Rational Security

Follow Rational Security
Share on
Copy link to clipboard

A weekly discussion of national security and foreign policy matters hosted by Shane Harris of the Washington Post and featuring Brookings scholars Tamara Cofman Wittes, Benjamin Wittes, and Susan Hennessey.

The Lawfare Institute

    • May 25, 2023 LATEST EPISODE
    • weekly NEW EPISODES
    • 54m AVG DURATION
    • 418 EPISODES

    4.8 from 1,829 ratings Listeners of Rational Security that love the show mention: rational security, lawfare podcast, ben wittes, susan hennessey, quinta, national security law, tamara, national security issues, lawfare blog, caw caw, susan hennessy, national security podcast, shane harris, finally reviewing, issues of the week, best national security, benjamin wittes, herr, meundies, serious people.

    Search for episodes from Rational Security with a specific topic:

    Latest episodes from Rational Security

    The “Alan is One Year Closer to Death” Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later May 25, 2023 80:38

    This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott were reunited to celebrate Alan's gradual physical and mental decline, and to talk over the week in national security news, including:“Fear of Flying.” President Biden finally greenlit the transfer of F-16s to Ukraine, despite Russia's warnings—just as the siege at Bakhmut signals a brutal new phase of the conflict. Is this the right move? Or is the risk of escalation too great?“Big Sky, Closed Borders.” Social media company TikTok is challenging a new Montana law barring its use in the state on a variety of constitutional grounds, including the First Amendment and foreign affairs preemption. Are there legal barriers to state efforts to regulate platforms like TikTok? Or does Montana have the better arguments?“Putting the ‘Err' in Durham.” Special Counsel John Durham has released the final report of his investigation into the original of the FBI investigation into possible links between the Trump campaign and Russia. And while the report has some celebrating, it's left many others scratching their heads.For object lessons, Alan shared his favorite birthday present: the brownie edge pan his wife got him. Quinta passed along a true D.C. story from a concert she saw the night before, involving The National and a former Deputy Solicitor General. And Scott recommended Patrick Weil's new book, “The Madman in the White House,” an eclectic biography of an eclectic biography: a psychoanalysis of Woodrow Wilson, written by Ambassador William Bullitt and Sigmund Freud, lost for more than seventy years and recently found.Here are links to some other pieces we mentioned in this episode:New York Times: "The Battle for Bakhmut"ClickHole: "Legal Bombshell: Mueller Flipped Trump's Confidant's Lawyer's Friend's Associate Gorpman (Who Could Testify Against Bleemer!) And It's Not Even Lunchtime" Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The “Low Down Dirty Shane” Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later May 18, 2023 64:57

    This week, Alan and Scott were joined by co-host emeritus (and Washington Post star reporter) Shane Harris to talk over the week's news! Including:“Flight of the Valkyries.” Recently leaked U.S. intelligence reports allege that Wagner Group owner Yevgeniy Prighozin—who has privately and publicly feuded with the Russian military leadership in recent weeks and even threatened to pull his mercenary troops from the conflict—has been in contact with Ukrainian intelligence and offered to share Russian troop positions in exchange for concessions around the disputed city of Bakhmut. Is Prighozin trying to find a path to retreat? What do his actions tell us about the conflict?“Jerkiye Boy.” Twitter owner Elon Musk has come under criticism for the company's latest bad call: censoring certain content at the request of the Erdogan government in Türkiye, just prior to national elections there. How should Twitter have responded to the demands of Turkish officials? And how has Musk's erratic leadership affected the company's approach to such issues?“BootLichter.” CNN and its CEO Chris Licht are experiencing blowback from the decision to host a town hall with former President Donald Trump before an audience of his supporters, at which he repeated an array of lies about the 2020 election results, the recent judgment finding him liable for sexual battery, and his potential legal exposure for retaining classified documents, among other items. Was CNN in the wrong? How should it handle Trump (and other candidates)?For object lessons, Alan recommended his annual reading on the Eurovision contest, Anthony Lane's 2010 New Yorker essay, "Only Mr. God Knows Why." Scott passed along some favorites from his reading-heavy vacation, including Arkady Martine's fantastic "A Memory Called Empire." And Shane, in true Shane fashion, gave his wholehearted endorsement to a new spy thriller coming to Showtime this week: "Ghosts of Beirut," about the hunt for terrorist mastermind Imad Mughniyeh. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The “You Hear That, Mr. Anderson? That Is the Sound of Inevitability. Goodbye, Mr. Anderson” Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later May 11, 2023 71:17

    This week, Scott took a well-deserved vacation, so Alan and Quinta were joined by Lawfare managing editor Tyler McBrien to discuss:“But I thought 42 was the answer to life, the universe, and everything.” This week the Biden administration will cease Title 42, the policy linked to the Covid public health emergency under which asylum seekers could be turned back at the border. In its place, the administration is implementing a new rule that substantially limits asylum, limitations that, before the Trump administration implemented Title 42, would have been unthinkable. What should we make of the Biden administration's embrace of immigration restrictions?“Every time a tragedy, increasingly also a farce.” Over the weekend, a gunman opened fire at an outlet mall in Allen, Texas, killing at least 8 people and injuring at least 7 before being killed by police. Tragically, this wasn't even the deadliest mass shooting on record this year. How did mass shootings become America's pastime, and what can be done to stop them?“BuzzFeed? More Like Buzz Kill.” Late last month, BuzzFeed News announced that it was shutting down. The news site always courted controversy, never more so than when, in 2017, it published the unverified and infamous “Steele Dossier” alleging that Russia had compromising information on newly elected president Donald Trump. But the site had notable successes as well, earning a George Polk Award and a Pulitzer Prize. What does BuzzFeed News's end signal about the future of journalism?For object lessons, Quinta highlighted Caitlin Dickerson's Pulitzer-winning coverage of family separation in The Atlantic, Tyler recommended the new global publication The Dial, and Alan raved about his new favorite dystopian sci-fi show, Silo. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The “Q Agone” Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later May 4, 2023 79:34

    This week, a Quinta-less Alan and Scott were joined by Lawfare legal fellow Saraphin Dhanani to talk through the week's big national security news, including:“Seoul Authority.” South Korea and the United States recommitted themselves to their close security relationship this past week, including through a state dinner and a new Washington Declaration that confirms that the United States will respond to any nuclear attack on South Korea with overwhelming force. What drove this public showing? And what impact will it have on the nuclear threat posed by North Korea?“The Uncanny X-Date.” The debate over raising the debt ceiling took on new urgency this week, when Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen announced that the United States might meet the ‘X-Date' at which it defaults on its obligations as soon as June 1. Yet there are few signs of a compromise, as House Republicans have dug in on a proposal that demands deep spending cuts while the Biden administration continues to push for a clean raise. Where will this debate lead?“Washington Contentious.” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan gave remarks at our own Brookings Institution this past week, laying out a new approach to international economic policy. What should we make of this new ‘Washington Consensus'?For object lessons, Alan recommended Matthew Continetti's (audio)book on American conservatism, "The Right." Scott decided to shil for his favorite (washable!) shoe brand (for men!), Rothy's. And Saraphin overcame her natural aversion to musicals to endorse the current Broadway run of Stephen Sondheim's classic, "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street." Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The “Exile on Alan Street” Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 27, 2023 59:11

    This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott sat down—2/3 in a new studio space! (sorry, not sorry, Alan)—to discuss the week's big national security news, including:“A Sense of Doom in Khartoum.” An armed conflict between two rival military factions has broken out in Sudan. The United States and other major powers have evacuated their embassies, but numerous foreign nationals remain trapped on the ground, along with Sudanese civilians. How should the international community respond?“Tuck Around and Find Out.” Tucker Carlson is out at Fox News, having been summarily dismissed this past Friday with little fanfare. Whether this is a response to the Dominion settlement or something else remains a mystery. What does his departure mean for the media landscape?“He Was Just Biden' His Time.” President Biden has finally confirmed what we all suspected: that he is running for re-election. How will national security fit into his candidacy, and the election to follow? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The “Catch More Flies with Shugerman” Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 20, 2023 62:41

    This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott were joined by law professor extraordinaire Jed Shugerman to talk over his controversial take on the New York district attorney's case against former President Trump, among other items in the week's national security news, including:“If You Come at the King, You Best Not Whiff.” Former President Trump's indictment on 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree under New York state law earlier this month has triggered a firestorm of controversy, with several commentators accusing New York district attorney Alvin Bragg of advancing a weak or flawed case. What should we make of Bragg's case based on what we know so far? And what more information should we be looking for?“Factual Malice.” Fox News has settled the defamation lawsuit being pursued against it by Dominion Voting Systems for a record $787.5 million—but without having to make an on-air acknowledgement of its false statements. Does this settlement deal do justice? Should Dominion have proceeded differently?“Secret Chinese Agents, Huh?” Federal prosecutors have arrested two individuals in Brooklyn for operating a “secret police station” on behalf of the People's Republic of China's internal security forces, aimed at investigating and intimidating dissidents and other disfavored individuals. How should the United States and other governments approach these China-backed presences? Is criminal prosecution the right tool?For object lessons, Jed recommended "The Only Woman in the Room," a new biography of Israeli prime minister Golda Meir by his colleague Pnina Lahav. Quinta rolled logs for her latest piece on the Dominion settlement with Fox News in Lawfare. Alan highlighted the fact that Stormy Daniels has received a lifetime achievement award from PornHub—a publication Alan insists he reads for the articles—as well as the fantastic new Apple movie "Sharper." And Scott gave his strongest recommendation for season 2 of the phenomenal BBC podcast "The Lazarus Heist," which digs even deeper into the crimes of (and context surrounding) the North Korea-backed hacker ring, The Lazarus Group. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The “Signed Pol Pot Rookie Card” Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 13, 2023 71:32

