Rational Security 2.0: The 'Nuclear Tongue Twister' Edition

By Jen Patja Howell
Wednesday, November 3, 2021, 12:01 PM

This week, Alan, Quinta and Scott were joined by special guest... well, me! We sat down to discuss:

  • “Our Stand on Havana”: While pressure is building on the Biden administration to take a stand on Havana Syndrome, our understanding of what is happening to U.S. diplomats and other officials remains limited. What should the United States do next?
  • “SupersonicNewBallisticsExquisiteBlastAdocious”: In the last few weeks, China’s unveiled a new supersonic missile capable of delivering nuclear warheads past U.S. defenses.  At the same time, the United States has announced new technology that allows nuclear warheads to explode with “exquisite timing” that dramatically magnifies their effectiveness. Is this the beginning of a new sort of arms race?
  • “International Lampoon’s European Vacation”: President Biden is meeting with a number of his foreign counterparts in Europe this week to discuss issues ranging from the global economy to climate change. Will Biden be able to repair these key relationships or is the Trump era still weighing down the United States’ international standing?

For object lessons, Quinta noted the death of Viktor Bryukhanov, the former manager of the nuclear plant at Chernobyl at the time of its meltdown; Alan urged listeners to check out the hour long video introducing the post-Facebook company, Meta; Scott pulled a hat trick and endorsed an article on the strange origins of the symbols on the ISIS flag, published in the excellent New Lines Magazine, which he listened to on the surprisingly good text-to-speech app Speechify; and I took a moment to thank all the wonderful good samaritans doing the hard, thankless task of working as poll workers and other volunteers during Virginia's recent election.