Center for Strategic Communication

Key Reads

Kurdish forces seize Iraq’s Sinjar town from Islamic State

Isabel Coles / Reuters

Kurdish peshmerga forces backed by U.S. air strikes seized the Iraqi town of Sinjar from Islamic State on Friday, a Reuters witness said, in one of the most significant counter-attacks since the militants swept through the north last year.

The beheading of a 9-year-old girl prompted huge protests in Afghanistan
Ishaan Tharoor / The Washington Post

Protests and demonstrations have broken out in cities across Afghanistan this week in the wake of the massacre of seven people from the Hazara ethnic minority. The decapitated bodies of four men, two women and a child were found Saturday in a rural town in the southern province of Zabul. The attacks were carried out by militants who some suspect are linked to the Islamic State.

India, UK Announce Deals Worth 9 Billion Pounds

India and the UK today announced deals worth 9-billion pounds as they signed a civil nuclear pact and decided to collaborate in the field of defence and cyber security besides launching a railway rupee bond.


American Competitiveness

How the U.S. should respond to the rise of India

Charles R. Kaye, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Alyssa Ayres / Fortune

Because of the economic, national security, and global policy potential India presents, a rising India offers one of the most significant opportunities to advance American national interests over the next two decades.

France’s Mauna Kea eyes surgical technology partnership by end 2015


French medical technology company Mauna Kea could sign a partnership by the end of the year that would allow it to accelerate the commercial development of a small microscope approved by U.S. regulators for use in surgical procedures to diagnose cancer, its chief executive told Reuters.

US Producer Prices Drop in Latest Sign of Tame Inflation

Christopher S. Rugaber / The Associated Press

The prices charged by farmers, manufacturers and other producers fell in October for the second straight month, fresh evidence that there is little sign of inflation in the U.S. economy.


National Security & Strategy

U.S. bombers flew near China-built islands in South China Sea: Pentagon

Yeganeh Torbati, David Alexander / Reuters

Two U.S. B-52 strategic bombers flew near artificial Chinese-built islands in the South China Sea this week and were contacted by Chinese ground controllers but continued their mission undeterred, the Pentagon said on Thursday.


Asymmetric Operations


‘Cameron: Not Certain ‘Jihadi John’ Dead
Lolita C. Baldor / The Associated Press

A U.S. drone strike targeted a vehicle in Syria believed to be transporting the masked Islamic State militant known as “Jihadi John,” according to American officials. Whether the strike killed the British man who appears in several videos depicting the beheadings of Western hostages was not known, British Prime Minister David Cameron said Friday.

U.S. ‘Pretty Damn Sure’ It Killed Jihadi John, ISIS Beheader of Americans

Kate Brannen / The Daily Beast

A U.S. defense official told The Daily Beast that the U.S. military followed Emwazi for the better part of a day leading up to the strike, which happened as he left a building. While officials cannot officially say he is dead—and won’t be able to for some time—they are all but certain. “We are pretty damn sure he is dead,” the defense official said.

ISIS threatens Russia in new video

Salma Abdelaziz, Alex Felton / CNN

ISIS on Thursday purportedly released a video and audio statement threatening to attack Russia “very soon.” In the nearly five-minute long video, a chant in Russian is heard over visual compilations of old ISIS propaganda and generic video of Russian cities and buildings.


Climate Security


Glut of Coal-Fired Plants Casts Doubts on China’s Energy Priorities

Edward Wong / The New York Times
China’s state-controlled economy creates strong incentives for provinces to manage their own energy sources to generate jobs and revenue. Coal plants have long been the easiest, fastest way for provinces to meet their own energy needs and stimulate local economic growth. That system has created what appears to be a disconnect between the provincial building boom and the country’s overall energy requirements, making it harder for China to convert to a system that is not dominated by dirty fuel.

Climate Change: A Threat to Security and Stability Everywhere

Secretary John Kerry / Medium

It is because — by fueling extreme weather events, undermining our military readiness, exacerbating conflicts around the world — climate change is a threat to the security of the United States and to the security and stability of countries everywhere.

India is Caught in a Climate Change Quandary

Eduardo Porter / The New York Times

The livelihoods of 600 million Indians are threatened by the expected disruption of the southwest monsoon from July to September, which accounts for 70 percent of India’s rainfall. India’s rivers depend on the health of thousands of Himalayan glaciers at risk of melting because of a warming climate, while 150 million people are at risk from storm surges associated with rising sea levels.

France Says Climate Talks Must Produce Binding Deal

Aurelien Breeden / The New York Times

French officials said on Thursday that any agreement at the coming climate conference in Paris would have to be legally binding, expressing alarm at comments by the American secretary of state that suggested the opposite.


Energy Security


The Hottest Energy Trade: A Ride Aboard the Colonial Pipeline

Nicole Friedman / The Wall Street Journal

Energy companies and trading firms are scrambling for space on the nation’s biggest refined-fuel pipeline, as U.S. infrastructure fails to keep pace with the oil boom. The Colonial Pipeline, which covers 5,500 miles stretching from Texas to New Jersey and delivers about 40% of the gasoline consumed on the East Coast, is full. Completed in 1964 and stretching across 13 states, the pipeline is the primary artery connecting the Gulf Coast, where much of the nation’s gasoline, diesel and jet fuel is produced, to the East Coast, the biggest-consuming region.

White House Gets Behind Nuclear Power to Fight Climate Change

James Conca / Forbes

Kirsten Cutler, the Obama administration’s assistant director for nuclear energy and nonproliferation, said, “[This Nuclear Summit] provided valuable insights on why maintaining U.S. leadership in nuclear energy is important for supporting economic competitiveness and jobs creation, enhancing international nuclear safety, security standards and nonproliferation controls, and enabling the next generation of nuclear scientists, engineers, and technology developers to build the future of nuclear energy.”


Nuclear Security

Russia reveals giant nuclear torpedo in state TV ‘leak’
The Kremlin says secret plans for a Russian long-range nuclear torpedo – called “Status-6” – should not have appeared on Russian TV news. The leak happened during a report on state-run Channel One about President Vladimir Putin meeting military chiefs in the city of Sochi.

On Our Flashpoint Blog

Want America to Remain Exceptional? Try Leading on Climate Change

Greg Wilsey

It is time to realize that even if you believe that climate change is only possible, we have a responsibility as the greatest country in the world to do something about it.  Not just because we are one of the largest causes of this risk, and not just because we have the resources to do something about it, and not just because climate change could really harm the United States and our personal interests.


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.


Upcoming Events


TPP: Implication of the Trans-Pacific Partnership for Global and regional Stability

November 19 @ 12:00pm – 2:00pm

Final negotiations on TPP concluded on October 5th, 2015 and the long-awaited trade deal now begins a 90-day waiting period before being brought for discussion and vote by the United States Congress.


ASP Recently Published
Perspective – 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. This paper lays out why climate diplomacy is important and a strategy to deploy it.

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