The Lawfare Podcast
Chatter: The Global Citizenship Industry with Kristin Surak
Some people call it "investor citizenship" while others label it a "passport for sale" scheme. Either way, the last few decades have seen the global citizenship industry grow and evolve in ways that both reflect and impact issues around national sovereignty, tax regimes, international business, and global inequities.
David Priess chatted about these and related issues with political sociologist and author Kristin Surak, whose recent book The Golden Passport takes a multidisciplinary look at global mobility for the wealthy and the complex system that has developed around it. They discussed the new "most powerful passport" rankings, the types of people who seek different citizenship through investment, Turkey's rise as a major Citizenship By Investment (CBI) player, the rise and fall of the program in Cyprus, how intermediary companies power the CBI system, the trailblazing CBI role of St. Kitts and Nevis, the challenges of European countries attempting to start and keep CBI programs, differing perceptions of CBI around the world, issues of equity and ethics, and the recent phenomena of digital nomads.
Among the works mentioned in this episode:
"The Henley Passport Index", Henley & Partners
The book The Golden Passport: Global Mobility for Millionaires by Kristin Surak
The book Moneyland by Oliver Bullough
The book Making Tea, Making Japan by Kristin Surak
The book The Despot's Guide to Wealth Management by J. C. Sharman
Chatter 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.
View all episodes
Rational Security: The “Fast and the Furry-us” Edition01:16:17This week on Rational Security, Alan, Quinta, and Scott got together to talk over the week’s big national security news, including:“Is Revanchism a Dish Best Served Cold?” Russia boosters seem to be feeling bullish for the first time in a long time. This week, its forces captured the strategic town of Avdiivka from Ukrainian forces, who have been weakened by bickering among their Western allies. And imprisoned Russian dissident Alexei Navalny met with a tragic and highly suspicious end, just as Western governments came together at the Munich Security Conference. Is Russia right to be feeling its oats at this moment?“Bibi Steps.” As Israel prepares to mount a controversial military operation against Rafah—the last refuge for many displaced civilians in Gaza—there are cracks between the government of Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and the Biden administration, who in recent weeks have shown an increased willingness to target settler violence in the West Bank with sanctions, impose some conditionality on U.S. security assistance, and turn to the U.N. Security Council for possible support for a “temporary ceasefire,” even over Israeli objections. Are these signs of a bigger divide to come? And what will the impact be on the trajectory of the Gaza conflict?“Won’t Somebody PLEASE Think of the Children?!” The Kids Online Safety Act (or KOSA) is back in somewhat modified form, promising to introduce new regulations into how our children engage with online platforms—this time with broad bipartisan support, including from the Biden administration. But will it actually help protect children online? Or only put vulnerable communities more at risk?For object lessons, Alan recommended the Oscar-nominated Jeffrey Wright vehicle, American Fiction. Quinta endorsed “The Book of Love,” a spooky fantasy mystery and the debut novel by celebrated short story author Kelly Link. And Scott urged mid-Atlantic listeners to take their toddlers to Baltimore’s National Aquarium and spring for the wonderful family sunrise tour. Or for nature lovers not on the East Coast, check out the new podcast one-off Birds Are Cool, featuring Goat Rodeo’s own Cara Shillenn.
Trump’s Trials and Tribulations: Delays in Florida and D.C.01:10:14It's another episode of “Trump's Trials and Tribulations,” recorded on February 22 in front of a live audience on YouTube and Zoom. Lawfare Senior Editor Quinta Jurecic sat down with Lawfare Senior Editor Roger Parloff, Lawfare Legal Fellow and Courts Correspondent Anna Bower, and Lawfare Editor-in-Chief Benjamin Wittes to talk about the continued drama in Fulton County and what has happened since the blockbuster hearings last week. They also checked in on the Southern District of Florida to see what Judge Cannon is up to and discussed what we are waiting on in D.C. And of course, they took audience questions from Lawfare Material Supporters on Zoom.To be able to submit questions to the panelists, you should become a Material Supporter at lawfaremedia.org/support.
Lawfare Archive: Alina Polyakova on the Poisoning of Alexei Navalny34:05From September 15, 2020: Alexei Navalny is Russia's most prominent dissident, opposition leader, and anti-corruption crusader—and the latest such person to be poisoned by the Vladimir Putin regime, which, of course, it denies. When we recorded this episode, Navalny's condition was improving as he received medical treatment in Germany. To discuss Navalny's career and why Putin chose now to attack him, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Alina Polyakova, President and CEO of the Center for European Policy Analysis. They talked about how Navalny has become such a thorn in the side of the Putin regime, why Putin keeps poisoning people as opposed to killing them by other means, and why the Russians are so ineffective at poisonings when they undertake them.
Breaking Down the Fireworks in Fulton County01:02:35Since a grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia, handed up an indictment in August of former President Donald Trump and 18 other defendants for their efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election in Georgia, all eyes had been on the defendants’ behavior and their legal fate. That was until an explosive filing by one of the defendants, Mike Roman, alleged that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis had engaged in a kickback scheme through a romantic relationship she had with an outside prosecutor Willis had hired to participate in the case, Nathan Wade. Roman asked the presiding judge, Scott McAfee, to disqualify Willis and her office from the election case. Willis and Wade have since acknowledged their relationship but claim that Willis did not financially benefit from it.Last week, Judge McAfee held a two-day evidentiary hearing to determine whether Willis and Wade’s relationship presented a conflict of interest, requiring the removal of Willis and her office from the case. Lawfare Research Fellow Matt Gluck discussed the hearing and what’s likely to happen next with Lawfare Editor-in-Chief Benjamin Wittes, Lawfare Legal Fellow and Courts Correspondent Anna Bower, and Georgia trial and appellate lawyer and Fulton County court watcher Andrew Fleischman.
