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This is one of three War on the Rocks podcast series.

This is one of three War on the Rocks podcast series.
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This is one of three War on the Rocks podcast series.




No Muppet, No Muppet. You're the Muppet.

This week we do our best impersonation of the Georgetown set recording from 1789 and lamenting the world gone to hell. We break down Pompeo's trip to North Korea, Theresa May's Brexit woes, and the NATO summit which has already been overrun by chaos Muppets. With so much White House mayhem, we focus on Trump's upcoming meeting with Putin, and Radha gets on her soapbox about MAVNI and suitability screenings. Need a pop-culture escape? We suggest Crazy Rich Asians and Sharp Objects. Chaos...


Mutually Assured Dysfunction

Bombshell goes international! Loren warily crosses the border to visit Stefanie von Hlatky, Stephanie Carvin, and Elaine Bunn for a special Canadian episode at the Kingston Conference on International Security. The ladies give deterrence a playlist and it’s own film series, then dive deeper into what deterrence means to the public and How to Teach Your President About Deterrence. And since deterrence is above all a human interaction, we discuss that elephant in the room: what it means to...


Practical, Tactical Brilliance

In the most ambitious crossover event since that one time on TGIF, Bombshell joins Rational Security for a very special joint episode. Radha, Erin, Loren, Shane, and Susan take on our hellscape of a government’s evolving policy on family separation; Radha as a Real Life Economist schools us on the not-so-cleansing fire of the latest trade wars, and, of course we go full blast on Space Force. You knew it was coming. It’s real. And it’s spectacular. Music by Future Teens Produced by Tre...


The Goat Rodeos

Radha, Loren, and Erin invite Alex Bell to preview the Singapore Trump-Kim summit, explaining that while there’s more than staring into one another’s eyes for arms control, chemistry is a good start. When we recorded, the G7 had wrapped but not yet crashed and burned into a playground taunt with Canada, so Radha gives a good lesson on tariffs instead of assessing border skirmishes along the Great Lakes. If you’ve been distracted you may have not noticed the absurd amount of Chinese...


The Hangover

This week we ask Emma Ashford to reveal the mysteries of Trump's Middle East policy. Then Loren, Radha, and Erin dive into the recent trade dramas before pondering whether the summit with North Korea is best understood as a Rom-Com or Telenovela. Colombian elections, change of command in Afghanistan, and the toxic culture within ICE round out the conversation before we escape to the wonders of pop-culture. Unforced Error: The Risks of Confrontation with IranCATO InstituteUnbalanced...


The Only Way Out Is through

This week the Bombshell crew does something different. After a crazy few days in the national security world, we break down the good, the bad, and the pop-culture remedies. From Spain to Iran, to Iraq and Lebanon, to Niger and back home to the Haspel hearings and aviation mishaps we ask ourselves: what are we doing here? Also, Arnie Hammer discovered Iran-Contra and we rank order our favorite Chrises. Revolutions Podcast FundraiserSpain's ETA Basque terrorists disbandEconomistHere's...


All He Had to Do Was Turn Left

This week on Bombshell, Rebecca Lissner of Penn's Perry World House guest hosts with Radha and Loren to discuss the handshake heard round the world at the DMZ. The Iran Deal is on the rocks yet again, despite the entreaties of a very affectionate President Macron of France and #squadgoals eye rolls of Chancellor Merkel. The White House has some personnel wins (Pompeo's confirmation), losses (Dr. Ronny Jackson's trash fire of a VA nomination) and draws (Gina Haspel's confirmation delay)....


Only Mostly Dead

This week on Bombshell, Radha, Erin, and Loren play natsec madlibs with Amanda Sloat, discussing every possible complexity of US-Syria policy during John Bolton's first week. The neverending potential for a trade war, protests in the run up to the US embassy in Israel's moving day, and Russian expulsions get a lightning round in Keeping Up Foreign Relations. And for White House mayhem they stick to the other side of the river, checking in on the disturbing trend of aviation mishaps, the...


Long Legs and Brains

Erin, Radha, and Loren make it back to the Show (where we never handle our own luggage), welcoming back all-star guest Kori Schake to talk NSC turnover, civil-military relations, and everything else that's radical in a tubular kind of way. We break down Kim Jong-Un's super-secret trip to Beijing and note that when the Saudi Crown Prince showed up for his two week tour of America, not all welcomes were warm. Meanwhile, VA Secretary Shulkin is out (sometimes you win), the president's...


