To Intervene or Not to Intervene? That is the Question
The crew looks at the crisis in Venezuela and considers the American and world responses to it. Is it any of Washington’s business what goes on there, and will any result have democratic legitimacy? Will more sanctions help to quickly resolve the situation in a way that benefits the people there, or will they increase the suffering? Are Elliot Abrams and John Bolton making a push for military intervention? Finally, Chris congratulates the Patriots while Melanie and Bryan roll their eyes, and Melanie finds a reason to wholeheartedly praise the Trump administration.
- David A. Graham, "How Seriously Should the World Take Trump's Venezuela Threat?", Atlantic, January 29, 2019
- Kirk Brown, "GOP Should Back Trump If Emergency Declared To Build Border Wall," State, February 04, 2019
- Peter Baker and Edward Wong, "On Venezuela, Rubio Assumes U.S. Role of Ouster in Chief," New York Times, January 26, 2019
- Ernesto Londoño and Nicholas Casey,“Trump Administration Discussed Coup Plans With Rebel Venezuelan Officers,” New York Times, September 08, 2018
- John Glaser, Tweets, January 24, 2019
- Peter Baker and Edward Wong, “Intervening Against Venezuela’s Strongman, Trump Belies ‘America First’,” New York Times, September 24, 2019
- Ro Khanna, “Why I strongly oppose U.S. military intervention in Venezuela,” Washington Post, January 30, 2019
- John Stuart Mill, “A Few Words on Non-Intervention: Excerpts,” Libertarianism
- “End the War in Afghanistan,” New York Times, February 03, 2019
- Patricia Zengerle, "Senate Leader Wants U.S. Troops To Stay in Syria," Reuters, January 29, 2019
- Peter Baker, "A Growing Chorus of Republican Critics for Trump's Foreign Policy," New York Times, January 29, 2019
- Moises Naim and Francisco Toro, "Venezuela's Suicide: Lessons from a Failed State," Foreign Affairs, January 28, 2019
- Krishnadev Calamur, "Trump's Dumping of Maduro Could be Just the Start," Atlantic, January 24, 2019
- Uri Friedman, "The White House's Move on Venezuela is the Least Trumpian Thing It's Done," Atlantic, January 26, 2019
- Donovan Slack, "USA Today Investigation: VA Knowingly Hires Doctors with Past Malpractice Claims, Discipline for Poor Care," USA Today, December 3, 2019
- Anne Gearan, Paul Sonne, and Carol Morello, "US to Withdraw from Nuclear Arms Control Treaty with Russia, Raising Fears of a New Arms Race," Washington Post, February 1, 2019
Music and Production by Tre Hester
|Feb 07, 2019
Learning to Love the Bomb
Join Chris, Melanie, and Bryan — your Net Assessment podcasters — for a dive into nuclear weapons and grand strategy, and the degree to which they have impacted each other. The story is one of contradiction, of hubris, and of unproven (and unprovable) assertions.
|Jan 23, 2019
Is It the End of the World, As We Know It?
The United States has managed to avoid foreign policy catastrophes during the first two years of the Trump administration, but defenders of American primacy espy trouble on the horizon. Most Americans have no living memory of the 1930s and World War II, and younger Americans, who have known only the inconclusive wars of the last fifteen years, are far less likely than their parents and grandparents to support higher levels of military spending. They favor a different kind of global engagement, one not predicated on American hard power. But can the liberal international order, such as it is, survive without America’s “big stick” military to back it up? And what, if anything, would replace it? On the lighter side, Melanie and Bryan also discuss binge-watching foreign television series over the holidays, and Chris shines the light on our safer, healthier, and wealthier world.
- Eliot A. Cohen, “America’s Long Goodbye: The Real Crisis of the Trump Era,” Foreign Affairs, January/February 2019
- The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, "The Clash of Generations? Intergenerational Change and American Foreign Policy Views," June 2018
- Dorothy Manevich and Hanyu Chwe, “Globally, More People See U.S. Power and Influence as a Major Threat,” Pew Research Center, August 1, 2017
- Micah Zenko, “James Mattis Wasn’t Ready to Serve in a Democracy,” Foreign Policy, December 27, 2018
- Katie Bo Williams, “The Biggest Difference Between Inhofe and Smith? How Much Danger They Think the US Faces,” Defense One, December 18, 2018
- Greg Ip, “The World Is Getting Quietly, Relentlessly Better,” Wall Street Journal, January 2, 2019
- Faith Karimi, "Pentagon Chief of Staff Kevin Sweeney Resigns," CNN, January 7, 2019
- Mathilde Boussion, "As Congo Delays Election Results, People's Suspicions Rise," Washington Post, January 8, 2019
- Scott Shane and Alan Blinder, "Secret Experiment in Alabama Senate Race Imitated Russian Tactics," New York Times, December 19, 2018
- Paul Staniland, Tweets, December 21, 2018
- "The Ocean Clean Up"
Music and Production by Tre Hester
|Jan 10, 2019
In our last episode before the holidays, we take a look at the US-Saudi relationship. With President Trump standing by Mohammad bin Salman even as the CIA blames him for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, we discuss what weight human rights should have in foreign policy, whether Congress is reasserting its powers in national security matters, and what the United States should do with respect to Yemen. Bryan and Chris lament Navy's loss in the Army-Navy game and Bryan shares a personal interaction between his mother and the late President George H.W. Bush. Finally, in their recap of the Reagan National Defense Forum, we find out what Melanie keeps in her enormous purse, and where Bryan ranks in her choice of dinner mates.
