197 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
    • 4.9 • 8 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.

    America is finally leaving Afghanistan

    America is finally leaving Afghanistan

    Zack, Jenn, and Alex talk about President Joe Biden’s announcement that all remaining US troops will withdraw from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021 — the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that launched the war. They discuss what the US withdrawal means for the near-term future of Afghanistan, why Biden finally made the tough call that his predecessors couldn’t (or wouldn’t), and what that decision tells us about how Biden sees the future of US military engagement abroad.

    References:

    Here’s Alex’s Vox story on Biden’s announcement to withdraw all US troops by September 11.

    Alex interviewed experts making the best case for and against an Afghanistan withdrawal.

    Biden’s Afghanistan withdrawal speech is on the White House’s website.

    The Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security ranked Afghanistan as the second-worst country for women.

    The BBC reports that the Taliban is already claiming it won the war.

    The Wall Street Journal reported how the US is looking to other countries to base its counterterrorism forces.

    Here’s the story by the Daily Beast’s Spencer Ackerman on how Biden defended the war on terrorism.

    Hosts:
    Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox
    Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, Vox
    Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox), White House 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

    • 54 min
    Jordan’s royal family feud

    Jordan’s royal family feud

    Zack, Jenn, and Alex break down the royal drama that has roiled the normally quiet kingdom of Jordan this week: The king has accused his half-brother, the former crown prince, of a vague conspiracy against the crown and has put him under house arrest. The Worldly crew lays out what we actually know about what happened, what led to this family tension spilling out into the open, what political instability in Jordan could mean for the broader Middle East, and whether the Biden administration is betraying its stated commitment to defend democracy and human rights by unequivocally backing the king in this dispute. Also, Zack sings.

    References:

    Alex wrote Vox’s explainer on the royal family feud.

    This is the audio of Prince Hamzah and the Jordanian general talking that Jenn mentioned.

    The New York Times has a good piece on the roots of the King Abdullah and Prince Hamzah split.

    You can watch Hamzah’s self-filmed video sent to the BBC, well, on the BBC.

    The White House had a readout of President Biden’s call with Abdullah.

    Biden told Abdullah to “stay strong.”

    Hosts:
    Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox
    Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, Vox
    Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox), White House 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

    • 42 min
    Is Myanmar heading for civil war?

    Is Myanmar heading for civil war?

    Zack, Alex, and returning guest Jen Kirby talk about the potential for a “bloodbath” in Myanmar. Since the military deposed the democratic government in a February 1 coup, pro-democracy protesters and armed ethnic groups have risen up against the junta. They’ve been met with extreme violence, leading to more than 500 dead and concerns from experts that a broader civil war is coming. The Worldly crew explains how this horrible situation came to be, what may come next, and what — if anything — the international community can do to stop a Syria-like crisis.

    References:

    The Associated Press has a good story on the air campaign against the Karen ethnic group.

    Reuters describes the struggle of pro-democracy protesters and ethnic groups against Myanmar’s military junta.

    Some experts think Myanmar is on the verge of becoming a “failed state,” per CNBC.

    The RAND think tank has a long study on how insurgencies end.

    Expert Ashley South has a report on the Karen and their long conflict against Myanmar’s government.

    Here’s the Mother Jones interview with a pro-democracy protester Zack mentioned.

    And here’s Vox’s explainer on the Myanmar coup.

    Hosts:
    Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox
    Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, Vox
    Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox), White House 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

    • 42 min
    Your questions about the world, answered

    Your questions about the world, answered

    In a very special Worldly episode, Zack, Jenn, and Alex answer YOUR questions! From the many great listener questions sent in over the last several weeks, the gang picked four to answer in this week’s episode: What is “the Quad” and how does it fit into geopolitics in the Indo-Pacific; what’s driving migration to the US from Central America; why Imperial Japan’s use of Korean forced labor and “comfort women” in the 1930s and ’40s continues to complicate relations between Japan and South Korea today; and how to go about explaining world affairs topics to folks who don’t have a deep background in these subjects.

    References:

    Alex wrote an explainer on “the Quad.”

    Vox has a piece on the hurricane’s effects in Central America.

    Here’s Jen Kirby’s story about a better US policy for the Golden Triangle.

    This is the Washington Post analysis on the situation at the border.

    Deutsche Welle has a smart explainer on the forced labor issue on the Korean Peninsula.

    The Asahi Shimbun has a report on the Japanese firms facing a wartime damages suit.

    Hosts:
    Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox
    Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, Vox
    Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox), White House 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

    • 51 min
    Europe’s vaccine disaster

    Europe’s vaccine disaster

    Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss the raft of problems stymying Europe’s vaccine rollout, which has been slower and messier than expected, given some of the earlier successes the continent had controlling infection rates. They talk about why some countries decided to pause administering the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and how the EU’s decision to negotiate for vaccines as a bloc, rather than as individual countries, slowed down the rollout and exacerbated tensions between some of the wealthier and less-wealthy countries in the bloc. They also discuss what all of this turmoil might mean for the future of the EU as a political institution.

    References:

    Politico Europe has a great piece on how the EU fell behind on vaccines.

    Yes, Germany was let off the hook after it tried to make a side vaccine deal.

    The Washington Post noted that the EU pays less than the US for vaccines.

    Here’s the survey showing Europe is the most vaccine-skeptical region of the world.

    The New York Times reported politics may have played a bigger role in the AstraZeneca vaccine freeze than science.

    This is the Science magazine piece Jenn mentioned about the blood clots.

    The Washington Post reported that Europe may be headed into a third coronavirus wave.

    The Atlantic has a smart piece on France’s vaccine skepticism.

    Hosts:
    Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox
    Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, Vox
    Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox), White House 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

    • 55 min
    The Trump of the Tropics vs. the Bernie of Brazil

    The Trump of the Tropics vs. the Bernie of Brazil

    Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss the huge news out of Brazil this week, where a judge annulled the corruption conviction of the country’s former leftist president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, opening the door for him to possibly run for president in 2022. The gang talks about what Lula was accused of, the debate about whether the case was fairly prosecuted, why Lula is revered by many of the country’s poor but loathed by its conservative elites, and how his return to the political scene could set the stage for a fiery election contest against the country’s current president, the far-right Jair Bolsonaro.

    References:

    Two Vox videos, one on Operation Car Wash and the other on Bolsonaro’s rise, provide great context.

    Back when it happened, Zack explained Operation Car Wash for Vox.

    Here’s Lula’s recent interview with The Ink where he discusses his, uh, vigor.

    The Intercept Brazil showed Sergio Moro’s connections to the prosecution during Operation Car Wash.

    Voice of America offered a good rundown of the case against Lula.

    Reuters covered Lula’s “stump speech” that has many speculating about his 2022 plans.

    Bolsonaro’s messaging on Covid-19 has been disastrous, BBC News reported.

    The stats Jenn cited about Lula’s approval rating after he left office came from El País.

    Hosts:
    Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox
    Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, Vox
    Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox), White House 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

    • 46 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
8 Ratings

8 Ratings

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Great podcast to understand the world

This is a great podcast to understand the world and trigger analytical thinking about politics and world affairs.

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