22 April 2020

Can Southeast Asia Fend Off the One-Two Punch of COVID-19?

Joshua Kurlantzick 

Southeast Asian countries, already struggling to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, are bracing for a new surge of COVID-19 cases. Most countries in the region, with the exception of Singapore and Vietnam, had sluggish initial responses to the virus. Most also are poor or middle-income states, which lack public health systems that can effectively track and trace coronavirus patients. Malaysia now has more than 5,000 known COVID-19 cases, although the true number is probably much higher, while the Philippines and Indonesia also have more than 5,000 known cases. With minimal testing in Indonesia, the region’s most populous country, the real number of cases there remains unknown. Even the best performers in Southeast Asia—Singapore and Vietnam, both of which attacked the virus early—have seen a new spike in cases recently.

While preparing for a new wave of infections, these countries also face enormous damage to their economies, which are centered on tourism and export-oriented industries like manufacturing. They are also largely dependent on trade with China and other developed countries where demand has taken a hit from the pandemic. Whether Southeast Asia can reduce the virus’s economic damage while also protecting their populations’ health will offer lessons for other low- to middle-income countries battling this pandemic. ...

How Coronavirus Will Impact the Middle East

By Itai Shapira

The last thing the Middle East needs right now is more troubles. But trouble is coming its way with the coronavirus pandemic. Along with it might come a period of economic, political and social turmoil. This might not be an “Arab Spring 2.0,” overthrowing authoritarian regimes, but it will impact the region’s strategic dynamics and reshape its future.

Western, and Israeli, policies towards the Middle East are currently based on several strategic assumptions: the decline of Salafi-Jihadi terrorism and ISIS; Sunni regimes that are stable, pragmatic, and U.S allies; Iran-Sunni rivalry; cautious Iranian nuclear advances; controllable oil prices; Western competition with Russia; minor Chinese presence and influence; and, above all, the ability to differentiate between different “camps," such as the Shi'ite, the Sunni pragmatic, etc. The Coronavirus could upend all of these, creating a "new normal" with far-reaching strategic implications. The stakes are particularly high for Israel, which is more immediately impacted by, and therefore must more quickly identify and respond to changes in regional trends.

Iran is currently the epicenter of the region’s pandemic, fueling the Islamic Republic's most dramatic strategic crisis since the 1979 revolution. The government’s failure to respond adequately as the coronavirus spread is exacerbating public dissatisfaction. Civil unrest is hard to imagine since people are practically in lockdown, but tension is building. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's speech for the Persian New Year, Nowruz, focused almost exclusively on trying to calm the situation. In the meantime, Iran’s hardliners have taken the lead in public policy.

Why Tackling Corruption Is Crucial to the Global Coronavirus Response

Blair Glencorse

The dusty border town of Taftan in western Pakistan is a frequent stopover for religious pilgrims. Many members of the country’s Shiite minority pass through it en route to visit holy sites in neighboring Iran. But after Iran emerged as one of the countries hit hardest by the coronavirus, the Pakistani government set up a quarantine camp in Taftan to prevent further movement, inadvertently turning the town into an epicenter for the spread of COVID-19. Testing in the camp is sporadic at best, while health facilities are abysmal. Many pilgrims reportedly paid bribes to escape back into Pakistan, and as recently as the end of March, hundreds of people were still crossing the border at Taftan, despite rules to prevent them. Some officials in the region believe that 95 percent of Pakistan’s coronavirus cases are due to “mismanagement” at the Taftan camp.

There are countless other stories around the world detailing how corruption has undermined the fight against the novel coronavirus. They include dodgy procurement contracts that were fast-tracked through the approval process under emergency measures in Slovenia, cops soliciting “coronavirus risk allowances” from citizens in Zimbabwe, and contractors overcharging for supplies in Colombia. In the U.S., senators have been accused of capitalizing on the crisis to make a killing in the stock market, while President Donald Trump has openly used political loyalty as the basis for distributing life-saving medical equipment to states. Trump has also brazenly tried to undermine the independent federal watchdog established by Congress to oversee the implementation of the $2 trillion coronavirus relief law. ...

China’s Aircraft Carriers: Bark or Bite?