    This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott were reunited to discuss the perils of Nazi paraphernalia collecting, among other hot national security news stories from the week, including:“TrickyLeaks.” A tranche of what appear to be genuine classified Defense Department documents has shown up on the internet, after being leaked to a conservative Discord channel and having spread through a number of other online fora for discussing video games and other issues. Who seems to be responsible? And how strategically significant are they? “Save Paradise, Put Me Up in a Parking Lot.” A ProPublica investigation has revealed that Justice Clarence Thomas—who once famously said that he felt more comfortable hanging out in a Walmart parking lot than at the beach—has been accepting extravagant tropical vacations from Republican megadonor Harlan Crow for decades. What does this tell us about ethics on the Supreme Court? Is there a legal solution?“Lost in the FrAUKUS.” French President Emmanuel Macron stirred up controversy this past week after suggesting that Europe should strive for greater independence from U.S. policy, including over Taiwan, following meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping. This comes just weeks after Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States unveiled the culmination of the regional 2021 AUKUS submarine deal, which continues to be a sore spot for Macron and French leaders. How significant are Macron's statements? What are their ramifications for Taiwan and others in the Pacific?For object lessons, Quinta shared a useful walkthrough of the recent judicial decision on mifepristone by Adam Unikowsky. Alan passed along a very entertaining article on the state of the metaverse. (Still no legs.) And Scott brought everyone in on what might be a time-limited secret: filmmaker Errol Morris has apparently posted both seasons of his phenomenal (but hard to find) docuseries "First Person" on YouTube. Check it out now, while you still can. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The “24-Hour News Psychos” Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 6, 2023 66:09

    This week, Quinta and Scott were joined by Lawfare Managing Editor Tyler McBrien to celebrate the return of the complete media madhouse and talk through the week's big stories, including:I'm So Indicted and I Just Can't Fight It.” Donald Trump became the first former president to be indicted this past week—and he celebrated with a speech from his Mar-a-Lago estate that painted the charges against him as a partisan witch-hunt. How big a step is this? And where is it likely to lead?“(Re)Press Pass.” Russia has jailed Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich and is preparing to prosecute him on espionage charges. What appears to be driving Russia's decision? And how should the rest of the world respond?“Crossing the Finnish Line.” Finland became NATO's newest member this week, doubling the alliance's shared border with Russia. What does an expanding NATO mean for security in Europe?For object lessons, Quinta recommended Beverly Gage's recent biography of J. Edgar Hoover, “G-Man.” Scott urged listeners to check out U2's recent reimagining of their back catalogue, “Songs of Surrender.” And Tyler urged everyone—and especially New Yorkers—to check out the new NYC-focused publication, “Hell Gate.” Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The “Tik Tik Tik” Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 30, 2023 75:46

    This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott were joined once again by co-host emeritus and Lawfare Editor-in-Chief Benjamin Wittes to talk through national security news stories from the Holy Land to the Lone Star State, including:“Rebel Aviv.” Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu's efforts to dramatically reform Israel's legal system hit a roadblock this past week in the form of widespread popular protests. After sacking his defense minister for suggesting that the reforms should be delayed, Netanyahu did just that—even as he also took steps to allow his most far-right allies to set up their own militia. What does this all mean for the future of Israeli democracy? “Wake Up in the Mornin' Feelin' Like J Biddy.” President Joe Biden may be poised to try and ban TikTok from the United States in light of the Chinese government's opposition to efforts to force a sale. And if he doesn't take such steps, Congress might. But is either step legally viable? What policy approach is best for this particular moment? “Whacko We Do.” Former President Trump held his first major campaign rally this past week in Waco, Texas. Among the headliners were controversial shock-rocker Ted Nugent and a literal chorus of individuals being prosecuted for participating in the Jan. 6 insurrection. Trump followed with extended remarks that dug deep into conspiracy theories and put rival Ron Desantis clearly in his crosshairs. What should we make of the event? And what does it tell us about the 2024 race? For object lessons, Alan urged listeners to check out the world historical 2010 NPR interview with none other than Ke$ha. Quinta welcomed the return of her Succession overlords. Scott offered a double-header: an endorsement of the Maximum Fun podcast network, which is currently holding its annual MaxFunDrive; and the perfect recipe for spring time, Melissa Clark's pasta primavera. And Ben issued his own double-header of recommended listening/viewing: Margaret Thatcher's 1992 reading of Aaron Copland's Lincoln Portrait; and Spy Magazine's 1993 article "Are You Next?" on whether you are likely to be the next target of government repression.Here are a few more articles we referenced:Lawfare series on Israeli judicial reformsJameel Jaffer's op-ed in the New York Times about TikTokQuinta's essay about WacoDavid French's column on Trump's Waco rally Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The “Mission Admonished” Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 23, 2023 65:16

    This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott waited for a big shoe to drop by talking over the week's big national security news, including:“What Else Can I Get Away With on Fifth Avenue...” Donald Trump is expected to become the first former president to be indicted on criminal charges this week—if, that is, local authorities are not deterred by the public protests Trump's supporters are preparing to hold in New York City at his request. What will this move mean for the country? And how might it end? “Territorial Refute.” After weeks of avoiding the issue, likely 2024 Republican presidential contender Ron Desantis adopted the position that supporting Ukraine—which he described as being involved in a “territorial dispute”—is not a vital U.S. interest, bringing him into alignment with former President Trump and signaling a strong lean towards isolationism in the 2024 Republican field. What will this mean for the likely candidates? And for U.S. support for Ukraine moving forward?“The ‘Blood, Treasure, and Regret' Anniversary.” This past week marked the 20th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, which set out to remove a dictator and welcome a new wave of democracy in the Middle East—but has instead resulted in an Iraq that is still recovering from years of sectarian violence and increasingly under Iran's influence. What is the legacy of the decision to invade? And what does it mean for U.S. foreign policy moving forward?For object lessons, Alan recommended the new spy (lawyer) thriller TV series "The Recruit." Quinta endorsed two Iraq-related movies: the comedy "In the Loop" and the Errol Morris documentary "The Unknown Known," a profile of Donald Rumsfeld and spiritual successor to Morris's classic documentary "The Fog of War." Scott threw in one more documentary for good measure—“Control Room," about engagements between CENTCOM and Al Jazeera around the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq—before urging everyone to read an amazing report in the New York Times documenting new evidence that supporters of Ronald Reagan might have urged Iranian revolutionaries to keep U.S. hostages in custody in order to hurt President Jimmy Carter's chances at reelection. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The “Wickedly Talented Adele Dazeem” Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 16, 2023 71:07

    This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott were joined for a special episode by the most glamorous of RatSec co-hosts emeritus, Shane Harris, to hand out some Academy Awards for events in national security over the past year.The nominees include:For “Best Make-Up” (i.e., what was the year's most memorable apology?):The Biden administration's confession that its balloon bombardment was a bust;Kevin McCarthy's ongoing Mar-a-Lago mea culpa;Former British Prime Minister Liz Truss's resignation over her positively wilting economic plan.For “Best Score” (i.e., who came away as the year's most unexpected winner?):Western Europe, whose uncharacteristic balminess helped it weather the winter without Russian energy imports;The F-22, which got its first kill (of a Chinese spy balloon) even as the U.S. military debates whether to discontinue it;China, whose late role in the Saudi-Iran rapprochement allowed it to seize much of the credit.For “Best Supporting Actor” (non-state actor, that is) (i.e., which non-governmental figure had the most oversized role on the national security stage this year?):Comic book villain Elon Musk;Manic pixie jury foreperson Emily Kohrs;Tucker Carlson, the only man who has gotten less credible since he stopped wearing a bowtie.For “Best Actor” (i.e., which world leader left their mark on the world stage this past year?): Volodymyr Zelensky, the man who stayed;Vladimir Putin, who seems intent on doubling down on his failing gambit in Ukraine;Xi Jinping, who locked down his control of the Chinese Communist Party—but perhaps not the Chinese people. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The “Giving Two Effs” Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 9, 2023 67:16

    This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott were joined by Naval Academy professor and cyberlaw expert Jeff "Two Effs" Kosseff to work through the week's big national security news stories, including:“Dox Populi.” Florida's state legislature is the latest of several to propose laws requiring individuals involved in certain online activities to reveal their identities to the state. Are these requirements consistent with the First Amendment? What would they mean for civil society where they apply?“Recommend Forward.” The Biden administration has rolled out what some had previewed as a historic new cyber strategy. But it's left some experts cold, in part because it seems to hinge on future enactments by a cooperative Congress—something that may not be in the cards. How revolutionary is it really?“Forget It, Jake. It's the Select Committee on Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party.” The House select committee on China held its first hearing last week to much fanfare. How much is it a partisan political exercise? And to what degree might it actually steer U.S. policy on China in a better (or worse) direction?For object lessons, Alan recommended a surprisingly endearing novel about a failing marriage, "Fleishman is in Trouble." On a similar note, Quinta urged listeners to check out Rachel Aviv's portrait of the highly unorthodox marriages of philosopher Agnes Callard. Scott broke from the trend to celebrate Suzy Eddie Izzard's new moniker and remind folks of the brilliance that is her 1999 stand-up special, Dress to Kill. And Jeff endorsed Daisy Alpert Florin's new novel "My Last Innocent Year" as a much needed reflection on, among other things, how the United States handled the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal of the 1990s. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The “Key West v. West Bank” Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 2, 2023 62:59

