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Key Reads

Secretary of State Tillerson urges U.N. to act ‘before North Korea does’

Reuters

In remarks to the U.N. Security Council, Tillerson called on the international community to fully implement U.N. sanctions and to suspend or downgrade diplomatic relations with Pyongyang.

Macron set to win French presidency, but Le Pen gains ground: Odoxa poll
Maya Nikolaeva / Reuters
A new Odoxa survey of voter intentions said centrist Emmanuel Macron would win the French presidency in a May 7 vote, but that his share of the vote would be 59 percent, down four percentage points from its previous survey.

 

 

American Competitiveness & Economic Diplomacy

US economic growth weakened to 0.7 percent in first quarter
Martin Crutsinger / ABC News
The U.S. economy turned in the weakest performance in three years in the January-March quarter as consumers sharply slowed their spending

 

 

Asymmetric Operations

London Terror: ‘Active Plot’ Foiled in U.K. Police Raid
Saphora Smith / NBC News
British police say they foiled an active terror plot after armed police stormed an address in London Thursday evening.

 

 

Climate Security

Drought in America falls to 17-year low

Jason Samenow / Washington Post

Abundant winter and spring rains have decimated large regions of drought that afflicted the nation. On Thursday, the federal government’s U.S. Drought Monitor declared that only 6 percent of nation was affected by drought conditions, the lowest percentage since it began its assessments in 2000.

 

 

National Security Strategy

Tillerson Seeking 9% Cut to U.S. State Department Workforce

Nick Wadhams / Bloomberg

The State Department plans to cut 2,300 U.S. diplomats and civil servants — about 9 percent of the Americans in its workforce worldwide — as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson presses ahead with his task of slashing the agency’s budget, according to people familiar with the matter.

Angry nationalists storm Macedonian parliament

Milena Viselinovic / CNN

Violence broke out in Macedonia’s Parliament on Thursday after an ethnic Albanian MP was elected speaker, sparking outrage from nationalists

 

 

National Security & Space

SpaceX prepares for its first big NRO launch

Phillip Swarts / Space News

Preparations are underway for SpaceX’s first big launch for the National Reconnaissance Office, a classified mission slated to lift off early Sunday from Florida.

 

 

Nuclear Security

South Korea Rejects Trump’s $1B THAAD Demand

Brian Padden / VOA

The South Korean government has quickly refuted U.S. President Donald Trump’s call for Seoul to pay $1 billion for the THAAD missile defense system.

 

 

U.S.-Russia Relations

Russia Unveils New Bill to Transform Crimea Into Tax Haven
Katie Davies / The Moscow Times
The annexed peninsula of Crimea could be transformed into a tax haven under new legislation set to appear before the Russian parliament

The ruble is gaining after Russia’s central bank surprises with a bigger than expected rate cut
Elena Holodny / Business Insider
The Russian central bank lowered rates earlier Friday by 50 basis points to 9.25%. Most economists were expecting a 25 basis point cut.

 

 

Recently Published Reports

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

Tightening the Leash: The Kremlin and Eastern Ukraine
John Keaney
Russian actions over the course of 2016 and early 2017 fit a pattern of asserting further control over the movements through economic and political integration, indoctrination, and force.

Dante Disparte Weighs in on Recent Expropriation of GM’s Assets in Venezuela

The American Security Project
Dante Disparte, ASP and BCAS Chairperson, has written a new piece in the Huffington Post discussing political risk and what can be done about it.

ASP Statement in Support of US-Cuba Engagement
American Security Project
In a letter sent today organized by the American Security Project, 16 retired military officers urged the White House to prioritize U.S. national security.

ASP CEO BGen Stephen A. Cheney featured in The Hill
American Security Project
On Tuesday, April 18, an op-ed authored by ASP’s CEO BGen. Stephen Cheney‘s titled, “Upholding the BLM Methane rule is a no-brainer for our energy security and a stronger America” was featured in The Hill.

Disrupting the Russian-Iranian Rapprochement
Katharine Nasielski / WiSe Fellow
The Syrian Civil War will have innumerable humanitarian and political consequences, but the increasingly close relationship between Russia and Iran in support of President Assad’s regime may be one of the most significant outcomes of this six-year war.

Bankrupt Westinghouse Should Go to an Ally, not a Rival
J. Jordan Burns
The U.S. has been a leader in nuclear power since the first time we split the atom, but recent developments indicate that this position is slipping. The most recent signal of U.S. decline in the nuclear energy business is the bankruptcy of Westinghouse Electric Co., which had been owned by the Japanese conglomerate Toshiba.

Climate Change and National Security in Nevada
Esther Babson
ASP organized a trip to Las Vegas, Nevada to discuss the security threats of climate change both to Nevada and world at large. ASP’s BGen. Stephen Xenakis spoke at multiple events to local government and business leaders, highlighting the importance of addressing climate change.

100 Years After U.S. Entry into World War I
Matthew Wallin
Today marks 100 years since the United States entered the First World War, a war with implications we are still directly dealing with today. Despite that war being the war to end all wars, it did anything but.

 

 

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