Author: Vox

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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.
114 Episodes



Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss the recently deceased Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty — a Cold War-era agreement that was supposed to stop the US and Russia from putting destabilizing missiles too close to each other. They explain where the treaty came from, why it mattered, and why Trump pulled out of it — and cap it off with a discussion of whether the treaty’s demise was a good thing or not. Zack does his best (worst?) Yaakov Smirnoff impression, Jenn breaks down the song “99 Red Balloons” at length, and Alex laughs at Mikhail Gorbachev’s jokes.Alex’s recent INF treaty explainerUS President Reagan and Soviet leader Gorbachev sign the INF in 1987Here’s the full text of the treaty if you want to read it yourself.The Worldly hosts prefer this cover of “99 Red Balloons” by Goldfinger, but their producer Byrd maintains that the Nena version is best. Editorial director Liz Nelson, meanwhile, recommends this version from the punk band 7 Seconds.Zack mentioned that there were several times we came close to nuclear war thanks to misinterpretations or accidents. If you want to know even more, we recommend reading the chilling book Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety.Here’s more background on the Obama administration’s policy toward the INF treaty and Russia’s apparent violation of it. And here’s then-US Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats in November 2018 laying out the evidence the intelligence community has showing that Russia violated the terms of the treaty.Oh, and here’s Russia’s government denying it did so, and instead accusing the US of having violated the treaty.Also, more on the “missile gap”Here is a smart op-ed laying out the case for pulling out of the treaty and building more of these missiles, and here’s a smart op-ed laying out the case against pulling out of the treaty.Here’s some more background on National Security Adviser John Bolton’s well-known loathing of arms control agreements.  And we mentioned that China recently warned the US that it would take unspecified “countermeasures” if the US were to deploy these missiles near China.
Zack, Jenn, and Alex talk about India’s decision to revoke Article 370 of its constitution, the provision giving special status to the majority-Muslim state of Jammu and Kashmir, a decision that has sparked a political crisis with Pakistan. The Worldly team explains why Kashmiri autonomy is so sensitive, the ideological reasons why Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose to do something so destabilizing and provocative, and what this could mean for the always-volatile India-Pakistan relationship.Alex has an explainer about India’s Kashmir power grab.The New Yorker has a good piece on the India-Pakistan partition.Vox also has an explainer on the violence between Pakistan and India earlier this year.A part of Article 370 of India’s constitution reads: “[T]he President may, by public notification, declare that this article shall cease to be operative or shall be operative only with such exceptions and modifications and from such date as he may specify.”India’s home minister said Modi’s government would give Jammu and Kashmir its statehood back once normalcy returned to the area, but also that Modi’s government still lays claim to Pakistan’s part of Kashmir.People, including Pakistan’s prime minister, are afraid there will be ethnic cleansing. Pakistan’s army chief said his nation would “go to any extent” to protect Kashmir’s residents, and Imran Khan, the prime minister, warned that a fight could break out.
Zack, Jenn, and Alex break down the tension between the US and one of its major NATO allies, Turkey. The most recent fight is over Turkey’s purchase of a Russian missile system, but that’s emblematic of a much deeper rift relating to the Turkish government’s drift towards authoritarianism and the two ally’s diametrically opposed policies in Syria. They also then venture some guesses about whether this could get better — but since this is Worldly, you probably know where our hosts are going to come down on that.Links!Alex explains the background on the S-400 missile situation.Turkey’s bid to join NATO was approved in 1951 (though it was technically effective in 1952).Here’s a diplomatic cable from 1964 on how the Johnson administration’s handling of Cyprus shaped the US-Turkey relationship (wasn’t good!)Alex’s piece also has a good short explanation on Gulf War tensions between the US and Turkey.Here’s a Zack piece on the complicated US-Turkey-Kurdish tensions in Syria.And another Zack piece on Turkey’s conflict with Kurdish separatists inside its borders.Pastor Andrew Brunson, explained.And here’s some solid background on how Turkey and Russia are growing closer.
Land of the Giants is a new podcast from Recode and the Vox Media Podcast Network about the five major technology companies (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google – or “FAANG”) that have reshaped our world. Each season focuses on one of the giants and explores the ways that it’s changed our lives – for better and for worse. The first season is about The Rise of Amazon and is hosted by Recode’s Jason Del Rey. Enjoy this special preview of the first episode, Why You’ll Never Quit Amazon Prime, and subscribe to Land of the Giants for free in your favorite podcast app to hear the rest of the episode and to get new episodes automatically.
Boris and Brexit

