What We Are Reading

What We Are Reading

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Key Reads


Iran nuclear deal is working

The Editorial Board / USA Today

During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump reserved some of his strongest contempt for the Iran nuclear agreement negotiated by his predecessor, at various times calling it “one of the dumbest deals I’ve ever seen,” “amateur hour” and “a disaster.” His first priority, Trump promised, would be to “dismantle” it.


Kuwait shuts Iran cultural mission, expels some diplomats

Hussain Al-Qatari / The Washington Post

Kuwait said Thursday it is shutting the Iranian cultural mission to the country and calling for a reduction in the number of Iranian diplomats stationed there, deepening a rift between the Gulf Arab states and Tehran. The official Kuwait News Agency announced the move in a brief statement Thursday. It linked the decision to the case of a terrorist cell broken up in 2015 that authorities allege had contacts with Iran and the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah.



National Security & Strategy


Dissident Chinese billionaire says China has 25,000 spies in the US

Bill Gertz / Business Insider

Beijing’s spy networks in the United States include up to 25,000 Chinese intelligence officers and more than 15,000 recruited agents who have stepped up offensive spying activities since 2012, according to a Chinese dissident with close ties to Beijing’s military and intelligence establishment.


India ready for talks with China on border standoff

Ashok Sharma / The Washington Post

India said Thursday it is ready to hold talks with China if both sides pull back their forces to end a standoff along a disputed territory high in the Himalayan mountains. Tensions flared last month in the southernmost part of Tibet in an area also claimed by Indian ally Bhutan, after Chinese teams began building a road onto the Doklam Plateau.



American Competitiveness


U.S. weekly jobless claims fall to near five-month low

Lucia Mutikani / Reuters

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, touching its lowest level in nearly five months, suggesting strong job gains that should continue to underpin economic growth.


US and China talks in Washington end in deadlock as threat of trade war rises

Zhenhua Lu / South China Morning Post

China and the US failed to reach an agreement on trade at the first Comprehensive Economic Dialogue in Washington on Wednesday, casting a shadow over their trade relations amid White House’s threats to impose steel and aluminium tariffs on Beijing.


Draghi Says Officials ‘Aren’t There Yet’ as ECB Keeps Stimulus
Carolynn Look / Bloomberg

Mario Draghi said policy makers are still waiting for inflation to catch up with the economic recovery as they put off discussions on winding back stimulus until after the summer.


U.S. fines Exxon Mobil over Russia sanctions violations


The U.S. Treasury Department on Thursday said it was fining global oil company Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) $2 million for violating sanctions on Russia in May 2014. The heads of the company’s U.S. subsidiaries signed eight documents between May 14 and May 23, 2014 with Igor Sechin, the head of Russia’s largest oil producer, Rosneft, Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control said in a statement on its website.



Asymmetric Operations


U.S. to deploy officials in Qatar in counter-terrorism accord: sources

Tom Finn & Sylvia Westall / Reuters

The United States will post officials at the Qatari state prosecutor’s office as part of a Qatari-U.S. agreement signed this month to fight the financing of terrorism, people familiar with the matter said. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reached the deal with Qatar during a round of shuttle diplomacy aimed at ending a diplomatic crisis in the Gulf. The agreement has not been approved by the four U.S.-allied Arab states which accuse Doha of aiding terrorists – charges Qatar denies.


Syria ceasefire brokered by US, Russia holding, but with flaws, ‘tricks’ in play

Hollie McKay / Fox News

The ceasefire brokered by the Putin and Trump administrations went into effect earlier this month and has – for the most part – brought peace to a small strip of war-torn southwestern Syria. But the accord is vulnerable



Climate Security


Scientist spreads the word on climate change — by biking across America

Jack Pointer / WTOP

David Goodrich has retired from a career in climate science, but he hasn’t stopped warning about climate change’s catastrophic dangers. Goodrich worked in the field for decades. He ran the U.S. Global Change Research Program office and even served as director of the Global Climate Observing System.


Climate Change Will Be Very Bad For Dallas County

Alex Macon / D Magazine

The most talked-about effects of climate change—rising sea levels and soaring temperatures—can seem distant from Dallas. We’re far from the coast, and we’re used to the heat. But even if the worst case global scenario is prevented, Dallas won’t be exempt from the fallout that comes with a hotter planet.



Energy Security


Will proposed cuts undermine Trump’s vision of ‘energy dominance’?

Steven Mufson & Chris Mooney / The Washington Post

On May 22, a day before the release of the Trump budget, senior Energy Department officials completed a presentation about a proposed 69 percent cut in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The first slide featured sunny photos of an electric car charger,a wind turbine, a transmission stanchion, and a house with solar panels and an American flag.


