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The ASG Weekly Leaf: 8/27/21

Updated: Sep 2

This week, the situation in Afghanistan continued to deteriorate as explosions near the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul killed dozens of people, including Afghan civilians and U.S. service members. Read more below.

This Week’s Content Highlights

Features from Aspen Strategy Group Members


James Cartwright et al. in an Atlantic Council discussion: “After the G-7: The Strategic Implications of the Humanitarian Crisis in Afghanistan”


Chris Coons quoted by Gabriel Rubin in The Wall Street Journal: “Taliban Takeover Renders Budget for Afghanistan Null and Void”


Dianne Feinstein and Jack Reed joined 53 other Senators in a bipartisan letter on the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa program


Robert Gates quoted by Caroline Newman in UVAToday: “3 Bush Oral History Excerpts That Shed Light on Current Events in Afghanistan”


Susan Glasser and Thomas Wright in a Lowy Institute discussion with Michael Fullilove: “The Withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Biden Doctrine, and America’s Global Role”


Michael Green, Seth Jones, and Marti Flacks in a CSIS panel discussion moderated by Susan Glasser: “Afghanistan Aftershocks”


David Ignatius interviewed Michael Wirth on Washington Post Live: “The Path Forward: The Future of Energy”


Penny Pritzker named to the inaugural advisory board of the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum


David Sanger in The New York Times: “Biden’s Foreign Policy Priorities”


Anne-Marie Slaughter in The Economist: “Anne-Marie Slaughter on Why America’s Diversity Is Its Strength”

ASG Rising Leaders in the News


“Even the most advanced artificial intelligence tools can unpredictably fail, potentially crippling the systems in which they are embedded. As machine learning becomes part of critical, real-world systems, from cars and planes to financial markets, power plants, hospitals, and weapons platforms, the potential human, economic, and political costs of AI accidents will continue to grow.”


Read ASG Rising Leader Helen Toner's CSET policy brief "AI Accidents: An Emerging Threat" co-authored with Zachary Arnold.

Tweet of the Week


Things to Know

Content Relevant to Aspen Security Forum Discussions


Eliot Cohen in The Atlantic: “A Moment for Soul-Searching”


Zolan Kanno-Youngs for The New York Times: "In Southeast Asia, Kamala Harris's Message: You Can Count on the U.S."


Kelly Laco for Fox News: "Biden's Meeting with Israeli Prime Minister to Keep Spotlight on Afghanistan, Terrorist Threats to Allies"


Peter Ricketts in The New Statesman: "The Afghanistan Crisis Has Exposed Global Britain's Delusions of Grandeur"


Josh Rogin in The Washington Post: “President Biden’s Democracy Agenda Is in Trouble”


Sami Sadat in The New York Times: "I Commanded Afghan Troops This Year. We Were Betrayed."


Gerald Seib in The Wall Street Journal: “Afghanistan Withdrawal Mess Risks Second Wave of Problems”


Rajiv Shah in Foreign Affairs: “The COVID Charter: A New Development Model for a World in Crisis”

Book of the Week

Aftershocks: Pandemic Politics and the End of the Old International Order

By Colin Kahl and Thomas Wright “The COVID-19 pandemic killed millions, infected hundreds of millions, and laid bare the deep vulnerabilities and inequalities of our interconnected world. The accompanying economic crash was the worst since the Great Depression, with the International Monetary Fund estimating that it will cost over $22 trillion in global wealth over the next few years. Over two decades of progress in reducing extreme poverty was erased, just in the space of a few months. Already fragile states in every corner of the globe were further hollowed out. The brewing clash between the United States and China boiled over and the worldwide contest between democracy and authoritarianism deepened. It was a truly global crisis necessitating a collective response―and yet international cooperation almost entirely broke down, with key world leaders hardly on speaking terms. Colin Kahl and Thomas Wright's Aftershocks offers a riveting and comprehensive account of one of the strangest and most consequential years on record. Drawing on interviews with officials from around the world and extensive research, the authors tell the story of how nationalism and major power rivalries constrained the response to the worst pandemic in a century. They demonstrate the myriad ways in which the crisis exposed the limits of the old international order and how the reverberations from COVID-19 will be felt for years to come.”

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