After his opening remarks this morning, Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns was asked "what keeps you up at night?" by a member of the audience. Here's what he said:
Obviously, the dangers of weapons of mass destruction, both by states and non-state actors. This is a huge danger and one of the main reasons why President Obama has concentrated so much over the last 4 years on nuclear security and to address the problem of proliferation. That's not unique to the Iranian challenge, it has to do with the Korean peninsula and other parts of the world too.
Burns also talked about the challenge of maintaining a balanced foreign policy when challenges form the Middle East keep popping up. "The middle east has a nasty habit of reminding us of its relevance," he said.
I was also interested to hear Burns highlight the opening of new Arctic shipping lanes due to global warming as a major emerging strategic issue, saying it could be "as important as the opening of the Suez Canal."