By Caleb Larson

While one of the United States’ aircraft carriers, the USS Theodore Roosevelt is dealing with a corona virus outbreak that has now become deadly, one of China’s aircraft carriers sailed past Taiwan in a show of force. Though Taiwan scrambled jets to intercept and monitor the sail-by, it was perhaps not the best moment for the U.S. Navy. 

China currently has two carriers and a third in the shipyard, with a fourth planned. But what is the Chinese aircraft carrier program like? Here is China’s carrier fleet. 

China currently has two aircraft carriers, with a third in early construction, and a fourth planned for sometime in the mid 2020 or 2030s. Their first carrier, the Liaoning was commissioned by the PLAN in 2012, though it was first laid down in the early 1990s. It was an unfinished Ukrainian carrier, inherited from the Soviet Union, which was then sold to China. 

China’s second carrier, the Type 002, was essentially a copy of the Liaoning, though it did feature some incremental improvements including upgraded radar, and increased fighter capacity. Like the Liaoning, it features a large ski jump above the bow that helps launch jet fighters into the air. 

China’s Economy Shrinks, Ending a Nearly Half-Century of Growth

By Keith Bradsher
Source Link

BEIJING — The coronavirus outbreak has brought China’s extraordinary, nearly half-century-long run of growth to an end — a stark reminder of the enormous task ahead for world leaders trying to restart the global economy.

Chinese officials on Friday said that the world’s second-largest economy shrank 6.8 percent in the first three months of the year compared with a year ago, ending a streak of untrammeled growth that survived the Tiananmen Square crackdown, the SARS epidemic and even the global financial crisis. The data reflects China’s drastic efforts to stamp out the coronavirus, which included shutting down most factories and offices in January and February as the outbreak sickened tens of thousands of people.

The stark numbers make clear how monumental the challenge of getting the global economy back on its feet will be. Since it emerged from abject poverty and isolation more than 40 years ago, China has become perhaps the world’s single most important growth engine, one that lifted fortunes during previous times of trouble, like the financial crisis.

China’s Coming Upheaval

By Minxin Pei 

Over the past few years, the United States’ approach to China has taken a hard-line turn, with the balance between cooperation and competition in the U.S.-Chinese relationship tilting sharply toward the latter. Most American policymakers and commentators consider this confrontational new strategy a response to China’s growing assertiveness, embodied especially in the controversial figure of Chinese President Xi Jinping. But ultimately, this ongoing tension—particularly with the added pressures of the new coronavirus outbreak and an economic downturn—is likely to expose the brittleness and insecurity that lie beneath the surface of Xi’s, and Beijing’s, assertions of solidity and strength.

The United States has limited means of influencing China’s closed political system, but the diplomatic, economic, and military pressure that Washington can bring to bear on Beijing will put Xi and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) he leads under enormous strain. Indeed, a prolonged period of strategic confrontation with the United States, such as the one China is currently experiencing, will create conditions that are conducive to dramatic changes.

The Spies Who Predicted COVID-19


ATLANTA – Intelligence agencies are used to making headlines when they fail to do their job. But after months of US President Donald Trump ignoring their warnings about COVID-19, and after years of his administration discounting their alerts about the danger of a pandemic more generally, it is time that intelligence professionals receive the credit they deserve.

After World War II, it was obvious that the world needed a new international framework to manage the global economy and ensure peace and stability. Today, the need for new institutions is just as clear, even if the challenges we face are fundamentally different.10Add to Bookmarks

It should come as no surprise that Trump repeatedly dismissed intelligence about the threat of the coronavirus throughout January and February. Trump has long made clear that he has no patience for those who don’t pander to his views. When intelligence leaders contradicted him on several issues in their annual briefing to Congress last year, he told them to “go back to school.”

Moscow Using Pandemic to Shore Up Alliance With Serbia Against NATO and China

By: Paul Goble

Moscow’s dispatch of medical equipment and expertise abroad during the coronavirus pandemic has been anything but disinterested. Instead, it is clearly intended to serve Russia in a variety of ways. The Kremlin is using this aid to shore up alliances, as in the case of Serbia; pressure Western countries, including the United States, to drop sanctions (see EDM, April 13); provide cover for Russian intelligence operations, as in Italy (see EDM, April 8); and even to help the country’s balance of trade by opening up new markets for Russian products. However, the re-affirmation of Russia’s military alliance with Serbia may be the relationship in which Moscow has achieved the most, given both the size of its effort there and the gratitude of the Serbs for what Moscow has done. Russia has taken these actions not only as a means to counter the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) but also because Chinese assistance to Serbia had called into question Moscow’s unquestioned dominance in this central Balkan country and changed the geopolitical map of the wider region.

