The Evening CSIS: Closer to Control, Message Sent, Low Spark & More
December 12, 2016
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 sign up here.
Closer to Control
The siege in Aleppo is almost over as the Syrian government moves closer to complete control, as the New York Times’ Anne Barnard reports.
Dive Deeper: See CFR’s interactive site Global Conflict Tracker on the civil war in Syria.
China has flown a nuclear-capable bomber beyond its borders in what US officials say is a response to President-elect Donald Trump’s phone call with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan, as Fiona Keating of the International Business Times reports.
And, as the Wall Street Journal’s Josh Chin reports, China’s Foreign Ministry today expressed alarm over Donald Trump’s suggestion that he is willing to use a bedrock agreement over Taiwan as a bargaining chip in the already fraught US-China relationship.
Dive Deeper: CSIS’s Anthony Cordesman today authored a new commentary: “The Trump Transition and Asia: The Need for Policies and Plans.”
Also see CSIS’s interactive micro-website “China Power.”
What We Know and Don't
The New York Times’ Max Fisher’s “Russia and the US Election: What We Know and Don’t Know” lays out a guide to what is known and is not, and to separating fact from misconception.
Clear and Present Danger
Pyongyang is on course to acquire a long-range nuclear weapon, the Financial Times reports today.
Dive Deeper: A new and important read by CSIS’s Victor Cha and the George W. Bush Institute’s Christopher Walsh for Foreign Policy: “Refugees Might Be the New Administration’s Best Friends on North Korea Strategy.”
In That Number
The number of individuals arrested in antiterrorism raids across central England and London today. Source: Reuters .
“While the government adamantly reiterates its determination to ultimately defeat terrorism and retains strong public support in its efforts to do so, it remains to be seen how and when this monumental task will be completed.”
—CSIS’s Bulent Aliriza on the recent bombings in Turkey.
One to Watch
Jeff Mankoff (@DrJMankoff) is the deputy director of CSIS’s Russia and Eurasia Program. Jeff previously served as an adviser on US-Russia relations at the State Department. Today, Jeff authored a new piece, “Looking for U.S.-Russian Cooperation? Try Asia.”
(Photo credit: Adem Altan/AFP/Getty Images.)
A relative of Mehmet Zengin, a policeman killed in Saturday’s twin bombings in Istanbul mourns during the funeral ceremony today in Ankara. The attacks saw a car bomb explode outside the home stadium of football giants Besiktas and less than a minute later, a suicide bomber blew himself up near a group of police at a nearby park.
“How to Beat the Scourge of Fake News,” a Wall Street Journal op-ed by Newseum CEO Jeffrey Herbst.
CSIS’s Freeman Chair in China Studies and the Asia Society hosted “China’s 15th WTO Anniversary: Assessing the Record and Charting the Path Forward.”
And CSIS’s Russia and Eurasia Program hosted “Russian National Identity and Foreign Policy.”
Join CSIS’s Energy and National Security Program at 9:30 a.m. for a discussion with His Excellency Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, secretary general of OPEC, and a presentation of OPEC’s World Oil Outlook 2016.
And join CSIS’s Americas Program at 2:00 p.m. for “Brazil’s Agribusiness Model and Impact for Global Development.”
And join CSIS’s Africa Program for a conversation with Ledio Cakaj, author of When the Walking Defeats You: One Man's Journey as Joseph Kony's Bodyguard.
This Town Tomorrow
Join the Wilson Center at 10:30 a.m. for “The Falling Yuan: What’s happening to China’s currency and why does it matter to the United States?”
And join Brookings at 2:30 p.m. for “The tribes of Israel: Diversity, cohesion, and conflict.”
CSIS On Demand
Last week our Strategic Technologies Program hosted “The State of Cybercrime: A Look Back and A Look Forward,” with Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell, Criminal Division, Department of Justice.
CSIS’s Bonnie Glaser weighs in on the Trump–Tsai Ing-wen phone call in the new CSIS Podcast, “Taiwan and Trump Break Protocol.”
I Like It Like That
“A Healthy Skepticism About Data,” by former New York Times managing editor Bill Keller.
The Golden Globe nominations came out today and I don’t think any of the films up for awards will set the culture abuzz the way films once did. In 1975, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Dog Day Afternoon,” “Jaws” and “Nashville” were all nominated for Globes (Cuckoo’s Nest won.) Each one of those films were a big part of and even drove the national conversation in 1975.
I’ve only seen one of this year’s film nominee’s “Manchester by the Sea.” It’s a powerful movie about horrific loss but among the people I saw it with, none of us really wanted to discuss it beyond our walk to the car.
Yet we are all still talking about HBO’s “The Night Of,” a premium television mini-series that may have changed the way writers, directors and producers think about cinema for a very long time.
“Night Of” is nominated for a Golden Globe in the category of “Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television” along with "The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story," another piece of premium TV that sparked, or added to, the national conversation this year. And everyone talks about “Game of Thrones,” HBO’s favorite to win the Golden Globe for “Best TV Series—Drama.”
Popular music once took on cinematic characteristics. Today, pop music is mostly about singles. Maybe there is a correlation.
Traffic’s 1971 masterpiece, “The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” is over eleven minutes long and is the very definition of “Album Rock.” The lyrics are cinematic, based on a screen play Traffic’s Jim Capaldi was working on about a character with a rebel attitude with cowboy boots and a leather jacket. “Low Spark” referred to the concept of the “low rider,” the cool guy on the street corner letting it all come his way.
Album Rock hardly exists today beyond the odd Radiohead or Wilco record. Maybe it will come back some day and be so old as to be new again. Maybe movies will experience a New New Wave too. In the meantime, I still smile when I listen to “Low Spark of High Heeled Boys.”
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