The Lawfare Podcast


Lawfare Archive: Niall Ferguson on Catastrophes and How to Manage Them

From May 4, 2021: 2020 was a remarkable year in so many ways, not least of which was the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects. Why did so many countries bungle their responses to it so badly? And what should their leaders have learned from earlier disasters and the pathologies clearly visible in the responses of their predecessors to them?

Niall Ferguson is the Milbank Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and the author of more than a dozen books, including, most recently, "Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe." David Priess sat down with Niall to discuss everything from earthquake zones, to viruses, to world wars, all with a mind to how our political and social structures have or have not adapted to the certainty of continued crises.

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Rational Security: The “Small World After All” Edition

This week on Rational Security, Alan, Quinta, and Scott were joined by favorite guestLawfareexecutive editor Natalie Orpett to hash through the week's big nationalsecurity news stories, including:“Another One Bites the Dust.” This past weekend, an American drone strikesuccessfully killed yet another major terrorist leader—this time al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri—in downtown Kabul, while apparently avoiding any civilian casualties or significant collateral damage. What does the strike tell us about the Biden administration's counterterrorism strategy and the role it plays in his broader global agenda?“Maybe He Just Mixed Up His St. Petersburgs.” In Florida, the Justice Department hasindicted Russian agent Aleksandr Viktorovich Ionovfor engaging in an array of political activities on behalf of fringe political candidates and organizations, with the alleged goal of promoting political instability at the Russian government's behest. What light does this indictment shed on Russian interference in American politics?“The Bully Cockpit.” Over reported objections from the Biden administration, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi hasflown to Taiwan, making her the most senior U.S. official to visit the hotly contested island in more than two decades and raising China's ire at what many say is a sensitive moment. Is her trip helpful or foolhardy? And what does it tell us about Congress's role in U.S. foreign relations?