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Pod Save the World

“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 global developments and bring you behind the scenes with the people who were there. New episodes every Wednesday. To get access to extended ad-free Pod Save The World episodes, sign up to be a Friends of the Pod member at


Norwegian Prime Minister Explains Decision to Recognize a Palestinian State
Ben speaks to Jonas Gahr Store, the Prime Minister of Norway, who explains why he decided to formally recognize a Palestinian state alongside the leaders of Spain and Ireland. Then, Ben is joined by Fareed Zakaria to talk about the long term prospects for peace on multiple fronts like Israel and Palestine, Russia and Ukraine, and China and Taiwan. They also discuss Zakaria’s new book, “Age of Revolutions: Progress and Backlash from 1600 to the Present”. Finally, Ben interviews Ravi Gupta about the new podcast from Crooked Media, “Killing Justice”.  For a closed-captioned version of this episode, click here. For a transcript of this episode, please email and include the name of the podcast.
91:50 29/05/2024
Introducing "Killing Justice"
When a judge in India dies of a heart attack, his passing barely makes the news. But when his niece approaches a journalist two years later, she shares a different story: that the circumstances around Judge Brijgopal Loya’s death have made his family doubt the official story. From Crooked Media and The Branch - Killing Justice investigates how one man’s death has become a lodestone for increasingly polarized politics in India.  Following the reporting and legal fallout that arise from this tip, Host Ravi Gupta examines the conflicting evidence and grapples with the broader implications a single night in the city of Nagpur has on the world’s largest democracy.You can hear the first 2 episodes of Killing Justice right now on Apple or Spotify. New episodes every Monday. For ad-free episodes, join the ‘Friends of the Pod’ community at
03:38 27/05/2024
Hamas and Netanyahu Accused of War Crimes
Ben and guest host Alyona Minkovski discuss the ICC’s application for arrest warrants against both Hamas and Netanyahu for war crimes, the mass exodus of civilians from Rafah, a US-Saudi pact supposedly being days away from being agreed to, and public rebukes against Netanyahu from members of his own war cabinet. They also talk about the Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi’s death in a helicopter crash, Zelensky putting hopes into Xi Jinping to pressure Putin on negotiations, an assassination attempt against the Slovakian Prime Minister, the latest in the trial of Julian Assange, a failed coup involving Americans in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Anthony Blinken “Rockin’ in the Free World”. Then, Ben speaks with Tamara Chergoleishvili, who is running for office in Georgia in this October’s elections in the European Georgia party.  For a closed-captioned version of this episode, click here. For a transcript of this episode, please email and include the name of the podcast.
80:34 22/05/2024
Biden Punishes China
Ben is joined by guest hosts Daniel Kurtz-Phelan, Editor of Foreign Affairs magazine and Rana Ayyub, global opinion columnist for the Washington Post. Ben and Dan discuss a regrouped Hamas in northern Gaza, Secretary Blinken calling out the Israelis for not having a long term plan, Biden’s new tariffs on Chinese goods, the struggle to define America’s relationship with China, Russia’s new offensive in Kharkiv, and protests in Georgia over a foreign agent law. Then Ben and Rana talk about the Indian election, what a third Modi term would mean for India’s democracy, and attacks on Muslims and journalists in the country. For a closed-captioned version of this episode, click here. For a transcript of this episode, please email and include the name of the podcast. 
81:47 15/05/2024
Israel Begins Rafah Offensive (feat. Ali Velshi)
Ben and guest host Ali Velshi discuss the latest developments on ceasefire negotiations between Israel and Hamas, the beginning of a military offensive in Rafah, the shutdown of Al Jazeera in Israel, and plans to ban TikTok in the United States. They also discuss Chinese President Xi Jinping’s first visit to Europe in 5 years, Putin’s inauguration and an alleged assignation plot against President Zelensky, and Canadian police bringing charges in the assassination of a Sikh separatist on their soil. Then, Ben speaks with Ali about his new book, “Small Acts of Courage: A Legacy of Endurance and the Fight for Democracy”, and interviews Slovenian activist Nika Kovač about the “My Voice, My Choice” campaign to fight for abortion rights in Europe.
