Episodes
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...
Published 04/19/24
Published 04/19/24
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...
Published 04/17/24
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...
Published 04/10/24
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...
Published 04/06/24
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...
Published 04/03/24
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,...
Published 03/30/24
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...
Published 03/27/24
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...
Published 03/23/24
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...
Published 03/20/24
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...
Published 03/16/24
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...
Published 03/13/24
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.
Published 03/09/24
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...
Published 03/06/24
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...
Published 02/28/24
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.
Published 02/24/24
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...
Published 02/21/24
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.
Published 02/17/24
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.
Published 02/17/24
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,...
Published 02/14/24
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.
Published 02/10/24
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...
Published 02/07/24
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.
Published 02/03/24
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...
Published 01/31/24
Guangcheng escapes house arrest, but he’s not free yet. Without a real plan or a place to hide, he turns to the US embassy in Beijing. His moves set in motion a diplomatic maelstrom, where top officials from the two most powerful countries in the world negotiate over his fate – and their own.
Published 01/27/24