Center for Strategic Communication

Key Reads

Why Closing Nuclear Power Plants is Short Sighted

Christine Todd Whitman / The Wall Street Journal
Low-carbon electricity matters more now than ever in light of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan. Today, nuclear energy provides more than 60% of our nation’s carbon-free electricity. Any credible and sustainable program to reduce carbon emissions must preserve existing nuclear-energy facilities, encourage license renewal to extend their safe operation and encourage the construction of the next generation of reactors. Nuclear energy is distinct in that it is the only carbon-free electricity source that produces electricity at a large scale around the clock.

New ISIS video warns of attack on Washington, D.C.
CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh reports on a new ISIS video that warns of an attack on Washington. CNN cannot independently confirm the authenticity of the video.

Paris attacks: Many arrested in raids across France
A total of 23 people have been arrested and dozens of weapons seized in a series of raids on suspected Islamist militants across France, officials say.
Paris attacks: ‘France is at war,’ Hollande says
Jenthro Mullen, Margot Haddad / CNN
Aircraft from the French carrier Charles de Gaulle will triple the country’s ability to carry out strikes against the Islamic State in the wake of Friday’s Paris terror attacks, President Francois Hollande said Monday.


American Competitiveness

Japan’s economy falls back into recession


Japan’s economy has fallen into recession again after it shrank 0.8% on an annualised basis in the third quarter. The preliminary data means the world’s third-largest economy has contracted for a second consecutive quarter, marking a technical recession.

Global stocks reverse losses as market impact from Paris attacks seem limited

Nigel Stephenson

European shares reversed early losses on Monday and the safe-haven yen fell against the dollar with analysts seeing no long-term economic impact from Friday’s attacks in Paris. Asian shares hit six-week lows as investors bought traditionally safe investments, including gold, the yen and low-risk government debt. However, gold came off the day’s highs, falls in bond yields moderated and the yen lost ground against the dollar.

Oil Prices Rise With French Airstrikes, May Fall From Terrorist Attacks

Alan Neuhauser

France expanded its air campaign over Syria this weekend in the wake of Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris, sending oil prices slightly higher Monday morning. The gains, however, are unlikely to last
One week after benchmark Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude prices fell by as much as 8 percent – dragged down by a glut of supply and lackluster demand – they ticked up Monday morning to about $42 and $45 a barrel, respectively – rises of about 88 cents and 57 cents.


National Security & Strategy

Paris attacks: Two US states put on hold taking Syria refugees


Two US governors have said they are putting on hold programmes to resettle Syrian refugees in their states. Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan said he was suspending the acceptance of new refugees until a security review could be completed. In Alabama, which has not accepted any Syrian refugees, Governor Robert Bentley said he would oppose the settlement of any in the future

Obama Rejects Calls to Send U.S. Ground Troops to Syria Fight

Toluse Olorunnipa / Bloomberg

Dispatching a major U.S. ground force against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq would be a serious mistake and lead the nation into an unsustainable strategy requiring a long-term occupation in the region, President Barack Obama said.

Putin Goes From G-20 Pariah to Player at Obama Turkey Talk

Ilya Arkhipiov, Toluse Olorunnipa / Bloomberg

The sidelines of summits are full of talks between leaders, their ministers and aides, but the huddle between Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin at the Group of 20 in Turkey Sunday was heavy with significance.

Vladimir Putin: Paris attacks have triggered a ‘revival’ in Russia-UK relations

Matt Dathan / The Independent

Vladimir Putin has said the terror attacks on Paris has triggered a “revival” in relations between the UK and Russia after meeting with David Cameron.


Asymmetric Operations

Paris attacks: Fighting Islamic State at home and abroad

Jonathan Marcus / BBC

French President Francois Hollande has spoken of waging “a pitiless war” against those responsible for the latest horrors in Paris. The rhetoric is strong. Security has been stepped up. Troops have been drafted in. But the weekend’s bomb attacks and shootings have highlighted once again the difficulties in providing total security in a modern, open Western capital.

US-led strikes destroy 116 IS fuel trucks in east Syria


Strikes by the US-led air coalition fighting the Islamic State group destroyed 116 fuel trucks used by the jihadist organisation in eastern Syria, the Pentagon said on Monday. In a statement, the Pentagon said the trucks were destroyed in a single strike on Sunday near Albu Kamal, an IS-held town in Deir Ezzor province along Syria’s border with Iraq.

‘Anonymous’ Hackers Declare War on ISIS in Video Message

Holly Ellyatt / CNBC

The hacker group Anonymous has apparently responded to the attacks on Paris by posting a video declaration of war against ISIS. In the as-yet-unverified video, posted on YouTube, a spokesperson wearing the group’s signature Guy Fawkes mask said the group of hackers would use its expertise to wage “war” on the militant group. “Expect massive cyber attacks. War is declared. Get prepared,” the announcer says in French.


Climate Security

‘High impacts’ from globally stronger El Nino

Matt McGrath / BBC

The El Niño weather event is expected to gain in strength before the end of this year, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). In its latest update, the WMO says the 2015 occurrence will be among the three strongest recorded since 1950.

Why Climate Change and Terrorism Are Connected
Justin Worland / Time

U.S. military officials refer to climate change as a “threat multiplier” that takes issues like terrorism that would pose a threat to national security and exacerbates the damage they can cause. A 2014 Department of Defensereport identifies climate change as the root of government instability that leads to widespread migration, damages infrastructure and leads to the spread of disease. “These gaps in governance can create an avenue for extremist ideologies and conditions that foster terrorism,” the report says.

How Pope Francis is Changing the Climate Change Conversation

Marshall Shepherd

A study, The Francis Effect: How Pope Francis Changed The Conversation About Global Warming, was just released by George Mason University and Yale University, respectively. As a weather-climate scientist, I have spoken to a variety of people over the past 20 years including Congress, White House officials, civic organizations, and academic institutions. In recent years, I have noticed more invitations from faith-based organizations. I have often wondered if the Pope and faith communities are changing the discussion on the topic.


Energy Security

Africa and China sign nuclear energy cooperation pact

Al Arabiya News

Nuclear energy regulators in South Africa and China have signed a technical cooperation agreement as Africa’s most industrialized economy presses forward with controversial plans to build eight new nuclear reactors.

Coal not going away anytime soon despite renewables push

Louise Watt /

Coal’s future is closely tied to China, the world’s biggest coal user, producer and importer. It burns 4 billion tons of coal a year, four times as much as the United States.

Coal accounts for nearly two-thirds of China’s energy, but in 2014 its coal consumption fell 2.9 percent year-on-year according to official statistics, or 2.6 percent according to the IEEFA report—the first annual decrease in 15 years. A revision to official Chinese data released earlier this year showed the country had greatly underestimated its coal consumption from 2000 to 2013, but still showed a dip last year.


Nuclear Security
SKorea reports say UN chief to visit North Korea for possible meeting with leader Kim Jong Un

Hyung-Jin Kim, Associated Press

If the trip does take place, Ban would be the first U.N. head to visit North Korea since Boutros Boutros-Ghali in 1993. Yonhap, quoting another unidentified U.N. source, said Ban is expected to meet Kim because it’s unlikely for the secretary general to visit a U.N. member state without meeting the country’s leader. That source was quoted as saying Ban’s trip could serve as a breakthrough in the standoff over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and strained ties between the two Koreas. Ban was South Korea’s foreign minister before taking up the top U.N. job.



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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