75:31 08/05/2024
Tucker Carlson Interviews "Putin's Brain"
Ben and Tommy discuss reports that a temporary ceasefire and hostage release deal between Israel and Hamas may be imminent, that Saudi Arabia has decided to normalize relations with Israel, and that the ICC may issue an arrest warrant for Israeli PM Bibi Netanyahu. They also hear from campus protestors in New York, discuss leaked intelligence reports about whether Putin ordered opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s death, Tucker Carlson’s interview with a far-right ultranationalist close with Putin, Secretary of State Tony Blinken’s trip to China, why an Iranian rapper got a death sentence, major leadership changes in Scotland, and a dramatic reading care of Scotland. Then Tommy speaks to John McDermott, Chief Africa Correspondent for the Economist about South Africa’s upcoming election, waning western influence in the western Sahel, and the 30th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide. For a closed-captioned version of this episode, click here. For a transcript of this episode, please email and include the name of the podcast.
85:29 01/05/2024
Gaza Protests Roil College Campuses
Ben and Tommy discuss the House approving $26 billion in military aid to Israel despite strikes on Rafah and a continuously deteriorating humanitarian situation, the resignation of Israel’s intelligence chief, a report concluding that there’s no evidence for UNRWA having broad terrorist ties, and student protests over the war in Gaza at American universities. They also discuss supplemental funding for the war in Ukraine, angry reactions from Russian officials, Trump’s personal aide saying he was promised a pardon if he lied to the FBI, Elon Musk’s battle with a Brazilian judge, the US agreeing to withdraw all troops from Niger, and why Biden should stop talking about cannibalism. Then Ben speaks to Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal about her “no” vote on offensive weapons to Israel and her recent trip to Cuba. For a closed-captioned version of this episode, click here. For a transcript of this episode, please email and include the name of the podcast.
83:45 24/04/2024
Breaking: Israel Strikes Back at Iran
In a bonus episode, Tommy and Ben talk about the reports that Israel launched a retaliatory strike deep inside Iran, why Iranian leaders are downplaying what happened, why the logic of deterrence is stupid, and the Biden administration’s muted response. They also talk about supplemental funding bills for Israel and Ukraine that the House will vote on this weekend, the messaging incoherence of the US calling for a ceasefire in Gaza while sending Israel more weapons, the US vetoing a UN resolution on Palestinian statehood, and then they take audience questions from the Discord. For a closed-captioned version of this episode, click here. For a transcript of this episode, please email and include the name of the podcast.
50:42 19/04/2024
Iran Attacks Israel
Tommy and Ben discuss Iran’s missile and drone attack on Israel and whether Israel will retaliate, Biden’s message of restraint to Prime Minister Netanyahu, the republicans calling for all out war with Iran, and what Iran’s strike means for efforts to end the war in Gaza and pass additional funding for Israel and Ukraine. They also talk about Ukrainian President Zelensky’s criticism of other countries’ willingness to shoot down Iranian missiles but not those from Russia, a grim anniversary for the civil war in Sudan, a mass stabbing in Australia, former US Ambassador Manuel Rocha pleading guilty to being a Cuban spy, and the arrival of Meghan Markle’s strawberry jam. Then Tommy talks with Middle East expert Khaled Elgindy about post-war reconstruction in Gaza, and what kind of political path forward could actually create a Palestinian state.Don't forget to vote for Pod Save the World for a Webby Award! For a closed-captioned version of this episode, click here. For a transcript of this episode, please email and include the name of the podcast.
