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The ASG Weekly Leaf: 7/2/21

This week, President Biden ordered airstrikes against Iran-backed militia groups near the Iraq-Syria border; General Austin Miller, the commander of U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan, expressed concerns about the potential for civil war following the troop withdrawal; and the Chinese Communist Party marked its 100th anniversary. Read more below.


We are also sad to note that Donald Rumsfeld, who served as Secretary of Defense under both Gerald Ford and George W. Bush, passed away on Wednesday. We remember his legacy and service to our country.

This Week's Content Highlights

Features from Aspen Strategy Group Members


Elizabeth Economy on Fareed Zakaria’s GPS: “How China Views the Future”


Peter Feaver and Hal Brands in The National Interest: “The Myth of American Militarism”


Robert Gates on the Crosscut Talks podcast: “Is This the End of American Exceptionalism?”


Kay Bailey Hutchison on McCuistion: “NATO: Is It Still Strategic?”


David Ignatius in The Washington Post: “Biden Learned Washington as a Senator. He Needs a Different Skill Set Now.”


Nicholas Kristof in The New York Times: “The Biggest Threat to America Is America Itself”


David Petraeus, David Ignatius, Steve Miska, and Fraidoon Akhtari on Washington Post Live: “Withdrawal from Afghanistan”


Jack Reed on WPRI: “Newly Released UFO Report Should Be Taken Seriously”


David Sanger in The New York Times: “Biden Faces Intense Cross Currents in Iran Policy”

ASG Rising Leaders in the News


“The summit between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin left two things clear: Russia is almost sure to test Biden’s resolve on cyberattacks, and the U.S. president may find his red line with his Russian counterpart difficult to enforce.”


Read ASG Rising Leader Alyza Sebenius’ recent piece in Bloomberg on Biden’s “cyber red line.”

Tweet of the Week

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Details Including Registration, Agenda and More to Follow

Things to Know

Stay Informed with Important Analysis Relevant to Aspen Security Forum Discussions


Edmund Demarche for Fox News: “Biden’s Airstrikes Seen as Message to Iran While Administration Tries to Revive Nuke Deal”


Deutsche Welle: "G20 Ministers Call for Better Covid Cooperation During Talks in Italy"


Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Eric Schmitt in The New York Times: “Security in Afghanistan Is Decaying, U.S. General Says as Forces Leave”


Caitlin Hu, Julia Hollingsworth, Eliza Mackintosh, and Helen Regan for CNN: “The Junta Overthrew the Government They Represented. What Happens Next for Myanmar's Diplomats in Limbo?”


German Lopez for Vox: “Biden’s Infrastructure Deal Proves Bipartisanship Can’t Deliver”


Jurek Martin and Lauren Fedor in Financial Times: "Donald Rumsfeld, U.S. Defence Secretary, 1932-2021"


Andrew Nathan for The Wall Street Journal: “An Anxious 100th Birthday for China’s Communist Party”

Book of the Week


This Is How They Tell Me The World Ends: The Cyberweapons Arms Race

By Nicole Perlroth

“Zero day: a software bug that allows a hacker to break into your devices and move around undetected. One of the most coveted tools in a spy's arsenal, a zero day has the power to silently spy on your iPhone, dismantle the safety controls at a chemical plant, alter an election, and shut down the electric grid (just ask Ukraine). For decades, under cover of classification levels and non-disclosure agreements, the United States government became the world's dominant hoarder of zero days. U.S. government agents paid top dollar-first thousands, and later millions of dollars- to hackers willing to sell their lock-picking code and their silence.Then the United States lost control of its hoard and the market. Now those zero days are in the hands of hostile nations and mercenaries who do not care if your vote goes missing, your clean water is contaminated, or our nuclear plants melt down. Filled with spies, hackers, arms dealers, and a few unsung heroes, written like a thriller and a reference, This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends is an astonishing feat of journalism. Based on years of reporting and hundreds of interviews, The New York Times reporter Nicole Perlroth lifts the curtain on a market in shadow, revealing the urgent threat faced by us all if we cannot bring the global cyber arms race to heel.”

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