Center for Strategic Communication

Key Reads

France Summons U.S. Envoy over ‘Unacceptable’ NSA Spying

John Irish, Elizabeth Pineau / Reuters

France summoned the U.S. ambassador on Wednesday to explain allegations by transparency lobby group WikiLeaks of what President Francois Hollande branded “unacceptable” spying on successive French leaders.

Hack Defined as Two Distinct Breaches

Devlin Barrett, Damian Paletta / The Wall Street Journal

Obama administration officials defined the hack of Office of Personnel Management employee documents as two distinct breaches, a decision that allowed officials to initially deny millions of the government’s most sensitive employee security records had been stolen, according to officials familiar with the matter.



American Competitiveness

I have spent the last 15 years trying to become an American. I’ve failed.

William Han / Vox

I have lived in America for the past 15 years. I have two Ivy League degrees. And I am on the verge of deportation. It turns out that following all the rules is not enough. A move into public interest work unexpectedly fell through, leading to the imminent cancellation of my work visa.



National Security & Strategy

OPM Reveals New Security Steps Ahead of Capitol Hill Hearing

Cory Bennett / The Hill

The federal office at the center of the biggest government hack in history is releasing 15 new steps intended to shore up its security. The tighter security measures come as the Office of Personnel Management faces intense criticism over the hack, which has left as many as 18 million people vulnerable. OPM’s chief is expected to be grilled at a congressional hearing on Tuesday.

U.S. Will Not Prosecute Families for Paying Hostage Ransom

Will Dunham, Roberta Rampton / Reuters

The U.S. government will no longer threaten to prosecute families who try to pay ransom to win the release of American hostages held overseas, and the United States will directly negotiate with militants holding them but will not pay ransom, officials said on Tuesday.



Asymmetric Operations

Documents on 2012 Drone Strike Detail How Terrorists Are Targeted

Scott Shane / The New York Times

The documents, previously undisclosed, include details about how terrorism suspects are targeted in drone strikes and how strikes can go wrong at times. The documents also show how closely the National Security Agency has worked in Pakistan and Yemen with its British counterpart, Government Communications Headquarters, or G.C.H.Q.

ISIS Defeat Could Give Coalition Blueprint for Success

Arwa Damon, Gul Tuysuz / CNN

ISIS has been forced from one of its stronghold outposts, a key access point to its self-declared capital, where it was entrenched for two years. And the defeat along a vital stretch of terrain could be a potential blueprint for more military successes against the militants.               



Climate Security

US, China Broaden Collaboration on Climate Issues

Pamela Dockins / VOA

A partnership to track sea turtle migration and a joint effort to monitor air pollution near chemical industrial parks were two of the initiatives highlighted on Tuesday at the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue.

White House Climate Change Summit Highlights Health Dangers

Kimberly Leonard / U.S. News & World Report

Calls to counter climate change are nothing new, though they’ve hit a unique crescendo in recent days following a moral case made by Pope Francis for addressing a problem he acknowledged has been caused largely by humans. U.S. officials now also are arguing for the need to combat climate change by highlighting an area they say stands to suffer greatly from global warming: human health.

Dutch Government Ordered to Cut Carbon Emissions in Landmark Ruling

Arthur Nelson / The Guardian

A court in the Hague has ordered the Dutch government to cut its emissions by at least 25% within five years, in a landmark ruling expected to cause ripples around the world.



Energy Security

EU Climate Chief Criticizes UK Wind Farm Policy

Roger Harrabin / BBC News

The UK’s decision to stop subsidising new onshore wind farms will make it harder to meet renewable energy targets, the EU’s climate chief says.

Germany to Decide Between Coal Levy and Alternative on July 1

Vera Eckert, Caroline Copley / Reuters

German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Wednesday he was considering an alternative to a proposed levy on coal-fired power plants and would make a final decision on July 1. Germany is wrestling with how to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the energy sector to stop it from falling short of its ambitious climate targets, while safeguarding jobs and securing its energy supply.



