Benjamin Wittes

I have a man crush.

Ben Wittes is about my age, and his voice reminds me hauntingly of that of a close friend of mine.

I’ve never met him, but I could trace a LinkedIn or Facebook path to him really easily.

I never miss either of his two podcasts – Lawfare and Rational Security – and I read his overwhelming blog (really a site that aggregates analysis and thought) religiously.

Things I love about him:

  • Even while presenting trenchant analysis, he does so from a relentlessly apolitical stance (for the most part – he proceeds from a somewhat center-right set of assumptions regarding national security)
  • He’s super-smart
  • He’s funny
  • He could kick Vladimir Putin’s butt (or so he says, and, watching this video, I’m inclined to believe him)

For an example of all this, listen to his recent two-part interview (part 1 and part 2) with Mike Doran, a conservative intellectual defender of Donald Trump. Doran makes a couple of, to me, substantively interesting points to consider, most of which have to do with the conduct of never-Trump Republicans. For the most part, though, he reveals himself – and, alas, Trumpism – to have a lot in common with schizophrenia.

Wittes is far more interesting than Doran in this interview. His patience, and his indulgence, inspire me. He gives Doran more and more rope with which to hang himself throughout the interview. It simply is not possible to listen to the interview as an objective judge and conclude anything other than that Doran’s views are, at best, irrelevant to the topics at hand, and at worst, terrifying for their implications.

If you have 90 minutes to kill (and a healthy appetite for political masturbation), I recommend both parts of the interview.

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