Thank you, President Limperg and General Secretary Frings for your kind words of welcome and for inviting me today.
A wonderful part of my work is that I meet people from all walks of life.
From students to soldiers.
And parliamentarians to the Pope.
Therefore I appreciate this opportunity to talk to an important audience that cares deeply about peace and security.
Thomas de Maiziere – thank you for the introduction and for your personal leadership of the expert group on NATO 2030.
Your knowledge and your experience made a great contribution to our efforts to prepare our Alliance for the future. Thank you so much.
The theme of this year’s conference is “schaut hin” – go and see - from the feeding of the five thousand.
The parable reminds us that together we are greater than the sum of our parts.
This is what defines the NATO Alliance.
And has made us a successful project for peace.
As the Latin saying goes,
if you want peace, prepare for war.
NATO’s purpose is not to fight wars.
Our purpose is to prevent war.
And preserve peace.
Our Alliance started with 12 members.
And today we stand 30 nations strong.
With different histories, geography, politics and religious beliefs.
But united in our respect of freedom, democracy and the rule of law.
Our values are the compass that guides us.
And thanks to our unity and ability to adapt,
NATO has kept the peace for more than 70 years.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall,
NATO welcomed former adversaries from Central and Eastern Europe.
Helping to spread freedom and democracy.
And allowing a divided Germany – and a divided continent – to reunite.
Today, we are adapting again to an uncertain world.
With a more assertive Russia.
And the rise of China.
To respond to today’s and tomorrow’s challenges
we must recommit to our values,
and our collective defence,
in full respect of our diversity.
So that we can continue to forge consensus,
and work together for peace.
As we look to the future we face difficult moral and political challenges.
How to ensure credible deterrence while pursuing arms control and disarmament.
How to maintain our technological edge and at the same time ensure the ethical use of emerging technologies.
And how to invest more on defence in the middle of a health crisis.
This last year has shown us that we live in a more unpredictable world.
So as our world becomes more insecure,
we must invest more in our security.
Because security is the foundation of our freedom.
And freedom does not come for free.
In the pursuit of peace, there are no easy answers.
Only hard choices.
So we must always act responsibly,
in respect of international rules and norms,
and by putting diplomacy first.
This is the basis of our dual track approach towards Russia.
Deterrence, defence and dialogue.
But despite years of efforts to engage,
Russia continues its aggressive and destabilising behaviour at home and abroad.
With cyber-attacks against NATO Allies, including the German Bundestag.
Its violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and Ukraine.
And its violent oppression of political dissent in Russia, with the attacks on Alexei Navalny and his supporters.
NATO does not want a new Cold War.
Or a new arms race.
But we cannot allow countries to threaten their neighbours and disregard international law.
So we must continue to invest in deterrence and defence and uphold economic sanctions,
while striving for meaningful dialogue with Russia.
Germany is Europe’s largest economy and a responsible global leader.
So I welcome Germany’s contributions and leadership in NATO.
From arms control, to NATO’s increased presence in the east of the Alliance.
And from Afghanistan and Kosovo, to the implementation of the Minsk agreements in Ukraine.
Through our work on NATO 2030,
Germany continues to show its leadership,
as we set an ambitious agenda for the future.
NATO 2030 is about strengthening our unity.
So that we use NATO even more as the unique platform,
bringing Europe and North America together every day,
to defend our shared security.
It is also about broadening our approach.
From addressing the security impacts of climate change,
to ensuring the resilient societies, supply chains and infrastructure we need to keep our people safe.
And it is about building a global partnership for peace with other likeminded countries.
To stand up for the international rules-based order,
against the authoritarian push-back from Russia and China.
NATO 2030 is an important opportunity to reaffirm who we are.
And what we believe in.
By recommitting to our values.
Strengthening our democracies.
And coming together to contribute to something greater than ourselves.
Preserving peace and preventing conflict.
This starts with all of us.
So thank you again for inviting me.
And I look forward to your questions.
THOMAS DE MAIZIERE [Moderator]: Yes, Jens, thank you very much for your remarks. And now we . . . we want to start the discussion. I will start with two questions and then I will open the panel and I will explain in a second how we, how we will proceed. Jens, are you there? Can you see me?