81:35 17/04/2024
Biden Gives Israel An Ultimatum on Gaza
Tommy and Ben discuss Biden’s call with Israeli PM Bibi Netanyahu and threat to cut off US support for the war in Gaza, Israel’s announcement that it would open more aid corridors into Gaza, and the head spinning change in political support for the war in Washington. They also explain why Ecuadorian police raided Mexico’s embassy and sparked a global diplomatic crisis, Trump’s “secret plan” to end the war in Ukraine, the election of a pro-Russian president in Slovakia, the Japanese Prime Minister’s State Visit with Biden, how a trillion-dollar Saudi infrastructure project has already become a disaster, and the world’s saddest political tweet via the Tory Party in the UK. Then Ben speaks to David Miliband, the President of the International Rescue Committee, about the moral and legal imperative to try to save lives in Gaza.Pod Save the World is nominated for a Webby award for Best News & Politics podcast! Vote for us if you can.  For a closed-captioned version of this episode, click here. For a transcript of this episode, please email and include the name of the podcast.
82:28 10/04/2024
Can Saudi Money Whitewash a Murder?: World Corrupt Season 2, Episode 4
In the final episode of this four-part series, Rog and Tommy trace the massive flow of Saudi money into Hollywood, Silicon Valley and Wall Street, and how the biggest venture capitalists and A-list celebrities seem to no longer care about Saudi Arabia’s human rights record. They also look back at the history of the US-Saudi relationship, and how President Biden went from pleading to make Saudi Arabia a “pariah” to traveling there to fist bump Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah. And finally, they dive into the possible motivations behind Saudi Arabia’s investments, from the need to diversify the Saudi economy, to whitewashing the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and changing the subject from other human rights violations. Despite all the depressing news, Rog and Tommy try to find glimmers of hope where grassroots activism and football can lead the way in creating a more just world. All of this and more, on the final episode of World Corrupt, Season 2.
59:51 06/04/2024
Israeli Strike Kills World Central Kitchen Staff in Gaza
Ben and Tommy discuss an Israeli airstrike on an Iranian embassy building in Syria that killed several top Iranian generals, Israeli drone strikes that killed seven World Central Kitchen humanitarian relief workers in Gaza and what they tell us about Israel’s lack of concern about civilian causalities, and growing protests in Israel against Netanyahu. Then they talk about Trump’s “shadow Secretary of State” Ric Grenell, the Qataris investing in Newsmax, a 60 Minutes report blaming Russia for “Havana Syndrome”, and one year since Russia arrested WSJ reporter Evan Gershkovich. Finally, they cover a new anti-hate speech law in Scotland, the barring of an opposition candidate in Venezuela, Chinese disinformation promoting Trump in the US, a big loss for Erdogan’s party in Turkey’s local elections, and Reagan’s almost assassin complaining about cancel culture. For a closed-captioned version of this episode, click here. For a transcript of this episode, please email and include the name of the podcast.
62:00 03/04/2024
Saudi Arabia: The New Home of Global Football: World Corrupt Season 2, Episode 3
In episode three of this four part series, Rog and Tommy explore the rise of Saudi Arabia’s domestic football league and why superstars like Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar are flocking there. iNews’s chief football writer Daniel Storey joins the show to tell the tale of one of those players, former Liverpool captain and one-time “moral center” of English football Jordan Henderson, whose move to the Saudi pro-league led to one of the starkest falls from grace in recent sporting history. Plus, Saudi Arabia has all but secured hosting rights for the 2034 Men’s World Cup....but did football’s global governing body FIFA rig the bidding process years in advance? And with Saudi Arabia also eyeing hosting duties for the 2035 Women's World Cup, former US Women’s National Team legend Megan Rapinoe gives her thoughts on what it would mean to play football's crown jewel tournament in a country where women are assigned a male guardian and homosexuality is illegal. All of this and more on the latest episode of World Corrupt. 
59:20 30/03/2024
How Will Putin Respond to an ISIS Attack? (feat. Bernie Sanders)
Tommy and Ben discuss the deteriorating relations between the White House and Bibi Netanyahu's government after the UN Security Council calls for a ceasefire in Gaza, the stalling hostage negotiations in Qatar, and Trump's PR advice to Israel. Then, they talk about the ISIS attack at a Moscow concert hall and Putin's response. They also discuss Hong Kong's new national security law, two surprising political resignations, a democratic election in Senegal, why the former president of Brazil was hiding in a foreign embassy, and Kate Middleton's cancer diagnosis. Plus, Senator Bernie Sanders and Ben discuss the looming famine in Gaza, conditioning aid to Israel, and changing US foreign policy for the better. For a closed-captioned version of this episode, click here. For a transcript of this episode, please email and include the name of the podcast.
