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 CIA Enters Afghanistan: Former Alpha Team Leader J.R. Seeger on the CIA's 2001 Entry into Afghanistan and Paramilitary Ops Against the Taliban
In this episode of The Burn Bag Podcast, A'ndre talks with former CIA Paramilitary officer and Alpha Team Leader J.R. Seeger on the CIA's 2001 insertion into Afghanistan in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks and the early days of the Afghanistan War. Seeger, who's had a 27 year career in federal service, led Alpha Team, one of the first CIA paramilitary teams to be dropped behind enemy lines in Afghanistan, and provides us with an oral history of the pre-war intelligence operations and CIA's efforts to consolidate the Afghan Resistance's efforts against the Taliban. Seeger, who can't necessarily discuss some of the specifics of his role on the ground in Afghanistan, nevertheless guides us through the history of the operations, including a discussion on the uprising at Qala-i-Jangi compound near Mazar-i-Sharif that resulted in the death of his team mate Mike Spann -- America's first casualty in the twenty year Afghanistan War.
Since retiring from federal service, J.R. Seeger has written a litany of thriller novels, which include the MIKE4 series, which focuses on a family of special operations officers spanning between World War II and the present day.
J.R.'s story and that of Team Alpha is also covered in Toby Harnden's book First Casualty. We interviewed Toby several months ago on their story, which you can listen to here.
"Turkey Under Erdogan": History, Authoritarianism, and Global Politics with Dr. Dimitar Bechev
In this episode, Ryan talks to Dr. Dimitar Bechev about his recent book, "Turkey Under Erdogan: How a Country Turned from Democracy and the West". Dr. Bechev begins by contextualizing how Erdogan came to power, noting the liberalization of the 80s. He then discuses the political landscape in Turkey and critical power centers. The conversation then moves to how Turkey's democracy has been undermined by authoritarianism and whether there is reason for optimism in the upcoming election. The episode concludes with a discussion of Turkey's foreign policy, relationship with the West, and what the future may hold.
Lasting Legacies?: Remembering Mikhail Gorbachev and Queen Elizabeth II
In this special episode, A'ndre and Ryan discuss the legacies of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and Queen Elizabeth II. Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, is admired in the West but was a political persona non-grata in his own country. We dissect Gorbachev’s leadership, his relationship with Ronald Reagan and their drive for nuclear disarmament, his controversial relations with the rest of Eastern Europe, and how perestroika and glasnost contributed to the Soviet Union’s collapse. They spend the second half of the episode discussing Queen Elizabeth II’s legacy, her symbolic and cultural power even though her official role was that of figurehead, and how public memory around Her Majesty’s rule has changed and evolved, both accommodating and leaving out certain legacies, controversial and otherwise. A’ndre’s and Ryan’s conversation attempt to put a more objective, grey lens on the two leaders, assessing the good and the bad in a more critical manner.
"The Negotiator's Cross": Former State Department Psychiatrist Dr. Ken Dekleva on his new Mystery Novel
This week, Dr. Ken Dekleva, former State Department Psychiatrist, returns to The Burn Bag Podcast for the third time to discuss his brand new book, The Negotiator's Cross, a thrilling mystery novel following Father Ishmael, a Catholic Priest turned hostage negotiator, through a series of perilous situations. Dr. Dekleva pens Father Ishmael's journey across a series of locations that have figured into the author's own career, and Dr. Dekleva shares a bit about how his own experience in psychiatry and in leadership profiling informed his creation of the novel's set of intriguing characters. The novel itself tracks Father Ishmael's story after one of his parishioners had disappeared, believing the disappearance to be a cartel kidnapping, and Father Ishmael finds himself involved in a tale of "diplomacy, espionage, kidnap, genocide, and murder."
You can buy Dr. Dekleva's book on Amazon here.
One Year On: The War in Afghanistan, Refugees, and Supporting Veterans with Kyle Bibby
In this episode, A'ndre and Ryan are joined by Kyle Bibby, Deputy Political Director for Common Defense and Marine Corps veteran. Kyle reflects on the War in Afghanistan following the one-year anniversary of the U.S withdrawal. Having served in Afghanistan, Kyle discusses what it was like on the ground, noting the challenges of the U.S. mission in particular. He also highlights his personal experiences with Afghans to emphasize the strong relationship between U.S. troops and their Afghan counterparts, especially given the difficulty many Afghans have faced since the Taliban retook power. The conversation concludes with a discussion of the Afghan Adjustment Act and the Black Veterans Project.
CHIPS for America: Martijn Rasser talks the Chips and Science Act, Semiconductors, and Tech Supply Chains
In this week's episode, A'ndre and guest co-host Drisya Antose talk to Center for a New American Security's Martijn Rasser, Director of the Center's Technology and National Security program, about the recently signed CHIPS and Science ACT, dissecting what's in the bill and how it aims to bolster technological productivity in the United States. Martijn discusses the state of the semiconductor industry, and how U.S.-China tensions over Taiwan could threaten vital supply chains if semiconductor manufacturing is not significantly localized in the United States. We discuss broader technological supply chains and the R&D funding aspects of the CHIPS Act, in addition to how the legislation strengthens the tech ecosystem of Silicon Valley and beyond. We also take a peep at what our adversaries and allies are doing on this front as well.
Best Foreign Affairs and Defense Podcast
Best podcast out there for everything foreign affairs and defense!
The conversation with George Will is fantastic. Consider having Christopher Ford on the pod
Great podcast! The episode with Andrew McCabe was especially good.