12 April 2020

Sikkim Glaciers Melting Faster Than Other Himalayan Regions

By Rajeev Bhattacharyya

Glaciers in India’s northeastern state of Sikkim are melting at a faster rate compared to those in other Himalayan regions, a study has revealed, confirming a development that had been discernible decades ago.

Scientists at the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG) disclosed recently that glaciers in the Indian state have retreated and deglaciated significantly from 1991 to 2015. While the small-sized glaciers are retreating, the larger ones are thinning due to climate change.

The study assessed the response of 23 glaciers in the border state, where the magnitude of dimensional changes and debris growth were found to be higher since 2000. These glaciers were selected based on multiple criteria such as size, length, debris cover, and slope.

The gist of the report, which was released by the Press Information Bureau (PIB), also mentioned that glaciers in Sikkim have shown negligible deceleration after 2000, which was contrary to the trend discernible in the western and central Himalayas, where glaciers are reported to have slowed down in recent decades.

Building Trust, Confidence and Collective Action in the Age of COVID-19

Alex Evans, David Steven 

The Chinese government first reported “cases of pneumonia of unknown etiology” to the World Health Organization on Dec. 31, 2019. A week later, the new virus responsible for the disease outbreak was identified. Less than 100 days later, we no longer live in the world we woke up to on New Year’s Day.

We have now reached a critical period in the response to the coronavirus pandemic that has unfolded around the world in that short period. Most governments seem to be constantly lagging a few weeks behind the curve in their reactions to the crisis. Few can take much pride in how they have handled it so far.

As a result, public confidence is suffering, with trust and goodwill beginning to vanish before our eyes. At a time when solidarity is more necessary than ever, forces that polarize and divide societies are gaining force. Even medical experts in the public eye are coming under fire, with Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the leading infectious disease authorities helping to guide the American response, forced to beef up his security detail due to death threats from COVID-19 deniers.

Thou Shalt Practice Social Distancing

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The coronavirus pandemic is likely to be a watershed event in world history, with a deep impact on society, politics, and religions. One can expect the rise of new messianic movements, for example, with some claiming that the pandemic is a sign that the apocalypse is coming, as some already believe. Conversely, some believers may lose their faith, because they struggle with the age-old “problem of evil”—why God would allow all this to happen—and find no good answer to it, as some frankly admit.

Many religious people will also see the pandemic as a test. They are absolutely right: The coronavirus pandemic is a major test for all religions. But it is a test of not merely their faith, as many believers typically think. It is also a test of their reason—whether they act rationally or irrationally, whether they help save lives or put them at grave risk.

At the heart of this test is a conflict between the rational requirements of health and the traditional requirements of religion. Rational health-conscious behavior, as advised by virtually all medical experts, requires social distancing—namely, that people stay away from each other, preferably at home. Most religious traditions, however, require social gathering—especially bringing the faithful to churches, mosques, synagogues, and temples. So, which of these principles should come first?

The U.S. Needs China For Rare Earth Minerals? Not For Long, Thanks To This Mountain

Jim Vinoski


A whole slate of new bad behaviors by China’s repressive regime have been laid bare by the COVID-19 crisis. There were already plenty of complaints before the pandemic began, but the coronavirus seems to be supercharging the pressure on U.S. companies to reduce their Chinese sourcing. One of the biggest recent challenges in that regard has been China’s dominance in mining and processing critical rare earth minerals. These are vital building blocks for everything from smart phones, EV batteries and medical imaging machines to advanced defense weaponry, so our reliance on a less-than-friendly nation for our supply presents a huge political and economic risk. But right now China controls 90% of global rare earth production.

It’s amazing good fortune, then, that out in the barren scrub of the West Texas panhandle 85 miles east of El Paso, an unassuming 1,250-tall mountain called Round Top holds the promise of making America largely self-sufficient in these critical minerals. The mountain contains five out of six light rare earths (such as neodymium), 10 out of 11 heavy rare earths (dysprosium, for example), and all five permanent magnet materials. What’s more, Round Top has large deposits of lithium, critical for batteries in EVs and power storage.

