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  • Writer's pictureThe Aspen Strategy Group

The ASG Weekly Leaf: 3/5/21

This week, Secretary of State Tony Blinken announced the Biden administration’s top foreign policy priorities, Pope Francis set out on the first papal visit to Iraq, and El Salvador's legislative elections secured a majority for the party of President Nayib Bukele. Read more below.


This Week's Content Highlights

Features from Aspen Strategy Group Members

Madeleine Albright, Mack McLarty, and Eric Farnsworth in an Americas Society/Council of the Americas discussion

Robert Blackwill and Philip Zelikow in War on the Rocks: “Can the United States Prevent a War Over Taiwan?”

Nicholas Burns on PRI’s The World: “Biden’s Reentry on the Foreign Policy Stage”

Nicholas Kristof, Meghan O’Sullivan, Tarek Masoud, and Fareed Zakaria on CNN: “Biden’s First Military Action”

Anja Manuel in a World Affairs Council of Jacksonville discussion

Joseph Nye in Project Syndicate: “What Could Cause a U.S.-China War?

David Sanger and Emily Schmall in The New York Times: “China Appears to Warn India: Push Too Hard and the Lights Could Go Out"

Anne-Marie Slaughter in Princeton Alumni Weekly: “A Personal Tribute to a Public Man: George Shultz ’42”

Fran Townsend on CBS This Morning: “Former Homeland Adviser Fran Townsend on Threats to Capitol, Law Enforcement by Conspiracy Theorists


Tweet of the Week


Things to Know

Stay Informed with Important Analysis Relevant to Aspen Security Forum Discussions

Joyce Anelay in Prospect Magazine: “We Were Promised the Integrated Defence Review by Now. Where Is It?”

Ghazi Balkiz et al for CNN: “The Pope's Iraq Trip Could Be His Most Dangerous Yet. But the Country's Dwindling Christian Minority Hopes It Heals Their Wounds”

Anna-Catherine Brigida and Mary Beth Sheridan in The Washington Post: “El Salvador’s Leader Wins Control of Legislature in Midterm Vote; Critics Fear Rising Authoritarianism”

Nicole Gaouette, Oren Liebermann, and Barbara Starr for CNN: “U.S. Carries Out Air Strikes in Syria Targeting Iranian Backed Militias”

Brittany de Lea for Fox News: “Biden Says Mexico an 'Equal' as He Dismantles Trump Immigration Policies”

Meghan O’Sullivan in Bloomberg Opinion: “Saudi Arabia and the U.S. Still Need Each Other”

Alex Ward on Vox: “How Biden’s Best-Laid Plans for Iran and Saudi Arabia Failed in His First Month”

Nahal Toosi in Politico: “Blinken, Biden Outline Global Strategy with China as Key Focus”

Dov Zakheim in The Hill: “Britain Is Back in Asia, Sending a Message to Beijing”


Partner Content

By Brandon Tseng

“In the era of AI and autonomous systems, my sobering assessment is that our military is unprepared for future conflicts because collectively, as a nation, we have failed to invest in and integrate the AI and autonomy that matters into our armed forces at any degree of scale.”

Read Shield AI Co-Founder Brandon Tseng’s piece about the intersection of AI and national security.


Book of the Week

By Ben Hubbard

“MBS is the untold story of how a mysterious young prince emerged from Saudi Arabia’s sprawling royal family to overhaul the economy and society of the richest country in the Middle East—and gather as much power as possible into his own hands. Since his father, King Salman, ascended to the throne in 2015, Mohammed bin Salman has leveraged his influence to restructure the kingdom’s economy, loosen its strict Islamic social codes, and confront its enemies around the region, especially Iran. That vision won him fans at home and on Wall Street, in Silicon Valley, in Hollywood, and at the White House, where President Trump embraced the prince as a key player in his own vision for the Middle East. But over time, the sheen of the visionary young reformer has become tarnished, leaving many struggling to determine whether MBS is in fact a rising dictator whose inexperience and rash decisions are destabilizing the world’s most volatile region.

Based on years of reporting and hundreds of interviews, MBS reveals the machinations behind the kingdom’s catastrophic military intervention in Yemen, the bizarre detention of princes and businessmen in the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton, and the shifting Saudi relationships with Israel and the United States. And finally, it sheds new light on the greatest scandal of the young autocrat’s rise: the brutal killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents in Istanbul, a crime that shook Saudi Arabia’s relationship with Washington and left the world wondering whether MBS could get away with murder. MBS is a riveting account of how the young prince has wielded vast powers to reshape his kingdom and the world around him."



Resetting U.S.’s Role in the Global Economy

Featuring Nicholas Burns, Megan O’Sullivan, Dan Porterfield, John Banovetz, Scarlet Fu, John Micklethwait, Tom Orlik, David Rank, Rajiv Shah, Neena Shenai, Chang Shu, and Joanna Smith-Ramani.


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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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