The Burn Bag Podcast – Dissecting National Security and Foreign Policy

The Burn Bag Podcast – Dissecting National Security and Foreign Policy

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.

Episodes

August 15, 2022 41 min

In this episode, Ryan is joined by Kel McClanahan, Executive Director of National Security Counselors and Adjunct Professor at GW Law. Kel, who is national security law expert, helps breakdown the FBI's Mar-a-Lago search and the types of documents and records they were seeking to recover. He also outlines the various statutes the Mr. Trump may have violated. Kel highlights he important distinction between classified documents a...

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In this episode, Ryan is joined by Paul Massaro, Senior Policy Advisor for the U.S. Helsinki Commission, to discuss kleptocracy, anti-corruption efforts, and Russia's War against Ukraine. They define corruption, why it impacts everyone, and how the West has been supporting corrupt autocrats for decades. Paul also outlines key legislation to fight corruption and how the U.S. and other countries can put forward stronger laws. The...

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In this episode, A'ndre and Ryan are joined by Javed Ali to discuss the recent U.S. strike that killed AQ leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.  Javed provides a background on Zawahiri and how he came to lead al Qaeda. The conversation then turns to the operation itself, noting the significance of Zawahiri being in Kabul, Afghanistan. Javed assesses the significance this strike may have on the terrorist organization and US-Taliban relation...

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On July 21st, Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as Sri Lanka's new president after the crisis-laden country's parliament elected him to finish up ousted Gotabaya Rajapaksa's term. A'ndre and Ryan look back at The Burn Bag's August 2021 interview with President Wickremesinghe, when he was the lone MP representing his political party, a year after his prior tenure as Prime Minister had ended. We profile the contro...

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In this episode, A'ndre and Ryan talk with Dr.  Sanam Vakil about Iran's history,  politics, and regional security. Dr. Vakil, a Chatham House scholar, begins with an overview of Iran pre-Revolution and how the transition to an Islamic Republic has shaped the country since 1979. She also discusses the domestic politics and institutional structure of the country, noting critical centers of power,  the ideological landscape, ...

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We're back! In this week's episode, A'ndre and Ryan go around the world to catch-up on recent developments.  They start with the political chaos in Sri Lanka and then move to the UK where the Conservative Party is holding elections for Boris Johnson's successor. Ryan and A'ndre also discuss last week's shocking assassination of former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, noting his legacy both in Japan and throughout the...

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In this episode, A'ndre and Ryan are joined by former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe to discuss cyber vulnerabilities and solutions. As a cyber expert, Andrew helps us understand why state and non-state actors target the private sector and what the threat landscape looks like today. Andrew also discusses what businesses and individuals can do to better prepare for and defend against malign cyber action. In woking with compan...

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This week, A'ndre and Ryan talk to Israeli journalist Neri Zilber about why Israel is now facing its fifth general election in less than four years, as the coalition government led by unusual allies Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid collapsed amidst Benjamin Netanyahu's maneuvering to reclaim his old job as long-time prime minister. Neri takes us through the current underpinnings of Israel's political landscape, explaining...

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In this episode, A'ndre and Ryan talk to geopolitical strategist Peter Zeihan about the looming collapse of the world as we know it. With the United States backing away from its post-WWII role, Peter helps break down why the globalized world is on the precipice of rapid change. From demographic decline to the unviability of current economic models, Peter argues that supply chains will shorten, manufacturing hubs will shift, and...

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In this episode, A'ndre speaks to Professor Yoshiko Herrera about the Russian state, its people, and autocratic leader, Vladimir Putin. Professor Herrera begins by breaking down how she understands Russia  and why it is not a democracy and how the turbulence of the 1990s helped cement Putin's power. She also addresses whether or not the Russian people prefer "strongman" leaders and how glimmers of democracy exist, p...

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In this episode, Holden Triplett returns to talk to A'ndre and Ryan about foreign agents and counterintelligence. In the wake of the FBI and DoJ investigation into Brookings Institution President GEN (ret.) John Allen's alleged illegal lobbying for Qatar, Holden, who served in the FBI for over a decade, helps us break down the facts. GEN Allen's actions likely implicate the   Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) and, ...

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In this episode, A'ndre and Ryan speak with John Brennan, the 5th Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, about the national security landscape. The conversation begins with Director Brennan's story of joining the CIA in 1980, his expertise in counterterrorism, and what the CT threat matrix looks like today. They also discuss how the US pullback from the Middle East impacts operations in the region, as well as the Agen...

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In this episode, A'ndre and Ryan are joined by Javed Ali, a former FBI and DHS senior official to discuss the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas last week. The conversation begins with an overview of what occurred and the lapse in response. Javed then discusses how the U.S. government has worked with state and local officials since Columbine to improve training, resources, and coordination for such mass casualty events. They conclu...

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In this episode, A'ndre and Ryan talk to Khalid Payenda, the former Finance Minister of Afghanistan. Mr. Payenda, who served as Minister from January-August 2021, discusses his life, work in the Finance Ministry, and state of Afghanistan. Having fled to Pakistan as a child to flee civil war, Mr. Payenda recounts his experiences and his dedication to serving his country. The conversation then moves to his experiences with and pe...

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In this episode, Ryan talks with Adam Krzywosądzki, the Deputy Chief of Mission of the  Embassy of Poland to the United States. They discuss the Polish perspective on Russia's war against Ukraine and why Poland has been such a steadfast supporter of Ukrainian sovereignty. Adam delves into the ways in which Poland and other NATO and EU countries are pushing back against Russian aggression, but also notes what else can be done. T...

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This week, A'ndre speaks with noted Pakistani human rights activist Gulalai Ismail on Pakistan's security forces and military power, her work on women's empowerment, and her exile from Pakistan. Gulalai, who managed to escape to the United States in 2019 after being placed on a "kill list", discusses her story, from founding Aware Girls at the age of 16 (an organization that trained thousands of young women incl...

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To celebrate the 2022 White House Correspondents' Dinner, we're re-releasing our conversation with Zeke Miller, AP reporter and former White House Correspondents' Association President. At this year's dinner, Zeke and his colleague Mike Balsamo won the Award for Excellence in Presidential News Coverage Under Deadline Pressure - Print for their story on the CDC mask order. 

Here is the original description for this ep...

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In this week's episode, A'ndre and Ryan talk about Elon Musk taking Twitter private and the potential implications at home and abroad. They also consider Musk's ties to China and whether concerns raised by some regarding possible Chinese Communist Party influence is valid. The conversation then moves to the controversy surrounding the new Disinformation Governance Board within DHS,  which is being compared to 1984's...

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This week, A'ndre and Ryan speak with renowned investigative journalist Josy Joseph, founder of Confluence Media, on the state of India's democracy in a conversation covering corruption and India's security apparatus. The first leg of the interview draws on Josy's book Feast of Vultures, as he discusses 'middle-men' -- those who manipulate government decision-making and manage access to decision-makers -- at...

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In this week's episode, A'ndre and Ryan began with an update on the Russo-Ukrainian War,  the U.S. military assistance package and how India is playing both sides.  They also discuss the French Presidential election and crisis in Sri Lanka. The conversation concludes with a brief conversation about the latest spike in Israeli-Palestinian tensions. 

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