Chinese assistance to Serbia in response to the pandemic began on March 21, two weeks before the first Russian aid arrived. Beijing sent an Airbus A330 plane filled with masks and protective clothing. Just before its arrival, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić told the Chinese ambassador that “it has turned out that without you, the Chinese, Europe will hardly be able to defend itself, and we are not hiding how much we cannot do and are not in a position to do without the assistance of China and our Chinese brothers.” This is the kind of language Moscow is used to hearing from the Serbs about Russia and Russians (Novaya Gazeta, April 11).

Vučić said at the time that he had asked China for assistance because the European Union, instead of helping its eastern neighbors, was focused entirely on helping its own members, thus freezing out countries like Serbia (an EU aspirant). Notably, Republika Srpska (Serb Republic—the ethnic-Serb-dominated northern federal entity of Bosnia-Herzegovina) was similarly turned down by Muslim countries and left to its own devices (Novaya Gazeta, April 11).

The Pandemic Won’t Make China the World’s Leader Few Countries Are Buying the Model or the Message From Beijing

By Michael Green and Evan S. Medeiros 

Early this year, as the novel coronavirus began to spread in China, the predictions were immediate and stark: the outbreak was China’s “Chernobyl moment,” perhaps even “the beginning of the end” for the Chinese Communist Party, with geopolitical consequences that, at a time of growing U.S.-Chinese tension, would play to Washington’s considerable advantage. But then, almost as quickly, the predictions went into reverse. As China appeared to contain the spread of the coronavirus while the United States and Western Europe suffered large outbreaks of their own, the pandemic and the resulting global recession were said to mark a geopolitical reordering that would leave China as the victor. Beijing certainly saw such an opportunity, launching an international campaign stressing the failures of democratic governance and casting itself as the leader of the global pandemic response.

But it is doubtful that Beijing’s gambit will succeed in turning a pandemic that likely started in a Chinese city into a major step in China’s rise. There are real limits to China’s capacity to take advantage of the current crisis—whether through disingenuous propaganda or ineffective global action. And just as the potential for China to benefit from the coronavirus is too easily overstated, the ability of the United States to show global leadership even after its initial missteps is too easily discounted. As deeply flawed as Washington’s response to the pandemic has been so far, the United States’ power—distinct from any particular president—rests on an enduring combination of material capabilities and political legitimacy, and there are few signs that the pandemic is causing power to shift rapidly and permanently to China’s side of the ledger.


Iran and Coronavirus


The domestic concerns caused by the coronavirus have reduced the U.S. public’s already modest interest in foreign policy, but it has not distracted key architects of U.S. President Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran from advocating for an even more muscular approach to the challenges posed by the Islamic Republic. In fact, with the advent of the pandemic, this camp—led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien—appears to view its efforts as all the more fruitful now that the Iranian regime has been weakened by a serious outbreak within its borders. Trump’s sanctions and the global pandemic have exacerbated the effects of Iran’s own incompetence and corruption, leading to significant discontent among the populace. Just weeks before the coronavirus became a household name around the world, Iranians were protesting their leadership. For Iran hawks in the Trump administration, these protests were a sign that maximum pressure was indeed yielding maximum results. Soon, the regime would be forced to change its behavior or collapse altogether—and either would be seen as a success.

Even before the pandemic, U.S.-Iran tensions were on the upswing. In December 2019, when the Iran-backed Iraqi militia Kataib Hezbollah conducted a rocket attack on U.S. forces in Iraq that killed a U.S. contractor, Americans were paying attention. News outlets covered the incident thoroughly. Just days later, the United States responded: Trump authorized the killing of one of Iran’s most important military figures, Major General Qassem Soleimani. His death in turn prompted Iran to retaliate, conducting missile attacks on two bases housing U.S. service members. These events made headlines and were covered extensively. But two months later, when the same militias launched rockets that killed two Americans, the United States was already facing the rapid spread of the coronavirus. This time, the news of the attack went virtually unnoticed by the general public.

