In Jeopardy? Europe and the Transatlantic Alliance
NATO and the Transatlantic Alliance: The American Perspective
The Honorable Fay Hartog Levin, Ambassador of the United States of America to The Kingdom of the Netherlands
The Honorable Ivo Daalder, United States Permanent Representative to NATO
Welcome and Moderator: Niamh King, Vice President, Programs, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs
March 1, 2012 Chicago, Illinois
NIAMH KING: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to tonight’s program. My name is Niamh King; I’m the vice president for programs at The Chicago Council. First order of business is if you could turn off your phones, please, that would be terrific.
We’re delighted to have Ambassador Ivo Daalder here with us tonight. And, as many of you know, The Chicago Council has been a unique platform for dialogue for 90 years. It’s our 90th anniversary. And we feel particularly lucky to have this happen the same year that Chicago is hosting the G-8 and NATO summits. This certainly speaks to our mission of bringing the world to Chicago and Chicago to the world.
So this program this evening is the first in our public program series called “In Jeopardy?” – with a question mark after it – “Europe and the Transatlantic Alliance.” This is a series that’ll focus on the issues that are being brought up in the G-8 and NATO summits. Tonight Ambassador Daalder’s going to kick off the series.
Some of the other upcoming programs in the series are: March 28th we’ll be hosting the Honorable Nick Burns. He’s a professor at Harvard; he’s also the former undersecretary of state for political affairs and a former U.S. ambassador to NATO. We’ll then, welcome back to The Council Martin Wolf from the Financial Times. And on May 2nd, we’re delighted to host Madeleine Albright. Please see The Chicago Council staff or the website for more details.
Tonight we wouldn’t be here without the generous support of the MacArthur Foundation and the McCormick Foundation. Thank you very much to them. We also have generous support for this series from Abbott. And we have of course this beautiful venue tonight. The Union League Club has been a wonderful partner for us for this series and particularly this program tonight.
And then many of you are here as a result of other organizations you’re affiliated with. We have no less than 42 partnering organizations. And it’s wonderful to see so many of you represented around here. We’re thrilled to be able to reach out to the Chicago community like that. So membership starts at $80. We have 150 programs a year. And I’d encourage you to think about joining The Council as well.
Now I’m going to bring to the stage a wonderful new colleague that we have at The Council, Ambassador Fay Hartog Levin. She’s our Senior Adviser for European Affairs at The Council. And she’s also the Former U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. So please join me in welcoming Fay to the stage. (Applause.)
FAY HARTOG LEVIN: Good evening and welcome. And thank you for joining us for the first of our lecture series welcoming the incoming Chicago summits. I’m really pleased to welcome Ambassador Ivo Daalder, who will share his unique perspectives on NATO, the trans-Atlantic alliance and the priorities for the Chicago summit agenda in May. I look forward to the ambassador’s remarks on recent developments in Afghanistan, the role of NATO in Europe and the world, and the future of the military alliance. There will be opportunities for questions after Ambassador Daalder’s prepared remarks.
His official biography is on your chair, but let me give you my version of it. I first met Ivo Daalder in The Hague shortly after I arrived as Ambassador to the Netherlands. My first official reception in The Hague as Ambassador was in honor of Ambassador Daalder. And while I had been very impressed with the excellence of both the career and noncareer diplomats that I had met, Ambassador Daalder’s qualifications were more than impressive; they were humbling.
And of course he was more Dutch than I, even though I claim Dutch roots, as he had been born and raised in the Netherlands. And while I was dealing with one foreign government, the Dutch government, he was dealing with 27. I would give interviews in English; he would do talk shows in Dutch. So I knew quickly why my first reception went so well.
Ambassador Daalder has served as the United States Permanent Representative to NATO since May of 2009. His previous public service was in the Clinton administration, serving on the National Security Council staff as director for European affairs, also responsible for coordinating U.S. policy towards Bosnia.
