The Evening CSIS August 31 2015
August 31, 2015
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This week President Obama becomes the first sitting US president to visit the Arctic, underscoring the region’s strategic significance as CNN’s Jim Acosta reports.
And, ICYMI, the New York Times’ Steven Lee Myers reported on Sunday that the “U.S. Is Playing Catch-Up With Russia in Scramble for the Arctic.”
Dive Deeper: CSIS’s Heather Conley and Caroline Rohloff published a new commentary Life on the "Front Lines of Climate Change" in the US Arctic .
And, CSIS’s Conley and Rohloff published a major new report late last week, The New Ice Curtain: Russia's Strategic Reach to the Arctic .
Japan is planning its largest ever defense budget to counter China's reach amid concern over Beijing’s construction of artificial bases and territorial claims in the South China Sea as Justin McCurry reports for the Guardian.
Dive Deeper: In a congressionally mandated report published in mid-August, the Pentagon outlined a strategy for maritime security in the Asia-Pacific that attempts to counter China’s island building activities and provocations in the South China Sea. Last week, the Washington Post’s Editorial Board weighed in on the subject using CSIS satellite images and analysis to support their argument that “ China should tread carefully in the South China Sea .”
Here, CSIS’s Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) examines the DoD’s Asia-Pacific Maritime Strategy in “Anatomy of a Strategy.”
Plus, AMTI, as always provides the latest analysis you can find anywhere on Asia maritime issues and makes use of an innovative “ Island Tracker” which utilizes satellite imagery of the South China Sea islands construction in progress.
The Obama Administration is preparing a menu of financial sanctions it could impose on China related to cybercrimes against US companies as CNN’s Tal Kopan reports.
Dive Deeper: CSIS’s Strategic Technologies program has compiled a list of Significant Cyber Incidents Since 2006 .
In that Number
The number of Saudi women that have registered to vote in December's municipal elections, the first time women will be allowed vote in Saudi Arabia's history.
Source: Al Arabiya
Asked: What can be done to help citizens in the US Arctic regions?
Answered: Heather Conley, CSIS SVP for Europe, Eurasia, and the Arctic and Caroline Rohloff, research assistant, CSIS Europe program: Perhaps there should be greater focus by Washington policymakers on investing in—rather than studying—projects and partnering with the private sector to reduce unemployment, provide clean and affordable energy, as well as running water to Alaskan communities. The Obama administration has taken important steps to improve renewable energy opportunities in rural Alaska and to reduce the use of costly and polluting diesel fuels. Alaskan communities are also leading the development of renewable and innovative energy technologies, including the installation of a “smart grid” in Kwigillingok to help its 317 residents save money on electricity. Mitigating the effects of climate change should go hand-in-hand with developing economic opportunities for U.S. Arctic residents, not come at the expense of those who depend on and call the Arctic their home.
During his upcoming trip to Alaska, President Obama will have an up-close and personal view of the impact of climate change in the U.S. Arctic. He will also have the opportunity to visit with Alaskan communities in Dillingham and Kotzebue to see firsthand the living conditions (such as “honey buckets” and community water wells) that thousands of Alaskans deal with on a daily basis. Hopefully, their story will be heard as loudly and clearly as the need to address the impact of ocean acidification, coastal erosion, and permafrost thaw as U.S. policymakers take the necessary steps to not only protect the Arctic environment, but also to ensure the protection of the needs of all Americans in the 49th state.
Read the full analysis here.
One to Watch
James O’Brien was appointed last Friday to the newly created post of Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs at the State Department. He is currently Vice Chair of the Albright Stonebridge Group and helped formulate the Dayton Accords. He also served as State’s Principal Deputy Director of Policy Planning and advised Dr. Madeleine Albright during her Ambassadorship to the United Nations.
Vladimir Putin channels his inner Ivan Drago in this workout video released today, showing the Russian president's exercise routine with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
The neurologist and writer Oliver Sachs died Sunday at 82. Joshua Rothman of the New Yorker writes about him in “Oliver Sacks in The New Yorker.”
Join us tomorrow at 2:00 PM as CSIS experts discuss Russia’s contribution to China’s surface warfare capabilities. The discussion will revolve around the impact of Russian arms and technologies transfers on China’s growing military capabilities in the Western Pacific. You can also watch the event live.
CSIS on Demand
President Obama’s historic visit to the Arctic begins today. CSIS’s latest report, “The New Ice Curtain: Russia’s Strategic Reach to the Arctic” examines Russia’s economic, energy, and security strategies and aspirations in the arctic. You can watch the event launchon demand here, as well asdownload the report. Above: Steven Lee Myers of the New York Times
The Economists’ “Week Ahead” podcast for the week of August 31st focuses on “Pomp and Circumstance in Beijing.”
I Like It Like That
Eye-catching things in CSIS's orbit
“Meedan” — a hybrid for-profit and nonprofit company that focuses on global journalism and translation — has built a new app called “Bridge,” a mobile-first platform for translating social media posts.
Ten years ago, Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. The pain and suffering it caused and its aftermath can never be erased with a smile of any kind. But smiles help.
For many people in New Orleans, smiles come from the joyful noise made by the musicians of the Crescent City. And what a joyful noise it is!
Take the Rebirth Brass Band. Along with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and others, these guys began to rejuvenate the traditional brass sound of New Orleans in the mid-1980s. Today, the spirited second-line strut they have perfected wins Grammy awards and provides a rollicking soundtrack to the city.
One of the first times I saw Rebirth perform was at a backyard barbecue at a house near Tulane in uptown New Orleans in 1987. The band played so furiously they jumped into the swimming pool with their instruments and kept on playing. To this day, I’ve never seen anything like it in music.
Here’s a clip of Rebirth performing last year at the superb New Orleans venue, The Howling Wolf. They don’t have a pool to jump into here, but you’ll get a sense of how hot their music is. And how their sound keeps The Big Easy smiling—even through the saddest of times.
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