82:01 27/03/2024
Saudi Arabia’s Despotic Ruler: World Corrupt Season 2, Episode 2
Roger Bennett and Tommy Vietor take a look at the history of Saudi Arabia, US-Saudi relations, and the Kingdom’s path to becoming a geopolitical force. They trace the unlikely rise of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman from a lowly place in the royal hierarchy to de facto leader of the country, and examine his record of enacting major social reforms while brutally cracking down on critics and rivals. Guests Ben Hubbard, Sarah Leah Whitson, and Khalid Al Jabri provide insight through stories about the infamous lock-up at the Ritz Carlton in Riyadh, the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and the disappearance of even the family members of MBS’ political rivals. And finally, they unpack what MBS’ massive investment into soccer means for the global game. Listen to the second episode of this four-part series to find out.
49:06 23/03/2024
Trump Says Jewish Democrats “Hate Israel”
Tommy and Ben discuss the looming famine in Gaza, reactions to Senator Chuck Schumer’s call for new elections in Israel, Trump’s claim that Jewish Democrats “hate Israel”, secret talks between the US and Iran over attacks in the Red Sea by Houthis. They also talk about Jared Kushner’s luxury real estate developments in Serbia and Albania, Putin’s overwhelming election “victory”, Senator Lindsey Graham’s visit to Ukraine, a new study on Havana Syndrome, Niger ending counterterrorism cooperation with the US, dates announced for the Indian election, and Trump suggesting action should be taken against Prince Harry if he lied about drug use on his visa application. Then Tommy speaks to Josh Geltzer, Deputy Homeland Security Advisor for the White House National Security Council, about the debate over reauthorizing Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. For a closed-captioned version of this episode, click here. For a transcript of this episode, please email and include the name of the podcast.
83:33 20/03/2024
Football in the House of Saud: World Corrupt Season 2, Episode 1
Roger Bennet and Tommy Vietor are back for Season 2 of World Corrupt! And this time, Rog and Tommy are diving into how Saudi Arabia, the biggest exporter of oil in the world and a nation in the news for human rights abuses, became the latest geopolitical power player sweeping global soccer. The Saudis have poured billions of dollars into the world’s most popular sport, including signing superstar players like Cristiano Ronaldo to eye-popping contracts. But the crown jewel in the Saudi investment portfolio? That would be the take over of one of England’s most historic football clubs, Newcastle United. A team with a rich history from an impoverished corner of the country, Newcastle had fallen upon hard times…and they welcomed the Saudis with open arms. But at what cost? Listen to the first episode of this four part series to find out.
48:02 16/03/2024
Trump’s TikTok Flip Flop
Tommy and Ben discuss plans for delivering aid to Gaza through a maritime route and floating pier, US “red lines” over an Israeli invasion of Rafah and the public war of words between Biden and Netanyahu in weekend interviews. They they talk about Viktor Orban’s visit to Mar-a-Lago, concerns from the intelligence community about giving Trump classified briefings during the election, the debate over banning TikTok, election news in Portugal and Turkey, a mass kidnaping in Nigeria, a failed constitutional amendment vote in Ireland, and the photoshop scandal that is fueling even more rumors about the Princess of Wales, Kate Middleton. Then Ben does a deep dive on the deteriorating situation in Haiti, which has become overrun by gangs, with Renata Segura, Deputy Program Director for Latin America and the Caribbean at the International Crisis Group. For a closed-captioned version of this episode, click here. For a transcript of this episode, please email and include the name of the podcast.
