The Evening CSIS February 18 2015
February 18, 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.
Tonight’s Evening CSIS is dedicated to the memory of our dear colleague Arnaud de Borchgrave, who passed away Sunday in Washington at 88. Both the New York Times and the Washington Post published obituaries about our legendary friend.
I had the honor of working with Arnaud for almost 10 years. He was remarkable. A “swashbuckling” journalist as the Post calls him, Arnaud interviewed just about everyone who was anyone, including the only published interview with Taliban leader Mullah Omar.
I once asked Arnaud who the most fascinating person he ever interviewed was. He didn’t miss a beat. “Charles de Gaulle, without question,” he said.
CSIS’s Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) has obtained exclusive never-before-seen imagery of China’s building efforts in the Spratly Islands, a highly contested area in the South China Sea.
In this special report, you can explore a before and after view of the land features transformed by China, read expert analysis on the legal background and implications of China’s island building, consider Vietnamese and Taiwanese perspectives on their countries’ own development activities, as well as what Beijing’s mean for the South China Sea.
Countering Violent Extremism
Speaking Wednesday at the three-day “White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism,” President Obama called for an international effort to stop disaffected young people from joining the Islamic State and other extremist groups. The New York Times’ Julie Hirschfeld Davis has this report.
The president previewed his speech in an op-ed published in the Los Angeles Times.
Dive Deeper: CSIS’s Anthony Cordesman has prepared a new analysis published today on the trends in violent Islamic extremism, entitled “The ‘Clash For Civilization:’ Creating an Effective Partnership in Fighting Extremism Between the West and the Muslim World.”
In this analysis Dr. Cordesman points out that “The only way to permanently contain and defeat violent Islamic extremism is to create a steadily stronger partnership between Islamic and non-Islamic governments in both counterterrorist efforts and in fighting the threat of extremist insurgents.”
In addition, CSIS’s Middle East Program director Jon Alterman published a new book in early February: Religious Radicalism after the Arab Uprisings.
And, on Thursday, February 19, CSIS will host and live stream “Countering Violent Extremism,” the latest in our signature Schieffer Series.
Moderated by CBS’s Bob Schieffer, our panel discussion will feature CSIS’s Juan Zarate, former deputy national security adviser for combating terror; Farah Pandith, adjunct senior fellow, Council on Foreign Relations and former US special representative to Muslim communities; and Nancy Youssef, senior national security correspondent, Daily Beast.
In that Number
Number of "sleeper cells" France is tracking.
Source: Associated Press
Our signature “Asked & Answered” series.
Asked: How does Chinese reclamation in the South China Sea affect an already tense region?
Answered: Mira Rapp-Hooper, Asia Maritime Security director, “China is not the only South China Sea claimant to have engaged in land reclamation and significant building efforts. Beijing’s activities are unprecedented, however, in their speed and scale: In the span of a year, China has undertaken massive construction projects on six different land features in the Spratly Islands. The six features in question are especially important—they all appear in the Philippines legal case against China, which is currently being considered by the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague. By undertaking this rapid construction, Beijing has not only raised great concern about its regional intentions, but may seriously undermine the Philippines’ case. This could, in turn, make future negotiations and arbitration over this highly contested area all the more difficult.”
One to Watch
Juan Zarate is a senior adviser at CSIS and the senior national security analyst for CBS News. He served as deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser for combating terrorism from 2005 to 2009 and was the first-ever assistant secretary of the treasury for terrorist financing and financial crimes. He’s the author of the best-selling Treasury’s War and a leading voice in the countering violent extremism (CVE) effort.
Our late colleague, the incomparable Arnaud de Borchgrave with Francois Delattre, then–French ambassador to the US, accepting the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest decoration on July 21, 2014.
The Atlantic’s “What ISIS Really Wants,” a March cover story by contributing editor Graeme Wood.
Watch video of today’s events at our HQ.
Watch at 5:30p.m. as Rula Ghani, the first lady of Afghanistan, discusses the future of her country and the role of women in its society. The conversation is part of our Smart Women, Smart Power Series and will be moderated by Fortune Magazine’s Nina Easton.
What’s in store at CSIS HQ tomorrow.
Join us for the launch of “Governing Uranium,” a new microsite that allows users to explore the nuclear fuel cycle and follow the uranium trail from mining to conversion and from ore to bomb. Click here to RSVP or watch live at 9:00 a.m.
CSIS will host current and former World Bank representatives on the challenges and opportunities facing the World Bank Group’s Program for Results two years after its inception. Click here to RSVP or watch live at 1:30 p.m.
The CSIS Schieffer Series will welcome Bob Schieffer, Juan Zarate, Farah Pandith, and Nancy Youssef for a timely conversation on “Countering Violent Extremism” following the White House summit. Click here to RSVP or watch live at 5:30 p.m.
This Town Tomorrow
So many important events in this town—so little time. Of note:
The Heritage Foundation will host a discussion on “Resetting U.S.-Sri Lanka Relations Following Landmark Election,” focusing on Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapakse’s loss in last month’s election to Maithripala Sirisena, a defector from his own party. Click here to RSVP or watch live at 2:00 p.m.
CSIS on Demand
Amid a snowy, government-closed DC yesterday, CSIS hosted an event on “North Korean Human Rights: The Road Ahead” to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the report by UN Commission of Inquiry on human rights in North Korea. The event was an unprecedented gathering of policymakers, opinion leaders, and stakeholders on the topic of North Korean human rights. The North Korean government took notice, as CNN’s Brian Todd reported.
Video of the CSIS event is available ON DEMAND.
Egypt’s president called for a UN resolution to allow international forces to intervene in Libya against the Islamic State. His interview with French radio, where he announced “We will not allow them to cut off the heads of our children,” is here. And if French isn’t your specialty, the BBC has this analysis.
I Like it Like That
Eye-catching things in CSIS’s orbit.
At Brookings, a new book by Fiona Hill and Clifford Gaddy, Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin, is a must read by all accounts. To promote the book, they have this cool new video “Vladimir Putin as a Russian nesting doll,” which is a lot of fun to watch.
Saturday Night Live recently celebrated its 40th anniversary with a prime time special. But with all the great material to cover, they didn’t get to the best foreign policy skits. My favorite: the late Phil Hartman as “President-elect Clinton at McDonald’s” discussing aid to Somalia.
I always welcome and benefit from your feedback. Please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.