199 episodes

The *hottest* national security and foreign policy podcast featuring conversations with leading policy practitioners, thinkers, and leaders. In each episode, we open up a 'burn bag' to breakdown some of the most pressing security challenges of today's world with the people who have worked and lived them.

The Burn Bag Podcast – Dissecting National Security and Foreign Policy A'ndre Gonawela and Ryan Rosenthal

    • News
    • 5.0 • 36 Ratings

The *hottest* national security and foreign policy podcast featuring conversations with leading policy practitioners, thinkers, and leaders. In each episode, we open up a 'burn bag' to breakdown some of the most pressing security challenges of today's world with the people who have worked and lived them.

    Kleptocracy: Fighting Corruption at Home and Abroad with Paul Massaro

    Kleptocracy: Fighting Corruption at Home and Abroad with Paul Massaro

    In this episode, Ryan is joined by Paul Massaro, Senior Policy Advisor for the U.S. Helsinki Commission, to discuss kleptocracy, anti-corruption efforts, and Russia's War against Ukraine. They define corruption, why it impacts everyone, and how the West has been supporting corrupt autocrats for decades. Paul also outlines key legislation to fight corruption and how the U.S. and other countries can put forward stronger laws. The conversation concludes with Paul's assessment of the Russo-Ukrainian War and why it has ignited a new push to fight corruption.

    To learn more about the topics discussed in this episode, check out these books recommend by Paul: The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics; Moneyland: The Inside Story of the Crooks and Kleptocrats Who Rule the World; Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man's Fight for Justice; and, American Kleptocracy: How the U.S. Created the World's Greatest Money Laundering Scheme in History.

    Paul Massaro serves on the staff of the U.S. Helsinki commission. The views expressed here are his own and do not represent an official position of the U.S. government.

    • 49 min
    U.S. Strike Kills al Qaeda Leader in Afghanistan: Breaking Down the Operation and its Implications with Javed Ali, Fmr. NSC Senior Director for Counterterrorism

    U.S. Strike Kills al Qaeda Leader in Afghanistan: Breaking Down the Operation and its Implications with Javed Ali, Fmr. NSC Senior Director for Counterterrorism

    In this episode, A'ndre and Ryan are joined by Javed Ali to discuss the recent U.S. strike that killed AQ leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.  Javed provides a background on Zawahiri and how he came to lead al Qaeda. The conversation then turns to the operation itself, noting the significance of Zawahiri being in Kabul, Afghanistan. Javed assesses the significance this strike may have on the terrorist organization and US-Taliban relations, as well as  broader takeaways for US counterterrorism operations. 

    • 26 min
    Sri Lanka's New President Ranil Wickremesinghe: The Burn Bag Looks Back on Our August 2021 Interview

    Sri Lanka's New President Ranil Wickremesinghe: The Burn Bag Looks Back on Our August 2021 Interview

    On July 21st, Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as Sri Lanka's new president after the crisis-laden country's parliament elected him to finish up ousted Gotabaya Rajapaksa's term. A'ndre and Ryan look back at The Burn Bag's August 2021 interview with President Wickremesinghe, when he was the lone MP representing his political party, a year after his prior tenure as Prime Minister had ended. We profile the controversial new President, discussing the wily politician's lingering presence on Sri Lanka's political stage and a career filled with many highs and lows, highlighting attention to how Wickremesinghe managed to clinch the presidency despite being significantly unpopular with the Sri Lankan public and having no popular mandate.

    The hosts then throw the program to Wickremesinghe's August 2021 interview, which took place during Sri Lanka's COVID lockdown last year. We believe that reflecting on the interview from nearly a year ago is invaluable in assessing how Sri Lanka's new president evaluates Sri Lanka's own political history. Key points that we recommend our audience pay attention to include Wickremesinghe's view on Sri Lanka's debt crisis, U.S.-China relations, and Sri Lanka's past civil conflict. Additionally, Wickremesinghe discusses the relationship between Sri Lanka's president and prime minister -- a relationship he often found himself at the losing end of in the past. Given Wickremesinghe's new executive powers and the protest movement's calls for significant political reform, it will be interesting for watchers to observe if Wickremesinghe's positioning changes.

