The Burn Bag Podcast

By A'ndre Gonawela and Ryan Rosenthal (featuring Javed Ali)

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Description

The *hottest* national security and foreign policy podcast featuring conversations with leading policy practitioners, thinkers, and leaders. In each episode, we open up a 'burn bag' to breakdown some of the most pressing security challenges of today's world with the people who have worked and lived them.

Episode Date
Big Tech, Populism, and Fake News: Social Media and Politics with Dr. Joyojeet Pal
2826

In this special episode of The Burn Bag, Dr. Joyojeet Pal speaks to us about the intersection of social media and politics, especially in light of the spread of #FakeNews and the recent banning of President Donald Trump from Twitter. An Associate Professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Information, Dr. Pal starts out by giving us a primer on how politicians like Barack Obama first used social media, before digging deep into populist messaging on Twitter and other platforms by leaders like Donald Trump and Narendra Modi. Our conversation further dives into how #FakeNews and other extreme speech spreads so quickly, and why it’s so effective at infiltrating the minds of so many, giving us some key examples of how this has worked.  We then evaluate whether social media companies can actually fight the spread of misinformation, what the implications of the Trump social media ban are, and how Big Tech and Governments are not seeing eye to eye, and perhaps even may not see eye to eye in the future, given the interests of the tech companies.

Jan 22, 2021
Defining 'Resilience': A Conversation with Dr. Julia Nesheiwat, former Homeland Security Advisor
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In this special episode of The Burn Bag Podcast, we speak with Dr. Julia Nesheiwat, former Homeland Security Advisor (official title: Deputy Assistant to the President for Homeland Security & Resilience) to President Donald J. Trump. Julia discusses the Administration's response to COVID-19 with respects to the domain of homeland security, in addition to discussing her prior experience in working on resilience, especially with regards to climate change. Having served as the Chief Resilience Office of Florida, Julia had a unique insight on responses to the unique challenges posed by climate change. We draw on Julia's expertise in her current position in getting her take on what the top threats to the United States are, and then we touch a bit on one of Julia's past lives, when she was a key official involved in hostage negotiation. Lastly, Julia gives us her take on whether the Trump Administration achieved the goals it outlined for itself in the 2017 National Security Strategy.

Jan 21, 2021
Inside the Far Right: Dissecting the Assault on the Capitol and Domestic Terror Threats with NYT Magazine Contributor Janet Reitman
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The January 6th assault on the U.S. Capitol Building by a mob of far right extremists looking to overturn the results of the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election was shocking to many, but not necessarily unexpected to some. A’ndre and Ryan speak to Janet Reitman, New York Times Magazine contributor, who is engaged in research on extremism, the far right, and domestic terrorism, to better understand why the events of the 6th happened, and why it’s *not* merely a one-off blip or a culmination of trends, but rather a new marker in the intensity of this threat. Janet provides her perspectives on what the ‘Far Right’ is, why it’s a threat (relative to the Far Left), and the complications in dealing with these domestic threats. Janet also discusses the lack of effort by the U.S. Government to adequately identify the radicalization of far right actors, but warns against “another War on Terror,” instead calling for a national conversation on this complicated topic to understand what is going on, and how we can halt radicalization.

Link to Janet’s 2018 article is here.

Jan 18, 2021
What in the World? (01/15/21)
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In this week's episode, A'ndre and Ryan discuss the siege of the Capitol, more Biden Administration nominations, and some political crises in Europe. They also breakdown their recent op-ed in The Hill  which advocates for a rethinking of U.S. cyber strategy. 

Jan 15, 2021
From the Director's Chair: Javed Ali in Conversation with LTG (Ret.) James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence
2115

In the latest edition of this mini-series, From the Director's Chair, Javed Ali (former NSC Senior Director of Counterterrorism) speaks with his old boss and mentor LTG James Clapper, who served as the Director of National Intelligence between 2010 and 2017, in addition to prior stints as Director of both the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency. LTG Clapper discusses his long career in the military and in the intelligence community, providing his perspectives on the big changes in the intelligence community from Vietnam through the Gulf War through today, using his career as the lens with which to view these from. LTG Clapper also discusses the creation of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the subsequent integration of the IC, and how the prior arrangement that required the Director of Central Intelligence to both oversee the CIA and other agencies was fundamentally difficult.

