The Lawfare Podcast


Meanwhile in Somalia with Charlie Savage and Eric Schmitt

As U.S. counterterrorism efforts have waned in Yemen, Libya, and parts of Pakistan, Somalia has emerged as the most active element in the “forever wars” that the U.S. has waged since 9/11, according to Eric Schmitt of the New York Times. Schmitt traveled to Somalia in February for a rare embed with U.S. Special Operations forces on the ground in the midst of a recent offensive launched by the Somali government against a formidable enemy, Al Shabab.

Lawfare Managing Editor Tyler McBrien sat down with Eric and his Times colleague Charlie Savage to discuss the conflict in the Horn of Africa and the extent of U.S. military involvement there. They discussed the roots of the Shabab insurgency, whether or not the current moment marks an inflection point in the fight, the legal grounds on which the U.S. government justifies its campaign, and why the American public and government alike should pay more attention to Somalia.

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Rational Security: The “Mission Admonished” Edition

This week on Rational Security, Alan, Quinta, and Scott waited for a big shoe to drop by talking over the week's big national security news, including:“What Else Can I Get Away With on Fifth Avenue...” Donald Trump is expected to become the first former president to be indicted on criminal charges this week—if, that is, local authorities are not deterred by the public protests Trump’s supporters are preparing to hold in New York City at his request. What will this move mean for the country? And how might it end? “Territorial Refute.” After weeks of avoiding the issue, likely 2024 Republican presidential contender Ron Desantis adopted the position that supporting Ukraine—which he described as being involved in a “territorial dispute”—is not a vital U.S. interest, bringing him into alignment with former President Trump and signaling a strong lean towards isolationism in the 2024 Republican field. What will this mean for the likely candidates? And for U.S. support for Ukraine moving forward?“The ‘Blood, Treasure, and Regret’ Anniversary.” This past week marked the 20th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, which set out to remove a dictator and welcome a new wave of democracy in the Middle East—but has instead resulted in an Iraq that is still recovering from years of sectarian violence and increasingly under Iran’s influence. What is the legacy of the decision to invade? And what does it mean for U.S. foreign policy moving forward?