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Ambassador Ivo Daalder, US Permanent Representative to NATO

Gospod Čezaltlantski

Ivo Daalder was born in the Netherlands in 1960. Today he is the United States’ Ambassador to NATO. NATO Review asks him about his thoughts on today’s NATO, how important it is to the US and about his journey from his homeland through Washington and the White House which now takes him back to northern Europe.

US NATO Ambassador Ivo Daalder explains what he has learnt both professionally and personally since arriving at NATO.

Mr TransAtlantic: behind the scenes

In your previous roles and postings,

you’ve been heavily

involved in defence and security.

Did any of these positions

help prepare you

for the role

of US Ambassador to NATO?

I didn't have the diplomatic

background to make sure that

how do you promote America's

interests in an Alliance as such

in a way

that is embraced by others.

That’s what I have learned.

It helps not to have been

at every communiqué negotiation

in the last ten years or to have

to work with the close instructions

that you have from the government,

to come with a fresh view and say:

Why are we doing it this way?

Isn't there another way to do this

and make sure

that the Alliance's interests

and the interests

of the members are advanced?

And I think as we get close

to a Summit in Chicago,

we're seeing that being able

to project a vision

from how it moves forward,

having that strategic kind of sense

of this Alliance enables you,

if you play the cards right,

to lead this Alliance in a way

that perhaps it hasn't been

for quite some time.

The importance

of partners was illustrated

during the operation in Libya in 2011

and over many years in Afghanistan.

Is partnership becoming as important

as membership in NATO?

It is in the world's interest

to have a secure Afghanistan,

which is why

so many countries, 22 in all,

are now joining

the 28 NATO allies to ensure

that we are implementing our

strategy in Afghanistan successfully.

It is in the world's interest

that we find a way to deal

with the scourge of piracy,

which is why NATO is working

with the EU and 19 other countries

to make sure that the seas in

the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea

are free of pirates

or that pirates cannot succeed.

It was in the world's interest that

the people of Libya could be

protected

against its own government,

which is why NATO worked

with partners in the Middle East

and North Africa to ensure

that there would be stability.

That is how NATO uses partnerships

to create a global network for security

of which NATO stands at the hub.

What do you do to put

distance between yourself

and the politics of NATO

when you have some free time?

I try to spend as much time with

my family as I can, to be honest.

We travel to different places.

We've had

the extraordinary opportunity

to live in Europe

and be able to go to different places.

And spending time

with your family when this is a job

that can drain five, six,

sometimes seven days a week,

having that opportunity to take

some time off and see new places,

taste some new food,

and remember that through

the internet you can always follow

what is happening in baseball,

and make sure that that remains

part of who you are and what you do.

Mr TransAtlantic: behind the scenes

In your previous roles and postings,

you’ve been heavily

involved in defence and security.

Did any of these positions

help prepare you

for the role

of US Ambassador to NATO?

I didn't have the diplomatic

background to make sure that

how do you promote America's

interests in an Alliance as such

in a way

that is embraced by others.

That’s what I have learned.

It helps not to have been

at every communiqué negotiation

in the last ten years or to have

to work with the close instructions

that you have from the government,

to come with a fresh view and say:

Why are we doing it this way?

Isn't there another way to do this

and make sure

that the Alliance's interests

and the interests

of the members are advanced?

And I think as we get close

to a Summit in Chicago,

we're seeing that being able

to project a vision

from how it moves forward,

having that strategic kind of sense

of this Alliance enables you,

if you play the cards right,

to lead this Alliance in a way

that perhaps it hasn't been

for quite some time.

The importance

of partners was illustrated

during the operation in Libya in 2011

and over many years in Afghanistan.

Is partnership becoming as important

as membership in NATO?

It is in the world's interest

to have a secure Afghanistan,

which is why

so many countries, 22 in all,

are now joining

the 28 NATO allies to ensure

that we are implementing our

strategy in Afghanistan successfully.

It is in the world's interest

that we find a way to deal

with the scourge of piracy,

which is why NATO is working

with the EU and 19 other countries

to make sure that the seas in

the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea

are free of pirates

or that pirates cannot succeed.

It was in the world's interest that

the people of Libya could be

protected

against its own government,

which is why NATO worked

with partners in the Middle East

and North Africa to ensure

that there would be stability.

