for a Renewed Transatlantic Partnership"
by Lord Robertson, NATO Secretary General
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am honoured to be the first NATO Secretary General to address
this Committee. And I will try to make the most of it, by being
both provocative and brief.
September 11 2001 caused an extraordinary upsurge in transatlantic
solidarity. It created an unprecedented coalition against terrorism,
with the transatlantic nations at its core. But it also posed
fundamental questions about how we are to ensure our future
Some of the questions are not new. They arose after the Cold
War and following the Gulf Conflict. "What role should
the North Americans play in Europe?" "What
role should the Europeans play beyond Europe?" "What
part should NATO play?"
Other questions have, however, been posed by the horrific
events of September 11 and its aftermath. "What is the
best way to deal with terrorism and threats from weapons of
mass destruction?" "How can we build on the
strengths of our existing structures to meet these new increased
It is the responsibility of governments and organisations
such as NATO to satisfy you and your publics that we are answering
Two years ago, I suggested a set of guiding principles for
a European Security and Defence Policy evolving in harmony with
NATO: these 3 positive principles were the three "I's"
- Indivisibility, Inclusiveness and Improvement. On reflection,
I believe that these three "I's" also serve as guidelines
for the wider transatlantic security relationship.
Indivisibility refers to our security. All the major security
challenges that lie ahead affect Europe and North America. The
Balkans experience of the early 1990s should have taught us
a lesson. Initially, the US believed that they were not affected
-- that the US didn't have "a dog in this fight" and
could leave things to the Europeans. And the Europeans famously
announced that "the hour of Europe" had come.
In the end, however, the US realised that European security
is American security. And the Europeans realised that transatlantic
cooperation was timely. As a result, together we ended a war
in Bosnia, stopped ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, and prevented
a civil war in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (1).
The indivisibility of security also applies to the challenge
When the terrorists hit the World Trade Center, "Le
Monde" carried a headline saying: "we are all
That was not just a reflexive gesture. It was a recognition
that Europe can be hit by catastrophic terrorism just as hard
as the US. After all, Europeans have been exposed to terrorism
for far longer than the US.
That's why NATO's invocation of Article 5, the blanket overflight
rights Allies granted to each other, or NATO AWACS protecting
US airspace were not just token symbols of support for the US:
they were also in the strategic self-interest of Europe: to
prevail in the battle against terrorism.
If the challenges affect us all, the only feasible approach
to deal with them is an inclusive one. Hence, my second "I":
Inclusiveness. Inclusiveness that extends beyond NATO, beyond
its current 19 members. The Alliance must engage and cooperate
with all nations of the Euro-Atlantic area.
NATO's Partnership initiatives have created such a link between
NATO and the wider Europe. The 46 nations of the Partnership
for Peace and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council have become
the epitome of an inclusive approach to security.
Some Partners have stated their intention to go further: to
become a member of NATO. This is a legitimate demand. If Europe
is to grow together, if it is to fully overcome its erstwhile
Cold War division for good, our key institutions cannot remain
geared to the past -- neither in their policies, nor in their
memberships. That is why NATO -- very much like the European
Union -- must face the challenge of enlargement. And why at
our Summit in Prague next November, we will issue one or more
The logic of inclusiveness is also applicable to our relations
with Russia. September 11 has created an entirely new context
for NATO-Russia relations. It has highlighted the fact that
NATO and Russia share common concerns -- and that they had better
focus on addressing these concerns together.
Hence our determination to go beyond consultation and actually
decide together on all the issues where we have common interests.
A new forum for our cooperation, in which we can decide and
act "at 20", should be ready soon. This means that
I will be in the chair and Russia will sit between Portugal
and Spain. It will symbolise what has become ever more urgent,
and what NATO and Russia should in fact have achieved much sooner:
a genuine partnership that enables us to meet the new security
NATO's success in building an inclusive approach to security
demonstrates the strategic value of a strong, permanent Alliance,
with deeply ingrained habits of cooperation and mutual trust
that comes from shared values. But even such well-established,
long-term alliances will need to adapt if they want to be around
for the longer term. This brings me to my last "I":
As far as NATO is concerned, its role in combating terrorism
is being strengthened. Intelligence-sharing among Allies will
be increased further. We will use our Centre for Weapons of
Mass Destruction to focus more systematically on the protection
of our forces and populations against nuclear, biological and
chemical weapons, on the dangers of proliferation, and on ballistic
missile defence. And we will review our defence capabilities
to tailor them more specifically to the requirements of combating
terrorism. This new work is of course part of a wider effort
to continue the modernisation of European and Canadian forces.
Let me be quite clear. I am committed to modernising Europe's
armed forces for two equally important reasons. First, because
I am a committed Atlanticist. And as an Atlanticist, my judgement
is that enabling NATO's European members to take a greater share
of the burden of maintaining our common transatlantic security
is the best possible way to build on the emotional and practical
strengthening of transatlantic bonds resulting from September
But I am also a committed European. The EU's European Security
and Defence Identity conceived at St Malo was in part at least
my brainchild. For the past two years, I have worked in NATO
to build the sound, practical relationship between the Alliance
and the EU on which a successful ESDI/ESDP depends.
So I want Europe to share the military burden because it is
in our interests for Europe to play a stronger role in the transatlantic
partnership, and take on more defence and security responsibilities.
My aim is for the European countries, in NATO and the EU, to
have a military capacity that better reflects their political
and economic might.
Today's picture is not as bleak as some paint it. For example,
on the ground in the Balkans, the Europeans are doing the lion's
share. More than 85% of peacekeeping troops are European, and
the EU contributes the bulk of reconstruction and development
But, the bitter reality is that we are hard pressed to maintain
those 50,000 European troops in the Balkans. And hardly any
European country can deploy useable and effective forces in
significant numbers outside their borders, and sustain them
for months or even years as we all need to do today. For all
Europe's rhetoric, and an annual investment of over $ 140 billion
by NATO's European members, we still need US help to move, command
and provision a major operation.
As an Atlanticist and as a European, I am convinced that all
European countries must show a new willingness to develop effective
crisis management capabilities.
The choice for the Europeans is modernisation or marginalisation.
I am therefore sounding once again my clarion call of "capabilities,
capabilities, capabilities". My own inclination for the
NATO-Prague Summit is to refocus on a much smaller number of
absolutely critical capabilities and to commit nations to acquiring
them. In doing so, however, we must ensure that our work continues
to run in parallel with and to complement the EU's Headline
And to those who argue that the US defence build-up will be
good only for the US defence industry, there is no reason why
European industry should not similarly benefit from a drive
to restore European capability. Most of the important capability
shortfalls could be met by European companies.
But the United States similarly should facilitate this process
of European defence modernisation. By easing unnecessary restrictions
on technology transfer and industrial cooperation, and by liberalising
its export policies, Washington can improve the quality of the
capabilities available, and diminish any problems our forces
have in working together.
Otherwise, the gap between American forces on the one hand
and European and Canadian forces on the other will be unbridgeable.
For Washington, the choice could become: act alone or not at
all. And that is no choice at all. For Americans and Europeans
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The attacks on September 11 were an attack against us all. But
as Henry Kissinger put it, we began with a tragedy and are ending
up with an opportunity. The opportunity to draw the right lessons,
to learn and to adapt. In short, the opportunity to build a
renewed transatlantic security partnership for the Third Millennium.
recognises the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional