NatSec Nightcap with Lisa Monaco




Lisa Monaco, NSI Advisory Board member and former White House Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor,  joined NSI Founder & Executive Director Jamil Jaffer on July 7 for the sixth event in our NatSec Nightcap webinar series.   Ms. Monaco highlighted critical U.S. national security priorities – from pandemics to terrorism to an independent Justice Department – and discussed U.S. preparedness to address these critical challenges.

Michael Brown, Director of the Defense Innovation Unit at the Department of Defense, will  join us on the next installment in our NatSec Nightcap series on Thursday, July 23 from 5:00 – 6:00 PM ET.  At DIU, Mr. Brown leads governmental efforts to strengthen U.S. national security by accelerating the adoption of leading commercial technology throughout the military and growing the national security innovation base.  Previously, he led the initiative for the development of the DoD-sponsored National Security Innovation Capital (NSIC), which funds dual-use hardware technology companies.  To register for this event, please click here. 

Past speakers in this series include NSI Advisory Board member Gen. Keith Alexander (Ret.), Rep. Will Hurd (TX-23), former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former Senator Saxby Chambliss, and former Acting and Deputy Director oof the CIA Michael Morell.  NSI’s NatSec Nightcap webinar series provides important conversations to a diverse audience and provides an engaging virtual alternative while our in-person programming is suspended.

To learn more about NatSec Nightcap, view our upcoming speakers, and register for these events, please visit our website.

Fault Lines: Bounties and Berlin – Turmoil with Russia

In This Episode: “The Russians are just demonstrating that the Americans have no wherewithal to stand up for themselves”

This weekend, news broke that Russia was offering bounties to Taliban-linked militias for killing US soldiers in Afghanistan. Dana, Jamil, Les, and first time guest Loren Dealy Mahler, NSI Visiting Fellow and former director of legislative affairs at the National Security Council, discuss how America should respond to these revelations and the recent announcement that the America’s military presence in Germany will be significantly reduced. What does this mean for US-Russia relations? How should America be standing up for our troops in the field? Will the US and Germany ever be on the same page? All these questions and more answered in this week’s Fault Lines.


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The Space Enterprise: Why National Security & Commercial Space Efforts Need a Unified Theory of Everything



The National Security Institute and Aerospace Corporation held a virtual discussion about how the U.S. can reimagine the space enterprise as a holistic constellation of national security and commercial capabilities to make our space industry more adaptive and resilient.  The panelists discussed high-level strategic challenges facing the space industrial ecosystem before drilling into key reform areas such as production agility, launch schedule, financial assistance, as well as public-private partnerships.

The panel featured:

  • Dr. Jamie M. Morin, Vice President, Defense Systems Operations, Aerospace Corporation
  • Joshua Huminski, NSI Visiting Fellow and Director, Mike Rogers Center for Intelligence & Global Affairs
  • Karen L. Jones, Senior Project Leader, Center for Space Policy and Strategy, Aerospace Corporation
  • Moderated by Jamil N. Jaffer, Founder and Executive Director, National Security Institute


NatSec Nightcap with Michael Morell



Michael Morell, Former Acting and Deputy Director of the CIA, joined NSI Founder & Executive Director Jamil Jaffer on June 25 for the fifth event in our NatSec Nightcap webinar series.  Mr. Morell discussed a variety of evolving global security threats, such as competition with China, Russia’s disinformation campaigns and a resurgent Islamic, to argue that the national security challenges facing the next president of the United States are greater than those faced by any president in the last century.

On Tuesday, July 7 from 5:00 – 6:00 PM ET, Lisa Monaco, NSI Advisory Board member and former White House Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor, will join us on the next installment in our NatSec Nightcap series.  An expert on counterterrorism and cyber policy and strategy, Ms. Monaco will discuss national security priorities – from pandemics to terrorism to an independent Justice Department – explore U.S. preparedness to address these critical challenges.  To register for this event, please click here.

Past speakers in this series include NSI Advisory Board member Gen. Keith Alexander (Ret.), Rep. Will Hurd (TX-23), former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former Senator Saxby Chambliss.  NSI’s NatSec Nightcap webinar series provides important conversations to a diverse audience and provides an engaging virtual alternative while our in-person programming is suspended.

