The Worldview Series: Baltic States

Partnership for a Secure America is excited to announce a new partnership with the Embassies of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania for 2017 titled The Worldview Series: Baltic States. This is the third installment of PSA’s program, The Worldview Series which aims to build deeper understanding of the important decisions American policy-makers face regarding U.S. foreign policy. The Embassies and PSA have designed this program to improve congressional insight on the Baltic States to better inform U.S. foreign policy decisions on Capitol Hill.

The series features off-the-record events with leading transatlantic experts from government, think tank, and business arenas. Focusing on a holistic understanding of the Baltic States’ histories, relations with the United States, and security situations, this program aims to build understanding of the important decisions American policy-makers face regarding US-Baltic relations.

The Embassies of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are educational participants in the Mutual Education and Cultural Exchange Act, authorized by the U.S. Department of State.

Why the U.S. Should Care

October 23rd – Ambassador Andris Teikmanis and Mr. Ilja Laurs discussed the diplomatic and business relationships that exist between the Baltic States and the U.S. and European Union. They also discussed the value of this strong relationship to U.S. national interests.


Ambassador Andris Teikmanis – Ambassador of the Republic of Latvia to the United States of America

Mr. Ilja Laurs – Lithuanian Tech Entrepreneur

Security in the Region

October 30th – Mr. Tom Goffus, Mr. Lee Litzenberger  and Ambassador John Heffern discussed the security environment in the Baltic States, Russia’s influence operations in the region, and NATO’s response. They  considered how the U.S., NATO and the Baltic States can work together to ensure security in the region while deterring Russia and other potential foes.


Mr. Tom Goffus – Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Europe and NATO

Mr. Lee Litzenberger – Former Deputy Permanent Representative and Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Mission to NATO

Ambassador John Heffern – Former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs

History and Transformation of the Baltic States

November 6th – Ambassadors Rolandas Krišciūnas and Lauri Lepik along with Mr. Paul Goble discussed the history of the three Baltic States, their transition from Soviet occupation to full members of the European community, and the economic transformation each of the three states experienced.


Ambassador Rolandas Krišciūnas – Ambassador of the Republic of Lithuania to the United States of America

Ambassador H.E. Lauri Lepik – Ambassador of the Republic of Estonia to the United States of America

Mr. Paul Goble – Former Senior Advisor at the U.S. Department of State


Delegation to Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania

November 18th-26th – Participants traveled to the Baltic States for a week-long delegation trip to gain an on-the-ground perspective at issues facing US-Baltic States relations. The delegation visited Tallinn, Estonia; Riga, Latvia; and Vilnius, Lithuania. The delegation met with government and defense officials, business representatives, U.S. forces stationed in Latvia, and others.

Prospects for Peace on the Korean Peninsula: U.S. and China

On October 16th, United States Institute of Peace Director for China Programs, Jennifer Staats and former Deputy Commander, US Forces Korea, Lt. General (Ret.) Jan-Marc Jouas discussed options to address the North Korean crisis and ideas for potential areas of cooperation or coordination between the U.S. and China.

The Worldview Series: Japan


Partnership for a Secure America is excited to announce a new partnership with the Embassy of Japan titled The Worldview Series: Japan. This is the second installment of PSA’s program, The Worldview Series. The Embassy of Japan and PSA have designed this unique educational program to improve congressional insight into Japan and better inform U.S. foreign policy decisions on Capitol Hill.

This series features off-the-record events with leading Japan experts from government, think tanks, business, and academic arenas and culminates in a delegation to Japan. Focusing on a holistic understanding of Japan’s economic, security, and domestic situation, this program aims to build a deeper understanding of the important decisions American policy-makers face regarding U.S.-Japan Relations.

The Embassy of Japan is an educational participant in the Mutual Education and Cultural Exchange Act, authorized by the U.S. Department of State.

Governmental and Domestic Issues

June 13th – Ambassador James Zumwalt and Director Joseph Young discussed Japan’s governmental and domestic issues, including a history of the U.S.-Japan relationship, key inflection points in that relationship, and possibilities for working together in the future.


