What went down at the Aspen Security Forum


The annual Aspen Security Forum in the Rockies wrapped up on Friday after four days of talks and hand-shakes among national security types (largely though not exclusively from the US).

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. 🇷🇺 Russia is still front of mind, with CIA chief Bill Burns observing that the country’s elites are losing faith in President Putin; the CIA’s first post on Russian social media (with tips on how to leak info) reportedly had 2.5 million views in a week
  2. 🗣️ The US and China are still talking, with Xie Feng (China’s ambassador to the US) saying “we must cherish and sustain the momentum”, and the White House’s Jake Sullivan agreeing that “there is a genuine possibility for a stable relationship
  3. 🖥️ AI is the dark horse, with several sessions highlighting an urgent need to regulate the tech and harness it for good (the US ambassador to the UN argued the regulation should be UN-led), and
  4. 🌍 Africa also came up a bit, not just in the context of China-US rivalry there, but as a player in its own right (points highlighted by Monica Juma, the national security advisor to Kenya’s president).

Intrigue’s take: The thing that really caught our eye?

Several big names emphasised the importance of what happens within the US itself. Former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice put it rather memorably, saying “I really don’t fear a country out there… because I’ll bet on free peoples any day.” Rice’s main worry? “Our biggest adversary is us.”

Also worth noting:

  • A ticket to the Aspen Security Forum will set you back $3k. Davos costs around $19k (plus $52k for Economic Forum membership).
  • The Aspen agenda also featured a surprise magic show by former acting CIA chief, John McLaughlin.
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