Policy Association’s Annual Dinner
Secretary Colin L.
New York Hilton Hotel
New York, New York
May 7, 2003
you so very much, ladies and gentlemen, for that warm welcome, and I thank you,
John Whitehead, my old friend and colleague from the Reagan years, for your
warm, kind and generous introduction. It is a special honor to be introduced by
such a distinguished public servant as John, who served in the State Department
at one time and I think is on every non-profit board in New York City.
a great pleasure to be here with the premier of Quebec, and we have had a nice
conversation, and other distinguished guests, and especially the Foreign
Minister of Romania who is here, my dear friend Mircea Geoana. Good to see you,
Mr. Foreign Minister. Welcome.
it is always a joy to see these wonderful young people in front of me, students
in the course of the evening, but please give a special hello to these West
Point cadets in front of us with their -- I don't know why I did that. They
didn't let me in West Point. They said I was Christmas help.
really want to express my thanks to the Foreign Policy Association for providing
me this opportunity before such a distinguished audience to offer some thoughts
to you this evening about U.S.-European relations. I am especially pleased to do
it in the presence of a good friend of mine, and someone who will share honors
with me this evening, Javier Solana.
Kissinger once lamented that he did not have a number he could call when he
wanted to speak to Europe. That's not my problem. I have Javier's number.
also have many other numbers in Europe, Lord Robertson and so many others, and
they all have my number. In fact, my European counterparts and I spend a good
part of every day talking to one other, staying in touch, in constant touch, and
there is no European leader that I spend more time talking to, and whose advice
I value more highly than that of Javier.
Though the United States is not a member of the European Union, he and I can
attest to how closely we work together almost every day, and very often well
into the night in world affairs. Not only interests and institutions matter,
people with ideas, people with talent and people with energy matter -- people
like Javier. He is both a visionary and a pragmatist. He solves problems, he
doesn't make them. He identifies needs and he delivers results. He won't
sacrifice concrete achievements for airy theories. There is no stronger or more
able an advocate for both the European Union and the NATO Alliance, those two
great organizations that we work so closely with, than my friend Javier Solana.
No one understands their strengths and shortcomings better. And no one has
worked harder or more effectively than he has to help these vitally important
organizations adapt to meet 21st century challenges. So, Javier, I am very, very
pleased to be with you and to share this honor with you.
more than 50 years, the ties between the United States and our allies and
friends in Europe have been the sinews of security, democracy and prosperity in
the transatlantic region. They are the stuff with which President Bush’s vision
of "a Europe whole, free and at peace" is being built. And in our increasingly
globalized age, strong Euro-Atlantic partnerships will be key to security, good
governance and growth not only in the transatlantic region but worldwide.
and again for more than a decade, with great drama, pundits and analysts have
predicted the demise of NATO, growing tensions between the Alliance and the
European Union, and crises in the transatlantic relationships. Time and again,
I’ve had to listen to charges of “wither NATO”. I have had to listen to people
say, “Well, the Warsaw Pact is over, it is gone. Why isn’t NATO over and gone?”
I don’t know how many former Soviet generals I have spoken to who kept saying to
me, “Well, Colin, since we no longer need an alliance, why do you need an
alliance called NATO?” And time and time again, they have not understood the
reality at all. Time and time again, pundits have been wrong. What we have seen
instead of the demise of NATO and other half-century old institutions, we are
seeing them rapidly and successfully evolving and expanding and changing to meet
profound geostrategic challenges. They have changed as the changes have come to
them. We have gone through it all -- the collapse of Soviet communism, the
consolidation of new democracies, and the chilling dawn of a post-September 11
Despite the dire prognostications, NATO shows absolutely no signs of shutting
down. Why would it? Why should it? You don’t close a club that people keep
lining up to get in to. A few weeks ago, I warmly congratulated the European
Union, when in Athens ten more countries signed their accession treaty for
membership in the Union. And I know that tomorrow Javier will heartily greet the
expected vote in the U.S. Senate for NATO’s further enlargement – seven more
countries and Minister Geoana will be with us in Washington tomorrow and I hope
can deliver that to you tomorrow, my friend.
President Bush has said:
of Europe’s democracies from the Baltic to the Black Sea and all that lie
between should have the same chance for security and freedom and the same chance
to join the institutions of Europe."
only is NATO welcoming new members, it has also seized an historic opportunity
to support Russia's desire for greater integration into the Euro-Atlantic
community and it has done so by establishing a NATO-Russia Council. That, too,
is part of the transformation of the Alliance. Our vision for Europe encompasses
all of NATO's new partners, including Ukraine and countries in the Caucasus and
are helping them advance the political, economic, and military reforms that will
allow them to succeed, allow them to thrive in a 21st century world. At the same
time, a strong and growing European Union is also good for the transatlantic
Alliance. A strong and growing NATO is good for the European Union. And both are
good for the United States, for the nations of Europe and for the world beyond
our Euro-Atlantic community. There is a great deal of work ahead.
cite only one example, we are committed to seeing through all the efforts that
we have made in southeastern Europe. Throughout the region, new institutions are
being shaped, economies rebuilt and war criminals are being brought to justice.
