Here at Fletcher we have a saying that goes something like “To circle the globe, you’d have to travel nearly 25,000 miles. Or spend a day at Fletcher.” Well, to be honest, it feels as though I’ve been doing a bit of both in recent days and weeks and it’s fired me up to share a whole host of issues with you, that are in need of addressing.

China’s emerging dominance is something that is being felt globally, but this rise isn’t a new plan. As I wrote in a recent Bloomberg column, they are playing the long game. Not long ago, I had the opportunity to sit down for a wide-ranging conversation with China’s Shenzen Media Group and spoke to them about the emerging “great power politics” that we’re seeing with China and Russia and how those nations figure into U.S. national security planning under President Trump’s recently unveiled national security strategy.

We spoke about U.S. defense spending and how that compares with China’s defense budget and what that means for both nations; we talked – as one must these days – about North Korea and the need for continued dialogue and potentially, four-party talks; and we discussed the need for U.S.-China diplomacy in dealing with the South China Sea.

I said we’d be moving around the world in this post  – and I meant it! Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the Munich Security Conference, where I hosted a panel with a few foreign defense ministers, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham and others. We discussed defense cooperation in the EU and NATO, but I came away from that whole week of discussions with some very serious thoughts and realization about our global nuclear security. Some of these, I discussed with Mika and Joe, of MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

Others, I wrote more about intensely in an op-ed for Bloomberg View. But the gist of my main worry is that, like Europe did in World War I, we are in very real danger of sleepwalking into a conflict that nobody wants. The difference is that this time, it would include nuclear weapons. As if it were needed, the Munich Security Conference, with its mash-up of high-profile, high-powered security, defense, and foreign relations minds, drove home the reminder that there are a number of hot spots and areas of concern in nearly every region of the world that demand our attention. My column attempts a quick tour around the world that succinctly identifies the concerning issues unfolding in each region and provides recommendations for how we can wake ourselves up from sleepwalking into a devastating global conflict.

While that op-ed touches less on Latin America, I also wrote for the Wall Street Journal (paywall) about how the United States needs to work with – not against – Mexico for our own national security. The key message here, is that U.S.-Mexican relations have come a long way since NAFTA took effect in 1994; that agreement helped to break a long history of suspicion between our countries and has helped lay the foundation for our current wide-ranging security cooperation.  Despite Trump’s tough rhetoric vis-à-vis our neighbor to the south during his presidential campaign, it would behoove him to strengthen our relationship with Mexico both diplomatically and economically, rather than destabilize it, if we are to have success in achieving our national security goals.

And with that whistle-stop tour around the world, I’ll just say, as always, thank you for reading.

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