401 episodes

A weekly discussion of national security and foreign policy matters featuring Lawfare senior editors Scott R. Anderson, Quinta Jurecic, and Alan Rozenshtein.
Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Rational Security The Lawfare Institute

    • News

A weekly discussion of national security and foreign policy matters featuring Lawfare senior editors Scott R. Anderson, Quinta Jurecic, and Alan Rozenshtein.
Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The “When the Bower Breaks News” Edition

    The “When the Bower Breaks News” Edition

    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.

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    • 1 hr 10 min
    The “M1 Abrams Accords” Edition

    The “M1 Abrams Accords” Edition

    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.

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    • 1 hr 5 min
    The “Thelma or Louise” Edition

    The “Thelma or Louise” Edition

    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.

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    • 1 hr 11 min
    Programming Note

    Programming Note

    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.

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    • 33 sec
    The “Sincerest Form of Flattery” Edition

    The “Sincerest Form of Flattery” Edition

    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.”

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    • 1 hr 17 min
    The “2023 and Me” Edition

    The “2023 and Me” Edition

    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."

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    • 1 hr 9 min

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