To learn more about NatSec Nightcap, view our upcoming speakers, and register for these events, please visit our website.


Fault Lines: Systemic Racism and National Security

In This Episode: “My hope is that it’s not a moment.  It’s a movement.”

Fault Lines welcomes Bishop Garrison, Director of National Security Outreach at Human Rights First and co-Founder and President of the Joseph Rainey Center for Public Policy. Where do the diversity problems in national security come from? Why are some military bases named after confederate officers? How can individuals and organizations promote a more diverse and inclusive national security community? Bishop and Fault Lines Guest Host Jamil Jaffer, answer these questions and many more!


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July 10 – Inside the Cyberspace Solarium Commission Event


July 10, 2020 | 1:00 PM ET



On March 11th, the Cyberspace Solarium Commission produced a report which covered topics from encryption to education and liability to deterrence and included over 24 key recommendations as well as dozens of enabling recommendations. Join us for a conversation with the staff of the cyberspace solarium commission about how the commission’s report came together, the recommendations in the report,  and the future chances of implementation of those recommendations.

Featuring Introductory Remarks From:

Senator Angus King (I-ME), Co-Chair, Cyberspace Solarium Commission

Mark Montgomery, Executive Director, Cyberspace Solarium Commission

and a panel featuring:

Tatyana Bolton, Policy Director, Cyberspace Solarium Commission

John Costello, Senior Director Task Force Two Lead, Cyberspace Solarium Commission

Moderated By Jamil N. Jaffer, NSI Founder and Executive Director



Register Here


Senator Angus King (I-ME) was sworn in as Maine’s first Independent United States Senator, filling the same seat once held by storied Maine leaders Edmund Muskie, George Mitchell, and Olympia Snowe. Now in his second term, Senator King is a member of the Armed Services Committee, the Select Committee on Intelligence, the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and the Committee on Rules and Administration.  In his time in the Senate, Senator King has worked to strengthen America’s national security, conducted critical oversight of the nation’s Intelligence Community, supported common-sense budget priorities that promote prosperity, fought the national opioid and heroin epidemic, coordinated efforts to revitalize Maine’s forest economy, advocated for policies that contribute to cleaner, cheaper energy and mitigate climate change, chaired hearings on the corrosive effect of unchecked money in politics, fought to improve access to health care, worked to strengthen the government’s support of veterans, and promoted increased access to critical community resources like rural broadband.


Mark Montgomery serves as the Executive Director of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission. He most recently served as Policy Director for the Senate Armed Services Committee under the leadership of Senator John S. McCain. In this position he coordinated policy efforts on national defense strategy, capabilities and requirements, defense policy and cyber issues. Mark served for 32 years in the U.S. Navy as a nuclear trained surface warfare officer, retiring as a Rear Admiral in 2017. His flag officer assignments included Director of Operations (J3) at U. S. Pacific Command; Commander of Carrier Strike Group 5 embarked on the USS George Washington stationed in Japan; and Deputy Director, Plans, Policy and Strategy (J5), at U. S. European Command. He was selected as a White House Fellow and assigned to the National Security Council, serving as Director for Transnational Threats from 1998-2000. Mark graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history. He subsequently earned a master’s degree in history from Oxford University, and completed the U.S. Navy’s nuclear power training program.


Tatyana Bolton serves as a policy director at the Cyberspace Solarium Commission.  She was detailed to the Cyberspace Solarium Commission from the Department of Homeland Security where she serves as a Cyber Policy Lead – Senior Policy Analyst.  Previously she has worked at the U.S. Navy as a contracting specialist and at Systems Planning and Analysis, Inc as a Program Analyst.  She is a graduate of The Ohio State University and Georgetown University.


John Costello is a Senior Director and Lead, Task Force Two for the U.S. Cyberspace Solarium Commission. John is currently appointed as the Senior Advisor to the Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and previously served as the Director of Strategy, Policy, and Plans and the Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Cybersecurity and Communications. Prior to his work at DHS, John served as Congressional Innovation Fellow at U.S House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. As a member of the U.S. Navy, John served in various positions within the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command. John is fluent in Chinese Mandarin and graduated with honors from the Defense Language Institute.


