The Evening CSIS April 30 2015
April 30, 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.
Iran’s seizure of a Maersk container ship this week stems from a decade-long dispute over 10 shipping containers, the New York Times’ Danny Hakimreports. In response, theWall Street Journal's Dion Nissenbaum writes that the U.S. Navy has now started accompanying ships traveling through the Strait of Hormuz.
Dive Deeper: A February report by CSIS’s Anthony Cordesman, The Iranian Sea-Air-Missile Threat to Gulf Shipping, details how Iran has steadily increased its ability to exploit the threat of conventional and asymmetric warfare to maritime traffic in the Gulf.
And, a new report published this week and edited by CSIS’s Jon Alterman, Rocky Harbors: Taking Stock of the Middle East in 2015, includes a chapter by Farideh Farhi of the Wilson Center, who points out that “distinct from the question of whether and how to engage Iran is the question of the underlying dynamics that shape Iran’s position and choices in the region.”
CNN has a terrific article on its website today by the superb reporter Stephen Collinson, “Why Americans should care about the UK election.”
Dive Deeper: CSIS’s Heather Conley authored a new commentary today: “Off to the Races…and a Photo Finish: The 2015 UK General Election.”
And, London-based Chatham House provides an excellent resource in “UK General Election 2015: Foreign Policy Challenges.”
A number of defense policy experts from across the ideological spectrum, including five from CSIS, authored a letter yesterday calling for broad reforms to how the Pentagon does business. Inefficiencies in the institution are said to be “leaving a smaller share of the budget to pay for the manning, training, and equipping of our armed forces that make the US military without peer.” You can read their letter here. Aaron Mehta has the analysis in Defense News.
Dive Deeper: The CSIS International Security Program has a complete analysis of the President’s FY2016 Budget from every defense angle.
In that Number
It was announced at the end of March that Turkey’s economic growth in 2014 had fallen to 2.9 percent, below the initial 4.0 percent government forecast and the revised forecast of 3.5 percent.
Source: “The Turkish Economy: Temporary Crisis?,” by CSIS’s Bulent Aliriza and Craig Bonfield.
A daily shortened sampling of our signature "Asked & Answered" series.
Asked: With the UK General Election next week, how big a role will foreign policy issues play?
Answered: Heather Conley, SVP for Europe, Eurasia, and the Arctic, and Europe Program director: There has been relative silence from all parties on foreign and security policy issues in this election. While the future of Britain’s nuclear deterrent should be a major topic of discussion (and it is in some US security circles), there doesn’t seem to be much public interest in weighing the pros and cons of its location and modernization costs. When the issues of homeland security and returning foreign fighters are raised, it usually translates into a discussion of Britain’s immigration policies. For the past two years, British leaders have been consumed by domestic issues, and the UK’s international policy voice has been muted—particularly since the 2013 House of Commons vote against taking military action against the Syrian regime for its use of chemical weapons. And in the run-up to the 2014 Scottish referendum and then moving toward the May 7 general election, the debate has been largely nonexistent. Although Labour leader Ed Miliband has recently criticized the Conservative’s overreliance on “soft power” tools, such as development assistance in lieu of more robust policy action, this criticism misses the mark. Labour continues to distant itself from the Blairite legacy of international intervention. The Conservatives attempted to right size a defense budget that was in serious arrears, but made some of the most significant and devastating defense cuts of any British government in recent memory. Both parties reflect the widespread public sentiment that, after a decade plus of military adventurism, there is little enthusiasm for a proactive British foreign policy and instead a desire to seek isolationist and fortress solutions as rancorous domestic politics consume public discourse. Many Americans will likely relate to this phenomena.
One to Watch
The Wall Street Journal’s national security correspondent Adam Entous (@adamentous) along with Devlin Barrett published new, exclusive details that show how the FBI provides some families with guidance on how to pay ransom to terrorists for the return of loved ones, despite the Obama administration and its predecessor’s policy of refusal regarding ransom for hostages. Scoops like this make Adam Entous one to watch.
Earlier this week, the Pentagon sent the USS Farragut to the Persian Gulf in response to the Iranian National Guard firing on and then boarding the Maersk Tigris, a Marshall Islands-flagged container ship in the Strait of Hormuz.
Commissioned in June 2006, the Farragut is named in honor of the US Navy’s first admiral, David Glasgow Farragut. The ship is an Arleigh Burke Class Guided-Missile Destroyer fitted with the latest technology to fulfill any offensive or defensive tasking. The legendary Admiral Arleigh Burke cofounded CSIS over 50 years ago with Dr. David Abshire.
Anta Ba is a 26-year-old woman living in Guédiawaye, a poor urban area of Senegal’s capital, Dakar. In a new video written by Janet Fleishman of the CSIS Global Health Policy Center and filmed and produced by the CSIS Ideas Lab, Anta explains why she decided to access family planning, despite her husband’s opposition, and why these services matter for her own life and for women’s health and empowerment in Senegal. Through her story and through the voices of other champions of family planning in Senegal—government and NGO health workers, an imam, and the minister of health—the video illustrates new approaches to expanding access to family planning, as well as the challenges ahead.
Watch video of today’s events at our HQ.
CSIS launched a new event series called Next Generation Dialogue on Industry and Defense with a kick-off event focusing on “Globalization versus the Culture of National Security” that featured William Lynn, CEO of Finmeccanica.
What’s in store at CSIS HQ tomorrow.
Following Prime Minister Abe’s visit, CSIS will host a delegation of Japanese defense policy experts, including senior lawmakers and scholars, to discuss the defense policy reform debate in Japan and next steps for U.S.-Japan defense cooperation. Registration is closed, but watch live at 2:00 p.m.
This Town Tomorrow
So many important things in this town—so little time. Of note:
The Brookings Institution will host an event on “Opportunities and Challenges in India’s Energy Future” that looks ahead to the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris.
CSIS on Demand
Yesterday, the Honorable Carl Bildt, former prime minister and foreign minister of Sweden, joined CSIS for a thought-provoking Statesman Laureate Lecture on Europe’s geopolitical concerns, touching on economic issues, Syria, Yemen, and ISIS. In his speech, he points out that Europe has gone from a feeling of unparalleled security a decade ago to a state of constant “strain, siege, and threat.”
This week’s CogitAsia Podcast features Ernie Bower discussing the ASEAN leaders summit, as well as a roundup of the week’s Asia news.
I Like It Like That
Eye catching things in CSIS’s orbit
If you’re a student of media, it doesn’t get much better than Pew’s annual “State of the Media” report, which has just been released. Fascinating stuff.
Americans are obsessed with the NFL, college football, and the game at all levels. Tonight the NFL draft begins after months of analysis that would put even the best defense and Wall Street researchers to shame. We think our football is the toughest, fiercest, most relentless game in the world. Never mind that most of the world disagrees. After seeing what happened in this London rugby game to a—let’s just say—“disruptive fan,” I think the rest of the world may indeed be right.
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