Africa and the Middle East

Former National Security Adviser on Energy Independence, Iran, and New Focus on Asia

January 9, 2014

Watch the full video above of former White House national security adviser Tom Donilon at the Aspen Institute.

Former US national security adviser Tom Donilon recently gave his insights on the country’s security strategy as part of the Aspen Institute Washington Ideas Roundtable Series with the Institute’s Middle East Programs. The candid and wide-ranging discussion was moderated by Aspen Institute President and CEO Walter Isaacson. The issues — surfaced by the diplomats, journalists, and security experts participating in the roundtable — included the future of US relations with Iran, a renewed focus on Asia, domestic energy production, and the Keystone XL pipeline, among other topics.

See the highlights from the conversation below.

On the influence of increased US energy production, and the Keystone XL Pipeline:

“The United States’ energy future provides us with tremendous room for maneuver,” Donilon said. “And indeed, I’m not so sure that we could have pulled off the sanctions that we pulled off in Iran absent the US increased production of energy.” 

When asked whether he supported the approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline — a decision the Obama administration has been deliberating on for some time — Donilon said, after some hesitation, “I would.”

On “re-balancing” US strategy to focus more on Asia:

In 2008, when the Obama administration came into office, Donilon said they realized “the United States was substantially over-invested, in our judgment, in military actions in the Middle East, and was substantially under-invested across every dimension in Asia.” In the video above, Donilon explains how the US is re-balancing its priorities in Asia in terms of diplomacy, economics, and meeting the security needs of our Asian allies. Donilon went on to say there is “progress” across the board in furthering these efforts.

Related Content:

5 Things You May Not Know About Tom Donilon