    This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott were joined by favorite guest Lawfare executive editor Natalie Orpett to talk through the week's news, including:“Low Confidence Games.” A Department of Energy intelligence report concluded with “low confidence” that COVID-19 may have begun with a lab leak in Wuhan, China, further fracturing views within the U.S. government and giving added fuel to those seeking to put blame for the pandemic on China. What should we make of the report—and the strong reactions to it?“It's Coming from Inside the Cabinet.” The West Bank and Israel appear to be in the midst of another spiral of violence. Most recently, the shooting of two Israeli settlers by a Palestinian led to a riot through a number of Palestinian towns that killed one resident and damaged hundreds of homes and cars. What explains this surge in violence? And is the new Israeli government headed by Bibi Netanyahu to blame? “Tallanasty.” At the prompting of Gov. Ron DeSantis—likely a leading candidate for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination—Florida's state legislature is enacting a wave of culture war measures, targeting everything from school libraries to Disney. What does this all mean for democratic governance in Florida? And what could it mean for the country come 2024? For object lessons, Alan endorsed all things Alison Brie, including her newest film, Spin Me Round. Quinta celebrated her favorite carb- and dairy-based holiday, National Khachapuri Day. Scott hearkened back to object lessons of yesteryear to mark the release of two new comedies that have literally been decades in the making: Party Down and A History of the World, Part 2. And Natalie embraced her inner corporate shill to endorse Lawfare's own podcast series, The Aftermath, which is releasing the final episode of its first season soon. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The “Not, Like, the Three Greatest Experts at Podcasting” Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 23, 2023 71:33

    This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott sat through literally hours of oral arguments to prepare to discuss all the national security developments in the news, including:“The HIMAR Anniversary.” The war in Ukraine is one year old this week. The Biden administration marked the occasion with a presidential visit to Kyiv and a finding of crimes against humanity, while Vladimir Putin celebrated by moving the Doomsday Clock a bit closer to midnight. What should we make of where the war stands one year in?“We're Living in a Post-Algorithm World, and I'm a Post-Algorithm Girl.” So said Justice Elena Kagan (more or less), as she and the other members of the Supreme Court heard arguments in Gonzalez v. Google and Twitter v. Taamneh on terrorism liability and the scope of protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act—a case that some argue could break the internet. What did we learn from oral arguments? And what might the ramifications be?“Bold Dominion.” Dominion Voting Systems filed a stunning brief in its defamation lawsuit against Fox News earlier this week, which lays out in 200 detailed pages the extent to which Fox's executives and on-air personalities knowingly amplified lies about the company's conduct around the 2020 election. What did we learn about Fox's culpability? And what would a Dominion win mean moving forward?For object lessons, Alan recommended “Poker Face“ the new star vehicle for elder millennial America's unlikely sweetheart, Natasha Lyonne. Quinta shared some hyperlocal D.C. gossip about the difficult etiquette surrounding giving stuff away for free on the internet. And Scott shared the ultimate food hack for busy parents who want a little spice and funk in their easy dinners: throw a little kimchi into your Kraft macaroni and cheese. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The “All Blow'd Up” Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 16, 2023 60:31

    This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott talked over some of the various natsec stories blowing up headlines, including:“The Truth is Up There…And We Shot It Down.” Last week's controversy over a Chinese spy balloon has blown up, as the United States and Canada have shot down a number of similar unidentified flying objects over their airspace in the past few days. But why is the Biden administration being so close-lipped about what these things are? Is there reason for concern?“Now I Know How Joan of Arc Felt.” Special Counsel Jack Smith appears to be turning up the heat on associates of former President Trump: former Vice President Pence is reportedly invoking both executive privilege and the Speech and Debate Clause to avoid testifying before a grand jury, while Smith is pushing to overcome another witness's claim of attorney-client privilege on the basis of the crime-fraud exception. What should we make of these moves? What do they tell us about where the investigation is headed? “Oh Nikki, You're On Time, First in Line, It Blows My Mind.” Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley is the first Republican to officially step up and compete against former President Trump for the Republican nomination for president. Why declare now? And what does her candidacy mean for the race? For object lessons, Alan dipped back into his high school literature reading list and endorsed John Steinbeck's “East of Eden.” Quinta recommended the Rolling Stone piece we've all been waiting for: a profile of influential right-wing sh*tposter @Catturd2. And Scott urged listeners to check out the band Television's 1977 classic “Marquee Moon” in honor of its frontman Tom Verlaine, who passed away a few weeks ago. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The "Are You There, Nena? It's Me, NORAD" Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 9, 2023 71:43

    This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott were joined once again by host emeritus Benjamin Wittes to talk through the week's various freak-outs, including:“We Found the 100th Luftballon.” Last week, a Chinese spy balloon floated over the United States, triggering a national freak-out that led to the cancellation of a major high-level summit between U.S. and Chinese leaders. Was this freak-out warranted? What does it tell us about U.S.-China relations?“SotFU.” President Biden delivered his second State of the Union address last night—and it was about as contentious as expected. How did he do? And how should we feel about this most vaunted of national institutions?“ChatOMG.” Over the past several weeks, countless Americans have had the chance to hash it out with ChatGPT, a large language-model artificial intelligence that is open to the public and will either revolutionize or devastate a thousand different human tasks, depending on who you ask. Just how revolutionary is ChatGPT? And is that a good thing or a bad thing?For object lessons, Alan embraced his home state of Minnesota's annual “name a snow plow” contest and its winner, “Yer a blizzard, Harry.” Quinta lamented the latest fatality resulting from Elon Musk's takeover of Twitter: the end of its free API and the countless useful integrations it helped facilitate. Scott suggested that listeners check out David Romero's 3D renderings of some of Frank Lloyd Wright's most dramatic but never built designs, and implored Mr. Romero to put Wright's “Plan for Greater Baghdad” higher on his project list. And Ben saluted the service of the “Little Ass Projector” he's used in countless special military operations, which he lost in battle earlier this week. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The “When the Bower Breaks News” Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 2, 2023 70:33

    This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott were joined by Lawfare special Georgia correspondent Anna Bower to talk through the week's big national security news stories, including:“You Gotta Know When to Fulton.” Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has wrapped up her work with a special purpose grand jury investigating former President Donald Trump and his associates for potential 2020 election interference, and has said that charging decisions will be forthcoming. But why did she oppose the public release of the grand jury's report? And what might that tell us about where the case is headed?“It Is Happening Again.” The brutal murder of Tyre Nichols by police officers in Memphis, Tennessee, is bringing back to the fore demands for police reform and greater accountability for the violence that our criminal justice system levels disproportionately against Black Americans. What lessons should we take from this case? Is there any way forward for change?“Drop the ‘Real.' It's Cleaner.” Former President Donald J. Trump is back on Facebook and Instagram, after parent company Meta lifted the permanent ban that had kept him off the platforms for promoting violence in relation to the Jan. 6 insurrection. Is this change the right policy? What might it mean moving forward?For object lessons, Alan threw his endorsement behind HBO's latest post-apocalyptic venture, The Last of Us. Quinta urged listeners to dig into the works of (Canadian) national treasure Alice Munro. Scott sang the praises of his new favorite kitchen multitasker. And Anna—seeing that the end of law school is nigh—decided to one-up Alan with her own post-apocalyptic recommendations, Station Eleven and The Leftovers. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The “M1 Abrams Accords” Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 26, 2023 65:01

    This week, Quinta and Scott were joined by special guest Michel Paradis to talk over the week's big national security news, including:“Don't Tank my Chain.” Western allies of Ukraine have finally agreed to a way forward on providing the country with tanks, an issue which has proven surprisingly contentious in recent weeks. Germany will now allow its Leopard tanks to be used in the near-term while the United States will send Ukraine a series of M1 Abrams in the future, meeting the German demand for a matched U.S. contribution. Why was this so important to Germany? And what does it tell us about the broader state of the war?“Slight of the Valkyries.” The U.S. Treasury Department has slapped new sanctions on the Russian mercenary group, the Wagner Group, labeling them a Transnational Criminal Organization (“TCO”)—even as U.S. officials continue to resist calls to designate them a terrorist organization. What explains this reticence? Is it warranted?“Empire State of Mind.” For the first time, the New York City district attorney is trying someone under state criminal laws barring material support for terrorism that the state adopted following the September 11 attacks—even though the criminal suspect was never present in New York, but merely knew his actions would have repercussions there. Is this a sensible move? Or is there reason for pause? For object lessons, Quinta caved to the buzz and recommended that listeners give the podcast “Shameless Acquisition Target” a listen, just like they wanted. Scott urged folks to check out Katie Pruitt, who is on the verge of releasing her second album of Americana-influenced rock (and hopefully coming to the D.C. area on tour). And Michel shared a lovely story about whether this is the year of the cat or the year of the rabbit on the lunar calendar, and how the confusion started in the first place. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The “Thelma or Louise” Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 19, 2023 71:18