Jamil N. Jaffer is the Founder and Executive Director of the National Security Institute, and an Assistant Professor of Law and Director of the National Security Law & Policy Program at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University.  Mr. Jaffer is also the Vice President for Strategy, Partnerships & Corporate Development at IronNet Cybersecurity, a technology products startup founded by Gen (ret.) Keith B. Alexander.  In addition, he is an advisor to Beacon Global Strategies, a strategic advisory firm; 4iQ, a deep and dark web intelligence startup; Duco, a technology platform startup that connects corporations with geopolitical and international business experts; and Amber, a digital authentication and verification startup.  Prior to his current positions, Mr. Jaffer served on Capitol Hill in a variety of roles, including on the leadership team of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and as a senior staff member of the House Intelligence Committee.  He also previously served in the Bush Administration and as a law clerk to Justice Neil M. Gorsuch of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Fault Lines: A House Divided

In This Episode: “We haven’t lived up to our founding ideal.  We never did.”

The murder of George Floyd on May 25th has led to waves of protests across America and around the world for racial justice.  Dana, Jamil, Les, and first time guest Harry Wingo discuss the protests and how racism and discrimination has impacted the national security community.  What is the role of national security leaders in the fight for justice?  How have foreign governments been using this opportunity to push their agendas?  Can America seize this opportunity to make real changes which can set an example for the rest of the world?  All these questions and more answered in this week’s Fault Lines.


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Rethinking Responsibility: Tech Platforms, Harmful Content, and Illegal Activity




The National Security Institute and the Lincoln Network held a virtual discussion about the latest developments in regulating tech companies, including an examination of what their responsibilities are in preventing their platforms from being used to distribute harmful content or illegal activity, the potential impact of President Trump’s recent Executive Order on Section 230, and how these issues impact U.S. national security.

The Panel Featured:

  • Renee DiResta, Technical Research Manager, Stanford Internet Observatory
  • Klon Kitchen, NSI Visiting Fellow and Director, Center for Technology Policy at The Heritage Foundation
  • Rick Lane, CEO, Iggy Ventures
  • Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel, NetChoice
  • Moderated by Marshall Kosloff, Director of Outreach and Media, Lincoln Network

NatSec Nightcap with Saxby Chambliss

“Former Sen. Saxby Chambliss joined NSI yesterday, June 11, for the fourth event in our NatSec Nightcap webinar series.  Mr. Chambliss and NSI Founder & Executive Director Jamil Jaffer explored a variety of important issues—from FISA reform to COVID-19, global supply chains, and more—and provided valuable insight to a rapt audience.  To view a recording of this conversation, please visit our website.

Past speakers in this series include NSI Advisory Board member Gen. Keith Alexander (Ret.), Rep. Will Hurd (TX-23), and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.  Our NatSec Nightcap events keep important conversations going strong during these challenging times and provide an engaging educational alternative while we postpone our in-person programs.

To learn more about NatSec Nightcap, view our upcoming speakers, and register for these events please visit our website.”

Fault Lines: Syria and Libya – Clone Wars?

In This Episode: “I would argue the U.S. isn’t losing in places like Libya and Syria so much as we’re simply refusing to show up.”

Fault Lines welcomes Jennifer Cafarella, NSI Visiting Fellow and National Security Fellow at the Institute for the Study of War. Jenny recently testified before the House Subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa, and International Terrorism alongside Fault Lines regular Dana Stroul on the Crisis in Idlib. How has the situation in Syria evolved since March? What role do Russia and Turkey play in the region? Are the same dynamics at play in Libya and across the Middle East broadly? Jenny and Fault Lines Host Les Munson answer these questions and many more on this week’s episode of Fault Lines!