Not Bringing Rexy Back

This week, the ladies of Bombshell welcome Lindsey Ford, from the ‎Asia Society Policy Institute, to chat about this spring's Appointment in Helsinki: the US-North Korea presidential summit. Then, they set an Iran Deal death watch and puzzle through what happens when Red Sparrow meets real life in the nerve-agent poisoning of a Russian double agent in the UK. White House mayhem continues to say "hold my beer" with the firing of Rex Tillerson and what it means for Trump administration...


Been Caught Steelin'

This week, the ladies of Bombshell welcome Sarah Margon, Washington Director of Human Rights Watch, to explore a side of the Syria conflict we discuss too little on this show: the human dimension. The ladies wade through three different political maelstroms in Italian elections, President Xi’s quest for immortality, and President Putin’s land of misfit nukes. Hairstyles, process, and wrongheaded beliefs about trade deficits explain the White House, and Radha plugs spoken word cookbooks...


No Joy in Munchen

This week, the Bombshell ladies welcome Lauren Fish of the Center for a New American Security to talk all things FY19 defense budget, including why this big funding increase may not be all that it seems. While finding future employment for Navy SEALs on the skeleton track, we talk North Korea’s charm offensive, how we and maybe everyone else have totally lost the plot in Syria, and why the Munich Security Conference was the party everyone wanted to bail on. We offer everything you wanted...


Cha Cha Bang Bang

This week the ladies of Bombshell return to regularly scheduled programming, re-introducing ourselves with our new Bombshell questions including everyone's favorite bars and least favorite books. Next we turn to our old friends Afghanistan and North Korea (wondering if we'll ever get a public debate on either), before wonking out to the Nuclear Posture Review and State of the Union address. Also, if you PT three times per day but don't log it in Strava does it even count, bro? Finally, a...


It's Raining Men

On our first anniversary we couldn’t help but wonder: What's it like to be a man in national security? Kai Ryssdal, Frank Gavin, and Benjamin Wittes join us to discuss. Theme Song: Future Teens – Jennifer Lawrence Produced by Tre Hester


Be Like Shawn

Bombshell returns from a long winter's nap for its first 2018 episode and first test run of a brand new set of Bombshell questions! Christy Abizaid joins us to talk Pakistan and the joys of Austin, TX, and we talk protests in Iran and what happens when South Korea hears that hotline bling. Yet another White House shuffle could be in the works, and we eagerly anticipate the arrival of a new defense strategy. Finally, hyperspace ramming and Nazi uncles get the attention you'd expect from us...


Special Episode: Live from Maxwell AFB!

Loren, Radha, and Erin traveled to Maxwell AFB for a special live year in review episode at the Air Command and Staff College. Come for their thoughts on the biggest national security stories of the year and stay for an extended Q&A with ACSC students (starting around 39:00). Plus, bonus Star Wars commentary.


We Can Only Hope, Sir

This week Susanna Blume joins to tell us how the sausage is made on Capitol Hill - the defense budget, continuing resolutions, and other congressional hijinks. And Radha returns from maternity leave! Then we wade through the president's Jerusalem announcement and recent Brexit breakthroughs, before dissecting the new National Security Strategy. And of course we discuss Season 2 of "The Crown" - and our new gift guide! Episode Reading: A Brief History of Defense Budget...


Candlesticks Always Make a Nice Gift

This week on Bombshell we talk with Mieke Eoyang about, well, basically everything. We take a rapid fire tour of political dramas in Zimbabwe, Germany, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon. Stop for a bit to bask in the crazy sunshine of Turkish plots and then return to the United States just to ask: Exactly how many troops do we have overseas? Then just for kicks, we debate what a lawful order for a nuclear first strike would look like. We wrap up with Mieke's Twitter conversation with John Cusack...


Burn Before Pleading

This week on Bombshell, Quinta Jurecic of Lawfare (and Washington Post!) fame joins us to break down the Mueller investigation, AUMF debate, and whether Mike Flynn is really a character from a Coen Brothers' movie. We also discuss the president's trip to Asia and do our best to understand the drama in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, which is all happening without the benefit of a functioning State Department. Quinta confesses her love of James Comey's Twitter account, while Erin and Loren do...


The Fallout's Gonna Kill You

This week on Bombshell, Alice Hunt Friend joins us to talk all things Africa and civ-mil. We dive into U.S. operations in Niger and the Kenyan elections reboot. Shinzo Abe and Xi Jinping get new mandates while preparing for the president’s big trip to Asia, along with the rest of us. And we all wait for the fallout from the Mueller indictments. Produced by Tre Hester Music: Lovira, All Things Considered Episode Reading: What Does Niger Have to Do with the AUMFCenter for...