In between his public service, he was a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution in foreign policy studies, specializing in American foreign policy, European security, trans-Atlantic relations and national security affairs. He has also written several books, the most recent of which is “In the Shadow of the Oval Office: Profiles of the National Security Advisers and the Presidents They Served – from JFK to George W. Bush.”
We are very grateful to Ambassador Daalder for making the time to share his insights with this Chicago audience. I think you’ll find that his experience and his knowledge are more than impressive, and we are lucky to have him kick off this very important series. Please now join me in welcoming Ambassador Daalder to the Chicago Council. (Applause.)
AMBASSADOR IVO DAALDER: Well, thanks, Ambassador Levin, for that quite over-the-top introduction. My mother would certainly not have recognized me. But if you’d done it in Dutch, she probably would have.
It – as everyone knows who has been part of the – of the diplomatic corps, and particularly in what we call the EUR family, the European affairs family – Ambassador Levin did an extraordinary job representing the United States in the Netherlands, a country we have good, firm roots with. But we miss you; we really do. It’s – I won’t blame your absence for the fact that the Dutch are still struggling to become – to be good NATO allies, but it would have helped if you’d stayed to make sure that they did their fair share.
It’s also really a thrill to be back in Chicago. The last time I was here I was actually, now that I recall, at The Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, as it was then called – where I gave a talk on the Bush revolution in foreign policy. I won’t go there. I’ll just – (laughter) – stick with what we can call the success of the new NATO that – whether that’s a revolution or not, we can decide or historians can decide at some point in the future. But it is, with all due respect, an alliance that is doing well and certainly not in jeopardy. So that’s what I want to talk about today.
I want to talk – take you through the story of how NATO became and is now today a revitalized, strong military alliance that brings together not only 28 countries, but now 60 countries around the world who are partners – 28 allies and close to 40 other countries that, in one way or another, are related to NATO, want to be part of the experiment that NATO has, want to be part of the hub of security building that NATO – that NATO is providing.
Today’s NATO is not my father’s, or indeed some of your grandfathers’, alliance. It’s a very different alliance than the one that we read about in history books that I studied when I was in university. We today have what I would call NATO 3.0. We’re in the third version, a new version of NATO.
If you – if you go back, NATO 1.0 – the alliance that was founded in 1949 when 12 nations came together in Washington to sign the treaty on April 4th, 1949 – that alliance came together for a singular purpose: to provide confidence to the countries of Western Europe, devastated from an extraordinary period of 25 years of war starting in 1914 and ending – 30 years of war – and ending in 1945, to give those countries strength and confidence to stand up against a threat that was coming from the east, represented by the Soviet Union and communism.
And NATO’s foundation, NATO’s purpose was to make sure that those countries could rebuild themselves, could become revitalized, could stand up again and become the full and productive and democratic members of the international community that the people of those countries wanted to be. And NATO provided the foundation for the re-emergence of Europe. It provided the foundation for the European Union, or the – as it was originally called, the European Economic Community.
It was the foundation for the rebuilding of the prosperity in Germany, in France, in Britain, in Italy and throughout Western Europe, but it also was a bulwark against the advance of a – of Soviet communism and, indeed, a deterrent to the expansion of that communism into the rest of Europe. That was the original purpose of NATO. That’s what NATO 1.0 was all about.
And then in 1989 the wall that had divided – literally divided Europe came down. And a new NATO was born. Indeed, at that time many were questioning whether NATO still had a purpose, whether there was a reason for having NATO. One of Chicago’s great sons, John Mearsheimer, a professor at the University of Chicago, wrote a famous article, why NATO would in fact be coming part because the raison d’être was – had disappeared.
It turns out NATO 2.0 was born. This was a NATO that was fundamentally concerned about stabilizing and transforming Central and Eastern Europe. It would do for Eastern Europe what the United States and NATO in the first 40 years of the existence of the alliance had done for Western Europe: provide a basis for countries to transform themselves, to throw off the yoke of dictatorship, to become prosperous and real members of the Western – and indeed, of the European continent.
