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Islamic State-linked militants besiege Philippine city
AP
Islamic State group-linked militants swept through a southern Philippine city, beheading a police chief, burning buildings, seizing a Catholic priest and his worshippers and raising the black flag of IS, authorities said Wednesday. President Rodrigo Duterte, who had declared martial law across the southern third of the nation, warned he may expand it nationwide.

Trump holds first face-to-face talks with Pope Francis
Katya Adler / BBC

US President Donald Trump has met Pope Francis for a short private audience on the third leg of his overseas trip. The Vatican said after the meeting that there had been an “exchange of views” on international issues, and spoke of the need to continue good relations.
 


American Competitiveness

Moody’s downgrades China over surging debt fears

Al Jazeera

International ratings agency Moody’s on Wednesday cut China’s credit rating for the first time in nearly 30 years over concerns about its growing debt mountain.

Dollar hovers above 6-1/2-month lows ahead of Fed minutes

Saqib Iqbal Ahmed / Reuters

The dollar hovered just above 6-1/2-month lows on Wednesday, as investors’ focus shifted from U.S. politics to monetary policy ahead of the release of the minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s meeting in early May.

The Problem With China’s One Belt, One Road Strategy

Spencer Sheehan / The Diplomat

China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) strategy signals a global infrastructure spending spree worth an estimated $1 trillion but it ignores a crucial factor: namely, that China has a patchy record of delivering efficient projects both at home and abroad.

 

National Security & Strategy

Kofi Annan says Trump should talk to Iran

Edith Lederer / Fox News

Former U.N. chief Kofi Annan said Tuesday that U.S. President Donald Trump should reach out and talk to Iran, which by signing a nuclear deal with six major powers and re-electing President Hassan Rouhani is trying to reach out to the world.

 

Asymmetric Operations

US officials: Navy SEALs kill 7 militants in Yemen raid
Zachary Cohen, Barbara Starr, Ryan Browne / CNN
US Navy SEALs killed seven militants associated with the terrorist group al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula after carrying out a raid on a compound in Yemen, US Central Command said Tuesday.

Bahrain unrest: Death toll from raid on cleric’s home rises to five

BBC

The death toll from Tuesday’s raid by Bahraini police on the home of the Sunni-ruled kingdom’s most prominent Shia cleric has risen to five. The interior ministry said 286 people were also arrested after officers came “under attack by members of a terrorist cell” in the village of Diraz.

 

Climate Security

France’s Macron to try to convince Trump to back Paris accords

John Irish, Marine Pennetier / Reuters
French President Emmanuel Macron will seek to convince his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump on Thursday to stick to a global deal to combat climate change ahead of a Group of Seven leaders where there is currently no consensus on the matter, diplomats said.

 

Energy Security

Jump in renewable energy jobs worldwide
AFP
The renewable energy sector employed 9.8 million people worldwide in 2016, marking a sharp increase from 2012, the Abu Dhabi-based International Renewable Energy Agency said on Wednesday.

As oil prices languish, signs emerge of Algeria changing its energy ways

Lamine Chikhi, Patrick Markey / Reuters

Algeria is showing a new urgency and flexibility as its depleted energy earnings and competition in its European market test government nerves – and the state budget, which relies on energy for 60 percent of its revenue.

U.S. inventories of oil, gasoline fall: EIA

David Gaffen / Reuters

U.S. crude stocks fell last week as refineries hiked output, while gasoline stocks decreased and distillate inventories fell, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

 

Nuclear Security

China says no one should bring chaos to Korean peninsula

Michael Martina / Reuters
China said on Wednesday no one had the right to bring chaos to the Korean peninsula, a day after it pushed for full implementation of U.N. sanctions against neighboring North Korea for its missile and nuclear tests and called for dialogue.

North Korea on ‘inevitable’ path to nuclear ICBM: US

Al Jazeera

DIA chief says if left unchecked, it’s only a matter of time before Pyongyang can strike the US with a nuclear missile.

Trump tells Duterte of two U.S. nuclear subs in Korean waters

Karen Lema / Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump told his Philippine counterpart that Washington has sent two nuclear submarines to waters off the Korean peninsula, the New York Times said, comments likely to raise questions about his handling of sensitive information.

 

Recently Published Reports

Perspective: Preventing the World’s Next Refugee Crisis
J. Jordan Burns
In an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, four countries: Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen are all on the verge of famine at the same time. A catastrophe of this magnitude would perpetuate mass migrations of people as well as create environments for terrorist groups to prosper. This report details the unique factors that have driven each of these four countries to their current levels of instability while also discussing their common challenges.

U.S.-Russia Cooperation
John Keaney
As the world’s foremost nuclear powers, the relationship between the United States and Russia bears special significance for global security. While the US and Russia frequently find themselves on the opposite ends of important issues at the heart of their national interests, the inherent risk of armed conflict between the world’s strongest nuclear powers mandates that both countries work to reduce risk.

 

On Our Flashpoint Blog

India Will Complicate the United States’ Russia Policy

Ricky Gandhi / ASP Junior Adjunct Fellow

India’s rise as a global geopolitical force has garnered worldwide attention, especially by the United States and Russia. Both countries see India as not only a prominent economic partner, but a military one as well. As a result, both countries have greatly increased their outreach to New Delhi.

ASP Cuba Delegation Members Pen Op-Ed on Cuba Policy in Politco

American Security Project

Early this week, Major General Paul Eaton and Brigadier General Dave McGinnis authored an op-ed on the national security argument for US-Cuba relations in Politco. Both Eaton and McGinnis participated in ASP’s March 2017 Track II trip to Havana, Cuba.

Puerto Rico’s Day in Court

Clark Derrington / ASP Junior Adjunct Fellow

The Fiscal Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico, created by Congress in 2016 as part of the PROMESA legislation, has used its most powerful tool in the territory’s ongoing debt crisis. In response to creditors’ lawsuits the Board and Governor Ricardo Rosselló are seeking court-ordered restructuring of approximately half of Puerto Rico’s outstanding debt.

Inaction on Cuba Harms American Interests

Andrew Holland

Two and a half years ago, the United States and Cuba agreed to put the shared history of the past five decades behind them. On December 17, 2014, the two countries agreed to a framework of action that would result in the resumption of formal diplomatic relations, re-establishment of direct travel connections, and an easing of barriers to trade. Today, however, that process of normalization remains incomplete.

ASP’s Andrew Holland featured in Foreign Policy Article
American Security Project
ASP’s Director of Studies and Senior Fellow for Energy and Climate, Andrew Holland was quoted in Robbie Gramer’s Foreign Policy article, ‘Trump Wants New Aircraft Carriers to Turn Back to ‘Godamned Steam’ Power Catapults.’

ASP Thanks Senators Collins, Graham and McCain for Opposing Methane Waste
American Security Project
The Senate voted 49-51 against removing regulations on methane leakage. Senators Collins, Graham, and McCain voted for energy security and against waste.

U.S. Ending Term As Chair of Arctic Council – But Must Remain Arctic-Focused
Andrew Holland
The U.S. has successfully chaired the Arctic Council for two years, making substantial advances, but we must remain focused on the Arctic: everyone else is.

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