Jocko Unraveling

Jocko Unraveling

By Jocko Willink and Darryl Cooper

News, History, Impactful events and Lessons.


Unraveling 40: Media & Politics w/Saagar Enjeti

Jocko and Darryl welcome Saagar Enjeti, co-host of Breaking Points w/Krystal Ball, to discuss how the changes in the media environment have transformed the nature of American democracy.
30/11/231h 39m

Unraveling 39: No Exit

Jocko and Darryl discuss the different perspectives of the Israelis and Palestinians, and whether peace is possible.
16/10/231h 37m

Unraveling 38: The Administration of Savagery

The history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is long and complicated, with heroes, villains, and legitimate grievances on both sides. None of that matters now. Jocko and Darryl discuss the recent assault by Hamas in southern Israel, and the upcoming Israeli response.
12/10/231h 30m

Unraveling 37: Battle of Ideas

Since Elon Musk bought Twitter, we've learned much about how thoroughly the information environment has been corrupted and manipulated by politically-motivated actors in Big Tech and the US government. Does the regime change at Twitter herald a new era, or more of the same?
15/01/231h 8m

Unraveling 36: Winter War

As the war in Ukraine enters its eighth month, both sides are digging in for a long, hard winter. After a series of Ukrainian successes, the Russians have increased the intensity of the conflict, knocking out civilian infrastructure and calling up hundreds of thousands of reservists to throw into the mix. Jocko and Darryl discuss some of the geopolitical implications of the ongoing fight, and try to answer the question: Whose side is time on?
31/10/221h 16m

Unraveling 35: Side Effects May Include

Columbine. Virginia Tech. Las Vegas. Parkland. Buffalo. Uvalde. America has become the land of mass shootings. Jocko & Darryl discuss what might be behind this, and what, if anything, we can do about it. Link to Atlantic Ditch Run 800 fundraiser for veterans, via the Gary Sinise Foundation:
13/06/221h 38m

Unraveling 34: Ukraine SITREP

The war between Russia and Ukraine has slowed to a grinding pace. The lightning strikes attempted by Russia in the early days of fighting were blunted by a determined Ukrainian defense, and Russia consolidated & refocused its forces to battle the heavily-fortified Ukrainian positions in the eastern part of the country. Jocko and Darryl discuss what's happened so far, and what's coming down the pipe.
24/05/2259m 56s

Unraveling 33: Repaid in Full

For most of history, and in much of the world today, there were no effective police, courts, prisons, or states. People and groups protected themselves according to the law of honor immortalized as the epitaph of the Roman consul Lucius Sulla: No friend ever served me, and no enemy ever wronged me, whom I have not repaid in full. Jocko and Darryl discuss honor and vengeance in societies ancient and modern.
16/05/221h 14m

Unraveling 32: Enough Already w/Scott Horton

Jocko and Darryl welcome special guest Scott Horton. Scott is the director of the Libertarian Institute, and the senior editor of He's also an author of books such as Fool's Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan, and Enough Already: Time to End the War on Terror.
14/03/223h 1m

Unraveling 31: Out of The Frying Pan

The Second World War saw all sides engage in unrestrained violence. When the war ended, the US-led Western alliance was suddenly confronted with an aggressive, powerful, and paranoid Soviet Union - a country that had already murdered tens of millions of its own people, and now possessed nuclear weapons. Jocko and Darryl discuss the early days of the Cold War.
14/03/221h 10m

Unraveling 30: Hyenas Attack

Darryl and Jocko discuss free speech, media responsibility, information warfare, and the recent attacks on Joe Rogan.
10/02/2259m 59s

Unraveling 29: No Exit?

Foundational to both American and Soviet foreign policy during the Cold War was the view that direct confrontation between the nuclear-armed superpowers must be avoided. We managed to avoid war with the Soviet Union, but today Vladimir Putin's revanchist policies seems to have US foreign policy wonks spoiling for a fight. Surely, cooler heads will prevail... right?
08/02/221h 22m

Unraveling 28: Bad Intelligence

Former Director of Central Intelligence Mike Pompeo once crowed about his time with the CIA, "We lied, we cheated, we stole. We had entire training courses." Intelligence work and clandestine operations always toe the line dividing legal from illegal, and right from wrong. Sometimes that line gets blurry, and other times it is erased altogether. But is it really possible that the government would tolerate, let alone work with, someone like Jeffrey Epstein? Well...
06/02/222h 1m