- Mike Pompeo, “The US-Saudi Partnership is Vital,” Wall Street Journal, November 27, 2018
- Michael Singh, “The United States, Saudi Arabia, and the Middle East in the Post-Khashoggi Era,” War on the Rocks, December 10, 2018,
- Jonathan Berstein, "Judging John Kelly,” Bloomberg Opinion, December 11, 2018
- Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute,
- Laura Seligman and Elias Groll, “Khashoggi Report Hangs over Talks at Reagan Defense Forum, Mattis Accuses Putin of Election Meddling,” Foreign Policy, December 3, 2018
- Karen Elliott House, “Rethinking Saudi Arabia,” Wall Street Journal, November 30, 2018
- Emma Ashford and John Glaser, letter, “Saudi Move in Yemen: An Opening for Iran,” Wall Street Journal, November 23, 2018
- Wounded Warrior Project, Annual Warrior Survey
- Aaron Blake, “President Trump’s Full Washington Post Interview Transcript, Annotated,” Washington Post, November 27, 2018
- Jason Schwartz, “Weekly Standard Faces Uncertain Future after Holding its Ground against Trump,” Politico, December 4, 2018
- Edward Wong and Michele Forsythe, “China’s Tactic to Catch a Fugitive Official: Hold His Two American Children,” New York Times, November 25, 2018,
- “Huawei Executive Meng Wanzhou Released on Bail in Canada,” BBC, December 12, 2018
- Katie Bo William, “The Senate is Poised to Pass the Yemen Resolution. Now What?”, Defense One, December 6, 2018
- Emma Ashford, “A Guide to Saudi Arabia’s Influence in Washington,” The New Republic, December 6, 2018
- Nahal Toosi and Maryanne Levine, “Congress Looks to Usurp Trump’s Foreign Policy Powers,” Politico, December 5, 2018,
- Jesse Convertino, “Dog’s Unbridled Joy for Soldier’s Homecoming Goes Viral, Brings Smiles,” ABC News, November 29, 2018
- “Dog Waits for Weeks at Owner’s Home Destroyed by Fire,” CBS News Los Angeles
|Dec 13, 2018
The Establishment Strikes Back
Hop aboard! In this episode, the crew dissects the recently released report of the National Defense Strategy Commission. Melanie, Chris, and Bryan weigh in on the report’s strengths and weaknesses. Also, Chris and Melanie reveal themselves to be Scrooges by expressing disdain for Hallmark Christmas dramas.
- Eric Edelman and Gary Roughead, Providing for the Common Defense: The Assessment and Recommendations of the National Defense Strategy Commission (United States Institute of Peace, 2018).
- CNBC, “Deadly California Wildfire Now 100% Contained After Scorching 154,000 Acres,” Nov. 25, 2018
- Joseph Archer, "Beijing to Assign ‘Personal Trustworthiness Points’ For All Citizens by 2021," Telegraph, Nov. 20, 2018
- Greg Jaffe, “John Collins, Army Colonel Who Launched Influential Online Warlord Loop, Dies at 97,” Washington Post, Nov. 23, 2018
- “Pentagon Fails Audit and Nobody in Washington is Surprised,” Taxpayers for Common Sense, Nov. 16, 2018
- Lara Seligman, “How the Generals are Routing the Policy Wonks at the Pentagon,” Foreign Policy, Nov. 15, 2018
- “Anti Vaccine Community Behind North Carolina Chickenpox Outbreak,” BBC, Nov. 19, 2018
- Morgan Gstalter, “Disney Screenwriter Says Term ‘Anti-Vax’ is Equivalent to ‘N-Word,’” The Hill, Nov. 24, 2018
- Dennis Romboy, “Trump Backs Criminal Justice Reform Legislation that Sen. Mike Lee Helped Write,” Desert News, Nov.15, 2018
- Jack Crowe, “Mike Lee Accuses Tom Cotton of Spreading 'Fake News' on Criminal Justice Reform Bill,” National Review, Nov. 19, 2018
Music and Production by Tre Hester
|Nov 29, 2018
Does the Pentagon Deserve Our Trust?
