159 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
    • 3.3, 3 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.

    Is Trump letting Putin get away with murder?

    Is Trump letting Putin get away with murder?

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

    References:
    Zack has a really great explainer on the entire scandal 

    Here’s a collection of some of the key New York Times reports on the story: the first story they broke; the story about the data on financial transfers from a bank account linked to Russia’s GRU to a Taliban-linked account; and the story about the Afghan businessman alleged to have been the intermediary in the Russian scheme.

    Here’s Trump’s tweet calling this all a “Fake News Media Hoax” nearly a week after the news first broke

    This is the AP piece reporting that Trump’s former National Security Adviser John Bolton personally briefed Trump on the intelligence in March 2019

    And this is the New York Times report in which an intelligence official says the information was specifically included in Trump’s February 27 President’s Daily Brief

    Here’s more about one of the attacks on US forces in Afghanistan, outside Bagram Air Base, that is reportedly being investigated in connection with the Russian bounty scheme 

    This is a New York Times piece from May 2020 about how hard it is to get Trump to pay attention to and absorb the information he’s being given in his intelligence briefings, based on interviews with 10 current and former intelligence officials

    And here’s a Politico report that talks about how White House officials particularly don’t enjoy having to brief Trump on Russia-related issues because of his negative reactions when they do: 

    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.
     
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    • 44 min
    North Korea blows up the peace process — literally

    North Korea blows up the peace process — literally

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

    References:

    The New York Times has a great write-up for North Korea’s hot and cold strategy.

    Zack wrote for Vox that the US should contain North Korea’s nuclear program, not seek to end it.

    Alex did an interview with Kim Jong Un biographer Anna Fifield about what makes him tick.

    If you want to learn more about North Korea, here are your main nine questions, answered.

    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

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

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

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

    References:

    Here are the three main write-ups of Bolton’s book in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and Washington Post.

    This is Bolton’s other book Alex mentioned.

    Vox’s Jen Kirby has a helpful explainer on the Uighur issue.

    Kirby also has a great piece on the seven most disturbing allegations in Bolton’s new book.

    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

    • 41 min
    The statues are coming down

    The statues are coming down

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

    References:

    This is a good brief explainer on the Edward Colston statue coming down in the UK and his role in Bristol’s history: https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/07/europe/edward-colston-statue-bristol/index.html

    Here’s the Museums of Bristol website describing Colston as “revered philanthropist / reviled slave trader”: https://museums.bristol.gov.uk/narratives.php?irn=2374

    This is a good New York Times piece about the Leopold II statue in Antwerp, Belgium, coming down: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/09/world/europe/king-leopold-statue-antwerp.html

    The book King Leopold’s Ghost goes deep into King Leopold II’s brutal exploitation of the Congo.

    Jenn mentioned Sarah Wildman’s piece for Vox about how Germany has dealt with its past, which discusses the stolpersteine cobblestones and the Topography of Terror memorial: https://www.vox.com/world/2017/8/16/16152088/nazi-swastikas-germany-charlottesville

    Here’s a good piece about Belgium’s colonial-era human zoo and the museum where it once stood: https://www.npr.org/2018/09/26/649600217/where-human-zoos-once-stood-a-belgian-museum-now-faces-its-colonial-past

    This is a good look at the comfort women statues in South Korea and Japan’s reaction to them: https://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2017/11/13/563838610/comfort-woman-memorial-statues-a-thorn-in-japans-side-now-sit-on-korean-buses

    And here’s Belgian soccer player Romelu Lukaku discussing his experience in his own words: https://www.theplayerstribune.com/en-us/articles/romelu-lukaku-ive-got-some-things-to-say

    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

    • 39 min
    How the world sees the George Floyd protests

    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.

    CORRECTION: We misstated the Canadian city that saw a recent police crackdown against protesters. That occurred in Montreal. We regret the error.

    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

    • 34 min
    A Very British Scandal

    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

    • 38 min

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5
3 Ratings

3 Ratings

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