467 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
    • 4.8 • 1.9K Ratings

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 “Active Listening Noises” Edition

    The “Active Listening Noises” Edition

    This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott were joined by Lawfare Executive Editor Natalie Orpett to go over the week’s big national security news, including:
    “Does NSM Stand for No Such Memo?” Last week, in a long-awaited report required by National Security Memorandum 20 that President Biden issued earlier this year, the Biden administration concluded that there were credible reasons to believe that Israel may well have violated international law and obstructed U.S.-backed humanitarian flows in its conduct of the war in Gaza. But it still declined to find Israeli assurances to the contrary lacking in credibility enough to interrupt U.S. security assistance. What does this tell us about the state of U.S. support for Israel—especially as Israeli forces appear increasingly set to pursue an offensive on Rafah that Biden has openly opposed?“What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting.” A sharp global decline in birth rates—often below replacement levels, especially (but not exclusively) in highly developed countries—has some academics and policymakers panicking about everything from the global balance of power to the future of social support systems. But are these concerns misplaced? And how (if at all) should we be thinking about the relationship between national security and family planning?“AzerbaiSCAM.” The Justice Department has indicted a second Democratic legislator—Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas—for working as an unregistered agent of a foreign government, this time that of Azerbaijan, even as a federal court in New York seats a jury for the prosecution of Sen. Bob Menendez for allegedly doing the same on behalf of Egypt and Qatar. Is this reflective of a broader problematic trend? And what should policymakers be doing about it?For object lessons, Alan lamented the passing of great Canadian Alice Munro. Quinta celebrated the semi-resolution of a long-running mystery involving Prague. Scott renewed his call for people to grill more pizza this summer and shared some tips before handing the mic to producer Noam, who shared that he’s performing at the DC Improv on May 23. And Natalie reminisced fondly (?) on her time living in New York. 
    To receive ad-free podcasts, become a Lawfare Material Supporter at www.patreon.com/lawfare. You can also support Lawfare by making a one-time donation at https://givebutter.com/c/trumptrials.

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    • 1 hr 16 min
    The “B- B-Roll” Edition

    The “B- B-Roll” Edition

    This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott were joined by Lawfare’s Fellow in Technology Policy and Law Eugenia Lostri, to hash through the week’s big national security news, including:
    “Digital Solid Parody.” The Biden administration is making major moves when it comes to emerging technologies, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken rolling out a new multilateral strategy for “digital solidarity” this week at the annual RSA cybersecurity conference, among other actions. What is new about what the Biden administration is doing? And where will it lead? “Avengers’ Endgame.” Israeli military operations in Gaza may be entering a final stage, as forces may have begun an assault on Rafah—one that U.S. policymakers have warned against, as it could harm the countless Gazan civilians that have sought refuge there. Will this be a breaking point for U.S. support for Israeli military operations? And how will it impact ongoing ceasefire negotiations?“Stomp and Circumstance.” College campuses around the country are at a standstill due to student protests over U.S. support for the war in Gaza. Some universities have agreed to consider student demands, including divestment, while others have worked with local law enforcement to arrest protesters and break up encampments. How should universities (and the Biden administration) be responding?For object lessons, Alan endorsed the new period miniseries Fellow Travelers. Lacking any Menendez updates, Quinta broadened her beat to cover the new indictment of Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX). Scott sang the praises of a childhood classic he and his son have rediscovered, James Gurney’s “Dinotopia.” And Eugenia celebrated the early look at retirement provided by one of her favorite video games, Sims 4.
    To receive ad-free podcasts, become a Lawfare Material Supporter at www.patreon.com/lawfare. You can also support Lawfare by making a one-time donation at https://givebutter.com/c/trumptrials.

