Center for the National Interest Honors Secretary of Defense James Mattis

The Center for the National Interest presented its 2018 Distinguished Service Award to Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis on July 25, 2018. The award recognized Secretary Mattis for a life and career devoted to America. Secretary Mattis arriving at the dinner. Center President and CEO Dimitri K. Simes is to his left and Center

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“’Without progress on Ukraine, I don’t see how one [the Trump administration] would ease sanctions…And it’s not like Russia is going to send special forces to Damascus to arrest Assad and deliver him to The Hague or to President Trump.’”

-Paul J. Saunders

“While we are certainly in for a time of tensions in the Asia-Pacific region, we are not destined for war or a conflict. Now is the time for the Trump administration to get tough when it comes to North Korea. Indeed, the era of strategic patience, thanks to Pyongyang’s rockets, is truly over.”

-Harry J. Kazianis

“Russia is prepared to help its partner Iran, especially on matters of shared interest. But there is little if any evidence that Moscow is willing to support Iran in areas in which they disagree — particularly if that support carries real costs to Russia’s other interests.”

-Paul J. Saunders

“Russia is using the Syrian muscle to demonstrate that they have military options…They went to Syria not just because of the local position but to demonstrate that they cannot be pushed around by the US and sanctions.”

-Dimitri K. Simes

“…maybe the most important policy decision that he [President Trump] has made is to outsource strategic decisions about Afghanistan to the Defense Department. For now, some additional four thousand troops, the department announced today, are headed to Afghanistan. This is not what Trump supporters voted for. If he heads further into Afghanistan, he may find that it becomes a military and political quagmire in addition to his current troubles.”

-Jacob Heilbrunn

“North Korea really is the land of lousy options. Since 1993, when—thanks to their declaration—we first became aware of North Korea’s emerging nuclear capability, we’ve discussed possible military action, we’ve done negotiations in many different formats, we’ve had agreements (e.g. Agreed Framework), North Korea cheated on the agreements, and we’ve applied sanctions repeatedly that are always advertised as “effective this time.” North Korea’s emerging capabilities show how effective we have been.”—

-Wallace C. Gregson


2018 Distinguished Service Award Dinner with Secretary James Mattis

Remarks by Secretary James N. Mattis Center for the National Interest Distinguished Service Award Dinner 25 July 2018 Thank you, General Boyd. I’m humbled to be introduced by a warrior with your record of valor in the most awful circumstances. It is an honor to join all you this evening. I find it hard to

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