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. 

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

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