Center for Strategic Communication


Key Reads


U.S. “disturbed” by Iranian leader’s criticism after deal

Bozorgmehr Sharafedin Nouri / Reuters

The United States said on Tuesday it was very disturbed by anti-U.S. hostility voiced by Iran’s top leader after a nuclear deal, as both countries’ top diplomats sought to calm opposition to the accord from political hardliners at home.


Turkey Says One Suspect Identified in Suicide Bombing

Emre Peker / The Wall Street Journal

Turkish officials said Tuesday they have identified a suspect in the suicide bombing on its border with Syria that killed at least 32 people, as the Ankara government continued to point to Islamic State as the likely architect of the bombing.


Greece looks to seal bailout deal in weeks

Renee Maltezou and Angeliki Koutantou / Reuters

Greece should wrap up bailout talks with international lenders by August 20, once parliament approves the second package of measures demanded by creditors on Wednesday, the government’s spokeswoman said.



American Competitiveness


Yen in focus as Nikkei nears 18-year high

Jenny Cosgrave / CNBC

Japan’s benchmark stock index neared a four-week high Monday, bringing it within touching distance of an 18-year high, thanks to a weakened yen which has come back into focus as events in China and Greece die down.


I-10 Bridge Collapses In California Desert, Halting Traffic for Thousands

Andrew Dalton and Tami Abdollah / Huffington Post

All traffic along a major freeway connecting California and Arizona was blocked indefinitely when a bridge over a desert wash collapsed during heavy rain, and the roadway in the opposite direction suffered severe damage, authorities said.



National Security & Strategy


10 Ways to Fix America’s Ailing State Department

Joseph Cassidy / Foreign Policy

The State Department seems to lurch from disaster to distraction, responding to many crises but preventing few. Its influence in Washington, and American diplomatic influence globally, is waning.


N. Korea: No Interest in Something Like Iranian Nuclear Deal

ABC News          
North Korea said Tuesday that it’s not interested in an Iran-type nuclear disarmament deal, saying it won’t abandon its atomic weapons as long as the United States maintains hostile policies toward the country.



Asymmetric Operations


Islamic State leader delegates his powers in case he is killed

Eric Schmitt and Ben Hubbard / The Irish Times

Islamic State’s reclusive leader has empowered his inner circle of deputies as well as regional commanders in Syria and Iraq with wide-ranging authority, a plan to ensure that if he or other top figures are killed, the organisation will quickly adapt and continue fighting, US and Iraqi intelligence officials say.


ISIS Transforming Into Functioning State That Uses Terror as Tool

Tim Arango / The New York Times

The Islamic State uses terror to force obedience and frighten enemies. It has seized territory, destroyed antiquities, slaughtered minorities, forced women into sexual slavery and turned children into killers.



Climate Security


Act on climate change now, top British institutions tell governments

Damian Carrington / The Guardian

An unprecedented coalition of the UK’s most eminent scientific, medical and engineering bodies says immediate action must be taken by governments to avert the worst impacts of climate change.


World’s famous climate scientist outlines an alarming scenario for planet’s future

Chris Mooney / The Sydney Morning Herald

James Hansen has often been out ahead of his scientific colleagues. With his 1988 US congressional testimony, the then-NASA scientist is credited with putting the climate change issue on the map by saying that a warming trend had already begun. Along with 16 other researchers, including leading experts on the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, he has authored a lengthy study outlining a scenario of potentially rapid sea-level rise combined with more intense storm systems.



Energy Security


HP to Power Texas Data Centers With Wind Energy

Diane Cardwell / The New York Times

For years, clean energy developers could look to only a small handful of corporations as project partners or customers for their power. Mostly, there was Google, and a few other high-tech companies that worked directly with wind and solar developers to help green their energy use.


Oil Prices Rise on Weaker Dollar

Nicole Friedman / The Wall Street Journal

Oil prices ticked higher Tuesday as the dollar weakened, but prices held near multi-month lows on concerns about a continued global glut of oil.



Nuclear Security


Saudi Arabia considers its own nuclear options after Iran deal

Angus McDowall / The Globe and Mail

One likely Saudi Arabian response to the deal its biggest enemy Iran has struck with world powers is to accelerate its own nuclear power plans, creating an atomic infrastructure it could, one day, seek to weaponise.


Iran Lawmakers to Wait 80 Days Before Voting on Nuclear Deal

Thomas Erdbrink / The New York Times

The Iranian Parliament will wait at least 80 days before voting on a nuclear agreement reached last week with world powers, as legislators decided on Tuesday to form a committee to study the accord, state radio reported.



Public Diplomacy and Strategic Communication


America’s Secret Banjo Diplomacy With Iran

Jonathan Broder / Newsweek

Owensboro, Kentucky, on the banks of the Ohio River, is a town best known for its barbecue, bourbon and bluegrass—not to mention native son Johnny Depp. Every year, the town hosts a variety of food and music festivals. But in May 2009, a different sort of attraction arrived in Owensboro: The Obama administration quietly brought in a group of Iranian musicians to learn about American folk music.



On Our Flashpoint Blog


Renewable Energy in Puerto Rico: A Way Forward

Clark Derrington

Puerto Rico’s economy is laboring under the twin burdens of outsized debt and exorbitant energy costs. The island territory owes private creditors approximately $72 billion, but the inadequate energy infrastructure is just as serious a problem. The cost of living in Puerto Rico is naturally higher than the US national average, and no category is as dangerously lopsided as energy and electricity.


The Weekly Fusion: A Look at Current Advancements in Fusion Energy

William Furlow

The future of fusion is constantly being unfolded in front of our eyes, as every week there is some breakthrough in new technologies and designs in the nuclear fusion sector of energy. Since there is such a wealth of information, I have gathered and consolidated a list of articles geared toward the advancement of making fusion energy a reality, from within the past week.


Panel Recap: Can the IAEA Effectively Verify the Iran Nuclear Agreement?

Riza Kumar

18 days and 159 pages later, a nuclear agreement has finally been reached between Iran and the P5+1. This agreement is not guaranteeing the normalization of relations between Iran and the West, but it does placate one major concern regarding international security. This deal ensures that Iran’s nuclear program will be severely limited to peaceful purposes.


U.S. Shifts Away from Coal and Toward Natural Gas

William George

Natural gas overtook coal as the top source of US electric power generation for the first time ever this spring. Natural gas accounted for 31% of electric power generation while coal accounted for 30%, according to a report released by SNL Energy. Nuclear energy came in at third with 20%. This shift is not surprising, however, as natural gas prices have continued their downward slide and new regulations that the EPA is beginning to implement make utilities question the future of coal. This is a much-needed step toward improving US energy security, production, and efficiency.



ASP Recently Published


Perspective- Energy and Geopolitics in the Eastern Mediterranean

American Security Project

Since 2009, there have been a succession of substantial natural gas finds in the Levantine Basin, under the Mediterranean Sea between Israel and Cyprus. How to regulate, tax, and export the gas continues to be controversial in Israeli politics. However, the strategic benefits of using energy resources to more closely tie Israel with its long-hostile neighbors are too compelling to ignore. This report analyzes the risks and opportunities involved in such an endeavor.

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