In a wide-ranging conversation, Ambassador Douglas Lute sat down with Aaron Harber to discuss what he sees as the greatest current and future security risks to the US. A retired US ambassador to NATO, Lute was quick to express his unease over the organization’s current direction, the lack of leadership from the US in stabilizing inter-alliance relationships, and the ever-present threats posed by China and Russia. Addressing the current direction of NATO, Lute warned that a strong US commitment is at the core of NATO’s mission, and the success of that mission depends on members working cohesively to create an overwhelming advantage. Unity is NATO’s strongest asset in countering Russian aggression, and Lute believes it only will prove more critically important in countering China’s economic and diplomatic expansion. Warning that many of China’s economic policies are not commercial investments, but future political ones, Lute appealed to European leaders to seriously analyze all assets being sold to China and whether they may in the future give China an unjustifiable advantage. NATO, Europe, and the US are at a crossroads as new and old challenges test their ability to cooperatively assist one another on a range of foreign policy and security issues.
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