Boris and Brexit


Zack and Jenn are joined by Jen Kirby, Vox’s chief Brexit correspondent, to discuss the UK’s new prime minister: Boris Johnson. They trace his rise to power, his political persona that is both funny and troubling, and his distinct lack of political conviction. They also discuss why we should be skeptical that Johnson can make a Brexit deal by October 31, as he’s suggested he would — and what could happen if he doesn’t.Here’s Boris, explained. And Boris explained, again, just in a lot fewer words.In the Guardian, Jennifer Rankin and Jim Waterson examine the impact of Johnson’s journalism.Jenn Williams explains Johnson’s offensive comments.The Guardian describes the zipline malfunction seen ’round the world. Jen Kirby writes on how Brexit finally brought Theresa May down.The future of Brexit under Boris ... maybe.Boris Johnson says Britain’s can-do spirit can solve Brexit, in the Daily Telegraph.
Meet the Space Force

Meet the Space Force


Alex Ward joins The Weeds' Jane Coaston  and Matt Yglesias to explain Trump's more-tedious-than-it-sounds plan for military domination of the final frontier.Recommended reading:“Trump really, really wants troops in space” by Alex Ward“Trump wants a ‘Space Force.’ We have many questions.” by Alex Ward“Trump’s call for a Space Force, explained” by Alex Ward
Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss the saga of Kim Darroch, the recently-resigned UK Ambassador to the US. Some of Darroch’s private cables back home, where he referred to President Trump as “inept” (among other things), were leaked and published in a British tabloid — leading to a sequence of events that led to Darroch’s resignation and reveals quite a lot about Britain’s post-Brexit standing in the world and the US-UK relationship. For elsewhere, they discuss the Women’s World Cup — why some countries are much better than others at women’s soccer and the surprisingly deep socio-political reasons that the US is particularly dominant.References!Here’s the Daily Mail’s piece on the leaked cables.The Atlantic has a good piece on how Boris Johnson effectively sank Kim Darroch’s chances of keeping his job.This is the “Love Actually” scene Alex talked about.Yes, a British parliamentarian called Johnson Trump’s poodle in a tweetWikiLeaks has already released thousands of diplomatic cablesPolitical science shows more equality for women leads to better soccer teamsThe University of Rochester explains Title IXThe US has the best infrastructure to nurture women’s soccer than anywhere in the worldHere’s the Buzzfeed piece Jenn noted about young girls inspired by the US women’s national teamOur sister podcast -- Today, Explained -- did an entire episode on the equal pay issue
Under pressure (Live!)

Under pressure (Live!)


The long-awaited Worldly live episode is here! In a taping at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Zack, Alex, and Jenn discuss the notion of “maximum pressure” — a phrase coined to describe Trump’s North Korea policy that has turned out to describe the closest thing we have to a Trump doctrine. They discuss what “maximum pressure” is, how effective (or not) it’s been, and which countries Trump has used it on. They also have a great time at the taping — well, Jenn and Zack do, because they make fun of Alex a whole lot.
It’s a Democratic debate special! Zack, Jenn, and Alex break down the big foreign policy issue dividing the candidates: whether the liberal international order the United States set up after World War II is working, and what reforms are necessary if it isn’t. They examine the views of four leading candidates — Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren — and analyze a really revealing exchange from Wednesday night’s debate.Here’s Alex’s piece describing the ideological split among 2020 Democrats.You can watch Biden’s speech here……and Buttigieg’s here…...and Warren’s here…...and Sanders’s here.Zack’s beef with Bernie Sanders’s 2016 positions on trade.Vox explained the debate’s winners and losers.The Pentagon released the names of the two deceased soldiers.Zack has an explainer on Tulsi Gabbard’s fake pacifism.
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 IranAlex has an explainer on the entire US-Iran standoffThe Council on Foreign Relations has a detailed explainer on the Strait of HormuzSee the video and pictures of the oil tanker attacks released by the US militaryBoth Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel say it looks as though Iran is behind the oil tanker attackJapan’s government won’t say Iran is responsible, even though a Japanese company owned one of the damaged vesselsThis Vox video explains the Iran nuclear deal in three minutesHere’s Alex again on the US sending 1,000 troops to the Middle EastYes, John Bolton has called for regime change in Iran 
Comments (1)

Fee Leakey

Wow, I usually love the duality of perspectives on your show but today... seemed so one sided and without the usual amount of research? You guys are awesome, but today was less than your greatest feat...

May 30th
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