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Worldly

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.

140 Episodes
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Zack, Jenn, and Alex break down the 2020 Democratic field’s positions on foreign policy — which were weirdly under-discussed in the most recent debate. They set up a spectrum, with Bloomberg on the (far) right flank and Bernie on the left, situate the other candidates along this line, and discuss the things that distinguish each candidate on the issues. Zack comes out as a free trader, Jenn heaps love on Biden’s detailed foreign policy answers, and Alex gets feisty. References: Alex wrote about the foreign policy splits among the frontrunners, as well as Buttigieg dodging questions. Here are the Council on Foreign Relations and New York Times foreign policy surveys. Alex conducted foreign policy interviews with Tom Steyer and Julián Castro. Biden has some explaining to do on his Iraq War stance, as does Bloomberg. Hosts: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, 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  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Zack and Alex talk about the politics of the coronavirus outbreak in China — why the Chinese government botched the initial response, why Chinese citizens are so angry about it, and the reasons why the problems with this response are inherent to the current Chinese governance model. They then debate the claim from many analysts that this is the most serious crisis for China’s regime since the 1989 Tiananmen Square uprising — and the (low) probability that this could trigger another revolution-minded uprising. References: Our colleague Julia Belluz has you covered on the coronavirus. Read her work here, here, and here. Read the nice things Chinese people have said about the late Li Wenliang after his death. Here’s the full clip of Bill Bishop speaking on coronavirus’ impact on China. Zack read an academic paper on the show on “symbolic legitimacy” and China.  This piece in the Guardian titled “If China valued free speech, there would be no coronavirus crisis” is worth your time. Hosts: 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  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Mini. Nuclear. Weapons.

Mini. Nuclear. Weapons.

2020-02-0600:44:262

Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss the Trump administration’s decision to put a mini nuclear weapon on a US submarine for the first time. They explain what a mini-nuke actually is, the reasons for this decision, the cases for and against doing it, and how to think about the future of nuclear weapons policy in a world of renewed great power politics and weakening arms control agreements. Zack confesses his fascination with pre-modern warfare, Jenn coins a Ringo Starr theory of nuclear policy, and Alex describes himself as an “end of the world enthusiast.” References: This is a really great summary of the debate on putting mini-nukes on submarines. Here’s a link to the Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review. Zack talked about Vipin Narang’s War on the Rocks piece on the discrimination problem when using low-yield nukes. Alex discussed Russia’s “escalate to de-escalate” strategy. Jenn mentioned the idea of a “nuclear taboo” and also referenced the book Thinking about the Unthinkable.  Here’s a link to the “mineshaft gap” scene in Dr. Strangelove. Alex broke the story about the Trump administration’s new landmine policy, and also wrote a great (and terrifying) feature on how nuclear war could kill us all. Hosts: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, 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  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Zack, Jenn, and Alex are joined by the Middle East Institute’s Khaled Elgindy to discuss the Trump administration’s new Israel-Palestine peace plan. They break down what’s actually in the proposal, the ways in which its provisions are profoundly skewed toward the Israeli side, and how it could change the reality for both sides even if its provisions are never implemented. References: Here’s a link to our special guest Khaled Elgindy’s excellent book Blind Spot: America and the Palestinians, from Balfour to Trump. You can read Alex’s explainer on the peace plan and his Q&A on what the Palestinians are likely to do now. Here’s Zack’s piece arguing the peace deal is a con. This is the Washington Post op-ed Zack read from in the episode. Hosts: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias), 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  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Hacking Jeff Bezos

