Rational Security: The 'Signed Pol Pot Rookie Card' Edition

By Jen Patja Howell
Thursday, April 13, 2023, 12:01 PM

This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott were reunited to discuss the perils of Nazi paraphernalia collecting, among other hot national security news stories from the week, including:

  • “TrickyLeaks.” A tranche of what appear to be genuine classified Defense Department documents has shown up on the internet, after being leaked to a conservative Discord channel and having spread through a number of other online fora for discussing video games and other issues. Who seems to be responsible? And how strategically significant are they? 
  • “Save Paradise, Put Me Up in a Parking Lot.” A ProPublica investigation has revealed that Justice Clarence Thomas—who once famously said that he felt more comfortable hanging out in a Walmart parking lot than at the beach—has been accepting extravagant tropical vacations from Republican megadonor Harlan Crow for decades. What does this tell us about ethics on the Supreme Court? Is there a legal solution?
  • “Lost in the FrAUKUS.” French President Emmanuel Macron stirred up controversy this past week after suggesting that Europe should strive for greater independence from U.S. policy, including over Taiwan, following meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping. This comes just weeks after Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States unveiled the culmination of the regional 2021 AUKUS submarine deal, which continues to be a sore spot for Macron and French leaders. How significant are Macron’s statements? What are their ramifications for Taiwan and others in the Pacific?

For object lessons, Quinta shared a useful walkthrough of the recent judicial decision on mifepristone by Adam Unikowsky. Alan passed along a very entertaining article on the state of the metaverse. (Still no legs.) And Scott brought everyone in on what might be a time-limited secret: filmmaker Errol Morris has apparently posted both seasons of his phenomenal (but hard to find) docuseries "First Person" on YouTube. Check it out now, while you still can.