NSC Advisor O'Brien: "Assad is a very bad actor"

 

Atlantic Council's Scowcroft Center hosted U.S. National Security Council Advisor Ambassador Robert O'Brien,Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs for a "View from the West Wing" conversation about both national security and the process for managing the National Security Council in our turbulent time.

President of Atlantic Council, Fred Kempe, and Former National Security Advisor Steven Heydemann made opening remarks and CBS News Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent and Face the Nation Moderator Margaret Brennen moderated the program.

"Assad is a very bad actor,Iranians who are up to their ears are terrible actors,the Russians are not helping the situation, and Turks are not helping the situation. Erdogan and Putin, who have an interesting relationship, sometimes they are the best of friends and sometimes they are not. It is really up to them to work that situation out," Ambassador O'Brien said.

Margaret Brennan asked Ambassador O'Brien what the U.S. is doing about the violence in Idlib, Syria. "I do not think we are going to intervene militarily in Idlib to straighten out that bad situation,What are we supposed to do to stop them? We're supposed to be a global policeman and hold up a sign and say stop this Turkey, stop this Russia?" Ambassador O'Brien said.

U.S.-China Relations:

Ambassador Robert O'Brien admitted that the Chinese Government promised purchases under the Phase 1 trade deal will be reduced as a result of the growing health emergency.

"This could have an impact on phase one deal. It's not going to change the phase one deal. It's just we expect that is part of the phase one deal. China will expend more money on U.S. agricultural products. And we'll have to see how that plays out, "Ambassador O'Brien said.

Ambassador O'Brien said:" We've offered American doctors and experts to China to assist with coronavirus, but the offer has not yet been accepted."

He also highlighted that the U.S. would like to see North Korea its Singapore Summit commitments, and they are open for another summit If there's an opportunity to make progress.

Ambassador O'Brien believes that It's time for America to come home, and we wanted to come back under conditions that keep in place protections for our colleagues and our partners in Afghanistan. We want to make sure Afghanistan doesn't become a safe-haven for terrorism again."

Restructuring NSC

In his address, U.S. National Security Advisor Robert reported that the National Security Council was in the final stages of a reorganization that would get it "back to a manageable size. In the last five months of the Trump Administration, White House National Security Council has shrunk from over 175 policy staffers to 115 staffers. He also explained how NSC is working under his leadership.

Regarding the recent Philippines decision ending its military cooperation agreement with the United States, Ambassador O'Brien said that the United States would remain a strong partner in the Philippines. We are there to help the Philippines."

Pictures taken by Ali Cinar,Atlantic Council

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