The Lawfare Podcast
Saturday, June 3, 2023
Lawfare Archive: Rosa Brooks on ‘How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything’
From October 1, 2016: At this week's Hoover Book Soiree, Rosa Brooks joined Benjamin Wittes to talk about her new book, “How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything: Tales from the Pentagon.” The book covers an extraordinary range of territory, from Brooks' personal experiences working as a civilian advisor at the Pentagon, to the history of the laws of war, to an analysis of the U.S. military's expanded role in a world in which the lines between war and peace are increasingly uncertain.How should we think about the military’s responsibilities outside the realm of traditional warfare? And is it desirable, or even possible, to rethink the way we approach the distinctions between wartime and peacetime?
Friday, June 2, 2023
Ukraine Is Not Dead Yet
It is often said that “Russia is a country with an unpredictable past.” Such distortions of history can lead to trouble, as the world witnessed last year when Vladimir Putin justified his invasion of Ukraine as an attempt to “denazify” the neighboring country—one with a Jewish president who lost relatives in the Holocaust. As Megan Buskey writes in her new memoir, “Ukraine Is Not Dead Yet: A Family Story of Exile and Return”: “How could a country know itself unless it knew all the things it had been?”Lawfare Managing Editor Tyler McBrien sat down with Megan, a nonfiction writer and former Fulbright Fellow to Ukraine, who has studied and written about the country for two decades. They discussed her book, the use and abuse of history in Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and the role of family histories in countering those false narratives. They also talked about the best way to get a Polish archive to give you the documents you need. Please note that this episode contains content that some people may find disturbing, including descriptions of sexual and other forms of violence. Listener discretion is advised.
Thursday, June 1, 2023
Chatter: Information Ecology with Alicia Wanless
Alicia Wanless is one of the pioneers of the idea of information ecology, the notion that we should think about information and disinformation as part of a complex ecosystem, the management of which she analogizes to environmental policy. Wanless has been complaining for several years that the war on “disinformation” skates over important question: What are the collateral effects of anti-disinformation policies? How do interventions against information pollution operate in the real world? In her conversation with Benjamin Wittes, Lawfare’s editor in chief and this week’s Chatter guest host, Wanless talks about how she became interested in information management, what’s wrong with the discussion of disinformation, what a more environmentalist approach to information spaces might look like, and what a useful research agenda for the nascent field would focus on. Among the works mentioned in this episode:Wanless’s latest essay on Lawfare: “There’s No Getting Ahead of Disinformation Without Moving Past It.”The book Network PropagandaChatter is a production of Lawfare and Goat Rodeo. This episode was produced and edited by Cara Shillenn of Goat Rodeo. Podcast theme by David Priess, featuring music created using Groovepad.
Thursday, June 1, 2023
The Wagner Group, Bakhmut, and a New Phase in the Ukraine War
The war in Ukraine is approaching a pivotal moment. Russia remains in control of the hotly contested city of Bakhmut. But the ruthlessly effective mercenary forces of the Wagner Group—the same group whose leader, Yevgeny Prighozin, has openly bickered with the regular Russian military and reportedly offered to trade Russian troop positions to Ukrainian intelligence—are withdrawing. Ukrainian forces, meanwhile, are preparing for a reported counteroffensive, even as unclaimed attacks are taking place across the border in Russia—including, most recently, on a civilian target in Moscow. To discuss these developments, Lawfare Senior Editor Scott R. Anderson sat down with two reporters covering the conflict for the Washington Post: Intelligence and National Security Reporter Shane Harris and Ukraine Bureau Chief Isabelle Khurshudyan. They discussed the peculiar role played by the Wagner Group, recent revelations stemming from the Discord leaks, and what to expect from the conflict in the months to come.
