• China syndromeThe Clean Network Program: Digital Age Echoes of the “Long Telegram”?

    By David P. Fidler

    In August, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo launched the Clean Network program—“the Trump administration’s comprehensive approach to guarding our citizens’ privacy and our companies’ most sensitive information from aggressive intrusions by malign actors, such as the Chinese Communist Party.” The Clean Network program’s scope—stretching from submarine cables traversing the oceans to citizens downloading smartphone apps—reveals the breadth of the administration’s concerns about the political, ideological, and technological inroads China has made in cyberspace. These concerns recall the warning George Kennan gave in his famous “long telegram” in 1946 about the Soviet Union’s “elaborate and far flung apparatus for exertion of its influence in other countries.”

  • China syndromeChina Leads in Race for Digital Currency

    By Kristie Pladson

    China’s central bank has made steady advances in its goal of launching the world’s first major sovereign digital currency. By becoming the first world power to dominate the digital sphere, China could potentially carve out a stronger position for itself in the global economy and make it less vulnerable to sanctions from Washington, another step in Beijing challenging the US for global dominance. Moreover, the Chinese state could theoretically abuse its digital yuan not only to track transactions of its own citizens, but also any companies or countries that would use the digital yuan.

  • ARGUMENT: Cyber insuranceWar, Terrorism, and Catastrophe in Cyber Insurance: Understanding and Reforming Exclusions

    Insurance is one of the most promising tools for addressing pervasive cyber insecurity. A robust market for insuring cyber incidents could, among other things, financially incentivize organizations to adopt better cyber hygiene—thereby reducing cyber risk for society as a whole. But cyber insurance, however, is not yet mature enough to fulfill its potential, Jon Bateman writes, and endless lawsuits hamper its effectiveness. Reforms and new solutions are sorely needed.

  • PandemicIn Europe, Local Leaders Increasingly Frustrated with Pandemic Restrictions

    By Jamie Dettmer

    Across Europe, mayors are also questioning the orthodoxy of lockdowns, arguing that infection rates are trending up even in locked-down towns. They are not going as far as to ignore government instructions, but they are becoming increasingly frustrated with the pandemic restrictions central governments are imposing from on high. Local leaders say they are better placed to know when and how to tighten restrictions, or whether they are needed at all. They fear central governments are not getting the balance right between protecting lives and saving livelihoods and businesses.

  • Earthquake damageCurbing Earthquakes-Induced Economic Losses to Power Plants

    Researchers have shown that during high seismic activity, the structural integrity of bushing systems can be better maintained by reinforcing their bases with steel stiffeners. Also, by using probability-based loss assessment studies, they found that the economic burden due to damage to bushing systems from earthquakes is up to 10 times lower for steel-reinforced transformer bushing systems compared to other bushing configurations.

  • Water securityProjecting the Future Trade of Virtual Water

     Crops require water to grow. By importing water-intensive crops, countries essentially bring in a natural resource in the form of virtual water. Agricultural virtual water is the amount of water needed to grow a particular crop in a given region.

  • Cybersecurity educationUWF’s Master’s in Cybersecurity Online Program Ranks among Best Values in Nation

    In only its second year of existence, the University of Florida’s (UWF) nationally designated Master of Science in Cybersecurity online program – recognized as a leading program in cybersecurity education and workforce development — has been ranked as one of the best values in the nation, according to the 2020 Cybersecurity Guide rankings.

  • China syndromeU.S. Imposes Curbs on Exports by China's Top Chipmaker SMIC

    By John Xie

    The U.S. government has placed new export restrictions on China’s most advanced maker of computer chips, citing an “unacceptable risk” that equipment sold to the country’s Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC) could be used for military purposes.

  • Supply chain securityThe Weakest Link of Global Supply Chains

    From toilet paper to industrial chemicals, there’s no doubt the COVID-19 pandemic has been disruptive to global supply chains. But how important are large, multinational companies in maintaining both local and international logistic networks and should governments be so focused on maintaining larger organizations through subsidies and bail-outs over their smaller counterparts? A new study finds that smaller operators can deliver the hardest logistic shocks.

