, from the Vox Media Podcast Network and NBC Sports

Opening Ceremony co-host Katie Couric discusses what to expect from the broadcast (8:30 ET, NBC), the unified team of North and South Korea, and her interview with figure skating star Nathan Chen. We'll also take a look back at some pivotal moments in Olympic history and how the Winter Games have evolved from 1924 to today.  
07/09/1824m 44s

Polish Holocaust denial and the weaponization of history

Yochi, Jenn, and Zack talk about a controversial new law in Poland that makes it illegal to accuse the "Polish nation" of being complicit in the Holocaust, a change that has infuriated the US, Israel, and Jewish communities around the world. The anger comes from a simple fact: Poland suffered when it was occupied by the Nazis during World War II, but some Poles actively took part in the mass slaughter of their country's Jewish population, and the new law tries to erase that history. On Elsewhere, they look at how President Trump's call for a giant military parade through the streets of Washington DC is running into opposition from the military, the population of Washington, and pretty much every Republican senator that's been asked about it. Yochi remembers a profoundly unpleasant trip to Poland, Jenn busts out an elaborate elephant metaphor, and Zack mourns the end of his 20s. Referenced Workshttps://www.amazon.com/Neighbors-Destruction-Jewish-Community-Jedwabne/dp/0142002402http://www.jpost.com/printarticle.aspx?id=540926https://www.amazon.com/Small-Town-Near-Auschwitz-Holocaust/dp/0199679258http://insider.foxnews.com/2018/02/07/trump-military-parade-ralph-peters-says-french-march-americans-fighthttps://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2018/02/06/polish-president-to-sign-holocaust-bill-despite-international-concerns/https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-marching-orders-to-the-pentagon-plan-a-grand-military-parade/2018/02/06/9e19ca88-0b55-11e8-8b0d-891602206fb7_story.html? https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/06/world/europe/poland-holocaust-law.html   Further Readinghttps://www.vox.com/2017/5/24/15675606/bryan-stevenson-confederacy-monuments-slavery-ezra-kleinhttps://www.vox.com/identities/2017/8/16/16151252/confederate-statues-white-supremacistshttps://www.vox.com/videos/2017/10/25/16545362/southern-socialites-civil-war-historyhttps://www.vox.com/world/2017/8/16/16152088/nazi-swastikas-germany-charlottesville  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1833m 23s

Why America can’t quit Guantanamo Bay

Zack, Jenn, and returning guest Alex Ward discuss the controversial prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and President Trump’s announcement this week that he’s keeping it open and may send ISIS fighters there. On Elsewhere, the gang looks at a bizarre and hilarious story out of Spain involving a police chase, a car filled with thousands of oranges, and a decades-old battle between Spain and France over...fruit. Zack waxes poetic about one of his favorite essays on torture, Jenn shows off her legal knowledge, and Alex proves why his standup comedy career was short-lived. Referenced Works: Trump just signed an executive order that will keep Guantanamo open Liberalism, Torture, and the Ticking Bomb The oversized rodents that could take over Guantanamo Bay prison Police pull over a car and oranges come tumbling out Further Reading: 7 Key Points From the C.I.A. Torture Report Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency's Detention and Interrogation Program Gitmo is Back in Business Guantanamo by the Numbers   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1830m 58s

Why Trump, who promised to keep America out of wars, keeps escalating them

Jenn, Zack, and special guest Alex Ward discuss President Trump’s decision to escalate America’s military involvement in Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, and beyond — despite having campaigned on an “America First” agenda that promised to reduce US military intervention overseas. On Elsewhere, they look at a story out of Germany, where a member of a popular far-right, anti-Islam, anti-immigrant political party has converted to Islam and quit the party — after working with Muslim immigrants. Jenn talks about the experience of converting to Islam, Zack gets angry about wars, and Alex tries to translate military speak. Mentioned in the show: Cory Booker’s Op-Ed 2018 National Defense Strategy Report Arthur Wagner of the German AFD party converting to Islam You’re more likely to be killed by furniture than by terrorism An explainer on the “mowing the grass” metaphor mentioned Further reading: This is your brain on terrorism Strikethrough video How Trump’s language on Afghanistan has changed since he came into office Candidate Trump promised to stay out of foreign wars. President Trump is escalating them. How would Trump react to a terror attack like one in Manchester? How a Blonde Tattooed Texas Girl Became an ISIS Twitter Star  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1837m 43s