This episode kicks off with a discussion of the national security implications of the mid-term elections. With the Democratic Party retaking control of the House of Representatives, we expect to see fights over Pentagon spending, and more oversight of the Trump administration across-the-board. The show then turns to the curious story of a 1,300-page Army study of the Iraq War that has gone unpublished for two whole years. The case raises broader questions about the entire defense establishment’s capacity for self-reflection and analysis. Recent moves to shield the Pentagon from public scrutiny only add to these concerns. We focus our grievances on President Donald Trump in Europe, the New York Times re: North Korea, and Woodrow Wilson (for lots of things), and we mark the 243rd anniversary of the founding of the U.S. Marine Corps – or, as Bryan calls it, the Navy’s land force (Please direct your hate tweets to @ConsWahoo).
- Michael R. Gordon, "The Army Stymied Its Own Study of the Iraq War," Wall Street Journal, Oct. 22, 2018
- Danny Sjursen, "Will Iraq Become Another 'Lesson Lost' Like Vietnam?" American Conservative, Nov. 6, 2018
- Todd South, "Army's Detailed Iraq War Study Remains Unpublished Years After Completion," Army Times, Oct. 25, 2018
- Adam Smith, "The Pentagon's Getting More Secretive – and It's Hurting National Security," Defense One, Oct. 28, 2018
- Fred Kaplan, "Could House Democrats Cancel the Pentagon's Blank Check?" Slate, Nov. 07, 2018
- Loren DeJonge Schulman and Alice Friend, "The Pentagon's Transparency Problem," Foreign Affairs, May 02, 2018
- Eric Gomez, "The Revenge of Expectation: Trump's Rhetoric and Kim's Missile Bases," Cato Institute, Nov. 12, 2018
- Paul Farhi, "What a Stupid Question: Trump Demeans Three Black Female Reporters in Three Day," Washington Post, Nov. 09, 2018
- Ted Galen Carpenter and Malou Innocent, The Ties That Blind: How the U.S.-Saudi Alliance Damages Liberty and Security, (Cato Institute, 2018)
- Shawn Snow, "To Corps, Country, and Each Other: Top Marine's Birthday Message May Leave You Hiding Tears," Marine Corps Times, Nov. 01, 2018
- Angelique Chrisafis and Ed Pilkington, "Trump Ramps Up Macron Spat by Mocking France in World Wars," Guardian, Nov. 13, 2018
- Adam Rubenstein, "Did Steve King Just Refer to Immigrants as 'Dirt' ?" Weekly Standard, Nov. 06, 2018
- Dylan Matthew, "Woodrow Wilson Was Extremely Racist – Even by the Standards of His Time," Vox, Nov. 20, 2015
Music and Production by Tre Hester
|Nov 15, 2018
Under the dark cloud of the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, this week’s Net Assessment podcast focuses on President Donald Trump’s that he intends to withdraw the United States from the INF Treaty. Although it’s a bilateral agreement with Russia, China factors heavily into our discussion, as do problems the president might face with allies and Congress going forward, should the withdrawal occur. We offer a few comments on the lack of civility we are experiencing, defense budget cuts, and Jeff Bezos. Finally, Bryan and Melanie politely listen while Chris congratulates the Red Sox on their World Series victory.
- Featured Article: Michael Krepon, "Nothing about Trashing the INF Treaty Makes the US Safer," Defense One, October 21, 2018.
- Sonny Bunch, “Jeff Bezos: King of the Tech Lords, " Washington Free Beacon, October 23, 2018.
- Elbridge Colby, "The INF Treaty Hamstrings the US. Trump is Right to Leave It," Center for a New American Security, October 23, 2018.
- Scott Cuomo, "It's Time to Make a New Deal Solving the INF Treaty's Strategic Liabilities to Achieve US Security Goals in Asia," Texas National Security Review, October 2018.
- Karoun Demirjian, "GOP Lawmakers Criticize Trump's Decision to Withdraw from Nuclear Arms Treaty," Washington Post, October 21, 2018.
- Michael Kofman, "Under the Missile's Shadow: What Does the Passing of the INF Treaty Mean?" War on the Rocks, October 26, 2018.
