The Evening CSIS March 4 2015
March 4, 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. Please note that with CSIS closed tomorrow, The Evening CSIS is too. Look forward to our next issue this Friday.
China’s Military Buildup
Chinese officials today said their military budget will increase by 10 percent in 2015 to $145 billion, making it the second-largest military spending nation behind the US—although far behind the US, as the New York Times’s Ed Wong and Christopher Buckley report.
Dive Deeper: The CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) today released the latest issue (#9) of its web-based interactive magazine.
Issue #9 focuses on the annual military exercises that take place in Asia each winter and spring. Read expert analysis on the changing role of military exercises in Chinese foreign policy, the United States’ Thai PR problem, projections for this year’s US-ROK exercises, and the role of military drills in the South China Sea. Watch an exclusive video interview on the evolving role of military exercises in Asia with former Adm Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations. And if you are looking for coverage of land reclamation and construction in the South China Sea, check out AMTI’s new Island Tracker page, which made worldwide news a few weeks ago.
Polio In Pakistan
Pakistan, where there is violent opposition to the government’s polio eradication programs, has arrested 471 parents for refusing to vaccinate their children. Pakistan is one of the last countries where polio remains endemic. The Taliban have come out against vaccinations claiming they are part of a Western plot to sterilize children, NBC News reports.
Dive Deeper: The CSIS Global Health Policy Center has produced this four-minute video underscoring the effectiveness of worldwide polio eradication efforts and pointing out that Pakistan is 1 of 3 countries left that remain vulnerable.
Arab Public Opinion On Terrorism
In a fascinating event held at CSIS today, Dr. Munqith Dagher of the Independent Institute for Administration and Civil Society Studies, an Iraqi public opinion organization, presented findings from a major project on Arab public attitudes in Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Yemen, and Libya toward terrorism and terrorist organizations.
In a slide presentation, Dr. Dagher explored the sudden rise of ISIS, Arab attitudes toward ISIS and other terror groups, shifting public opinion toward terror groups in the region, and support for ongoing counterterrorist efforts. A key finding: “By and large, Muslims do not believe or support Dai’sh [ISIS].”
Asked: Does India's banning of a BBC documentary on the gang rape of an Indian woman signal a more authoritarian government is now in power?
Answered: Rick Rossow, CSIS Wadhwani Chair in US-India Policy Studies: "The rape of a young woman in New Delhi on December 16, 2012 is again making international headlines as India attempts to block the BBC from airing a documentary on the incident. Some portray the government’s move as an attempt to stifle free speech on an issue that could harm India’s image—which, in a way, is an attempt to turn this issue into a question over whether India’s “strongman leader,” Narendra Modi, is exhibiting an authoritarian streak many believe he harbors. While there are questions over whether the BBC followed India’s procedures, the debate in India is certainly focused on whether the documentary should be blocked due to its content. But at the same time, it is unfair to use an overly broad brush and paint this as an issue which Prime Minister Modi is personally trying to avoid.
Prime Minister Modi has actually been a fairly strong proponent of women’s rights, using far less paternalistic language than his predecessors. Most strikingly, he used his first “Independence Day Speech” as Prime Minister, on August 15, 2014, to highlight numerous issues important to the treatment of women. This includes rape (directly pinning the blame on boys, instead of girls), India’s imbalanced sex ratio, and noting how the lack of proper sanitation facilities unfairly impacts females.Words are, of course, far from deeds, but it is unusual for the leader of any country to use such an important platform to raise such issues.
I certainly do hope that the two sides find a way through this impasse that ensures compliance with India’s rules while not impinging on free speech. It is not the first time we have seen free speech attacked in India—perhaps most notably when two young girls were arrested in the state of Maharashtra just weeks before the Delhi rape because one had posted a derogatory comment on Facebook about a recently-deceased political boss, and the other girl “liked” it. This BBC dispute, though, should not be taken as indicative of a personal inclination by Prime Minister Modi to ignore the issue of the mistreatment of females. Less than a year into his tenure, he has become an unexpected champion of women’s rights."
In That Number
The amount of stockpiled elephant tusks burned by Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta to protest elephant poaching and ivory trafficking.
Source : Kenya Wildlife Service.
Dive Deeper: CSIS’s Juan Zarate and Academy Award–winning director Kathryn Bigelow appeared on the Daily Show with John Stewart to discuss links between the ivory trade and terrorism. Kathryn Bigelow has created a project called “ Last Days of Ivory” and produced a short animated film that explains how terrorists are profiting from the ivory trade.
One to Watch
Scott Miller is a senior adviser and the William M. Scholl Chair in International Business at CSIS. He spent nearly 15 years directing global trade policy at Procter & Gamble. Look to him for analysis on a full range of international trade and investment policy issues. Today, he testified before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific on TPP and prospects for greater US trade. “There are many things that effect trade that are never considered in trade agreements.”
CSIS's AMTI outlines the military exercises taking place across the pacific between the US and its allies in one easy graphic.
Stirring article by Michael Hodges for the April issue of Wired: “ Hacking North Korea.”
Watch video of today’s events at our HQ.
Felipe González, former prime minister of Spain and chairman of the EU Reflection Group, gave a Statesman Laureate Lecture on “ European and International Security: Countering Violent Extremism and Foreign Policy Aggression .”
Dr. Munqith Dagherto, CEO of IIACSS—a leading public opinion company in Iraq—presented the results of a groundbreaking survey on Arab attitudes toward terrorism and terrorist organizations in Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Yemen, and Libya. Here are the top reasons people join ISIS.
General Vincent Brooks, US Army, Pacific,spoke on “Perspectives on East Asia” and the Pacific Pathways strategy, an innovative approach to conducting exercises in the region. “Our primary objective is to never have to engage in a fight; but if we do, we need the sufficient capacity and skill sets to win.”
What’s in store at CSIS HQ tomorrow.
All public CSIS events will be canceled due to the bad weather that's due to hit DC early tomorrow morning.
This Town Tomorrow
So many important events in this town—so little time. Of note:
OPM is expected to announce that all federal agencies in the DC area will be closed due to the weather too.
CSIS on Demand
As a bill to fully fund the Department of Homeland Security nears the president’s desk, we reflect on the priorities that Secretary Jeh Johnson laid out at a CSIS Statesmen’s Forum in October. Here is his vision for border security in the 21st century.
On this week’s Smart Women Smart Power podcast, entrepreneur and former Chief Innovation Officer at USAID Maura O’Neill tells Nina Easton how mobile money could potentially lift millions out of poverty and change the way foreign aid is done.
I Like It Like That
On a slightly different Asia maritime theme than our news above, billionaire Paul Allen has rediscovered the Japanese ship the Musashi, 70 years after US forces sank it. When it was afloat, it was one of the biggest battleships of its day. The BBC has fascinating photos from the wreck.
Earlier this week we showed you 90-years-young WWII vet Claude Bratcher who sledded down a snowy hill in eastern Tennessee. Today, we bring you drummer Saul Dreier, 89, and accordionist Ruby Sosnowicz, 85, of the “Holocaust Survivor Band,” who I promise will make you smile with their good cheer and amazing klezmer music.
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