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The Lawfare Podcast

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?

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  • Trump Trials and Tribulations: N.Y. Trial Dispatch (May 28, 2024)

    It's Trump's Trials and Tribulations, New York Trial Dispatch, May 28. Roger Parloff sat down with Benjamin Wittes, Anna Bower, Tyler McBrien, and Katerine Pompilio to discuss what happened in the courtroom today.The podcast was edited by Noam Osband of Goat Rodeo. Our theme song is from Alibi Music.
  • Chatter: Oceania's Nuclear and Climate Storytelling with Anaïs Maurer

    Raised in Mā’ohi Nui (French Polynesia), Dr. Anaïs Maurer is assistant professor of literature at Rutgers University and author of The Ocean on Fire. Her research and writing, including this book, have explored the intersection of the legacy of colonial powers' massive nuclear detonations in Oceania, critical threats from climate change, and the stories the people of Oceania tell about it all.David Priess chatted with Maurer about her experience growing up in Oceania, the scope of the nuclear detonations in the region, how the people of Oceania have addressed radiation effects through stories, why cultural resilience has remained a greater theme than individualism or victimhood, how these narratives inform our current era of climate change, and more.Works mentioned in this episode:The book The Ocean on Fire by Anaïs MaurerThe book Quand le cannibale ricane by Paul TavoThe short story "Eden" in the collection Vai: La Rivière au ciel sans nuages by Ra'i ChazeThe book The Whale Rider by Witi IhimaeraThe visual art French Apocalypse Now by CronosThe Coconut poetry series by Teresa TeaiwaThe book Pensées insolentes et inutiles by Chantal SpitzChatter 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.
  • Lawfare Daily: The EU Parliamentary Elections and What’s Ahead with Molly Reynolds, Tara Varma, and Sophie Roehse

    Between June 6–9, voters across the EU’s member states will go to the polls to select members of the European Parliament. For today’s episode, Brookings Senior Fellow and Lawfare Senior Editor Molly Reynolds chatted with Tara Varma, Visiting Fellow, and Sophie Roehse, Senior Research Assistant, both of the Center for the United States and Europe at Brookings, to discuss these elections, what they mean for European politics, and how they might affect key issues also facing the U.S., including the war in Ukraine, relations with China, and how to handle asylum seekers.For further reading and listening on topics discussed, see:·       Why should Americans care about the European Parliament election?, Tara Varma and Sophie Roehse, May 17, 2024·       Ukraine Index: Tracking developments in the Ukraine war, April 15, 2024·       The Lawfare Podcast: Asylum-Seekers and the EU Migration Pact, April 1, 2024To receive ad-free podcasts, become a Lawfare Material Supporter at You can also support Lawfare by making a one-time donation at
  • Lawfare Archive: Trump Takes Aim at TikTok and WeChat

    From August 12, 2020: President Trump recently issued executive orders aimed at banning TikTok and WeChat from operating in the United States. To discuss the sanction, Bobby Chesney sat down with Dr. Sheena Chestnut Greitens, an associate professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and a faculty affiliate with the Strauss Center for International Security and Law and the Clements Center for National Security at UT; and Dr. Ronald Deibert, a professor of political science and the founder and director of The Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. In addition to the executive orders concerning TikTok and WeChat, they also discussed the larger U.S.-China relationship and the role of technology competition in that space.To receive ad-free podcasts, become a Lawfare Material Supporter at You can also support Lawfare by making a one-time donation at
  • Lawfare Archive: Scott Anderson and Suzanne Maloney on Iran, WTF?

