175 episodes

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.

Worldly Vox

    • Politics
    • 5.0 • 2 Ratings

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.

    American democracy, hacked

    American democracy, hacked

    Zack, Jenn, and Alex put the upcoming American elections in global context. They explain why long polling lines and gerrymandered districts are very much not the norm among advanced democracies and how other countries avoid them. Then they dissect the latest news about Russian, Iranian, and other foreign interference in the 2020 election — and debate whether it even matters anymore.

    References:

    Here’s Alex’s piece for Vox on how other countries do elections better.
    And Jen Kirby wrote for Vox on what US intelligence leaders said yesterday about Russia’s and Iran’s interference efforts.
    BBC News explains why it can be hard to vote in America.
    NBC News reported on how China is adopting interference techniques the Russians have been using.
    In August, a top US intelligence official said China, Russia, and Iran were interfering in the 2020 election for differing reasons.
    CyberScoop reported that North Korea, Cuba, and Saudi Arabia also aim to sway the vote.
    The US Justice Department charged Russians with interfering in the elections this week.

    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 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

    • 47 min
    Nigeria’s bad cop ring, Thailand’s playboy king

    Nigeria’s bad cop ring, Thailand’s playboy king

    Zack, Jenn, and Alex talk about two huge ongoing protest movements: demonstrations against police violence in Nigeria and against monarchical privilege in Thailand. The team breaks down the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), the violent police unit at the heart of the Nigerian protests, and talk about the problems with policing in that country in general and in international context. Then they discuss the student-led protests in Thailand — kicked off by authoritarian repression in the name of Thailand’s very strange king — and put it context of the general struggle for democracy in the Southeast Asian country.

    References:
    Deutsche Welle has a great video on Nigeria’s protests.
    One of the big problems with SARS is that its officers don’t get paid much.
    Multiple academic studies point to the lack of community policing as a major problem in Nigeria.
    The Conversation has a smart piece on why ending SARS won’t lead to much better policing in Nigeria.
    Here’s that Charles Tilley study Zack mentioned.
    Amnesty International has a report detailing alleged human rights abuses by SARS.
    New Mandala explains the 10 demands Thai protesters have of their government.
    Vox profiles Thailand’s playboy king.
    The BBC has helpful information on how the protests got started.
    A Thai professor explains to Bloomberg what makes these Thai protests so different.

    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 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

    • 45 min
    The Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict

    The Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict

    Zack, Jenn, and Alex explain the fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh — a contested region inside Azerbaijani borders but populated largely by ethnic Armenians. They break down the Soviet-era origins of the conflict, discuss why the fighting has flared up in a particularly scary way this summer and fall, and then zoom out to the role that major powers like Russia and Turkey play.

    References:
    Alex wrote an explainer for Vox on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
    Also check out Politico’s explainer on the issue.
    The Guardian reported on how half of Nagorno-Karabakh’s population has already been displaced.
    The OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs plan to meet to discuss an end to the fighting.
    Meduza has some helpful history that clears up why this conflict has lasted for so long.

    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 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

    • 38 min
    India vs. Amnesty International

    India vs. Amnesty International

    Zack, Jenn, and Alex talk about Amnesty International’s decision to suspend operations in India — the only other country in which the human rights watchdog has done so besides Russia. They explain the pressure campaign from the Indian government, centering on an obscure anti-money laundering law, that forced Amnesty into this move and talk about the broader context of democratic decline under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Then they zoom out to put this in global context, connecting India’s war on NGOs to developments in other backsliding democracies (or fully backslid ones) like Israel, Hungary, and the United States.

    References:

    Here’s the Indian government’s statement on the whole issue, and here’s Amnesty’s.
    This is Amnesty’s report on the Delhi riots.
    India’s Print has a great explainer on the FCRA and what it means for NGOs.
    The UN condemned the FCRA in 2016.
    Amnesty’s Rajat Khosla explained why Amnesty’s work is important for India in the Guardian.
    As Jenn mentioned, Russia has also targeted NGOs.

    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 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

    • 44 min
    Is Trump bringing peace to the Middle East?

    Is Trump bringing peace to the Middle East?

    Zack, Jenn, and Alex break down the “peace deals” between Israel and two Gulf states, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. They explain what’s in the agreements, how they happened, and why Trump is using the agreements to sell himself as a peacemaker. Then they zoom out and explain what the agreements tell us about Middle Eastern geopolitics — and whether they’re likely to make things better or worse in the region.

    References:
    You can read the official documents of both normalization deals here.
    Vox has articles on the Israel normalization deals with Bahrain and the UAE.
    Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley write in Politico their hope that the deals lead to a better Middle East future.
    These articles in Tablet Magazine and the Washington Post tackle, from different angles, how the normalization deals show that previous assumptions about Middle East politics were wrong.
    Roger Cohen of the New York Times thinks the normalization process is a “mirage.”
    Palestine quit its leading role in the Arab League over the Israel deals.

    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
     
    Survey:
    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: voxmedia.com/podsurvey.
     
    More to explore:
    Subscribe for free to Today, Explained, Vox’s daily 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

    • 52 min
    The new politics of energy (ft. Daniel Yergin)

    The new politics of energy (ft. Daniel Yergin)

    Zack, Jenn, and Alex are joined by a special guest — eminent energy politics expert Daniel Yergin — to talk about the way that the shale revolution and rise of renewables are changing global politics. In the first half, the hosts discuss the big picture: America’s shift from a net importer to a net exporter of energy, among other things, has made the Middle Eastern oil cartel far less central to global politics than it once was. In the second half, Alex talks with Yergin about his new book on this subject, The New Map, and drills down (pun intended) on what all of this means for 21st-century geopolitics.

    References:
    You find Daniel Yergin’s book The New Map here, and his essay version of the book at the Wall Street Journal. 
    NPR has a good primer on America’s energy boom.
    The Washington Post explains why Joe Biden pledged not to ban fracking.
    You can find all of Vox’s climate change coverage 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
     
    Survey:
    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: voxmedia.com/podsurvey.
     
    More to explore:
    Subscribe for free to Today, Explained, Vox’s daily 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

    • 55 min

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