Douglas Lute

In Part One of this two-part series, Lieutenant General (Ret.) and former U.S. Ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Douglas Lute, stresses the need for the U.S. to reinvigorate the health of our allies so we can better compete with China. One of the elements which kept NATO together was the confidence that all the allies had in U.S. Leadership. Because that leadership has been weakened by the Trump Administration, the health of the entire NATO alliance is very much at risk today. Our allies now view us differently today than they have in the past. Although China does not border the Atlantic, it also has become a part of the NATO conversation. As the Chinese grow their Belt & Road initiative, they are massively increasing their economic access and influence over the entire planet — including Europe. 

A deeply patriotic American serving under both Republican and Democratic Presidents — including as a former Assistant to President George W. Bush and as President Obama’s nominated and Senate-approved Ambassador to NATO — Lute explains his primary concerns with President Trump’s international relations policies. He specifically confronts the issues of the leadership void caused by the President’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on Climate as well as the Trump Administration’s initiation of the process for the U.S. to withdraw from the nuclear deal with Iran. 

Per the policy first established by President Obama and then more forcefully promoted by President Trump, for the past four consecutive years, our allies have increased their levels of defense spending. Lute credits this progress not only to Presidents Obama and Trump but also to Russian President Putin, as many European states are concerned with their safety and are working to protect themselves from Russian threats. 

In Part Two of this two-part series, former U.S. Ambassador to NATO and former member of the National Security Council, Lieutenant General (Ret.) Douglas Lute reviews several major security threats facing the U.S. today. 

Lute sees no path forward for a nuclear free world. With the recent Russian violation of the Cold War Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (the INF Treaty), Lute emphasizes how it is more important than ever for the U.S. to have an open line of communication with Russia.  He offers counterterrorism and our respective nuclear arsenals as obvious potential discussion topics. 

Lute explains how the U.S. needs to do a better job figuring out how to manage the economic competition between China and the U.S. The powerful, centralized Chinese government works in close collaboration with Chinese industry creates an advantage for China which is difficult for America to counter. Lute points out that the Chinese economic surge is rooted partially in the massive advantage that their Communist government has with this direct and unhindered control of industry.  

Lute addresses the challenges presented in Afghanistan concerning ISIS and emphasizes the need to have the Taliban’s cooperation if the presence in Afghanistan of the Islamic State (Daesh) is to be eliminated.