Armed Conflict Foreign Relations & International Law

The Lawfare Podcast: The U.S. Diplomatic Response in Gaza with Akbar Shahid Ahmed and Robbie Gramer

Tyler McBrien, Akbar Shahid Ahmed, Robbie Gramer, Jen Patja
Friday, October 27, 2023, 8:01 AM
What has been the U.S. diplomatic response to the Israel-Gaza conflict so far? 

Published by The Lawfare Institute
in Cooperation With

It’s probably fair to say that the Israeli government was not the only one caught flat-footed by the deadly attack launched by Hamas on Oct. 7. On that day, several of the U.S. government’s top diplomatic posts in the Middle East were vacant, and the Biden administration had long focused most of its attention elsewhere in the world. And, in a now infamous episode from only a week prior to the attack, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan had said, “The Middle East region is quieter today than it has been in two decades.”

But all that has changed. Though its record is still up for debate, the U.S. diplomatic response has kicked into gear, with several visits to the region from Sullivan, Secretary of State Blinken, President Biden, and other high-level U.S. officials. 

To take stock of the U.S. diplomatic response to the war thus far, Lawfare Managing Editor Tyler McBrien sat down with Akbar Shahid Ahmed, HuffPost's senior foreign affairs reporter, and Robbie Gramer, a diplomacy and national security reporter at Foreign Policy. We talked about the nearly broken Senate confirmation process, the fallout from a high-level diplomatic resignation, and the potential “mutiny brewing”  inside the State Department. We also discussed whether or not a reported dissent cable circulating through the department might shift U.S. policy toward Israel-Palestine.

Tyler McBrien is the managing editor of Lawfare. He previously worked as an editor with the Council on Foreign Relations and a Princeton in Africa Fellow with Equal Education in South Africa, and holds an MA in international relations from the University of Chicago.
Akbar Shahid Ahmed is HuffPost's senior foreign affairs reporter, based in Washington, D.C.
Robbie Gramer is the diplomacy and national security reporter at Foreign Policy magazine, covering the State Department.
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.

Subscribe to Lawfare