JENS STOLTENBERG: I can see you, yeah.
THOMAS DE MAIZIERE: Okay, great. So I start with two questions. Number one is a difficult one, because we always have difficult questions and discussions here in these occasions. You talked about more investments in security – the two percent goal, two percent of GDP should be invested in security. This is a huge discussion, especially in Germany, as you know. In this context, in our context, what are investments in security? Of course, you probably talk about tanks, airplanes, logistics, submarines, but aren’t investments in education, in school buildings, education of good governments in the world, aren’t they more important for a better security? Question number one. And question number two: is the use of military violence, from an ethical point of view, legitimate and when? And . . . or to put it in another . . . another wording, we’ve had a huge discussion years ago, what is more important, freedom or peace? So to defend freedom, is this legitimate even if you risk peace in these cases? So these are my two questions. Jens?
JENS STOLTENBERG: First of all, there are many ways to ensure our security, and I fully agree that helping to create stable, just, inclusive societies also matters for our security. There’s no doubt that poverty, exclusion, injustice contributes and creates fertile ground for conflict. So . . . so, therefore, I’m absolutely in favour of having a very broad approach to ensuring that we preserve peace and prevent conflict. At the same time, I think that history has taught us that sometimes you are in situations where we also need military tools to preserve peace. So it’s not either education, hospitals, a good welfare state or deterrence – it’s both. There’s no way we can choose. And . . . and I think that, you know, we have to remember that Europe, the kind of normal situation in Europe was war between the major powers, that was the situation for centuries.
Then after the end of the Second World War, we established some institutions – the European Union, the United Nations, but not least NATO – to preserve peace. And since then, we have had no major war between the major powers, or any war between the major powers in Europe, and NATO has been part of that, because I believe in the founding message of NATO that if one Ally is attacked, it is regarded as an attack on all Allies. And this commitment to protecting each other is perhaps the most important thing that has helped to preserve peace. And there is only one way of making that credible. And that . . . that is by having a credible deterrence and defence and then we also need to invest in the military tools to preserve peace. I promised not to be too long, but let me add one more thing.
Of course, NATO has always been on the forefront on arms control. So the more we are able to deliver credible deterrence and defence with the lowest possible – shall I say -investment in weapons, in military capabilities, the better. But it has to be balanced, it has to be verifiable. So we invest in . . . in military capabilities when needed. But at the same time, we work for and support strongly all efforts to reach agreements on arms control, to lower the level of military investments needed to provide credible deterrence and defence. Then . . . then, I don’t know how to say this, but I think that I understand that there is a difficult ethical dilemma to . . . to decide when is it necessary to use violence or right to use violence, when can you excuse the use of violence. But I think that if, again, look at the history of most of our nations, there are moments where we all feel – at least the vast majority of people feel – that we don’t have any other alternative than to also use military tools to protect our core values.
That was the case when Germans and many other Europeans fought against Nazism during the Second World War. It’s the case for movements that have fought for liberation, national independence. And I think also we can use a very, what should I say, recent example. I have hardly heard any political force in Europe or any other place in the world arguing against the need for using military capabilities against Daesh. Daesh or ISIS was a brutal terrorist organisation, which really imposed violence on people in Iraq and Syria, but also threatened people in our own countries. And I think diplomacy and negotiations wouldn’t have worked against Daesh. So I regret it. I don’t like it. We have paid a high price in the fight against Daesh, but there is no way we would have been able to liberate the territories that Daesh controlled in Iraq and Syria and remove their, or at least reduce their capabilities of threatening us, without the use of military force. So diplomacy, peace, dialogue should be the . . . the first set of tools we apply. But sometimes when they fail, we need to use military capabilities, as we, for instance, have used together in the fight against ISIS/Daesh.
THOMAS DE MAIZIERE: Thank you. You can imagine that I agree with that, but I wanted to put this question because it’s a huge discussion always, especially in the peace movement, in our churches. And there is a fight, of course, how and where to spend money. And we have to face these discussions, of course. Thank you for this answer. And now I come to the panel. We have four representatives of a younger generation, and in the interest of time, I will not introduce them, they will introduce themselves. I will put one question to all of them, and I would like to ask all of you to combine your answer with a comment or question to Jens Stoltenberg. And then we have, hopefully, a lively discussion. I start with Miss Giesen. She is, by the way, born in the year of the German unification, June 1990. And my question for you is to present yourself in your research, you examine how the memory of historical violence is shaped within a society and through the transitional justice processes put in place to address it. How can the way we remember and address the violent past contribute to more peaceful societies in the present or in the future. You have the floor.