Jan 14, 2021
Top Risks 2021 with Ian Bremmer, Eurasia Group President and Founder
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In this very special episode of The Burn Bag Podcast, A'ndre and Ryan speak with Ian Bremmer, President and Founder of the Eurasia Group, who is widely seen as bringing the trade of political risk to prominence as an academic discipline and to practical usage in financial markets, in addition to introducing a range of other concepts that are widely applied in geopolitical conversations today. Bremmer speaks with The Burn Bag about the Eurasia Group's newest annual forecast of the top political risks that may affect the world in 2021. In this conversation, Ian digs into what he sees as Risk #1: #46, U.S. President Joe Biden, and how the trends leading to the recent assault on the U.S. Capitol Building may complicate Biden's Presidency and the broader U.S. political situation. Ian also discusses the other major risks, including COVID, climate change, the U.S.-China relationship, technology, and the future of the European Union. You can find the link to the full "Top Risks 2021" report here.

Additionally, subscribe to our brand new newsletter, here.

Jan 11, 2021
What in the World: Assault on the Capitol (01/07/21)
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In this week's episode,  A'ndre, Ryan, and Javed discuss the siege of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, January 6th. They breakdown the root causes, explanations for how such an event could have occurred, and what it means for the United States domestically and on the world stage. Finally, they explore the implications of resignations and whether action may be taken to remove President Trump from office. 

Jan 08, 2021
From the Director's Chair: Javed Ali in Conversation with Chris Costa, former NSC Senior Director
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In the first episode of this new mini-series, From the Director’s Chair, our Executive Producer Javed Ali, who served as the former Senior Director of Counterterrorism on the NSC, interviews his former colleague Chris Costa, who currently serves as the Executive Director of the International Spy Museum. Costa served 34 years in government, with 25 of those years being for the U.S. Army, retiring as a colonel, and then holding a series of civil service positions in the government’s special operations community, wrapping it up with a year-long stint as Special Assistant to the President for Combating Terrorism, beginning in early 2017. Javed discusses this career at length with Chris — a career that Javed got to experience first hand, as the two men were colleagues and worked together on these issues of counterterrorism. We also get Chris’ insights on the state of U.S. counterterrorism policy, and what we might expect in the Biden Administration.

Jan 07, 2021
Diplomacy, Transitions, and the New Year: A Conversation with Ambassador Tom Shannon, former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
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In The Burn Bag's first episode of 2021, A'ndre and Ryan chat with Ambassador Thomas Shannon, the former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (the third highest ranking position at the State Department), who held the position of Career Ambassador and was the highest ranking member of the U.S. Foreign Service, and also served briefly as Acting Secretary of State in-between the tenures of John Kerry and Rex Tillerson. Ambassador Shannon tells us about that Obama-Trump White House transition, the flight of senior State Department officials at the time, and how he 'formally dissented' with a Trump Administration immigration policy at the tail-end of his service at State. Ambassador Shannon goes on to provide us with his take on what the incoming Biden Administration's foreign policy may likely look like, and how President-Elect Biden would need to build a bipartisan foreign policy while rebuilding confidence and engagement with U.S. allies. We then dig into some of the biggest geopolitical challenges that the Biden Administration will face: COVID-19, climate change, state threats, migration, the Indian Ocean, the Arctic -- and even space. The Ambassador also provides with his some perspectives on his own career, and his words of wisdom on the importance of these challenges to the vitality of the 'American Project'.

