Rational Security 2.0: The ‘Live Action Rational Security’ Edition

By Jen Patja Howell
Wednesday, May 11, 2022, 12:01 PM

This week, Quinta and Scott were joined by RatSec 1.0 host emeritus Benjamin Wittes to talk through the week's big national security news stories, including: 

  • “Sharing is Caring.” Earlier this week, an unnamed senior U.S. official indicated that the United States is providing targeting information to Ukrainian forces—only to have other officials walk back that assertion almost immediately. What is actually happening? And why is the Biden administration so paranoid about discussing it openly?
  • “The Chief’s Thief.” Recent revelations have shown that former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows played an integral role in leading efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 elections in the lead up to the Jan. 6 insurrection. But the Justice Department still has taken no steps toward prosecuting him for contempt of Congress for refusing to fully comply with the Jan. 6 committee’s investigation. What should we make of Meadows? And what should be done about him?
  • “Trolling Alone.” Incidents of harassment and hostility are an increasingly commonplace feature of our political discourse, particularly for public officials working on hot button issues. What should we make of this breakdown in civility? What causes it? And where may it lead?

For object lessons, Quinta passed along Susan Dominus's eye-opening piece on “The Nightmare of Being a Surrogate Mother in the Ukraine War.” Scott recommended NASA's amazing virtual tour of the solar system to all his fellow stargazers (as well as astronomer Paul Byrne's amazing Twitter account). And Ben announced a new podcast experiment he is launching: live discussions with Ukrainians living on the front lines.

Plus here are a few other stories we mentioned or recommended:

  • Politico’s piece on the Jan. 6 committee’s focus on junior aides and staff;
  • Frank Michelman’s classic law review article “Law’s Republic”;
  • Radiolab’s piece on Israel and the global surrogacy industry, “Birthstory

We lightly edited and re-posted this episode to eliminate an offensive term that one of our co-hosts used inadvertently. For an explanation and apology, see his Tweet thread here.