Center for Strategic Communication

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July 9, 2015


Key Reads

Kremlin critics say ‘climate of fear’ grows

Timothy Heritage / Reuters

Kremlin critics say a climate of fear is growing in Russia after the upper house of parliament drew up a list of “undesirable” civil rights organizations and two similar groups decided to close.


Iran nuke talks lurch toward (another) deadline

Matthew Lee / AP

Negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program lurched toward another deadline on Thursday with diplomats reconvening amid persistent uncertainty and vague but seemingly hopeful pronouncements from participants.



American Competitiveness

Angolans resentful as China tightens its grip

Herculano Coroada / Reuters

When a halving of oil prices left a gaping hole in Angola’s finances this year, it became clear sub-Saharan Africa’s third largest economy needed help fast – and President Jose Eduardo dos Santos knew exactly where to turn.


U.S. stocks open higher after recovery in China

Sudarshan Varadhan / Reuters

Wall Street opened higher on Thursday after Chinese stocks recovered and the U.S. Federal Reserve’s June meeting minutes indicated that a rate hike might be pushed back.


U.S. jobless claims rise to highest level since February

Elvina Nawaguna / Reuters

New applications for U.S. unemployment insurance benefits rose last week to their highest level since February, suggesting some slowdown in the labor market recovery.


Trade halts add to China’s Potemkin market problem

Quentin Webb / Reuters

Trading halts add to China’s Potemkin market problem. Boom, bust and bailout are already making it hard for outsiders to take Chinese stocks seriously. An extraordinary slew of trading halts, trapping investors in hundreds of stocks, makes things worse. Bosses and bourses are buying temporary respite at the cost of their own credibility.



National Security and Strategy

Europe lawmakers condemn Russian actions in Crimea, Ukraine


Some 100 lawmakers, mainly from Europe, have condemned Russia’s actions in Crimea and Ukraine at a meeting honoring a 1975 accord seen as a milestone in reducing tensions between the East and West during the Cold War.


Russia is biggest threat to American national security, says US air force chief

The Guardian

Russia is the biggest threat to US national security and America must boost its military presence throughout Europe even as Nato allies face budget challenges and scale back spending, the US air force secretary, Deborah James, said on Wednesday.



Asymmetric Operations

U.S. drone strike kills key Islamic State figure in Afghanistan

Tim Craig / The Washington Post

A former spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, who last year defected from the group to help launch the Islamic State branch in Afghanistan, was killed in a recent U.S. drone strike in eastern Afghanistan, the Afghan intelligence agency said Thursday.


Pentagon: Why US has trained only 60 Syrian rebels to fight Islamic State

Anne Mulrine / Christian Science Monitor

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter says that vetting is ‘rigorous,’ but senators question why the Pentagon has yet to assure rebels that the US will come to their aid if they are attacked by Syria’s president.


Yemen ceasefire announcement within 24 hours: Houthi-run Saba news agency


The U.N. envoy to Yemen said an agreement on a humanitarian ceasefire is expected to be announced within 24 hours, the Houthi-run Saba news agency said on Thursday.


More than 4 million refugees have now fled Syria, UN says

Desmond Butler / AP

More than 4 million Syrians have fled abroad since the 2011 outbreak of civil war, the largest number from any crisis in almost 25 years, the United Nations said Thursday.


Kabul plans detailed Taliban talks on ending bloodshed


Afghan negotiators said Thursday their next round of talks with the Taliban would focus in detail on ways to end bloodshed in the country, wracked by nearly 40 years of war.


Emir says Kuwaitis foil bid to sow sectarian divisions after bombing

Hadeel Al Sayegh / Reuters

The emir of Kuwait said on Thursday his country had thwarted attempts to sow sectarian divisions after last month’s suicide bombing but warned that the world needs to do more to confront the “satanic” behavior of Islamist militants.



Climate Security

Alaska’s on fire and it may make climate change even worse

Sarah Zhang / Wired

THIS WEEKEND, SMOKE smothered the high-rises of downtown Vancouver. Sunsets as far south as Ohio took on brilliant hues of red and orange. And humanity reached another potential milestone in climate change—all thanks to hundreds of wildfires burning in Alaska and Canada


Tipping back the balance toward healthy oceans

Drew Harvell / The Hill

Whether we live close to them or not, we rely on our oceans for so much more than fish. Oceans also filter toxins, absorb carbon dioxide, provide recreation for millions and yields important marine products, such as biofuels from algae.



Energy Security

Pakistan’s other national struggle: Its energy crisis

Michael Kugelman / WSJ

Pakistan’s status as a magnet for militancy and its struggles with terrorists are well known. Less discussed are the energy challenges facing that South Asian nation. Yet those struggles, though of a different nature than terrorism, are just as serious.


How Akon lighting Africa is working to tackle energy access

Adva Saldinger / Devex

Celebrities often lend their brand to a cause or undertake pet projects, but for Senegalese-American singer Akon, the issue of improving access to energy is personal and has been his main focus for the past two years.



Nuclear Security

Iran nuclear deal close; impasse over weapons, missiles persists

Louis Charbonneau / Reuters

Iran and six world powers were close to an historic nuclear agreement on Thursday that could resolve a more than 12-year dispute over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, but they remained deadlocked on the issue of Iranian arms and missile trade.



On Our Flashpoint Blog

Appropriators should support the green climate fund


It is a dangerous and unpredictable world. With terror in the Middle East, continued Russian incursions into Ukraine, tensions over borders in the South China Sea, and many other threats, our military has many missions to prepare for, even as Congress cuts the military budget.


The future innovation of fusion energy is being fueled by private startups

William Furlow / ASP

The power of the energy technology startups is becoming clearer and more important for a future that commercializes fusion energy. There are approximately 55 nuclear startups with a total of $1.6 billion in funding. There are three major players in that community researching fusion energy: Tri Alpha Energy, Helion Energy, and General Fusion.


Hearing on Department of Homeland Security and climate change

Andrew Holland / ASP

On Wednesday, July 8, 2015, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency of the House Committee on Homeland Security will hold a hearing on how the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is addressing the threats of climate change.


The social media war on ISIS

Mahmood Abu-Rubieh / ASP

Last Monday marked a year since the declaration of a caliphate in Iraq and Syria by the extremist group Daesh (Islamic State, ISIL, ISIS). Despite maintaining and even expanding their territorial claims over the past year, some argue that their greatest accomplishment is their social media campaign.


What Ex-Im means to American competitiveness

Clark Derrington / ASP

On June 30th the Export-Import Bank’s charter expired. Ex-Im is an essential part of American economic policy. At a net gain to taxpayers, Ex-Im ensures American small businesses are competitive in the global market by securing loans to buyers of their products, and helps American businesses of all sizes keep up against heavily-subsidized foreign competitors.



ASP Recently Published

Perspective: Potential Areas of Cooperation Between the U.S. and Cuba


Latin America and the Caribbean are critical regions for U.S. security, but the lack of open communication between the U.S. and Cuba weakens America’s ability to operate in these areas. Open dialogue with Cuba will help the U.S. maintain security, and could also bring potential economic opportunities.


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