A Saudi-Iran proxy war has torn Yemen apart — and America is fanning the flames

Yochi, Jenn, and Zack discuss the horrific war in Yemen, which has become a battleground in a shadow war between Iran and Saudi Arabia — and where there are real reasons to worry that the US is complicit in war crimes. On Elsewhere, they look to a rare bit of potential good news from Korea, where athletes from North and South Korea plan to march under a united flag at the 2018 Winter Olympics opening ceremonies and compete on a joint team for the first time. Zack has some tough talk for the Saudi foreign minister, Jenn reluctantly admits to her past life as a cheerleader, and Yochi manages to name drop both Dennis Rodman and “Team America.”  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1829m 37s

Why Mueller’s obstruction of justice investigation should really scare Trump

Yochi, Jenn, and Zack talk about the state of play in Robert Mueller’s Russia probe — and why obstruction of justice, not collusion, may pose the biggest legal and political threat to President Trump. On Elsewhere, they look at Israel’s “Strippergate” scandal, in which recordings of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son and several of his friends boasting about strippers and hinting at shady business dealings have shaken Israel’s political establishment. Yochi shows off his Hebrew skills, Zack reminds us he’s an optimist, and Jenn enjoys hearing a little bit of Yiddish.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1835m 25s

How expensive eggs helped kick off the biggest Iranian protests in years

On the first Worldly of 2018, Yochi, Jenn, and Zack talk about what the massive protests in Iran say about the future of the country — and about its tense relationship with the US. The protests have demonstrated a remarkable degree of public anger at both the country’s moderate president and its conservative theocratic government, and could give President Trump a new justification for canceling the landmark Iran nuclear deal later this month. On Elsewhere, they look at a new law in Iceland that makes it illegal for companies to pay their male employees more than they pay their female ones. Yochi rallies after a day home with sick toddlers, Zack shows off his deep knowledge of Icelandic feminism, and Jenn asks for a raise.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1829m 21s

“Speak loudly and carry a small stick:” Trump’s foreign policy year in review

Yochi, Jenn, and Zack bid a fond farewell to 2017 by looking at what Donald Trump's first year in office says about his approach to the presidency and how he's likely to handle Iran, North Korea, and China in the future. The biggest takeaway is that Trump's words often have little to do with his actions, and that his threats rarely lead to concrete action. The gulf between Trump's rhetoric and his actual policies has confused the leaders of both US allies and US adversaries, raising the risk of a dangerous miscalculation with a country like North Korea. Jenn ends the year with by deftly using the word "braggadocious," Zack literally phones it in from Canada, and Yochi gives a shoutout to the aid workers risking their lives to make the world a better place.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1840m 37s

The most political Olympics since the Cold War

In a special Olympics-themed episode of Worldly, Yochi, Jenn, and Zack look at how global politics will shape next year’s Winter Olympics in South Korea in a way that hasn’t been seen since the height of the Cold War. The International Olympic Committee has already banned Russia because of a massive doping scandal, and the nuclear standoff with North Korea could make some countries jittery about sending athletes to the games. Add it all together, and you have the potential for an Olympics like no other. Jenn confesses to a passionate love of figure skating, Zack argues for taking the world’s guns and giving them to Olympic biathletes, and Yochi makes the case for why skeleton is the only sport you should watch.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1827m 32s

Trump said Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. Now what?

