NATO/Munich Security Conference

Remarks by NATO SECRETARY GENERAL Jaap de Hoop Schef­fer at Munich Secu­ri­ty Con­fer­ence

Let me begin by con­grat­u­lat­ing Wolf­gang Ischinger for the suc­cess he has had in organ­is­ing this con­fer­ence. I couldn’t open a news­pa­per from any coun­try these past days with­out see­ing arti­cles, op eds and com­men­taries, all about what is hap­pen­ing here in this hall over this weekend. 

In past years, I’ve spo­ken on the Afghanistan pan­el. My deci­sion to be on this pan­el this morn­ing doesn’t mean that the ISAF oper­a­tion is any less a pri­or­i­ty for me or for NATO

But NATO’s core busi­ness, for 60 years now, has been secur­ing, sta­bi­liz­ing and pro­mot­ing democ­ra­cy in the Euro-Atlantic area. It will con­tin­ue to be our core busi­ness, as NATO looks to its future. 

And I share the view of many here that we are at an impor­tant moment of tran­si­tion in how we “do” secu­ri­ty in the 21st century. 

The rea­sons are clear. There is a new US admin­is­tra­tion, with fresh ideas, and we will hear some of them from VP Biden in a moment. Rus­sia wants its voice heard, and its inter­ests tak­en into account, on a grow­ing list of issues. And NATO will soon launch a fun­da­men­tal dis­cus­sion of the roles it should play in the 21st Cen­tu­ry, in the form of an updat­ed Strate­gic Concept. 

Let me, quick­ly, offer a few thoughts on how I believe this tran­si­tion in Euro-Atlantic secu­ri­ty should take place – and how we might get there. 

I believe that there are two part­ner­ships that need to be fun­da­men­tal­ly strength­ened: the rela­tion­ship between Rus­sia and the West; and the rela­tion­ship between the Unit­ed States and Europe – by which I mean prin­ci­pal­ly a stronger EU. And in both cas­es, NATO has an impor­tant role to play. 

Let me start with Russia. 

I think we all see the poten­tial of a strong, trust­ing rela­tion­ship between Rus­sia and the West – on mis­sile defence, on arms con­trol, on Iran and the Mid­dle East, on ener­gy, on the Cau­ca­sus and Cen­tral Asia, on Afghanistan. 

There is clear­ly plen­ty of oppor­tu­ni­ty for real, con­crete progress. 

in arms con­trol (CFE, START, INF).
With not much a change in mind­set, I think real transat­lantic coop­er­a­tion on mis­sile defence includ­ing Rus­sia is very do-able — which would, I think, make those who might threat­en Europe with mis­siles think twice, mil­i­tar­i­ly and polit­i­cal­ly. We could also step up our coop­er­a­tion on oper­a­tions like Afghanistan – and also, to my mind, beyond as well. Pira­cy is one good example. 

But – and here comes the but – this will not hap­pen just because we would like it to. On all sides, there must be a will­ing­ness to com­pro­mise – to take con­crete steps to change the sta­tus quo. 

I have already men­tioned arms con­trol. I will say, very frankly, that I think Rus­sia has a legit­i­mate case to make in ask­ing for a dis­cus­sion of exist­ing arms con­trol treaties. 

Pres­i­dent Medvedev has also pro­posed a dis­cus­sion of a new Euro-Atlantic secu­ri­ty archi­tec­ture. Many lead­ers have pub­licly said that they are will­ing to have that dis­cus­sion, and I am one of them. 

But I can­not see how we can have a seri­ous dis­cus­sion of such a new archi­tec­ture, in which Pres­i­dent Medvedev him­self says “ter­ri­to­r­i­al integri­ty” is a pri­ma­ry ele­ment, when Rus­sia is build­ing bases inside Geor­gia, which doesn’t want them. 

That can­not be ignored, and it can­not be the foun­da­tion of a new Euro­pean Secu­ri­ty Architecture. 

We also need to move beyond a 19th cen­tu­ry “Great Game” idea of spheres of influ­ence. I am con­cerned by any attempts to deny the right of Euro­pean democ­ra­cies to choose their rela­tion­ship with NATO freely. 

I am also con­cerned when the Kyrghyz Pres­i­dent announces in Moscow that Man­as air base will be closed to the US. Rus­sia has sup­port­ed the UN man­dates for our oper­a­tions in Afghanistan. It has offered land tran­sit for sup­plies to the mis­sion. This was, at the very least, incon­gru­ous with Russ­ian sup­port for the mis­sion in oth­er impor­tant ways. 

My point is this. We have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to build a new, more trust­ing and more prac­ti­cal rela­tion­ship with Rus­sia – to move the yard­sticks on arms con­trol, on mis­sile defence, on oper­a­tional coop­er­a­tion. But if it is to be sus­tain­able, it must be a two-way street. 

That same expres­sion – “two way street” must also apply to the rebal­anc­ing of the rela­tion­ship between the US and Europe, includ­ing through NATO

Chan­cel­lor Merkel and Pres­i­dent Sarkozy got the tone right, as far as I’m con­cerned, in their joint op-ed ear­li­er this week. We must move to new transat­lantic bal­ance – where the US and Europe share lead­er­ship and bur­dens more fairly. 

Let me restate that last phrase: “lead­er­ship and bur­dens”. They go togeth­er. I am frankly con­cerned when I hear the US plan­ning a major com­mit­ment for Afghanistan, but oth­er Allies already rul­ing out doing more. 

