Center for Strategic Communication

Key Reads


How to Make Sure Iran Is a Nuclear Non-Proliferator
John Kerry and Ernest Moniz / Foreign Policy
Without fanfare or hoopla, the NPT has succeeded in making the world a safer place. And now Tehran is back in the fold.


Death toll rises to 3,800 in Nepal earthquake
Rama Lakshmi and Annie Gowen / The Washington Post
With international aid beginning to flow but desperation still rising, rescue crews in Nepal expanded helicopter searches Monday into remote villages believed to be the worst hit from a massive earthquake that’s already claimed more than 3,800 lives.


American Competitiveness


Americans Low Savings Rate A Bad Sign for Good Economy
Andrew L. Yarrow / The Fiscal Times
Although the economy has been on the upswing, people haven’t been saving. While the overall savings rate ticked up between 2009 and 2012, it has fallen since then. Forty-four percent of Americans are either in debt, have no savings at all, or have only enough savings to tide them over for up to three months if they lose their jobs, according to an Assets and Opportunity report last year.


Fitch Downgrades Japan Over Fiscal Concerns
Eleanor Warnock / The Wall Street Journal
Fitch Ratings downgraded Japan’s credit rating Monday, highlighting the challenges that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration faces in trying to stoke growth while dealing with the nation’s towering public debt.


National Security & Strategy


Eastern Markets Fuel Rise in Global Spending
Joe Gould / Defense News
After three years in decline, global defense spending rebounded by 1.7 percent, driven by emerging markets in the East as the West largely continues with austerity, according to analysts with the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).


Poland Eyes Fund To Arm Eastern Europe
Jaroslaw Adamowski / Defense News
Poland plans to bolster armament efforts of neighboring countries through government, bank and export loans as a response to Russia’s increased military presence in Ukraine.


Putin accuses ‘quasi-partners’ of counting on Russia collapse
President Vladimir Putin accused some of Russia’s “quasi-partners” on Monday of counting on the country’s collapse by cutting its banks off from the global financial system at a time when oil prices had plunged.


Ukraine’s military mobilization undermined by draft dodgers
Karoun Demirjian / The Washington Post
As the country’s eastern conflict drags into a second year, Ukraine’s military leaders are trying to learn from past mistakes.


780,000 chemical weapons being destroyed in Colo.
Trevor Hughes / USA Today
Workers have begun destroying a massive stockpile of American chemical weapons stored at a former Army munitions depot near Colorado’s ninth-largest city, blasting the artillery rounds open with explosives and neutralizing them with solvents.


Malaysia Urges Peaceful Solution to ASEAN Disputes with China
Ron Corben / Voice of America
Leaders from the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), meeting in Malaysia, have called for a peaceful settlement of competing territorial claims in the South China Sea. The ASEAN leaders’ concerns reflect growing tensions as China presses ahead with land reclamation projects in the disputed Spratly Islands.


Asymmetric Operations


Egypt declares “new” state of emergency in North Sinai
Mohamed Hassan Shaban / Asharq Al-Awsat
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi on Saturday declared a state of emergency in North Sinai for a period of three months, beginning on Sunday, following a recent spate of attacks targeting security and army personnel in the province.


Ansarullah: Saudi Intelligence Leading Terrorist Groups, Militias in Yemen
Fars News Agency
Saudi Arabia’s spy agency is leading and organizing terrorist groups operating in Yemen, a senior member of Ansarullah movement announced on Saturday.


Russian Hackers Read Obama’s Unclassified Emails, Officials Say
Michael S. Schmidt and David E. Sanger / The New York Times
Some of President Obama’s email correspondence was swept up by Russian hackers last year in a breach of the White House’s unclassified computer system that was far more intrusive and worrisome than has been publicly acknowledged, according to senior American officials briefed on the investigation.


ISIL’s sophisticated recruiting campaign poses persistent threat in U.S.
Kevin Johnson / USA Today
A recent string of terror-related cases in the U.S., including the the arrests of six Minnesota men accused earlier this month of attempting to join the Islamic State, highlights an unprecedented marketing effort being waged by ISIL, U.S. law enforcement officials and terror analysts said.


Islamic State Seizes Dam, Kills Iraqi General, 127 Soldiers
Zaid Sabah and Aziz Alwan / Bloomberg
Islamic State fighters captured a dam in Anbar province and killed 127 Iraqi troops including a top army commander in attacks that show the militant group’s resilience despite battlefield setbacks elsewhere in Iraq.


Iraqi Army Claims Progress in Anbar Amid Baghdad Bombings
Sinan Salaheddin and Sameer N. Yacoub / ABC News
Iraq’s army announced it was making progress in the battle against Islamic State militants in Anbar province Sunday even as it struggled to retake territory lost over the weekend and a string of bombings rocked the capital.


Obama Kept Looser Rules for Drones in Pakistan
Adam Entous / The Wall Street Journal
President Barack Obama tightened rules for the U.S. drone program in 2013, but he secretly approved a waiver giving the Central Intelligence Agency more flexibility in Pakistan than anywhere else to strike suspected militants, according to current and former U.S. officials.


Israeli Military Says It Killed Armed Men in Strike on Golan Heights Frontier
Isabel Kershner / The New York Times
An Israeli airstrike killed members of an armed squad that was preparing to bomb Israeli forces on Sunday along the Israeli-Syrian frontier in the Golan Heights, the Israeli military said.


Syrian Insurgents Capture Military Base in Northwest
ABC News
Islamic insurgents overran a military base at a former factory in northwestern Syria on Monday, carting off tanks and other weapons in the latest blow to President Bashar Assad’s forces in the region, activists said.


