Center for Strategic Communication

Building the indestructible metropolis

Clay Dillow / Fortune

When Hurricane Sandy slammed into New York City last October, city planners knew they weren’t just looking at a freak natural occurrence — they were looking at the future. Thanks to an unfortunate coincidence of very high tides that were nearly peaking when Sandy struck, sea levels were slightly higher than average when the storm came ashore, a circumstance that not only exacerbated flooding and damage but also provided a glimpse of what it looks like when two of the predicted effects of global climate change — increased incidence of severe weather and rising sea levels — work in tandem. The result was not pretty.

Beyond Ethanol: Drop-In Biofuels Squeeze Gasoline From Plants

Patrick J. Kiger and Marianne Lavelle / National Geographic

Corn distilled into ethanol was touted as a way to reduce civilization’s dependence upon fossil fuels, but it required different pipelines—and only a specially equipped car could run on a mix of fuels made mostly of ethanol…Wouldn’t it be better if you simply could take waste material, or biomass, and transform it into fuel?

Qatar’s Foreign Policy Adventurism

David Roberts / Foreign Affairs

Earlier this month, the Taliban opened an official office in Doha, landing Qatar once more in Western headlines. That might have been part of Qatar’s plan: the decision to host such a controversial office is symptomatic of a desire to play a central role in a wide array of important diplomatic issues. Yet the debacle of the office’s first 36 hours shows just how far Qatar still has to go.

A changing tide?

The Economist

One of the most divisive debates in Canada during the seven and a half years that Stephen Harper has been prime minister has been about climate change. It has pitted Mr Harper’s Conservative government and the country’s oil industry against the New Democrat and Liberal opposition parties and environmentalists, who mourn Canada’s exit from the Kyoto protocol and advocate stronger measures to curtail greenhouse-gas emissions.

U.N. Sanctions Panel Calls on States to be Wary of North Korean Diplomats

Global Security Newswire

A newly published report by a U.N. Security Council committee calls on countries with diplomatic and commercial ties to North Korea to be on the lookout for illicit efforts by Pyongyang’s envoys to secretly use their stations to proliferate and acquire nuclear technology, Kyodo News reported on Monday

Biggest Dead Zone Ever Forecast in Gulf of Mexico

Christine Dell’Amore / National Geographic

A possibly record-breaking, New Jersey-size dead zone may put a chokehold on the Gulf of Mexico this summer, according to a forecast released this week.

Ecuador nixes U.S. trade pact, ‘blackmail’ over Snowden

Doug Stanglin / USA TODAY

Ecuador said Thursday it is renouncing a trade pact up for renewal by the U.S. Congress because it had become a “new instrument of blackmail” involving the fate of an NSA leaker who has asked for political asylum from the South American country.

On Our Flashpoint Blog

Will the R&D Tax Credit Spur Innovation?

Justin Winikoff

The R&D tax credit has been renewed fourteen times since its enactment in 1981. Would making the credit permanent and more competitive encourage innovation?

Climate Change Considered Top Global Threat According to Recent Pew Research Survey

Evan Meltzer

In the just-released Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project 2013 Spring Survey, climate change and international financial instability ranked as the top global threats, according to survey responses in thirty-nine countries.

Greasing the Wheels: Canadian Public Diplomacy

Katrina Trost

Canada recently employed public diplomacy to garner support for the Keystone XL Pipeline.

IEA: Redrawing the Energy-Climate Map

William Joyce

In a recent report called Redrawing the Energy-Climate Map, the IEA stated that the world is not on track to honor the 2 degrees Celsius limit set by governments on global temperature change. This report charts a way in which the world may be able to stay under the 2 degree Celsius mark.

Event Recap: Joel Wit and Policy Observations about North Korea

Chris Smith

Two days ago Joel Wit, a former State Department satellite imagery analyst now with 38 North, spoke here at the American Security Project on North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs and his observations about American policy in regards to these programs. Previously, I wrote about his imagery analysis in regards to North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, today I will discuss his observations on American diplomatic policy in regards to North Korea.

This Week in Public Diplomacy June 24

Christian Mull

A round-up of public diplomacy-related news.

ASP in the News

The National Journal Discusses Joel Wit’s Speech on Satellite Images During Tuesday’s ASP Event

The National Journal discussed Joel Wit’s talk on Tuesday at the American Security Project, during which he spoke about digging seen in satellite photographs around North Korea’s Punggye-ri test site. Joel Wit, a former State Department satellite imagery analyst, edits 38 North, a website that records developments within North Korea.

The Korea Herald Covers Joel Wit’s Satellite Imagery Analysis from Tuesday’s ASP Event

The Korea Herald mentioned the American Security Project’s event with Joel Wit, a former State Department satellite imagery analyst and expert on North Korea, in their recent article critiquing the Unites States’ approach to combating North Korean nuclear capabilities. They agree with Wit, who argues that the United States is beginning to accept the actions of North Korea by relying on China to help pressure North Korea.

AP Discusses Satellite Imagery Analysis that Joel Wit Covered in His Event at ASP on Tuesday

Joel Wit, a former State Department satellite imagery analyst and a highly regarded American expert on North Korea currently at 38 North, spoke on Tuesday at ASP on North Korea’s Nuclear and Missile programs and American policy responses to them. At the same time his organization, 38 North, worked with the Associated Press to publish an article discussing some of the observations he made during his talk about North Korea’s nuclear testing site based on commercial satellite imagery.

38 North Discusses Joel Wit’s Satellite Imagery Analysis that He Covered in His Event at ASP on Tuesday

Joel Wit, a former State Department satellite imagery analyst and a highly regarded American expert on North Korea currently at 38 North, spoke on Tuesday at ASP about North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs and American policy responses to them. At the same time his organization, 38 North, published portions of his observations in regards to North Koreas nuclear testing site.

Upcoming Events

Restoring American Competitiveness: A National Security Crisis

Recent reports by the American Security Project and the Harvard Business School reveal that American competitiveness is slipping, posing a severe threat to our country’s national security. Join our panel of experts as they discuss these challenges and potential solutions to restore America to a position of global leadership in the 21st century.

The panel will take place Wednesday July 10th from 1:00-2:00 pm in Cannon House Office Building, Independence Ave and New Jersey Ave, SE, Room 122.

If you would like to attend, please email by July 8 to RSVP.

The Case for American Competitiveness: A Reception

ASP and the HBS Club of DC are proud to co-sponsor a reception for HBS professor Dr. Jan Rivkin, as well as prominent military leaders. This reception culminates the American Competitiveness Day to inform a bipartisan discourse on Capitol Hill. The reception will take place on Wednesday, July 10th from 6:00-8:00 pm in the Alliance Bernstein Board Room, 800 Connecticut Ave, NW, Suite 1001.

Cost is $35 for members and $60 for non-members

Tickets can be purchased at