    This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott reunited on our new recording day to talk through the week's big national security news, including:“Blocked and Muted.” Earlier this week, the Washington Post published a draft report by the Jan. 6 committee detailing how the far right used social media to organize and mobilize in the lead-up to the insurrection—the very same analysis that was reportedly kept out of the committee's final report, over the objections of staffers. How substantial are these revelations? And how will they impact the committee's legacy?“Sino the Times.” The Chinese government is reporting that its population has declined for the first time in 60 years, decades ahead of projections. Combined with the fallout of the regime's reversal on zero-Covid policies and a lagging economy, some are taking this as a sign of difficult times to come for the People's Republic. How should we read these reports? And what do they mean for the China-U.S. relationship?“Raising the Roof.” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned that the federal government is beginning “extraordinary measures” to avoid a debt default, as the United States moves closer to the debt ceiling—without either party in Congress having an apparent plan for raising it. How serious a threat is this? What options might be available for addressing it?For object lessons, Alan recommended the Australian kids series “Bluey” for those listeners with toddlers they need to keep occupied. Quinta, fresh off her vacation to the Grand Canyon, recommended an unlikely book: an authoritative account of everyone who has ever died there. And Scott passed along the best damn lentil soup recipe ever. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    Programming Note

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 17, 2023 0:33

    Hey there, Rational Security listeners! We have a quick programming note for you:Due to some scheduling conflicts both among us co-hosts and with Lawfare's broader podcast production schedule, we are moving Rational Security's release date from Wednesday to Thursday from this week moving forward.This does unfortunately mean you will have to wait an extra day for this week's episode. But it also means that we'll be able to bring you new episodes that are meatier, newsier, and more B-roll-y than ever moving forward.Thanks for bearing with us, and we will see you on Thursday. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The “Sincerest Form of Flattery” Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 11, 2023 77:12

    This week, a Quinta-less Alan and Scott were joined by their Lawfare colleagues senior editor Molly Reynolds and managing editor Tyler McBrien to talk over some copycat-ing that's been taking place in the national security space, including:“Hoppin' the Fence at Lulapalooza.” In a clear echo of the Jan. 6 insurrection, followers of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro sacked the country's parliament this past week, just days after his successor Lula da Silva was sworn in—and while Bolsonaro himself was visiting former U.S. President Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate. What's the relationship between Jan. 6 and Brazil's recent experience? Is this the beginning of a dangerous global trend?“The Divider House Rules.” After fifteen votes, Rep. Kevin McCarthy is now the Speaker of the House. But to get there, he had to make a lot of concessions—many of which are now showing their face in the House rules and in committee appointments, while others remain secret. What constraints has McCarthy accepted in order to win office? And will they mean for the coming Congress?“C'mon, Man!” Several months after FBI agents raised former President Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate to recover classified documents, lawyers for current President Biden have acknowledged that they located a few classified documents from his time as vice president in Biden's private office as well. Critics in Congress and elsewhere are crying out that this reflects a double-standard, but does it? How big a deal is this, and what will it mean for the ongoing Mar-a-Lago investigation?For object lessons, Alan passed along Rick Martinez's winter-friendly recipe for pozole verde. Scott recommended revisiting an old classic, Louis Menand's “The Metaphysical Club,” as a reflection on the emergence of pragmatism as an American intellectual tradition. Molly endorsed Melissa Clark's latest cookbook, “Dinner in One,” even if you have to go to the bottom of the ocean to get a copy. And Tyler invoked Kyle Chayka's concept of "ambient tv" to justify his viewing of season 3 of “Emily in Paris.” Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The “2023 and Me” Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 4, 2023 69:05

    This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott were joined by co-host emeritus Benjamin Wittes to talk through the big natsec news stories starting off the new year, including:“Watch Out, You Might Get What You're After.” As we recorded, the Freedom Caucus was in the midst of burning down the House, denying the Republican majority the ability to appoint Kevin McCarthy as Speaker through three consecutive ballots. Where might this lead? And what more should we expect from the 118th Congress? “Title and … Reversed?” The Supreme Court interrupted its holiday break to consider whether Republican-led states should be allowed to intervene in a case wherein a lower court ordered the end of Title 42 policies, which impose draconian immigration restrictions on the basis of the COVID-19 public health emergency. What could the Supreme Court's intervention mean for these policies? And what does their persistence tell us about immigration politics in our country?“A Boom Market for Things That Go Boom.” U.S. arms exports to NATO allies nearly doubled in 2022, due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. But what might becoming an even larger arms exporter mean for U.S. foreign policy? For object lessons, Alan recommended the teen revenge flick, "Do Revenge." Quinta endorsed Kate Beaton's new graphic novel, "Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands." Scott issued a mea culpa for his recent lapses in Muppet knowledge and independently confirmed that yes, in fact, the new "Willow" television series is in fact good. And Ben urged listeners who might find themselves in NYC to check out Mike Birbiglia's latest stage show, "The Old Man and the Pool." Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The “Toodle 2020-Two Doo” Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 28, 2022 66:22

    For their end-of-the-year episode, Alan, Quinta, and Scott took on a number of hard-hitting questions posed by you, the listeners, including:What did Quinta mean when she referenced "the radical political statement" of the Star Wars series Andor?How should we grade Biden as a foreign policy president? Has he made America credible again?Will recent mass shootings make Congress more open to any sort of "domestic terrorism" legislation?What delay tactics did former President Trump use in the courts, and what can be done to stop others from doing the same?Who wins, werewolf or vampire? And how?How would the Afghan Adjustment Act provide legal protections for Afghans who fled the Taliban in the final days of the U.S. military presence? And what is stopping Congress from enacting it?Why has the United States let Turkey bully Stockholm and Helsinki over NATO membership? How can we get Americans to care about foreign policy? Which Muppet does each host identify with most strongly and why?They also passed along listener-submitted object lessons, including:The World Affairs Councils of America network, a group of grassroots nonprofits from all over the country that are dedicated to promoting international affairs knowledge at the local level. “How Not to Network a Nation” by Benjamin Peters, an interesting book that contrasts the Soviet and American attempts to build early computer networks, focusing on the competition that made the Soviet attempts flounder, and the state-subsidized programs that made the American attempts succeed.Net Assessment, the War on the Rocks' bi-weekly journal club podcast that the listener considers the "serious and professional" Rational Security (cue Quinta's eye-rolling).Bag Man, a seven-part podcast miniseries by Rachel Maddow about the Spiro Agnew scandal.Finally, listener Mike shared his favorite cocktail of the year—a variant of the standard Gold Rush formula that swaps Nocino or another walnut liqueur out for a third of the honey syrup—and asked each host their own. Alan endorsed any and all cocktails involving miso paste. Quinta endorsed her old stand-by the Dark and Stormy, while also recommending hot mulled cider for the season (which Scott supplemented by recommending the addition of some citrus fruit, demerara sugar, and star anise, plus a spike of bourbon and cognac). And Scott passed along the Diplomatic Handshake, a phenomenal cocktail from Local Jones in Denver, CO, the recipe for which he'll share on social media as soon as he has their permission...Happy holidays everyone, and here's hoping for a fantastic New Year! We will see you in 2023... Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The “Fracket Fracas” Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 21, 2022 67:13

    This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott were once again joined by Congress maven Molly Reynolds to hash through some of the week's big natsec news, including:“Don't Fear the Referr(als).” As its presumed end draws nigh with the new Congress, the Jan. 6 committee is racing to bring its work to a close. Yesterday it voted to make four sets of criminal referrals, including for former President Trump. It also released a 100-page draft executive summary for its forthcoming report. What more should we expect from the committee? And what impact will these steps have?“The Grapes of Vlad.” The U.S. Congress sent a strong message of support to Ukraine this week by committing $45 billion in U.S. assistance, even more than requested by the Biden Administration. But there are few signs that Russia's poor performance thus far is threatening Russian President Vladimir Putin's control of the country, who seems to be settling in for a long-haul strategy of waiting out Western and Ukrainian resistance. What trajectory is this conflict on as it approaches the one-year mark? Where do we think it's likely headed?“Showdown at the O.K. Corral.” The Republican Party is set to take control of the House in January. But who will be leading them remains up in the air, as majority leader Kevin McCarty is still struggling to secure enough support from the far right wing of his party. His supporters are circling the wagon, most recently by publicly wearing “O.K.” pins signaling their support for “Only Kevin.” But can he get across the threshold? And at what cost? For object lessons, Alan recommended the overlooked spy drama "The Courier" for all his fellow Cumberbitches. Quinta passed along her favorite recipe for holiday cookies. Scott re-upped his (well-reviewed!) eggnog recipe and recommended another holiday classic: the Lion's Tail. And Molly urged everyone suffering from World Cup withdrawal to check out NPR's "The Last Cup." Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The “It Has a Kilt!” Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 14, 2022 72:36