Jan 04, 2021
Sources and Methods: Recruiting Spies and Staying Left of Boom with Former CIA Operations Officer Daniel Hoffman
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In the latest installment of The Burn Bag Podcast, A'ndre and Ryan sit down with former CIA Senior Clandestine Services Officer Daniel Hoffman for a wide-ranging discussion drawing upon his experience and expertise as an operations officer and a CIA Chief of Station. Hoffman digs into what it means to hire spies and covers why human intelligence is still vitally important  and reliable to the United States, and how that information is processed. Hoffman, widely considered to be a leading Russia expert, gives us his take on Putin's Russia, discussing the recent revelations on the poisoning of a leading Russian opposition leader and how Putin aims to undermine the United States. Hoffman also talks about the importance of counterintelligence, and reacts to the recent news of a Chinese spy infiltrating certain political circles in the United States, that included the targeting of U.S. Congressman Eric Swalwell, a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

Dec 28, 2020
What in the World? (12/25/20)
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In this week's episode, A’ndre and Ryan dig into Russia's SolarWinds hacking with Javed Ali. They discuss what happened, the implications, and potential responses by the United States. The conversation concludes with Javed's take on the "dual-hatted" leadership of CYBERCOM and the NSA and why it may be beneficial to split the two.

Today's conversation is based on Javed's recent op-ed in Defense One and quotes from Mother Jones, WaPo, and ABC news.


Dec 25, 2020
"Intelligence is Weird": Strategic Innovation in the Community with Former PDDNI Sue Gordon
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In this episode of The Burn Bag Podcast, A'ndre and Ryan interview former Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence Sue Gordon, about her long and distinguished career in the CIA and as a leader in the Intelligence Community, and her perspectives on a range of issues. As PDDNI, Gordon was essentially the second-highest official leading the Intelligence Community,  and she gives us her outlook on the IC's relationship with the President of the United States -- drawing directly from her own experiences in briefing five of our last six presidents. Gordon also discusses her views on innovation in the IC, detailing her role in the establishment of In-Q-Tel and the development of technology in the CIA. We also spoke to Sue about her departure from public service last year, whether she'd return to public service in the future, and her thoughts on diversity in the IC. Lastly, Gordon talks a bit about counterintelligence, and the threats posed in that realm by China and Russia, especially given recent circumstances.

Dec 21, 2020
What in the World? (12/18/20)
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In this week's episode, A'ndre and Ryan talk about Russia's hacking of the U.S. government and the kidnapping of Nigerian schoolboys by Boko Haram. They also provide an update on the poisoning of Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny and discuss U.S. recognition of Morocco's sovereignty over Western Sahara. 

Dec 18, 2020
All Hail the King? Thai Protests and Police Action with Professor Allen Hicken
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In this episode, we spoke with Professor Allen Hicken, professor of Political Science at the University of Michigan, about the protests in Thailand. Professor Hicken discusses the deep polarization of Thailand due, in part, to the ongoing protests of the past decade, the demands for reform of the Thai monarchy, and the dissolution of the Future Forward Party (FFP). Lastly, we speak about the future of Thailand, the influence of technology on the movement, and Professor Hicken’s prediction on how the Thai government and monarchy will respond to the youth’s demands.

Dec 14, 2020
What in the World? (12/11/20)
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In this week's episode, A'ndre and Ryan discuss President-elect Biden's announcement of General (Ret.) Lloyd Austin as SecDef nominee, US arms sales to the UAE, and the mass protests in India. They also talk to Javed Ali about Iran's potential responses to the killing of its lead nuclear scientist and what this may mean for the US and its allies.

Our conversation with Javed is based on his recent op-ed in The Hill.

Dec 11, 2020
Crisis in Ethiopia: The Conflict in Tigray with Professor Terrence Lyons
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In this special episode, we spoke with Terrence Lyons, Associate Professor of Conflict Resolution at George Mason University, about the ongoing conflict in Ethiopia. Professor Lyons discusses how the remnants of the Ethiopian Civil War led to political reforms initiated in 2018 by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, creating an opening for peace, but also an opportunity for divisive ethnic politics to re-emerge. Professor Lyons also discusses the humanitarian crisis and the international community's response to Addis Ababa's crackdown. We close the conversation by looking to the future of Ethiopia and how individuals can keep up with the unfolding conflict.

