Vox Media

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.


United States


Vox Media


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.




The end of the World(ly)

In the very! last! episode! of the Worldly podcast, Zack interviews renowned economic historian Adam Tooze about his forthcoming book, Shutdown — an early history of the year 2020, one that felt to many like the end of the world as they knew it. Zack and Adam discuss what the fateful year taught us about the global economic system, the rise of China, and the stability of the US-led world order. And don’t miss goodbye messages from Jenn and Zack (at the start and end of the show). We love...


Authoritarians without borders

Zack, Jenn, and Jen Kirby look at how authoritarianism has become internationalized, through the lens of two recent news stories: 1) Fox News host Tucker Carlson choosing to broadcast his show from Hungary this week; and 2) a Belarusian Olympian in Tokyo seeking asylum out of fear of punishment by the Lukashenko regime after she criticized her coach on social media. They discuss what happened in both of those cases, as well as what the events tell us about the ways authoritarian governments...


Trouble in Tunisia

Zack, Jenn, and Jen Kirby discuss the political crisis gripping Tunisia following the president’s decision to fire the prime minister and suspend parliament. Tunisia was the big “success story” of the Arab Spring: the one country whose revolution produced a real, albeit rocky, transition to democracy — a democracy that is now in crisis. The gang explains what’s going on, what it all means for Tunisia’s future, and how — or whether — the international community should respond. References:...



Zack Beauchamp, Jenn Williams, and Jen Kirby discuss the explosive revelations that a number of governments around the world, from Saudi Arabia to Hungary to India, have been using military-grade spyware made by an Israeli firm to secretly hack into the phones of journalists, activists, and political opponents. They explore what we know about the NSO Group, the Israeli company who sold this software; what the technology does; how governments may have used it to spy on critics; and what all...


Cuba Libre

Worldly guest co-host Jen Kirby talks to Michael Bustamante, professor of Latin American history at Florida International University and the author of Cuban Memory Wars: Retrospective Politics in Revolution and Exile (2021), about Cuba’s recent protests, the largest in decades. They discuss the origins of the current crisis and what it means for thousands of Cubans to take to the streets to resist the country’s regime. They also talk about the US-Cuba relationship and how the US should — and...


Erdoğan’s enemy in the NBA

Frequent Worldly guest cohost Jen Kirby talks Turkey with NBA player and activist Enes Kanter. Kanter was born in Switzerland to Turkish parents and raised in Turkey, but his criticism of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's ongoing human rights crackdown has made Kanter persona non grata in that country. They discuss how President Joe Biden has handled Turkey so far; the troubling kidnapping of a Turkish-Kyrgyz schoolteacher, part of Erdogan’s campaign of renditions against perceived...


Brexit interview

A special repost from the folks at Today, Explained! While the Worldly team is out enjoying the holiday weekend in the States, TEX host Sean Rameswaram helps walk you through what’s going with Brexit right now — chatting with The Atlantic’s Tom McTague about where things are at right now in the UK/EU divorce. They explain (among other things) why it’s taking so look, how Prime Minister Boris Johnson has handled certain things well, and how it’s inflaming old tensions in Northern Ireland....


Hungary's new anti-LGBTQ law gets a red card

Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss the European soccer dustup over Hungary’s new anti-LGBTQ law. They explain what the Hungarian law does, how the country’s increasingly authoritarian leader Viktor Orbán is using it — and soccer — to further his anti-democratic political aims, why the EU opposes the measure so strongly, and how all of this spilled over into Europe’s marquee soccer tournament. Also, the Worldly team says goodbye to Alex. References: The Guardian explains Hungary’s anti-LGBTQ law....


Joe Biden’s Eurotrip

Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss President Joe Biden’s big trip to Europe, where he met with the other leaders of the G7 and NATO countries as well as with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The gang examine what Biden actually accomplished on his trip, discuss the furor that erupted on Political Science Twitter over a comment Biden made during a press conference, and debate whether the Putin meeting was as important as the media hype made it out to be. Also, Worldly makes an important...


