Center for Strategic Communication

Key Reads


Iran’s nuclear deal

The Economist Data Team

On July 14th, after 19 days of wrangling between Iran and the P5+1 (the permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany), the exhausted negotiators dragged themselves over the finishing line of an historic deal to curb Iran’s nuclear programme, and thus prevent it from getting a nuclear weapon. When the deal was signed, it broadcast not only the comments of the suave, ever-smiling foreign minister, Mohamad Javad Zarif, but also those of Barack Obama, the American president. The message was clear: years of sanctions and diplomatic isolation were coming to an end.


Turkey strikes Islamic State targets in Syria for the first time

Erin Cunningham and Liz Sly / Washington Post

Turkish fighter jets struck at least three Islamic State targets in neighboring Syria early on Friday, signaling Turkey’s entry as an active partner in the U.S.-led war and opening an important new front.


China’s global ambitions, with loans and strings attached

Clifford Krauss and Keith Bradsher / New York Times

Where the Andean foothills dip into the Amazon jungle, nearly 1,000 Chinese engineers and workers have been pouring concrete for a dam and a 15-mile underground tunnel. The $2.2 billion project will feed river water to eight giant Chinese turbines designed to produce enough electricity to light more than a third of Ecuador.

American Competitiveness


Obama to push U.S. trade in Kenya as China’s role grows

Marc Santora / New York Times

Trade between China and Africa, valued at $222 billion in 2014, has been rising swiftly and is now about three times the amount of trade between the United States and the African continent, according to figures from the World Bank and the American government.


Greece crisis: EU negotiators in Athens for bailout talks


European negotiators have arrived in Athens to begin discussions about a third Greek bailout. Government officials are expected to meet representatives of EU creditors, in the first high-level negotiations in the Greek capital since leftist Alexis Tsipras became prime minister. It comes after Greek MPs approved tough new conditions set by the EU lenders.



Asymmetric Operations


Pentagon: U.S. airstrike kills al-Qaeda leader in Afghanistan

Missy Ryan / Washington Post

A U.S. airstrike has killed a senior al-Qaeda leader in Afghanistan, the Pentagon said on Friday. In a statement, the Pentagon said the strike killed Abu Khalil al-Sudani, who was described as a “high-ranking al-Qaeda operational commander,” on July 11 in Paktika province in southeast Afghanistan.


Egypt’s military struggles to quell growing ISIS-linked insurgency

Leila Fadel / NPR

In 2013, there were seven known militants from the village that Ahmed Abu Deraa comes from in Egypt’s northern Sinai Peninsula. Today, that number has jumped to about 60, says Abu Deraa, an independent journalist who sometimes works for NPR. All of them are with Sinai Province, the local affiliate of the so-called Islamic State.



National Security & Strategy


‘We are shocked by these failures.’ Pentagon cites ineffective testing in shipping of live anthrax

Dan Lamothe / Washington Post

A Defense Department review of how an Army laboratory in Utah distributed scores of live anthrax samples to facilities across the United States and overseas found systemic problems with irradiation and testing procedures that have been used there for a decade, but determined that a root cause is still not certain.


Why would Russia deploy bombers in Crimea?

Pavel Aksenov / BBC

Russia’s Interfax news agency reported the plan, quoting an unnamed ministry source, though it has not been officially confirmed. Other Russian media also reported it. Russia has previously pledged to beef up its military forces in Crimea, which has been internationally isolated since Russia annexed it from Ukraine in March 2014.

Climate Security


Outrage over EPA emissions regulations fades as states find fixes

Joby Warrick / Washington Post

States’ interest in the EPA’s Clean Power Plan has soared in recent weeks as the agency prepares to reveal the final contours of a proposal that was first announced more than a year ago. Administration officials have been meeting privately for weeks to craft a final version that will withstand legal and legislative challenges. One senior administration official said the revised plan will include provisions that will make it easier for most states to comply.


Abrupt climate change may have doomed mammoths and other megafauna, scientists report

Abby Ohlheiser / Washington Post

The study, published in Science on Thursday, is the first to link specific climatic events to localized extinctions of megafauna. In this case, the events are called “interstadials,” or short warming periods that occurred throughout the era.



Energy Security


Offshore Wind Farm Raises Hopes of U.S. Clean Energy Backers

Diane Cardwell / New York Times

A few miles off the coast of Block Island, part of Rhode Island, a small flotilla has been gathering: crane vessels, tugboats and barges that began this week installing the 1,500-ton foundations of the nation’s first commercial-scale offshore wind farm.



Nuclear Security


Obscure particle could keep Iran honest on its nuclear deal

Sophia Chen / Wired

Last week, Iran made a deal with five other world powers about the future of its nuclear programs. But as President Obama made clear in his announcement of the deal, this agreement isn’t based on trust: It’ll be based on cold, hard evidence.



On Our Flashpoint Blog


Dante Disparte’s upcoming remarks for Nairobi’s Global Entrepreneurship Summit

Riza Kumar

This weekend Dante Disparte will be speaking at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi. The Founder and CEO at Risk Cooperative and chair of the Business Council for American Security, he will speak on the topics of innovation, navigating funding cycles and entrepreneurial hubs.


Spherical fusion reactors as an option

William Furlow

Currently the standard tokamak design has been the default for fusion energy, but through prior research, a new prototype for fusion energy has been purposed. This prototype is known as spherical fusion reactors and are more compact, cheaper, require less magnetism, and can potentially lead the way for fusion energy.


Renewable energy in Puerto Rico: A way forward

Clark Derrington

Developing a renewable energy infrastructure in Puerto Rico would be a public investment. Construction of new power plants would employ local workers, and stimulate demand for US-produced energy equipment. As the proportion of electricity generated from expensive imported petroleum and other fossil fuels declined, the cost to consumers of Puerto Rican electricity would decline as well.


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.



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.


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

American Security Project

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. Understanding that the isolation of Cuba has not proven to be an effective policy, this paper examines a variety of possibilities for cooperation between the United States and Cuba.


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