USA Rare Earth is a privately held Delaware LLC that was formed specifically to develop the project to extract and process Round Top’s valuable ore. One of the company’s primary investors is Navajo Transitional Energy Company (NTEC). Texas Minerals Resources Corporation had previously invested $25 million in the Round Top project, and is now a 20% junior partner in the endeavor.

Why the Coronavirus Is a Hinge for the Future of U.S.-China Relations

by Paul Heer

It is too soon to tell what net impact the COVID-19 pandemic crisis will have on the U.S.-China relationship. Several indicators point toward an accelerated deterioration as the two sides point fingers of blame at each other and compete for credibility and influence amidst the global response. But the crisis is also highlighting the opportunity—and the need—for Beijing and Washington to join forces against the virus, and thus open a path toward greater bilateral cooperation and the building of mutual trust.

Recall the trajectory that U.S.-China relations were on when 2020 began, just as COVID-19 was escaping from Wuhan. Washington and Beijing were in a downward spiral, fueled by several geopolitical trends. First was the growing divergence between the perceived “rise of China” and relative decline of the United States—especially since the global financial crisis of 2008-9. This prompted Beijing to press its material advantages in an effort to expand its global influence, while Washington started grappling simultaneously with domestic dysfunctionality and the emerging limits on its international clout. Second was the presumption—largely due to the baggage of the Cold War—that this divergence reflected and reinforced an existential ideological contest between the two sides. Third was the escalation of bilateral tensions over the past three years, fueled by the trade war and growing U.S. attention to expansive Chinese economic diplomacy, military deployments, and influence operations.

The Coronavirus and Changes in the FY2021 Budget: Keeping Cuts in American Defense Spending in Perspective

The cost of dealing with the Coronavirus and its impact on the American economy have created a situation where the United States faces a potential crisis in restructuring the FY2021 federal budget and also probably in restructuring federal budgets for half a decade to come. The United States has already spent well over $2.3 trillion dollars to fund emergency relief to mitigate the impact of the Coronavirus in the FY2021. This, however, may only be the start of much larger payments to come.

Only a small portion of the $2.3 trillion will fund any kind of stimulus or recovery program. Given the real-world timelines involved, most will have to be spent to provide relief, medical services, and welfare/unemployment support. Moreover, the United States may have to spend substantially more on relief to cover the period in which the rising impact of the virus can be turned into a period of lasting decline, and possibly even in the later period when future levels of infection become so low that they are an acceptable part of life.

At some point, another major spending effort will almost certainly be needed to stimulate the economy and also to later help restructure and rebuild the economic aftermath. Moreover, the current FY2021 budget proposal again calls for massive cuts in foreign aid at a time when many of America’s strategic partners will face far worse economic challenges than the United States.

Coronavirus Means No More Money for Forever Wars

by Daniel L. Davis 

For the better part of the past two decades, the United States has indulgently and counterproductively wasted over $6 trillion and thousands of lives on unnecessary wars abroad. The towering costs imposed on our country by coronavirus now exposes how Washington's skewed priorities left the nation fragile internally and vulnerable to a crisis. For our own security, it is time to end these pointless drains on our resources and prioritize strengthening America.

The most egregious examples of our expensive and unnecessary military deployments abroad are the combat operations in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Africa. The Department of Defense will receive $165 billion in overseas contingency operations funding for Fiscal Year 2020 alone. These operations will include a total of over 93,000 troops (including regional support troops). Those are staggering numbers.

They are also wholly unnecessary. There are no security threats to America in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan or Africa that in any way justify such expenses. Up until now, these costs have had virtually no impact on the population at large. With the mounting costs as a result of coronavirus, however, it is clear we can no longer afford the luxury of burning money on peripheral military missions.

An Expert Answers the Most Pressing Questions About Coronavirus

by Tom Duszynski

The coronavirus is certainly scary, but despite the constant reporting on total cases and a climbing death toll, the reality is that the vast majority of people who come down with COVID-19 survive it. Just as the number of cases grows, so does another number: those who have recovered.

