“Pod Save America” cohost Tommy Vietor thought foreign policy was boring and complicated until he got the education of a lifetime working for President Obama’s National Security Council. On “Pod Save the World,” he and former deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes break down the latest developments and bring you behind the scenes with the people who were there. New episodes every Wednesday.
Don’t Clap For Nazis
Tommy and Ben talk about the foreign policy implications of Senator Menendez’s corruption charges, the Biden administration’s move to grant temporary protected status to Venezuelan migrants and the role of US sanctions in fueling migration, and updates from Ukraine, including attacks on Russia’s Black Sea fleet and Ukraine’s grain supplies. They also discuss Ron DeSantis’s time working at Guantanamo Bay, reports that the U.S. supplied Canada with intelligence about the assassination of a Sikh separatist on Canadian soil, a vetting disaster at the Canadian parliament, Saudi Crown prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Fox News interview, and Rahm Emanuel’s shit posting. Then Ben speaks with Olesya Vartanyan, the Crisis Group’s Senior Analyst for the Caucasus Region, about Azerbaijan’s seizure of Nagorno-Karabakh and the tens of thousands of ethnic Armenians now fleeing their homes.
Canada Accuses India of Assassination
Tommy and Ben talk about Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s accusation that India may have been behind the murder of a Sikh Canadian citizen, the prisoner swap between the U.S. and Iran, the one year anniversary of Mahsa Amini’s death, the United Nations General Assembly and lack of world leaders in attendance, and the latest updates on Russia/Ukraine, including rumors of Ramzan Kadyrov’s death. They also discuss Benjamin Netanyahu’s trip to the US, China’s disappearing public officials, stories about increasing espionage activities between the US and China, a missing F-35, and an Australian man who was fined for taking his pet Python surfing. Then Tommy speaks with Rory Stewart, former British politician and author of the new book, “How Not To Be A Politician”.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken
Tommy and Ben talk about Kim Jong Un’s trip to meet with Vladimir Putin, Viktor Bout’s entrance into local Russian politics, Armenia’s diplomatic shift away from Russia, and a positive development in Nagorno-Kabarakh region. They also dig into an escalation into the economic war between the US and China, allegations about an undercover Chinese spy in the UK parliament, Biden’s trip the Vietnam and political value of foreign trips, Mexico’s future female president, the resignation of Spain’s head soccer official, a Florida man trying to cross the Atlantic in a hamster wheel and a red wine flood. Then US Secretary of State Antony Blinken joins to discuss the war in Ukraine, the G20, a reported Saudi Arabia-Israel normalization deal and more.
Kim Jong Un and Putin’s Budding Bromance
Ben and guest host Max Fisher talk about the latest headlines on the Russia/Ukraine war, including Putin’s refusal to sign a new grain deal with Turkey’s Erdogan, a rumored visit by Kim Jong Un, more drones in Russian airspace, and a rise in pro-Russian disinformation in Europe. They also discuss the rise in military coups in Africa, the G20 in India, including calls for India to change its name, tensions with China, Biden’s potential meeting with MBS, and upcoming trip to Vietnam. Then, they dig into China’s economic slowdown. Finally, Ben is joined by Janti Soeripto, President and CEO of Save the Children, to discuss the organization’s work in Ukraine and how children in the country are gearing up to go back to school despite the conflict.
Spain’s #MeToo moment?
Ben and Tommy talk about the fallout after Spain’s head soccer official kissed star player Jennifer Hermoso, BRICS announcing the addition of six countries, Donald Trump’s musings on the Panama Canal, and a report that the US was aware of Saudi Arabia’s torture and killing of African migrants. They also discuss France’s ban on students wearing the Abaya in schools, former French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s memoir and defense of Russia, Zimbabwe’s disputed election, far right Israeli politician Ben-Gvir’s racist statement, and India’s lunar landing. Then Ben is joined by Joshua Yaffa, contributing writer for The New Yorker, to discuss his profile of Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin and what his rise and fall tell us about Russia.
Wagner Leader Prigozhin Killed?
In a special episode, Tommy and Ben talk about the developing story of the alleged deaths of Wagner Group leaders Yevgeny Prigozhin and Dmitry Utkin in a plane crash not far from Moscow. All ten people on the private plane were killed and Russian state news agencies reported that both men were on the passenger list – however, there hasn’t yet been confirmation they were onboard. From speculation about air defense missiles shooting down the plane, to claims that Prigozhin was on a different aircraft, Ben and Tommy analyze what this could mean for Wagner forces around the world, Putin’s inner circle, and more.
Staying Sharp and Feeling Hopeful
Pod Save the World saves my sanity on a weekly basis. Not only do I stay current on the issues facing the world, I’m reminded of all the really smart, talented, hard working people working every day to solve the problems on a global level. As opposed to feeling despondent in the face of hard issues, I walk away from every episode smarter and more hopeful.
If anyone can help steer our country toward a more moral and sane foreign policy it is these guys.
This is my go-to pod to stay up to date on world issues. Tommy and Ben bring a clarity to the news that is truly exceptional. I love how they speak about the events going on, always with compassion, and highlight the humanity in every story.