Center for Strategic Communication

Key Reads

Russia’s Syria Propaganda

Anna Borshchevskaya / Forbes

News about Syria quickly replaced news about Ukraine. It became a new drug, or as political analyst Andrei Piontkovsky said, an “imperial narcotic” that allows the public to “forget about the failed Ukrainian embarrassment, return the intoxicating air of triumph of Russian Spring 2014, and at the same time remove the awkwardness and discomfort that Russians still experienced when killing the so-similar-to-them Ukrainians.”

Why Did the ‘Twitter Revolutions’ Fail?

Ivan Krastev / The New York Times

Wherever you look, little movement along the lines of what the political scientist Francis Fukuyama called the “revolution of the global middle class” seems to have endured. And in the most tragic cases, the Arab Spring has resulted in the worst of all worlds: authoritarian resurgence in Egypt, and civil war and state failure in Syria, Libya and Yemen.


American Competitiveness

World risks ‘persistently’ weak growth: IMF

Katy Barnato

The global economy risks protracted “sub-par growth,” the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned on Thursday, as economists continue slicing their forecasts.

May be ‘well into’ 2016 before rate hike justified: Fed’s Evans


It could be “well into” next year before inflation has enough upward momentum to justify raising U.S. interest rates, a top Federal Reserve official said on Thursday, adding that rate increases thereafter should be very gradual.

Stocks slip as rate hike fears set in

Jane Onyanga-Omara / USA Today

The three major stock benchmarks lost 0.3% apiece Wednesday as Wall Street struggled to shake off worries about a potential Fed rate hike in December.


National Security & Strategy

Administration will soon be forced to confront big decisions on Syria

Karen DeYoung / The Washington Post

The Obama administration will be forced this weekend to grapple with major decisions on Syria that it has long resisted making but may now be unavoidable if the president’s diplomatic and military strategies there are to succeed.

China says Philippines must heal rift over South China Sea as Indonesia speaks out

Sui-Lee Wee / Reuters

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the Philippines’ case against China at an arbitration tribunal over rival claims in the South China Sea had strained relations and that it was up to the Philippines to heal the rift.

Chinese Scientists Unveil New Stealth Material Breakthrough

Patrcik Tucker / DefenseOne

A group of scientists from China may have created a stealth material that could make future fighter jets very difficult to detect by some of today’s most cutting-edge anti-stealth radar

Myanmar election: Military ‘will co-operate’ with new government


Min Aung Hlaing said the military would “do what is best in co-operation with the new government during the post-election period”.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy is on track for a majority, taking about 80% of declared seats.


Asymmetric Operations

Global push for end to Syria war seen as most serious yet

Bassem Mroue / The Associated Press

The international community is mounting its most serious effort yet to end the nearly 5-year-old Syrian war, rallying around a second round of talks in Vienna this weekend amid the emergence of a Russian proposal that calls for early elections.

Kurds, Backed by U.S. Air Power, Try to Regain Sinjar From ISIS

Michael R. Gordon / The New York Times

Kurdish forces aided by thousands of lightly armed Yazidi fighters began a long-awaited offensive early Thursday to reclaim Mount Sinjar and an accompanying town from the Islamic State, which seized the northern Iraqi territory last year and murdered, raped and enslaved thousands of Yazidis.

Krekar ‘jihadist network’ targeted in Europe terror raids


Police have targeted 17 people in raids in several European countries connected to a suspected jihadist network.


Climate Security

Paris climate deal must be legally binding, EU tells John Kerry

Arthur Neslen Brussels and Damian Carrington / The Guardian

The EU has warned the Obama administration that a global climate deal at the Paris summit must be legally binding, after the US secretary of state John Kerry said that it “definitively” would not be a treaty

Forget oil: Middle East may face climate crisis

Colin Chilcoat / USA Today

Outside of Dubai, the overhaul of oil-based economies is wholly incomplete, but it’s an idea that holds no less relevance as the region prepares for what could be an even greater challenge: climate change.


Energy Security

Russia’s Oil Rivalry With Saudis Masks the Bigger Iranian Threat

Dina Khrennikova / BloombergBusiness

Competition is growing in Russia’s biggest oil market. While Saudi Arabia’s encroachment in Europe is getting all the attention, the biggest threat comes from another part of the Middle East — Iran.

Abnormally normal

The Economist

From John Rockefeller’s Standard Oil in the late 1800s, through the Railroad Commission of Texas in 1930, to OPEC since 1960, institutions have long tried to control and stabilise the oil market for their own benefit. Only rarely, says Jason Bordoff, director of Columbia University’s Centre on Global Energy Policy, has the oil market behaved like a normal market, more subject to the laws of supply and demand than to the whims of a cartel. Now is one of them.


Nuclear Security

Iran Stops Removing Centrifuges under Political Pressure

Dana Stuster / Foreign Policy

Iran has reportedly stopped dismantling centrifuges at two nuclear enrichment facilities, according to Iranian state media. The hold on the removal of decommissioned centrifuges at Natanz and Fordow sites may have resulted from Iranian hardliners complaining to President Hassan Rouhani that the process was being rushed.

Iran ‘defies’ nuclear deal terms in new move


Iran has stopped dismantling centrifuges in two uranium enrichment plants, state media reported on Tuesday, days after conservative lawmakers complained to President Hassan Rowhani that the process was too rushed.


On Our Flashpoint Blog

As it Faces a Commodity Slump, Africa Needs a People-Centered Economy

John Bugnacki

After a decade of unprecedented growth, African economies appear to be in trouble. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is now forecasting an expansion of only 3.75% for the region during this year, down from 5.0% during 2014, and the economy of the southern African state of Zambia is among the worst affected.

What Constitutes Credibility in US Public Diplomacy

Matthew Wallin

As discussion ensues over how to combat ISIS online or counter Russian propaganda, it’s worth taking a look at the elements that lend to credible messaging. The importance of credibility cannot be underestimated, as it provides the initial basis by which members of a target audience decide to listen to one’s message in the first place.

Improving the Relationship Between the U.S. and Iran with Ambassador Thomas Pickering

Sam Hickey

On Monday November 2, 2015, Ambassador Thomas Pickering visited American University to address Improving the Relationship Between the U.S. and Iran. Ambassador Pickering has served as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Russia, India, Israel, Nigeria, Jordan and El Salvador. He has also served as Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Oceans, Environmental and Scientific Affairs and as Special Assistant to Secretaries of State William P. Rogers and Henry A. Kissinger.


Upcoming Events

TPP: Implications of the Trans-Pacific Partnership for Global and Regional Stability
November 19 @ 12:30pm – 2:00pm
This event will include a panel discussion featuring key leaders well versed in the economic and security impact of free trade from several TPP nations. The event will conclude with a keynote address from Representative Don Beyer (D, VA-8), former Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein.


ASP Recently Published

Climate Diplomacy: A Strategy for American Leadership
American Security Project       
In December, 2015, the world will gather in Paris in an attempt to finally address the challenge of climate change. The stakes are high: failure would only make addressing climate change more costly and difficult and could have repercussions on broader national security goals. But “Climate Diplomacy” is not just about a single conference in Paris: it must be a bipartisan, long-standing priority for the U.S. government.

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