Introducing: Now & Then

Now & Then is a new podcast from CAFE hosted by award-winning historians Heather Cox Richardson and Joanne Freeman. Every Tuesday, Heather and Joanne use their encyclopedic knowledge of US history to bring the past to life. Together, they make sense of the week in news by discussing the people, ideas, and events that got us here today. Learn more: Listen on Spotify:


Canada’s reckoning with residential schools

Zack and Jenn talk about the horrifying discovery of the remains of 215 children at a so-called “residential school” in Canada. They talk about the history of these schools, which were a centerpiece of Canada’s long-running effort to wipe out Indigenous culture and identity, and how the discovery of the children’s bodies is forcing a political reckoning with this history among white Canadians. Then they compare how Canada is handling this issue to the way that other countries like the US,...


The end of the Netanyahu era?

Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss the political earthquake happening in Israel that could soon see longtime Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ousted from power by a shaky coalition of far-right, centrist, leftist, and Islamist parties. They explain how this unlikely coalition came together, why it could easily fall apart, and what the possible end of the Netanyahu era means for the future of Israel and its conflict with the Palestinians. References: Zack wrote a piece for Vox in 2020 about the...


Why John Cena is apologizing to China

Zack, Jenn, and Alex explain why WWE wrestling superstar John Cena issued an apology to China this week over a comment he made about Taiwan while promoting his new Fast & Furious 9 movie — and what it says about China’s increasing efforts to use its economic might to censor statements it doesn’t like from American celebrities and companies. In the second half of the show, the gang answers listener questions about global shipping, Iran, and book recommendations about international affairs....


The big picture of the Israel-Gaza war

Zack, Jenn, and Alex take a look at how, after more than a week of fighting, the war between Israel and Hamas is already reshaping the contours of the broader Israeli-Palestinian conflict — deepening entrenched political realities, shaking up alliances, and reframing how the various players view their roles in the fight and the prospect of finding a peaceful solution to the decades-long conflict. References: Zack wrote for Vox about whether the US-Israel alliance is doomed. Alex’s Vox story...


The Israel-Gaza doom loop

Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss the ongoing fighting between Israelis and Palestinians — the worst violence the conflict has seen in seven years. They explain how the fighting arose out of tensions in Jerusalem, how the militant group Hamas escalated things, and the cycle of violence that keeps pushing Israel and Hamas toward war. Then they discuss what, if anything, could be done to improve the situation — and why the US seems so impotent despite all of the leverage it has over Israel....


Bonus: Rep. Ro Khanna on what America owes India

On a special bonus Worldly, Zack interviews Rep. Ro Khanna — the vice-chair of the House’s India Caucus — on the covid crisis in that country. They talk about how things got so bad in India and what it says about the state of India’s political institutions and democracy. Then they talk about the US response, where Rep. Khanna gives an inside view of how the Biden administration decided to increase its commitment to India — and makes the case for doing even more. They also reference a whole...


The politics of India’s Covid crisis

Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss the political implications of the ongoing Covid-19 catastrophe in India, where cases are skyrocketing, overwhelming the country’s health care system. They look at how much Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is to blame for the crisis and the degree to which it’s creating political problems for Modi both at home and abroad. In the second half, they talk about the recent local election in West Bengal, how it does and doesn’t relate to the Covid-19 outbreak,...


The surprising success of Covid-19 travel bans

Zack, Jenn, and Alex are joined by special guest Julia Belluz, Vox's senior health correspondent, to talk about how Vietnam has managed to keep its total coronavirus deaths to just 35 — yes, you read that right, 35 — in part by completely sealing its borders with one of the world’s strictest travel bans. The gang discusses what led Vietnam to take such drastic measures, why they seem to have worked so well, and whether replicating that approach in other countries currently experiencing...


Bonus: The Super League

Twelve of Europe’s richest soccer teams tried, and failed, to create their own elite tournament in a naked money grab. Worldly’s Alex Ward, arguably Vox’s top soccer fan, explains why the move angered basically everyone and the scheme failed — for now. References: Alex wrote an explainer on the Super League and how the fans killed it. Support Worldly by making a financial contribution to Vox! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


How Nigeria explains the climate crisis

In a very special Earth Month episode, Zack, Jenn, and Alex use Nigeria as a case study to uncover the deep reasons why it’s so hard for the world to quit fossil fuels. Nigeria is a country deeply threatened by climate change, but it’s also one with a major oil industry that hopes to lift millions out of poverty — a feat that has never been done without some degree of reliance on dirty energy. The team explains how these barriers affect the prospects for mitigating climate change in both...