84:48 13/03/2024
World Corrupt Season 2: Trailer
And, we're back! Join Roger Bennet and Tommy Vietor for another season of World Corrupt, with a focus on why Saudi Arabia is investing billions in football. Episode 1 coming March 16.   
02:20 09/03/2024
Why is the US air dropping aid to Gaza?
Tommy and Ben discuss the futility of aerial aid drops by the US in Gaza, Kamala Harris’ speech calling for an immediate ceasefire, Netanyahu rival Benny Gantz’s visit to Washington, and do a preview of President Biden’s State of the Union address. Then they discuss the breakdown of order in Haiti as gangs overrun prisons, a German audio leak about long range missiles for Ukraine posted by Russian state media, France enshrining abortion into their constitution, the thousands of Russians who came out for Alexei Navalny’s funeral, repercussions for multiple US leakers of classified intelligence, and Tucker Carlson’s about face on Putin. Then Tommy speaks with Kholood Khair, a Sudanese political analyst and founder of the Confluence Advisory think tank about the civil war in Sudan. For a closed-captioned version of this episode, click here. For a transcript of this episode, please email and include the name of the podcast.
85:42 06/03/2024
CPAC Doubles Down on Creepy Autocrats
Ben and Tommy discuss President Biden’s claim that a ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas may be imminent, the domestic political problems the war is creating for Biden, the latest on efforts to defer attacks by Iran’s proxy groups in the Middle East, and some rare good news about Iran’s nuclear program. They also discuss the staggering casualty numbers from the war in Ukraine, claims that a prisoner exchange involving Alexei Navalny was in final stages before his death, new reports about extensive Russian efforts to interfere in our elections, right-wing autocratic creeps at CPAC, an investigation into the Mexican president’s ties with drug cartels, Saudi Arabia dumping money on celebrities and CEOs in Miami, and why Taylor Swift’s dad was throwing punches in Australia. Then Ben talks with Wai Wai Nu, a human rights activist and founder of the Women’s Peace Network about the civil war in Myanmar. For a closed-captioned version of this episode, click here. For a transcript of this episode, please email and include the name of the podcast.
80:54 28/02/2024
Dissident at the Doorstep Episode 8: The Shit In The Frame
Guangcheng has put his life on the line to stand up for noble causes and principles. He has also thrown his support behind Trump and, more recently, a range of intolerant ideas. There are so many things to admire about him, but there are others that are hard to excuse. We thought with this series that we could show how all these things could be true at once. But as we got closer to the end of the story, we learned just how hard that really is. 
34:43 24/02/2024
Can Ukraine Outlast Putin?
Tommy and Ben discuss the two-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the military defeat of Avdiivka, panic at the Munich Security Conference over Republicans blocking more aid to Ukraine, and how Ukrainians have adapted to living in a state of war. Then they talk about calls for accountability for Alexei Navalny’s death and his wife Yulia’s promise to continue Alexei’s work, the arrest of an American dual national in Russia, Tucker Carlson’s Moscow metro propaganda videos, and an update on Russia’s space nukes. They also look at Netanyahu’s insistence on invading Rafah, a pro-Israel group’s attack on a Washington Post reporter, the Indonesian elections, why Jared Kushner is still a sniveling little prick, and a very Australian mankini scandal. Then Tommy talks with Mstyslav Chernov about his incredible documentary, 20 Days in Mariupol. For a closed-captioned version of this episode, click here. For a transcript of this episode, please email and include the name of the podcast.
89:08 21/02/2024
Dissident at the Doorstep Episode 7: Lost And Found In Translation
With a new position at the Catholic University of America and funding from a rightwing think tank, Guangcheng takes on a new challenge: strengthening his English. We examine why this became such a top priority for Guangcheng and his patrons, what it means to traverse borders and negotiate between languages, and how Guangcheng’s political beliefs are translated by different audiences in a country that elected Donald Trump. 