    You can listen to our miniseries, Sri Lanka: Debt, Development, and Democracy here:

    Episode 1: Journalist Uditha Jayasinghe on the State of Sri Lanka's Political and Economic Landscape
    Episode 2: Former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on U.S.-China, Domestic Governance, and Political Turmoil
    Episode 3: Tamil National Alliance MP Shanakiyan Rasamanickam on Post-War Reconciliation and Political Enfranchisement
    Episode 4: State Minister of Regional Cooperation Tharaka Balasuriya on Economic Diplomacy, U.S.-China, and the UNHRC
    Episode 5: Trade Expert Subhashini Abeysinghe on Sri Lanka's Debt Crisis and Economic Ties with China and the United States
    Episode 6: (then)-U.S. Ambassador Alaina B. Teplitz on U.S.-Sri Lanka Relations

    Additionally, you can listen to Dr. Sanjana Hattutowa's April 2022 assessment of Sri Lanka's political crisis and the #GoHomeGota protests here.

    • 1 hr 18 min
    Inside Iran: Politics, Power, and People with Dr. Sanam Vakil

    Inside Iran: Politics, Power, and People with Dr. Sanam Vakil

    In this episode, A'ndre and Ryan talk with Dr.  Sanam Vakil about Iran's history,  politics, and regional security. Dr. Vakil, a Chatham House scholar, begins with an overview of Iran pre-Revolution and how the transition to an Islamic Republic has shaped the country since 1979. She also discusses the domestic politics and institutional structure of the country, noting critical centers of power,  the ideological landscape, and potential successors to the Ayatollah. Dr. Vakil then delves into Iran's security services and how the country maintains regime stability at home and abroad. With President Biden's trip to the region, Dr. Vakil also provides her perspective on the nuclear talks with the United States before concluding with a frank analysis of how Iran's laws and policies, as well as international pressure against the regime, impact women in the country.

    To learn more about Dr. Vakil and her work, please click here. 

    • 53 min
    What in the World?: The Assassination of Shinzo Abe, Sri Lanka in Crisis, and Biden's Middle East Trip (07/14/22)

    What in the World?: The Assassination of Shinzo Abe, Sri Lanka in Crisis, and Biden's Middle East Trip (07/14/22)

    We're back! In this week's episode, A'ndre and Ryan go around the world to catch-up on recent developments.  They start with the political chaos in Sri Lanka and then move to the UK where the Conservative Party is holding elections for Boris Johnson's successor. Ryan and A'ndre also discuss last week's shocking assassination of former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, noting his legacy both in Japan and throughout the international community. The episode concludes with an overview of President Biden's trip to the Middle East and an update on Russia's war against Ukraine. 

    • 36 min
    Caught in a Cyber-War: Fmr. FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe on Bolstering Cyber-Resilience for Businesses and the Private Sector

    Caught in a Cyber-War: Fmr. FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe on Bolstering Cyber-Resilience for Businesses and the Private Sector

    In this episode, A'ndre and Ryan are joined by former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe to discuss cyber vulnerabilities and solutions. As a cyber expert, Andrew helps us understand why state and non-state actors target the private sector and what the threat landscape looks like today. Andrew also discusses what businesses and individuals can do to better prepare for and defend against malign cyber action. In woking with companies to become more  resilient, Andrew has adapted an intelligence community problem-solving model for the private sector and walks through each step. The conversation concludes with Andrew's assessment of how government and the private sector can work with one another to improve cybersecurity and ensure the American people are better protected. 

    • 45 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
36 Ratings

36 Ratings

Bellinsonboy ,

Best Foreign Affairs and Defense Podcast

Best podcast out there for everything foreign affairs and defense!

Classicrocklover238 ,

Great podcast

The conversation with George Will is fantastic. Consider having Christopher Ford on the pod

geocm2010 ,

Great show

Great podcast! The episode with Andrew McCabe was especially good.

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