Hacking Jeff Bezos

2020-01-2300:42:582

Zack and Alex are joined by Weeds cohost Matt Yglesias to talk about the Saudi crown prince’s seemingly brazen hack of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos — by personally texting him a video that cybersecurity experts think contained advanced spyware. They explain the evidence that the Saudis are responsible (despite their denials), try to explore why Mohammed bin Salman would do something so obviously inflammatory, and suss out the implications for the future of the US-Saudi alliance. References: Here’s the UN report on the Bezos hack and FTI Consulting’s technical analysis of Bezos’s phone. Vox’s Sara Morrison notes that the Bezos hack could happen to anyone. Vox’s Jen Kirby also wrote up the Bezos news when it broke. Hosts: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias), 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  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Zack, Jenn, and Alex talk about the recent resignation of Russia’s entire government — yes, you read that right. Guest Andrea Kendall-Taylor, a Russia expert at the Center for a New American Security, helps the team get a hold on what Putin’s play is: how he’s reorganizing the government to prepare for his own departure from the presidency, and what this means in the big picture for Russia’s future. They also talk about one of Zack’s weird dreams and the proper way to cook brussels sprouts. References: Check out our special guest Andrea Kendall-Taylor’s podcast “Brussels Sprouts,” her piece for Foreign Affairs titled “The New Dictators,” and her book “Democracies and Authoritarian Regimes.” Jen Kirby’s Vox writeup on the Russia shake-up is here. Reid Standish, the Moscow-based reporter Alex mentioned, wrote a great piece on Putin’s decision for Foreign Policy (and quotes Andrea). Zack wrote a piece in 2018 about the problems personalist authoritarian regimes have, linking it to Putin’s election that year. Hosts: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, 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  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Zack, Jenn, and Alex break down the US killing of Qassem Suleimani — why it happened, what the Iranian response means, and what the long term consequences might be. Zack and Jenn get into a lengthy debate over whether killing Suleimani was wise, and Alex gets a behind-the-scenes look at the debate over reining in Trump’s Iran war powers in a Worldly exclusive interview with Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM). References: Here’s Alex’s piece with inside details on the disastrous Iran briefings for the House and Senate. Jenn and Zack offered the pro and con arguments for killing Qassem Soleimani. Vox has two interviews with experts making the cases for and against. Both Zack and Alex felt Trump’s Iran speech from the White House could’ve been better. And here’s Sen. Tom Udall announcing his support for the War Powers Resolution as well as his own Prevention of Unconstitutional War with Iran Act of 2019. Hosts: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, 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  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Zack, Jenn, and Alex do a 2019 year in review — each one of them making a choice for biggest US foreign policy story of 2019, while the whole team debates just how important each of these events were. Then, after the break, they do the same for 2020 — making predictions about what the big stories will be. References: Here’s Alex’s great piece on how the Baghdadi raid went down:  Alex interviewed Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó about his failed push to overthrow Nicolás Maduro  Vox's Umair Irfan explained Trump’s formal withdrawal from the Paris climate accords Here’s a phenomenal feature on what Afghans think about US-Taliban peace talks and the possible withdrawal of US troops Zeeshan Aleem explained the latest in the US-China trade war for Vox  Hosts: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, 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  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Zack and Alex are joined by Vox reporter Sigal Samuel to talk about two recent measures in India that, when combined, amount to a plan for stripping citizenship from hundreds of thousands of Muslims. They explain what the laws actually do, the scary Hindu supremacist ideology motivating Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the impact Modi’s premiership is having on Indian democracy. They then zoom out to put India in global context, comparing democratic backsliding there to what we’re seeing in the West and its persecution of Muslims to what you’ve seen in two other nearby countries (China and Myanmar). References: Sigal’s piece on the India laws is here. Read Dexter Filkins’ brilliant longread on India under Modi in the New Yorker. Zack’s piece on Hungary’s democratic backsliding is really worth your time. If you need a quick brush-up on the Kashmir crisis, Alex explains it for you in under 600 words. Netflix’s Hasan Minhaj talked about being barred from the “Howdy Modi” event, even though he was celebrated at it. Hosts: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox Sigal Samuel (@SigalSamuel), staff writer, 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  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
That awkward NATO moment

That awkward NATO moment

2019-12-0500:38:474

Zack, Jenn, and Alex talk about the viral video of world leaders making fun of Trump at the NATO summit — explaining how Trump’s antics threatened the meeting and, somewhat more surprisingly, why they didn’t derail it. They then zoom out to talk about NATO’s more fundamental existential crisis — whether it makes sense to be protecting post-Communist European states against Russia — and the problems facing the alliance down the line. Jenn talks about her recent visit to Poland and how NATO looks on the ground there, Zack confesses his love for khachapouri, and Alex falsely claims that he hates to bring up Spain. References: You can read about the “mocking Trump” video on Vox here. NATO’s website explains it policy of enlargement. Zack’s piece on Hungary’s democratic backsliding is really worth your time. Zack also has a piece on how Trump is killing US alliances. Hosts: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, 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  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Spain's far-right party just won more than 50 seats in its parliament, reminding some of the country's fascist past. Yes, the party is called "VOX". Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
It’s a very special Worldly today, as Zack hosts Sen. Michael Bennet — the first Democratic presidential candidate to appear on Worldly. Their conversation ranges from big picture conversations about the global threat to liberal democracy to policy details on America’s troubled alliances with Israel and Saudi Arabia to why Sen. Bennet thinks Facebook should be understood as a national security threat.  Hosts: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox References: Here’s Sen. Michael Bennet’s presidential campaign website. Watch Bennet’s speech at the Council on Foreign Relations this week. Bennet spoke about his Facebook concerns on a previous Vox podcast. 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
Coup in Bolivia?

Coup in Bolivia?

2019-11-1400:37:10

Jenn, Alex, and special guests Ivan Rebolledo and Zeeshan Aleem talk about whether there was a coup in Bolivia or not. While the military asked President Evo Morales to step down, he had taken steps to maintain power after his term in office ended. It's a dangerous moment for the country, and it speaks volumes about new political dynamics sweeping Latin America. Hosts: Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, 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  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Introducing Reset

Introducing Reset

2019-11-1200:21:49

Apple removed an app that had been used by pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong. Turns out that has broad implications for democracy globally. If you enjoyed this episode, subscribe to Reset for free on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, Pocket Casts, or your favorite podcast app to get new episodes every week. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Arab Spring 2.0?

