-- Managing the Challenges of Today,
by NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson
you, Jacqueline. It is a great pleasure
to be here today, one week after the
meeting of NATO Presidents and Prime
Ministers in Brussels.
I think it was an important symbolic gesture that President Bush chose
to meet with his NATO colleagues in Brussels as part of his first European
tour. It says a great deal about NATO's continuing central role in European
security, and it says a great deal about the Administration's approach
toward NATO and Europe more broadly.
I happen to be one of those who
had a great deal of confidence in
the direction of American policy toward
Europe no matter who would win last
fall's election. I met with the senior
foreign policy advisors of both candidates
during the summer - some of whom are
here today - and I knew they were
all passionately committed to NATO,
and realistic about the issues before
But for those who had their doubts
whether this Administration would
succeed in keeping NATO strong and
together, last week's visit by President
Bush should help put those doubts
to rest for good.
During my last visit to Washington,
in March, I spoke on Capitol Hill,
in a forum sponsored by the American
Enterprise Institute, largely about
efforts to strengthen the European
defence. Today I am have been invited
by the European Institute, and have
been asked to speak largely about
Some of you might well think my staff
have it backwards - wrong message,
wrong audience. But I assure you it
is all part of long-standing NATO
strategy - take the battles to "enemy"
territory. Never wait for the trouble
to come to you.
Now, speaking about the issues associated
with missile defence, I want to first
put them in context.
As Secretary General, I have two
over-arching pre-occupations. First
is keeping NATO united. Maintaining
the solidarity, the level of political
commitment, the orientation of our
members, the foundation of our common
values - this is an essential part
of my job.
If Europe and North America are ever
divided on matters of security, it
is a recipe for disaster. But if Europe
and North America are together, they
represent the most important, and
most effective force for good on the
The meeting of NATO leaders last
week in Brussels was helped reinforce
NATO unity. The European leaders got
to know President Bush on a personal
basis and establish better understanding
and connection on that level. And
on all the key issues, we came out
far more closely united than the press
would have had us believe before going
into the meeting.
On the Balkans, the President put
the issue of unilateral U.S. withdrawals
to rest. He repeated what Secretary
Powell and Secretary Rumsfeld had
said before him: "In together,
and out together." And in my
mind, that encompasses the key middle
phase, which is "succeeding together."
This is not to say that the United
States or any of the other Allies
is satisfied with the status quo in
the Balkans. But what it does highlight
is that we will consult and decide
on these issues together.
And on the one major issue before
us - addressing the conflict in the
former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia(1)
- that is exactly what we are doing.
On European defence, President Bush
came out squarely supporting the effort
to strengthen Europe's ability to
improve its defence capabilities and
manage crises in cases where NATO
as a whole is not engaged. All the
NATO Allies welcomed the growing practical
relationship between the EU and NATO
- illustrated by my work with Javier
Solana in the Balkans. And they welcomed
the growing institutional links between
NATO and the EU.
Many of the same thorny problems
that we have been wrestling with for
the past few years remain with us
- dealing with the participation of
all non-EU NATO Allies in EU-led operations,
and ensuring coherent defence planning
for both NATO and the EU.
But all the Allied leaders, Mr. Bush
included, put these issues into the
category of problems that must be
solved the right way, rather than
issues that put the wider project
NATO also showed renewed unity and
forward movement on the issue of future
NATO enlargement. Allied leaders agreed
as follows: NATO hopes and expects,
based on current and anticipated progress
by the aspiring members, to launch
the process of enlargement at the
Prague Summit in 2002.
In other words, the so-called "zero
option" is off the table, provided
the candidate countries keep up the
progress they have demonstrated thus
far in the Membership Action Plan.
Now I mentioned two over-arching
pre-occupations as Secretary General.
The first is NATO unity; the second
is keeping NATO relevant. Ahead of
the curve. As effective as possible.
There was once a track and field
coach who had a trick question he
put to all his first-year athletes.