Unraveling 27: All In Our Heads

What is a liberal democracy without a functional free press? The idea almost seems like a contradiction in terms. The mass media has become both more centralized and more politicized, driving us into closed silos of information and sense-making, and leading many Americans to doubt everything they don't hear from a trusted member of their own political tribe. Jocko & Darryl discuss the historical trends that have led to this situation, and whether there's a way out of the mess.
14/12/211h 10m

Unraveling 26: Absolute War

Description: The French Revolution ended the era of limited warfare, and ushered in the era of peoples' war. The Napoleonic Wars shocked Europe's great powers into a century of relatively few direct military confrontations, but those that occurred - the US Civil War, the Franco-Prussian War, and the Russo-Japanese & Crimean Wars - were prelude to the industrial violence that would engulf the continent in World War 1. But even the savagery and degradation of the Great War did not prepare anyone for what was in store the second time around, when unprecedented technological brutality targeted the civilians of enemy nations.
06/12/211h 39m

Unraveling 25: Discipline & Punish

In episode #22, we discussed the pivotal year 1917, when the United States and the Soviet Union began their entry onto the stage of global power politics, and the tide decisively turned in the First World War. In this episode, we continue our journey through the 20th century with a conversation about how The Great War ended - or did it? - and about the ethics and consequences of kicking a downed opponent in the ribs.
01/11/2154m 53s

Unraveling 24: Dark Secret Place

Jocko and Darryl welcome Bryan Suits, host of The Dark Secret Place podcast, to discuss Chinese propaganda films, military tech, and global strategy. Bryan is a veteran of both Iraq Wars, the Bosnia peacekeeping mission, and patrolled the streets of Los Angeles during the 1992 riots as a young National Guardsman. Check out great The Dark Secret Place podcast at
25/10/211h 25m

Unraveling 23: Unmitigated Disaster

Jocko & Darryl discuss the humiliating and catastrophic final days of the US war in Afghanistan. This episode is dedicated to the heroic efforts of the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines & civilians who put their bodies on the line to help our people escape the Taliban.
04/10/211h 57m

Unraveling 22: 1917

"There are decades when nothing happens, and there are weeks when decades happen." -V.I. Lenin This is the first of a series of discussions about critical years in the 20th century. As the First World War entered its 4th year, the mighty German army had the Entente powers on the ropes. But two men who started the year 1917 uninvolved with the Great War would soon make decisions that would determine the outcome, and shape geopolitics for the rest of the century.
10/08/211h 14m

Unraveling 21: I Guess We're Done Here

With the longest war in American history officially set to wrap up next month, Jocko and Darryl take stock of mistakes made, missed opportunities, lessons learned, and where things stand.
26/07/211h 9m

Unraveling 20: WALL-E Nationalism

In this episode, were joined by James Poulos, executive editor of American Mind, a publication of the Claremont Institute, to discuss his article on the recent testimony of Army General Mark Milley regarding the teaching of Critical Race Theory at West Point. However, we end up hardly mentioning General Milley's hearing, and instead ponder the possibility that we're headed for a digital apocalypse. Also, Jocko somehow gets Darryl to shill for North Korea.
09/07/211h 19m

Unraveling 19: Lightning Milchamah: The Six Day War

In June 1967, Israeli aircraft, armor, and soldiers launched a massive surprise attack against the Egyptian forces of General Gamal Abdul Nasser, and changed the face of the entire Middle East. When the firing died down, the 19-year-old State of Israel had tripled in size, and brought millions of Palestinian refugees under its military control. Although the result was a rapid victory for Israel, and the near-total destruction of the neighboring Arab military forces, Israel had plunged itself into a swamp of demographic, security, and diplomatic problems in which the country remains mired.
21/06/211h 34m

Unraveling 18: Operation Nemesis

After 30 years of repression and brutality against its Armenian subjects, the Ottoman imperial government used the cover of the First World War to enact a vicious Final Solution to the Armenian question. But despite losing the war, the Ottoman officials most responsible escaped justice and lived freely under assumed identities in European capitals. After so much chaos and bloodshed, many - even many Armenians - were ready to put the violence of the war behind them. But when history demands heroes, it calls them forth. Without state support, outside financing, or legal cover, a small group of Armenian militants set out to avenge the blood of their people.
05/05/211h 2m