ALINA GIESEN: Thank you, Mr de Maiziere, and thank you, Secretary General, for that very thought-provoking input. The pursuit of peace has no easy answers, that’s probably something that’s going to, you know, continue throughout this discussion today. And it’s a pleasure to have the chance to engage with you on these relevant and complex topics. So I am a Doctoral Researcher of Peace and Conflict at the University of Marburg and I look at how societies address, like, widespread past violence.
So I’m interested specifically in how the memory and the commemoration of these events is negotiated, but also what political effect this can have – and maybe also conflicts can spark from this. And the perspective that I hope to contribute today approaches peace from this broader, more sustainable perspective, of it as a complex good that takes the many interdependencies of interactions, from the local to the global level, into account. And I would argue that societies at peace are societies in which people and communities can thrive and that more peaceful societies would be built on increasingly just and equitable social and economic structures, strive towards a fair distribution of resources, especially where these may become scarce, work to be inclusive, to remedy imbalances of opportunity, imbalances of power, and employ, if possible, non-violent approaches to dealing with conflict.
And I think such societies would also be more resilient in terms of preventing the violent escalation of conflict, when the root causes of these conflicts are fed by inequality, are fed by unmet needs. So none of the goals in this very rough and quite utopian picture are simple or clear. And how to move towards them is very much a political question, a political controversy. So I think that it’s relevant to find fair and inclusive ways of deliberating, of making these decisions.
And so what I would argue is that this makes peace less something that merely needs safeguarding, as if we already have it, and more something that is a goal or a responsibility that we continue to strive towards, even if it’s not fully realisable, perhaps. And what this perspective enables us to do is to also turn our gaze inward and to foster awareness for the conflicts that . . . and the lack of peace that exists in our own context, our own societies, as well as how our societies are implicated in power relations and dependencies that make it hard to foster peace effectively in the wider world. So the question how memory works is connected here, is that it is political, it can be used to foster peace, it can also be used against peace. And it’s tied up with these debates on justice.
And I’m happy to go into this further later on in the discussion, on how we can try to move it into a more productive, more constructive contribution to peace. But my question for you, based on the input that you gave us, looks at this part of peace that engages with inequalities, engages with suffering in the wider world, and brings the current issue of the Covid crisis into perspective. So what lessons would you say are being learnt in NATO in dealing with the Covid pandemic that may be useful for addressing natural disasters in the future, severe weather events, other pandemics? And to what extent is the difficulty of reacting in a just and fair manner when there are so many regions that could require assistance? How do you make the just decision of where to act and when, what priorities? And how does that work within the constraints of an organisation with different members, different interests? And . . . yes, thank you.
THOMAS DE MAIZIERE: OK, a bit long, we are running out of time, but interesting enough. Jens, you have the floor.
JENS STOLTENBERG: Thank you so much. Many interesting reflections, but my understanding was that you asked me about what NATO lessons learned from the pandemic and there are a couple of lessons. First is that, of course, we need to be prepared for the unforeseen, for . . . for crisis. And it’s very easy to say that, it’s harder to do it, because even though the pandemic was actually in many reports, in many analyses and in many, many, many predictions about the future, actually listed as one of the most likely crises that could affect us, most countries were – what should I say – not as prepared as they should be. So increased awareness, increased preparedness is . . . is one lesson.
The other lesson is that, of course, this is a health crisis. It is civilian health services that are on the front line, but seen from a NATO perspective, I also welcome the fact that we have seen military – NATO and national military forces – providing a lot of support, everything from transporting equipment, patients, medical personnel, setting up military field hospitals and now also helping with the rollout of the vaccine. So . . . so for me, it illustrates that our armed forces, they play an important role also in helping, providing support to the civilian society when they face a health crisis. And we will have a civil preparedness exercise, or disaster relief exercise, in North Macedonia later on this year, just trying to learn lessons and further strengthen our ability to provide military support dealing with, for instance, a pandemic or a disaster. So that’s, in short, the two main lessons learned from . . . from NATO.