Yochi, Jenn, and Zack look at President Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a move that breaks with decades of US foreign policy -- and that tells us a lot about how Trump makes decisions and how often his actions don't match his tough-guy rhetoric. When it came to the Jerusalem decision, Trump used the least-inflammatory language possible, paid lip service to restarting peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, and made clear that the US embassy wouldn't be moving to the disputed city anytime soon. On Elsewhere, they look at the International Olympics Committee's decision to ban Russia from next year's Winter Games because of a massive doping scandal that involved Russian spies, high-ranking members of the Russian government, and dozens of Russian athletes. Jenn confesses to collecting USSR propaganda posters, Zack reaches deep into his thesaurus, and Yochi explains why vermouth is the drink of choice for female athletes looking to dope themselves to Olympic glory.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1849m 42s

Rex Tillerson's departure looks imminent as the North Korea crisis heats up

Yochi, Jenn, and special guest Alex Ward talk about President Trump’s apparent decision to fire Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who will go down as arguably the worst secretary of state in American history. Tillerson will leave the department after cutting large numbers of senior diplomats, ignoring many of those who remained, and being part of an administration that has alienated close allies while cozying up to dictators. The question is whether Tillerson’s likely replacement, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, will be any better — particularly since he is a partisan Republican who defends Trump at every turn, routinely lies about US intelligence, and wants to tear up the Iran nuclear deal. They also talk about North Korea’s test of a new ballistic missile capable of reaching the entire mainland US and the grim reality that the US military would almost certainly be unable to shoot down all the missiles North Korea might launch if war broke out. Yochi compares a powerful Republican senator to a robotic giraffe, Jenn expresses her undying love for and knowledge of what she calls “sportsball,” and Alex busts out the term “killer vehicle” — which, it turns out, does not refer to a really sweet sports car.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1854m 5s

The president of the world's most powerful democracy doesn't seem to actually like democracy

Yochi, Zack, and special guest Loren DeJonge Schulman discuss President Trump's trip to Asia, where his warm feelings for foreign autocrats and refusal to discuss human rights abuses raise real questions about whether the leader of the world's biggest democracy actually cares much about democracy. Those concerns are magnified by Trump's ongoing calls for a criminal prosecution of Hillary Clinton, a move usually relegated to banana republics, not the US. On Elsewhere, they turn to one of the strangest US military scandals in memory: growing evidence that members of the elite Seal Team 6 killed an American Special Forces soldier who'd found evidence they were embezzling money. Yochi confesses to being a closet video game addict, Zack shares some strong feelings about Henry Kissinger, and Loren battles a Sudafed-fueled high.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1854m 11s

Saudi Arabia's real-life Game of Thrones

Yochi, Jenn and Zack talk about the shocking purge in Saudi Arabia, where the country's young and ambitious crown prince has abruptly begun arresting his relatives and seizing billions of dollars of their money. The move is a clear sign that 32-year-old Mohammed bin Salman, the heir apparent to the Saudi throne, is consolidating power and eliminating possible rivals. Salman has made some relatively progressive moves, like allowing Saudi women to drive. The problem is that the prince has also escalated Saudi Arabia's bloody war in Yemen and launched a diplomatic crisis with one of its neighbors that shows no signs of stopping. On Elsewhere, they look at how far Chinese leaders have gone to flatter Trump while he visits Beijing, including cannons, dancing Chinese schoolchildren, and a private tour of the Forbidden City. Zack has a hot take about the rulers of Saudi Arabia (hint: he's not a fan), Jenn has business advice for a Saudi hotel, and Yochi nerds out on Game of Thrones. Zack’s article on MBS’ false progressivism Zeeshan’s piece on flattery from world leaders  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1842m 51s

The New York attack reveals ISIS’s plan for survival

Jenn is back, and she joins Yochi and Zack to talk about what the terror attack in New York says about the true ISIS threat to the US. With ISIS on the run in Iraq and Syria, the sad reality is that the group will double down on its efforts to find would-be terrorists who live abroad and are willing to kill in its name. And that means more attacks on American and European cities are inevitable as militants like Sayfullo Saipov study ISIS propaganda and adopt the group's dark worldview. On Elsewhere, they return to Iraqi Kurdistan to look at the political fallout from a catastrophic independence referendum that has now caused the resignation of the most powerful man in northern Iraq. Zack makes a surprising soccer reference, Jenn defends Uzbekistan, and a listener says Yochi sounds like the villain on "Criminal Minds."  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1852m 40s

What were American troops doing in Niger?