The NATO of 1989 had 16 members. The NATO of today has 28 members, 12 new members who came from the area in Central and Eastern Europe that had either been dominated by and run by the Soviet Union or had lived in the shadow of the Soviet Union. Of those 12 new countries, all but one, Albania, has also become a member of the European Union.
And it was this approach by the European Union and NATO together that created a – and allowed the stabilization of this part of the world, the emergence of this part of the world as part of a new Europe that was united, democratic and at peace. And today it is – can be said that in European history, Europe is more united, more peaceful, and more democratic than it has ever been in history. That is an accomplishment that NATO, the European Union and the countries that make up these organizations can be proud of.
So having done that, the question was: What’s next? And that is where NATO 3.0 comes in. This is the new NATO, the NATO that was born at the last summit of NATO leaders in Lisbon, and it has two fundamental characteristics. One is it is an alliance that is focused on operations – it is an operative alliance. Last year there were six NATO operations on three continents. Of course, we know about the operation in Afghanistan, which is still ongoing, and I’ll say something more in a minute about that.
But we also have a major operation in the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea to counter terrorism – piracy. We have a continuing operation in the Balkans, which is where we started in the 1990s, to have a NATO role. We continue to have a role for NATO in the Balkans, to help stabilize that. We have a counterterrorism operation in the Mediterranean. We had, until the end of last year, a training mission in Iraq. And of course, in – for seven months last year during Operation Unified Protector, NATO was in charge of protecting civilians in Libya.
This is the new NATO. It’s a NATO that is engaged in operations. But secondly, it’s not only an operative alliance; it has also become a hub for global security. In Afghanistan, we have not just 28 NATO countries that are involved, but 22 non-NATO countries, 50 in all that are providing military capability in order to help the Afghans to secure their own future.
In the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea, NATO is the anchor that brings together 19 other countries plus the European Union to counter piracy. In Libya, we were the instrument of the internationalist community to make sure that there was a protection for civilians who were being attacked in a brutal fashion by the Gadhafi dictatorship. NATO became – and others were part of that organization.
NATO is not just about the security of Europe and in Europe but is increasingly seen as the hub of a global network of security. That’s the new NATO. And that was a NATO that was born, as I said, in Lisbon, which was truly a transformative summit for a transformative organization. It laid the basis in Lisbon for transforming NATO into a 21st-century alliance dealing with 21st-century threats and issues.
It did so by adopting a new Strategic Concept. And unlike most documents that bureaucracies put together, this one was clear, it was concise, it was short, and by the way, it was readable. You can read it in about 10 minutes. And it was a clear statement of what NATO’s purposes and NATO’s goals are about. I sum it up in what I think are the four Cs. NATO is a community of values committed to collective defense, cooperative security and uses common capabilities and structures in order to do that.
First, it is important to remind ourselves that NATO is not just a military alliance. It is above all a military alliance of likeminded states who share a fundamental community of values, values of democracy, of human rights, of the rule of law, of what makes countries like the Europeans and the United States different from those who are elsewhere. And without that community of values, without the fundamental underpinning of that commitment to these values, NATO would be a very different alliance.
The second C and the third C have to do with the tasks that NATO has for itself. First and most important remains the fundamental core commitment for collective defense. Article 5 of the NATO treaty, signed in 1949, is a commitment to regard an attack against one as an attack against all and to respond accordingly. That is the core foundation of what NATO is all about. It is why countries want to join this alliance. They want to enjoy the benefit of collective defense that the original founding members of NATO have had for a long time.
This challenge is not just about making sure that you have collective defense of territory against armies coming across borders, but it is as relevant in the 21st century when the threats are different. They come atop ballistic missiles, perhaps armed with nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. They can come through cyberspace as new networks are taken down by countries who wish one ill. They can come through terrorism.
And indeed, the first and only time in the history of this alliance that Article 5 was invoked was not, as many had believed, when the Soviet Union or some other country invaded Eastern Europe, but it was when terrorists took airplanes and turned jetliners into weapons of mass destruction on September 11th, 2001. The next day – the very next day NATO invoked Article 5 as a – as – in recognition that that attack against the United States was the kind of thing that represented an attack against all.
