There are some stunning revelations coming out of the new blockbuster book by Carol Leonnig and Phil Rucker, “I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump's Catastrophic Final Year.” If you thought you knew how bad some things during that final year of the Trump presidency were, this book will surprise you with what it tells us about the things that even those of us who watched the presidency closely did not know.
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It's been a busy couple of weeks at Guantanamo Bay, a place that has not had a busy couple of weeks in a while. There was a transfer, there was a resumption of military commissions, and the chief prosecutor of military commissions resigned abruptly.
This week we're bringing you the breakdown of the heavyweight bout of the century—a battle over vaccine misinformation. In the left corner we have the White House. Known for its impressive arsenal and bully pulpit, this week it asked for the fight and came out swinging with claims that Facebook is a killer—and not in a good way. In the right corner we have Facebook, known for its ability to just keep taking punches while continuing to grace our screens and rake in the cash. The company has hit back with gusto, saying that Facebook has actually helped people learn the facts on vaccines.
It’s our last episode—at least in our current form. We’ll reminisce about our favorite moments, hear from longtime friends and listeners, and share in a final Object Lesson.
Ben shares some scotch.
Shane remembers an old recorder.
How do Roombas illustrate the promise and peril of translational research? Which valley of death is really the worst valley of death? And how can woolly mammoths save the planet from climate change?
To discuss, I have on:
Yemen remains a mess. Many years of warfare have left it politically fractured, economically shattered and with a true humanitarian crisis of multiple dimensions. And yet there are some small signs of hope, with the Biden administration increasing its engagement to achieve progress and the United Nations resetting its efforts with a new special envoy to the country.
The Biden administration’s effort to counter ransomware may not be especially creative, but it is comprehensive.
It was quite a week in cybersecurity. The Israeli firm NSO Group was outed by a consortium of newspapers and media entities for its snooping software Pegasus, which seems to have gathered data from the phones of a shockingly large number of people. Then, starting Sunday evening and into Monday morning, the Biden administration announced a multi-lateral response to China's Microsoft Exchange Server hack. There were indictments, there was a toughly worded statement, but there were no sanctions. Was it enough?
Chris Miller of Tufts and I discuss our report Labs over Fabs, our case for the US to be spending money more broadly than currently conceived by the CHIPS act. (https://chinatalk.substack.com/p/labs-over-fabs-risc-vs-promise)
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U.S. troops are pulling out of Afghanistan, the withdrawal is almost done and U.S. forces turned over the Bagram Airfield to Afghan forces the other day. Scott Anderson knows something about withdrawals. He served at U.S. Embassy Baghdad shortly after the United States withdrew from Iraq. He joined Benjamin Wittes on Lawfare Live to talk about the Afghan withdrawal, his memories of the Iraq withdrawal and why these things sometimes go better and sometimes go worse. What has the Biden administration learned from the Iraq withdrawal experience?