In mid-March, the number of patients in the U.S. who had officially recovered from the virus was close to zero. That number is now in the tens of thousands and is climbing every day. But recovering from COVID-19 is more complicated than simply feeling better. Recovery involves biology, epidemiology and a little bit of bureaucracy too.

How does your body fight off COVID-19?

Once a person is exposed the coronavirus, the body starts producing proteins called antibodies to fight the infection. As these antibodies start to successfully contain the virus and keep it from replicating in the body, symptoms usually begin to lessen and you start to feel better. Eventually, if all goes well, your immune system will completely destroy all of the virus in your system. A person who was infected with and survived a virus with no long-term health effects or disabilities has “recovered.”

COVID-19: A Pandemic Of Fear? – OpEd

By Jonathan Power*
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Let’s get death in proportion. True, Coronavirus is an appalling disease but the number of deaths it has caused this year is far lower than deaths caused by either common flue, car accidents, drug taking, alcoholism or cigarette smoking. Governments don’t like these things and make an effort to combat them. But they don’t get themselves as worked up as they have with Coronavirus. (For starters, why don’t they outlaw all smoking?) A Russian friend texted me from Moscow the other day saying the pandemic we should worry about is “the pandemic of fear”. Where is our sense of proportion?

Another issue to examine in order to clarify our thinking is how many people have US and NATO troops killed compared with the numbers killed by terrorism. Again it is a matter of getting things in proportion. Terrorism puts the fear of God up people and governments. But there’s less fuss made about what Western governments are doing with their never-ending killing wars.

Let’s first look at terrorism whose numbers of deaths have halved in the last four years, according to the respected Global Terrorism Index, published by the Institute for Economics and Peace. The numbers killed were 33,555 in 2014 but in 2018 were 15,952.

The Greatest Incoming Depression Since World War II – Analysis

By Chan Kung*
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With the spread of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19), extreme locking down measures have been ongoing in various countries. Poland, previously eager towards the European Union, has now taken drastic measures to shut down its roads and cut off its frequently used highway network connecting to Europe. The United States and European countries, and most of the Asian countries as well, have all imposed locking down measures and closed their borders, refusing the entry of foreign nationals. These measures are all unprecedented. Such closure and isolation actions have paralyzed the entire world and caused the global economic situation to change dramatically, and every day we see new development of the situation. 

In the United States, many are frightened by the turmoil in the Wall Street. At first, it was thought that the market would return to normal the next day after the crash. This was especially true after many seeing the Federal Reserve’s intervention, people became even more optimistic that this would not be a financial crisis. It wasn’t until after seeing successive slumps that people realized things were turning to the ugly side. Almost suddenly, the U.S. stock market had fallen by one-third, and global liquidity had suddenly become tightened, while the U.S. dollar exchange rate has been continuously hitting new heights. In the United States, as the pandemic has just entered the outbreak phase, and the number of cases is still breaking records, causing widespread tension and crashes in Wall Street. As the Covid-19 outbreaks in the U.S. territories and states become worsen, many American politicians are basically in the condition of mental breakdown. To curb the spread of COvid-19, the US government has ordered millions of workers, students, and consumers to stay behind closed doors, resulting in a surge in unemployment claims across the United States.

Yesterday’s Terrorists Are Today’s Public Health Providers

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In October 2015, a magnitude 7.5 earthquake rocked South Asia, killing around 400 people, many of them in Pakistan. On the front lines of the response to this tragedy were thousands of volunteers of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, an Islamic charity that serves as a front organization for a militant jihadi group with al Qaeda ties, Lashkar-e-Taiba. In the aftermath of the natural disaster, Jamaat-ud-Dawa—and by extension Lashkar-e-Taiba—won widespread praise for its efforts to help provide support and distribute aid to Pakistanis impacted by the earthquake.

The coronavirus pandemic has opened up similar opportunities for a range of terrorists, insurgents, and criminal organizations. Across the world, they are already seeking to acquire political legitimacy through the provision of public health services, especially in countries and regions where the government has been either unwilling or unable to help.

