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  • Writer's pictureThe Aspen Strategy Group

The ASG Weekly Leaf: 8/13/21

This week, the Taliban continued its territorial advance and gained control of more districts in Afghanistan, the U.S. Senate approved a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, and President of Iran Ebrahim Raisi announced a hard-line career diplomat as his choice for foreign minister. Read more below.


This Week’s Content Highlights

Features from Aspen Strategy Group Members

Dianne Feinstein and Marco Rubio introduce the Sanction and Stop Ransomware Act

Stephen Hadley on the Intelligence Matters podcast with Michael Morell: “Remembering 9/11 with Stephen Hadley”

David Ignatius in The Washington Post: “Biden’s Careful Approach to Iraq Is Built on All That’s Absent in Afghanistan”

Joseph Nye in Project Syndicate: “America's New Great Power Strategy”

William Perry and Tom Collina on the History Hit Warfare podcast: "The Nuclear Button with Former Defence Secretary William Perry and Tom Collina"

David Petraeus quoted by Jane Ferguson in The New Yorker: “The Uncomfortable Truth of Biden’s Rapid Afghanistan Withdrawal”

Penny Pritzker interviews Samir Bodas on PSP Partners’ A Penny for Your Thoughts conversation series

David Rubenstein interviews Marc Andreesen on Bloomberg Wealth

David Sanger and Julian Barnes in The New York Times: “Beware Free Wi-Fi: Government Urges Workers to Avoid Public Networks”

Anne-Marie Slaughter and Ian Bremmer on Fareed Zakaria’s GPS: “The Taliban Gain Ground in Afghanistan”

Dan Sullivan quoted in Solar Power World: "Senate $3.5 Trillion Budget Plan Includes Ban on Solar Projects Using Materials Sourced from China"

Philip Zelikow interviewed by Matt Kelly for UVaToday: “Q&A: Philip Zelikow Looks Back at the 9/11 Commission Report He Guided”


ASG Rising Leaders in the News

"Sahil is the brightest of the young people working to reduce the existential nuclear dangers we all face. Our future depends on the success of young people like him succeeding where my generation failed. I am proud to have been one of his teachers."

– William J. Perry, 19th U.S. Secretary of Defense

Congratulations to ASG Rising Leader Sahil Shah for winning the


Tweet of the Week


Things to Know

Content Relevant to Aspen Security Forum Discussions

The View from the SEC: Cryptocurrencies and National Security

Robert Schmidt and Benjamin Bain for Bloomberg News:“New SEC Boss Wants More Crypto Oversight to Protect Investors”

A Conversation with Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad

Jennifer Hansler and Kylie Atwood for CNN: "U.S. ‘Not Ready to Throw in the Towel’ on Afghan Talks Even as Taliban Violence Grows’”

The View from the NSC: A Conversation with White House Deputy National Security Advisor Anne Neuberger

Zachary Cohen and Alex Marquardt for CNN: “White House Cyber Official Says 'Commitment' by Ransomware Gang Suggests Biden's Warnings Are Being Heard”

The View from Singapore

Zhao Huanxin for China Daily: “Washington, Beijing Need to 'Head Off Clash'”

The View from Edinburgh

Mary Louise Kelly on NPR’s All Things Considered: “First Minister of Scotland on the Pandemic and Scottish Independence”

The View from Riyadh

Reuters: “Saudi Arabia Says Sees an Emboldened Iran Around Middle East”

The View from the Eurogroup

David Wainer for Bloomberg: “Ireland’s Donohoe Says Global Tax Deal ‘More Likely Than Ever’”

The View from Seoul: A Conversation with President Song

Josh Rogin for The Washington Post: “South Korea Wants Biden to Get Serious About North Korea”

Other Headlines

Emily Cochrane in The New York Times: “Senate Passes $1 Trillion Infrastructure Bill, Handing Biden a Bipartisan Win”

Parisa Hafezi for Reuters: “Iran's Raisi Names Anti-Western Hardliner as New Foreign Minister”


Book of the Week

By Josh Rogin

Donald Trump’s surprise electoral victory shattered the fragile understanding between Washington and Beijing, putting the most important relationship of the twenty-first century in the hands of a novice who had bitterly attacked China from the campaign trail. Almost as soon as he entered office, Trump brought to a boil the long-simmering rivalry between the two countries, while also striking up a “friendship” with Chinese president Xi Jinping — whose manipulations of his American counterpart would undermine the White House’s already disjointed response to the historic challenge of a rising China. All the while, Trump’s own officials fought to steer U.S. policy from within.

By the time the COVID-19 pandemic erupted in Wuhan, Trump’s love-hate relationship with Xi had sparked a trade war, while Xi’s aggression had pushed the world to the brink of a new Cold War. But their quarrel had also forced a long-overdue reckoning within the United States over China’s audacious foreign-influence operations, horrific human rights abuses, and creeping digital despotism. Ironically, this awakening was one of the biggest foreign-policy victories of Trump’s fractious term in office. Filled with shocking revelations drawn from Josh Rogin’s unparalleled access to top U.S. officials from the White House and deep within the country’s foreign policy machine, Chaos Under Heaven reveals an administration at war with itself during perhaps our most urgent hour."


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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