THOMAS DE MAIZIERE: Yes, and on the memory of historical violence, I would say it’s an important . . . plays an important role, but probably not on NATO level, but on the national level. We Germans did a lot there. There is a lot to do in the Balkans, for example. There will be a lot to do in Afghanistan about that. But of course, memory of historical violence can be a part for more peaceful development in the future, when it’s well-placed, that’s for sure. South Africa is an example for that in a way as well. So I pass the floor to Ms Hillenbrand. I like her background picture very much, because it’s Münster and I studied there as well. A lot of memories coming back in my heart. You are . . . your research is about the role of religion in social cohesion and peaceful coexistence. Can you give us some insights of your work, especially with the focus on how religion can contribute to peace and cohesion and put a question to Jens Stoltenberg in this context? You have the floor.
CAROLIN HILLENBRAND: Yes, thank you very much Mr de Maiziere for the moderation and for this connection with Münster. And thank you very much, Mr Stoltenberg. I’ve also been following the NATO 2030 process, so I’m very happy to engage with you today to discuss with you today. And yes, my name is Carolin Hillenbrand, I’m a Doctoral Researcher at the Cluster of Excellence, Religion and Politics at the University of Münster. And in my dissertation, I’m investigating the role of religion in social cohesion worldwide. And from my research findings and my field experience also in other countries to just mention South Africa, Peru and Mexico, I can tell that religion indeed plays a significant but ambivalent role.
So it can fuel conflict, but also contribute to social cohesion and peace. And for developing peace, inclusive and multi-religious initiatives are essential. And just to mention a concrete example from my personal social commitment, I’ve been involved in the International Interfaith Youth Movement, Coexister, where I’m a co-founder and president of Coexister Germany. And our goal is to bring people of different beliefs and worldviews together. And through dialogue and solidarity actions and intergroup friendships to build bridges and to break down prejudices, and in this way contribute to social cohesion and peace.
And, yeah, my question to you, Mr Stoltenberg today is based on your very inspiring input and I also read the comprehensive report of the Reflection Group for the NATO 2030 process. Very interesting. And it’s just that the term ‘religion’ is mentioned only once, in relation to religious extremism, but religious actors play a broader role in various conflict and peace processes worldwide and also more and more international organisations like the UN or the World Health Organization during the Covid-19 pandemic right now, they are increasingly taking into account religious actors and speak of the need for religious literacy to better understand the local context, societies and people on the ground. Like, the motto: if religion is not becoming part of the solution, it might become part of the problem. And my question is now, what role does religion play in NATO’s work? Or how is NATO responding to that, or maybe respond to that in the future? Thank you.
JENS STOLTENBERG: As you know, NATO, we are 30 member states, Allies, with different history, different geography, but also with people believing in different religions. And that diversity is actually a strength for our Alliance. We have . . . we have secular countries, we have people believing in many different faiths, and we have countries which have a strong Muslim population or a strong Christian population. So this varies. And for me as Secretary General of NATO, it is extremely important to . . . to communicate a message that this diversity is actually something we welcome and we need to protect it, and it’s about NATO protecting freedom, also, the freedom to believe in different religions and worship different gods.
And I listened very carefully to what you said, because I . . . I very much recognise what you say about that religion can both be part of the solution, but also sometimes part of the problem. And I think it has . . . it’s quite, I think, religion has, you know, very often a message about peace, tolerance, love, which we really need to mobilise in the work for peace, conflict resolution – and maybe NATO should be more aware of that. So thank you for that advice that input. But at the same time, we all know that religion is often misused as different political ideologies are misused to . . . to defend the use of violence or terrorist acts.
We have seen, of course, people misusing Islam, but coming from Norway – and Thomas referred to the 22nd July, that was actually 77 people killed by a man, a white Norwegian, who used Christian symbols to excuse his . . . his terrorist attacks. So for me, this is not about religion. This is about people who are, you know, they have more in common because they reject basic human values, the respect for . . . for human life and democracy and they give themselves the right to use violence as a political mean or as a political tool. So . . . so, I think . . . I think at least one message is that we need to be very strong against everyone who use different political ideologies and/or religions to try to excuse the use of violence, because that’s always unacceptable, regardless of what kind of religion they use.