Chatter: President Biden’s Foreign Policy with Alex Ward01:21:44Joe Biden took office with a big ambition: To repair America’s reputation abroad and set the country on a new path, where foreign policy would be crafted with the middle class in mind. So writes journalist Alexander Ward, whose new book, The Internationalists: The Fight to Restore American Foreign Policy After Trump, chronicles Biden’s first two years in the White House. The central players in Ward’s cast as the president’s senior advisers, chief among them National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, who, four years earlier, had expected to be serving in the Hillary Clinton administration. Ward joined Shane Harris to talk about the Biden team's early efforts to sketch out a new agenda, the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the triumphs of the early days of war in Ukraine. His book offers a detailed, behind-the-scenes look at what may be one of the most experienced teams of foreign policy experts in a generation. Ward is a national security reporter at Politico. He was part of the reporting team behind one of the biggest scoops in recent memory, the leak of a draft opinion by the Supreme Court that overturned Roe v. Wade. Ward was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting. Among the works mentioned in this episode:Ward’s book, The Internationalists: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/704738/the-internationalists-by-alexander-ward/ An excerpt from the book: https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2024/02/19/jake-sullivan-globalization-biden-00141697 Ward’s newsletter at Politico: https://www.politico.com/newsletters/national-security-daily Ward’s scoop on the Supreme Court’s abortion ruling: https://www.politico.com/news/2022/05/02/supreme-court-abortion-draft-opinion-00029473 Ward on Twitter: https://twitter.com/alexbward?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor
Intimidation of State and Local Officeholders with Maya Kornberg48:44As a new report on the intimidation of state and local officeholders from the Brennan Center for Justice points out, “The January 6 insurrection at the Capitol seemed to mark a new peak in extremist intimidation targeting public officials. But it was hardly the only act of political violence to break the period of relative stability that followed the assassinations of the 1960s.” Citing the 2017 shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise, last year’s hammer attack on Paul Pelosi, and many other cases, the report paints a troubling picture of today’s climate of political violence in America. To talk through the report and its implications, Lawfare Senior Editor Quinta Jurecic and Lawfare Managing Editor Tyler McBrien sat down with Maya Kornberg, a Research Fellow at the Brennan Center’s Elections and Government Program and one of the report’s authors. They discussed how Maya and her team surveyed so many state and local officials across a number of jurisdictions, the pervasive risks and threats those officeholders face, and how these threats are distorting U.S. democracy as a whole.
The Authoritarian Playbook in 202551:25The advocacy group Protect Democracy last month issued an updated version of its report entitled, “The Authoritarian Playbook.” The new report is called, “The Authoritarian Playbook for 2025: How an authoritarian president will dismantle our democracy and what we can do to protect it.” It is a fascinating compilation of things that Donald Trump has promised to do and how they could likely be expected to affect American democracy if he is elected to a second term in office. To discuss the report, Lawfare Editor-in-Chief Benjamin Wittes spoke with two of its authors: Genevieve Nadeau and Erica Newland, both of Protect Democracy. They talked about what's new in the report, how much of it is speculation and how much of it is simply taking Donald Trump's words seriously, opportunities to mitigate the most dire consequences of which the report warns, and whether this is just baked into the American presidency when occupied by a truly authoritarian personality.
Joel Braunold on the State of the Gaza Crisis01:00:34The conflict in Gaza is headed toward a critical juncture. Israeli political leaders have signaled their intent to assault Rafah, one of the final safe havens for displaced Gazan civilians—a move that U.S. and other international leaders fear could trigger a humanitarian crisis, or the long-term displacement of Palestinians from Gaza. Meanwhile, negotiations for both a ceasefire and a longer term resolution of the crisis are ongoing, but have little to show thus far. To discuss the many moving pieces of the Gaza conflict, Lawfare Senior Editor Scott R. Anderson sat down once again with Joel Braunold, Managing Director at the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace and someone who has long been involved in Middle East peace efforts. They discussed the current state of Israel’s military operations, how it is impacting (and being impacted by) domestic politics in Israel and elsewhere, and the significance of recent events ranging from the International Court of Justice’s grant of provisional measures to the Biden administration’s efforts to sanction the perpetrators of West Bank settler violence—all with an eye for better understanding where this crisis may yet be headed.
Lawfare Archive: Christopher Moran on ‘Company Confessions: Secrets, Memoirs, and the CIA’38:51From December 10, 2016: This week at the Hoover Book Soiree, Jack Goldsmith interviewed Christopher Moran, a professor at the University of Warwick, on his book “Company Confessions: Secrets, Memoirs, and the CIA.” Moran's work is a history of CIA memoirs, but it's also a history of the Agency itself and its efforts to shape its image in the public eye. How does an organization whose work depends on keeping secrets justify its efforts within a democratic society?