Ambassador James Zumwalt – Former Ambassador to the Republic of Senegal and the Republic of Guinea Bissau, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of East Asia Affairs

Director Joseph Young – Director, Office of Japanese Affairs at the U.S. Department of State

Economy and Trade

June 27th – Ambassador Ira Shapiro and Mr. Clyde Prestowitz discussed the foundation of Japan’s economy, the U.S.-Japan trade relationship, and the future of TPP and trade in the Asia-Pacific.


Ambassador Ira Shaprio – Former Chief U.S. Trade Negotiator with Japan and Canada and General Counsel in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative

Mr. Clyde Prestowitz – Former Counselor to the Secretary of Commerce in the Reagan Administration and Vice Chairman of President Clinton’s Commission on Trade and Investment in the Asia-Pacific Region

Japanese Defense and Security in the Region

July 18th – Dr. Sheila Smith and Dr. Joshua Walker discussed Japan’s security and U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security. They also addressed regional security issues including the rise of China and relations with the Korean peninsula.


Dr. Sheila Smith – Senior Fellow for Japan Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations

Dr. Joshua Walker – Former Senior Advisor in Secretary John Kerry’s Office of Chief Economist and Former Senior Advisor to Secretary Hillary Clinton’s Global Partnership Initiative

Delegation to Japan

August 19th-26th – The Worldview Series flew to Japan for a week-long delegation trip to gain an on-the-ground look at issues influencing U.S.-Japan relations. The delegation visited Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Kyoto and met with Japanese government and defense officials, U.S. military forces stationed in Japan, business representatives, and others.

Solutions Series Roundtable: Arctic Security

On Thursday, August 24th Partnership for a Secure America held an off-the-record roundtable dinner for alumni of the Congressional Partnership Program to discuss development of an American strategy for the Arctic. The discussion focused on strategic competition with Russia, the current state of strategic assets in the region, and the potential costs and benefits of a US pivot to the North Pole.

Arctic Security 

The Arctic has been a region fairly devoid of conflict; the small club of Arctic states has proven able to resolve differences through diplomacy. However the physical and political environment of the Arctic is shifting rapidly; increasingly aggressive melt of sea ice has created new access to natural resources and potential shipping lanes. Russia and China have moved quickly to invest in the Arctic – though China’s nearest coast is 900 miles from the Arctic Circle, over half of the total arctic coastline is sovereign Russian territory and nearly half of the region’s human population is Russian administered. Russia has launched an extensive military buildup along its Arctic coast, and has made formal claims to areas of the Arctic seabed under UNCLOS. US activity in the arctic is hampered by a lack of deployed strategic assets (icebreakers, cutters, etc.), a murky command structure, and a lack of overall strategic direction.

Key Details


  • Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Russia, USA
    • Arctic Council (forum)
    • NATO members: US, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Norway


  • Ice melt is opening up new potential shipping lanes through ”Northern Sea Route”
    • Canada, Russia, US experience the most extreme Arctic changes


  • US extended continental shelf:
    • 13% of world oil reserves
    • 1/3 of gas reserves
    • $1 trillion in rare earth metals
  • Arctic at large:
    • $35 trillion in oil and gas reserves

Strategic Assets

  • US
    • 2 icebreakers (1 under repair)
      • USCG says they need 6 to fulfill current N+S pole requirements
    • 41 ice-capable attack subs
    • 3 combat brigades (airborne, mechanized, recon)
    • 3 fighter squadrons (F-16 & F-22)
  • Russian Arctic buildup
    • New Arctic command
    • 4 new Arctic brigades
    • 14 new operational airfields
    • 16 deep water ports
    • 40 icebreakers (11 in development)
    • 25 ice-capable attack subs


America’s Longest War: The Future of Afghanistan

On August 29th, United States Institute of Peace Director for Afghanistan and Central Asia Programs, Scott Worden, and Director of the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy at the Heritage Foundation, Luke Coffey, discussed the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan and the future of America’s Afghanistan policy

A Destabilized Middle East: Impacts on Jordan and Lebanon

On July 31st, United States Institute of Peace Senior Policy Scholar, Mona Yacoubian and fellow in the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Middle East Program, Perry Cammack discussed the destabilizing effects of Middle East conflict (including the Syrian Civil War) on Jordan and Lebanon.