Climate Security


China is building a Great Wall of Trees to fight climate change and the encroaching Gobi Desert
Lily Kuo / Quartz
China is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, but it is also engaged in a massive tree-planting program that has helped to offset tropical deforestation, and suck some of the climate-changing carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.


Energy Security


Saudi high oil output based on demand: ministry
Al-Arabiya News
Saudi Arabia’s high crude oil production policy is based on the status of global demand and the top oil exporter is keen to maintain its market share, the kingdom’s deputy oil minister said on Monday.


Statoil must move ahead with Snorre field expansion – govt
Norway’s Statoil must move ahead with the delayed upgrade of the Snorre oil and gas field in the North Sea because it is a time-critical investment, energy minister Tord Lien said on Monday.


Brazil’s State Oil Company Takes Massive Loss From Corruption
Jeffrey Young / Voice of America
Brazil’s state-owned oil company, Brasileiro SA, has reported a huge loss for 2014, driven in part by a massive charge against earnings due to corruption.


Ghana blocked from drilling new oil wells in disputed area with Ivory Coast
Paul Burkhardt / Mail Guardian Africa
Ghana can’t drill new oil wells in a disputed sea area with Ivory Coast, according to a special tribunal.


Nuclear Security


U.S.’s Kerry, Iran’s Zarif to meet at U.N. anti-nuclear arms conference
Louis Charbonneau / Reuters
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will meet U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at the opening of a UN conference on the global anti-nuclear weapons treaty on Monday, as they try to make progress in talks on a long-term atomic deal.


A gentle nudge with a nuke: deflecting Earth-bound asteroids
Matthew Francis / Ars Technica
Armageddon is a bad model for saving Earth, but nukes might still be useful.


On Our Flashpoint Blog


ASP in Inter American Dialogue: Geopolitics and economics are bringing U.S. foreign policy back to the Caribbean
Andrew Holland
Holland is confident that the U.S. will be mostly a “coordinator, not a funder” of building Caribbean energy security. Recent geopolitical events, including the opening to Cuba and the rivalry with Venezuela, show that American interest is returning to the Caribbean. American energy can help the U.S. will to become a new hub of energy in the region, enhancing its own ability to guide the politics of the region for mutually beneficial gains in climate security, energy security, and economic prosperity.


The Bipartisan Effect of Energy
William George
Congress passed a bill on Tuesday requiring the General Services Administration and the Department of Energy to “create a voluntary energy efficiency standard for commercial buildings.” The bill is part of a broader measure co-authored by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) aimed at improving energy efficiency in businesses, homes, and creating more energy efficient technology. The bill received strong bipartisan support and is indicative of the role energy can have in breaking the longstanding congressional gridlock.


President Visits Florida, Highlights Economic Impact of Climate
Philip Rossetti
April 22nd was the 45th anniversary of Earth Day, an annual holiday to promote awareness of preserving our planet. The President took this opportunity to visit the Florida Everglades in order to highlight the threats that climate change poses to the average American. For Floridians, climate change is going to hit people right where it hurts—their wallets.


The Geopolitics of TTIP: ASP Conference
William George
On Thursday, April 16th, The American Security Project held a conference entitled “The Geopolitics of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).” The conference consisted of two panels and featured a keynote address from Liliane Ploumen, the Minster for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation for the Netherlands. The conference explored TTIP’s potential in redefining transatlantic cooperation between the US and EU in the economic, security, and political spheres.


Enhancing Security and Cooperation through TTIP: ASP Conference
William George
At ASP’s Geopolitics of TTIP Conference, was chaired by ASP President and President of McLarty Associates Nelson Cunningham, and featured: Mr. Kurt Tong, Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs at the State Department; Lt. Gen. Dan Christman USA, Ret., Senior Vice President for International Affairs at the United States Chamber of Commerce; Dr. Daniel Hamilton, Director for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies; and Ambassador Charles Ries, currently a Vice President at RAND Corporation. These experts spoke on the importance that TTIP will have on future U.S.-EU relations.


Dutch Minister talks TTIP, Leading by Example: ASP Conference
William George
Lilianne Ploumen, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation for the Netherlands, addressed a crowd of roughly 75 on Thursday, April 16th on the importance of transatlantic cooperation at ASP’s conference entitled “The Geopolitics of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.”


Strengthening Multilateral Trade Systems Through TTIP: ASP Conference
Maggie Feldman-Piltch
The afternoon’s final panel, “TTIP, Emerging Markets and the Multilateral Trading System,” examined TTIP as a potential catalyst to liberalize trade, how to ensure the final agreement is truly inclusive and strengthens multilateral trade systems like the WTO, and the impact of TTIP and related negotiations on emerging markets like BRIC nations.


Upcoming Events


ASU EVENT – Climate Change: Risks for National Security
April 28 @ 1:30pm – 3:00pm
Climate change is already a major consideration for US military planners. Meanwhile, American politicians continue to ignore the issue. Join us for a discussion with senior flag officers as they discuss the steps the US military has taken and future implications for our national security.


ASP Recently Published


Critical Issues Facing Russia and the Former Soviet Union: Governance and Corruption
American Security Project
When it comes to Russia and the other post-Soviet states, corruption is the subject of constant academic, policy, and popular debate. According to many, persistent corruption is the major factor undermining post-Soviet states from achieving broad-based political, economic, and social development along liberal-democratic lines.


Environmental Threats to Louisiana’s Future: Climate Change
American Security Project
As one of the centers of energy production, transit, and storage, Louisiana is a hub for the whole country. This ensures that any problems in Louisiana are transferred throughout the country by energy price volatility and uncertainty.

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