    This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott were joined by serial guest Lawfare executive editor Natalie Orpett to talk through the week's big national security news, including:“Surly Intervention.” Desperate circumstances in the island nation of Haiti have both Haitians and the international community thinking seriously about another international intervention. But no one seems excited about the prospect, or eager to lead it. How should the international community be approaching this situation?“What's the Penalty for Inequal Substitution?” The Biden administration finally negotiated the freedom of WNBA Star Brittany Griner this past week, but at a steep cost: the freedom of notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. And she leaves behind her another American, Paul Whelan, who has been in Russian prison since 2018. Was the trade worth making? How should the United States handle these difficult hostage-taking cases?“Justice Delayed is Justice in Stride.” Nearly thirty-four years after the Pan Am 103 bombing, the Justice Department has secured custody over Abu Agila Masud, a former Libyan intelligence operative believed to have built the bomb for, and played a key role in, the operation. How big a victory is this capture? How is the Justice Department likely to approach his prosecution?For object lessons, Alan embraced his inner Trekkie and endorsed the newest Star Trek series, "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds." Quinta endorsed Don Delillo's classic 1985 novel "White Noise," soon to be a feature film from Noah Baumbach. Scott encouraged listeners to incorporate folk guitarist John Fahey's 1968 album "The New Possibility" into their holiday music routine. And Natalie gave a few recommendations from her recent dive into short stories, including T. Coraghessan Boyle's short story "Princess" in a recent issue of the New Yorker and the late Hillary Mantel's collection of short stories, "The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher."Also, Rational Security will be doing its listener-submitted end-of-year episode later this month! So be sure to send any topics you want us to discuss or object lessons you want to share to rationalsecurity@lawfareblog.com. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The “Dork at 4pm” Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 7, 2022 70:17

    This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott were reunited after a few weeks apart to talk through the week's big national security news, including:“In the Land of the Blind, the One-Eyed Man is Still Guilty of Seditious Conspiracy.” The jury in the Oath Keepers trial came back last week, convicting every defendant of at least one criminal offense—including the controversial charge of seditious conspiracy. What might this mean for other Jan. 6 investigations moving forward?“Morality? Puh-leeze.” Weeks of protests in Iran finally seemed to bear fruit last week when a regime official signaled that the morality police may be disbanded and laws requiring that women wear hijabs be repealed. But other regime figures don't seem on-board with that solution. Is this a sign that protests are succeeding? Where might they go from here?“Les Fleurs du MAL.” The litigation that led Judge Aileen Cannon to appoint a special master to review evidence collected by the FBI from former President Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate this past summer has finally culminated in its final form: an 11th Circuit ruling reversing Judge Cannon's order and disbanding the process altogether. Where will the investigation go from here?For object lessons, Alan celebrated Quinta and Ben's silver screen debut. Quinta recommended Rachel Maddow's new podcast series "Ultra." And Scott provided an essential Muppet holiday special update, flagging both that "A Muppet Christmas Carol" was being restored to its original form on Disney+ on 12/11 as well as an online version of the 1987 classic, "A Muppet Family Christmas." Also, Rational Security will be doing its listener-submitted end-of-year episode later this month! So be sure to send any topics you want us to discuss or object lessons you want to share to rationalsecurity@lawfareblog.com. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The “Doorstepped” Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 30, 2022 69:20

    This week, Quinta and Scott co-hosted sans Alan, but were joined by the co-hosts of the Carnegie Council's The Doorstep Podcast, Nikolas Gvosdev and Tatiania Serafin! They talked through the week's big national security news, including:“Paper Rocks Censors.” China has erupted in protests against Xi Jinping's draconian zero-COVID policies, with thousands of Chinese citizens holding up a blank white sheet of paper as a sign of their discontent. Will these “white paper” protests make a difference in China? How should the United States respond?“A Cheney Might Shoot You in the Face, But They'd Never Stab You in the Back.” Last week, the Washington Post reported that more than a dozen current and past staffers on the Jan. 6 committee are angry with co-chair Liz Cheney for decisions to focus the committee's final report on conduct related to former President Trump. Is there merit to these complaints or do they seem overblown?“Much Guaido About Nothing?” The Biden administration is easing sanctions on Venezuela, as talks loom between the incumbent Maduro regime and recognized government-in-exile of opposition leader Juan Guaido. Does this signal a major shift in U.S. policy towards Venezuela? Or are those condemning the move overblowing the situation?As for object lessons, Quinta engaged in a bit of self-promotion over her recent Atlantic piece on the forthcoming Supreme Court case Moore v. Harper. Scott indulged in a Werner Herzog impression to recommend a new documentary directed by his son, "Last Exit: Space." Nikolas urged listeners to check out a recent interview with former German Chancellor Angela Merkel on her legacy and the current state of affairs in Europe. And Tatiana poured one out for free speech and passed along a recent article in New York Magazine, "Do You Have a Right Not to be Lied To?" Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The “Get Off My Lawn” Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 23, 2022 76:43

    This week, a Quinta-less Alan and Scott welcomed Lawfare's dynamic associate editor duo, Katherine Pompilio and Hyemin Han, on to the show to talk through the week's big national security news stories, including:“Going Full Cleve.” Last week, former President Donald Trump announced his intention to once again run for president—in spite of the Republicans' weak showing in the midterm elections and his own impending legal troubles. What does Trump's announcement mean for 2024 and after? “A Mueller Mulligan?” Trump's announcement that he was once again running for president in turn led Attorney General Merrick Garland to make his own announcement last Friday: that he was appointing another Special Counsel to take over the investigations into Trump's interference in the 2020 election results and mishandling of classified records. Was this the right move? How will the Special Counsel's appointment impact the investigations—and Trump's political future?“Pyongyanking Our Chain.” North Korea has launched a new ICBM that it claims can deliver nuclear weapons anywhere in the United States. Should this threat be taken seriously or is it a bluff? And is the Biden administration doing enough to respond?For object lessons, Alan shared the tale of Lawfare's biggest animal fan, Katherine's African Grey parrot Moby. Scott passed along the late Michael Gerson's essay on dropping his youngest son off at college as a wonderful meditation on parenthood. Katherine shared her passion for soft jazz, and recommended the album "Ethiopics, Vol. 4: Ethio Jazz 1969-1974" as a great dive into Ethiopia's own early 1970s jazz scene. And Hyemin endorsed a show she recently took in at the Brooklyn Academy of Music: "Trojan Women," which beautifully translated a Greek tragedy through the Korean storytelling form of pansori. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The “Raising a Wordcel” Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 16, 2022 64:57

    This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott talked through a big week of national security news, including:“Red Dead Redemption.” Expectations of a “red wave” in the 2022 midterm elections came up short this week, as Democrats retained control of the Senate and expanded their control in the states while Republicans only appear to gain control of the House by the slimmest of margins. How will these election results impact the security of our democracy moving forward? “Negotiating a Peace Entreaty.” Even as Russian forces beat a retreat from Kherson, some officials within the Biden administration—most notably, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley—are reportedly becoming more inclined to push for a negotiated peace with Russia, particularly as the winter months slow down the pace of fighting. Russia, meanwhile, responded to a speech by Ukrainian President Volodmyr Zelensky outlining a 10 step plan for peace with a new barrage of missile attacks. What are the pros and cons of such negotiations? And how might they impact the conflict, and its attendant risks of escalation? (When the team recorded, it seemed possible that a Russian missile had landed on Polish soil, killing two civilians; as of Wednesday morning, NATO now says the blast was likely caused by a Ukrainian air defense missile and was unintentional.)“He Said, Xi Said.” President Biden sat down with Chinese President Xi Jinping this past week for their first face-to-face meeting as presidents on the margins of the G20 meeting. Both sides reportedly committed to easing tensions between the two countries and resuming work towards shared challenges, such as climate change. What explains this change in tack? Will it stick? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The “Needle is BACK” Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 9, 2022 70:20

    This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott were joined by Brookings Institution Middle East expert Natan Sachs to talk over the week's big (non-U.S. election) national security news, including:“Bibi Got Back.” Last week, an unprecedented fifth national election in the last four years returned controversial former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to power, at the head of a coalition including several far-right nationalist parties. What does his return to office mean for the future of Israel and the region? And its relations with the United States?“COP Out.” The United Nations' 27th annual Convention of Parties (also known as “COP27”) is playing host to world leaders in Sharm-al-Sheikh, Egypt, this week, where some are hoping to find new consensus on how to combat climate change. Are countries taking these challenges seriously? What are these efforts likely to look like moving forward?“Everybody Toots.” Elon Musk's purchase and dramatic reorientation of Twitter is begging to drive users to other social media platforms, including the decentralized Mastodon network. What will Musk's changes mean for the future of disinformation and content moderation, both within Twitter and outside of it?For object lessons, Alan endorsed hunting the world's most dangerous game: man (with paintballs). Quinta passed along a useful reference on the state of crime in the United States and the way it is being used in the midterm elections. Scott recommended everyone try a sip of his long neglected workplace colleague. And Natan celebrated the pandemic perseverance of his office jade plants as a sign of hope in dark times. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The “Happy Hallowmas” Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 2, 2022 69:51

