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What We Are Reading

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Plunge in Lira, Turkey’s Currency, Fuels Fears of Financial Contagion

Jack Ewing and Alexandra Stevenson / The New York Times

Turkey’s currency fell to another record low on Monday, hitting stocks in Europe and Asia and raising fears that the country is on the verge of an economic meltdown that could spread to other emerging markets. The crisis, caused by soaring inflation, economic mismanagement by the Turkish government and tensions with the United States, has raised concerns over whether emerging economies that have benefited in recent years from foreign investment may also be vulnerable.


With Détente Looking Shaky, North and South Korea’s Leaders to Meet Again

Jihye Lee / Bloomberg

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korea’s Moon Jae-in agreed to hold their third meeting this year, as they seek to preserve a detente tested by disputes between Pyongyang and Washington. The two Koreas announced plans Monday for Moon to visit the North Korean capital next month, the first such trip since 2007.




American Competitiveness


Elon Musk Says Meetings With Saudis Preceded Tweet on Taking Tesla Private

Tiffany Hsu / The New York Times

Elon Musk, Tesla’s chief executive, said on Monday that he had held meetings with representatives of a Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund eager to help him take the electric carmaker private.




American Security and The Oceans


‘They be Pirates’ An Old Scourge is Reappearing in the Caribbean

Anthony Faiola / The Washington Post

In the flickers of sunlight off the cobalt blue of the Caribbean sea, the vessel appeared as a cut on the horizon. It sailed closer. But the crew of the Asheena took no heed. “We be lookin’ for our red fish as normal, thinkin’ they be fishin’, too,” said Jimmy Lalla, 36, part of the crew that had dropped lines in Trinidadian waters last April a few miles off the lawless Venezuelan coast.




Asymmetric Operations


The Iraqi Spy Who Infiltrated ISIS

Margaret Coker / The New York Times

The driver was sweating as his white Kia pickup truck sped along a rain-slicked Baghdad highway toward a neighborhood bustling with open-air markets. With every jolt and turn, his pulse quickened. Hidden in the truck’s chassis was 1,100 pounds of military-grade explosives that the Islamic State planned to use in an audacious attack on New Year’s Eve shoppers in the Iraqi capital.


Afghanistan: 20 Civilians, 100 Security Forces Killed in Ghazni

Al Jazeera

A Taliban assault on the Afghan strategic city of Ghazni has entered its fourth day, with the death toll climbing above 300, including civilians, security forces and Taliban fighters, according to government officials. Defence Minister Tariq Shah Bahrami said on Monday “about 100 security forces” were killed in the intense fighting, as well “between 20 and 30 civilians”.




Climate Security


Facing $17 Billion in Fire Damages, a CEO Blames Climate Change

Mark Chediak / Bloomberg

It was California’s biggest fire yet. In late July and August, wildfires devastated an area north of San Francisco far bigger than New York City, destroying more than 100 homes and injuring 2 fire fighters. It’s just one in a rash of fast-spreading blazes that have killed at least 56 people this year and last in the Golden State.




Energy Security


Merkel, Putin to Discuss Syria, Ukraine and Energy


Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Vladimir Putin will discuss the war in Syria, the conflict in east Ukraine and a disputed pipeline to bring Russian gas to Germany during talks near Berlin on Saturday, a German government spokesman said.


Geo Politics of Energy and Sri Lanka’s Energy Security

Harinda Vidanage / The Daily Mirror

Sri Lanka’s energy demand has seen significant increases in the last decade, by 2020 it is predicted that the demand will be almost double from where it was at 2010. While there is a serious rise in the domestic energy demand in the last decade so has been the serious transformation of the national, regional and global energy security landscape.




National Security Strategy


‘We Don’t Have a Single Friend’: Canada’s Saudi Spat Reveals Country is Alone

Ashifa Kassam / The Guardian

Soon after Donald Trump took office, it became clear that the longstanding relationship between the United States and its northern neighbour was about to change: there were terse renegotiations of Nafta, thousands of asylum seekers walking across the shared border and attacks on against Canada’s protectionist trade policies.


The Pentagon is Rethinking its Multibillion-Dollar Relationship with U.S. Defense Contractors to Stress Supply Chain Security

Ellen Nakashima / The Washington Post

The Pentagon has a new goal aimed at protecting its $100 billion supply chain from foreign theft and sabotage: To base its weapons contract awards on security assessments — not just cost and performance — a move that would mark a fundamental shift in department culture.




