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Rational Security: The “Active Listening Noises” Edition

Scott R. Anderson, Quinta Jurecic, Natalie K. Orpett, Alan Z. Rozenshtein
Thursday, May 16, 2024, 12:30 PM
This week, Alan Rozenshtein, Quinta Jurecic, and Scott Anderson were joined by Natalie Orpett to go over the week’s big national security news

Published by The Lawfare Institute
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This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott were joined by Lawfare Executive Editor Natalie Orpett to go over the week’s big national security news, including:
  • “Does NSM Stand for No Such Memo?” Last week, in a long-awaited report required by National Security Memorandum 20 that President Biden issued earlier this year, the Biden administration concluded that there were credible reasons to believe that Israel may well have violated international law and obstructed U.S.-backed humanitarian flows in its conduct of the war in Gaza. But it still declined to find Israeli assurances to the contrary lacking in credibility enough to interrupt U.S. security assistance. What does this tell us about the state of U.S. support for Israel—especially as Israeli forces appear increasingly set to pursue an offensive on Rafah that Biden has openly opposed?
  • “What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting.” A sharp global decline in birth rates—often below replacement levels, especially (but not exclusively) in highly developed countries—has some academics and policymakers panicking about everything from the global balance of power to the future of social support systems. But are these concerns misplaced? And how (if at all) should we be thinking about the relationship between national security and family planning?
  • “AzerbaiSCAM.” The Justice Department has indicted a second Democratic legislator—Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas—for working as an unregistered agent of a foreign government, this time that of Azerbaijan, even as a federal court in New York seats a jury for the prosecution of Sen. Bob Menendez for allegedly doing the same on behalf of Egypt and Qatar. Is this reflective of a broader problematic trend? And what should policymakers be doing about it?
For object lessons, Alan lamented the passing of great Canadian Alice Munro. Quinta celebrated the semi-resolution of a long-running mystery involving Prague. Scott renewed his call for people to grill more pizza this summer and shared some tips before handing the mic to producer Noam, who shared that he’s performing at the DC Improv on May 23. And Natalie reminisced fondly (?) on her time living in New York.

Scott R. Anderson is a fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and a Senior Fellow in the National Security Law Program at Columbia Law School. He previously served as an Attorney-Adviser in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State and as the legal advisor for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq.
Quinta Jurecic is a fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and a senior editor at Lawfare. She previously served as Lawfare's managing editor and as an editorial writer for the Washington Post.
Natalie Orpett is the executive editor of Lawfare and deputy general counsel of the Lawfare Institute. She was previously an attorney at the law firm Jenner & Block, where she focused on investigations and government controversies, and also maintained an active pro bono practice. She served as civilian counsel to a defendant in the Guantanamo Military Commissions for more than eight years. She also served as counsel to the National Security and Foreign Policy Legal Team of the Biden-Harris Transition Team.
Alan Z. Rozenshtein is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota Law School, a senior editor at Lawfare, and a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Previously, he served as an Attorney Advisor with the Office of Law and Policy in the National Security Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland.

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