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National Security Institute Founder Jamil N. Jaffer Releases Statement: A House Divided

National Security Institute Founder Jamil N. Jaffer Releases Statement:
A House Divided


Arlington, VA – The National Security Institute (NSI) at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School recently released a statement from NSI’s Founder and Executive Director Jamil N. Jaffer regarding racism, recent protests, and our ongoing duty to build a better America.  The statement reads:

“Over the past week, we have seen a frank expression of legitimate anger, pain, frustration, and suffering across our nation.  These events make clear that for far too long we, as a nation, have ignored the very real inequality at the heart of American society.  While we have set ourselves apart in the community of nations in part on the promise of equal opportunity for all, the fact is that we have failed to meet this promise here at home.  Our founders wrote of a self-evident truth that all men are created equal.  Yet they failed to live up to this ideal, as have we.  It is no longer okay to simply sit by and accept this failure.  If we are to truly lead the global community of nations and serve as an example to others, as our organization believes we should, then we must take action now.

First, we must acknowledge that the anger and frustration we have seen in recent days comes from our own founding history of systematically subjugating an entire segment of our population, allowing them to be held as property and counted as less than a whole person.  The formal legal vestiges of this stain on our nation’s history lasted for many decades, stretching into the late 1960s.  And there can be little doubt that other major aspects of that history remain with us into the present moment.  We owe it to ourselves as a nation—and a society that has long stood as a beacon of freedom and opportunity to the world—to acknowledge our failure to live up to our own ideals and to recommit ourselves to doing better.

We likewise cannot hide from the very troubling events that have taken place in the years, months, weeks, and days leading up to this moment.  This includes—but is certainly not limited to—the killing of George Floyd at the hands of law enforcement.  We must acknowledge the long history of violence and oppression that has brought us here, and we must commit ourselves, individually and as a nation, to absolutely and unequivocally rejecting all forms of racial discrimination and hatred.  They are—and always have been—anathema to the very moral fiber of our nation.

While some have come to believe that this land is only theirs, the reality of our nation—and what makes us so unique—is that we accept people from around the world, bond them together around a common vision and shared values, and call them Americans.  It is this special characteristic that truly sets us apart and places upon us a moral obligation to lead the world.

As we seek to address our own internal challenges and reclaim the mantle of global leadership, we must also acknowledge that many of our nation’s own leaders have failed us in this moment of great need.  Rather than seeking to unite us, too many leaders—at the highest levels—have sought to divide us.  Elections have consequences and we would be wise to remember that as we look towards the future.

We must also hold strong to the principle that the right to express oneself freely and petition the government for redress of grievances, including the ability to peacefully assemble, are key hallmarks of our constitutional order, as is the ability of a free press to gather and accurately report on information to educate and inform our citizenry.  We must preserve and defend these rights if we are to truly live by our own ideals.

We also must forthrightly acknowledge that there are forces at work, both internal and external, that seek to divide us as a nation and as a people.  Our foreign adversaries, including Russia and China, are taking advantage of the ongoing situation by overtly and covertly creating chaos and division within our society.

Likewise, there are powerful internal forces taking advantage of the situation to create mayhem and to cause turmoil in this country.  These groups do so in order to advance their own illegitimate agendas, often born of racial animus or the desire to create a society inconsistent with our core shared American values.

As we reject racial discrimination and hatred, we must likewise reject these efforts to destroy our nation’s social fabric, whether foreign or domestic in origin.  We must reject the illegitimate views that undergird these efforts and refuse to give quarter to those who support them.  We must recognize that we stand stronger together, as one nation and one people, bonded by our common humanity and shared values.

In opposing these subversive efforts, we must also remember that the best route to defeating malign views is not by shutting off the speech of others, but by highlighting their errors through more convincing speech of our own.

It also means rejecting and opposing those who would hijack peaceful protests to advance their own agendas by destroying businesses and churches, engaging in physical violence, or stealing goods to enrich themselves.

While our nation may have very real flaws—borne of its own history—that we must contend with, we must also remember that have historically been the one place, the one society, the one body politic that all other nations—and all peoples around the globe—look to when they seek to establish and preserve the core values of freedom, equality, and opportunity.

As such, we must be a better nation than we have been in recent times.  And while there is much to criticize about the way many of our nation’s leaders have comported themselves, this fact cannot allow any of us to shed our own individual responsibility for building a better, more just America at home and a stronger America abroad.