For more information on the conflict, check out this article: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/15/world/africa/ethiopia-abiy-tigray.html 





Dec 08, 2020
Oslo to Abraham: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and Middle East Geopolitics with Brookings Senior Fellow Bruce Riedel
2929

We talk with Bruce Riedel, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, about the Israel- Palestine conflict and broader geopolitics within the Middle East. Riedel draws on his experience as part of President Clinton's peace process team, and specifically talks about what he saw at the 2000 Camp David Summit, and why he did not have confidence in the summit's proceedings, which ultimately failed. Riedel also provides his outlook on the nature of the conflict overall, in addition to his take on the recent normalization agreements between Israel and the UAE, Sudan, and whether an Israel-Saudi Arabia normalization is on the horizon. Lastly, we get some insights on what the Biden Administration portends for these conflicts and situations.

Dec 07, 2020
What in the World? (12/04/20)
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In this week's episode,  A'ndre and Ryan discuss potential Biden Administration nominees, tensions between China and Australia, and the death of Iran's top nuclear scientist. They also cover Israel's political turmoil and provide an update on the situation in Ethiopia. 

Dec 04, 2020
The War on the Uyghurs: China's Cultural Genocide with Professor Sean Roberts
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In this episode, we talk with Professor Sean Roberts about the Uyghur people and their relations with China. Professor Roberts discusses the history of the Uyghurs, how China came to view them as a threat, and what the international community can do to stop this cultural genocide. Our conversation is based on Professor Roberts' new book, The War on the Uyghurs: China's Internal Campaign against a Muslim Minority.

Nov 30, 2020
What in the World? (11/27/20)
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In this week's episode, A'ndre and Ryan discuss the current nominees for the Biden Cabinet, provide an update on what’s occurring in Ethiopia, and assess the recent developments between Israel and the Gulf States, the recent death of a CIA employee in Somalia, and offer their predictions on the possibility of an Edward Snowden pardon. The episode caps off with a very special interview with Dave Levy, Federal VP of Amazon Web Services.

Nov 27, 2020
Thinker, Teacher, Soldier, Spy: A Conversation with GEN (Ret.) David Petraeus
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In this very special episode of The Burn Bag, hosts A’ndre Gonawela and Ryan Rosenthal talk to former CIA Director GEN (Ret.) David Petraeus about a range of topics. General Petraeus gives us his take on current and future U.S. defense policy in the Middle East, and provides an insight into his own time as CENTCOM Commander in the 2000s dealing with 'nation-building' in Iraq and Afghanistan. We also talk to General Petraeus about his strategy in dealing with counterinsurgency in Iraq -- drawing on the General's own acclaimed 'Field Manual'. General Petraeus also addresses the challenges posed by regional powers and great powers, such as Iran, Russia, and even China on U.S. interests in the Middle East, and how other countries such as Pakistan have interfered in past U.S. efforts to ensure domestic stability in Afghanistan. General Petraeus does indeed also touch on the recent Defense Department shuffle by President Trump, and provides his thoughts on the current transition period and the national security implications of the ongoing non-cooperation by the Trump Administration. 



Nov 23, 2020
What in the World? (11/20/20)
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In this week's episode, A'ndre and Ryan discuss the Pentagon's planned withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, the humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia, and the political upheaval in Peru. We also cover Biden transition updates, the EU Budget veto, and Secretary Pompeo's Israel trip.

Nov 20, 2020
The State of the Intelligence Community: A Conversation with former NGA Director Robert Cardillo
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In this special episode of The Burn Bag, hosts A’ndre Gonawela and Ryan Rosenthal talk to Robert Cardillo, former Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) on a variety of important topics pertaining to the state of the intelligence community. We discuss the relationship between the intelligence community and policymakers, NGA monitoring our adversaries, the future of intelligence in the Biden administration, and the importance of intelligence in a world that is increasingly becoming more connected. Robert provides us with key insights on how the NGA works together with the other intelligence agencies and the strides the intelligence community made in integrating the community, highlighting their cooperation during the Ghouta Chemical Attack in the Summer of 2013. We cap off the interview with Director Cardillo’s thoughts on returning to government and the ‘remarkable’ talent of the Biden team.