    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 1 hr 17 min
    Rational Security: The “RatSecapella” Edition

    Rational Security: The “RatSecapella” Edition

    This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott were joined by Lawfare Contributing Editor Eric Ciaramella to talk through the week’s big natsec stories, including:
    “Not Done Nyet.” U.S. foreign assistance is finally on its way to Ukraine, along with additional support from European allies. But will it be enough to solidify or advance the beleaguered Ukrainian military’s position? What is the state of the conflict and how does it look set to move forward?“Official Tracts.” Last week, the Supreme Court heard wide-ranging arguments in Trump v. United States, the appeal of Trump’s criminal prosecution for events related to Jan. 6 considering his far-reaching claims of presidential immunity. Several of the justices seemed quite committed to weighing in on where the lines of immunity should be drawn (even if few seemed to think they were relevant in this particular case), but there was far less consensus on the actual limits. Where is the Court headed and what will it mean for Trump’s prosecution? “Live and Let Modi.” The Washington Post has broken a major story suggesting that the United States inadvertently disrupted a plot by Indian intelligence to assassinate a Sikh dissident (and U.S. national) on U.S. territory. What will this major breach of sovereignty mean for the budding U.S.-India alliance? And how should the Biden administration manage it?For object lessons, Alan got on the Amor Towles admiration train and endorsed both his book “A Gentleman in Moscow” and the forthcoming TV adaptation. Quinta recommended the classic 2003 journalism period piece “Shattered Glass.” Scott log-rolled for a forthcoming project by our friends at Goat Rodeo and Project Brazen: Fur and Loathing, which looks at one of the most significant chemical weapons attacks in U.S. history, which took place at a 2014 convention for furries. And Eric shared a cultural lesson his Italian friend impressed upon him about the impropriety of drinking a cappuccino after 11:00am.
    To receive ad-free podcasts, become a Lawfare Material Supporter at www.patreon.com/lawfare. You can also support Lawfare by making a one-time donation at https://givebutter.com/c/trumptrials.

    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 1 hr 15 min
    The “Don’t Call It a Comeback (Because I’m Technically Still on Leave)” Edition

    The “Don’t Call It a Comeback (Because I’m Technically Still on Leave)” Edition

    This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott were finally reunited to talk through the week’s big natsec stories, including:
    “First is the Worst.” The historic first criminal trial of a former president has commenced in New York state courts. Both sides have sketched out their cases in opening arguments. What will the charges being brought against former President Trump relating to alleged hush money payments on his behalf mean for him and his 2024 presidential campaign?“Fair Whither Friend.” After months of delay that have, by some accounts, pushed Ukraine dangerously close to defeat, the House has finally passed legislation that would provide them with essential foreign assistance, alongside other aid packages for Israel and Taiwan as well as a handful of related foreign affairs measures. What is good, bad, and ugly about the package that finally got through? And what do the dynamics of its passage mean for other U.S. foreign policy interests in the near term?“The Clock is Tocking.” Among the side measures passed by the House and likely to be enacted into law is a bill targeting the popular social media platform TikTok — one that would ban that platform if its owners, ByteDance, do not divest due to concerns with the degree of control the Chinese government may have over it. But is this sort of regulation of a social media platform constitutional? And is banning one good policy?For object lessons, Alan finally put down the damn remote and recommended an actual book, Charles Mann’s “The Wizard and the Prophet,” about the competing, prescient visions of the future put forward by early 20th-century scientists William Vogt and Norman Borlaug. Quinta picked it up and urged listeners to check out the new documentary “Stormy,” about Stormy Daniels and the impact her alleged involvement with former President Trump and its aftermath has had on her life. And Scott shouted out one of his favorite purveyors of the silver screen, Alamo Drafthouse, and their thoughtful “sensory friendly” showings that turn up the lights and down the noise for those with young children or sensory sensitivities — something that recently allowed him and his wife to see “Dune 2” in the theater with a newborn in tow.

    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 1 hr 9 min
    The “Trump and Elon Both Love Lawfare” Edition