Wednesday, May 31, 2023
Erdoğan Wins Reelection in Turkey
On Sunday, May 28, Turkey held a bitterly contested run-off election, with incumbent presidential candidate Recep Tayyip Erdoğan winning reelection against opposition candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. Lawfare Legal Fellow Saraphin Dhanani sat down with Soli Özel, Senior Lecturer at Kadir Has University in Istanbul and a columnist at Habertürk daily newspaper, to discuss what was at stake in this election and the future of Turkey as Erdoğan’s next five-year term marks his 25th year in higher office.
Tuesday, May 30, 2023
Tim Mak on The Counteroffensive
Tim Mak was an NPR reporter in Kyiv since the beginning of the full-scale invasion last year. He recently stepped down and started his own Substack from the Ukrainian capital, called The Counteroffensive, and Lawfare Editor-in-Chief Benjamin Wittes sat down with Tim to talk about the publication. What makes a reporter leave an established news organization like NPR to start a startup in a war zone? What is The Counteroffensive going to cover? How will it be different from other stuff you might be reading on the Ukraine war? And what are things like in Kyiv these days as the Ukrainians get ready for the counteroffensive for which the publication is named?
Monday, May 29, 2023
Lawfare Archive: Shaun Walker on Russia's Long Hangover
From January 20, 2018: This week on the Lawfare Podcast, the Guardian's Moscow correspondent Shaun Walker joined special guest host Alina Polyakova to discuss his new book "The Long Hangover: Putin's New Russia and the Ghosts of the Past." They discussed Putin's use of Russian history as political strategy, the pulse of Russian politics as its elections approach in March, the changing landscape of Russia's lesser-known cities since the 1990s, and much more.
Sunday, May 28, 2023
Chatter: Popular Presidential Communication with Anne Pluta
From the birth of the republic, American presidents have communicated with the public in one form or another. The frequency and exact nature of such efforts have varied quite a bit over time due to variables ranging from the extent of partisanship in the media to each commander in chief's personal preference to travel technology. Political scientist Anne Pluta has explored this history deeply, including extensive analysis of contemporary newspaper accounts back to the late 18th century. And her insights, contained in writings like the book “Persuading the Public: The Evolution of Popular Presidential Communication from Washington to Trump,” provide plenty of surprises and even challenge some conventional wisdom about the presidency.David Priess chatted with her about her favorite presidents and her assessment of the best communicators among them; the precedents set by George Washington; Thomas Jefferson's State of the Union delivery method; changes in the communication environment during the Andrew Jackson era; Abraham Lincoln's exceptional presidency; the importance of train travel for presidential contact with the public; Rutherford Hayes's underappreciated importance in presidential communication; Theodore Roosevelt as a speaker; Woodrow Wilson's decision to deliver the State of the Union address in person; the importance for presidential communication of radio, television, and the availability of Air Force One; the relatively brief period of national, "objective" media; the late 20th century shift to splintered media; Donald Trump's social media use; Joe Biden's communication practices; and more.Among the works mentioned in this episode:The play HamiltonThe TV show John AdamsThe movie LincolnThe book Persuading the Public by Anne PlutaThe TV show The West WingThe TV show VeepThe movie The American PresidentThe movie Air Force OneThe movie Independence DayThe TV show ScandalThe book The Devil's TeethThe book Twelve Days of TerrorThe book The WaveChatter is a production of Lawfare and Goat Rodeo. This episode was produced and edited by Cara Shillenn of Goat Rodeo. Podcast theme by David Priess, featuring music created using Groovepad.
Saturday, May 27, 2023
Lawfare Archive: Michelle Melton on Climate Change as a National Security Threat
From April 16, 2019: Since November, Lawfare Contributor Michelle Melton has run a series on our website about Climate Change and National Security, examining the implication of the threat as well as U.S. and international responses to climate change. Melton is a student a Harvard Law school. Prior to that she was an associate fellow in the Energy and National Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where she focused on climate policy.She and Benjamin Wittes sat down last week to discuss the series. They talked about why we should think about climate change as a national security threat, the challenges of viewing climate change through this paradigm, the long-standing relationship between climate change and the U.S. national security apparatus, and how climate change may affect global migration.