The Lawfare Podcast: When Red Lines Fade Away

By Jen Patja Howell
Wednesday, July 14, 2021, 5:01 AM

Jack Goldsmith is feeling a little bit grouchy. In a piece on Lawfare entitled, "Empty Threats and Warnings on Cyber," he blasts the Biden administration and its predecessors for "publicly pledging to impose 'consequences' on Russia for its cyber actions for at least five years—usually, as here, following a hand-wringing government deliberation in the face of a devastating cyber incident." Goldsmith catalogs the recent history of administrations promising big action against Russia, yet seeming to take none, and he asks why we would do this. Why would we thus erode our deterrent capability?

He joined Benjamin Wittes to discuss the latest of these statements, the history of them and the question of why the United States keeps speaking loudly and carrying such a small stick.