Nov 19, 2020
Persistent Excellence: A Conversation with CENTCOM Commander Gen. Frank McKenzie
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In this special installment of The Burn Bag, our executive producer Javed Ali (former NSC Senior Director of Counterterrorism) had the opportunity to have a conversation with sitting CENTCOM Commander General Frank McKenzie. GEN McKenzie and Javed talk about the biggest issues and challenges facing the US Central Command in its Area of Responsibility, which stretches from the Middle East to parts of Central and South Asia. The General candidly discusses Iran (and issues a warning for the Iranian Government), the current situation in Iraq, and his assessment of the challenges facing the ongoing negotiations for the Afghan Peace Process. The General also discusses Russia's presence in the region, and the ongoing fight against ISIS in Syria. 

Nov 16, 2020
What in the World? (11/13/20)
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In our inaugural "What in the World?" episode,  A'ndre and Ryan cover the week's top national security and foreign policy stories. They breakdown the shakeup at the Pentagon, the ceasefire between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and President-elect Biden's potential cabinet picks. 

Nov 13, 2020
Eye in the Sky: Dual-Use Drones with MODUS Founder LCDR (Ret.) Dan Hubert
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In this episode, A'ndre and Ryan talk to Dan Hubert, former LCDR in the US Navy and the founder of MODUS, about surveillance drones, drones in the private sector, his 'battlefield to the boardroom' story, and the broader defense industry in the private sector. Dan provides us with a keen insight on the history of surveillance drones in the US military, and how they have been employed -- drawing on his own personal experience as a Unit Officer-in-Charge of UAVs in Iraq. We talk about how drones have contributed to the collection of geospatial intelligence, and the nature of network-centric and information warfare. Dan then takes us into the defense industry in the private sector, where we discuss corporate espionage, the prevalence of geopolitics in commercial usage of drones, and how data privacy can portend to be a significant security risk to the average everyday citizen. If you're interested in hearing more about Dan's work with MODUS, you can visit their website here: https://www.modus-ai.com/about/ 

Nov 09, 2020
Hemispheric Pressure: Crises and Competition in Latin America with Fmr. NSC Senior Director Juan Cruz
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In this latest installment of The Burn Bag, hosts A'ndre Gonawela and Ryan Rosenthal have a lively discussion on US interests in Latin America with Juan Cruz, who served on the National Security Council between 2017 and 2019 as the Senior Director for Western Hemisphere affairs and as a Senior Assistant to the President. Juan has had a deep role in shaping the Trump Administration's approach to Latin America, and in this episode Juan discusses the political crisis in Venezuela, the ongoing terse relations between the United States and Cuba, and the current state of Colombia in the years following the peace agreement that was signed between the Government and FARC. Juan also provides some insights on broader US grand strategy for the region, in addition to where a potential Biden Administration or continued Trump Administration will take the United States policy-wise with regards to Latin America.

Nov 02, 2020
Defending the Homeland: Crises, Controversies, and Successes at the Department of Homeland Security with Former Senior Official Tom Warrick
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In this hard-hitting episode of The Burn Bag Podcast, we talk to Tom Warrick, the former DHS Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism Policy, on a variety of important and controversial topics that have pertained to the Department of Homeland Security since its founding in 2001. We dig deep into how successful DHS has been in the years since 9/11 in thwarting terrorist acts and whether the stringent safety measures that have been taken are actually necessary. Building on that, we ask Tom about allegations of 'racial profiling' and 'surveillance' of Muslims and other minorities in counterterrorism procedures, in addition to the 'intel mindset' of screening. We then also talk about the Trump Administration's border security policies, what real security threats actually exist at the US-Mexico border, and the controversies on issues such as child-separations, the 'Muslim Ban', and ICE. We cap off the interview with a brief conversation on election security, as we soon approach November 3rd and the presidential election. We hope you enjoy this wide-ranging and in-depth interview.

Oct 26, 2020
Views from the Hill: A Conversation with US Senator Maggie Hassan
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In this special episode, we chatted with Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) about the Trump Administration's response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Senator's legislative work on cyber-security, and the debate around federal funding for law enforcement. Senator Hassan,  a member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, also discusses her view on the recent actions by DHS and other federal agencies that sought to quell the civil unrest seen in Portland and other cities. We also dig deep into the Senator's work on addressing the opioid crisis, an issue that has rippled through her home state New Hampshire and the country overall. 

