Recent Events

Written by Dr. Gal Luft, Silk Road 2.0: US Strategy toward China's Belt and Road Initiative explores how the United States should engage with China's tremendous infrastructure-building project, and recommends the United States pursue a strategy of constructive participation. This strategy is built on five pillars: acknowledge, engage, adjust; articulate red lines; carve a role for the United States; integrate the BRI into the framework of overall US-China Relations; and present America's own vision for infrastructure development.

The discussion focused on two main themes: the geopolitical and strategic reasons why the United States should engage in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and how the United States can do so while maintaining and protecting its interests. Overall, the panelists felt the BRI provides avenues for a constructive and cooperative relationship with China, the United States should want a role in development of underdeveloped regions which also provide US companies the opportunity to compete, and, lastly, China’s accrued influence in the countries where their projects are a success will test other hegemonic powers including Russia and India. One particular area to watch is China’s large investments in long-time ally Pakistan’s development. Ambassador Gray, Dr. Oh, and Dr. Luft all described how engagement with the BRI is in the United States’ interest as it helps create the standards for infrastructure development. The BRI provides private sector businesses with transparency to the contract competition process, providing fair access to capital for proposed BRI projects. The US government should help ensure fair access and transparency to business who wish to enter BRI projects. The overall conclusion is this: the BRI is moving forward with or without the US – the strategy that is proposed in this Atlantic Council Strategy Paper provides a roadmap to supporting China’s interest and investments in international development while maintaining US interests and security by selectively choosing when to endorse and when to rebuff aspects of the BRI.
On September 21, 2017, the Cyber Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security hosted a panel discussion on Nonresident Senior Fellow, Andrea Matwyshyn’s current research project: The Internet of Bodies and the game-changing security, legal, and ethical implications of Internet-connected medical implants. The Hon. Franklin D. Kramer provided opening remarks for the event.

David Forscey, a Policy Analyst for the Homeland Security and Public Safety Division of the

National Governors Association moderated a panel comprised of Dr. Andrea Matwyshyn, Nonresident Senior Fellow for the Cyber Statecraft Initiative and Professor of Law at Northeastern University; Terrell McSweeny, Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission; Janine Medina, a Biohacker and the Project Manager of the Biohacking Village at DEFCON; and Gail Slater, General Counsel of the Internet Association.
 

For years, cybersecurity has focused on physical objects that comprise the Internet of Things, but with technological advances in healthcare, this now includes medical implants. What began with external, smart objects like FitBits, has steadily grown to internet-connected pacemakers, cochlear and microchip implants, and more. With the implementation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in 2016, we now face a new era of imperative and legal security research of consumer devices that are attached to both the Internet and the human body. This “Internet of Bodies” will inevitably expose us to unprecedented cybersecurity vulnerabilities, introduce conflict across several legal regimes, and raise fundamental ethical questions about the future of what it means to be human in an age of technology-mediated bodies and artificial intelligence.
On Wednesday, September 13, the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center and Brent Scowcroft Center’s Asia Security Initiative hosted expert panelists for a discussion on Dr. Ichord’s new report on the power diversification strategy in Indonesia given current political and economic obstacles confronting the country and region. The discussion was moderated by Benjamin Soloway, assistant editor at Foreign Policy.  Topics of the discussion included market prospects for geothermal and renewable energy, nuclear energy, liquefied natural gas, oil, and coal production in Indonesia, the types of investment changes necessary to support infrastructure demands and carbon dioxide emissions goals, and the power sector challenges associated with transitioning from a decentralized to a more centralized form of government.
In this follow-up to the Atlantic Council’s 2016 report on reforming the National Security Council, a team of respected and experienced authors led by former Ambassadors Thomas Pickering, Chester Crocker, and David Miller examined the inner workings of the US Department of State in order to find ways to improve the department’s performance quickly and for little if any cost. The report spells out five key areas where the State Department needs improvement: structure and process, personnel, budget, congressional relations, and the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

On September 6, the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security’s Foresight, Strategy, and Risks Initiative (FSR) hosted a launch event for the State Department Reform Report. The event featured a keynote address from Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and a panel with the report’s authors moderated by Washington Post columnist David Ignatius. Chairman Royce stressed the importance of the State Department as the country’s “most important foreign policy institution,” and expressed his admiration for the department’s Foreign Service Officers (FSOs). The panel of authors then elaborated on several of their proposals, including the need for more dedicated training for FSOs, better mutual understanding between the State Department and Congress, and improvements to the independence and effectiveness of USAID.
 