Nuclear Security


Nuclear Test Ban Group Skeptical of North Korea’s Denuclearization Efforts

Jonathan Cheng / The Washington Post

North Korea says it has destroyed its nuclear test site, halted missile launches and returned U.S. war remains. The next move, Pyongyang says, is for Washington to reciprocate by lifting sanctions. But North Korea hasn’t persuaded the world that it is sincere about denuclearization, the head of the global organization tasked with overseeing a ban on nuclear testing said in an interview Monday.




On Our Flashpoint Blog


ASP CEO BGen. Cheney Quoted by AP, Post, and Courier on Climate Risks to US Bases

Noa Tann

On August 5, ASP’s CEO BGen. Stephen Cheney was quoted in Charleston’s Post and Courier prior to a speaking engagement at a Center for Climate and Security conference in the city this Tuesday. The conference and Cheney’s statements both centered on the effects of climate change on US military assets in South Carolina.


Aiming Towards Africa: Outcomes of US, Chinese, and Russian Public Diplomacy Strategies

Ellen Ehrnrooth

This post is part two of a two-part series on public diplomacy strategy in Africa. The US maintains a diverse public diplomacy strategy towards Africa. Public-private partnerships are the main form of US economic diplomacy, and USAID’s Power Africa initiative has facilitated over $14 billion of infrastructure investment.


Latin America’s Relation to the US-China Trade War

Caroline Anderson

China continues to expand its reach into Latin America, as proven with the recent creation of a space mission control station in Argentina. More importantly, China has increased its trade with the region—highlighting the need for the US to do the same in light of the recent US-China trade war. The US should work to foster better trade relations with Latin American countries in order to fortify a strong relationship with its southern neighbors, especially as China increases its Latin American presence.


An Update on the US and Russia in Syria

Kiersten Harris

Following the historic Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki on July 16th, Russian officials are claiming that the two leaders came to an agreement involving cooperation between the US and Russia in Syria. So far, the US’s only acknowledgement of this agreement is a statement released by the White House stating it was “considering possible next steps.”


Aiming Towards Africa: An Assessment of Competing Public Diplomacy Strategies

Ellen Ehrnrooth

Africa continues to be a priority for US foreign relations – not only because of the security climate, but also because of the growth on the continent. The US has been making progress in increasing its engagement with Africa, but it is not the only major power to do so. Russia and China have also, as of late, been increasingly proactive in their relations with Africa. This series will explore and compare the public diplomacy strategies of China, Russia, and the US, assessing who is doing what well, and what we might be able to learn from Chinese and Russian strategies.


Andrew Holland in the Daily Caller: America’s Electrical System is Vulnerable, but Market Intervention is Not the Answer

Noa Tann

On August 1st, ASP’s Chief Operating Officer Andrew Holland authored an article for The Daily Caller titled “America’s electrical system is increasingly vulnerable to cyber and physical attacks. Does anyone care?” In this article, Holland explains that a Department of Energy (DOE) policy condemning natural gas pipelines as too vulnerable is misleading, as they are “no more vulnerable to attacks than powerlines, transformers, or nuclear power plants.” Holland asserts that federal intervention in energy markets, based on misguided interpretations of threats to national security, is not an effective solution to America’s energy security problems.




Recently Published


Fact Sheet – US Military Bases and Facilities in the Middle East

Matthew Wallin

This fact sheet provides a rough overview of US military bases and facilities in the Middle East. Compiled from publicly available information, this listing presents a picture of a variety of facilities the US either maintains or retains access to throughout the region.


Perspective: Obesity – An Epidemic That Impacts National Security

BGen Stephen A. Cheney USMC (Ret.) and BGen Stephen Xenakis USA (Ret.)

The Congress and the President have tasked the US Military with increasing the number of active duty service men and women. Increasingly, however, recruiters are facing challenges meeting their targets. One big reason is that a growing number of America’s youth – the recruiting pool for the military – are obese. It is not an exaggeration to say that, without targeted action to increase nutrition and reduce sedentary behavior, our national security is at risk.




#Turkey #NorthKorea #SaudiArabia #Canada

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