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  • Writer's pictureThe Aspen Strategy Group

The Weekly Leaf - May 23

The Weekly Leaf

As we observe Memorial Day this weekend, we recognize and honor those who have lost their lives in service to our country.

This week, President of Kenya William Ruto traveled to Washington for the first state visit by an African leader to the U.S. in more than 15 years, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Rishi Sunak called a general election to be held on July 4, and President of Iran Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian died in a helicopter crash.

Read more below.


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This Week's Content Highlights

Features from Aspen Strategy Group Members

Joseph Nye for The Hill: “America Still Retains a Soft Power Advantage Over China”

Anja Manuel, Tom Nides, Dennis Ross, Tod Wolters, and moderator Leon Panetta for the Leon Panetta Lecture Series: “The Challenge of War in the Middle East: Will There Be Peace or More War?”

Elizabeth Economy interviewed by Tom Keene and Paul Sweeney for Bloomberg

Jendayi Frazer, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Antonio Garza, and moderator Jonathan Tepperman for the George W. Bush Presidential Center: "Why U.S. Leadership Still Matters"

David Ignatius for The Washington Post: “The U.S. Assembles the Pieces of a Possible Gaza War Endgame”

Nicholas Kristof for The New York Times: “Never Bet Against Democracy in the Long Run”

Sam Nunn, Arnold Punaro, Saxby Chambliss, Jim Jones, and moderator Jennifer Griffin for the Center for Strategic & International Studies: “The Next Generation of National Security Leaders: A Conversation With Major General Arnold Punaro”

David Rubenstein interviewed Alejandro N. Mayorkas for the Economic Club of Washington, DC

David Sanger for The New York Times: “Aggression or Caution: The Choice Facing Iran’s Next Leaders”

Dan Sullivan interviewed by Jake Tapper for CNN


Tweet of the Week


Rising Leaders Program Highlights

Features from ASG Rising Leaders

April Arnold (‘22) for Inkstick: “In Nuclear Crosshairs, Guam Still Doesn’t Control Its Own Affairs”

Dimitri DeChurch-Silva (‘23), Anthony Rapa, George T. Boggs, and Justin A. Chiarodo for Blank Rome LLP: “3 Takeaways From Recent U.S. Regulatory Actions Implementing AUKUS”

Khyle Eastin ('23) for the Mapping China’s Strategic Space project: “A Domain of Great Powers: The Strategic Role of Space in Achieving China’s Dream of National Rejuvenation”


Things to Know

Content Relevant to Aspen Security Forum Discussions

Gil Barndollar and Matthew C. Mai for Foreign Policy: “The U.S. Navy Can’t Build Ships”

Charles Q. Brown interviewed by Courtney Kube at the Atlantic Council: “General CQ Brown, Jr. on How U.S. Forces Are Readying for New Global Threats”

Rose Gottemoeller for Foreign Policy: “The Changing Nuclear Mind Game”

Richard Haass for Project Syndicate: “Defining Success in Ukraine”

David Herling for Bloomberg: "Kenya President Ruto Visits White House in First African State Visit in 16 Years"

Kathrin Hille, Demetri Sevastopulo, and the Visual Storytelling Team for the Financial Times: “The Battlegrounds That Could Decide a U.S.-China War Over Taiwan” 

Ange Adihe Kasongo and Sonia Rolley for Reuters: “DRC Army Says It Stopped Attempted Coup Involving U.S. Citizens”

Amanda Taub for The New York Times: “Why a Prosecutor Went Public With Arrest Warrant Requests for Hamas and Israeli Leaders"

Nahal Toosi for POLITICO: "African Countries Are Failing to Make a Dent in Washington's Diplomatic Scene"

Joyu Wang and Austin Ramzy for The Wall Street Journal: "Taiwan's New President Serves Up Predictability in Era of Turmoil"

Henry Zeffman for BBC: "How Rishi Sunak Sprang Election Surprise on Tories"


From the Archives

Revisit our conversation on U.S.-Kenya security priorities

and regional challenges from the

Monica Juma, National Security Advisor to the President of the Republic of Kenya

ModeratorSarah Smith, North America Editor, BBC News


Book of the Week

by Steven A. Cook

“Following a long series of catastrophic misadventures in the Middle East over the last two decades, the American foreign policy community has tried to understand what went wrong. After weighing the evidence, they have mostly advised a retreat from the region. The basic view is that when the United States tries to advance change in the Middle East, it only makes matters worse.

In The End of Ambition, Steven A. Cook argues that while these analysts are rightly concerned that engagement drains U.S. resources and distorts its domestic politics, the broader impulse to disengage tends to neglect important lessons from the past. Moreover, advocates of pulling back overlook the potential risks of withdrawal. Covering the relationship between the U.S. and the Middle East since the end of WWII, Cook makes the bold claim that despite setbacks and moral costs, the United States has been overwhelmingly successful in protecting its core national interests in the Middle East. Conversely, overly ambitious policies to remake the region and leverage U.S. power not only ended in failure, but rendered the region unstable in new and largely misunderstood ways. While making the case that retrenchment is not the answer to America's problems in the Middle East, The End of Ambition highlights how America's interests in the region have begun to change and critically examines alternative approaches to U.S.-Middle East policy.”


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