To that end, we must work to bring people together, not divide them, and we must become leaders of positive change, not permitting destruction and violence to spread in our communities.  We must also commit ourselves to returning to global leadership and not shy away from this singular moral obligation.

As an organization dedicated to educating future leaders and addressing hard national security problems, the National Security Institute at the Scalia Law School, will do our part.  We will work with other organizations committed to addressing root causes, some of which unquestionably extend beyond our charter.  We will forthrightly call out and combat the efforts of foreign nation-states and other adversaries to manipulate our national dialogue and undermine the shared ethos that is our core strength.  We will also continue to call for strong and sustained American leadership around the globe, a military and intelligence community resourced to support it, and policies that confront our adversaries and strengthen our allies.  And we will do a better job of identifying, educating, and empowering a diverse and forward-leaning group of future national security leaders and giving them role models to follow.

Most importantly, we shall not squander the sacrifices of the men and women who have died to preserve our freedom and advance the cause of justice.

We must act now.”


Correction 6/16/2020: The original statement suggested that the United States was made up of only immigrants which erased the Native Americans who inhabited the North American continent prior to European colonization and who have also been systemically oppressed. We apologize for the error.

Fault Lines: TREATIES – What are they good for?

In This Episode: Right now we have been going along with a system that empowered Russia and China to misbehave in the international arena.”

The President recently announced his intention to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty and is considering restarting nuclear testing. Dana, Jamil, Jodi, and Les discuss the state of arms control and how the US should approach international agreements. Is it better for the United States to model behavior by staying in bad treaties or leave them? Can the US prioritize non-proliferation and modernization of the nuclear triad? How should we deal with our allies who are stuck in the middle? All these questions and more answered in this week’s Fault Lines.

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Fault Lines: INL – Better Know a State Department Bureau

In This Episode: Sometimes you just have to speak the truth about who the bad actors are and what the impact is that they’re having.

Fault Lines welcomes the Honorable Kirsten Madison, Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL). What role does the INL Bureau have in combating corruption abroad? What is the current state of the global war on drugs? How has punk music impacted how Assistant Secretary Madison views her job? Assistant Secretary Madison and host Les Munson answer these questions and many more on this week’s episode of Fault Lines!

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China’s National Security Law for Hong Kong: NSI’s Experts Weigh In

Today, China’s legislature approved a proposal to impose a new national security law on Hong Kong.  As a result, the U.S. State Department certified to Congress that Hong Kong is no longer autonomous and that it “does not continue to warrant treatment under United States laws in the same manner as U.S. laws were applied to Hong Kong before July 1997.”  Read our expert analysis below.

Megan Ammirati Quote on Hong Kong

Megan Ammirati NSI Visiting Fellow & Ph.D., University of California, Davis

“The 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration is one of the most important international treaties the PRC has ever signed. The fact that the National People’s Congress has now circumvented its treaty commitments by approving the Hong Kong National Security Law should be a red flag for the international community. This decision highlights the extent to which China’s central government is willing to escalate its control measures over Hong Kong. However, US policy makers should also recall that the PRC has failed to persuade the city’s residents to buy into the Chinese system.

Hong Kong is one of the only regions in the world that has been offered the opportunity, over two decades, to embrace PRC-style governance. Instead, as the recent mass protests and district council elections have shown, there is broad-based support for a government operating with transparency, robust representation, and checks and balances. Pro-democracy activists have been equally clear in stating that there are still benefits to American engagement with the city. The United States should ensure that Hong Kong residents are not isolated precisely when our support is most needed.”

Jim Danoy Quote on Hong Kong

Jim Danoy NSI Visiting Fellow & Former Defense Intelligence Executive, U.S. Department of Defense

“Beijing’s decision to impose mainland Chinese security law on Hong Kong to combat ‘splittism, subversion of state power, terrorism or interference by foreign countries or outside influences’ continues the steady erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy under President Xi’s rule and represents a systemic reaction to Hong Kong’s democratic movement.  The move, which bypassed the city’s legislature and was rubber stamped by the Chinese National People’s Congress is in violation of the Basic Law which governs the city as part of the 50 year ‘one country, two systems’ ‘Handover’ agreement of 1997 between China and the UK.  The new security law which is to be drafted will likely result in the formal establishment of Chinese mainland security organs in the city in order to facilitate enforcement of the law further tightening Beijing’s political and social grip over the city.

