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Rank #36 in Politics category

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News Commentary
Politics

Worldly

Updated 5 days ago

Rank #36 in Politics category

News
News Commentary
Politics
Read more

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.

Read more

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.

iTunes Ratings

1280 Ratings
Average Ratings
924
154
78
58
66

Lots to like, even more potential

By Alex12$@ - Nov 01 2019
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I’ve listened as the show went through a variety of formats and hosts, and though it all Worldly has delivered insightful takes from journalists and experts who bring immense empathy and knowledge to their work. I did not like the shorter format or shows that tried to cover several complex topics. Lots of news groups provide decent coverage of events and immediate implications, but we go to Vox media for a deeper analysis. I appreciate the recent shift back to a longer show.

Trump Italy Australia

By Jena265 - Oct 06 2019
Read more
Excellent episode. Americans should be frightened.

iTunes Ratings

1280 Ratings
Average Ratings
924
154
78
58
66

Lots to like, even more potential

By Alex12$@ - Nov 01 2019
Read more
I’ve listened as the show went through a variety of formats and hosts, and though it all Worldly has delivered insightful takes from journalists and experts who bring immense empathy and knowledge to their work. I did not like the shorter format or shows that tried to cover several complex topics. Lots of news groups provide decent coverage of events and immediate implications, but we go to Vox media for a deeper analysis. I appreciate the recent shift back to a longer show.

Trump Italy Australia

By Jena265 - Oct 06 2019
Read more
Excellent episode. Americans should be frightened.
Cover image of Worldly

Worldly

Updated 5 days ago

Read more

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.

Rank #1: The ideology behind the Toronto terror attack, explained

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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 

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Apr 26 2018

32mins

Play

Rank #2: The promise and peril of Trump’s North Korea meeting

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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! 

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Apr 19 2018

26mins

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Rank #3: One of the world’s worst dictators is facing an uprising

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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. 

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Jan 10 2019

22mins

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Rank #4: Rep. Ro Khanna’s vision for a new, “progressive” foreign policy

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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

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Oct 10 2019

28mins

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Rank #5: Trump’s intelligence failure

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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.

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Jan 31 2019

22mins

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Rank #6: ISIS’s caliphate is falling. Now what?

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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. 

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Jul 13 2017

53mins

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Rank #7: Venezuela has two presidents

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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. 

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Jan 24 2019

25mins

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Rank #8: How close are we to war with Iran?

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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 

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Jun 20 2019

22mins

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Rank #9: Bollocks to Brexit

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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

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Jan 17 2019

22mins

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Rank #10: The art of trade war

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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.

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May 16 2019

23mins

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Rank #11: The Trump-Fox News-white nationalist feedback loop

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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. 

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Aug 23 2018

22mins

Play

Rank #12: How Italy, Australia, and Britain got dragged into the Ukraine scandal

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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

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Oct 03 2019

31mins

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Rank #13: A man, a plan, Iran

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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. 

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Aug 02 2018

25mins

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Rank #14: Brexit’s biggest hurdle: Ireland

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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! 

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Feb 14 2019

26mins

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Rank #15: The whistleblower complaint: a close read

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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

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Sep 26 2019

21mins

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Rank #16: Saudi Arabia's real-life Game of Thrones

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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 

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Nov 09 2017

42mins

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Rank #17: The looming Brexit catastrophe

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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. 

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Sep 27 2018

23mins

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Rank #18: Trump said Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. Now what?

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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. 

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Dec 07 2017

49mins

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Rank #19: Is Kim Jong Un more rational than Donald Trump?

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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.) 

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Aug 10 2017

48mins

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Rank #20: Deal or no deal

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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. 

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Aug 30 2018

28mins

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