The Coronavirus Threatens Saudi Arabia’s Global Ambitions The Kingdom Tallies the Costs of the Pandemic Lockdown

By Krithika Varagur 

In late February, Saudi Arabia abruptly suspended all visas for umrah, the year-round pilgrimage to Mecca, the holiest city in Islam. Umrah is less important than the hajj, a pilgrimage that happens in the last month of the lunar year and is required of all able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lives, but it still draws nearly eight million annual visitors.

Today, the kingdom’s two holy cities, Mecca and Medina—which give the Saudi king his royal title, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques—are on total lockdown. Even Saudi citizens are banned from visiting as pilgrims. Saudi authorities will likely cancel the hajj, which is set for late July this year, for the first time in over two centuries. (Though the cancellation has not been officially announced, the Saudi hajj minister is urging people to hold off booking trips, suggesting that a formal announcement is imminent. The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah did not immediately comment as to when it will make the final call.) Riyadh has moved more swiftly in responding to the pandemic than other Muslim-majority states and religious institutions. It took Egypt’s famed Al-Azhar University until late March to finally suggest that Friday prayers, which tend to convene large crowds in close quarters, should be optional. Other Muslim-majority countries such as Malaysia and Morocco have only recently begun to shutter their mosques.

European Parliaments in Times of Coronavirus


Parliaments perform key tasks in democracies. The Coronavirus disease has led to lockdowns around the world. Measures undertaken by Member States have had an unprecedented impact on public life. Are governments then the main players calling the shots, removing parliaments to the side-lines? A stock-taking exercise shows that in a majority of EU parliaments, MPs are in the process of finding ways to debate – at least the most important crisis measures – and increasingly meet online. It is clear that governments are at the centre stage in this time of emergency. This becomes problematic if there is no clear end to this ‘state of danger’ and when (new) crisis measures are no longer democratically debated.

Parliaments have several key functions in democratic systems. These reach from scrutinising the work of the government to debating issues of the day. The Corona virus disease pandemic (Covid-19) has caused a ‘health war’ that has led to lockdowns around the world. While there is no uniform approach of how to deal with this crisis within the European Union (EU), measures undertaken by Member States have had an unprecedented impact on public life. The following question then comes to mind: how has this health crisis impacted on parliamentary work across Member States? To put it simply: Are governments the main players calling the shots? Are parliaments removed to the side-lines, sitting in the bleachers? This is however not a question of empirical interest only. What are the implications of this (possible) ‘upgrade’ of the executive for ‘democracy’?

When to re-open the economy

Harvey V. Fineberg, M.D. , Ph.D.

This week, the president says he is facing the hardest decision of his career: when to reopen the nation’s economy. Governors face the same dilemma for their states.

Five Principles:

First, stop the debate about a date. Instead, focus on the conditions under which we can safely and sustainably resume more nearly normal economic and social activity.

Second, because the pandemic is playing out at various stages and impact in different geographic locales, expect different states, counties and cities to be ready at different times.

Third, coordinate allowable activity across adjacent, interactive jurisdictions, whether across state borders or metropolitan areas.

Fourth, adapt as deeper scientific understanding, a new vaccine or other preventives, and demonstrably effective treatments come online. What matters is not the mere passage of time, but how conditions change on the ground at different points of time.

Can History’s Biggest Stimulus Stave Off a Coronavirus Depression?

By Zachary Karabell 
Source Link

Most Americans learned in school that the New Deal, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s sweeping response to the Great Depression, was a turning point in U.S. history. For 90 years, the progressive projects and reforms collected under its rubric defined the role that government could play in society and the manner in which government spending could be used to combat economic crises. The New Deal set the standard for big government intervention. Then came the pandemic of 2020.

In the past few weeks, the U.S. Congress and Federal Reserve have moved to inject more than $6 trillion into the U.S. economy. European governments and the European Central Bank are spending and lending trillions more. Norway, Italy, France, and the United Kingdom are directly subsidizing private payrolls. All together, these efforts will amount to at least $10 trillion, or a quarter of annual economic activity in the United States and Europe. Asian states including China, Japan, and South Korea are undertaking similar efforts at equivalent scale.

