McMaster’s Churchill Moment

In an historic valedictory speech at the Atlantic Council on April 3, his last as a member of the United States government, National Security Advisor LTG H.R. McMaster depicted the United States and its European allies as under attack by Russia on multiple fronts. With passion and determination,  McMaster spoke of the need to strengthen our resolve and redouble our efforts to defend against and counter Russian aggression in cyberspace, continued Russian covert activities and information warfare including election meddling, and ongoing aggressive Russian military operations across the broad expanse of the European continent.

His remarks were an extraordinary clarion call to more urgent action by the United States, NATO, and other allies. The clarity and vision that he outlined could put this speech into the history books. 

In many ways, McMaster’s Atlantic Council remarks could be considered the 2018 equivalent of Winston Churchill’s famous 1946 “Iron Curtain” speech in which Churchill outlined with great foresight the magnitude of the growing Soviet threat and what would be needed to counter it across a broad front in Europe and elsewhere.

The United States needs to stop responding incrementally to the growing, broad Russian challenge to our way of life, and take much grander steps, driven by our own vision and strategy for achieving our core goals. 

The McMaster speech is an excellent start to our generation’s task.

Barry Pavel is senior vice president, Arnold Kanter chair, and director of the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. Follow him on Twitter @BarryPavel.

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Image: US National Security Advisor LTG H.R. McMaster said that the West has "failed to impose sufficient costs" on Russia for its aggressive behavior that has ranged from cyberattacks to near-fatal poisonings. (