Arab Spring 2.0?

2019-11-0700:41:133

Zack, Jenn, and Alex talk about the massive protests in Iraq and what connection, if any, they might have with similar uprisings in Lebanon and Egypt. While there are major differences, they all share one thing in common: people just want their own functioning government. Hosts: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, 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  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Take the oil

Take the oil

2019-10-3100:40:011

Zack, Jenn, and Alex talk about Trump’s new Syria policy — sending US troops to protect oil fields and potentially selling the oil to the highest bidder. It’s a really bad idea! Hosts: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, 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  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Brexit, forever?

Brexit, forever?

2019-10-2400:20:233

Zack and Alex are joined by Vox Brexit expert Jen Kirby to talk the latest on what’s going on in London. Due to some parliamentary “shenanigans” (Jen’s word choice), Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s drive to crash out of the EU by October 31 looks like it’s going to fail. The Worldly team breaks down exactly what happened and what could happen next — ranging from long-lasting limbo to another fateful election. Alex analogizes Brexit to a divorce, and Zack gives a heartfelt goodbye to their producer Byrd Pinkerton — who makes a little cameo at the end! Links to resources discussed:  What to know about Boris’s new Brexit deal  Parliamentary shenanigans, part 1 and part 2 The EU’s expected Brexit extension decision On Boris Johnson’s decent election outlook -- and Jeremy Corbyn’s dismal one Zack referenced a tweet by Nick Cohen Hosts: Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox), national security reporter, Vox Jen Kirby (@j_kirby1), foreign and 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  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
This was the week of confessions. Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney admitted to a Trump administration quid quo pro with Ukraine, with cameras rolling. EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland confirmed that President Trump made Rudy Giuliani the hinge of America’s Ukraine policy. And then the administration announced that the location for the upcoming G7 summit: Trump’s own resort in Doral, Florida. We break down the three stories that mattered most in impeachment this week. And then we dig into the four words that will shape the entire impeachment fight: “High Crimes and Misdemeanors.” What did they mean when they were added to the Constitution? How have they been interpreted through American history? And do Trump’s acts qualify? Welcome to Impeachment, Explained. If you enjoyed this episode, subscribe to Impeachment, Explained on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, Pocket Casts, or your favorite podcast app to get stay updated on this story every week. References: "Indispensable Remedy: The Broad Scope of the Constitution’s Impeachment Power" by Gene Healy "The case for normalizing impeachment" by Ezra Klein Credits: Producer and Editor - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Engineers - Malachi Broadus & Jeremey Dalmas Theme music composed by Jon Natchez  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Worldly continues its series on progressive foreign policy with one of its leading proponents, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT). A member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Murphy has strongly criticized the way both Republicans and Democrats have conducted world affairs for decades and proposes a completely new path. In his chat with Alex, Murphy also blasts Trump's Syria policy, but he notes that America's failures there extend far beyond the president himself. Oh, and a 1988 Ford Taurus comes up. Links to resources discussed:  A piece that provides more background on the Syrian situation Senator Murphy’s Atlantic article Senator Murphy speaking at CFR Guest: US Senator Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) Host: 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 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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Comments (14)

Jaylani Adam

Thank you guys for critiquing Tulsi Gabbard's foreign policy. I am a skeptic of hers. As a matter of fact, I don't trust her.

Feb 24th
Reply

shekhu verma

How stupid you have to be call this bill assault on muslim rights when it has nothing to do with Muslims of India. Read the bill and debate on facts but stop your propaganda. Totally biased podcast, i am unsubscribing your podcast and all other vox podcasts because you guys are liars whi dont do research and spread propaganda.

Jan 3rd
Reply

TruthSeeker

This is a biased podcast. Why don't you do a podcast on the treatment of minorities in Muslim majority countries? Too scared?

Dec 14th
Reply

Alexander Hetherington

sounds level is far too low for this episode and same for the ads recently they've been really quiet.

Nov 8th
Reply (3)

Forrest Elliott

These people sound, like, idiots, like, totally

Aug 24th
Reply

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
Reply

Subedi Sudip

Hi Vox Wordly, can you please do a little explainer on Sri Lanka crisis on one of your future shows? Thanks in advance.

Dec 16th
Reply

Sherry Martin

Mr Mueller she wrote

Sep 20th
Reply

Daryl Sande

Jenn, Try doing a podcast without saying "Right?" or "like" once. thanks

Jun 12th
Reply (1)

Monu Rajan

your explanation of the India-Pak dispute is a very simplistic rendition of a very complex issue.

Jun 4th
Reply
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