    This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott shook off their post-Halloween sugar comas to hash through some of the week's big national security news stories, including:“A Home Invasion in the House.” A man connected to various online conspiracies broke into the San Francisco home of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and violently assaulted her husband, all as part of a plot to kidnap and torture her. What is to blame for this type of violence? Are we taking it seriously enough?“First (R)use?” The Biden administration's recently released Nuclear Posture Review has taken many progressives by surprise, as it appears to walk back candidate Biden's commitment to a policy against first use. Is this criticism fair? What should we make of the Biden administration's nuclear strategy?“Trust and the Fourth Estate.” The Justice Department has codified new guidelines putting significant restrictions on when and how prosecutors can subpoena and arrest journalists. Are these restrictions well-founded or do they go too far? For object lessons, Alan recommended his favorite recent audiobook, Daniel Immerwahr's "How to Hide an Empire." Quinta threw her support behind the season of Fall, and shared a photo of some of its lovely colors (see our show page). And Scott recommended a cocktail named after the only way worth living: Naked and Famous. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The “Ku Ku Kachoo” Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 26, 2022 64:29

    This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott were joined by China expert and law professor Julian Ku to talk through some of the week's big national security news, including:“Xi Loves Me, Xi Loves Me Not.” At the Chinese Communist Party's 20th National Congress this past weekend, Chinese President Xi Jinping was able to not only secure his leadership over the party and country for a third consecutive five-year term but successfully staff the party apparatus with his hand-picked loyalists. What does the Congress tell us about where China is headed under Xi's rule?“Huawei or the Highway.” Less than 24 hours after the close of the CCP Congress in Beijing, Attorney General Merrick Garland and his most senior deputies unveiled a series of indictments against Chinese nationals alleged to have engaged in covert campaigns to interfere with the investigation into Huawei, penetrate U.S. research institutions, and curb protests by Chinese nationals in the United States. Is the timing a message or just a coincidence? How should the Biden administration be responding?“4th and Elon(g).” Despite his best efforts, Elon Musk's purchase of Twitter is set to go through this Friday. But in the last few days, there have been mutterings that the purchase might be subjected to a national security review by the federal government. Are these rumors just Elon's Hail Mary attempt at killing the deal? Or might they have some merit? And what will either outcome mean for Twitter?For object lessons, Alan recommended the new film "Argentina, 1985." Quinta endorsed the novel "Grey Bees" by Andrey Kurkov for those wanting to sample some modern Ukrainian literature. Scott urged listeners who share his space obsessions to check out "For All Mankind," one of the best shows he's seen on television. And Julian recommended the BBC documentary series "Rome: Empire Without Limit" by Mary Beard for those wanting to reflect a bit on the rise and decline of great powers. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The “It's Short for Scottrick” Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 19, 2022 64:09

    This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott flew solo to talk through some of the week's big national security news stories, including:“Jake, Mr. Sullivan if You're NSSty.” The Biden administration finally unveiled its long awaited (and overdue) National Security Strategy last week, through a high-profile event at Georgetown University featuring National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. Does it hit the mark? Does it even matter? “Big Subpoena Energy.” The Jan. 6 committee confidently closed its last live session with a bang last week, in the form of a unanimous vote to subpoena former President Trump for his testimony. Trump responded with a 14-page rant a few days later that repeated many of his grievances over the 2020 election but did not address whether he would comply. Why did the committee take this step? Is there any way to compel Trump to cooperate? Will it need to?“Is it SIGINT or SIJINT?” The Biden administration has issued a new Executive Order limiting its collection of signals intelligence, as part of an effort to come to agreement with the European Union's legal system and its stringent privacy protections. Will these new arrangements be invalidated by European courts like their two predecessors? Or could they finally be up to snuff?For object lessons, Alan recommended the impressive (if highly depressing) new European sci-fi film "Vesper." Quinta seconded Carlos Lozada's takedown of one of the Senate's most milquetoast members. And Scott celebrated the 90th birthday of a real legal legend and all around phenomenal human, Judge Guido Calabresi. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The "Wahoowa" Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 12, 2022 68:57

    This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott were joined by beloved Lawfare contributor and UVA Law professor Ashley Deeks, fresh from her latest stint at the White House. They hashed through some of the week's big national security news, including:“The Bridge and Pummel Crowd.” Ukraine's destruction of a symbolic bridge linking Russia to Crimea has observers worried about a new round of escalation, as Russia responded with missile strikes on a range of civilian targets across the country, including a German consulate in Kyiv, with promises of more to come. Are we entering a new, brutal phase of the conflict? What can be done to stop its civilian toll—or to keep the escalatory spiral from spinning out of control?“Finally, Some Decency and Moderation on the Supreme Court.” Last week, the Supreme Court took up not one but two—albeit, two closely related—cases that center on how to apply Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a law that provides internet companies with immunity for liability arising from user-generated content they host and protects their ability to moderate content. What might this judicial scrutiny mean for the future of content moderation on the internet?“1,001 Arabian Slights.” Saudi Arabia's decision to cut oil production—a move expected to drive up oil prices and slow the global economy, to the benefit of Russia and other producers—has some members of Congress up in arms. This is especially true as it came on the end of a summer visit by President Biden that controversially seemed to signal a willingness to thaw relations with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, which have grown icy since his involvement in the 2018 killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. What do these steps mean for the future of the U.S.-Saudi relationship?For object lessons, Alan shared his wife's love for ch-ch-ch-chia pets. Quinta shared a story of voter fraud and corruption in one of America's greatest institutions: NPS's Fat Bear Week competition. Scott shared his joyfully music-filled week and urged listeners to check out his favorite album of all time, celebrating its 20th anniversary. And Ashley passed along a revealing story about the fake Vermeer discovered at the National Gallery of Art. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The “Escalatory Alan” Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 5, 2022 64:33

    This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott sat down with unofficial fourth co-host, Lawfare executive editor Natalie Orpett, to discuss the week's big national security news, including:“That's one, one disqualified elector. (Ah ah ah.)” Both the House and Senate finally seem ready to reform the Electoral Count Act, the ambiguity-ridden statute that has (kind of) governed how Congress counts electoral votes since 1887. What threats to our elections process will these reforms fix? Which will they leave unaddressed?“It's No Longer A-Me, Mario.” Recent elections are set to replace Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi with none other than Giorgia Meloni, the leader of the far-right Brothers of Italy movement. What does her victory mean for democracy in Italy and across Europe?“Narcnado.” The Treasury Department's decision to sanction Tornado Cash, an open source cryptocurrency tumbler, has privacy and technology advocates crying foul. Will the sanctions survive a coming legal challenge? Does it put First Amendment rights at risk?For object lessons, Alan confessed his love of Jon Hamm, particularly in the movie "Confess, Fletch." Quinta recommended journalist David Enrich's deep dive into the big law firm Jones Day, "Servants of the Damned." Scott urged listeners to check out both his long-awaited report on standing doctrine and the late Loretta Lynn's rocker "Portland, Oregon" off her album with Jack White, "Van Lear Rose." And Natalie passed along a recent very real, non-satirical filing before the Supreme Court by America's finest news source, The Onion. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The “Spicy Tyler” Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 28, 2022 60:21

    This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott were joined by Lawfare managing editor Tyler McBrien to hash through the week's big national security news, including:“Bad Vlad's Sad Grab Has Leningrad a Tad Mad.” Russian President Vladimir Putin seems intent on escalating the conflict in Ukraine, as he's mobilized thousands of civilian conscripts and is on the verge of incorporating separatist parts of the country into Russia following a sham referendum. But will the Russian people stand for these new actions? And what will they mean for the future of the conflict?“What's Farsi for Riotgrrrl?” Young Iranians have taken to the streets for women's rights following the apparent killing of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini after she was arrested by religious police for failing to adequately cover her hair. Could this be a real threat to the Iranian regime? And what will it mean for hard-line President Raisi and the ailing Ayatollah Khameini?“Cannon as Anticanon.” Everyone's favorite federal district court judge Aileen Cannon has had the part of her order requiring that a special master review even classified records seized from former President Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate slapped down by the 11th Circuit. Where is the case—and the broader investigation—likely to go from here?For object lessons, Alan recommended the long awaited mainstream press treatment of the Hunter Biden laptop story (over Quinta's reservations). Quinta memorialized "Wolf Hall" author Hilary Mantel, who recently passed away. Scott celebrated the Renaissance of fantasy television by giving his stamp of the approval to the debut season of Rings of Power. And Tyler endorsed both the solo movie date and the documentary Riotsville, USA that he recently took in. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The “Korea Culpa” Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 21, 2022 64:57

    This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott went guestless to discuss the week's big national security news, including:“Ne Me Quitte Pas.” The nearby island nation of Haiti is hitting new levels of instability, as paired economic and political crises have given way to open gang warfare in broad swathes of the country. While the events have some calling for external intervention, others have expressed major reservations with such a step, given its past failings in the country. Where might this crisis lead?“I'm Rubber, You're Su(ing).” Last week, the Fifth Circuit released a real barn-burner of an opinion in the matter of NetChoice v. Paxton, wherein it adopted a narrow reading of the First Amendment in order to resurrect a Texas law severely limiting how social media platforms can moderate content. What will this case mean for platforms moving forward?“Flying Worst Class.” Florida Governor Ron Desantis became the latest Republican governor this week to fly undocumented migrants to northern cities in purported protest of the Biden administration's immigration policies. But his move has sparked unexpected furor among Florida's Cuban and Venezuelan immigrant communities—as well as at least one criminal investigation. What was he thinking and where will this controversy go next?For object lessons, Alan endorsed his and his wife's new favorite seasonal sweet treat: salted maple ice cream. Quinta highlighted a recent judicial opinion that appeared to mix up two of the judge's favorite philosophers: Plato and Donald Rumsfeld. And Scott celebrated his most recent homemade hot sauce success: turning tabasco chilis into "peppa sauce." Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The “So Lonely on a Limb” Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 14, 2022 68:07