On August 2, 2017, the Cyber Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security hosted a panel discussion on the week-long round of cybersecurity conferences known as “Hacker Summer Camp” – DEF CON, Black Hat, and BSides Las Vegas. Ariel Robinson, Analyst and Reporter for ITSP Magazine and Host of The Tech Effect podcast, moderated a conversation with Nick Leiserson, Legislative Director for the Office of U.S. Representative Jim Langevin; Cris Thomas (also known as Space Rogue), Global Strategy Lead for IBM X-Force Red; Jessica Wilkerson, Professional Staff Member of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Energy and Commerce; and Beau Woods, Deputy Director of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security on the three cybersecurity conferences that welcomed top hackers, academics, journalists, professionals, and government representatives. 
On Monday July 17th, the Atlantic Council’s Cyber Statecraft initiative, part of the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, held a moderated discussion where panelists Laura Galante, senior fellow with the Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative and former director of Global Intelligence at FireEye; Alexander Klimburg, senior fellow with the Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative and program director at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies; Jane Holl Lute, Atlantic Council board director and CEO of SICPA; and  moderator Tal Kopan, political reporter at CNN, discussed the chilling consequences of cyberspace as a new field of conflict.
We are living in a world awash in data. Accelerated interconnectivity, driven by the proliferation of internet-connected devices, has led to an explosion of data—big data. A race is now underway to develop new technologies and implement innovative methods that can handle the volume, variety, velocity, and veracity of big data and apply it smartly to provide decisive advantage and help solve major challenges facing companies and governments.
In The Retreat of Western Liberalism, Edward Luce makes a larger statement about the weakening of Western hegemony and the crisis of liberal democracy—of which Donald Trump and his European counterparts are not the cause, but a deeply alarming symptom. Luce argues that the erosion of middle-class incomes has eaten away at liberal democratic consensus, resulting in today’s crisis. Unless the West can rekindle an economy that produces gains for the majority of its people, its political liberties may be doomed. 
The Trump administration is said to be drafting a new arms package for Taiwan that could include advanced rocket systems and anti-ship missiles. The package is expected to be significantly larger than one that was shelved at the end of the Obama administration, US officials told Reuters on the eve of a visit to Beijing by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson two months ago. The United States has long committed itself to providing Taiwan with the means to defend itself and have engaged in unofficial diplomatic relations since the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979. American presidents have engaged in robust arms sales to Taiwan since the Carter administration and have sold Taiwan more than $30 billion in weapons since then. Current cross-strait relations are strained, and Beijing is likely to react to any arms sale to Taiwan. How will this arms sale affect Taiwan’s defense and security, how will Beijing respond, and how will the arms sales package fit into the Trump administration’s broader strategy in the Asia-Pacific?

On June 9, the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security’s Asia Security Initiative hosted a Cross-Straits Series event on the next US-Taiwan arms sale. The discussion brings together Mr. Abraham Denmark, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia of the US Department of Defense; Mr. Ian Easton, Research Fellow of Project 2049 Institute; and Ms. Susan Lawrence, Specialist, Asian Affairs of the Congressional Research Service. The discussion was moderated by Ms. Shannon Tiezzi, Editor at The Diplomat.
On May 12, 2017, the world was shaken by a ransomware cyberattack called Wanna Crypt (also known as WannaCry) that spread like a network worm. The attack impacted over 45 National Health System (NHS) organizations across England and Scotland, forcing hospitals to cancel appointments and loose critical patient records, as well as the German S-Bahn.

The impacts did not stop there. In less than ten days, WannaCry affected approximately 200,000 systems in 150 countries, swiftly becoming one of the most impactful malware outbreaks in recent history, and dominating the news cycle for the next several days.


    

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