Rational Security 2.0: The 'Raising a Wordcel' Edition

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

This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott talked through a big week of national security news, including:

  • “Red Dead Redemption.” Expectations of a “red wave” in the 2022 midterm elections came up short this week, as Democrats retained control of the Senate and expanded their control in the states while Republicans only appear to gain control of the House by the slimmest of margins. How will these election results impact the security of our democracy moving forward?  
  • “Negotiating a Peace Entreaty.” Even as Russian forces beat a retreat from Kherson, some officials within the Biden administration—most notably, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley—are reportedly becoming more inclined to push for a negotiated peace with Russia, particularly as the winter months slow down the pace of fighting. Russia, meanwhile, responded to a speech by Ukrainian President Volodmyr Zelensky outlining a 10 step plan for peace with a new barrage of missile attacks. What are the pros and cons of such negotiations? And how might they impact the conflict, and its attendant risks of escalation? (When the team recorded, it seemed possible that a Russian missile had landed on Polish soil, killing two civilians; as of Wednesday morning, NATO now says the blast was likely caused by a Ukrainian air defense missile and was unintentional.)
  • “He Said, Xi Said.” President Biden sat down with Chinese President Xi Jinping this past week for their first face-to-face meeting as presidents on the margins of the G20 meeting. Both sides reportedly committed to easing tensions between the two countries and resuming work towards shared challenges, such as climate change. What explains this change in tack? Will it stick?