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National Security Advisor Donilon's Remarks on Iran's Nuclear Program, November 2011

Author: Thomas E. Donilon, Distinguished Fellow
Published November 22, 2011

National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon delivered a speech entitled "Iran and International Pressure: An Assessment of Multilateral Effort to Impede Iran's Nuclear Program," at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, on November 22, 2011.

It's terrific to see so many friends here. I don't get out a lot these days, right, so for all of you whom I haven't called or seen in a while, I apologize and I hope to see you on the way out here today to say hello.

As Strobe mentioned, I am just back from the President's trip to Asia, where it really was kind of a landmark trip where we were engaged in -- it's not the topic, Strobe, but I'm going to take the opportunity anyway -- we were engaged in a fundamental strategic reorientation and rebalancing of our global policy. And we were able to really execute on each and every element on it: on the diplomatic, on the economic, and on the security side. And I'd love to talk about that at some point as well going forward here. It really was a terrific trip.

Thank you, Strobe, for your introduction and your friendship and your leadership, and your years of distinguished public service as well. And to Steve, thanks for inviting me to your event today. Before I get into my speech I wanted to just reflect just for a minute or so on the role of places like Brookings, from the perspective now of a policymaker, fairly deep inside in administration, and the sentiment I want to express is one of personal appreciation. It is absolutely critical. It's an essential relationship, I think, between policymakers and those who provide fresh, pragmatic, affective, intellectual capital; really couldn't be more important. It is very easy with the press of business to get on a certain policy path and not have the kind of fresh thinking that's necessary. And the work that you do, and I see really many people around the room on whose work I have relied, who have really had an impact on the thinking end of the administration and have had an impact on policy.

One of the core policies that President Obama has pursued, and I see Joe and others here, has been in the proliferation area and the nuclear area. And the topic I'm going to address today is pretty core to that, which is really a fundamental affirmative agenda of the Obama Administration to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons and reduce the danger of nuclear weapons in the world today.

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