The Lawfare Podcast
Rational Security: The “M1 Abrams Accords” Edition
This week on Rational Security, Quinta and Scott were joined by special guest Michel Paradis to talk over the week's big national security news, including:
- “Don’t Tank my Chain.” Western allies of Ukraine have finally agreed to a way forward on providing the country with tanks, an issue which has proven surprisingly contentious in recent weeks. Germany will now allow its Leopard tanks to be used in the near-term while the United States will send Ukraine a series of M1 Abrams in the future, meeting the German demand for a matched U.S. contribution. Why was this so important to Germany? And what does it tell us about the broader state of the war?
- “Slight of the Valkyries.” The U.S. Treasury Department has slapped new sanctions on the Russian mercenary group, the Wagner Group, labeling them a Transnational Criminal Organization (“TCO”)—even as U.S. officials continue to resist calls to designate them a terrorist organization. What explains this reticence? Is it warranted?
- “Empire State of Mind.” For the first time, the New York City district attorney is trying someone under state criminal laws barring material support for terrorism that the state adopted following the September 11 attacks—even though the criminal suspect was never present in New York, but merely knew his actions would have repercussions there. Is this a sensible move? Or is there reason for pause?
Ashley Deeks on International Regulation of National Security AI
States are increasingly turning to artificial intelligence systems to enhance their national security decision-making. The real risks that states will deploy unlawful or unreliable national security AI make international regulations seem appealing, but what's the right model for them?Ashley Deeks is the Class of 1948 Professor of Scholarly Research in Law at the University of Virginia Law School. She's just published a paper for Laware's ongoing Digital Social Contract research paper series, in which she argues that, instead of looking to nuclear arms control as the model for national security AI regulation, states should look to how cyber operations are regulated. Lawfare Senior Editor Alan Rozenshtein spoke with Ashley about her research and what a successful regulatory regime for national security AI would look like.
Ravi Iyer on How to Improve Technology Through Design
On the latest episode of Arbiters of Truth, Lawfare's series on the information ecosystem, Quinta Jurecic and Alan Rozenshtein spoke with Ravi Iyer, the Managing Director of the Psychology of Technology Institute at the University of Southern California's Neely Center.Earlier in his career, Ravi held a number of positions at Meta, where he worked to make Facebook's algorithm provide actual value, not just "engagement," to users. Quinta and Alan spoke with Ravi about why he thinks that content moderation is a dead-end and why thinking about the design of technology is the way forward to make sure that technology serves us and not the other way around.
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?