Damon Wilson

  • Twenty Years Later, NATO Allies Remain Strong Members of the Family

    When the foreign ministers of Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary finally signed documents completing their nations’ accession to NATO it marked the beginning of a new era for the transatlantic alliance. Twenty years ago, the ceremony held in Independence, Missouri—the hometown of US President Harry S. Truman, who oversaw the creation of NATO—marked the first time former-Communist adversaries had joined the alliance of democracies.

    Damon Wilson, executive vice president of the Atlantic Council, was a junior desk officer at the US Department of State when then US Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright travelled to Missouri to finalize the new enlargement. “For me, less than a year on the job, I was on a professional high,” Wilson recalled. “After watching Washington for years exude ambivalence about whether to welcome more allies into NATO, the compelling case presented by these nations’ extraordinary spokespeople won the day. The determination of Czechs, Hungarians, and Poles, and the subsequent bipartisan leadership of Robert Dole and Bill Clinton, ensured that President George H.W. Bush’s call for a ‘Europe whole and free’ would not remain just rhetoric.”


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  • How to Fight Disinformation While Preserving Free Speech

    There are solutions “within the framework of our traditions of freedom of speech and free expression” to counter the spread of disinformation online, Daniel Fried, a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council, said at the Council’s Disinfo Week event in Athens, Greece, on March 4.

    “We are not hopeless,” Fried said.


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  • Greece's Turnaround: From Achilles' Heel to Regional Bedrock

    A little less than four years ago, there was a consensus throughout Europe that Greece was Europe’s biggest headache. Athens had driven itself into economic devastation, the argument went, due to its profligate spending and uncompetitive economy and now threatened to unravel not just the European financial system, but the political unity of the European Union (EU) itself, after the election of far-left winger Alexis Tsipras. Greece became Europe’s Achilles’ heel.

    What a turnaround it has been. Today, Athens has proven to be a problem solver for the transatlantic community, projecting stability and providing leadership on a vulnerable southeastern flank. Tsipras has moved in a short time from being the bad boy of Europe to now being one of its most celebrated leaders. This transformation has not been easy and, at best, is incomplete given the stagnant economy which very well could cost Tsipras his job. Nonetheless, his government has helped bring Greece back in from the cold. After weathering extraordinary challenges, Greek democracy has emerged strong; Athens, the original source of Western political thinking, can show off this brand with credibility as it heads into competitive elections this year.


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  • Engaging Hungary Is Good for US Interests and Values

    A casual consumer of news reading sensational headlines about Hungary would question whether the United States and Hungary are even allies. US officials are criticized for a policy of “appeasement” when they meet their Hungarian counterparts. It is therefore significant that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is visiting Hungary this week as part of a concerted plan to engage Central Europe.


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  • Pompeo’s Trip to Central Europe Aims to Bring NATO Allies in From the Cold

    US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s upcoming trip to Central Europe is “the right call” by the Trump administration, according to Daniel Fried, a distinguished ambassadorial fellow at the Atlantic Council.

    After the enlargement of NATO and the European Union to encompass these countries by 2004, “a lot of Americans thought our work in the region was done, and yet it was not so,” Fried explained. With US attention shifting to other regions of the world, the once very close partnerships between the United States and these countries “became eerily normal,” said Damon Wilson, executive vice president of the Atlantic Council. “Central Europe began to be taken for granted as Washington’s attention understandably shifted elsewhere.”


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  • Macedonia Signs NATO Accession Protocol: ‘We Will Never Walk Alone Again’

    The signing by NATO’s twenty-nine members and Skopje of an accession protocol that would make the future Republic of North Macedonia the Alliance’s thirtieth member represents “a victory for stability, security, and reconciliation in the Western Balkans,” according to Michael Carpenter, a nonresident senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center.

    “Today the Western Balkans have turned a page,” said Carpenter. “Common sense and regional reconciliation have prevailed over divisions and discord.”


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  • Name Deal with Greece Gives Macedonia a ‘Second Chance’

    Macedonia’s entry into NATO can help revitalize the Alliance, the country’s foreign minister, Nikola Dimitrov, said at the Atlantic Council in Washington on February 5.

    “NATO is a family that is about security, stability, predictability, and a better and more peaceful world,” Dimitrov said, adding that “for you on the inside it is probably easy to forget how cold it is on the outside.”


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  • Our Allies are Our Comparative Advantage

    In an era of great power competition, the United States should adopt a more permanent deterrence posture and bolster its alliances as a strategic comparative advantage over our adversaries. If we are concerned about near-peer competition from Russia and China, the United States must invest not only in its own capabilities, but also in its global alliance structure. Nurturing our alliances as a permanent asset rather than burdens will better prepare the United States for this era of great power competition.

    Polarization within our nation and tumultuous relations within our alliances risk making the United States look vulnerable to our adversaries. While some of these divisions are real, the United States and its allies are in fact more strategically aligned in grand strategy – enjoying the support of Republicans and Democrats – than they have been since 9/11, if not 1989.


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  • The United States is Stronger With Allies, Says Atlantic Council’s Damon Wilson

    Amid intense partisan polarization and high-profile disagreements between Washington and its allies, Damon Wilson, executive vice president of the Atlantic Council, on January 29 made the case for the United States to preserve its alliances. “US interests are best served when Washington and its allies act in unison,” Wilson told the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington in a hearing on China and Russia.

    As growing aggression from Russia and China becomes “the main geopolitical challenge of the 21st century,” Wilson said, “the United States is much better positioned if it does not assume the burden of countering Beijing and Moscow alone.”


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  • Wilson Testifies Before Senate Armed Services Committee on the Chinese and Russian Challenges

    Testimony before The Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing on Implementation of the National Defense Strategy
    January 29, 2019
    Permanent Deterrence and Bolstered Alliances in an Era of Great Power Competition
    Damon M. Wilson Executive Vice President, Atlantic Council 

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