Governments, in other words, are spending as if there will be zero economic output between now and sometime this summer. In the coming months, the bonanza of public spending will blur the lines, never clear to begin with, between the public and private sectors and transfer a large portion of the global economy onto government balance sheets. This level of spending has no precedent in history—not even close. Not in war. Not in peacetime. Not ever.

COVID-19: Why Did Global Health Governance Fail?

Despite the existence of a “World Health Organization”, very limited collective capacity had developed previously.

The system that has been developed to provide a global response to epidemics and pandemics has failed miserably. Covid-19 has spread all over the world, shutting down entire countries. Governments, and even subnational governments, are now competing fiercely for scarce medical stocks, while critical supply chains have been disrupted due to governmental export restrictions. The World Health Organization, global health governance’s centrepiece, has been sidelined, with U.S. President Donald Trump now moving to withdraw all American funding to the WHO on 14 April 2020. How did we get here?

To explain global health governance’s failure today, it is important to first describe what it looked like before Covid-19.

Some form of international health governance has existed since at least the cholera outbreaks in mid-19th century Europe. But it was only after the Serious Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak of 2002–03 that global governance mechanisms for addressing epidemics emerged.

How COVID-19’s Economic Crisis Could Slowly Break Up OPEC

Candace Rondeaux

Years from now, when historians and economists begin tallying the devastation wrought by COVID-19, it is likely only a few will focus much on world energy markets. Yet if there is one thing that has snapped into sharper view with the onset of this global pandemic, it is the extremely brittle state of OPEC and the autocratic governments that rely almost exclusively on the cartelization of oil markets to prop up their regimes. In September, OPEC will mark its 60-year anniversary as the world’s most preeminent price-fixing consortium. But it seems far from certain that the governments of the 13 states that currently make up the oil cartel will be able to survive a likely global recession, let alone the full-on, pandemic-induced depression that the International Monetary Fund is now predicting.

The warning by the IMF this week is a reminder that poet T.S. Eliot had it exactly right when he said, “April is the cruelest month.” If the IMF’s projections are accurate, the regions likely to suffer more than any other part of the world are the Middle East and Central Asia. The swath of territory spanning from Morocco to Pakistan is poised to potentially suffer a 4 percent downturn in GDP—a decline even sharper than in the rest of the world. Given that roughly half of OPEC’s member states sit within or are contiguous with those loose boundaries, it is almost as if an occult hand is poised to knock out nearly half of OPEC’s leadership

Oil Crisis Tests Putin’s Skill to Project Strength

Thomas Graham

NEW YORK: Russian President Vladimir Putin refuses to yield under pressure. That is a matter of pride for Putin himself and a key aspect of his appeal to Russian elites and the public alike. The trick is preserving that reputation in the real world, where leaders routinely miscalculate and pivot while remaining loathe to admitting mistakes. The plunge in oil prices because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the collapse of the OPEC+ agreement on production cuts provide the most recent test.

In early March, the Saudis called for a meeting of the OPEC+ group to agree on further drastic production cuts of 1.5 million barrels a day to support oil prices as COVID-19 spread, crushing economic activity and demand. The Russians balked. According to the spokesperson of Rosneft, Russia’s oil-sector national champion run by Igor Sechin, a close associate of Putin’s: “This deal made no sense from the standpoint of Russian interests. By removing cheap Arab and Russian oil from our own markets, we open up the way for expensive American shale oil.” Moscow wanted to maintain current levels of production for a few months to get a better sense of the economic consequences of the spreading pandemic before deciding on further cuts. And, when those cuts came, it wanted to make sure that the United States bore its fair share.

The biggest lockdown threat: Hunger, hunger, everywhere

By Rebecca Davis
Source Link

Residents in Mitchells Plain clash with police over food parcels. Residents are furious with the government for not fulfilling its promise of delivering food parcels. (Photo: Gallo Images / Die Burger / Jaco Marais)

Protests and looting have broken out all over South Africa in recent days in response to one issue: hunger. It is now clear that hunger will pose the greatest threat to South African well-being and security during the lockdown – and the difficulties involved with getting food to millions of South Africans in need are tremendous.

