The Evening CSIS March 25 2015
March 25, 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.
Dempsey to Asia
General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said today that the US-Korea military exercises ensure a “credible deterrent” against North Korean provocation, as he embarks on a visit to Korea and Japan.
Dive Deeper: A recent study by our Korea Chair shows that these exercises have little impact on the relations between the US and North Korea. They have the data here.
Furthermore, the CSIS Burke Chair has updated its report “The Changing Military Balance in the Koreas and Northeast Asia” looking at the various military strategies of countries in the region.
Starting at midnight tonight, Nigeria will close all of its land and sea borders to increase security ahead of this Saturday’s election, the BBC reports.
The order comes as thousands of Nigerian refugees continue to flee the country and amid reports of Boko Haram kidnapping hundreds of teachers and students from Damasak.
Dive Deeper: CSIS Africa Program director Jennifer Cooke is on the ground in Nigeria as part of the National Democratic Institute’s election observation mission. In an interview with the International Business Times that looks at the likelihood of violence, Cooke warns that even allegations of election rigging could lead to violence: “the possibility of a disputed outcome is very much there and it could be very dangerous.”
In that Number
The number of miles the Mars Rover Opportunity has now covered. From NASA: "This is the first time any human enterprise has exceeded the distance of a marathon on the surface of another world."
Source : NASA
A daily shortened sampling of our signature "Asked & Answered" series.
Asked: With Nigeria closing its borders and a Boko Haram insurgency underway, what are the greatest concerns heading into this weekend’s elections?
Answered: Richard Downie, CSIS Africa Program deputy director: Although a combined military offensive by Nigeria and some of its neighbors has pushed back Boko Haram in recent weeks, there are concerns that the group retains the capacity to deliver on its public pledge to violently disrupt the elections.
However, the security fears around these elections extend beyond what Boko Haram may or may not do. Historically, Nigerian elections have been violent affairs, and the higher stakes this time around complicate efforts to keep the peace. Violent incidents have already occurred in several parts of the country during the campaign period, and the two leading parties have done little to reduce the tensions. Both parties are convinced they will win and if they fall short in their objective are highly likely to contest the outcome. Their ability—indeed their willingness—to rein in their supporters is open to question. The period immediately after the announcement of the presidential result will be a major potential flashpoint.
One to Watch
New York Times Tehran bureau chief Thomas Erdbrink will be featured in a new video series, “Our Man in Tehran.” Thomas has been based in Iran for 10 years and has previously worked at various Dutch media outlets. His reporting (and twitter) give insights into a world rarely seen by Western media. Photo credit New York Times.
Just how big an impact did the recently departed Lee Kuan Yew have on Singapore? The Economist has this graphic on the ups and downs as the country rose to prominence under his stewardship.
Brookings' Michael O’Hanlon has this analysis on the BBC’s website, “A clean slate for US and Afghanistan,” on the prospects for an improved partnership between the two nations.
Watch video of today’s events at our HQ.
Watch live at 5:30 p.m.: Robert Grenier, former CIA station chief in Islamabad and former director of the CIA Counterterrorism Center, discusses 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. Moderated by CSIS’s Juan Zarate, former deputy national security adviser for combatting terrorism.
Watch live at 5:30 p.m.: The CSIS Project on Nuclear Issues hosts a live debate 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.
What’s in store at CSIS HQ tomorrow.
SASC chairman John McCain will join CSIS for a discussion on “Defense Priorities for the 114th Congress,” with an introduction by CSIS CEO and president, Dr. John Hamre. Click here to RSVP or watch live at 8:30 a.m.
This Town Tomorrow
So many important things in this town- so little time. Of note:
The House Foreign Affairs Committee will host a 8:30 a.m. hearing on “The Administration’s Strategy to Confront ISIS,” with DOD and DOS officials. Click here for more.
The Peterson Institute for International Economics will host a conference on “Abenomics’ Progress in Reforming Japan’s Economy,” with a keynote from Heizo Takenaka, the leading independent economic adviser to Prime Minister Abe. Click here for more.
CSIS on Demand
Looking to improve relations with Brazil, the White House has again invited President Dilma Rousseff for a state visit. This recent CSIS event takes a look at Brazil’s current economic and domestic problems, as well as opportunities for improved relations ahead.
On this week’s Smart Women, Smart Power podcast, former and first-ever State Dept. special representative to Muslim communities Farah Pandith tells Nina Easton why she thinks extremist groups like ISIS/ISIL will eventually lose the battle they’re waging.
I Like It Like That
Eye catching things in CSIS’s orbit
Looking for the next big thing? Y Combinator’s Demo Day gives a peek at some of the tech startups it’s backing this year, from 3D printed prosthetics to nano-satellites. Quartz has the story.
The Wall Street Journal often goes above and beyond for its readers, and this proves it. See for yourself how they rewarded a loyal subscriber whose paper was the victim of doorstep thievery over the past few years.
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