In Afghanistan, the Taliban have promised safe access to health care workers crossing through territory it controls, while the group’s members have begun a public health campaign to inform Afghan citizens of the dangers of the virus, providing information on how to remain safe from its spread. As of early April, Afghanistan has a reported 367 cases of the coronavirus, although, given the country’s inadequate health infrastructure, this number seems remarkably low. Perhaps in an effort to prove it can be a responsible stakeholder in a future Afghan government, the Taliban even offered to implement a cease-fire in parts of Afghanistan especially devastated by the outbreak.

Migrant Workers Can’t Afford a Lockdown

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There are more than 2 million migrant workers in Qatar—a significant number given that the country’s overall population is just 2.6 million. In recent years the foreign laborer population in Qatar has swelled as the country has undergone a construction boom ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which is set to be held there. Many of these workers come from villages across South Asia, sometimes after paying recruiters thousands of dollars to secure a job that they hoped would lift their families out of poverty. But as the coronavirus pandemic edges its way across Qatar, which now has more than 2,000 confirmed cases, the migrant workers’ cramped living quarters and lack of access to health care, proper sanitation, and nutritious food imperils an already highly vulnerable group of people.

Qatar has a long history of migrant worker abuse and exploitation, which has garnered widespread international condemnation in recent years. The abuse—which at times has amounted to forced labor and human trafficking—has been exacerbated by South Asian governments’ inability to successfully lobby for strong protections. (Critics contend there has been scant political will given the huge portion of GDP now made up by remittances from overseas workers.) Such issues are hardly unique to Qatar. Some 35 million migrants are employed in the six Gulf Cooperation Council countries, in Jordan, and in Lebanon, and incidences of exploitation are well documented. But the sheer of size of the migrant workforce compared to the general population, the overcrowded camps in which migrants live, and the construction pressures of the looming World Cup have placed foreign laborers in Qatar at particularly high risk of catching the coronavirus.

Is Saudi Arabia Spying in the United States?

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Welcome to the first edition of While You Weren’t Looking, Foreign Policy’s new pop-up newsletter designed to keep you up to date on all the important non-coronavirus news you may have missed while you were reading about the pandemic.

If you would like to receive While You Weren’t Looking in your inbox starting Friday, April 10, please sign up here.

Here’s what we’re watching this week: Saudi Arabia is suspected of spying on its citizens in the United States, U.S.-Iran tensions flare, and extremist terrorist groups seize upon the chaos caused by the coronavirus.

Leaks Reveal Saudi Arabia Is Tracking Its Citizens in the United States

Saudi Arabia appears to have taken advantage of flaws in global telecommunications networks to track the movement of its citizens traveling in the United States, according to millions of data requests leaked to the Guardian and published last week. Over a four-month period beginning in November 2019, Saudi Arabia’s largest mobile phone operators sent U.S. cell phone networks a combined average of 2.3 million requests for their users’ location data each month.

Saudi Arabia Declares Cease-Fire in Yemen, Citing Fears of Coronavirus

By Ben Hubbard and Saeed Al-Batati

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Saudi Arabia on Wednesday announced that the kingdom and its allies would observe a unilateral cease-fire in the war in Yemen starting at noon on Thursday, a move that could pave the way for ending the brutal five-year-old conflict.

Saudi officials said the cease-fire sought to jump-start peace talks brokered by the United Nations and had been motivated by fears of the coronavirus spreading in Yemen, the poorest country in the Arab world, where the health care system has been ravaged by years of blockade and conflict.

The gesture is the first by any government entangled in an international armed conflict to halt hostilities at least in part because of the coronavirus pandemic, which has traumatized the world. The leader of the United Nations, Secretary General António Guterres, pleaded for a worldwide humanitarian cease-fire two weeks ago because of the pandemic.

While Yemen is one of the few countries in the world yet to have a confirmed case of Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, aid workers fear that an outbreak there would be devastating for the war-torn country. Saudi Arabia itself has struggled to stop the virus from spreading, including inside its own sprawling royal family.