Collective defense therefore remains, even in today’s world, a fundamental core principle. But NATO is today more than a collective defense organization. It is also a cooperative security organization, the third C, that it’s based on the recognition that today security at home requires security abroad, that our ability to be secure requires not just that we have safe borders, but that there is safety and security for others outside. Threats now can come across borders and from anywhere and at any time, and we need to be able to cooperate with other countries in order to deal with those threats.
So we are working within NATO to establish the procedures for crisis management to make sure that we can deal with issues and threats before they become too great to our security. We are engaged and supportive of arms control and nonproliferation measures designed to reduce threats or to contain them and control them before they can threaten the security of any of our members. And we have recognized that even 28 strong countries from the United States, North – Canada, and Europe, that those countries alone, together with the countries of Europe, can’t deal with all the threats around the world, that we need NATO to work together with other countries. Just as the United States has recognized that it can’t resolve all problems by itself, so NATO has recognized that it needs partners around the world.
I mentioned the 22 partners in Afghanistan, the 19 partners that are dealing together with NATO on counterpiracy. But even in Europe, even in Kosovo, we have eight countries that are not NATO members, including Morocco – think about it: Morocco – that is providing troops to ensure that there is security in Kosovo.
And of course, in our Libya operation, it wasn’t just the NATO members that dedicated themselves to the operation, but there were four Arab countries, including one North African country, Morocco again, that was a central part – a legitimizing part of the operation. So NATO has now become a forum for bringing together not just the 28 member states but other countries in an effort to create and enhance cooperative security.
Finally, what makes NATO unique and different are the common structures – the fourth C of the new NATO. It has an integrated command structure, an ability to turn from the decision to act into action in a matter of hours, or least in days. In Libya, it took 10 days for NATO to decide that it would act militarily in order to protect the civilians there after the U.N. Security Council passed this resolution. And within four days after that, NATO had taken complete command and control of the military operation because it had an integrated command structure consisting of some 10,000 officers from different NATO countries that was able to act quickly and swiftly when the time was necessary.
Not only is there an integrated command structure, NATO also has capabilities that we have in common. Airborne early warning systems, AWACS aircraft are owned and operated by NATO. We have an integrated air defense system. We have pipelines that allow – that allow oil and lubricants to be moved from one part of the – of Europe to others parts of Europe so that you have the fuel necessary for military operations. We have forces that are training together and are interoperable where we know that the radios, when they talk to each other, we can listen to each other. We make sure that the fuel nozzles of refueling planes fit whatever aircraft is within the structure of our armed forces to make sure that 28 nations can operate together – and increasingly, not only 28 nations, but the partner nations that work together. We have spent common funding, common funds in order to make sure that these integrated common capabilities exist and are ready to go when the day – when the day is – when the – when the need arises and the day comes.
That is what NATO – what makes NATO different from the coalition of the willing. If you were to put together a bunch of countries to say we need to invest in – we need to engage in military operations in this or that theater, they don’t have the interoperability per se. They don’t have the common command structure. They will rely on the United States, which is the biggest power – military power in the world, to provide all of that – not NATO. And that’s a recognition that is important, because what NATO provided was the foundation for the Obama administration to pursue a different version and a different way of ensuring our security.
We saw this in Libya, that NATO is an organization that is fit for purpose, ready to act, and to do so in a way in which burdens can be fairly shared. Is it an organization that can make a decision to act very rapidly, that can then sustain the unity of an alliance for a long period of time and bring in other countries to make sure that the maximum military effect and the maximum political legitimacy is achieved through a military operation, and that, in the end, it can succeed militarily.
The Obama administration came to office believing that in today’s world, we need – in a world a globalization and threats that are diverse and difficult to counter, we need partners and we need alliances in order to deal with those challenges. And the Obama administration set out to rebuild the alliances, to strengthen the partnerships and to make NATO a core institution in that – in that effort. There was a fundamental understanding that we needed to work with others in order to get things done, that Europeans, when it comes down to it, would be not only our preferred partners, but the ones that were most likely to provide the capabilities necessary to get the job done, and that NATO, as that organization that had the integrated capabilities, was the core of such an engagement. And that remains as true today as it was when NATO was founded. NATO remains the fundamental core of our engagement in the world because it is where partners can come together and work with us in a fair and burden-sharing way to achieve the objectives that we have set ourselves.