He would ask, "What is your best
time in this event?" And the
only correct answer was, "I don't
This same coach was once approached
by a hurdler who was thrown out of
a race for stepping outside the lines
of his lane. The hurdler complained
that the runner in the next lane had
thrown his arm out while going over
a hurdle and knocked the disqualified
hurdler off-balance. The coach's response
was, "You shouldn't have been
Tough talk, from a good coach, who
knew how to keep his athletes focused
on the hurdles ahead, not the ones
they had already crossed.
And that is the other major aspect
of my job at NATO. Keeping NATO focused
on, and able to address, the security
challenges of today and tomorrow,
not the ones of yesterday.
That is why I am so passionately
committed to pressing forward with
improving NATO's defence capabilities.
We know that the Cold War is over.
That there is no prospect of a Soviet
ground invasion. That we are more
likely to be faced with regional conflicts
such as in Bosnia and Herzegovina
And we know that this means our Cold
War forces and structures are out-of-date.
As the Bulgarian Defence Minister
succinctly put it, "Cold War
forces are a waste of money."
We need forces that are able to get
to the scene of a crisis quickly,
use effective force from the time
they arrive, and stay in the field
as long as necessary to get the job
done. This means a great deal of defence
restructuring for NATO nations - and,
in many cases, it means spending more
money, but spending it on the right
This is why I made a major push for
improved implementation of NATO's
Defence Capabilities Initiative at
the meeting of NATO leaders last week.
NATO is currently planning to implementing
fully only half of what NATO Heads
of State and Government committed
to two years ago at the Washington
For NATO to be effective in the future,
we must produce the right kind of
capabilities. And to the extent the
EU members of NATO meet this challenge,
they will not only support NATO -
they will also be supporting the EU's
Headline Goal, which calls for a force
of up to 60,000 that can be deployed
within 60 days notice and stay in
the field for at least a year.
But keeping NATO ahead of the game
- looking at the hurdles coming up
in front of us, not the ones behind
- means looking at the existing and
emerging challenges. The vulnerability
exposed by the proliferation of weapons
of mass destruction and their means
of delivery. And the disaggregation
of the security threats we face -
from yesterday's monolithic and massive
Soviet Union, to today's multiple
actors who can present a potential
threat, using flexible and highly
destructive WMD and missile capabilities.
On this set of issues - new concepts
of deterrence, new mixes of offensive
and defensive forces, possible strategic
nuclear reductions, and missile defence
- the NATO meeting last week was a
success in terms of both of my main
criteria. We came out more united,
and we came out clearly focused on
the challenges of the future.
When President Bush came to Europe
last week, he did not come to sell
the European Allies a specific missile
defence proposal. Rather, he came
to challenge our collective thinking
about the potential threats we face
and the means of responding to them.
He came to engage in genuine consultations,
before decisions are made, to inform
Allies of U.S. thinking, and hear
their thoughts on this wider range
To be sure, President Bush also made
clear that his Administration intends
to move forward with missile defence.
But this is down the road, based on
research, testing, and the development,
together with Allies and partners,
of a new strategic framework, which
are now only beginning to be discussed.
But in the meantime, it is the launching
of these discussions themselves, and
the strong commitment to such consultations
that was made by President Bush, that
was the hallmark of the handling of
this issue at our meeting. And the
other NATO Allies equally committed
themselves to serious and detailed
consultation in NATO on these issues.
And I would add that it is not just
the United States and the other NATO
Allies that are thinking about these
things. Russia has also focused on
the threat posed by "rogue states"
- President Putin's choice of words
when I saw him in February - and he
named them individually.
And Russia has put forward a military
response of its own - a non-strategic
theatre missile defence proposal.
So there is a great deal of common
diagnosis of the problem, and more
real common perspective on solutions
than meets the eye.
So that is the state of Alliance
discussion thus far. The U.S. is presenting
its ideas; all the Allies are engaging
in serious consultations; and these
consultations will continue and deepen
before any decisions are made.
