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Rational Security

A weekly discussion of national security and foreign policy matters hosted by Shane Harris of the Washington Post and featuring Brookings senior fellows Susan Hennessey, Tamara Cofman Wittes, and Benjamin Wittes.
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Now displaying: 2020
Mar 26, 2020

It took weeks for administration officials to persuade Donald Trump that the coronavirus posed a significant threat to the United States. Did those delays hinder the fight against the virus? The coronavirus may pose a threat to democratic values, as governments deploy aggressive surveillance to combat the pandemic. And there are shakeups in the senior ranks of U.S. counterterrorism.

Mar 18, 2020

Much of normal life has ground to a halt. We’ll reflect on the state of the pandemic and how it’s affecting us. What exactly happened to a White House office set up to respond to pandemics? And Congress kicks the can on an all-important surveillance law until the end of May.

Mar 11, 2020

As the coronavirus spreads, U.S. officials face a public health crisis and the threat of economic recession. The World Health Organization has officially declared coronavirus a pandemic. How are other countries responding, and what can the U.S. learn from them? And there’s tumult in Saudi Arabia amid another power grab by the crown prince and an oil war with Russia.

Mar 5, 2020

President Trump picks Congressman John Ratcliffe—again—to be the new director of national intelligence. The United States signs a peace deal with the Taliban. And an appeals court rules that former White House Counsel Don McGahn does not have to testify to Congress.

Feb 27, 2020

Coronavirus is spreading, and the administration’s message has been a jumble. Intelligence reports suggest that Russia has developed a preference for Trump in the election and is trying to help Sanders. And world leaders call for action to halt a humanitarian crisis in Syria.

Feb 20, 2020

Bill Barr says that Trump’s tweets make his job more difficult, and he has considered resigning over them. But Trump is still tweeting and Barr is still the attorney general, so…? Also, the U.S. charges Chinese telecom giant Huawei with conspiracy and racketeering. And European leaders are bracing for a second Trump term, and a redefined relationship with America.

Feb 12, 2020

Four prosecutors step down from the Roger Stone case after the Justice Department contradicts their sentencing recommendation. The White House purges officials who testified in Trump’s impeachment trial. And the Justice Department is taking a look at Rudy Giuliani’s investigation into the Bidens.

Feb 6, 2020

The Senate prepares to acquit Donald Trump on charges that he abused his office and obstructed Congress. We’ll take a look back at the impeachment trial and discuss what comes next. Also, governments around the world scramble to deal with the threat of coronavirus.

Jan 29, 2020

John Bolton has a story to tell about that Ukraine “drug deal.” The White House unveils its much anticipated Israeli-Palestinian peace plan. And Joe Biden envisions foreign policy after Trump.

Jan 22, 2020

The impeachment trial of Donald Trump begins in earnest, with a marathon session hammering out the rules and procedures. U.N. investigators say there is credible evidence that the crown prince of Saudi Arabia hacked Jeff Bezos’ phone. And you may have heard—Ben and Susan have published a book! We’ll talk about “Unmaking the Presidency.”

Jan 16, 2020

The impeachment trial is about to begin in earnest. We’ll recap the latest. The Trump administration deals with the fallout from the strike that killed Qasem Soleimani. And in the final debate before voting starts, Democratic candidates for president have little to say about foreign policy.

Jan 9, 2020

President Trump says Iran is backing down after a missile strike on U.S. bases in retaliation for the killing of Qasem Suleimani. The crisis has calmed, but what did we learn from the administration’s tense and at times bungled handling of it? And the latest on the still pending impeachment trial.

Jan 3, 2020

Protesters attack the U.S. embassy in Baghdad following an American airstrike. U.S. Cyber Command contemplates information warfare to deter Russian election interference. And we’ll talk about the themes we think will loom large in 2020.

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