Oct 22, 2020
"Howdy, Modi": US-India Relations and the China Threat with Former Indian Ambassador to the US Arun Singh
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In this episode, we talk with former Indian Ambassador Arun Singh to dissect the current US-India relationship. We assess the relationship under the Trump Administration and the Modi Government, and what the relationship may look like if a Biden Administration is inaugurated in January. We also cover the deepening rift between India and China in the aftermath of the skirmishes at the border Sino-Indian border at Ladakh, how India may try to counter China's growing sphere of influence in South and Southeast Asia, and whether the rift means a closer US-India relationship. We also touch briefly on how Pakistan fits into the bilateral relationship, and whether any diplomatic complications may arise due to events in Kashmir.

Oct 19, 2020
Out of this World: US Space Policy with Brookings Senior Fellow Frank Rose
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In this episode, we talked with Frank Rose, Brookings Senior Fellow and co-director of the Security and Strategy team, about US space operations and the establishment of the Space Force. We dove into the thinking of space as a military domain, existing international frameworks regulating (or not regulating) the use of space and space weaponry, and how space will factor into great power competition between the United States, and Russia and China. We also dig into the commercial space race, and how public-private partnerships may be an avenue for future space operations as the US Government continues to advance its interests in space, parallel to the success of companies such as SpaceX. Before working at Brookings, Frank Rose previously served as Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance, and prior to that was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Space and Defense Policy.

Oct 12, 2020
War in the Caucasus: The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict with Former Ambassador to the OSCE Ian Kelly
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In this episode, we talked with former US Ambassador Ian Kelly about the history and current status of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Ambassador Kelly, who also served as US Co-Chair of the Minsk Group, discusses the significance of the contested region to Armenia and Azerbaijan, how regional players such as Turkey, Russia, and Iran are involved, and what international actors should do to bring about a ceasefire. 

Oct 05, 2020
The State of National Security: Priorities and Challenges for the 2020s with Former NSC Senior Director Javed Ali
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In this episode, we spoke with former NSC Senior Director Javed Ali about the security implications of COVID-19, domestic terror threats, and election security. We also discussed the politicization of intelligence and controversial actions by the Department of Homeland Security. 

Sep 28, 2020
Across the Pond: UK Foreign Policy in a Post-Brexit World with Former UK National Security Advisor Sir Mark Lyall Grant
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In this episode, we interviewed former UK National Security Advisor Sir Mark Lyall Grant about a range of topics seeking to understand Britain's position in the current geopolitical context, especially in the aftermath of Brexit. We dig deep into several issues affecting key regions, stretching from Europe into South and East Asia, including Britain's relationship with countries such as Russia and Pakistan, the Diego Garcia issue, and of course the special relationship between Britain and the United States, especially during the Trump Era. Moreover, we assess Sir Grant's take on the rise of China, having conversations on the recent unrest in Hong Kong, a growing Chinese presence in South Asia, and more. Lastly, we seek to understand the security implications of Brexit and the impact of COVID-19 on these issues.

Sep 21, 2020
Russian Roulette: Poisonings, Protests, and Policy with Fmr. US Ambassador to Russia John Beyrle
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In this episode, we talked with former U.S. Ambassador to Russia, John Beyrle, about Russia's domestic politics, foreign interventions, and relations with the United States. We touch on the recent poisoning of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny, developments in Belarus, Russian goals in the Middle East, and the implications of New START expiring and the broader arms control landscape. Additionally, Ambassador Beyrle shares a fascinating personal story about his father, that helped shape his tenure as U.S. Ambassador to Russia from 2008 to 2012. 

Sep 14, 2020
9/11: Tragedy, Heroism, and Nineteen Years of Reflection with Garrett Graff
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In this special episode, we reflect on the tragic events of 9/11 with journalist and author Garrett Graff. We framed the conversation around Garrett's bestselling book, The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11, which brings together transcripts, declassified documents, and first-hand perspectives to provide a minute-by-minute account of the September 11 attacks.