Islamic State Aims for Comeback Amid Virus-Expedited U.S. Withdrawal

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AIN AL-ASAD AIRBASE, Iraq—Inside an operational command room at Ain al-Asad air base, which is lined with maps of past missions against the Islamic State, three American radio operators stand at their desks. In past months, they provided intelligence and helped coordinate their Iraqi counterparts’ operations against Islamic State cells within large swaths of the Iraqi desert in Anbar province. But since U.S. drones killed Iranian military commander Qassem Suleimani and his ally Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in early January, there has been a pause as the withdrawing Americans focus on protecting their own troops.

Now the area the Americans are surveying has shrunk down to a fraction of its previous size, leaving large portions of the desert unmonitored. Lt. Col. Tim Garland, a U.S. officer who works directly in anti-Islamic State operations from Ain al-Asad, told Foreign Policy that if they had once surveyed an area the size of Texas, now they were looking at a sliver of that the size of Dallas.

Why the pandemic should transform the way America thinks about war

By Robert D. Kaplan 

Robert D. Kaplan is a senior adviser at Eurasia Group and the author of “The Good American: The Epic Life of Bob Gersony, the U.S. Government’s Greatest Humanitarian,” forthcoming in September.

China and Russia are set to emerge from the covid-19 pandemic with comparative advantages over the United States. China’s state companies can bear the brunt of the economic shock, and its authoritarian system has allowed it to enact draconian quarantine policies. Russia, because of years of sanctions, has built some self-sufficiency into its economic model, with hundreds of billions of dollars of gold and hard currency reserves to help offset the decline in energy prices.

By contrast, the United States, immersed in the global free market, has been severely damaged. The system of global order it constructed and maintained under every president from Harry S. Truman to Barack Obama lies in near-ruins, with the Group of Seven and other Western-led institutions unable to coordinate action because of lack of guidance from the White House.

Amid Price War, Texas Oil Patch Is Coming Up Empty

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Andrew Olguin woke up on March 13 in Carlsbad, New Mexico, and prepared to drive into Texas for a night’s work loading explosives on a cable lowered deep into the ground to blast into dense shale formations. But before he could get out the door, his manager at MBI Energy Services entered the company-rented house with unhappy news.

“I said, ‘What are you doing here?’ and he said, ‘It’s not good,’” said Olguin, 31, who works the 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. shift as a wireline hand. “Just seeing him I kind of knew what was going on at that point.” 

Olguin was one of 12 MBI employees, out of a total of 60, laid off that day. Within a few weeks, six more would face the ax. More drastic layoffs soon afflicted companies across the oil industry; Halliburton announced it would furlough 3,500 employees as a result of plummeting prices, and top extractors like Apache Corp. down to more boutique outfits like MBI have furloughed thousands more.

The Permian Basin is ground zero for the fallout of the oil price war that erupted one month ago.

Space-Based Nuclear Command and Control and the ‘Non-Nuclear Strategic Attack’

By Ankit Panda

The Trump administration’s 2018 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) drew much attention for the inclusion of language expanding the scope under which the United States might employ nuclear weapons. Specifically, the document observed that certain “extreme circumstances,” which “could include significant non-nuclear strategic attacks,” would rise to the level of meriting a nuclear response.

In remarks delivered during an online video conference this week, Christopher Ford, U.S. assistant secretary at the State Department’s Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, discussed this language in the context of space security. Ford emphasized that for the purposes of parsing that bit of the 2018 NPR, American adversaries should understand that U.S. space-based dual-use (nuclear and nonnuclear) command and control assets qualified as what the 2017 National Security Strategy had dubbed a “vital U.S. interest.”

Accordingly, Ford continues: “I need hardly point out — but I will nonetheless, for emphasis — that the U.S. National nuclear Command, Control, and Communications (NC3) architecture depends to some extent upon space-based systems.” He is clear therefore that nonnuclear attacks on this architecture would potentially rise to the level of a nuclear response: “Any harmful interference with or attacks upon such components of our space architecture at any time, even if undertaken only with non-nuclear tools, thus starts to move into ‘significant non-nuclear strategic attack’ territory, and would lead to a significant and potentially drastic escalation of a crisis or conflict.”