- Aaron Mehta, "It's Official: DoD Told to Take Cut with FY20 Budget," Defense News, October 26, 2018.
- Eric Sayers, "The Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and the Future of The Indo-Pacific Military Balance," War on the Rocks, February 13, 2018.
- Kori Schake, "Trump's Defensible Decision to withdraw from a Nuclear Treaty," The Atlantic, October 23, 2018.
- Gary Shih, "China Rolls Back Decades-Old Tiger and Rhino Parts Ban, Worrying Conservationists," Washington Post, October 29, 2018.
- Ian Williams, "Leaving the INF Treaty Now is the Right Call," CSIS, October 24, 2018.
|Nov 01, 2018
This week’s Net Assessment podcast featured a deep-dive into the Vice President’s early October speech on the competition with China. Largely drowned out by the Kavanaugh SCOTUS controversy, Melanie, Chris, and Bryan give this important speech due consideration, to include administration views on Taiwan, China’s defense buildup, and its growing global influence. The crew also discussed foreign aid, the F-35, the deficit, the alleged assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, and the resignation of Nikki Haley. All of this while celebrating Melanie’s birthday.
Vice President’s Speech
- Remarks by Vice President Pence on the Administration's Policy Toward China
- Ethan Epstein, “How China Infiltrated US Classrooms,” Politico, January 16, 2018.
- Glenn Thrush, “Trump Embraces Foreign Aid to Counter China’s Global Influence,” New York Times, October 14, 2018.
- Jim DeBrosse, “Waiting for the Great Leap Forward,” Cincinnati Magazine, May 4, 2017.
- Alan Rappeport, “In New Slap at China, US Expands Power to Block Foreign Investments,” New York Times, October 10, 2018.
- Jane Perlez and Yufan Huang, “Behind China’s $1 Trillion Plan to Shake Up the Economic Order,” New York Times, May 13, 2017.
- Adva Saldinger, "A New US Development Finance Agency Takes Flight," Devex, October 4, 2018
- Glenn Thrush, "Trump Embraces Foreign Aid to Counter China's Global Influence," The New York Times, October 14, 2018
Airing of Grievances
Music and Production by Tre Hester
|Oct 18, 2018
Introducing Net Assessment
What happens when a libertarian, a conservative hawk, and a constitutional powers specialist walk into a podcast studio? 'Net Assessment' happens. Welcome to the hottest new national security podcast hosted by Melanie Marlowe, Christopher Preble, and Bryan McGrath. This is a show about competing visions of America's role in the world. In each episode, they will be discussing a featured article, airing their grievances, and giving attaboys. In the first episode of this bi-weekly series, our hosts introduce themselves and their hopes for this podcast. They tackle this episode's featured article, Adrian Lewis' "The Ivory Tower and Academic Ignorance of What the Armed Forces Actually Do
," published by Task & Purpose
. They also discuss the role of American seapower and, of course, Twitter feuds. Don't forget to subscribe to Net Assessment on your podcast app of choice.
- Adrian Lewis, “The Ivory Tower And Academic Ignorance Of What The Armed Forces Actually Do,” Task and Purpose, September 20, 2018.
- Ken Buck, “Congress, Take Your War Powers Back,” Wall Street Journal, September 24, 2018.
- Dion Nissenbaum, “Top U.S. Diplomat Backed Continuing Support for Saudi War in Yemen Over Objections of Staff,” Wall Street Journal, September 20, 2018.
- Nicholas Kristof, “Be Outraged by America’s Role in Yemen’s Misery,” New York Times, September 26, 2018.
- Claudia Grisales and Corey Dickstein, “Vice Adm. Faller: 'I Was Cleared of All Wrongdoing' in 'Fat Leonard' Case,” Stars and Stripes, September 25, 2018.
- Chico Harlan, “Vatican and China Reach ‘Provisional’ Deal on Appointment of Bishops,” Washington Post, September 22, 2018.
- Corey Dickstein, "House Lawmakers Confused over US Military’s Goals in Syria as Pentagon Maintains Focus on ISIS," Stars and Stripes, September 26, 2018.
- Joshua Keating, “Why John Bolton is So Obsessed with the International Criminal Court," Slate, September 10, 2018.
Music and Production by Tre Hester.
|Oct 04, 2018
Net Assessment: The Trailer
War on the Rocks is excited to introduce an exciting new biweekly podcast: "Net Assessment." This new series features three assertive and experienced national security hands, debating important issues related to strategy, defense, and foreign affairs. Join Melanie Marlowe, Bryan McGrath, and Christopher Preble for "Net Assessment." This trailer gives you a taste of what's to come.
|Oct 01, 2018