The National Security Law Podcast: Trump Derangement Syndrome or a Distraction from the Forever War?

By Robert Chesney, Steve Vladeck
Wednesday, January 3, 2018, 4:07 PM

Merry New Year!

2018 is underway, but in today’s episode we are looking back at 2017. More specifically, we are looking back to predictions made in early 2017 regarding the changes President Donald Trump surely would be making to certain executive orders and presidential directives relating to national security. How did those predictions turn out? It’s complicated. Tune in to find out what has and has not happened, and why, as we consider the fate of five key documents:

  1. Executive Order 13491 (Interrogation and the U.S. Army Field Manual)
  2. Executive Order 13492 (Guantanamo closure)
  3. Executive Order 13567 (Guantanamo Periodic Review Boards)
  4. Presidential Policy Directive 28 (Foreign persons and U.S. SIGINT activity)
  5. The “Presidential Policy Guidance” (Constraints on the use of force outside areas of active hostilities)

Next, the discussion turns to larger questions about the general direction of national security law commentary in 2017. Everyone agrees that the Trump Administration has generated a host of novel issues, and that these issues are garnering a great deal of attention from those of us engage publicly on national security legal issues. But not everyone agrees that the latter is a good thing. Some argue that it distracts too much from core issues associated with the use of force and other aspects of counterterrorism and military affairs, while others argue that it reflects an unjustified obsession with and hostility towards Donald Trump. We wrestle with those critiques.

Last (and no doubt least), we have at last both managed to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and we wrap with a looooong review (one that is so preposterous that not even Rose and Flynn would go along with it … and that is saying something!).