Why America Needs to Rethink Its National Security Priorities

by Joseph Cirincione 

The leaders of the House Armed Services Committee just announced that they are postponing the scheduled markup of the National Defense Authorization Act to “a later time.” Good. It gives policymakers time to rethink their assumptions about what constitutes national security and how much money America should be spending on the military threats that have dominated traditional thinking. 

By the end of March, the death toll from the coronavirus pandemic matched the toll from the 9/11 attacks and proceeded to zoom past it within hours. The ultimate fatalities from this terrifying virus will be anywhere from ten to a hundred times more than from that terrorist attack. September 11 fundamentally changed U.S. security policy and spending priorities. So should the virus.

For almost twenty years the defense budget has been sacrosanct. Aside from a brief dip after the passage of the Budget Control Act of 2011, it has gone relentlessly upward, and is now more than we spent at the height of the Korean or Vietnam Wars or the Reagan buildup of the 1980s. These massive expenditures were considered vital to our national security by both political parties. But now this period must come to an end.

Is There a Global Slowdown in Coronavirus Deaths? These 3 Graphs Show That This Is the Case

by Danny Dorling
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Almost as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic began, graphs and many other visualisations charting the rise of the virus started to multiply. Many show the cumulative number of deaths attributed to the virus. This number, of course, will always rise, but will also – eventually – plateau. A cumulative total can never fall.

Other published graphs have shown the number of deaths reported each day for various countries. These are more useful, but the reader is still left trying to discern the extent to which the rise from one day to the next is larger or smaller.

The graph below is different. It shows both the number of deaths each day and the rate of change in that number. Most importantly, it uses smoothed data – a moving average from the day before to the day after each date shown. This method of showing change is explored in my forthcoming book, Slowdown, which I worked on with illustrator Kirsten McClure who turned my crude Excel graphs into clearer visuals. It’s a useful way to look at data when it is change that is of the greatest interest.

New S-350 Missile System Will Strengthen Russian Air Defense

By: Maxim Starchak
At the end of February 2020, the Russian Aerospace Forces received their first S-350 Vityaz medium-range air-defense missile system. This initial battery will be used at the Anti-Aircraft Missile Troops Training Center of the Aerospace Defense Military Academy, located in the Leningrad region (Novy Uchkhoz village, Gatchinsky district), to instruct all units that will be assigned to operate S-350 systems (RIA Novosti, February 26).

The S-350 was created to replace older S-300PT-PS anti-aircraft systems. It is intended to combat advanced standoff weapons threats, such as cruise missiles, manned (including stealth) aircraft, medium and heavy unmanned aerial vehicles, as well as tactical ballistic missiles (RT, December 23, 2019). Initially, the S-350 was also supposed to supersede the Buk combat air-defense system, but the new weapon’s failure to meet certain force standards means it will ultimately only be deployed at local air-defense bases to protect Russia’s most important state, administrative, industrial and military facilities.

The newest addition to Russia’s air-defense inventory is capable of following and engaging targets in a full 360-degree area, not just by sectors as the S-300. Moreover, it boasts a significant increase in the number of missiles and target-handling channels (Interfax-AVN, March 17, 2015). According to the head of the Aerospace Defense Military Academy, Lieutenant General Vladimir Lyaporov, this boosts Russian effectiveness in defending against cruise missiles by 2–2.5 times (TV Zvezda, December 27, 2019).

Reducing Disaster Costs by Building Better

Alice C. Hill
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Although local communities decide where and how development occurs, the federal government pays for those decisions when disaster strikes. In the face of climate change, the federal government should insist on local risk reduction measures. 

