Rational Security: The 'Alan is One Year Closer to Death' Edition

By Jen Patja Howell
Thursday, May 25, 2023, 12:01 PM

This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott were reunited to celebrate Alan's gradual physical and mental decline, and to talk over the week in national security news, including:

  • “Fear of Flying.” President Biden finally greenlit the transfer of F-16s to Ukraine, despite Russia’s warnings—just as the siege at Bakhmut signals a brutal new phase of the conflict. Is this the right move? Or is the risk of escalation too great?
  • “Big Sky, Closed Borders.” Social media company TikTok is challenging a new Montana law barring its use in the state on a variety of constitutional grounds, including the First Amendment and foreign affairs preemption. Are there legal barriers to state efforts to regulate platforms like TikTok? Or does Montana have the better arguments?
  • “Putting the ‘Err’ in Durham.” Special Counsel John Durham has released the final report of his investigation into the original of the FBI investigation into possible links between the Trump campaign and Russia. And while the report has some celebrating, it’s left many others scratching their heads.

For object lessons, Alan shared his favorite birthday present: the brownie edge pan his wife got him. Quinta passed along a true D.C. story from a concert she saw the night before, involving The National and a former Deputy Solicitor General. And Scott recommended Patrick Weil's new book, “The Madman in the White House,” an eclectic biography of an eclectic biography: a psychoanalysis of Woodrow Wilson, written by Ambassador William Bullitt and Sigmund Freud, lost for more than seventy years and recently found.

Here are links to some other pieces we mentioned in this episode: