Rational Security 2.0: The ‘Walk of Shane’ Edition

By Jen Patja Howell
Wednesday, May 25, 2022, 12:01 PM

This week, Alan, Quinta and Scott were joined by Rational Security co-host emeritus Shane Harris! Together they talked through the week's big national security news stories, including: 

  • “We Want to Believe.” The House recently held a rare public hearing on what the U.S. government knows about Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, or UAPs–also commonly called Unidentified Flying Objects, or UFOs. What did we learn about UAPs and how is U.S. policy towards them changing?
  • “Strategic Incongruity.” President Biden once again said the United States would defend Taiwan against Chinese aggression, only to have White House staff roll back his statement and confirm that there has been no change in the longstanding U.S. policy of “strategic ambiguity” on this issue. Can this policy survive the president’s repeated statements? And if so, what’s replacing it?
  • “Getting Thirsty in Hungary.” The premiere U.S. conservative organization CPAC is holding a part of its annual conference in Hungary, where far right leader Viktor Orban called for a transnational conservative movement. What will this budding relationship mean for the future of conservative movements at home and abroad?

For object lessons, Quinta encouraged folks to revisit Terry Pratchett's classic "Discworld" series, a formative reading experience in her childhood (which explains a great deal). Alan recommended the new Apple+ series on dysfunctional British spies, "Slow Horses." Scott endorsed Andy Weir's latest book "Project Hail Mary" for its amazing worldbuilding, if not necessarily its prose. And Shane gave his wholehearted endorsement to Jamie Kirchick's forthcoming new book "Secret City," which details the often hidden role gay people have played in D.C.-based policy and politics, including in national security.