R. Nicholas Burns

  • 100 Years Later: Reflecting on the Lessons of World War I

    On November 11, 1918, Allied leaders signed an armistice agreement with Germany, effectively ending World War I. The conflict is estimated to have left more than seventeen million soldiers and civilians dead, wreaking havoc on most of the European continent. The United States entered the war in 1917. Among the dead were 116,708 American soldiers.
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  • #StrongerWithAllies: The Day NATO Stood with the United States

    In the early hours of September 12, 2001, as the world was coming to grips with the enormity of the events of the day before, US National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice was busy working the phones. She discussed with the United States’ NATO allies the possibility of doing something never done before in the history of the Alliance: the invocation of Article 5 on collective defense.

    Daniel Fried was working at the National Security Council and in Rice’s office at the time. He recalls Rice’s conversation with her French counterpart. “We need this,” she said.

    By the evening of September 12, less than twenty-four hours after al Qaeda terrorists hijacked and crashed commercial airliners into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania, the allies invoked Article 5 in an act of solidarity with the United States. Then NATO Secretary General George Robertson informed United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan of the Alliance's decision.

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  • Burns in The Boston Globe: Why NATO is Vital for American Interests


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  • Brexit May Strengthen NATO

    NATO Deputy Secretary General Vershbow said Brexit may make the military Alliance more important for the UK

    The British vote to leave the European Union will have minimal impact on the United Kingdom’s role in NATO; it could, in fact, enhance the Alliance’s importance as a forum at which to address global challenges, NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow said in Warsaw on July 7.

    “The British are going out of their way to stress that Britain’s status within NATO is unaffected by Brexit,” said Vershbow, “that is a fact.”

    Describing the United Kingdom as a mainstay of the twenty-eight-member Alliance, Vershbow said that “if anything, for the UK, NATO clearly becomes more important if they go through with Brexit.”

    “NATO itself, as a forum, may become more important because this will be the place where we can address these fundamental challenges that we have to deal with over the coming years,” he added.

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  • Burns and Jones Testify Before Senate Armed Services Committee on NATO, Russia, and European Security


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  • Atlantic Council Report Restoring the Power and Purpose of the NATO Alliance Featured by RFE/RL


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  • Atlantic Council Report Advocates Troop Buildup in Europe in Response to Russian Threat

    NATO must respond to threats from Russia by permanently stationing troops in the Baltic States, Poland, and the Black Sea region, according to a new Atlantic Council report.

    “These are clearly modest—in terms of the troop commitments—measures designed to stabilize the alliance, protect our smaller allies in the east, and do what the NATO alliance has to do: protect the member states and collective security in Europe,” said R. Nicholas Burns, an Atlantic Council board member who served as under secretary of state in the George W. Bush administration. “We need to establish effective deterrence against [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and that’s why our number one recommendation is the permanent basing of NATO troops in those areas,”

    Burns co-authored the report, “Restoring the Power and Purpose of the NATO Alliance,” along with retired Gen. James L. Jones, Jr., chairman of the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security and a former national security advisor in the Obama administration.

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  • With Brexit Looming, United States Advised to Forge Ties with Germany, the UK

    Germany has economic and political dominance in Europe, said Atlantic Council board member R. Nicholas Burns

    In light of the British decision to leave the European Union, US President Barack Obama and his successor must forge a closer bond with Germany and shore up the “special relationship” with the United Kingdom, said R. Nicholas Burns, an Atlantic Council board director who served as under secretary of state for political affairs in the George W. Bush administration.

    In a June 23 referendum, British voters favored the UK leaving the EU by a margin of 52 percent to 48 percent. The UK’s departure from the EU will open a dominant role for Germany in the bloc. Once the process of leaving is initiated, it may take up to two years for the UK to actually leave the EU.

    “There is no question that Germany has become, and we all know it and see it, the dominant country in Europe economically and politically,” said Burns.

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  • Atlantic Council Event and Report on NATO After Brexit Featured by USNI


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  • Atlantic Council Event NATO After Brexit: Restoring the Power and Purpose of the Alliance with R. Nicholas Burns Featured by Reuters


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