Rational Security 2.0: The 'Small World After All' Edition

By Jen Patja Howell
Wednesday, August 3, 2022, 12:01 PM

This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott were joined by favorite guest Lawfare executive editor Natalie Orpett to hash through the week's big national security news stories, including:

  • “Another One Bites the Dust.” This past weekend, an American drone strike successfully killed yet another major terrorist leader—this time al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri—in downtown Kabul, while apparently avoiding any civilian casualties or significant collateral damage. What does the strike tell us about the Biden administration's counterterrorism strategy and the role it plays in his broader global agenda?
  • “Maybe He Just Mixed Up His St. Petersburgs.” In Florida, the Justice Department has indicted Russian agent Aleksandr Viktorovich Ionov for engaging in an array of political activities on behalf of fringe political candidates and organizations, with the alleged goal of promoting political instability at the Russian government's behest. What light does this indictment shed on Russian interference in American politics?
  • “The Bully Cockpit.” Over reported objections from the Biden administration, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has flown to Taiwan, making her the most senior U.S. official to visit the hotly contested island in more than two decades and raising China's ire at what many say is a sensitive moment. Is her trip helpful or foolhardy? And what does it tell us about Congress's role in U.S. foreign relations?

For object lessons, Alan urged readers check out a recent Russian propaganda video, but made clear he did not endorse it. Quinta recommended Annie Lowrey's recent Atlantic article on her difficult pregnancy experiences and what they mean in a post-Dobbs world, "American Motherhood." Scott made two very different pop culture recommendations: the intense food freak drama The Bear and the delightful surf documentary satire with penguins Surf's Up. And Natalie recommended one of her favorite cookbooks, The Immigrant Cookbook, which feature recipes and compelling stories from new and first-generation Americans.