So that’s the NATO that came together in nineteen – in 2010. And that became operational and evident in 2011. So why do we have to meet in Chicago if everything is so well, you may well ask. Well, one, because it’s a great city. And it’s a good opportunity for the United States to showcase to our NATO allies what the United States still does for and cares for when it comes to European security. That’s one good reason. In fact, it’s a very good reason. But it’s not the only reason.
In order for us to continue to make sure that this alliance remains as vibrant and as ready and fit for purpose as possible, we need to come together. And we must come together 80 days from today in Chicago in order to address the pressing problems of our day. Those problems are, number one, Afghanistan, which is and remains the key and most important priority for this alliance; number two, how in an era of fiscal stress, of austerity are we going to maintain the defense capabilities necessary to ensure that NATO tomorrow can do what NATO did in Libya and in other parts of the world in years past. And finally, we need to – we need to come together to make sure that the countries around the world will continue to want to be part of and partners of NATO. So we want to showcase not only our partnerships, but our – the strength of NATO as a hub for security.
So let me talk about those three elements – Afghanistan, how to maintain capabilities, and what we should do with regard to partnerships. On Afghanistan, the United States, together with our NATO allies and partners, may have made extraordinary progress in Afghanistan towards our core goal – our core goal, which is to defeat al-Qaida and to deny it a safe haven in Afghanistan. We have also worked very hard. And our soldiers each and every day – not only ours, but those of NATO countries and those of NATO partners – are sacrificing each and every other day in order to – first, to halt and now to reverse the momentum of the Taliban and to start building the capacity of Afghan security forces in order that they ultimately can take responsibility for security. That is our goal. Our goal is not to be there forever. Our goal is to provide the capability for the Afghans to provide for their own security, to be able to deny Afghanistan once and for all as a safe haven to terrorists.
At the NATO summit in Lisbon in 2010, NATO leaders and President Karzai agreed that we would support an Afghan-led transition process. We agreed that the transition would begin in 2011 and lead to the Afghan government having full responsibility for security across the country by the end of 2014. The United States and all of our allies and partners in Afghanistan remain fully committed to this fundamental Lisbon framework. We are committed to executing it together. And we are committed to the principle in together, out together. We came into Afghanistan together, and we will leave Afghanistan together.
The transition that we announced in Lisbon is now under way. Nearly 50 percent of the Afghan population is now living in areas where the Afghan security forces have the lead responsibility for security. In those areas, it is the Afghans that are providing security, and it is NATO and ISAF countries and partners that are providing support. As this transition progresses, the role of the NATO forces, of U.S. forces and of our partner forces will evolve from their lead combat role to a support, advice and assist role as Afghan forces become more and more responsible for security. During this entire transition period, however, until the end of 2014, NATO’s forces, including American forces, will continue to be fully combat ready and will conduct combat operations as needed and as required.
Now when President Obama last June announced that he would host the NATO summit in the – his wonderful – this wonderful town this May, he said that at the summit leaders would define the next phase of transition. And in the lead-up to the summit in 80 days, we are engaged in active consultations and close coordination with our ISAF and Afghan partners about how a shift in mission can occur most effectively within the Lisbon framework. Ultimately, any final decision on transition and how that next phase will be implemented will be made by President Obama and his fellow leaders here in Chicago on May 21st.
As part of our transition discussions in Chicago, leaders will also discuss how we can support a sustainable and sufficient Afghan national security force for Afghans’ future and how we can further strengthen the NATO-Afghan strategic partnership so that we can ensure that Afghanistan not only is secure until 2014 but beyond 2014. Chicago will therefore represent a critical milestone in our effort in Afghanistan, as leaders come together to determine the next phase of transition and the future of how we will support Afghanistan and its security forces in 2015 and beyond.