    This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott sat down with Lawfare deputy foreign policy editor and RatSec rookie Dana Stuster, to talk through the week's big national security news, including:“Chechens Coming Home to Roost.” Ukraine's surprise counteroffensive in Kharkiv has proven to be a massive success, leading Russian troops to surrender seized territory as they beat a retreat. At the same time, supporters of Russia's invasion of Ukraine—including Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov—are becoming more openly critical of how the Russian government is managing the campaign. What will these setbacks mean for the future of the conflict—and the Putin regime itself? “Did You Know You Can Eat Them With the Skins On?” Last week, Cloudflare announced that, due to “an unprecedented emergency and immediate threat to human life,” it would cease providing security services to Kiwi Farms, an internet forum infamous for coordinating harassment and doxxing campaigns. Should essential service providers like Cloudflare be put in the position of policing online content in this way? What's the alternative?“Spoilers for Season 5 of ‘The Crown.'” For almost a century, Queen Elizabeth II was a stable presence in global politics, even as her country—and the global order it helped shape—transitioned from an era of empire and colonialism through an international Cold War and into the modern era. What might her death mean for the monarchy and the world moving forward?For object lessons, Alan (and his dentist) thanked Quinta for supporting his saltwater taffy habit. Quinta shared a Civil War-era meme. Scott endorsed the once-and-forever named Tappan Zee Bridge and surrounding Palisades as a lovely way to transit through NYC. And Dana shared a book very appropriate for this moment of reflection on British history, David Ziblatt's classic "Conservative Parties and the Birth of Democracy." Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The “Anniversary Hot Take Takedown” Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 7, 2022 77:00

    This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott were joined by co-host emeriti Ben Wittes and Shane Harris for a very special anniversary edition of Rational Security that pits their national security hot takes up against each other.Which of the following takes will the team find to be "too hot," which "undercooked," and which "just right"?Americans (and especially progressives) will regret reviving the prospect of disqualifying people under section 3 of the 14th Amendment.Over the next year, there will be a windfall of information regarding unidentified aerial phenomena, including some pointing to possible extraterrestrial origin.A President Ron Desantis won't be as dangerous as President Donald Trump.Russia's terminal decline presents one of the greatest threats to global security.American democracy will be saved by social conservative minorities voting for the Republican Party. For object lessons, Alan endorsed his favorite children's book about affectionate penguins (of many), "I Like it When" by Mary Murphy. Quinta recommended Garret Graff's new eponymous book on Watergate, "Watergate." Scott urged D.C. area residents to visit Wheatland Spring Farm and Brewery on their next trip out to Purcellville, VA, and try their "Land + Waters" farmhouse ale for a true taste of Virginia. Ben thanked Scott for supporting him through his crippling dog shirt addiction, even though that support has now reached its limits. And Shane recommended a non-spy book by "the American LeCarre" Charles McCarry, entitled "The Bride of the Wilderness," as well as the famous used bookstore where he bought it: "The Bookstore" in Lenox, MA. Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The “Anniversar-eve” Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 31, 2022 65:44

    On this anniversary-eve edition, Alan, Quinta, and Scott reunited to hash through this week's big national security stories, including:“The Other Other Nuclear Option.” Hostilities in Ukraine are getting perilously close to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, with each side accusing the other of recklessly pursuing military in its vicinity. The IAEA is sending in a team to help secure the site. But what difference can the international community make? Does it need a different response?“Biting the Hand that Retweets You.” A new report indicates that Meta and Twitter have taken down a network of accounts associated with a pro-Western information operation critical of China, Russia, and Iran. Should the United States and its allies be engaging in these sorts of activities? How should social media platforms be treating them?“Fixing the CivCas Mismatch.” The Defense Department has rolled out a long awaited new policy aimed at finally accomplishing that many have long agreed on in principle, but have disagreed on how to prioritize: reducing civilian casualties from U.S. military operations. What does it do and is it likely to work?For object lessons, Alan celebrated his recent trip to Miami by passing along a recipe for arroz con pollo. Quinta made up for last week with a double-headed set of endorsements: the Twitter feed @WatergateDayOf, which helps readers relive the Watergate scandal one day at a time, and the new Mountain Goats album "Bleed Out.” And Scott urged listeners to get excited about the most exciting biopic of a musician to come out in years: "Weird: The Al Yankovic Story." Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The “BOYZ NITE” Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 24, 2022 69:09

    This week, Alan, Scott, and Rational Security 1.0 veteran Benjamin Wittes sat down to discuss the week's big national security news, including:“Sometimes the Best Defense is a New Offensive.” With apparent U.S. support, Ukraine is bringing the fight to Crimea and other Russian-held areas—and perhaps to the streets of Moscow itself, where a well-known Russian nationalist's car and daughter were detonated this past week. What are the risks of this new strategy? And how far will (or should) the United States go in its support?“The Enemy of my Frenemy is my…Enemenemy?” Former President Donald Trump's endorsement appeared to hold significant (if not absolute) sway in several recent Republican primaries, where a number of election-denying candidates won—several with help from the DCCC, who supported them against more moderate opponents in hopes of having weaker competition in the general election. How might this strategy impact democratic norms and the rule of law?“Special Masters and the Don/Sub(tweet) Relationship.” As more problematic facts regarding former President Donald Trump's possession of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate come forward, his lawyers have put forward a novel argument seeking a special master to oversee what happens to the records recovered—one that hinges on Trump's ability to assert executive privilege against the Executive Branch. What should we make of this argument and what does this case seem to mean for Trump's legacy moving forward? Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The “Mar-a-gate v. Water-a-Lago” Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 17, 2022 70:23

    This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott were joined by their fellow Lawfare senior editor Molly Reynolds to talk through a week of big national security news stories, including:“Regrets? I've had a few.” One year has passed since the chaotic U.S. exit from Afghanistan, which triggered the collapse of the U.S.-backed government and the return to power of the Taliban. What have we learned from this experience? And how should it inform U.S. engagement with Afghanistan moving forward? “Half-Truths and Reconciliation.” Democrats in Congress have scored a huge climate win in the form of the somewhat strangely named Inflation Reduction Act, which passed both chambers by the slimmest of margins through a special procedure known as reconciliation that bypasses the supermajority requirement that the Senate usually operates under thanks to the filibuster. How big a deal is this? And is it a model that other policy proposals can follow? “Déclassé.” While the Justice Department weighs whether to release more documents regarding its search of Mar-a-Lago, former President Trump has offered a new explanation as to why he had so many classified documents in a storage unit there: he'd had a standing order to declassify whatever classified records he wanted to bring home with him. What is the latest in the investigation and where does it seem to be headed? For object lessons, Alan endorsed another audiobook he's enjoying through Libby: Erik Larson's "The Splendid and the Vile.” Quinta noted her pleasant surprise that author Mary Gaitskill appears to have started a surprisingly good substack. Scott recommended a bunch of media he has been involved in on the one-year anniversary of the withdrawal from Afghanistan, including a segment on the most recent episode of "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver," a recent episode of the radio and podcast series Reveal, and of course Lawfare's own audio series on the collapse of the Afghan SIV program entitled Allies. And, because it was Primary Day in Alaska, Molly took the occasion to remind us all of the secret sauce behind Lisa Murkowski's historic 2010 Senate win as a write-in candidate: some carefully calculated flyers (involving pictures of cows and skis) that instructed voters how to spell her name. Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The “Very Model of a Modern Major General” Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 10, 2022 61:37

    This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott were joined by special guest Ravi Agrawal, editor-in-chief of Foreign Policy magazine, to hash through the week's big national security news, including:“Canned Strategy.” The war in Ukraine and tensions over Taiwan have led the Biden administration to further revise its long overdue National Security Strategy, which it now intends to release in the fall. What do we already know about Biden's grand strategy? And how should we evaluate it?“Mar-a-Leggo My Federal Records.” Yesterday, the FBI executed a search of former President Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate, reportedly in search of classified documents that Trump had retained in violation of federal records laws. How serious a step is this and what does it mean for the broader universe of investigations surrounding Trump and his associates? “Milley Not So Vanilli.” A shocking new report details former President Trump's contentious relationship with his generals—including a particularly contentious relationship with his Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley that has some experts concerned about civ-mil relations. Were Milley and the other generals out of line? Is there reason to be concerned moving forward?For object lessons, Alan gave a double-headed recommendation: for the late David McCullough, and specifically his eponymous biography of John Adams; and the lovely town of Asheville, NC. Quinta passed along Caitlin Dickerson's investigation of the Trump administration's child separation policies in The Atlantic, "The Secret History of the U.S. Government's Family-Separation Policy." Scott celebrated the discovery of the greatest food hack in history, which he acquired via Dan Souza's YouTube series, "What's Eating Dan?": putting cream of tartar on fresh tomatoes (along with salt, pepper, and sugar) to make even mediocre ones delicious. And Ravi urged listeners to check out both Foreign Policy and his podcast there, Global Reboot.Be sure to visit our show page at www.lawfareblog.com and to follow us on Twitter at @RatlSecurity.And Rational Security listeners can get a committed ad-free feed by becoming a Lawfare material supporter at www.patreon.com/lawfare! See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    The “Small World After All” Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 3, 2022 65:22