38:27 17/02/2024
Breaking: Putin Kills Alexei Navalny
Tommy and Ben discuss the breaking news that Russia’s most prominent opposition figure, Alexei Navalny, has died while in prison. The only information available so far is coming from prison officials and Russian government-run news channels, who claim that Navalny collapsed. Tommy and Ben talk about Navalny’s legacy, nearly universal blame being put on Putin for his death, Biden’s response, and what this means for Russia’s opposition and political future. For a closed-captioned version of this episode, click here. For a transcript of this episode, please email and include the name of the podcast.
50:14 17/02/2024
Trump Tells Putin to Invade NATO Nations
Tommy and Max Fisher talk about the disastrous humanitarian implications of Israel’s impending offensive in Rafah, the Biden administration’s shifting tone towards Israel, and efforts to reach out to the Muslim American community in Michigan. They also talk about Trump’s comments encouraging Russia to invade NATO members who don’t spend enough on defense, react to Tucker Carlson’s (boring) interview with Vladimir Putin, Pakistan’s shocking election results, the chances of Irish reunification, and King Charles’s quirky views on modern medicine. Then Ben speaks with New Jersey Congressman Andy Kim about his campaign to oust Senator Bob Menendez, and how corruption impacts America’s foreign policy. For a closed-captioned version of this episode, click here. For a transcript of this episode, please email and include the name of the podcast.
80:18 14/02/2024
Dissident at the Doorstep Episode 6: The Great Moving Right Show
Almost one year after arriving in the US, the New York Post publishes a story suggesting NYU is trying to sever ties with Guangcheng. Guangcheng alleges the university is bowing to pressure from the Chinese Communist Party. Guangcheng’s hosts at NYU accuse right wing political forces of misleading him. Things get very messy. Where Guangcheng lands next sets him on a path that eventually leads to throwing his support behind Trump for reelection in 2020.
42:37 10/02/2024
Tucker Carlson Goes to Moscow
Tommy and Ben talk about US strikes against facilities in Iraq and Syria used by Iran-backed militia groups, White House denials that the conflict in Gaza has drawn America into a regional war, haunting statistics for children in Gaza, souring public opinion on the war, and dehumanizing commentary about the Middle East. They also discuss how Biden’s foreign policy agenda is being held up by Congress, Zelensky’s potential government and military shake-up, Tucker Carlson’s interview with Vladimir Putin, El Salvador’s election and Bukele’s rising popularity, polling in Europe that forecasts momentum for far right parties, a historic first in Northern Ireland, King Charles’ cancer diagnosis, Rishi Sunak’s insane fasting regimen, and Liz Truss’ plans to attend CPAC. Then Tommy speaks to Alex Ward, national security reporter at Politico about his new book “The Internationalists”. For a closed-captioned version of this episode, click here. For a transcript of this episode, please email and include the name of the podcast.
93:20 07/02/2024
Dissident at the Doorstep Episode 5: Guangcheng’s Year of Living Famously
Following a tense negotiation between the US and China, Guangcheng arrives in the United States. He is greeted with a hero’s welcome. He gives speeches. He wins awards. And he tries to adjust to life in New York, hosted by NYU. But quickly cracks start to emerge beneath the glamorous facade.
50:50 03/02/2024
Will Biden Bomb Iran?
Tommy and Ben talk about the drone strike by an Iranian-backed group on a US base in Jordan that killed three US service members, the pressure on Biden to retaliate against Iran directly, and the muddled politics of war. They also cover allegations that UN employees in Gaza participated in the October 7th Hamas attack, the International Court of Justice’s ruling about genocide charges against Israel, and Nancy Pelosi’s odd criticism of activists calling for a ceasefire. They also discuss NATO member fears about Russia, Trump floating major tariffs on China, a Kenyan court blocking the deployment of police to Haiti, and French farmers laying siege to Paris. Then, Tommy speaks with Ali Vaez, Iran Project Director at the International Crisis Group, about Iranian proxy groups, why Iran funds them, and the US conventional wisdom that Iran can only be deterred through military action. For a closed-captioned version of this episode, click here. For a transcript of this episode, please email and include the name of the podcast.
87:41 31/01/2024

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