Rational Security 2.0: The 'Ides of March' Edition

By Jen Patja Howell
Wednesday, March 16, 2022, 12:01 PM

This week, Alan, Quinta, Scott and guest Lawfare executive editor Natalie Orpett sat down to discuss several of the week's big national security news stories, including:

  • “The Dragon-Bear Reliance.” Russia is turning to China for help in mitigating some of the more harmful consequences of the measures that the United States and its allies are imposing in response to its invasion of Ukraine. Will China play along? And what will its decision mean for the future of the relationship between the two major powers?
  • “The Secret Life of Feds.” In a pair of recent cases, the Supreme Court largely upheld the state secrets doctrine that allows the federal government to quash civil litigation that might compromise sensitive government information, even as it hinted at some potential ways it may come under pressure in the future. What does this mean for the doctrine moving forward?
  • “Garland’s Laurels.” Attorney General Merrick Garland just celebrated one year in office. How should we grade his efforts to restore and reinforce the Justice Department’s traditional norms of political independence and impartiality thus far? And what impact is it having on other parts of his legacy, like his investigation of the Jan. 6 insurrection?

For object lessons, Alan expressed his deep sympathy for the clinginess of the male Santa Maria harlequin toad, who often embraces his mate for months before she finally relents to reproduce. Quinta brought the listeners' attention to Russian news employee Marina Ovsyannikova's brave and heartfelt recent protest on a live newscast against Russia's war in Ukraine. Scott flagged the fact that the Biden administration still hasn't provided the public a copy of a war powers report that was due on March 1st, despite a law requiring that they do so. And Natalie both recommended the book "At Night All Blood is Black" by David Diop and flagged a late-breaking story about negotiations over a possible settlement in the military commissions trial of 9/11 perpetrator Khalid Shaikh Mohammed that would avoid the death penalty.