The biggest disappointment of my four years at NATO was our failure to build a good working relationship with Russia. I came in with high hopes, believing that I could be part of the reset of relations between Moscow and the West.
While there were many areas where both sides cooperated to our mutual benefit (counterpiracy, Afghanistan, counterterrorism, counternarcotics, etc.), the overall tenor of our association during my tenure went from cautious and skeptical but hopeful to outright icy. Events drove this progression: Libya (Russia hated what NATO did there); Syria (complete disagreement with most of the U.N. member nations); missile defense (no progress was made because the Russians mistakenly believed NATO’s missile-defense system threatened Russia); and the ongoing disagreement about Georgia and the Russian occupation.