Just a few weeks ago, the European Union took over NATO's stabilization mission
in Macedonia – one great organization handing off to another. And to show you
how complicated it can be and how tricky it can be, the European Union’s mission
now in NATO involved 27 countries putting together a force of 330 soldiers. Now
this is a challenge for a battalion commander. But it was done and it showed
how everyone wanted to be a part of it. Everyone wanted to play a role. Everyone
wanted to be part of this effort to bring peace and stability and a sense of
calm and a sense of hope to this nation, Macedonia that has had such difficulty
and still needs the help of friends elsewhere in Europe, whether they come under
NATO flag or an EU flag. The point is that they come and they come to help and
they come in peace.
Whatever the division of labor, all of us know that the hopes we have created in
the region will not become realities without our continued involvement and
last week, I visited Tirana, Albania and took part in the signing of a new
Adriatic charter with Albania, Croatia and Macedonia. They were adamant that the
fourth signatory in that charter should be the United States of America – not
the EU in this case, not NATO in this case, but the United States and we were
proud to do it. I was proud to be there representing the American people
aligning themselves with these Adriatic nations who wanted this connection to
the United States as well as integration into the European community and into,
we are not just a transatlantic partner, we are also a trans-Adriatic partner.
The Adriatic charter will serve as a path to Euro-Atlantic integration for the
three emerging, struggling nations. And the charter will serve as a guide to
full membership in NATO and other European institutions for them. Not so very
long ago, the slogan was "out of area for NATO and even EU or out of business."
You either learn to expand your presence and the missions you perform outside of
the traditional NATO area or you won’t be relevant. NATO stepped up to that
EU has stepped up to that challenge. Business is booming, and the concept of
"out of area" has shifted so radically.
used to mean the Balkans. And those of you who have experience will think back
five or eight years ago about how difficult it was to convince parliaments to
just send troops to another part of Europe, into the Balkans, the peacekeeping
operations. But in today's post-September 11 world, "out of area" extends far
beyond the Balkans. It goes from Kosovo to Kabul in Afghanistan and Kirkuk in
Iraq may not be far behind. Both NATO and the European Union are very much
engaged "out of area." And because of their willingness to engage in places far
away from Europe they have retained their relevance to world stability and
security. And they are thriving, living dynamic organizations. They are involved
"out of area" not to prove their relevance alone or impose their influence, but
because so many of the 21st century security concerns that affect us originate
elsewhere and are best dealt with on a cross-regional or worldwide basis.
example, just last week, the United States, the European Union, together with
our other two Quartet partners, the United Nations and Russia, came together and
presented the Israelis and Palestinians with a plan, a roadmap, to help them
back onto the road that will lead to a lasting Middle East peace. Working
together, we help them do that. Both NATO and the European Union continue to
play important roles in the campaign against terrorism, in Afghanistan and
across the world.
day, U.S. and European experts are arresting terrorists, breaking up their
networks, blocking their money, impeding their movement, denying them safe haven
and otherwise defeating those who would do grievous harm to our free societies.
As my friend, Foreign Minister Geoana, can attest, many aspirants to NATO and
European Union membership have gone "out of area" with us as active participants
in the global anti-terror effort.
Romania, for example, has provided a 400-man infantry battalion and a military
police platoon to support the efforts of the coalition in Afghanistan. American
and European diplomats worked hand-in-hand at the Bonn conference last year to
help the Afghans establish the most representative leadership in form of
government in all of Afghanistan’s long history. We and our humanitarian and
development agencies are spearheading the international recovery and
reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan. And this coming August, NATO will take
over the International Security Assistance Force in Kabul from the current Dutch
and German command.
Beyond our collaborative efforts in Afghanistan, all members of the Alliance are
now talking about a possible peacekeeping role in Iraq. So when I look at the
NATO Alliance and I look at our relationship with the European Union, I see two
very vibrant institutions made up of dynamic democracies, tackling some of the
most challenging issues of the day. Sometimes agreeing, sometimes disagreeing,
but when disagreeing it is mostly over means not ends. We argue, we make up, we
move on but always, always we are held together and driven forward by common
values. With the big changes going on in the world and the complexity of the
problems we confront, it would be remarkable if we weren’t in disagreement from
time to time. If there weren’t frictions among us. By definition, the consensus
that our democracies seek must be forged in honest, open, rigorous debate. We
are all free and sovereign nations entitled to our on opinion. We should never
seek agreement for agreement's sake and our goal should always be greater than a
lowest common denominator. Each of us brings to any discussion our own
experiences, our own perspectives, our history, and our own domestic politics.
