New Axis of Evil? The Alignment of Global Repressors

The National Security Institute was proud to host its first event of our new series on global repression, New Axis of Evil? How the Alignment of Global Repressors is Dangerous for the U.S. This event focused on how global repressors increasingly work together to effectuate their strategic goals.

Key themes and questions explored:

  • How does this cooperation impact U.S. national security;
  • The strategic goals that we are seeing emerge as an effect of nation-states such as Russia, China, Iran and North Korea working together;
  • The future areas of possible cooperation for U.S. adversaries;
  • Focus areas for U.S. policymakers in response to U.S. adversaries working together?


  • Ambassador Paula Dobriansky, Senior Fellow, Harvard University, Belfer Center for Science & International Affairs; Vice Chair, Atlantic, Council Scowcroft Center for Strategy & Security; former Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs (2001-2009)
  • Dr. Christopher Ford, Former Acting Under Secretary of State for International Security and Arms Control.
  • Bonnie Glick, Former Deputy Administrator, USAID
  • Jamil N. Jaffer (moderator), Founder and Executive Director, National Security Institute 

About Our Speakers:

Ambassador Paula J. Dobriansky, a foreign policy expert and former diplomat specializing in national security affairs, is a Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Vice Chair of the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security. She brings over 30 years of government and international experience across senior levels of diplomacy, business, and defense. She was Senior Vice President and Global Head of Government and Regulatory Affairs at Thomson Reuters and held the Distinguished National Security Chair at the U.S. Naval Academy.  Her high-level government positions include Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs, President’s Envoy to Northern Ireland, National Security Council Director of European and Soviet Affairs, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs.  A member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Academy of Diplomacy, Dobriansky also served on the Defense Policy Board, the Secretary of State’s Foreign Policy Board and as Chair of ExIm Bank’s Council on China Competition. She has a BSFS summa cum laude from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and an MA and Ph.D. in Soviet political/military affairs from Harvard University.  She has received high-level international recognition from governments of Poland, Ukraine, Hungary, Romania, Lithuania and Colombia.

Dr. Christopher Ford is  a Visiting Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and a Visiting Professor in the Graduate Department of Defense and Strategic Studies at Missouri State University.  Additionally, he serves as a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Center for Global Security Research (CGSR), a member of the Advisory Board at the Vandenberg Coalition, and as aDistinguished Fellow and member of the Advisory Board at the National Security Institute at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School. 

From January 2018 until January 2021, following his unanimous confirmation by the U.S. Senate, Dr. Ford served as Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation, and also exercised the authorities of the Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security from October 2019 until his resignation from the Department of State on January 8, 2021.

Before his service at the State Department, he served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Weapons of Mass Destruction and Counterproliferation at the U.S. National Security Council, where he ran the directorate of that name throughout 2017.  There, among other things, he led the development of the U.S. Government’s responsive strategy to Russian violations of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and the Open Skies Treaty, contributed to the drafting of the U.S. National Security Strategy and the Nuclear Posture Review, and personally ran the Administration’s internal “Nuclear Vision Review” of disarmament policy.

A veteran of many years as a congressional staffer, Dr. Ford has served at various points on the staffs of the U.S. Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, Banking Committee, Appropriations Committee, Select Committee on Intelligence, Permanent Select Committee on Investigations, and Governmental Affairs Committee.  He also served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Verification and Compliance in 2003-06, and as U.S. Special Representative for Nuclear Nonproliferation in 2006-08.

A summa cum laude graduate of Harvard who got his doctorate at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and a law degree from Yale, Dr. Ford has also worked as a Senior Fellow at Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C., and served from 1994 until 2011 as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve, which he left with an Honorable Discharge in 2011 at the rank of Lieutenant Commander.  He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), and the American Society of International Law.

A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Dr. Ford lives with his wife and daughter (and their multiple pugs) in Bethesda, Maryland.

Bonnie Glick is an American diplomat and businesswoman who served as the Deputy Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development from 2019 to 2020. Nominated for the post by President Donald Trump in April 2018, she was confirmed by the United States Senate by unanimous consent in January 2019.

Jamil N. Jaffer (Moderator): Jamil N. Jaffer is the founder and executive director of the National Security Institute at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School. He previously served as chief counsel and senior adviser to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and, among other roles, as an associate counsel to President George W. Bush in the White House.

Thank you to everyone who contributed in this important discussion.