Yochi, Zack, and special guest Loren DeJonge Schulman of the great podcast Bombshell talk about the deaths of four US soldiers in Niger in October, a tragedy at the center of a nasty political fight between President Trump and a grieving military widow. They discuss what those troops were doing there, why no one in the military seems to understand how the mission went so wrong, and how America’s military presence in Africa is quietly growing in both size and risk without public debate or much Congressional oversight -- a dynamic that means these won't be the last US troops to die fighting a shadow war in an African nation. On Elsewhere, we try something new — a dispatch from a wind farm in Puerto Rico that Yochi visited earlier this month while looking into the island's decimated power grid.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1845m 41s

What the fight over Kirkuk means for Iraq's future

Yochi, Jenn, and Zack look at why Washington’s two biggest allies in the fight against ISIS are squaring off over the future of Kirkuk, an oil-rich city in northern Iraq. Kurdish fighters took control of Kirkuk three years ago and have held it ever since — until this week, when the Iraqi central government sent troops to take the city back. Now the question is what comes next for both Kirkuk and Iraq as a whole. On Elsewhere, they look at Sebastian Kurz, the 31-year-old Austrian politician who is to become his country’s next chancellor — and the youngest leader in the world. The most interesting thing about Kurz isn’t his age; it’s that he will likely lead a coalition that also includes a far-right party known for its harshly anti-immigration and anti-Muslim policies. That leads to a debate over Zack’s theory that successful political movements require young, attractive leaders — and whether Kurz looks more like one of the Trump children or a character on Mr. Robot.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1848m 6s

Trump's risky, pointless plan to undermine the Iran deal without tearing it up

Jenn, Zack, and special guest Matt Yglesias talk about the Iran nuclear deal and the looming Sunday deadline for President Trump to recertify that Iran is in compliance with the terms of the deal. They discuss why, contrary to the advice of nearly all of his top advisers, Trump is probably not going to recertify, and what that means for the future of the landmark nuclear pact. On Elsewhere, the gang answers questions sent in by listeners on everything from the controversial independence referendum in Spain to their favorite foreign policy books. Jenn seizes control of the hosting chair in a coup, Zack debuts a brand new Groot impression, and Matt offers a scorching hot take on the irony of National Security Adviser HR McMaster appeasing Trump.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1846m 1s

Puerto Rico’s crisis and the curse of American colonialism

Yochi, Jenn, and Zack look at how the Trump administration’s bungled response to the crisis in Puerto Rico reflects the longstanding challenges facing an island that is neither a full US state (with all the benefits that brings) nor a fully independent country (which can more easily ask for, and receive, financial aid). That leaves Puerto Rico in many cases getting the worst of both worlds, with its people paying a heavy price. On Elsewhere, they look at what happens if Secretary of State Rex Tillerson loses his job after reportedly calling Trump a “moron” — and after being publicly humiliated for months by a president he clearly doesn’t respect. Zack takes a brave stand against colonialism, Jenn decides to run for president, and Yochi prepares for the darkness that will descend if Mr. Charisma Rex Tillerson moves on.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1851m 34s

Angela Merkel won Germany’s election. So did the far-right.

Yochi, Jenn, and Zack look at Sunday’s landmark elections in Germany, which were simultaneously reassuring and deeply alarming. German Chancellor Angela Merkel won a fourth term, which means she’ll still have the power to let in refugees, challenge Vladimir Putin, and defend the international order in all the ways President Trump refuses to. At the same time, a far-right German political party known for its bigotry and Islamophobia surged at the polls, a jarring shift for a country with Germany’s dark history. On Elsewhere, they look at Saudi Arabia’s historic decision to allow women to drive, a victory — but only a small one — for the female activists fighting to gain more rights in the deeply conservative country. Jenn manages to squeeze in an obscure Lady Gaga reference, Yochi goes a whole episode without an old age joke, and Zack gives his one-sentence view of the Saudi government (hint: he doesn’t like it).  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1848m 5s