The hunger of South Africans during the extended lockdown period is spilling over on to the streets. This week alone, grocery stores have been looted and protests have broken out on the Cape Flats, Khayelitsha, Alexandra and Chatsworth – to name just a few areas.

Cape Flats ward councillor Bongani Ngcani was quoted by News24 as saying: “A man told me: ‘I would rather die of Covid-19 than of hunger’ ”.

It is clear that all three tiers of government are well aware of the threat posed by hunger. But the logistical challenges of providing food to potentially millions of South Africans under lockdown are monumental, and may not be able to be resolved through existing systems.

It’s the End of the World Economy as We Know It

By Neil Irwin

A container ship in Qingdao, China. Countries might re-examine their reliance on far-flung supply chains.Credit...CHINATOPIX, via Associated Press

When big convulsive economic events happen, the implications tend to take years to play out, and spiral in unpredictable directions.

Who would have thought that a crisis that began with mortgage defaults in American suburbs in 2007 would lead to a fiscal crisis in Greece in 2010? Or that a stock market crash in New York in 1929 would contribute to the rise of fascists in Europe in the 1930s?

The world economy is an infinitely complicated web of interconnections. We each have a series of direct economic relationships we can see: the stores we buy from, the employer that pays our salary, the bank that makes us a home loan. But once you get two or three levels out, it’s really impossible to know with any confidence how those connections work.

South Korea Offers a Lesson in Best Practices

By Victor Cha

When it comes to the novel coronavirus, South Korea has taken tracing to a new level. When passengers deplane at Incheon International Airport near Seoul, they pass through mandatory temperature checks and are required to download the health ministry’s self-diagnosis app. Once at their destinations, they must use the app every day to self-report any symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. The movements of those who test positive are tracked, and other people in their vicinity receive social-distancing alerts on their phones.

Most Americans would chafe at this type of Big Brother surveillance as contrary to the values of freedom and privacy, even in these disruptive times. To compare South Korea’s infection numbers with those of the United States, however, is to wonder whether combating the virus and reopening the economy could require temporarily eschewing those values in favor of invasive policies.

The United States and South Korea confirmed their first cases of COVID-19 within a day of each other, but since then, the United States has registered case numbers in six digits, whereas South Korea has barely cracked 10,000 and has witnessed a slowdown in the rate of infection. South Korea’s COVID-19 mortality rate is one-third that of the United States. And per capita, South Korea has tested three times as many citizens as the United States has—thanks in part to South Korean companies, which produce more than 350,000 test kits per day and plan to increase their output to one million.

Managing the Coronavirus Crisis at the National Level: Not only "What," but "How"

Manuel Trajtenberg
Source Link

The coronavirus is not about to vanish from our lives, so the quest for a one-shot silver bullet in the form of an "exit strategy" is dangerously misguided. Instead, we will have to learn to manage our lives as individuals, families, and workers under the constraints of the coronavirus; the same applies to running the country, the economy, and other aspects of society. We therefore must build an organizational structure for the sustained management of the crisis, which will include a wide range of governmental, civic, and professional actors.Israel has thus far managed the coronavirus crisis quite successfully; at the same time, there have been some serious mishaps and failings, such as the lags in closing the loop in testing, contagion in nursing homes, and the unmonitored entry of hundreds of infected travelers from abroad. However, we are in the midst of a struggle of unprecedented complexity, and what is important now is not after-the-fact criticism, but a sober appraisal of what lies ahead, and the garnering of the best possible capabilities to deal with it.

In view of the great challenges looming, it is absolutely clear that the way the crisis has been managed until now (in a highly centralized manner, with too many "teams of experts" and no clear delineation of responsibility and authority) cannot go on. A fundamental restructuring is called forth, so as to be able to manage a prolonged and multidisciplinary campaign, with the participation not only of state agencies (that are not always fit for the task), but also of a broad range of public and civic agents, which can bring in a much richer set of competencies, knowledge and insights. To that end, sketched here is the organizational structure that should be implemented at the national level.

Digital Instructional Materials

by Katie Tosh, Sy Doan, Ashley Woo, Daniella Henry

Research Questions

Which digital materials do teachers regularly use to plan lessons and in the classroom? 