Sep 11, 2020
Defense Assessment: NATO and Nukes in the Trump Era with Dr. Michael O'Hanlon
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In this episode of The Burn Bag Podcast, we interviewed Dr. Michael O'Hanlon, Senior Fellow and Director of Research with the Foreign Policy team at the Brookings Institution, about NATO, defense spending, great power competition, and the nuclear playing field. Dr. O'Hanlon offers a 'grade' for the Trump Administration's foreign policy performance, the planned removal of US troops from Germany, and what shifts in foreign policy may or may not occur with a new Biden Administration or a second Trump Administration. Dr. O'Hanlon is the author of many books, including The Senkaku Paradox: Risking Great Power War Over Limited Stakes and Beyond NATO: A New Security Architecture for Eastern Europe.

Sep 07, 2020
The Spymaster: A Conversation with Former Acting CIA Director Michael Morell
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In this episode, we talk with former Acting CIA Director Michael Morell about his career in the agency, including being with President Bush on 9/11 and playing a leading role in the planning and execution of the bin Laden raid. We also discuss common myths about the agency and significant threats facing the United States. 

Aug 31, 2020
The Surveillance State: Data Privacy, 5G, and China with Fmr. House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers
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In this episode, we talked with former Congressman Mike Rogers about data privacy, TikTok, the race for 5G supremacy, and the need for American innovation. We also discuss the relationship between Congress and the IC, the PATRIOT Act, and Congressional authority for warfare. 

Aug 24, 2020
After bin Laden: Terror Threats at Home and Abroad with Peter Bergen
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In this episode we spoke with CNN national security analyst and New America VP Peter Bergen. Peter discusses the evolution of al-Qa'ida, his 1997 interview with Usama bin Laden, and the global jihadist threat today. He also provides insights about domestic terrorism in the United States. 

Aug 17, 2020
Blips and Bytes: A Conversation with former NSA Director Mike Rogers
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In this special release, we talked with former NSA Director Admiral (Ret.) Mike Rogers about the intelligence community, cyberwarfare, and his service in the US Navy. Admiral Rogers discusses the evolution of intelligence gathering, the impact of rapidly changing technology, implications of the Edward Snowden affair, and whether the US needs a Cyber Force.

Aug 13, 2020
Prosecuting Hate: Confronting Domestic Terrorism with former US Attorney Barbara McQuade
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In this episode we spoke with former US Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan and current University of Michigan Law School professor Barbara McQuade. Professor McQuade shares her insights on legal approaches to prosecuting and preventing domestic terrorism, as well as highlights from her legal career. 

Aug 10, 2020
War in the Shadows: The Changing Counterterrorism Landscape with LTG (Ret.) Michael Nagata
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In this episode, we talked with LTG (Ret.) Michael Nagata about counterterrorism, U.S. Special Operations, and national security decision-making. LTG Nagata covers his experience fighting ISIS, how military tactics have changed, and why he joined the Army.

Aug 03, 2020
PART II: A Delicate Peace in the World's Newest Country with fmr. Ambassador Susan D. Page
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In Part II, we talked with Ambassador Page about the South Sudanese Civil War, her experiences on the ground, and serving at the United Nations. 

To learn more about the Ambassador, follow her on Twitter @susandpage. 

Aug 03, 2020
PART I: A Delicate Peace in the World's Newest Country with fmr. Ambassador Susan D. Page
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In Part 1, we talked with former Ambassador Susan D. Page about U.S. foreign policy in Africa and the Sudanese Civil Wars. 

To learn more about the Ambassador, follow her on Twitter @susandpage.

Aug 03, 2020
Breaking the Taliban Bounty Story with Eric Schmitt
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In our inaugural episode, we spoke with NYT journalist Eric Schmitt about his groundbreaking Taliban bounty story. Eric provides a detailed account of how Russia orchestrated a bounty program with the Taliban to target U.S. troops in Afghanistan. He also provides great insight into national security journalism and how his career has evolved.

Check out Eric's reporting at The New York Times and follow him on Twitter @ericschmittNYT.

Jul 29, 2020
Election Security and Cyber-Warfare with Ellen Nakashima
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In this episode, we talked with Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter Ellen Nakashima about her coverage of cyber issues. Ellen discusses Russia's 2016 election interference, the upcoming 2020 election, and how the U.S. approaches cyber-warfare.

Check out Ellen's reporting at The Washington Post and make sure to follow her on Twitter @nakashimae.

Jul 29, 2020