    From June 17, 2019: It's getting ugly in the Persian Gulf: Iran allegedly attacks two oil tankers. It announces that it's going to violate the JCPOA, the so-called Iran nuclear agreement. There's talk of military strikes. Europe is edgy, and the Secretary of State is on Sunday talk shows being edgier still.Benjamin Wittes sat down with Suzanne Maloney and Scott R. Anderson to talk it all through. They talked about whether the AUMF covers Iran, why Iran is doing this stuff, whether the Trump administration brought this all on itself, and where it's all going from here.To receive ad-free podcasts, become a Lawfare Material Supporter at You can also support Lawfare by making a one-time donation at
  • Lawfare Daily: Trump Trials and Tribulations Weekly Round-up (May 23, 2024)

    This episode of “Trump's Trials and Tribulations,” was recorded on May 23 in front of a live audience on  YouTube and Zoom.Lawfare Editor-in-Chief Benjamin Wittes talked to Lawfare Senior Editors Quinta Jurecic and Roger Parloff and Legal Fellow and Courts Correspondent Anna Bower about the Wednesday hearing in the Southern District of Florida and Judge Cannon's decision to unseal several court filings. They checked in on Fulton County to see how DA Fani Willis and Judge Scott McAfee fared in their elections on Tuesday before discussing what is left in the New York City Trump trial. And of course, they took audience questions from Lawfare Material Supporters on Zoom.
  • Lawfare Daily: How to Protect Undersea Cables with Kevin Frazier

    Undersea cables carry more than 95 percent of the world’s digital traffic. The system of cables is vulnerable to a range of threats, from fishing accidents and acts of nature to tampering from state actors. To discuss how to best protect this critical infrastructure, Lawfare's Fellow in Technology Policy and Law, Eugenia Lostri, talked with Kevin Frazier Assistant Professor at St. Thomas University College of Law and Lawfare's Tarbell Fellow. They talked about the different types of threats to undersea cables, the importance of redundancy, and what's in the way of policy solutions.To receive ad-free podcasts, become a Lawfare Material Supporter at You can also support Lawfare by making a one-time donation at
  • Rational Security: The “Closing the Clubhouse” Edition

    This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott were joined by Lawfare Editor-in-Chief Benjamin Wittes, fresh from his New York rumspringa, to talk over the week’s big national security news, including:“You Don’t Have to Go Home, But You Can’t Stay Here.” That’s the message that will soon be going out to those Lawfare team members that have been camping out at our temporary Manhattan studio, as, after weeks of proceedings, it is officially closing time for former President Donald Trump’s criminal prosecution in New York. How has the trial proceeded? And what have we learned up to this point, before the verdict comes in?“Spinning the Wheels of Justice.” The prosecutor for the International Criminal Court has made a landmark request for arrest warrants targeting Hamas’s three most senior officials as well as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on the grounds that they have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. Is this a step towards justice? Or towards an end to the conflict?“Take a Hayek.” The Biden administration has now followed in the Trump administration’s footsteps in imposing major tariffs on imports from China, and both parties seem comfortable with a level of trade protectionism that would have been inconceivable just a few decades ago. Is this the end of the neoliberal experiment? And what seems set to come about in its wake?For object lessons, Alan recommended pianist Víkingur Ólafsson’s reworking of Bach's Organ Sonata No. 4. Quinta shouted out two cartoonists illustrating the Trump trial: Liza Donnelly for the New Yorker and Josh Cochran for the New York Times. Scott recommended the new book forthcoming from friend-of-the-pod Michel Paradis, a new portrait of Dwight Eisenhower in the lead-up to D-Day entitled “The Light of Battle.” And Ben gave an unlikely endorsement to one of Trump’s legal counsel, the somewhat vampiric but nonetheless effective Emil Bove.To receive ad-free podcasts, become a Lawfare Material Supporter at You can also support Lawfare by making a one-time donation at
  • Lawfare Daily: Prosecuting the Gaza War Before the International Criminal Court with Chimène Keitner

    For today’s episode, Lawfare Senior Editor Scott R. Anderson sat down with Chimène Keitner, a Professor of Law at UC Davis School of Law and former Counselor on International Law at the U.S. Department of State, to discuss the recent applications for arrest warrants filed by the prosector for the International Criminal Court (ICC), accusing several senior Hamas leaders as well as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant of crimes against humanity and war crimes in Gaza. They discussed the nature of the allegations, how the ICC has come to exercise jurisdiction over the Gaza conflict, and what impact this recent action may have on the broader conflict.To receive ad-free podcasts, become a Lawfare Material Supporter at You can also support Lawfare by making a one-time donation at