Which digital materials do teachers use the most?

How does teachers' use of digital materials compare with use of comprehensive curriculum materials?

What are the barriers to digital material use?

What factors influence teachers' use of digital materials?

This Data Note adds new insights from English language arts (ELA), math, and science teachers on their use of digital materials. Drawing on data from the spring 2019 American Instructional Resources Survey, researchers share the digital materials that ELA, math, and science teachers across the United States reported using regularly for instruction during the 2018–2019 school year. In addition to identifying the most commonly used digital instructional materials, researchers examine how teachers' use of these materials compares with their use of comprehensive curriculum materials, as well as teacher-reported barriers to digital material use. Finally, researchers explore several hypotheses regarding factors that might influence digital material use.

Key Findings

Big Company, Big Government, Big Brother? Privacy after Covid-19

The COVID-19 pandemic will be a history-altering event. But where will it take us? In “On the Horizon,” a new CSIS series, our scholars offer their insights into the fundamental changes we might anticipate for our future social and economic world.

One theory of governance is that democracies only make major changes when confronted with a crisis. It is too early to conclude whether Covid-19 was such a crisis, but the immediate response to it was a rebalancing, perhaps temporary, of individual and collective rights. Long-standing political assumptions about the benefits of restricting the role of government were shattered, and the reverberations of this shift will shape policy in the future. As one commentator put it, “They say there are no atheists in a foxhole, and there aren’t a lot of libertarians in a global pandemic.”

Even before Covid-19, there was pressure to reconsider the “shrink government” approach that has shaped U.S. policy for the last 25 years. The revived discussion of industrial policy in response to technological competition with China is one example. But, reconsidering small government does not mean renewed public faith in Washington. For privacy, leadership has devolved to state legislatures and to the European Union, which has set itself the goals of becoming the global privacy regulator and holding the United States to higher privacy standards. But neither states nor the European Union are an adequate substitute for federal policy.

The Post-privacy World

The Intelligence Edge: Opportunities and Challenges from Emerging Technologies for U.S. Intelligence

Emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence have the potential to transform and empower the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) while simultaneously presenting unprecedented challenges from technologically capable adversaries.

These technologies can help expand, automate, and sharpen the collection and processing of intelligence, augment analysts’ ability to craft strategic and value-added analysis and insights, and enable the IC to better time, tailor, and target intelligence products for key decisionmakers.

U.S. rivals and adversaries are also moving swiftly to develop, field, and integrate these technologies into intelligence operations against the United States. In addition to competing with state rivals, the U.S. IC also must overcome its own bureaucratic, technical, and organizational hurdles to adopting and assimilating new technologies.

The CSIS Technology and Intelligence Task Force will work to identify near-term opportunities to integrate advanced technologies into the production of strategic intelligence and craft an action plan to overcome obstacles and implement change.


The West’s Military Technology Imperative: Public/Private Partnerships

by John Beckner

In 2019, Orbital, via an Antares 230, facilitated the launch of the first of the UK IOD programs (In-Orbit Demonstrator), run by the Satellite Applications Catapult.

The satellite carried Colorado-based Orbital Micro Systems’ (OMS) payload to detect micro-weather via a space-based microwave radiometer sounding spectrometer, retrieving temperature data in eight vertical atmospheric layers. OMS is also teamed with Lockheed Martin UK, and provides the blueprint on how successful Public/Private partnerships work as they enter the lucrative GeoInt market.

This mission is proof that the UK’s approach on incentivizing US/UK industry to work with government in getting cutting edge technology deployed and in operation quickly is working. The UK model of Public/Private partnerships in aerospace differs from the that of the US but offers lessons to the US and other Western powers.

The IOD-1 GEMS launch proved that the government supported innovation schemes can play a key role in the West’s attempt to compete with China; economically and militarily. As pointed out in a recent paper by Stanford’s Cyber Policy Center, Dr. Anthony Vici, the former CTO at the NGA (National Geospatial Intelligence Agency), noted that “Simply increasing national security funding or R&D spending will not ensure victory against a competitor able to outspend the United States. Instead, we will need once again to revolutionize public-private partnerships to meet the challenge, harnessing more efficient ways of developing and implementing new technology.”