THOMAS DE MAIZIERE: Just a short comment, Ms Hillenbrand, if you see the fight against Daesh, for example, the best that they would have wanted is that NATO or the West, the Western world, should declare a fight against Islam. But exactly this, we didn’t want to do. We fought them because they were terrorists – they attacked us – but not because of their motivation. And I think this is important. And Jens put it, I think, in the right way. When they misuse religion for political goals, then you can discuss the background and the motivation of that to analyse, to understand the situation better, but NATO should never be in a situation where we fight against religions anywhere in the world.
So now I pass the floor to Mrs Elisabeth Kaneza. You are particularly concerned with the issue of human rights, especially in the context of Sustainable Development Goals Number 10 – fewer inequalities and Number 16 – peace, justice and strong institutions. How do you see the context between human rights and security policy? Tell us something about you and then we are interested to hear your question for Jens Stoltenberg.
ELISABETH KANEZA [University of Potsdam]: Thank you very much for your question, Mr de Maiziere. First of all, I would like to thank the organisers of the Ökumenischer Kirchentag for inviting me to this important and timely discussion. I’m delighted to have this exchange with you, Mr Stoltenberg, and with my esteemed colleagues. My name is Mrs Elisabeth Kaneza. I’m a researcher at the University of Potsdam, focussing on human rights and measures to prevent and fight discrimination. I’m also the Chairperson of the Kaneza Foundation for Dialogue and Empowerment, based in the city of Aachen.
Dear Secretary General, dear guests, globally, at this very moment, peace is at risk. There are still regions in the world struck by conflict and humanitarian crisis. We also face a global pandemic. The coronavirus has exacerbated the already existing inequalities in the world between regions and also within nations. The health crisis has led to even more insecurities, and we can see the societal groups who are already marginalised risk to be left behind. As a human rights activist and also researcher, I look at the issue of peacekeeping from a human rights perspective. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states very clearly that the recognition of the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.
Starting from this important statement, we can establish that the respect for human rights as enshrined in the Universal Declaration, has to be the backbone for peace and also for security. In my work, my focus is on creating equal and inclusive societies, because many human rights violations have their origin in discrimination, which is the unequal treatment of persons and groups based on prohibited grounds. Therefore, it is important when we speak about strategies of how to create and keep peace, to look at the very factors that create divisions and result in the denial of equal rights for some. This is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals 10 and 16, which put focus on inclusive societies and strong and just institutions. In the discussion dedicated to world peace with you, Mr Secretary General, it’s easy to think of peacekeeping as something maybe that is only an issue outside of Europe and Northern America, given the mandate and also the work of NATO.
And maybe one could also think that it’s a problem faced by southern regions or elsewhere. I wish to stress that maintaining peace is important everywhere in the world and that Western societies, although they may not be haunted by war, some of us in the moment suffer also from the lack of peace. Wherever human rights are not fulfilled, the right to peace is not guaranteed. Wherever persons and groups are discriminated because of the colour of their skin, their origin, their gender, their religion, their sexual identity and other grounds, peace is denied. And in particular, racism and racial discrimination have reproduced unpeaceful societies for centuries, including structural and institutional discrimination that also involve state actors. And globally, we can still see the harmful effects of the legacy of enslavement and colonialism that has resulted in poverty and exclusion. And this is also a reality in Europe. And I wish to say that we have also a responsibility to prevent conflicts and also to intervene.
I was born in Rwanda, where, in 1994, the world watched while a genocide took place – millions of lives that could have been saved if the international community had acted soon enough, are forever lost. Keeping peace everywhere should be our mission, and especially given the context of the Kirchentag, it should be an act based on the compassion and also respect for every human’s dignity. So I wish to address my question to you, Mr Stoltenberg, by asking: what is the contribution of NATO for creating equal societies and protecting human rights? Thank you.
THOMAS DE MAIZIERE: Jens, may I add the question, in this context, you talked about Rwanda, in the future, what would you say in such a situation? Is it a duty to intervene in those occasions or a right to do so?