That is not good for the polit­i­cal bal­ance of this mis­sion. It also makes the calls for Europe’s voice to be heard in Wash­ing­ton ring a lit­tle hollow. 

Chan­cel­lor Merkel and Pres­i­dent Sarkozy right­ly point­ed the fin­ger at Europe first. At the need for uni­fied deci­sions, con­crete capa­bil­i­ties and – cru­cial­ly – the will­ing­ness to use them. 

My point is this: in the transat­lantic rela­tion­ship as well, our aspi­ra­tions for a health­i­er, more sus­tain­able part­ner­ship can only work if both par­ties do their share. The Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion has already done a lot of what Euro­peans have asked for, includ­ing announc­ing the clo­sure of Guan­tanamo, and a seri­ous focus on cli­mate change. Europe should also lis­ten: When the Unit­ed States asks for a seri­ous part­ner, it doesn’t just want advice. It wants, and deserves, some­one to share the heavy lifting. 

What does all this mean with­in NATO? A very time­ly ques­tion, with the 60th anniver­sary Sum­mit in Stras­bourg and Kehl — let me, here in Ger­many, call it the “Kehl-Stras­bourg” NATO Sum­mit – around the cor­ner. Where, I expect, we will launch the process to update our Strate­gic Con­cept, dur­ing which all these fun­da­men­tal issues will be addressed. 

Per­me­t­tez-moi de faire quelques remar­ques sur ce que ce proces­sus devrait recou­vrir, selon moi

En pre­mier lieu: la rela­tion OTAN-Russie. J’ai par­lé hier soir avec Ser­guei Ivanov, afin de pour­suiv­re notre ré-engage­ment mesuré (pro­gres­sif). Je pense que le Con­seil OTAN-Russie est por­teur d’un poten­tiel con­sid­érable — mais il y a un long chemin que l’OTAN et la Russie doivent par­courir ensem­ble. Le nou­veau con­cept stratégique devra jus­ti­fi­er cela. 

Deux­ième­ment: la rela­tion OTAN-UE doit être fon­da­men­tale­ment améliorée. La sit­u­a­tion à laque­lle nous sommes con­fron­tés est prob­a­ble­ment la plus grande source de frus­tra­tion de mon man­dat. Si l’on con­sid­ère l’é­ten­due de la coopéra­tion entre l’OTAN et l’UE sur le ter­rain, au Koso­vo, en Afghanistan et ailleurs, les murs (pare-feux) érigés entre les deux organ­i­sa­tions sont un réel hand­i­cap et, hon­nête­ment, ils sont par­fois sur­réal­istes. C’est bien sim­ple: cela doit chang­er. Nous dupliquons nos efforts, gaspillons notre argent et sommes loin de con­cré­tis­er le poten­tiel de cette relation. 

L’Afghanistan est un bon exem­ple. Le “surge” mil­i­taire doit être accom­pa­g­né d’un égal effort civ­il, et l’UE joue déjà un rôle improtant. Mais nous ne pou­vons pas coor­don­ner les straté­gies des deux organ­i­sa­tions. Comme je l’ai dit — c’est sur­réal­iste, et du gâchis. 

Le nou­veau con­cept stratégique doit égale­ment affirmer avec force la néces­sité de coopér­er avec d’autres grandes insti­tu­tions — les Nations-Unies prin­ci­pale­ment, mais aus­si l’U­nion africaine, et d’autres. 

Enfin, le nou­veau con­cept stratégique doit aus­si élargir la manière dont nous com­prenons le “coeur de méti­er” de l’OTAN, comme je l’ex­po­sais au début de mon inter­ven­tion: ren­dre plus sûr et plus sta­ble l’e­space euro-atlan­tique, et y pro­mou­voir la démoc­ra­tie. Nous ne devons pas nous lim­iter à la défense col­lec­tive, mais réfléchir aus­si à la sécu­rité col­lec­tive, et à la dimen­sion humaine de la sécurité. 

Le con­cept stratégique doit prévoir un rôle plus impor­tant de l’OTAN s’agis­sant de la défense con­tre les cyber-attaques, qui peu­vent être aus­si destruc­tri­ces que les ondes de choc élec­tro-mag­né­tiques aux­quelles nous nous pré­par­i­ons autrefois. 

L’OTAN doit assumer une mis­sion réelle, là où elle a une valeur ajoutée, en matière de sécu­rité énergé­tique — sur les mers, par exem­ple, ou en pro­tégeant les goulets d’é­tran­gle­ments des flux énergétiques. 

Il doit charg­er l’OTAN de se pencher sur, et de se pré­par­er aux con­séquences du change­ment cli­ma­tique. Celles-ci sont réelles. Elles sont déjà à l’oeu­vre. Nous n’y échap­per­ons pas, ici, en Europe. 

Voici les domaines où l’OTAN a de vraies pos­si­bil­ités de démon­tr­er une valeur ajoutée. J’e­spère que ceux qui auront la respon­s­abil­ité de rédi­ger, et d’a­gréer, ce nou­veau con­cept stratégique, exploreront ces pos­si­bil­ités à fond, car je crois fer­me­ment que cela ren­dra l’e­space euro-atlan­tique plus sûr. Et cela est la mis­sion d’un si grand nom­bre d’en­tre nous réu­nis ici aujourd’hui. 

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