The economic ramifications, such as the potential for business capital flight from Hong Kong will play out over time.  However, President Xi possibly taking a page out of Russian President Putin’s playbook in regard to Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 is undoubtedly counting on any negative international reaction being relatively short-lived and that regardless China would be able to withstand the imposition of punitive economic measures such as a reduction in trade and sanctions.  A dilemma facing the U.S. is while the need to respond to Beijing’s usurping of Hong Kong’s authority is paramount, a move by the U.S. to remove Hong Kong’s  “special status” as a semi-autonomous entity in China may only serve to codify in Beijing’s mind its political and economic absorption of Hong Kong and effectively an end to the “one country, two systems” principle meant to stay in effect until 2047.”

Andy Keiser Quote on Hong Kong

Andy Keiser NSI Fellow & Former Senior Advisor House Intelligence Committee

“The veil of the Chinese Communist Party’s intentions in Hong Kong is off as President-for-life Xi Jinping’s belligerent vision for China is implemented at home and abroad. Secretary Pompeo is to be commended for stating the objectively obvious: Hong Kong is no longer autonomous from mainland China.”

Andrea Limbago Quote on Hong Kong

Dr. Andrea Little Limbago NSI Senior Fellow & Vice President of Research and Analysis, Interos

“China’s approval of a new national security law must be viewed within the broader global shifts that have been accelerated by COVID-19. China continues to fill a global leadership vacuum at international organizations, pushing forth their own standards and norms, while also seeking more expansionist security and trade policies across the globe. From trade to cyber to diplomacy, this is China’s latest move to assert greater control under the auspices of national security and reflects the broader reglobalization of the international system which includes shifting supply chain patterns and assaults on democracy.

As China continues to flex its power internationally, economic and financial decoupling will be accelerated as companies and governments seek greater flexibility, resilience, and autonomy. Based on Secretary Pompeo’s comments, Hong Kong may lose its special trading status and become subject to the same trade restrictions currently imposed on China. As a global financial hub, this would significantly disrupt financial transactions as well as virtually every US financial firm with physical business operations in Hong Kong. It also will impact global trade flows, as Hong Kong is a major trade hub in the region. Finally, this new law is yet another attack on democracy and the decline of freedom, and we are likely to see additional and more widespread protests and instability on par with those across the globe over the last year.”

Andrew McClure Quote on Hong Kong

Andrew McClure NSI Visiting Fellow & Principal, ForgePoint Capital

“Today the CCP moved to deny Hong Kong autonomy guaranteed under the Sino-British Joint Declaration and fundamentally altered the city’s special status to the mainland.  Beijing’s actions – couched to thwart sedition, secession or subversion – are designed to chill many freedoms in Hong Kong not enjoyed on the mainland and snuff out a democracy movement (quieted amidst the global pandemic) that has posed political challenges to China’s authoritarian leader.

By circumventing the Hong Kong legislative body to pass a new national security law, China’s National People’s Congress failed to adhere to a process stipulated in Hong Kong’s Basic Law or live up to obligations under the UN-filed treaty.  The message to countries around the world is this:  can the Chinese Communist Party be trusted to honor its commitments.

For the people of Hong Kong, the move could spell the demise, in effect, of the ‘one country, two systems’ policy that has fostered the rule to law and created an attractive business climate as the gateway to China.  Posting mainland security forces openly in the city has only one purpose – to intimidate those unwilling to bend to the Party.

Chinese leaders seem to believe there is little the U.S. or others can do in response.  With Secretary of State Pompeo decertifying Hong Kong’s status of autonomy under the Human Rights and Democracy Act, the U.S. is obliged to reconsider Hong Kong’s special trade status.  But lifting tariff exclusions on the city is likely to be counter-productive, undermining interests in Hong Kong rather than retaliating against Beijing for their increasingly revisionist actions.”