Independent actions and internal pressures are not unheard of within the United
States or among the states of Europe. And so I do not rush to call every
contre temps a crisis. I do believe, however, that the concerns of
Europeans and of Americans about our transatlantic relationship should never be
expressed lightly or taken lightly.
issues are too important and the stakes are too high to posture for effect. The
point is to be effective. Asserting the Europeans’ prerogative to disagree with
the United States, my good friend High Commissioner Chris Patten, the European
Union's External Affairs Commissioner, once recalled Winston Churchill's
observation that: "in working with allies, it sometimes happens that they
develop opinions of their own." This is unfortunate, but it is true. He is
right. Our European allies have opinions and we have opinions, too. And it's
true all around.
long-serving, long-standing members of the Alliance supported our position on
Iraq, as did many of the newly invited members of NATO who chose to stand up and
speak their minds rather than sit back, be intimidated and be silent. But if
many of our allies and friends in Europe took part in the liberation of Iraq,
and other friends and allies in Europe did not support our efforts, that is all
behind us now. Now we have to come together again. Now, all of us, can come
together to help the Iraqi people take their place in the world, take their
place in the world as a free, stable, self-governing country.
important tasks, like stabilization, will be for military forces. Others tasks,
such as humanitarian assistance, are tasks for aid agencies, non-governmental
are roles for governments and NGOs alike in political reconstruction that needs
to take place to help the Iraq people achieve their human and democratic rights.
United Nations can be of great help in all of these areas. Later this week, we
will present a new draft Security Council resolution to the Security Council
that would ask the United Nations to play a vital role and that would lift the
sanctions burden from the Iraqi people so that they now can engage in normal
commerce with the world. More importantly, it will be a resolution that can
bring us all together, to give the Iraqi people a better life and hope for a
much brighter future. I am confident that all of our colleagues in the Security
Council will work with determination and an earnestness to see if we can quickly
come to agreement on a resolution that does not fight old battles but serves the
interests of the Iraqi people as we put in place new government, founded on
democratic principles and committed to live in peace with its neighbors. The
United States has every expectation that the United Nations will play a vital
role, but we as democracies, all of the nations represented in the Council and
in NATO and the EU have a special role to defend liberty and open opportunity in
Iraq, in Afghanistan and in other areas around the world that are a challenge to
the international community. How well we perform that role of reaching out and
helping is how we ultimately shall be judged, not by this or that passing
dispute within our Euro-Atlantic family of democracies. In this great effort, we
must bring every tool of statecraft to bear: political, economic, intelligence,
technical, cultural, diplomatic, and, when necessary, the use of military force.
Not every country has to make the same kind of contribution.
Europe doesn't want to be considered only a checkbook, and the United States
doesn't want to be seen as just a juggernaut. We do not have to work together
the same way every time. Americans and Europeans can, and do, work together,
work together very effectively through NATO and the European Union. We can, and
do, work together through informal coalitions of the willing, sometimes forged
with non-European and American participants as well. Whether it's combating
terrorism and proliferation, creating conditions for sustainable development,
stemming infectious disease, such as HIV/AIDS, the greatest weapon of mass
destruction on the face of the earth today, or promoting good governance, none
of us can hope to meet these complex challenges by working alone.
General George C. Marshall, author of the plan for European recovery, is a great
and personal hero of mine. Everyone in this room remembers the Marshall Plan.
What people don't remember is that the purpose of the plan wasn't just Europe's
plan aimed higher and farther than that. It was designed, "to permit the
emergence of political and social conditions in which free institutions can
exist." Just as the Marshall Plan was about more than Europe’s economy, the
founders of the NATO Alliance knew that the Alliance was about more than
Monnet, Schuman and Adenauer knew that the European coal and steel community was
about more than coal and steel. So, too, President Bush and the other leaders of
our Euro-Atlantic community know that our efforts were, and are, about making,
making absolutely real a hopeful vision of the world of the future -- a world
free from the grip of fear and misery. A prosperous, peaceful world where the
democratic values we all cherish can thrive.
Thanks in great measure to the concerted efforts of Americans and Europeans,
efforts that have gone on for the past half century, we are much closer to that
vision, much closer that world we dream of today. The spread of democratic and
economic freedoms that together we have done so much to secure and engender,
have opened unprecedented opportunities to help better the lives of millions on
every continent. And the hope for realizing that great potential still rests to
a great degree on strong and enduring partnerships between Europe and the United
States. My good partner Javier and I still have a lot of work to do together.
Don’t forget my phone number, Javier.
you very much.
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May 11, 2003