Rational Security: The 'Wickedly Talented Adele Dazeem' Edition
This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott were joined for a special episode by the most glamorous of RatSec co-hosts emeritus, Shane Harris, to hand out some Academy Awards for events in national security over the past year.
The nominees include:
For “Best Make-Up” (i.e., what was the year’s most memorable apology?):
- The Biden administration’s confession that its balloon bombardment was a bust;
- Kevin McCarthy’s ongoing Mar-a-Lago mea culpa;
- Former British Prime Minister Liz Truss’s resignation over her positively wilting economic plan.
For “Best Score” (i.e., who came away as the year’s most unexpected winner?):
- Western Europe, whose uncharacteristic balminess helped it weather the winter without Russian energy imports;
- The F-22, which got its first kill (of a Chinese spy balloon) even as the U.S. military debates whether to discontinue it;
- China, whose late role in the Saudi-Iran rapprochement allowed it to seize much of the credit.
For “Best Supporting Actor” (non-state actor, that is) (i.e., which non-governmental figure had the most oversized role on the national security stage this year?):
- Comic book villain Elon Musk;
- Manic pixie jury foreperson Emily Kohrs;
- Tucker Carlson, the only man who has gotten less credible since he stopped wearing a bowtie (and now may cost Fox News billions over it).
For “Best Actor” (i.e., which world leader left their mark on the world stage this past year?):
- Volodymyr Zelensky, the man who stayed;
- Vladimir Putin, who seems intent on doubling down on his failing gambit in Ukraine;
- Xi Jinping, who locked down his control of the Chinese Communist Party—but perhaps not the Chinese people.
For object lessons, Alan recommended the Twitter account @hamcarless for those who want to see some of the potential of AI image generation (or just see the Founding Fathers with face tattoos). Quinta passed along a note of pride in her hometown institution of Princeton University, which is officially the first Ivy League institution to have a student arrested for participating in the Jan. 6 insurrection. Scott dug into his record collection again and—at the recommendation of the Sound Opinion guys—urged listeners to check out the huge back catalogue of Yo La Tengo cover songs for some real gems (as well as their new album). And, staying on theme, Shane endorsed Michael Schulman's book "Oscar Wars," which gives a thorough history of the contest around the real Academy Awards.