Now let me, on a personal basis,
put to you some further thoughts on
these problems and how we need to
To begin with, the issue is broader
than just missile threats - however
important they may be - in terms of
both military gain and political influence.
We are dealing with a rapid dispersal
of high technology - computers, electronic
communications, miniaturisation, deadly
biological and chemical agents, and
so on. And we are dealing with a global
system that is more diverse and fractious
than the bipolar framework of the
The very source of our increasing
wealth and modernisation - the high
tech revolution - is also the source
of new challenges to the safety and
security of our societies.
While I believe we must fully maintain
our efforts on the existing security
challenges before us, we must fundamentally
re-think the way we will deal with
the emerging security challenges of
Until now, it has been our approach
to apply a heavy penalty for any military
attack against a NATO member. That
is what Article 5 is all about. We
reserve even higher penalties - nuclear
retaliation - for any use of nuclear
weapons against us.
But with the new kind of challenges
we face, there may never be a clear,
state-to-state attack. Many non-state
actors are involved. And if there
is an attack - say a biological weapon
in a suitcase - we may not be sure
who is responsible. And we are less
and less satisfied with the notion
that a single terrorist or rogue state
could hold one of our cities hostage.
To address these different kinds
of challenges, we must think again
about defensive measures. And we need
to raise the penalties, raise the
threshold, against this kind of attack
on our societies, by whatever source.
Raising the threshold does not mean
reliance solely on a military response
- whether offensive or defensive.
I believe we need to develop a multifaceted
approach, encompassing political,
economic, law-enforcement and military
First, we must renew our efforts
at preventing the non-proliferation
of WMD and missile technologies. This
is not a lost cause. We need to increase
the incentives for those states who
possess such technology to behave
responsibly; and we need to increase
the penalties against those who do
Second, we must look at economic
efforts. This applies particularly
to non-state actors - terrorist groups
- whose activities are more limited;
where we can trace the flow of money;
and where we can disrupt their profitable
activities. But we must also think
in economic terms when raising the
costs and reducing the benefits of
proliferation for states as well.
Third - and this is related - we
must see greater coordination among
international organisations that can
bring pressure to bear on this issue.
This includes the usual mix of NATO,
the EU, the UN, the OSCE and so forth.
But, increasingly, there is a law
enforcement dimension, and we need
to do better at linking our international
law enforcement efforts with our broader
international security efforts.
Fourth, and tied to law enforcement,
is the issue of raising the penalties
to proliferators and WMD terrorists
on an individual basis. In the recent
wars in the Balkans, the international
community established a war crimes
tribunal to prosecute those who committed
such ghastly crimes in that conflict.
The same was done for Rwanda.
These efforts came on stream only
after the conflicts were under way,
so they did not succeed in having
a deterrent effect. But they will
do so in the future. And I would submit
- as unpopular as it may be in this
town - that we need to keep thinking
about the pluses and minuses of the
International Criminal Court.
I am familiar with the downsides
perceived here in the United States.
But we must also think about the downsides
of not having such a tool at hand
to punish WMD terrorists, just as
we are punishing those who conducted
ethnic cleansing in the Balkans.
Finally, we do need to think about
military responses as well. Missile
defence is and should be the subject
of deep reflection and consultation
in NATO. We have an obligation to
protect our societies. And we must
ensure that our own military capabilities
remain relatively less vulnerable,
so that they remain effective in all
So this is a broad framework capturing
some of my thinking on these issues.
It strays well beyond official NATO
policy at the moment. But as we indeed
face serious challenges now and into
the future, it is imperative that
we think broadly about how to respond
to them. And my job as NATO's coach
is to help keep us focused on the
hurdles ahead, not the ones we have
As I said at the outset, NATO has
already begun to engage in open-minded
consultations on this full range of
issues - well before any decisions
have been made. These consultations
will continue, deepen, and they will
produce results. And one key result,
no matter where we come out on the
substance of the issue, will be a
NATO Alliance that is unified, strong,
and effective in preserving the safety
of our families, and our future generations.
1. Turkey recognises
the Republic of Macedonia with its