Trump took his America First act to the UN

On a special episode of Worldly, Yochi, Jenn, and Vox defense reporter Alex Ward look at Donald Trump’s big first speech to the UN, where the president said the US would “totally destroy” North Korea if war breaks out and hinted that he’d rip up Washington’s nuclear deal with Tehran. The speech was also notable for what it showed about Trump’s broader belief that every nation should put its own interests first even if the end result is a world that is less stable, and less equitable, than the one we have now.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1838m 35s

Burma was a democratic success story. Now it’s the site of ethnic cleansing.

Yochi, Jenn, and Zack look at the growing human rights catastrophe in Myanmar, where Nobel Peace Prize-winner Aung San Suu Kyi is doing nothing to stop her country's military from mounting a brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing against its Muslim minority. Burma had long been seen as a democratic success story; now it may be edging closer to genocide. On Elsewhere, they look ahead to next week's United Nations General Assembly, where leaders from around the world will snarl traffic in New York while trying to make sense of Donald Trump. Zack issues a heartfelt call for the creation of a world government, Jenn bashes U2, and Yochi recalls a long afternoon of drinking and smoking with the Russian foreign minister.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1856m 34s

Why more sanctions won’t convince North Korea to give up its nukes

Yochi, Jenn, and Zack look at why decades of US economic sanctions haven’t stopped North Korea’s nuclear program — and why the Trump administration’s new ones probably won’t, either. They examine how such a devastatingly poor country has managed to develop an advanced nuclear weapons program, how Kim Jong Un stays so rich while his people starve, and how the country profits by selling illegal mushrooms and building Stalinist statues across Africa. On Elsewhere, they look at why protesters in Germany just threw a tomato at Angela Merkel, Donald Trump’s least favorite European leader (hint: it has to do with Syrian refugees).  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/181h 2m

Why a Mideast peace deal seems further away than ever

Yochi, Jenn, and Zack ease out of the summer with a look at the one of the most complicated, explosive, and genuinely fascinating issues in the world: the decades-long fight between Israel and the Palestinians. They look at Israel’s promise this week to hold onto its West Bank settlements forever, why Donald Trump may have killed the idea of an independent Palestine, and how Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians — and Israel’s harsh responses — have made the chances of a peace deal seem more remote than ever. On Elsewhere, they use political science and international relations theory to evaluate which Game of Thrones character had the most effective strategy for consolidating their power and influence and which one failed most completely. Producer Peter Leonard chimes in with his first-ever hot takes.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/181h 2m

Why Trump doubled down on America’s forever war

Yochi, Jenn, and Zack look at Trump’s decision to send more troops to Afghanistan despite spending years calling for a US withdrawal, why it’s impossible to truly defeat the Taliban, and the sad reality that America’s longest war will now continue well into the future. On Elsewhere, they look at whether the Cuban government used a secret, new sonic weapon against American diplomats in Havana. Zack makes Yochi and Jenn feel like terrible people for finding that very, very funny.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1855m 15s

The Philippines’s popular president is murdering thousands of his own citizens

Zack and Jenn are joined by Worldly’s first guest host, Vox senior reporter Dara Lind, to discuss President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines — an abrasive populist leader whose year-long war on drugs has already killed over 7,000 people. They explore what he's doing, why he's still so popular at home, and what his rise to power can tell us about Donald Trump and populism around the world. For Elsewhere, they look at a bizarre political crisis in Australia that reveals an important truth about immigration.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1848m 16s

Is Kim Jong Un more rational than Donald Trump?

Yochi, Jenn, and Zack discuss whether Kim Jong Un is more rational and easier to predict than Donald Trump, the dangers of having senior administration officials openly contradicting each other on whether the US would actually use force against North Korea, and why decades of academic research about how nuclear-armed countries can avoid war may be falling by the wayside. Elsewhere, they look at the uniquely French debate over whether President Emmanuel Macron’s wife should be formally recognized as the country’s first lady and given her own staff and budget. (Spoiler alert: Most of France seems to hate the idea.)  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1848m 17s

How scared should we be of North Korea's nukes?