Nuclear Security

Iran Nuclear Talks: Khamenei Rejects Key US Demands

BBC News

Iran’s supreme leader has hardened his stance on the nuclear negotiations with world powers, with the deadline for a comprehensive agreement only days away. In a speech on Tuesday night, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei insisted Iran would only dismantle its nuclear infrastructure if economic sanctions were lifted first

World Powers Offering Iran Nuclear Reactors as Part of Deal

George Jahn / The Times of Israel

The United States and other nations negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran are ready to offer high-tech reactors and other state-of-the-art equipment to Tehran if it agrees to crimp programs that can make atomic arms, according to a confidential document obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press.



Fusion Energy

X Marks the Spot: Novel Method for Controlling Plasma Rotation Confirmed
Science Daily

Physicists have demonstrated a novel method that scientists can use to manipulate the intrinsic – or self-generated – rotation of hot, charged plasma gas within fusion facilities called tokamaks.



Public Diplomacy and Strategic Communication

How a New Jordanian Flag Challenges ISIS

Laurie A. Brand / The Washington Post

Jordanians debating the introduction of the new flag agree that the primary driver is the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) and the threat it poses to Jordanian and regional security.

The Evolution of Anti-Americanism in Russia

Denis Volkov / Carnegie Moscow Center

The Levada Center, an independent Moscow-based polling group, has tracked Russian attitudes towards the United States since the early 1990s, with the occasional gaps in the first few years. There have been four bursts of antipathy toward the U.S. during this period. Each time, anti-American sentiment grew radically in the course of one or two months, and each time (with the exception of the latest crisis) relations between the two countries normalized just as quickly.

EU Plans To Step Up Fight Against Russian Propaganda

Rikard Jozwiak / Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty

The European Union aims to counter Russian propaganda by boosting support for independent media in “Eastern Neighborhood” countries and increasing awareness of “disinformation activities by external actors,” according to a strategic communications action plan seen by RFE/RL.


On Our Flashpoint Blog

Libyan Development

Julia Maloof

Since 2011 Libya has become a hotbed for terrorist organizations and non-state actors to thrive, with little governance, high poverty and high unemployment levels. The disorder is bleeding into surrounding states such as Egypt and Tunisia, and empowering Al Qaeda and ISIS-linked groups.  In order to regain stability in the area, it is important to look at the economic situation that preceded Libya’s Arab spring, and what should be implemented to create a stable region moving forward.

Major Step for TPA

Clark Derrington

The Senate voted today to end debate on TPA, which would authorize fast-track authority for the negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other free trade agreements. The final vote on the bill is scheduled for tomorrow, and after its passage in the Senate will be ready for the president’s signature. This bill allows the president to submit a trade agreement to Congress for approval without modification, meaning that Congress cannot amend the deal after it has been accepted by our trading partners.

Arming Egypt

Julia Maloof

Two years after imposing a weapons ban on Egypt, the US lifted the sanctions in March. Reinstating the $1.3 billion in annual military aid to Egypt, the new policy intends to shift away from “cash-flow financing” (buying on credit) by 2018. This flow of aid has been widely debated. In order to understand his change in policy, one must look at what the US’ long-term strategic interests are in the country, and what actions can be taken to best achieve those results.

Greece and Europe Still Looking For a Deal

Clark Derrington

As the end of the month looms, the Greek Government faces a deadline to make a 1.6 billion euro repayment to the International Monetary Fund. Events of the past several weeks have introduced new complications to these delicate negotiations and cast doubt over Greece’s continued membership in the eurozone.

A Weekly Fusion: A Look at Current News in Fusion Energy
William Furlow
Two young researcher are jumping leaps and bounds in the nuclear fusion field, in hopes to one day achieve the ultimate energy dream of fully understanding fusion energy. According to MIT News, two Phd candidates Adam, Kuang and Alex Creely, are looking at trying to fully understand two major questions and problems that arise when dealing with nuclear fusion.



ASP Recently Published

White Paper: Economic Diplomacy

Economic diplomacy is the utilization of all national economic instruments in furtherance of the national interest when engaging with other nations. It is the new frontier of foreign policy in an interconnected world. Principles in Action: Economic Diplomacy as the New Face of American Global Leadership, explains and analyses a variety of U.S. economic diplomacy efforts, and provides key recommendations for improvement.


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