What We Are Reading

What We Are Reading

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Four months after a disputed Presidential election in Guyana, the results are still out, and American observers are beginning to take note. I wrote about this a few months ago, and little has changed. This matters because Guyana could be a leader in showing how to build energy security and resilience in South American and the Caribbean – but this political stalemate has stopped all policy.

-Andrew Holland, ASP COO 


Key Reads

President Bolsonaro of Brazil Tests Positive for Coronavirus
Ernesto Londoño / The New York Times
President Jair Bolsonaro disclosed Tuesday that he has the coronavirus, turbocharging the debate over his cavalier handling of a pandemic that has killed more than 65,000 Brazilians.

Why Guyana’s political stalemate matters
Ishaan Tharoor / The Washington Post
Guyana is entering its fifth month of political paralysis since the results of a March 2 presidential election were thrown into question by allegations of vote-rigging and fraud.

In Hong Kong, a Proxy Battle Over Internet Freedom Begins
Paul Mozur / The New York Times
As the city grapples with new restrictions on online speech, American tech giants are on the front line of a clash between China and the United States over the internet’s future.


American Competitiveness

Governments Eye a Green Economic Recovery. Some Industries Aren’t Convinced.
Sarah McFarlane / The Wall Street Journal
Governments around the world are spending like never before to kick-start their economies in the wake of Covid-19 lockdowns, in many cases tying green initiatives to rescue packages, even as some industries say saving jobs should trump environmental concerns.



Russian watchdog seeks $2 billion in damages from Nornickel over Arctic fuel spill
Anastasia Lyrchikova et al. / Reuters
Russia’s environmental watchdog has asked a power subsidiary of Russian mining giant Norilsk Nickel (Nornickel) to pay almost 148 billion roubles ($2 billion) in damages over an Arctic fuel spill in Siberia.

Arctic explorers find unusually thin ice as a result of climate change
Adam Vaughan / NewScientist
The biggest ever science expedition to the Arctic encountered extremely thin sea ice, which could threaten future efforts to study the region.


Asymmetric Operations

Hisham al-Hashimi: Leading Iraqi security expert shot dead in Baghdad
Lyse Doucet / BBC News
A leading Iraqi expert on armed groups, who advised governments and appeared frequently in the media, has been shot dead in the capital, Baghdad.

UN chief warns COVID-19 provides opportunity for terrorists
Edith M. Lederer / The Associated Press
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned Monday that the COVID-19 pandemic provides new opportunities for the Islamic State extremist group, al-Qaida and their affiliates as well as neo-Nazis, white supremacists and hate groups.

Duterte’s anti-terrorism law challenged in Philippines’ top court
Yahoo News
Critics of a new anti-terrorism law in the Philippines called on the country’s highest court Monday to suspend the legislation, arguing it threatens human rights and freedom of speech.

Taliban violence poses ‘serious challenges’ to peace
Al Jazeera
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has warned that violence by the Taliban is threatening the country’s peace process, as he briefed the international community on Kabul’s preparations for peace talks with the armed group.


Climate Security

Economists Warn That a Hotter World Will Be Poorer and More Unequal
Eric Roston / Bloomberg
Hotter temperatures by 2100 could slash global GDP by more than 20%, according to new research, and the way the economic impact will be distributed threatens to turn climate change into an enormous driver of worldwide inequality.


Energy Security

The World Can’t Take Much More Shale Gas
Ryan Dezember / The Wall Street Journal
The international trade in liquefied natural gas, or LNG, has collapsed, squeezing an important outlet for U.S. shale gas.


National Security Strategy

Teachers face threats, books are banned as China pushes party line in Hong Kong schools
Shibani Mahtani and Timothy McLaughlin / The Washington Post
As China’s Communist Party dismantles Hong Kong’s freedoms, teachers are facing pressure to toe Beijing’s line.


Nuclear Security

Signs increasingly point to sabotage in fiery explosion at Iranian nuclear complex
Joby Warrick et al. / The Washington Post
A massive explosion and fire at a highly sensitive Iranian nuclear facility last week was likely an act of sabotage, intelligence officials and weapons experts said Monday, but analysts were divided over the severity of the damage to Iran’s nuclear program.


Public Diplomacy

International students may need to leave US if their universities transition to online-only learning
Priscilla Alvarez and Catherine E. Shoichet / CNN
International students who are pursuing degrees in the United States will have to leave the country or risk deportation if their universities switch to online-only courses, Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced Monday.


Recent Reports

Perspective – Choosing the American Model: Development Finance as a Soft Power Tool in Africa
John Madeira
This report explores how development finance can be a soft power tool, its relationship to national security, Chinese investment in Africa, and why the U.S. model for development finance is superior to the Chinese model.

Perspective – Beijing’s Quandary: Clean or Dirty Growth?
Alexandra Hackbarth
China’s leadership faces a difficult quandary: how best to balance economic growth and reductions in carbon emissions. In the wake of coronavirus, this balance becomes even more important and difficult. Decisions made now in Beijing may well determine whether it is possible to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels, as the 2015 Paris Agreement prescribes.


On Our Flashpoint Blog

China’s Arctic Endgame
Laura Leddy and Devin Lurie
Recent Chinese activities in the Arctic have raised alarm among U.S. policymakers, but America should focus on cooperating with China where possible in the Far North.

House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis Unveils Congressional Action Plan
Laura Leddy
On June 30, members of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis released their climate action plan. The American Security Project has long engaged with many of the issues mentioned.

Understanding Mexico’s Piracy Problem
Devin Lurie
Piracy along the southern Gulf of Mexico has thrived in recent years. To protect American interests in the region, the U.S. should consider offering Mexico’s Navy assistance to counter the rising piracy networks.

Event Recap: Pandemics and Climate Change
Samuel Humphries
On June 30th, the World Affairs Council of Charlotte (WACC) hosted American Security Project (ASP) Consensus for American Security member Major General Rick Devereaux, USAF (Ret.) for a webinar discussion on the national security threats posed by climate change

A Bright Future: The Middle East’s Solar Revolution
Samuel Humphries
In a region where oil is king, solar power is emerging. Though several obstacles stand in the way of a renewable takeover in the Middle East, countries in the region are beginning to appreciate that investment in renewable energy may be the key to future prosperity. 

The Soft Power of American Protest
Matthew Wallin
How America chooses to respond to protesters will characterize its credibility and shape the potential of its soft power in the years to come.

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