Tue, 30 October 2018
Since 2011, Yemen has transitioned from the scene of a political crisis to one of the worst humanitarian disasters in the world, but how U.S. policy affects the situation is the subject of little discussion. The United States provides intelligence and logistical support to the Saudi- and Emirati-led coalition fighting against Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen, and the conflict implicates the future stability of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the U.S.’s longest standing ally in the region.
To shed light on the complicated dynamic of the conflict, on October 25, the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution hosted a panel discussion on U.S. policy in Yemen, featuring Brookings senior fellows Daniel Byman and Bruce Riedel, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Dafna Rand, and Arabia Foundation senior analyst Fatima Abo Alasrar. They talked about the U.S.’s role in the conflict, the extent of the humanitarian crisis, and how the dire conditions on the ground can be alleviated.
Direct download: Episode_360.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:50pm EDT
Sat, 27 October 2018
There is a caravan—you've probably heard something about it. Stephanie Leutert, director of the Mexico Security Initiative at the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law, has heard something about it. On Friday, Benjamin Wittes caught up with Stephanie to talk about her time on the Mexico-Guatemala border traveling with migrants who are following a trail not unlike that of the caravan. They talked about why people are joining this caravan, what the alternatives to it are, why certain migrants are shunning it, the pushes out of countries like Honduras and Guatemala, and what it's like to be a child on the long trek to the United States.
Direct download: Episode_359.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:36am EDT
Tue, 23 October 2018
Last week while traveling in the United Kingdom, Benjamin Wittes met up with András Pap, a Hungarian scholar of constitutional law. Pap is a professor with Central European University’s Nationalist Studies Program in Budapest, and the two spoke over breakfast about the decline of Hungarian democracy. They talked about the Fidesz party, Hungary's strongman ruler Viktor Orbán, to what extent Hungary is similar to and different from other European countries, and why Pap was cheerfully having breakfast with Ben talking about all these things and not fearing what would happen to him when he returns to Budapest.
Direct download: Episode_358.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:30pm EDT
Fri, 19 October 2018
In recent decades, both democratic and republican administrations have tried to guide other countries toward liberal democracy. But international relations theorist John Mearsheimer’s latest book, “The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realties,” says that strategy has made the U.S. a “highly militarized state fighting wars that undermine peace, harm human rights, and threaten liberal values at home.” Last week at the Hoover Institution’s Washington office, Jack Goldsmith sat down with Mearsheimer to talk about the book. They talked about why administrations try to promote democracy, how that strategy has bolstered non-democratic governments, and whether a more restrained foreign policy could better serve U.S. interests.
Direct download: Episode_357.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:54pm EDT
Tue, 16 October 2018
On October 3, Benjamin Wittes co-hosted an event with his Brookings colleague, Norm Eisen, on The State of Rule of Law in the U.S. Ben moderated a panel on national security and law enforcement with Lawfare contributor and long-time Department of Justice official Mary McCord; former head of the DEA Chuck Rosenberg; and Representative Adam Schiff, ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.
Direct download: Episode_356.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:38pm EDT
Sat, 13 October 2018
Back in January, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Mike Doran—a foreign policy and Middle East specialist who served in the George W. Bush White House, State Department, and Pentagon, and is a former Brookings colleague—to discuss his support of President Trump and dismissal of the Trump-Russia allegations and the investigation of L’Affaire Russe. At the end of that conversation, Ben and Mike said they would check in again in a few months to see who was right.
Earlier this week, the two sat down over Scotch to talk through Doran’s views on—among other things—the Mueller investigation, the Steele dossier, Carter Page’s FISA warrant, and the congressional investigations into L’Affaire Russe. It’s safe to say that their views have not converged, and Doran’s view of the world differs from the standard fare on Lawfare. Hang onto your hats, folks, this one’s a wild ride.
Direct download: Episode_355.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:02am EDT
Tue, 9 October 2018
It's easy to spend all our time focusing on American domestic politics these days, but the rest of the world is not going away. Take the European Union, for example—our neighbors from across the pond, and one of the US's most valuable economic and security relationships. There's a lot going on over there, and some of it even involves us. How is that relationship faring in the age of tariffs, presidential blusters, Brexit, and tensions over Iran sanctions?
To figure that out, Shannon Togawa Mercer and Benjamin Wittes spoke to David O'Sullivan, the EU Ambassador to the United States. They talked about the US-EU trade relationship, Iran and Russia sanctions, Privacy Shield, the rule of law in deconsolidating democracies in the EU, and more.
Direct download: Episode_354.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:49pm EDT
Sat, 6 October 2018
Stories of grievous hacks, data breaches and their fallouts have become an almost daily addition to the news cycle. On Wednesday, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Mark Risher, Director of Product Management for Security and Privacy for Google, to talk about how his team is thinking about the current and future threats posed by malicious cyber actors.
They discussed Google Advanced Protection, how Google works with “targeted” individuals to set up secure systems, the growing sophistication of phishing emails, and how you might be able to protect yourself. By way of full disclosure, Google is a financial supporter of the Brookings institution, with whose cooperation, Lawfare is published.
Direct download: Episode_353.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:51am EDT
Wed, 3 October 2018
Anna Salvatore is the impresario behind the High School SCOTUS blog. She got in touch with Benjamin Wittes a number of months ago asking for an interview, and produced a fascinating character study of him. On Tuesday, Ben returned the favor. Anna joined Ben in the Jungle Studio for a wide-ranging discussion of the Supreme Court, high school, blogging, and building an army to produce legal journalism. They talked about how the Supreme Court is different from baseball, weird interests in high school, following a docket, and the Kavanaugh nomination hearings.
Direct download: Episode_352.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:37am EDT