Unraveling 17: Blood Red Fields

World War 1, the Russian Civil War, the Red Terror, Holodomor, the Great Terror, World War 2, Chernobyl, state collapse, two revolutions, and another civil war. Few countries have had a tougher 100 years than Ukraine. Recent weeks have seen a buildup of forces on both sides of the border between Russia and Ukraine. Jocko and Darryl discuss the history of a dangerous international flashpoint.
19/04/211h 2m

Unraveling 16: Drain the Swamp v1.0

Description: As the Cold War kicked off in the late 1940s, America was rocked by revelations that hundreds of Soviet spies had somehow entrenched themselves in the highest levels of the government. When Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy took the lead in exposing them, he kicked a hornet's nest that soon swarmed and overwhelmed him. The period known as the "Red Scare" is a complex time in American history, and Senator McCarthy was a complex man with ambivalent personal motivations. Unfortunately, the hornets he agitated included the political press and academic establishment, who for decades worked to wash away the complexities of the man and the era. The popular political cartoonist Jules Feiffer once wrote that "the secret to good cartooning is hate." Not personal hate, he clarified, but professional hate: "the intensity of conviction that comes to a craftsman's work when he has made the decision to kill, the decision to shun all political and behavioral complexities, so that the subject becomes, purely and simply, a demon."
03/04/211h 35m

The Unraveling 15: The Devil Moves In Crowds

The Puritans had fled the iniquity of Europe to found a godly civilization in the New World, but in 1692 the devil tracked them down. Driven by wild accusations from a small group of young girls, Salem Village tore itself apart in a downward spiral of mimetic paranoia. The Salem Witch Trials occurred more than 80 years before the American Revolution, but the story and its pathos are strangely contemporary and familiar. What happened and, more importantly, could it happen again?
22/03/211h 31m

The Unraveling 14: A Melting Pot On Boil

For thousands of years, nomadic tribes occupied vast lands beyond the limited reach of pre-modern empires. With the dawn of the modern age, these peoples found themselves locked inside the borders of powerful states whose drive to assimilate subject populations into homogenous national projects has led to a rapid dwindling of human cultural and biodiversity.   The Tarim Basin in northwest China has been home to the Turkic Uyghurs for over a thousand years, but the Chinese Communist Party has worked for decades to eliminate Uyghur cultural identity and demographic predominance. Perhaps no place on earth provides a more frightening example of modern methods and technology applied to man's darkest and most ancient impulses.
15/03/211h 24m

The Unravelling 13: A People Drowning

 Jocko and Darryl discuss the implications of a recent CDC report detailing a dramatic increase in substance abuse and mental health problems. 

The Unravelling 7: The Sword of Destruction

Three years onto the Iraq War, the country is in flames and American support for the war is waning.  Jocko leads Task Unit Bruiser into Ramadi, the capital of the al Qaeda caliphate, as a part of an effort to engage with local leaders and prove that a counter-insurgency strategy can turn things around
12/10/201h 22m

The Unravelling 6: Trying to Win

With many political and military leaders pronouncing the Iraq War a failure, Jocko prepares to lead his SEAL Task Unit into a battle that will change the course of the conflict.
12/10/2059m 18s

The Unravelling 5: "Do You Guys Have Run-Flats?"

Jocko completes his first tour and heads back to the US as Iraq begins to come apart at the sectarian seams.
12/10/201h 5m

The Unravelling 4: War Party

After the fall of Saddam’s regime, US forces struggle to provide security as an insurgency takes shape. Jocko’s first tour is action-packed, but ends as Iraq spirals out of control.
12/10/201h 28m

The Unravelling 3: A Festering Sore

The traumatic experience of Vietnam shapes the US approach to the Gulf War. The easy victory in Kuwait shapes expectations of the Global War on Terror.
12/10/201h 9m

The Unravelling 2: Saddam at War

The Cold War and the Islamic revolutions of 1979 raises false hope among US policymakers for Saddam Hussein, whose blood-soaked reign would begin and end in war.
12/10/2059m 11s

The Unravelling 1: Defining The Enemy

Jocko and Darryl Cooper discuss the "beginnings" of the war on terror.
12/10/2059m 50s
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