  • Hemispheric securityPandemic Crushes Guyana’s Dreams of Big Oil Profits as “Resource Curse” Looms over Oil-Producing Nations

    By Amy Myers Jaffe

    This year was supposed to bring great things for Guyana. ExxonMobil discovered massive oil deposits off the South American country’s Caribbean coast in 2015, and Guyana sold its first cargo of crude oil this February. But Guyana’s dreams of fabulous wealth this year have been dashed by COVID-19, which has delayed production and slashed oil demand. Compounding its coronavirus troubles, Guyana shows warning signs of the so-called “resource curse,” in which a country’s new oil wealth crowds out other productive economic sectors, breeds corruption and triggers political conflict. Very few petrostates have adequately diversified their economies. Exceptions include Malaysia and Dubai, which have both used oil wealth successfully to build a broader economic foundation and have avoided the dreaded “resource curse.” Those countries should be models for Guyana.

  • Money launderingTrillions of Dollars Laundered Through U.S., European Banks after Russian Sanctions

    Documents leaked to BuzzFeed News show that in almost two decades, between 1999 to 2017, major European and U.S. financial entities processed more than $2 trillion worth of suspicious transactions. Kremlin insiders and friends were the beneficiaries. Three names stand out: Arkady Rotenberg, a childhood friend of Vladimir Putin who has gone from an obscure businessman in the 1990s to a billionaire during Putin’s 20 years in power, and who was sanctioned, along with his brother and son, after the Russian annexation of Crimea; Semion Mogilevich, a Russian organized crime boss who is named on the FBI’s top 10 most wanted list; and Paul Manafort, a political strategist who led Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential election campaign from early June until mid-August 2016.

  • China syndromeU.S.-China Fight over Fishing Is Really about World Domination

    By Blake Earle

    China’s aggressive, sometimes illegal fishing practices are the latest source of conflict with the United States.

    China has the world’s largest fishing fleet. Beijing claims to send around 2,600 vessels out to fish across the globe, but some maritime experts say this distant-water fishing fleet may number nearly 17,000. The United States has fewer than 300 distant-water ships. Governments often use the fishing industry to advance their diplomatic agenda, as my work as a historian of fishing and American foreign relations shows. The United States used fishing, directly and indirectly, to build its international empire from its founding through the 20th century. Now China’s doing it, too.

  • WildfiresDoes Experiencing Wildfires Create Political Consensus on Resilience Measures?

    By Bruce E. Cain

    As of last weekend [12-13 September], 97 large fires have burned 4.7 million acres across the American West, causing widespread evacuations in California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Idaho and Utah.  The smoke from these summer wildfires has spread very widely over the region, curtailing outdoor activity and sending many to the hospitals with respiratory ailments, heat attacks and strokes.  Will this move us any closer to achieving a consensus on the topic of dealing with climate change?

  • WildfiresInsurance Markets Face Challenges in Higher Fire-Risk Areas

    Wildfires in California destroy thousands of structures each year, and in 2017 that number jumped to 10,800. In 2018, wildfires wrought even greater destruction, with more than 22,000 structures destroyed. Those conflagrations can devastate homeowners and bring heavy costs for the insurance industry. In a new study, RAND researchers found that while the insurance market in lower-fire-risk areas was working relatively well as of 2017, higher-fire-risk areas faced challenges.

  • China syndromeTikTok and WeChat: Curating and Controlling Global Information Flows

    By Fergus Ryan, Audrey Fritz, and Daria Impiombato

    “The Chinese state has demonstrated a propensity for controlling and shaping the information environment of the Chinese diaspora—including via WeChat,” three researchers at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) in a new report. “The meteoric growth of TikTok has now put the CCP in a position from which it can shape the information environment on a largely non-Chinese-speaking platform—with the help of the highest valued start-up in the world and its opaque advanced AI-powered algorithm”: Excerpts from the report.