    This week, Alan, Quinta, Scott, and favorite guest Lawfare executive editor Natalie Orpett got together to discuss the week's big national security news, including:“Another One Bites the Dust.” This past weekend, an American drone strike successfully killed yet another major terrorist leader—this time al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri—in downtown Kabul, while apparently avoiding any civilian casualties or significant collateral damage. What does the strike tell us about the Biden administration's counterterrorism strategy and the role it plays in his broader global agenda?“Maybe He Just Mixed Up His St. Petersburgs.” In Florida, the Justice Department has indicted Russian agent Aleksandr Viktorovich Ionov for engaging in an array of political activities on behalf of fringe political candidates and organizations, with the alleged goal of promoting political instability at the Russian government's behest. What light does this indictment shed on Russian interference in American politics?“The Bully Cockpit.” Over reported objections from the Biden administration, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has flown to Taiwan, making her the most senior U.S. official to visit the hotly contested island in more than two decades and raising China's ire at what many say is a sensitive moment. Is her trip helpful or foolhardy? And what does it tell us about Congress's role in U.S. foreign relations?For object lessons, Alan urged readers check out a recent Russian propaganda video, but made clear he did not endorse it. Quinta recommended Annie Lowrey's recent Atlantic article on her difficult pregnancy experiences and what they mean in a post-Dobbs world, "American Motherhood." Scott made two very different pop culture recommendations: the intense food freak drama The Bear and the delightful surf documentary satire with penguins Surf's Up. And Natalie recommended one of her favorite cookbooks, The Immigrant Cookbook, which feature recipes and compelling stories from new and first-generation Americans. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    The “Alandectomy” Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 27, 2022 66:00

    This week, most of Alan, Quinta, Scott, and co-host emeritus Ben Wittes got together to discuss the week's big national security news, including: “It's Over, but Don't Leave Before the Mid-Credits Sequence.” The Jan. 6 committee held its final primetime hearing this past Thursday, focused on Trump's inaction in ending the riot on Jan. 6. But it's suggested more may be coming. What has the committee accomplished and what is yet to come?“Oh, HIMARS.” The war in Ukraine has become a slow and difficult grind, as Russian forces backed by heavy artillery have made slow but steady progress towards their revised goal of controlling the breakaway Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. But Ukraine recently received what it claims is a game changer—the HIMARS rocket system—and wants the United States to give it more. What does this tell us about the dynamics around its import for Ukraine, the risks of escalation, and where the conflict may be headed in this new phase?“Orange is the New Three Stupid Shirt Collars Right On Top of Each Other for No Goddamn Reason.” Steve Bannon is going to jail, after being found guilty of contempt of Congress—and assuming that the conviction holds up on appeal. What will his conviction mean for the Jan. 6 investigation and future inquiries?For object lessons, Alan recommended a recent episode of Lawfare's own daily Lawfare Podcast focused on Moore v. Harper and the implications of independent state legislature doctrine. Quinta urged listeners to check out Isaac Chotiner's withering new interview with Alan Dershowitz regarding his cancellation by his neighbors on Martha's Vineyard. Scott passed along a new favorite cocktail with a name very appropriate for the modern era, the Palpable Apathy. And Ben urged folks to check out his latest 3D printing experiment: a baby HIMARS, ready to be shipped to Ukraine.Be sure to visit our show page at www.lawfareblog.com and to follow us on Twitter at @RatlSecurity. And Rational Security listeners can get a committed ad-free feed by becoming a Lawfare material supporter at www.patreon.com/lawfare! See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    The “This Edition is Too Damn Early” Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 20, 2022 65:00

    This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott got together for another early morning session to hash through the week's big national security news, including: “Stuck in the Middle (East) with You.” As President Biden ends his trip to the Middle East having re-engaged the Gulf countries and recommitted to preventing Iran from securing a nuclear weapon—including by force, if necessary—Russian President Vladimir Putin is kicking off his own visit to deepen ties with Tehran and negotiate with Turkey. What does this mean for regional security, the lagging Iran nuclear talks, and the U.S. pivot to Asia?“Qualified Incredulity.” The Justice Department has finally weighed in on former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows's arguments that executive privilege prevents the Jan. 6 committee from compelling his testimony. And while it didn't back his position, it was more friendly to his general position than one might expect. What should we make of its approach?“Georgia on My ASS.” Prosecutors from the Peach State are proving a lot less cautious about investigating misconduct following the 2020 elections than the Justice Department, to the point that they may soon begin indicting associates of President Trump. What explains this different approach and where might it lead? As for object lessons, Alan recommended a New Yorker article on "The Haves and the Have Yachts." Quinta endorsed a recent episode of Radiolab on the fascinating human story behind the famous Daubert legal standard. And Scott encouraged independent film fans to check out the work of his friends at The Sac Chich Project, an independent film collective, and consider lending them some support. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    The "Coke Party" Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 13, 2022 67:03

    This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott were reunited to hash through the week's national security news, including: “A Thousand and One Arabian Flights.” President Biden is conducting his first official visit to the Middle East this week with the stated goal of building ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia, beginning with more direct airline routes. Why this sudden high-profile engagement and what does Biden hope it will yield?“Loose Bannon.” Trump ally Steve Bannon has signaled that he may be willing to speak to the Jan. 6th committee after all, just as his contempt trial for refusing to do so gets under way and a disagreement between the former president's lawyers and his own regarding whether he can invoke executive privilege goes public. What does this all mean for his legal future?“Crossing the International Hate Line.” FBI Director Chris Wray and his U.K. counterpart recently made a joint statement on the growing international ties between violent right-wing nationalist movements in various Western countries. What could this mean for counterterrorism strategy moving forward? For object lessons, Alan recommended his latest favorite show about an old spy, "The Old Man." Quinta brought a blast from the past with a tech review by Mark Twain, who gave The Atlantic an account of his first telephonic conversation. And Scott recommended a recent piece in The Atavist on young Vladimir Putin's ties to neo-Nazi groups while handling spies for the USSR. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    The "Life After Cassidy" Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 6, 2022 66:32

    This week, Quinta and Scott were joined by Lawfare's new Managing Editor, Tyler McBrien, to hash through the week's national security news, including: “(John) Dean for a Day.” Surprise testimony by former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson has shed unprecedented light on Donald Trump's actions on Jan. 6th and reinvigorated discussions of possible criminal charges, among other consequences. Was this the smoking gun? What might it change moving forward?“The Prince and the Proffer.” A federal judge has asked the federal government to weigh in on whether Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has sovereign immunity in relation to civil lawsuits over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. What legal questions does this raise and what will the United States do?“When Federalism Gets Weird.” The Supreme Court has taken up Moore v. Harper, promising that it will soon weigh in on the controversial proposition that the Constitution gives state legislatures authority over federal elections that even state constitutions and courts cannot supersede. What could this case mean for American democracy?For object lessons, Quinta endorsed a visual demonstration of the challenges of historical research posted by law professor Julian Mortenson. Scott urged listeners to think outside the box while using their grills this summer, most notably by making the most under appreciated grill option: grill pizza. And Tyler endorsed Rebecca Solnit's new biography of George Orwell as a gardener, Orwell's Roses.Some of the other pieces we discussed in this episode include:Alan Rozenshtein and Jed Shugerman's article for Lawfare documenting how Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony convinced the former President Trump could be criminally prosecuted;Former federal judge and conservative legal luminary Michael Luttig's Twitter thread on the originalism and federalism issues with independent state legislature doctrine. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    The "Benner Than Ever" Edition

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 29, 2022 60:30

    This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott were joined by star New York Times reporter Katie Benner to talk through some of the week's biggest national security news stories, including: “The Masked Ringer.” We're about half way through the Jan. 6 committee's public hearings—and, despite originally planning a weeks-long pause, the committee is now holding a snap hearing with a surprise witness. What should we make of the hearings so far? And what may we continue to learn?“Trouble a-Bruen.” The Supreme Court has issued a decision concluding that the Second Amendment gives Americans a constitutional right to carry a firearm outside their homes for purposes of self-defense. What does this mean for the future of gun control policies—and gun violence?“Siri as Snitch.” The end of a constitutional right to abortion has tech experts worried that state authorities will use digital surveillance and data collection to aid in their enforcement of abortion restrictions, including outside their respective states. How real are these risks? And what can be done about them?For object lessons, Katie gave a strong endorsement to Rachel McAdams's work as a narrator on the audiobook of "Anne of Green Gables" and shared stories of some of her own adventures on Prince Edward Island. Alan recommended Rinker Buck's book "The Oregon Trail." Quinta shared a story wherein a store clerk greeted Rudy Giuliani the only appropriate way: "What's up, scumbag." And Scott recommended a forthcoming law review article, "The New Abortion Battleground," for a fascinating if sobering overview of what the post-Dobbs legal landscape may look like.Be sure to visit our show page at www.lawfareblog.com and to follow us on Twitter at @RatlSecurity. And Rational Security listeners can get a committed ad-free feed by becoming a Lawfare material supporter at www.patreon.com/lawfare! See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.