OU Hosts Former National Security Advisor For Intelligence Symposium

Tuesday, April 5th 2022, 5:19 pm
By: Erika Lee

NORMAN, Oklahoma -

OU’s Center for Intelligence and National Security and Gaylord College of Journalism hosted its annual intelligence symposium Tuesday afternoon.  

This year's topic was "Shaping the US-China Relationship." 

Ambassador Robert C. O’Brien, the 28th United States National Security Advisor from 2019-2021 was the keynote speaker. 

O'Brien offered insights into the challenges and opportunities in shaping the US-China relationship, including the rise of China as geopolitical and economic competition for the United States. 

While the main topic of conversation was America's relationship with China, Ambassador O' Brien also touched on the ongoing Russia-Ukraine situation and how it is affecting the United States.   

With the Russian invasion in Ukraine, he said the world is entering an era we thought was bygone. 

"It's a tragedy," O'Brien said. "Our hearts are literally breaking for the people of Ukraine."  

When asked if the United States could be doing much more, he said yes, noting that the partial sanctions put in place aren't working. 

"We need to go full sanctions," O'Brien said. "To make sure Russian oil and gas transactions are covered by our sanctions, we need to cut off Russia oil and gas and put a penalty for Putin's invasion of Ukraine."  

After his keynote, the Ambassador sat down for an arm-chair conversation about a series of security topics. 

When asked if he thinks China will invade Taiwan the same way Russia invaded Ukraine, he said: maybe. 

O'Brien says the United States will continue diplomatic relations with China while still aiding Taiwan with weapons. He says Biden formerly stated that the United States will help aid Taiwan with troops, but the White House later backtracked on this statement. He said this form of communication is called "strategic ambiguity." 

"We need to get [weapons] to Taiwan to deter China," O'Brien said. "As we've seen through the Ukraine invasion, it's tough to get equipment to a country after it's been invaded. We need to make sure we give the Taiwanese what they need now."