Ken Nunnenkamp Quote on Hong Kong

Kenneth Nunnenkamp NSI Visiting Fellow & Partner, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

“China’s proposed security law could effectively accelerate the end of Hong Kong’s Special Administrative Region status, upsetting the delicate balance that allowed for open trade and finance, and leading to significant changes in the way US (and eventually other countries’) trade occurs with the island.

China’s security resolution relating to Hong Kong represents the acceleration of an inevitable transition for the island.  The one country, two systems principle was not meant to be permanent, though there likely were those who thought that was possible.  The agreement between the UK and China allowed for the dual, inapposite systems to co-exist for up to 50 years.  Certainly, China has benefited economically from this principle as Hong Kong has continued to flourish since control reverted to Beijing.  The international system that accompanied implementation of the two system principle, including preferential trade and financial agreements, relies heavily upon China’s agreement to protect the relative independence of the Special Administrative Region (SAR) designation for Hong Kong.  The security resolution may upend that delicate balance.

The changes that could occur if China moves forward with its new security law have the residents of Hong Kong concerned, not only for their individual freedoms but also for their economic well being.  Hong Kong’s designation as a SAR has allowed (some might say compelled) the world to ignore China’s hegemony over the island and continue with business almost as usual.  For example, under US export control regulations — the International Traffic in Arms Regulations and the Export Administration Regulations — exports to China that are generally forbidden are treated differently when those exports are headed to Hong Kong.  These agencies have also recognized the unique nature of Hong Kong when making licensing decisions.  Similar preferences are granted by other trading partners.

If China’s action accelerates the end of Hong Kong’s ‘special’ status as a SAR, it could bring to a rapid end the commercial success that depends on Hong Kong’s economic and political independence.  While it remains to be seen exactly how the new security law will be written and thus the exact impact it will have, Hong Kong’s continued success depends on an amicable resolution.”

Adam Pearlman Quote on Hong Kong

Adam Pearlman NSI Visiting Fellow & Managing Director, Lexpat Global Services

“State’s certification to Congress sends a message to China that the United States will continue to leverage the legal and economic tools in its arsenal to respond to the escalating measures China is taking to increase its own freedom to operate against the freedoms of others, in its own sphere and around the world.

As rhetoric about the possibility of a second Cold War grows, and some speculate about whether it might ever turn hot, it is not merely what the Chinese are doing that is concerning, but how and when they are doing it.  The fact that the normally ever-patient Chinese regime determined that taking this action now, while the rest of the world is distracted, shut-in, and divided by a global pandemic, rather than simply waiting for the clock to run on the “One Country, Two Systems” agreement, shows that their strategy has shifted in a meaningful way toward a far more aggressive (if still measured) posture.

Though distinguishable for many reasons of form and law, this is not exactly a 21st Century Anschluss, but considering the growing influence of the Wolf Warriors within China’s ranks, it has the potential to be in spirit.  China will watch how the world reacts, and mere condemnation will be viewed as a signal of the West’s unwillingness or inability to counter such moves, and then they will look to Taiwan.

We must remember that this regime reacts on a hair-trigger to the exercise of basic human freedoms, and retaliates unapologetically to the slightest snub concerning their atrocious human rights record.  Unless the U.S. and E.U. stand firmly together and coordinate a multidimensional response, we can expect political dissidents in Hong Kong (and perhaps elsewhere) soon to share the fate of the Uighurs, while other geostrategic concerns continue to materialize at the hands of an actor that is only growing stronger and bolder in implementing its vision to reshape the rules-based international order.”

Fault Lines: Attempted Coups and Virus Crackdowns in Latin America

In This Episode: I wouldn’t call this a smart policy because it ain’t workin’.

Nicholás Maduro and Jair Bolsonaro have had a very tumultuous month. Dana, Jamil, Les, and returning guest Andrew Borene discuss the failed coup attempt failed in Venezuela, and Brazil’s new status as a COVID-19 hotspot. How should America treat friends and foes in South America? Should America place sanctions on a democratic country? Can our hosts find a way to link all of this back to Iran? All these questions and more answered in this week’s Fault lines.

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