Over the last seven decades, the federal government has made it a practice to open its purse ever wider to aid communities after disaster strikes. Its willingness to cover disaster costs has resulted in a “no limit, no premium insurance policy for infrastructure” for state and local governments, according to recent testimony by an administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA). As a consequence, the fiscal burden on the federal government has soared. From 2005 to 2014, the federal government obligated almost $280 billion for disaster assistance. In 2018, in a period of six months, Congress shelled out $140 billion in aid—an amount that was nearly triple the annual budget for the Department of Homeland Security and that contributed almost 20 percent to the total federal deficit for that year. The price tag for disasters will only grow as climate change inflicts ever more natural disasters on the nation through more intense storms, longer droughts, bigger wildfires, and greater temperature and precipitation extremes—as well as sea-level rise. Indeed, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has flagged the fiscal exposure from climate change as a “high risk” for the government.

Hydroxychloroquine: About That 6,000-Doctor Survey...

by Stephen Silver

For much of the time that the U.S. has been dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, one of the major controversies has been about the medication known as Hydroxychloroquine, and a similar other drug called Chloroquine. Often used to treat malaria, lupus and other conditions, Hydroxychloroquine has emerged as a potential experimental treatment for coronavirus, with the FDA in late March approving “off-label” use for the drug.

President Trump has been vocal about promoting the use of the treatment, often sharing anecdotal stories about patients who have shown improvements after being treated with the drug. However, top adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci has urged caution about the use of the drug, which has reportedly been a matter of much rancor within the president’s coronavirus task force.

In fact, per Axios, the treatment was the topic of an "epic Situation Room showdown" over the weekend in which trade adviser Peter Navarro advocated for the use of hydroxychloroquine and Fauci and other medical advisers questioned the overseas studies that Navarro had touted. In a recent television appearance, Dr. Fauci described a Chinese study touting the effectiveness of the treatment as "not a very robust study."

What Covid-19 Reveals about the Risks of Global Medical Supply Chains

Interview with Benjamin Shobert

The Covid-19 pandemic has shone a light on the United States’ reliance on global supply chains for critical pharmaceuticals and medical supplies. Many of these supply chains are especially dependent on China, which has restricted exports of important personal protective equipment as it works to address its own outbreak. Production of raw materials for essential pharmaceuticals has also slowed as factories in China were closed for weeks while the country attempted to curb the spread of the virus. Finally, the sharp drop in commercial air travel has reduced the capacity to ship urgently needed medical supplies, and the virus has caused the FDA to suspend overseas inspections.

Ashley Dutta interviewed NBR’s senior associate for international health, Benjamin Shobert, to better understand how the United States found itself in this precarious position and what U.S. policymakers can do to ensure long-term, consistent access to critical medical products.

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to unfold, what short- and long-term impacts will it have on the United States’ healthcare supply chains?

Covid-19 accelerated a pre-existing concern in Washington, D.C.—namely, that the United States had become overly dependent on China for a variety of healthcare and pharmaceutical goods. The congressionally appointed U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission has focused on these concerns over the last several years, raising two specific questions: Are U.S. policymakers aware of these dependencies, and could these dependencies become points of negotiation in the heat of a national security or global public health crisis?

Navy Chief Resigns After Slamming Carrier Captain

Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly resigned on Tuesday, two sources familiar with the matter told Foreign Policy, after the Pentagon chief ordered the Navy’s embattled top civilian to apologize for a profanity-laced speech slamming the fired captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt.

Modly offered his resignation to U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper in a Tuesday morning meeting first reported by Politico. In a statement posted to Twitter, Esper said Modly had “resigned on his own accord,” and briefed President Donald Trump on the move.

“The men and women of the Department of the Navy deserve a continuity of civilian leadership befitting our great Republic, and the decisive naval force that secures our way of life,” Modly said in his resignation letter to Esper.

Modly had not discussed the speech on board the Roosevelt, where he told sailors over the loudspeaker system on Monday that Capt. Brett Crozier was “too naive or too stupid” to lead the ship after warning higher ups of the Navy’s slow response to the coronavirus pandemic on the nuclear-powered carrier. Any further action against Crozier will only take place after the Navy completes an investigation into the matter, Esper said.