    The “Trump and Elon Both Love Lawfare” Edition

    This week, Alan and Quinta sat down with Lawfare Editor-in-Chief Benjamin Wittes to talk through the week’s big national security news, including:
    “Ayatollahs and Airstrikes.” In retaliation for an Israeli strike that killed several high-ranking Iranian military officers in Syria, over the weekend Iran launched a wave of drone and missile attacks against Israel. The vast majority of these were shot down by Israel and its allies, including notably Jordan, causing minimal injuries and damage in Israel. As Israel considers whether to respond, its American and European allies are putting pressure on it to deescalate. What’s Israel’s next move and can broader regional war be avoided?“Beginning of the end or just the end of the beginning?” It has been six months since Hamas’s attack on October 7 and the start of Israel’s war in Gaza, which appears to be entering a new, potentially lower-intensity phase. Israel has withdrawn most of its troops from southern Gaza, although it still argues that it needs to invade Rafah, on the border with Egypt, to defeat Hamas. Meanwhile, violence between Jewish settlers and Palestinians in the West Bank continues to increase. What’s next in the ongoing conflict?“What’s a little obstruction between friends?” Earlier this week, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Fischer v. United States, a case challenging the government’s use of a common statute used to prosecute participants in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The six conservative Justices appeared skeptical of the government’s argument that a statute that makes it a crime to “obstruct any official proceeding” applies to physical disruptions. How is the Court likely to rule and how might such a ruling affect Donald Trump’s federal trial for trying to overthrow the 2020 election?For object lessons, Quinta recommended a throwing-the-wife-under-the-bus update in New Jersey's Senator Bob Menendez's ongoing legal troubles, and Alan and Ben both recommended excellent, if anxiety-inducing, national security themed movies: the recently released Civil War and the upcoming War Game.
    To receive ad-free podcasts, become a Lawfare Material Supporter at www.patreon.com/lawfare. You can also support Lawfare by making a one-time donation at https://givebutter.com/c/trumptrials.

    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 1 hr 13 min
    The "Eldritch Portents" Edition

    The "Eldritch Portents" Edition

    This week, Alan and Quinta were joined again by Brookings Senior Fellow and Lawfare Senior Editor Molly Reynolds to talk over the week’s national security news, including:
    “The 702nd Time’s the Charm?” Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was originally set to expire on December 31, 2023. But somehow, Congress has managed to keep kicking the can down the road—and we’re once again in the middle of an argument about whether and to what extent the legislature should reform the bulk surveillance authority. How did we end up here, and is there any indication that Congress will manage to pass a lasting reauthorization in some form this time around?“Magic Mike.” Speaker of the House Mike Johnson’s troubles don’t stop with FISA, however. He’s also tangled up in a prolonged dispute with his caucus over the U.S. aid to Ukraine—which is becoming a matter of rapidly increasing urgency, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warning that his country “will lose the war” if the aid is not approved. Johnson now says he’ll put his own aid package on the table, still tying that aid to another tranche of aid to Israel. But will the House actually vote this time, or is this just another head fake?“Finally, We Can Talk About Linux.” A few weeks ago, a single software engineer alerted the world to an alarming discovery: malicious code inside a key piece of Linux software that, had it gone undetected, could have caused a catastrophic cyberattack. What on earth actually happened here? And what could stop it from happening again?For object lessons, Alan recommended an adorable giraffe growth chart for keeping track of your child's height. Quinta took a cue from Molly and endorsed a podcast by a local NPR affiliate—“Lost Patients,” a series about mental health care from KUOW and the Seattle Times. And Molly shared a story about misprinted pens from the Clinton impeachment trial, as told in Peter Baker’s book "The Breach."
    Other references from this week’s show:
    A chart explaining how dark it gets during a total solar eclipseBruce Schneier’s Lawfare article about the XZ Utils backdoor

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    • 1 hr 1 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
1.9K Ratings

1.9K Ratings

Pudelmom ,

I love Dinotopia!

There are so many good books for reading along with your child!

sfncar ,

Tasteless and painfully white

The discussion of the Georgia mess is a mess. Just another in the long list of special Lawfare people displaying how special they are and how dull the rest of us are. The difference here is the first time I’ve heard them hold forth on a topic with race involved. Ouch, they didn’t do well. I think Lawfare needs to do some work on itself.

CaityC ,

Quality mileage varies widely

Often the beltway smugness & holier than thou smirk ruins the often quality factual discussions about policy & natsec. Their treatment (like many others) of the ludicrous allegations abt Fani Willis especially not good — it has always been clear that it was a huge stretch that the GA Fulton Cty DA’s office had a conflict of interest— in the meaning of that term — and that the circus that followed was McAfee’s doing. Watching the hearings — just appalled by the racism & sexism & the holier than thou privileged white people analysis — these folks are at their worst when judging their lawyer peers. Unfortunate, as it can be good.

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