The Evening CSIS March 24 2015
March 24, 2015
Welcome to The Evening CSIS—Andrew is away, so for this week you’re in the mostly capable hands of Nahmyo Thomas and Colm Quinn. We’ll still aim to bring you context on the events of the day and be sure to send you to the best content from within our orbit and beyond. To subscribe, please click here.
Yemen in Turmoil
As Yemen continued its descent into chaos today, Reuters has the latest on the ground in Aden, where the Yemeni president has taken refuge.
Dive Deeper: Read Jon Alterman’s thoughtful piece on “Yemen’s Misery,” where he warns against knee-jerk decisionmaking in the wake of the country’s current problems.
President Obama announced that he would be slowing the pace of the troop drawdown in Afghanistan, responding to a request from Afghan president Ashraf Ghani. The plan would leave 9,800 troops in place by the end of the year, instead of the previously planned 5,500.
Dive Deeper: CSIS’s Anthony Cordesman has been following Afghanistan for decades, and his report from last Friday is recommended reading for anyone who wants to understand the US role in Afghanistan. He also advises on the realities of keeping troops in Afghanistan in this February piece.
In that Number
The amount of US military aid to Yemen since 2007.
Source : Washington Post.
A daily shortened sampling of our signature "Asked & Answered" series.
Asked: Yesterday, the House overwhelmingly approved a resolution urging President Obama to send lethal weapons to Ukraine. Do you think the administration will consider arming Ukraine, and what’s holding them back?
Answered: Jeff Mankoff, CSIS deputy director of the Russia and Eurasia program: The Obama administration has been considering whether to arm Ukraine for some time now but has consciously chosen to hold back. Absent a serious deterioration of the situation on the ground in Ukraine, I am extremely skeptical that the House resolution will change the administration’s approach. Even though several senior officials, including Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe Gen. Philip Breedlove have come out in favor of providing arms to Kyiv, the White House has thus far refused.
The president and others worry that arming the Ukrainians could provoke additional Russian escalation—because of the unsecured border between Russia and Ukraine, Russia’s ability to escalate militarily will always outstrip ours and because of concerns that lethal military assistance could make Kyiv less willing to seek a diplomatic solution to the crisis. With the Minsk-II cease-fire more or less holding for the time being, the White House will be very reluctant to authorize steps that could make a resumption of fighting more likely. In any case, the previous Congress passed legislation (the Corker-Menendez bill, or Ukraine Freedom Support Act) authorizing military assistance to the Ukrainians, which the Obama administration has declined to employ. Especially given the level of mistrust between the administration and the Republican Congress, the latest House vote is not likely to have much effect on administration thinking. The only development that could force the administration to reconsider at this point would be a resumption of the Russian offensive.
One to Watch
Meredith Broadbent is chairman of the US International Trade Commission and former CSIS Scholl Chair in International Business. Look to her as a leading voice on Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations and how trade impacts US national security.
The USS Theodore Roosevelt anchored off the coast of Hampshire, England, as it makes a five-day stop before its global deployment. The sailboats alongside give a helpful sense of scale.
In 2013, tuberculosis claimed 1.5 million lives, making it the second-leading infectious killer of adults globally, after HIV/AIDS. In recognition of World Tuberculosis Day, CSIS’s Dr. Phil Nieburg released this policy primer on global tuberculosis challenges.
Watch video of today’s events at our HQ.
His Excellency Cemil Cicek, speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, joined CSIS for a discussion on the continuing evolution of Turkey’s relationship with the United States.
CSIS alum and US Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius (far right) paid us a visit along with Ambassador Pham Quang Vinh of Vietnam for a discussion on the 20th anniversary of the normalization of US-Vietnam diplomatic relations and the opportunities that lie ahead.
What’s in store at CSIS HQ tomorrow.
Robert Grenier, former CIA station chief in Islamabad and former director of the CIA Counterterrorism Center, joins CSIS to discuss his new book, 88 Days to Kandahar—a CIA diary that tells the post-9/11 story of driving al Qaeda and the Taliban from Afghanistan’s capital in just 88 days. CSIS’s Juan Zarate, former deputy national security adviser for combatting terrorism will moderate the discussion. Join us at 5:00 p.m.
The CSIS Project on Nuclear Issues will host a live debate at 5:30 p.m. between Matthew Kroenig of Georgetown University and Ted Galen Carpenter of the Cato Institute on whether the P5+1 should take immediate action against Iran if no agreement is reached during negotiations.
This Town Tomorrow
So many important things in this town- so little time. Of note:
The US Institute of Peace and the Atlantic Council will host President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan for a public address on his first official visit to Washington since being sworn in as president last September. The event is invite only, but it will be webcast live here at 5:00 p.m.
CSIS on Demand
As Ukraine’s energy minister threatens to stop buying gas from Russia starting April 1, CSIS offers this look at Russia’s previous plans to cancel its South Stream gas pipeline and instead pursue a Turkish Stream to send additional gas to Europe.
Looking to visit Cuba before it’s overrun by tourists? The BBC would argue that that tipping point occurred years ago already. Their report from the ground is here.
I Like It Like That
Eye catching things in CSIS’s orbit
“Facebook has been quietly holding talks with at least half a dozen media companies about hosting their content inside Facebook rather than making users tap a link to go to an external site,”reports the New York Times. We saw companies that have already started with these models at SXSW. With media companies like NowThis grouping their journalists not by beat, but by media platform.
The Late Late Show is a little past The Evening CSIS's bedtime but you couldn't miss James Corden's first crack as host: watch one of his debut skits as he and Tom Hanks attempt to act out all Hanks’ movies, in under seven minutes.
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