That is how NATO uses partnerships

to create a global network for security

of which NATO stands at the hub.

What do you do to put

distance between yourself

and the politics of NATO

when you have some free time?

I try to spend as much time with

my family as I can, to be honest.

We travel to different places.

We've had

the extraordinary opportunity

to live in Europe

and be able to go to different places.

And spending time

with your family when this is a job

that can drain five, six,

sometimes seven days a week,

having that opportunity to take

some time off and see new places,

taste some new food,

and remember that through

the internet you can always follow

what is happening in baseball,

and make sure that that remains

part of who you are and what you do.

How important is the timing of this Summit?

Remember our last summit in Lisbon was a summit on which NATO agreed to a new strategic concept that sort of set the course for the next ten years. It was about what this Alliance should be doing and how it should be doing it. A year and a half later, in Chicago, we'll come together and make sure that the direction we have set ourselves is the right direction. And, importantly, to make sure that we have the capabilities necessary to make sure that the challenges of the 21st century, the security challenges we all face together, that we can meet them. In Libya, we demonstrated that we could, but we also demonstrated that we have some gaps in the capabilities.

How significant is it that this summit is held back in the US?

© EUCOM

President Obama believed when he came to office it was vital that the United States once again demonstrated that it believes its engagement with the world is on the basis of its partnerships and alliances with friends and allies around the world. He spent from day one his energy to rebuild alliances and partnerships. Being able to invite, towards the end of his first term, everyone from NATO and the many partners that are part of NATO, to Chicago, his hometown, is one way in which he is trying to make real the pledge that NATO remains the cornerstone of America's engagement with the world.

How important are these partnerships to NATO?

Partnerships really are becoming a central aspect of what this Alliance is all about. When ãyou think about it, partnerships represent the global security network, which has NATO at its core, at the hub of that network. Partnerships are a means to that end. And we not only have partnerships with countries that are close-by

  • whether it's Switzerland or Sweden or Austria
  • but increasingly we're finding that we need partnerships across the globe.

Partners play a key role in Afghanistan. Is there anything that could constitute a success for the NATO's operation there?

the fact that I spent 25 years in Europe and 25 years in the United States when I arrived at NATO helped me to understand both sides better

Well, remember we went into this country for one real reason, which was to make sure that Afghanistan would never again be a safe haven for terrorists. So, success is if we achieve a situation in which Afghanistan is sufficiently secure, sufficiently able to manage for itself, both politically, economically and of course in the security sphere. That is the course we're on. But we are seeing success in the sense that Afghans are stepping up to the responsibility of taking care of their own security, of governing their villages and provinces and districts and cities, and providing – because of that – a basis for prosperity for the future of this country. That's what we want for Afghanistan, and frankly, that's what Afghanistan wants for itself.

Did your previous positions prepare you for what you are doing now as US Ambassador to NATO?

© NATO

I came with a full knowledge of what this organisation does and how it works. What I didn’t have, is the diplomatic background to make sure that you promote America’s interests in an Alliance in such a way that it is embraced generally by others. That’s what I have learned over the last three years. I really learned you need both: you need strategic vision, but then you also need diplomatic tact to translate that strategic vision into a set of practical steps that make this Alliance move forward.

You are a European who became an American and who now represents your new homeland. Has this unique perspective helped in NATO?

Undoubtedly, the fact that I spent 25 years in Europe and 25 years in the United States when I arrived at NATO helped me to understand both sides better. I do think I have a comparative advantage of having been able to live in, study, work on both sides of the Atlantic, to have, frankly, the Transatlantic Alliance be part of who I am and what it is that I do. When I arrived here I sat at a table with 28 other members and the Secretary General being one of four native Dutch speakers.

You’re back in Europe now. What do you miss most about Washington and the US?

© Reuters

Baseball, without any doubt. We are in the beginning of a new season. I love to go to baseball games and take the family and sit in the stands and eat hotdogs and drink beer and - more importantly - see them win. And now that the Washington Nationals are finally starting in a winning season, not being there is hard.

citati
Barack Obama
Ameriški senator, 2006
Glasilo
Ne zamudite ničesar
»Če nismo pripravljeni plačati cene za svoje vrednote, če se nismo pripravljeni vsaj malo žrtvovati,
da jih uresničimo, potem se moramo vprašati, ali v njih sploh resnično verjamemo.«
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