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Rational Security: The “Five Dollar Footlong-Gate” Edition

Alan Z. Rozenshtein, Scott R. Anderson, Quinta Jurecic, Jen Patja
Thursday, July 20, 2023, 4:24 PM
This week, Alan Rozenshtein, Quinta Jurecic, and Scott Anderson got together to NOT talk about that ONE big story that's not quite ripe yet, but they did chat through some of the week's other big national security news. 

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This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott got together to NOT talk about that ONE big story that's not quite ripe yet. (You know the one. It involves sandwiches.) But they did chat through some of the week's other big national security news, including:

  • “Against the Grain.” Russia backed out of the Turkey-facilitated Black Sea Grain Initiative this past week, which had allowed much needed Ukrainian grain to arrive in markets, largely in the developing world. Now not only is that avenue cut off, but Russian forces are attacking grain facilities in Odessa, threatening the global food supply. How does this brutal act fit into Russia’s global strategy? And how should the United States and its allies respond?
  • “It’s a War on War.” The culture war is now taking on actual war, as House Republicans have passed a National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) laden with provisions that target Defense Department policies relating to abortion, DEI, and LGBTQ+ issues — measures that are certain not to make it through the Democrat-controlled Senate and may end up putting the annual bill at risk of not being passed at all. How big is the risk of such an impasse? What could it mean for U.S. national security?
  • “Coups are Like Pancakes.” Earlier this week, the New York Times published a report about how former officials in the Trump administration are declaring the first Trump administration a mulligan and outlining plans to dramatically expand presidential power and purge the executive branch if and when Trump returns to the White House for a second time. How seriously should we take these proposals? And what would they mean for democracy if implemented?


For object lessons, Alan plugged the most unlikely Netflix documentary, “Tour de France: Unchained.” Quinta noted Haaretz's entirely unprecedented story about Israel's inability to get cultural artifacts that it had lent to the Trump administration back from Mar-a-Lago where they appear to have somehow ended up. (The report is unclear on whether they are being kept in the bathroom or ballroom.) And Scott got back in the cocktail game by flagging the brilliantly weird (and somewhat ominously named) cocktail, the "Growing Old and Dying Happy is a Hope, Not an Inevitability.”

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.
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.
Jen Patja is the editor and producer of The Lawfare Podcast and Rational Security. She currently serves as the Co-Executive Director of Virginia Civics, a nonprofit organization that empowers the next generation of leaders in Virginia by promoting constitutional literacy, critical thinking, and civic engagement. She is the former Deputy Director of the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier and has been a freelance editor for over 20 years.

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