JENS STOLTENBERG: First of all, I think it was very interesting to . . . to listen to the question and the reflections of the link between human rights and the peace and security. Let me start by reflecting on the issue of Rwanda and the question from Thomas linked to that, because I think what happened in Rwanda demonstrates how difficult it is to decide when to use military force and when to not use military force. And the reality is that there is no easy answer. But I think we have to remember that, of course, the international community didn’t react soon enough and strong enough when we were gradually becoming aware of genocide, the killing of hundreds of thousands of people in Rwanda. And not so long after, we had Srebrenica in Bosnia-Herzegovina, a massacre of thousands there.
These are two examples where the international community is criticised, I think, with some . . . some right, for not acting strongly enough and using military power. Because the only way to stop that was by deploying high-end military capabilities to stop the violence against innocent civilians. But then, when we use military power, we also see that there are big problems and dilemmas connected that. We see how difficult it has been to be in Afghanistan for now 20 years. We see the use of military power in Iraq. We see Libya. So these are three examples, Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan, where we see that, well, we used military powers – and not only NATO, but also the different international coalitions – and we achieved something, but it’s not . . . it’s not a clean-cut success. So the only thing I’m asking for is some kind of understanding that when to use and when to not use military power is a very difficult question.
And when we use it, we obtain something, we may stop attacks on innocent civilians, as we actually have done, for instance, in Libya and also helped to do in Afghanistan by preventing Afghanistan from being a safe haven for international terrorists. But we are also then very easily involved in long-term military operations, which are difficult and also which poses a cost on us as Allies being there, but also, of course, on the people living in these countries. So, so that’s my reflection on Rwanda and the . . . and the dilemma we face when we have to make decisions on the use or not use of military power. Then, more in general, I would say that NATO’s purpose is to preserve peace and peace is a precondition for human rights. We will not have social progress, we will not have respect for . . . for freedom or we will not be able to make almost any progress on human rights without peace.
So I’m not saying that NATO is the answer to all human rights challenges. We need different institutions, different efforts to promote human rights on fighting racism, on equality between men and women, on education, on all the human development goals. But if we don’t have peace, we will not succeed. So at least NATO, for those Allies involved, is a precondition for any progress on human rights. And then the last thing I would say is that we also need . . . we can use different names, but we need peacekeeping operations, so, at least, military presence also in Europe to help to stabilise and promote peace. We have that in the NATO mission in KFOR in Kosovo, which is 3,000 or 4,000 NATO personnel, to help to stabilise that region. And we have OSCE monitors in Ukraine, to help to implement or to monitor the ceasefire in Ukraine. So I agree with you. This is not only something we need in Africa or Asia, it is also a tool we need to use in Europe.
ELISABETH KANEZA: Thank you.
THOMAS DE MAIZIERE: Before I come to our last speaker, panellist, I would like to put a question to Elisabeth Kaneza as well. When you describe the situation – very impressive. And then you asked for the role of NATO, what do you think is the role of NATO? If I remember the purpose of George Bush, Jens, his purpose was, in a way, NATO’s Western or American role should be to expand human rights all over the world. And there was a lot of discussion about that. So what would you think? Is it a Western goal, or NATO’s goal, or America’s goal, or Western countries, to export human rights to the world? And for what prices? What would you say?
ELISABETH KANEZA: Thank you very much for the question, Mr de Maiziere. I think you mentioned the critical word, which is to ‘export’. I think it’s important that all, as international community, all states and all nations can agree on the . . . on the concept of human rights, that they are important, that they have to be respected and that we need a dialogue of how they can be protected and also implemented in . . . in different countries with a different context. I think this is oftentimes the key point: that states and nations don’t want to have the impression that there is a Western model of human rights, which exactly is imported or exported to them.
I can give you, also, the example of Rwanda in this context. After the genocide in 1994, the society was a different one than before. And I think many foreign actors had ideas of how the development should go, and also the human rights development. And it was very important to actually, for Rwandans, to link to their national and also traditional models of rights and of understanding. So I think, to answer your questions, institutions and organisations like NATO should be guided by human rights and they should have a dialogue on implementation of human rights within the states, based on the realities and also cultural backgrounds of their societies. Thank you.
THOMAS DE MAIZIERE: OK. A good answer. Would be very difficult to discuss this when you come to China. Now, I give the floor to [inaudible]. You are a mediator and part of a Protestant peace work. Why are these two fields of work important for security? And do you see NATO more in a role of mediator? Same question to Jens, should NATO be more a mediator in the future, and where in the world? But now, you put your question and introduce yourself please?
MAIKE AWINO ROLF: Hello everybody, welcome also to the audience, and thanks for having me here. So as you said, I am a practitioner in this round. I am a Peace and Conflict Researcher and Mediator. And today I work in the Protestant peace work and as a freelance mediator. So I work on the micro and on the macro level, which is a very fruitful combination because it helps to understand conflict dynamics and to develop strategies, even on an international level. We see that it is not enough to send armies somewhere, because we need civil conflict prevention, we need peacekeeping, we need peace building. We need to know that these measures are best to be implemented at an early stage, but therefore we also need to understand that good work will be invisible, because good work means that no armed conflict will appear.
Some people say that military means are necessary in dangerous situations, in highly-escalated situations. Statistically, we see that cooperative and non-violent peace processes are much more successful in the long-term, much more successful than peace processes that have been achieved by military means. I brought two examples for civil peacekeeping. So there’s the example of the Peace Brigades International who are conducting human rights observation in Mexico and Honduras and other countries. Then there’s EIRENE, the German organisation who is working, for example, in Mali and other countries. And their partner organisations are acting within the ongoing violent conflict. They are working on conflict-sensitive journalism and they are working with young people to prevent radicalisation. All this in the middle of an atmosphere of violence, because it stops escalation. The civil peacekeeping doesn’t have a very big impact right now because it has very small funding, actually.
In Germany, 55 million euros per year are spent on the Civil Peace Service. And if I give you a relation, one further . . . buying one further Eurofighter for the German Army costs three times this amount. So, Mr Stoltenberg, you were talking about equal measures, military and non-military, but, in terms of money, I can’t see this equality here. Not yet. And so I demand non-violent methods and measures in the conventional space, but also in cyberspace. In the lately published NATO report on security in cyberspace, foreign policy measures doesn’t even appear. The EU, at least, is working on a cyber diplomacy tool. And on an international level, we need some kind of digital Geneva Convention or something like an Open Cyber Treaty, like . . . yeah, something like this. On the technical level, we need to focus on different strategies and not on so-called active defence.
Let me end my statement with saying that deterrence, which is an argument of NATO, can’t lead to a sustainable peace. Maybe deterrence was an argument 40 years ago, but even then it was problematic. Deterrence brings a high risk of the escalation. The motto of the Ecumenical Church Conference, Ökumenischer Kirchentag, is ‘trust’. So to build peace, we need trust. Now, having said all of this, Mr Stoltenberg, how does NATO build trust today in conventional and digital space and also for the future generations? Thank you.
THOMAS DE MAIZIERE: Well, Jens, this was the fundamental approach, we have those discussions in the Kirchentag as well. So, I’m very interested in how you . . . how you answer these very serious, but fundamental questions?
JENS STOLTENBERG: Well, first of all, I strongly believe that peace is about building trust, and that’s also the reason why I see NATO both as a political but, at the same time, a military Alliance. And we are both. When NATO is working hard for agreements, for instance, on arms control, that is also about building trust. And . . . and I totally agree that we have seen some serious setbacks. And that . . . that we see that some of the trust and some of the institutions we have been able to build over some decades are now under pressure. But we have to remember that, for instance, when it comes to arms control, we have been able to reach some agreements, especially between the United States and Russia that has significantly reduced the number of nuclear warheads in the world.
The New START agreement, which was just now extended by President Biden and President Putin, has helped to reduce the number of long range strategic warheads from roughly 30,000 during the Cold War to 1,550. 1,550 is also a high number of nuclear warheads, but it is very much better than to have no limitation, no regulation or no arms control whatsoever. So one area where NATO is working to build trust is every issue related to arms control on nuclear, conventional, but also, as part of the NATO 2030 discussions, we also have raised the issue: how do you develop arms control when it comes to new disruptive technologies, artificial intelligence, cyber, all these areas where we need . . . where we see that there are new disruptive technologies that will fundamentally change the nature of warfare and where there is no regulations, no international rules, or very little international rules and at least no effective arms control. So I would like to see that we were more successful. I would like to see more progress.
But if you ask, where is NATO working for trust? I think that arms control is a big domain where we, for decades, have been in favour of dialogue, building trust, and where at least, over the years, we have seen some significant milestones, including the New START Treaty, the Non-Proliferation Treaty and other treaties, which has helped us to at least limit an arms race and, in particular, a nuclear arms race. Then I also believe strongly in mediation. The reality is that when NATO Allies are involved in mediation, in different conflicts, in Latin America or in the Middle East or elsewhere, and most of them have decided to do that as individual Allies and/or as groups of Allies – they have not used NATO as a platform for conducting this mediation, and I think that’s fair enough – we, of course, support and welcome those efforts, even though they sometimes take place outside the NATO framework, NATO Allies are heavily involved in different mediation efforts around the world.
And again, I know that Germany has been involved, I know that Norway, my own country, we have been involved in different mediation efforts for decades and again, more or less successful, but I strongly believe this is important. Then, of course, it’s not for me to comment on exactly how much money Germany allocates to mediation efforts. But one of the reasons why I strongly believe in mediation and peace and diplomacy is that that can’t . . . it’s a much cheaper way of achieving peace than having military conflict. So . . . so, the beauty when we succeed in finding political solutions in . . . in promoting diplomatic efforts, is that then we are also reducing the need for the use of military force, which is, you know, which has a high cost in both blood and treasure.
But again, I use my example, Daesh – I think mediation, diplomacy wouldn’t have worked against Daesh. So then we were forced to use military means. That’s extremely expensive. We . . . we are involved in a military conflict where innocent lives are lost, but sometimes we have to pay that price, and in the case of Daesh . . . we mentioned, we discussed Rwanda, we tried the diplomatic tools, it didn’t work and maybe we should have used military force in Rwanda in the 1990s. That’s a very hypothetical thing. What we know is that it may have worked better than the diplomatic efforts that obviously failed, but the cost of using military force in Rwanda would have been high against both the economic cost, but, of course, also the human cost. So . . . so, I’m only saying that sometimes mediation, political efforts, is not enough and then military means have to be used. But coming from a military alliance and having seen the effects of using military force, I also very much recognise the limitations and the risks of using military force.
So again, we should have a high threshold for using military force. And therefore, I actually believe in deterrence, because the whole idea with deterrence is that if deterrence is effective, we prevent the conflict. Again, NATO’s purpose is not to fight. NATO’s purpose is not to fight a war. NATO’s main purpose is to prevent war. And in Europe, we have been successful. I mean, this continent has been ravaged by war for centuries and now, for more than 70 years, we have no war, no attack on any NATO Ally. That’s not something that comes by itself. And there are several reasons. But one of the reasons is that any potential adversary knows that if one NATO Ally is attacked, the whole alliance will be there and that has prevented war. So for me, deterrence is a way to preserve peace, prevent conflict and and . . . and prevent the brutality and the tragedy of an armed conflict.
THOMAS DE MAIZIERE: Well, thank you very much. I think a very good answer to a very difficult question. And by the way [inaudible] of the Reflection Group, where I was the co-chair, recommended more money for the political arm and the political approach of NATO, by the way, but still there is a fundamental dissent if political discussions, mediation zones could be more used and could be an addition for military power, or an alternative. This is a discussion we have and that probably will not find a consensus in this . . . in this hour. But I think it was worth to be discussed. We are running out of time at this point, unfortunately, because we have a strict . . . strict order. Unfortunately, we must come to an end of this extraordinary discussion, although we could talk for much longer. I warmly thank all of our panellists and especially Jens for your contributions, for taking the time with us. We would have welcomed you in Frankfurt with, I could promise you, five thousand people, to have a more lively discussion, but Covid-19 made it impossible. So thank you very much for this alternative. We wish you more interesting conversations about the 3rd Ecumenical Church Day. Stay healthy and goodbye. And have a good day, all of you. Bye-bye.
JENS STOLTENBERG: Bye-bye, thank you so much. Thank you.