Why Korean Reunification is in China’s Strategic National Interest

Yanbian University, Yanji, China – Jamie Metzl, Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for Partnership for a Secure America (PSA), spoke at the Chinese Summit Forum on Korean Peninsula Studies. Metzl made a strong case for why it is in China’s national interest to rein in North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and, ultimately, to support the reunification of the Korean peninsula under South Korean law. 

North Korea in 2017

The Kim regime has continued to oppress its own citizens in North Korea, with a UN Commission of Inquiry calling its program of suppression a “crime against humanity.”North Korea remains closed off from the world, new ideas, and new opportunities, and continues to threaten its neighbors; occasionally launching unprovoked attacks. Recently North Korea’s rapidly developing nuclear and missile programs grabbed global attention with the successful launch of an ICBM on July 4th. As North Korea’s nuclear weapons program continues its race toward full, deliverable weaponization, it continues to sow regional instability and threatens to ignite an arms race in Asia.

The Perspective of the Kim Regime

The Kim regime views nuclear weaponization as beneficial to their prestige, leverage, and the stability of its leadership. North Korea is racing to develop deliverable nuclear weapons capability in order to prevent the type of foreign intervention experienced by Libya and Ukraine. The hyper-paranoid leadership of North Korea feels safer with nuclear weapons than without them, and has a long history of non-compliance with arms reduction agreements. The only way North Korea will give up its nuclear weapons is if its leaders come to believe the cost of maintaining nuclear weapons is greater than the cost of giving them up.

China’s Relationship with North Korea

China and North Korea have a historic and strategic relationship; the Kim regime provides China with a buffer between itself and US-allied South Korea, as well as a source of cheap resources and labor. China helps to keep the North Korean economy afloat by providing energy, access to trade, and financial services – without Chinese intervention the North Korean state would never have existed, and would crumble quickly. Despite its reliance on Beijing’s support North Korea is becoming increasingly hostile to China, and North Korea’s actions justify our military presence in the region. Chinese leaders are faced with a binary choice; to continue their current path of expressing displeasure without applying sufficient pressure, or to do what it takes to force the North Korean leadership to either give up their nuclear weapons or face regime destabilization and collapse. 

Jamie Metzl serves as vice-chair of Partnership for a Secure America’s Board of Directors. Mr. Metzl is also a senior fellow of the Atlantic Council, and has served on the U.S. National Security Council, State Department and Senate Foreign Relations Committee and with the United Nations in Cambodia. 

Solutions Series Roundtable: North Korea

On Thursday, June 22nd Partnership for a Secure America held an off-the-record roundtable dinner for alumni of the Congressional Partnership Program to discuss the growing North Korea crisis. The discussion focused on the current state of legislative activity seeking to address the crisis, and potential opportunities for collaboration on new approaches.

Issue Background


2017 has seen the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) test 24 individual ballistic missiles, including short range, medium range, and submarine launched varieties. This is a continuation of the pattern of aggressive missile testing commenced by Kim Jong-un in 2012. DPRK has conducted 6 nuclear test detonations since 2006; the most recent test (held in September 2017) demonstrated a yield of over 140 kilotons, and is generally agreed to confirm DPRK’s development of thermonuclear capabilities. Current projections indicate that US military assets in Guam, Japan, and the Republic of Korea (ROK) are within striking distance of DPRK’s missiles, as well as Tokyo and Seoul – which together contain some 23 million citizens. In the months following this event, North Korea has performed several successful missile tests which place American cities from Los Angeles to Chicago within reach of their nuclear weapons.


How To Avoid Liberating Mosul a Third Time

On June 19th, United States Institute of Peace Director for Middle East and Africa Programs, Dr. Elie Abouaoun and former United States Ambassador to Iraq, Ambassador James Jeffrey discussed the future of Mosul, and Iraq, after its hopeful liberation

Building Peace in Afghanistan: Next Steps for U.S. Policy

On May 18th, United States Institute of Peace Vice President of Asia Programs Dr. Andrew Wilder and former Senior Adviser on Afghanistan and Pakistan to DoD Leadership Chris Kolenda discussed the next steps toward a political settlement to the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan