Pell Center

The Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy at Salve Regina is a multidisciplinary research center focused at the intersection of politics, policies and ideas.

The Battle for Cyberspace, Climate Adaptation, and Iraq |Monday Reads

China and America’s Battle in Cyberspace: Hyper or Reality?

China and America’s Dangerous Battle in Cyberspace | The National Interest

American Businesses in China Feel Heat of a Cyberdispute | The New York Times

Five Myths About Chinese Hackers | The Washington Post

New charges of Chinese military units conducting “targeted economic espionage campaigns” against U.S. and European industries are stirring up a cycle of accusation and counteraccusation between the two nations and threatening tit-for-tat retaliation among Chinese and American technology companies. The U.S. accuses Chinese individuals and organizations with hacking into the networks of its companies in order to steal confidential business information, sensitive trade secrets, and internal communications for competitive advantage. China denies the allegations and declares that it is a victim of cyber attacks, often emanating from U.S.—a claim strengthened by leaks of former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden. While there is no question that China-based computers have hacked into a variety of governmental agencies and private companies, these new accusations are raising the specter of a trade war and increasing anxiety among American companies that do business in China. Even worse is that if these accusations are not well understood and managed, they risk to foment the hype of a cyber war with China and bring back the old rhetoric of a “cyber Pearl Harbor” and apocalyptic future of U.S. cities paralyzed under cyber attack. Clearly, China has no intention of attacking its largest trading partner—Beijing holds over a trillion dollars in U.S. securities!—and cyber espionage does not provide grounds for waging war, even if military units are the spies.-Francesca Spidalieri, Fellow for Cyber Leadership

Climate Adaptation

Rhode Island secures funds for coastal resiliency programmes | Sand and Gravel

Rhode Island Senate approves climate change legislation | The Providence Journal

What Will Adaptation Cost? An Economic Framework for Coastal Community Infrastructure | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

A new round of federal grants will help coastal communities – including several in the Ocean State – protect themselves against future storms like Sandy. Just last week, the Rhode Island Senate also unanimously approved the formation of a Climate Change Council to look into protecting infrastructure, and other steps related to global warming. Protecting ourselves from rising seas and new weather patterns will not be easy or inexpensive – as a report released last year by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration discusses – but as conditions along the world’s coastlines continue to change measurably, in ways that will have impacts on businesses, agriculture, recreation, building safety, shoreline ecosystems and so forth, action now will prevent greater costs and losses later.- Joseph Grady, Senior Fellow for Public Policy


Dick and Liz Cheney: “The Collapsing Obama Doctrine” | The Wall Street Journal

Megyn Kelly to Dick Cheney: “Time and Time Again, History has Proven You Got it Wrong” on Iraq | Real Clear Politics

The Gall of Dick Cheney | The New York Times

Iraq presents a stern midterm challenge for Mr. Obama | The Washington Post

In the same week that the President who won office promising to end America’s wars committed American troops to bolster the Iraqi military, the former Vice President who helped lead the country to war a decade ago leveled a broadside of criticism that even prompted Megyn Kelly of FoxNews to ask Dick Cheney, “what do you say to those who say you were so wrong about so much at the expense of so many?”

It was all part of a week of coverage of events in Iraq that focused on the blame game.  “Who lost Iraq” was the essential thrust of the question.  Critics of the Bush administration were quick to point out that they had led America to war on flimsy premises and misjudged the depth of resistance to American occupation.  Critics of the Obama administration obsessed over their decision to not leave a residual force behind in Iraq.

Of course, everyone was cherry picking facts to serve their own version of the truth.  And that’s a shame.  For fifty years after the Second World War, American diplomats favored stability over democracy in the Middle East because the forces that might be unleashed were uncontrollable.  Yet in the last decade, America has become a revolutionary force in the Middle East.  The sins of the Bush administration are obvious.  But the Obama administration—beginning with the President’s much heralded speech in Cairo in 2009—has provided rhetorical encouragement to those who would seek regime change throughout the Arab world—and has called explicitly for change in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and Syria.  Now, officials intimate, the United States will not do more in Iraq without the departure of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki.

For all of the criticism the Bush administration received for advocating “regime change” in Iraq, the Obama administration has leaned farther forward, at least rhetorically, in calling for the toppling of governments throughout the region.

This is a dangerous game—as events in the region have made clear—and not one many of us expected this president to play so frequently.- James Ludes, Executive Director of the Pell Center

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