12/17/2018

ESSENTIAL #1: “U.S. AIRSTRIKES IN SOMALIA KILL 62 MILITANTS, US MILITARY SAYS” JAIDE TIMM-GARCIA, CNN

From the article: “Sixty-two militants were killed by US airstrikes in Somalia this month, US Africa Command said in a statement released Monday.

The strikes, which targeted al-Shabaab militants, were conducted near Gandarshe, Somalia, according to the statement. A strike on Saturday killed 34 militants, and a strike on Sunday killed 28 militants, US Africa Command said.

The airstrikes were conducted in coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia to ‘prevent terrorists from using remote areas as a safe haven to plot, direct, inspire and recruit for future attacks,’ according to the statement.” 

ESSENTIAL #2: “NEW REPORT ON RUSSIAN DISINFORMATION, PREPARED FOR THE SENATE, SHOWS THE OPERATION’S SCALE AND SWEEP” CRAIG TIMBERG, TONY ROMM

From the article: “A report prepared for the Senate that provides the most sweeping analysis yet of Russia’s disinformation campaign around the 2016 election found the operation used every major social media platform to deliver words, images and videos tailored to voters’ interests to help elect President Trump — and worked even harder to support him while in office.

The report, a draft of which was obtained by The Washington Post, is the first to study the millions of posts provided by major technology firms to the Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), its chairman, and Sen. Mark Warner (Va.), its ranking Democrat. The bipartisan panel hasn’t said whether it endorses the findings. It plans to release it publicly along with another study later this week.”

ESSENTIAL #3: “WHAT DONALD TRUMP AND DICK CHENEY GOT WRONG ABOUT THE WORLD” JAKE SULLIVAN, THE ATLANTIC

From the article: “This calls for rescuing the idea of American exceptionalism from both its chest-thumping proponents and its cynical critics, and renewing it for the present time. The idea is not that the United States is intrinsically better than other countries, but rather this: Despite its flaws, America possesses distinctive attributes that can be put to work to advance both the national interest and the larger common interest.

In the wrong hands, American exceptionalism can be a dangerous idea. It can justify too much. It can admit too little. It can offend and alienate. But for proponents of an engaged and effective foreign policy, failure to own and define the idea—especially when malevolent forces are seeking to own and define so many national ideas—is even more dangerous. Without a sense of greater purpose about the nation’s work in the world, the U.S. will lose direction and ambition at a time when it badly needs both. And if that sense of purpose is not grounded in humility, the U.S. will fall victim to hubris and excess.

What follows is a case for a new American exceptionalism as the answer to Donald Trump’s ‘America first’—and as the basis for American leadership in the 21st century.”

ESSENTIAL #4: “UNDER A CODE NAME, GEORGE H.W. BUSH SPONSORED FILIPINO CHILD THROUGH COLORADO SPRINGS NON-PROFIT” ELLIE MULDER, THE GAZETTE

From the article: “Nearly 20 years ago, former President George H.W. Bush wanted to sponsor a Filipino boy named Timothy through Colorado Springs-based nonprofit Compassion International — but first, he needed a pseudonym.

‘He’s passed away now, so it’s probably not a classified name anymore — it was George Walker,’ said Wess Stafford, Compassion president emeritus. ‘That’s the same name that he used, apparently, whenever he checked into a hospital and they needed to have it unknown that he was in there.’

Bush’s security team was worried about Timothy’s safety, said Stafford. If word had gotten out that the child was communicating with a former U.S. president, he could have been in danger.”

Today's EssentialsEditors