On the newest episode of Worldly, Vox.com’s foreign policy podcast, Yochi, Jenn, and Zack talk about how worried we should be about North Korea’s nukes, what it means that one of the most reclusive countries on earth has a missile that can hit the US, and why the Trump administration can’t get on the same page about whether it wants to bomb North Korea or talk to it. On Elsewhere, they look at Putin’s decision to kick hundreds of State Department personnel out of Moscow and whether the Kremlin has any regrets about trying to help Trump win the White House. Zack lets loose with an anti-Lindsay Graham hot take, Jenn busts out the Putin-related pun of the year, and Yochi gets to use the one word of Russian that he knows.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1854m 7s

We’re finding out what happens when no one runs US foreign policy

On the newest episode of Worldly, Vox.com’s foreign policy podcast, Yochi, Jenn, and Zack talk about why President Trump is at war with his own attorney general and national security adviser, what it means when the people that are supposed to keep Trump’s worst instincts in check start heading for the exits, and how Trump’s fears of the Russia probe could lead to an actual national security crisis. On Elsewhere, Jenn and Zack have some strong words for the YouTube-friendly, far-right millennials trying to crowdsource enough money to literally intercept ships carrying desperate migrants to Europe and prevent them from reaching safe harbors.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1852m 44s

Why Trump has stuck with the Iran deal he hates

On this episode of Worldly, Vox.com’s new foreign policy podcast, Yochi Dreazen, Jennifer Williams, and Zack Beauchamp talk about why President Trump won’t rip up the Iran nuclear deal that candidate Trump spent months attacking, what Trump gets right about Iran’s threat to the Middle East and beyond, and why a nuclear arms race in the world’s most dangerous region is a real possibility. They also discuss why China has begun blocking WhatsApp and censoring images of Winnie the Pooh.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1848m 14s

ISIS’s caliphate is falling. Now what?

On the fourth episode of Worldly, Vox.com’s new foreign policy podcast, Yochi Dreazen, Jennifer Williams, and Zack Beauchamp focus on the fight against ISIS, what will happen now that it’s losing its last strongholds in Iraq and Syria, and whether we overestimate the actual threat posed by ISIS and other terrorist groups. They also look into the political chaos in Turkey, where one of Donald Trump’s favorite foreign leaders is steadily changing his country from a democracy to an autocracy. Zack also shows his off amazingly bad Gollum impression.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1853m 41s

What could go wrong when Trump meets Putin? A lot.

On the third episode of Worldly, Vox.com’s new foreign policy podcast, Yochi Dreazen, Jennifer Williams, and Zack Beauchamp dig into the high stakes and high risks surrounding President Trump’s historic first meeting with Vladimir Putin, what each leader will ask for, what each leader is likely to actually get, and why Moscow’s interference in the 2016 elections will go unpunished. They also look at why Venezuela, once a rich and stable country, is becoming a failed state marked by political violence and economic ruin.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1850m 54s

Why North Korea is scary, comical, and horrifying — all at the same time

On the second episode of Worldly, Vox.com’s new foreign policy podcast, Yochi Dreazen, Jennifer Williams, and Zack Beauchamp dig into the tragic case of Otto Warmbier, the US citizen who died after being detained for 17 months in North Korea, and why it's so hard to stop North Korea from doing awful things (be it detaining Americans or expanding their nuclear program). They also look at the religious and political debate over gender segregation at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1848m 48s

The US is getting scarily close to a shooting war with Russia in Syria

On the first episode of Worldly, Vox.com’s new foreign policy podcast, Yochi Dreazen, Jennifer Williams, and Zack Beauchamp dive into the potential for a US-Russia conflict in Syria, the dangers of giving too much power to the Pentagon, and how Trump’s least favorite European leader just got much, much stronger.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/1858m 26s

Introducing: Worldly. Foreign policy wonks, unite!

We live in a confusing time, bombarded every day with news stories 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.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
07/09/181m 5s
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