The Evening CSIS April 10 2015
April 10, 2015
Welcome to The Evening CSIS—my daily guide to key insights CSIS brings to the events of the day plus HIGHLY RECOMMENDED content from around the world. To subscribe, please click here and if you want to view this in your browser, click here.
President Obama: China Using “Sheer Size And Muscle” to Strong Arm in S. China Sea
Following publication Thursday of CSIS/DigitalGlobe satellite images of China’s land reclamation project on Mischief Reef in the South China Sea, President Obama said Washington is concerned China is using its “sheer size and muscle” to push around smaller nations in the South China Sea, drawing a quick rebuttal from Beijing. The BBC has this report.
Today, the New York Times, which initially broke the story with the CSIS/DigitalGlobe images and analysis, reports “China Is Rapidly Adding Coast Guard Ships, US Navy Says.”
The Times has also published the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs full statement today, “China’s Statement on Its Construction in the South China Sea.”
Further, McClatchy News’s Stuart Leavenworth writes from Beijing that “China accuses Obama of hypocrisy in remarks on South China Sea.”
And, China’s Xinhua News Agency, the official press agency of the People’s Republic of China, asks in a commentary published today “Is Obama really ‘concerned’ or stirring concern?”
Dive Deeper: See the CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative’s in-depth, interactive report “Island Building on Mischief Reef.”
CSIS’s Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative is an interactive, regularly updated source and web magazine for information, analysis, and policy exchange on maritime security issues in Asia.
Summit of the Americas Tension
President Obama is scheduled to meet President Raul Castro of Cuba on Saturday, but as CNN reported late this afternoon, the Summit is becoming a “triangle of tension” when Venezuela is inserted into the mix.
Dive Deeper: CSIS’s Carl Meacham published a new Critical Questions this week (CSIS’s signature Asked & Answered series of short papers): “Do the OAS and the Summit of the Americas Still Matter?”
The Seventh OAS Summit of the Americas takes place in Panama City, Panama, on April 10–11. The official website of the Summit is here. The Miami Herald’s Frida Ghitis writes in a commentary published by CNN.com “Can Obama get Latin America right?”
The cyber attack on French television network TV5Monde is the latest in a growing list of destructive incursions from a wide range of attackers, Computer Weekly reports.
And, Computerworld reports that TV5Monde may have made it easy for hackers to compromise its systems.
Dive Deeper: CSIS’s Strategic Technologies Program has created an interactive “Cyber Incident Timeline,” which details the successful attacks on government agencies, defense and high-tech companies, and economic crimes with losses of more than a million dollars since 2006.
In that Number
The number of slaves found and rescued on a remote Indonesian island by Indonesian authorities.
Source : Associated Press.
A daily shortened sampling of our signature "Asked & Answered" series.
Asked: What can we expect from the upcoming Summit of the Americas?
Answered: CSIS Americas Program director Carl Meacham, this Summit of the Americas is an historic one, in large part because it will be the first that Cuba will attend. This will ensure that Cuba—and US-Cuba relations—play a significant role during the Summit. Long a sticking point for Latin American countries in their relations with the United States, the decades-old US policy of isolation toward Cuba has very rapidly shifted to one of engagement. And as that relationship has begun to develop since Obama and Castro announced the shift in December, we can already see the ripple effects in public perceptions of Washington throughout Latin America. The State Department’s recommendation is an important step in that direction, and President Obama’s action in kind seems just around the corner.
Still, the changing relationship continues to be a source of tension. Cuba remains on the list of state sponsors of terrorism—which Havana says will impede further progress on normalizing relations; the embargo is still in place; the countries have yet to open up embassies and credential ambassadors. So there is work to be done, and that work is far from controversial. Venezuela’s ongoing instability and diplomatic dispute with the US will likely play a role as well. President Maduro could work to escalate those tensions during the Summit—and the country’s ALBA partners could stand with Venezuela in solidarity. And, of course, this risks setting a tone deeply negative to US interests and participation in the regional forum. But should, as seems imminent, President Obama use this opportunity to make a major announcement in US-Cuba relations, he has the potential to fundamentally define the tone and narrative for the entire Summit.
One to Watch
Marcus Weisgerber ( @MarcusReports) is a national security business reporter for the excellent online platform Defense One. We read him every day, and so should you if you are interested in national security and the defense industrial base.
President Obama bids a colorful farewell to Jamaica as he boarded Air Force One yesterday. A perfect shot from White House photographer Pete Souza.
This Sunday 60 Minutes will broadcast a segment reported by Steve Kroft about the cyberattack on Sony. The segment will feature CSIS’ James Andrew Lewis, one of the world’s leading experts on cybersecurity. CBS has this short preview which doesn’t show Lewis but will give you a sense of how important the Kroft segment is for anyone interested in national security.
Watch video of today’s events at our HQ.
CSIS hosted a conference on “Financing Growth in the Asia Pacific,” focusing on key economic trends and how they relate to the geostrategic priorities in the region, with a keynote by Gita Wirjawan, former Indonesian minister of trade.
What’s in store at CSIS HQ Monday.
CSIS will host a Statesmen’s Forum with Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, chairperson of the African Union Commission, for a discussion on the AU’s vision for gender equality and major priorities for African women. Click here to RSVP or watch live at 3:00 p.m.
This Town Monday
So many important things in this town—so little time. Of note:
The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will host a timely discussion on “The Iran Nuclear Deal,” looking at the short- and long-term obstacles in finalizing and sustaining a deal, as well as how it would impact the region as a whole. Click here for more.
CSIS on Demand
Yesterday, the CSIS Middle East Program hosted Ramtane Lamamra, Algerian minister of foreign affairs, for a discussion on challenges in the Maghreb and Sahel as well as Algeria’s role in building counterterrorism strategies.
With China’s latest construction in the South China Sea exposed this week, Mira Rapp Hooper speaks with Colm Quinn about the implications for this increasingly tense region on The CSIS Podcast.
I Like It Like That
Eye catching things in CSIS’s orbit
Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) has the tweet of the day: “#MillionsOfMontanans wish they had my haircut. #FlattopFriday #mtpol” Here’s the flattop.
For many Americans, the ultimate smile is the beginning of baseball season—myself included. The season began this week, and I can’t wait to get out to Camden Yards to see my Baltimore Orioles try to repeat winning their division. Of course, baseball has another big draw, and that is ballpark food! Esquire magazine has put together a list of the “Best Foods to eat at every major league stadium.” Some parks have great international fare. In Bal’mer, we love Boog’s BBQ hon’!
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