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  • Writer's pictureThe Aspen Strategy Group

The ASG Weekly Leaf: 12/18/20

This week, more details emerged about a massive cyberattack on the U.S. federal government, over 300 Nigerian schoolboys were kidnapped and later released, Brexit negotiators raced to strike a deal before Britain’s transition period ends on December 31, and the U.S. began distributing its first doses of a coronavirus vaccine. Read more below.

Looking ahead, we are excited to announce that the Aspen Strategy Group's Rising Leaders Program will begin in February 2021. Applications are now open and the deadline to apply is January 15, 2021.

Given the upcoming holidays, this will be the final newsletter of the year. We wish all of our readers a happy and safe holiday and we look forward to returning the Leaf to your inboxes in January.


This Week's Content Highlights

Features from Aspen Strategy Group Members

Madeline Albright and Michael Chertoff in USA Today: “Trump's Behavior Is Threat To America's Democracy”

Zoë Baird leads Markle Foundation initiative: “Rework America Alliance Announces Its Initial Resources To Help Job Seekers Displaced By Covid-19, Expands Partners”

Nicholas Burns on Here and Now with Lisa Mullins: "How Diplomacy Forged the Dayton Accords That Brought 'Uneasy Peace' To Bosnia 25 Years Ago”

Sylvia Burwell in a conversation hosted by The Atlantic: "Assembling an Administration"

Jane Harman in a Doha Forum discussion on Intra-Afghan peace talks with Fatima Gailani, Habiba Sarabi, and Roya Mahboob

Nicholas Kristof in The New York Times: “This Is the Test of Our Lifetimes”

Sam Nunn and Ernest Moniz in Foreign Affairs: “Sleepwalking Toward the Nuclear Precipice”

Joseph Nye interviewed by Global Times: “U.S. Is Paying Price for Incompetence of Trump Leadership”

Condoleezza Rice in a Collin County Business Alliance discussion

David Sanger and Nicole Perlroth in The New York Times: “Billions Spent on U.S. Cyberdefenses Failed to Detect Giant Russian Hack"


Tweet of the Week


Upcoming Sessions


This event will be postponed and rescheduled in the New Year. We look forward to announcing a new date soon.

The View from Kabul:

A Live Conversation with the President of Afghanistan


Ashraf Ghani

President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

Introduced by Nicholas Burns

Executive Director, Aspen Strategy Group

Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations,

Harvard Kennedy School


Things to Know

Stay Informed with Important Analysis Relevant to Aspen Security Forum Discussions

BBC News: “Brexit: 'Narrow Path' in View for Trade Deal - EU Chief”

Tom Bossert in The New York Times: "I Was the Homeland Security Advisor to Trump. We're Being Hacked"

Susannah Cullinane, Holly Yan, and Ralph Ellis on CNN: “The First Public Covid-19 Vaccines Reach All States as the U.S. Death Toll Tops 300,000”

Karen Donfried in DW: “Overcoming Transatlantic Division”

Ayaz Gul for VOA: “U.S. Envoy Calls for Timely Resumption of Intra-Afghan Peace Talks”

Emmanuel Akinwotu in The Guardian: "Hundreds of Freed Nigerian Schoolboys to Be Reunited with Families"


Book of the Week

“In his Farewell Address of 1796, President George Washington admonished the young nation "to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world." Isolationism thereafter became one of the most influential political trends in American history. From the founding era until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States shunned strategic commitments abroad, making only brief detours during the Spanish-American War and World War I. Amid World War II and the Cold War, Americans abandoned isolationism; they tried to run the world rather than run away from it. But isolationism is making a comeback as Americans tire of foreign entanglement. In this definitive and magisterial analysis-the first book to tell the fascinating story of isolationism across the arc of American history-Charles Kupchan explores the enduring connection between the isolationist impulse and the American experience.”


Applications Open

Brent Scowcroft Award Fellow

The Aspen Strategy Group is seeking the next Brent Scowcroft Award Fellow. Named in honor of ASG Chair Emeritus Lieutenant General Brent Scowcroft, the fellowship program provides the first stepping-stone for young professionals with an interest in U.S. foreign policy to forge careers inspired by General Scowcroft’s expertise and ethos of service. Scowcroft Fellows typically join the ASG team for a period of 6 months, during which time they are encouraged to develop practical skills and build knowledge in the field of foreign policy and national security.

Applications are now open for this temporary, full-time, paid position.


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As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the Aspen Institute is nonpartisan and does not endorse, support, or oppose political candidates or parties. Further, the views and opinions of our guests and speakers do not necessarily reflect those of the Aspen Institute.

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