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The Lawfare Podcast

Rational Security: The “Active Listening Noises” Edition

This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott were joined by Lawfare Executive Editor Natalie Orpett to go over the week’s big national security news, including:

  • “Does NSM Stand for No Such Memo?” Last week, in a long-awaited report required by National Security Memorandum 20 that President Biden issued earlier this year, the Biden administration concluded that there were credible reasons to believe that Israel may well have violated international law and obstructed U.S.-backed humanitarian flows in its conduct of the war in Gaza. But it still declined to find Israeli assurances to the contrary lacking in credibility enough to interrupt U.S. security assistance. What does this tell us about the state of U.S. support for Israel—especially as Israeli forces appear increasingly set to pursue an offensive on Rafah that Biden has openly opposed?
  • “What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting.” A sharp global decline in birth rates—often below replacement levels, especially (but not exclusively) in highly developed countries—has some academics and policymakers panicking about everything from the global balance of power to the future of social support systems. But are these concerns misplaced? And how (if at all) should we be thinking about the relationship between national security and family planning?
  • “AzerbaiSCAM.” The Justice Department has indicted a second Democratic legislator—Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas—for working as an unregistered agent of a foreign government, this time that of Azerbaijan, even as a federal court in New York seats a jury for the prosecution of Sen. Bob Menendez for allegedly doing the same on behalf of Egypt and Qatar. Is this reflective of a broader problematic trend? And what should policymakers be doing about it?

For object lessons, Alan lamented the passing of great Canadian Alice Munro. Quinta celebrated the semi-resolution of a long-running mystery involving Prague. Scott renewed his call for people to grill more pizza this summer and shared some tips before handing the mic to producer Noam, who shared that he’s performing at the DC Improv on May 23. And Natalie reminisced fondly (?) on her time living in New York

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