In the push to deliver on campaign promises, Interior’s energy drive looms large

Juliet Eilperin / The Washington Post

With control over more than 500 million acres of public land and hundreds of millions of acres offshore, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is moving rapidly to promote American production of coal, oil and gas — a critical piece of President Trump’s vision for “making America great again.”



Nuclear Security


Less than one aircraft carrier? The cost of North Korea’s nukes

Barbara Starr / CNBC

When North Korea decided to go nuclear, it committed to a huge investment in a program that would bring severe sanctions and eat up precious resources that could have been spent boosting the nation’s quality of life. Money well spent? Leader Kim Jong Un seems to think so.


North Korea’s Next Missle Test Could be Launched from a Submarine

Conor Gaffey / Newsweek

Two U.S. defense officials told CNN on Thursday that a North Korean submarine was engaged in “unusual deployment activity” over the past 48 hours. The 65-meter-long submarine has sailed 62 miles out into international waters in the Sea of Japan/ East Sea, farther than the vessel has ever gone before.


US intelligence shows North Korean preparations for a possible missile test

Barbara Starr & Ryan Browne / CNN

CNN has learned that US intelligence indicates that North Korea is making preparations for another intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) or intermediate range missile test.


Russia, U.S. duel at U.N. over whether North Korea fired long-range missile

Michelle Nichols / Reuters

The United States and Russia are waging rival campaigns at the United Nations Security Council over the type of ballistic missile fired by North Korea earlier this month as the U.S. pushes to impose stronger sanctions on Pyongyang over the test.



US-Russia Relationship


US conglomerates lobby against Russia sanctions

Jeremy Herb / CNN

The Senate’s Russia sanctions legislation has generated objections from a wide array of US business industries, which have undertaken a lobbying campaign on Capitol Hill to try to make changes to the bill.


Russia says talks underway on joint U.S. cybersecurity unit

CBS News

A Russian official was quoted by the country’s government-run media on Thursday as saying Moscow and the U.S. government were in talks about establishing a joint cybersecurity unit — a prospect first raised, and then seemingly dismissed by President Trump after he met with Vladimir Putin.



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.



On Our Flashpoint Blog


Prospects for US-Russian Cooperation

Lincoln Webb

The Trump administration has on multiple occasions stated that it would like to mend relations with the Russian Federation. Presumably, this was at least one goal that the Trump team had in mind going into the bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this month in Hamburg, Germany.


ASP CEO Stephen Cheney Featured in WUCF TV’s Global Perspectives

American Security Project

On Sunday, July 16th, ASP’s CEO Brigadier General Stephen Cheney, USMC (Ret.) was featured on the “Global Perspectives” program of PBS affiliate WUCF TV.


General Cheney Acts as Expert Witness at Senate hearing on Energy Security

Cara Capoccitti

The Senate Committee on Energy and National Resources held a hearing to examine the status and outlook for United States energy and resource security. ASP’s CEO, General Cheney, was one of the expert witnesses featured to speak on the panel. General Cheney discussed the importance of diversifying American energy resources and addressing the potential threats to energy security.


An Alternative to Military Intervention in North Korea

Shannon McKeown

With the news that the Trump Administration has a military option for dealing with North Korea, the Administration must consider alternative scenarios to diffuse tension on the Korean peninsula.


ASP Commends Congress Support for DoD Action on Climate Change

Esther Babson

The American Security Project commends Members of the House of Representatives for voting on the House Floor to strike down Representative Perry’s Amendment (#390) to the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).


Saudi Arabia’s New Crown Prince and His Vision for Oil

Cara Capoccitti

Prince Mohammed bin Salman is the newly appointed Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. His critics consider him too young, impetuous, and lacking the proper qualifications. Others say his youth and relative liberalism will drive his largely traditionalist country into the 21st century. Either way, the Crown Prince is inheriting a nation consumed by economic turmoil and in desperate need of reform.


ASP’s General Cheney Speaks at House Science Committee Round-Table

Cara Capoccitti

Yesterday the House Science Committee held a “Science & Policy Perspectives” round-table discussion regarding the national security implications of climate change. ASP’s CEO, General Stephen Cheney, was one of the featured retired military officers who participated in the round-table. General Cheney expressed his concerns over the clear threat that climate change presents to our national security.


Tri-Alpha Energy Achieves Major Step Towards Commercial-Grade Nuclear Fusion Energy

David Woodside

On July 10, 2017, Tri-Alpha Energy, a nuclear fusion energy start-up, achieved the first plasma in its fifth and newest reactor, Norman.


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