That is the fundamental purpose of what we’re seeking to achieve as we come here in 80 – in 80 days, to recognize the progress that has been made, to chart the future course of the continuing transition that we embarked upon, and to make sure that Afghanistan knows, the world knows, and above all the Taliban knows that we remain committed in an enduring relationship to Afghanistan. That’s goal number one for the summit.
Goal number two relates to making sure that NATO retains the capabilities in these difficult financial times when everybody is cutting their defenses to find a way, nevertheless, to maintain the capability necessary to do the job as effectively in the future as we have done in the past. As Libya showed, the requirements for a strong and flexible and deployable military force is as needed today as it was during the height of the Cold War. New threats require new defense responses that are just as capable, just as immediate, just as agile as the ones that we had before.
The key question for NATO countries, for each and every one of our countries, is how do we square that circle of dwindling financial resources with the need for critical capabilities. And the answer that NATO is providing is two-fold. First, we’re going to concentrate on the truly important and critical capabilities, and we’re going to fund them and deploy them. Two of those stand out as critical. One is missile defense.
In Lisbon, the 28 leaders agreed that NATO would create and deploy a missile defense system to provide protection for NATO European populations, forces, and territory. The first phases of that missile defense system are starting to be deployed. And when we get to Chicago in a few weeks’ time, we will be able to be in a position for NATO to take command and control of the NATO missile defense system and to provide a limited defense of a limited territory against a limited threat. As the threat evolves, NATO’s capability will evolve. And we will work with countries in Europe in order to ensure that the capabilities to defend against a ballistic missile threat will be increased.
We have made agreements, as the United States, with Turkey, with Poland, with Romania, with Spain and Germany on deploying critical elements of the U.S. missile defense system. We have also made agreements with NATO that we will integrate those critical elements into a NATO system so that everyone who has capability to defend against ballistic missiles can contribute to the wider effort of providing protection against this growing threat that is coming from the Middle East.
The second key capability, which we found in Libya was so important for us to be able to conduct military operations, is intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance. These are the kinds of assets that fly over territory that find out where there are targets, how – what – distinguish those targets from ones that are not legitimate, that make sure that if we – if we – if you were going after a command and control site or a tank or whatever, that you do so with maximum precision and minimum – minimal collateral damage.
The United States in Libya provided between 70 (percent) and 80 percent of all the intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance capability. But we found it hard to do so. We were in Afghanistan. We were in Iraq. We were using these assets in various other parts of the world, and we would have liked a NATO capacity to fill in that role.
Four weeks ago in Brussels, the defense ministers of the NATO countries finally agreed, after 19 years of trying, to purchase a system – five drones, major drones – that will provide NATO with the capacity to acquire the kinds of targets that it needs to acquire to provide the basis for the very intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities that are necessary to achieve our objectives. So missile defense and ISR, in the lingo of the military – the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets – are those critical capabilities that even in times of financial stress, the NATO countries have been willing to provide the resources for in order to acquire them.
But aside from critical capabilities, the second way in which we would try to – try to square the circle is to emphasize that we need to do more together. It is unrealistic for the United States, or indeed for any country in Europe, with one or two exceptions, to think that they can increase defense spending in the next few years. It’s not going to happen, for all the reasons that we know. So while we can’t spend more, we could probably spend more together. And if we spend smarter, we can get more capability for the euro or the kroner or the dollar that is available.
Let me give you three examples. Sweden bought one half of a C-17 transport airplane. Now, unless somebody else buys the other half, it’s not a particularly useful plane. (Laughter.) But Sweden worked together with 11 other countries to buy three C-17s. A C-17 is a big airplane made by Boeing – I believe you are aware of where Boeing is – made by Boeing that will provide the ability to, over long distances, transport troops and equipment and what have you. Sweden, by having bought one-half plane, is now allowed to use one sixth of the flying hours of that fleet for any purpose that it feels necessary.
Most of them use it to resupply their troops in Afghanistan. But when the earthquake happened in Haiti, Sweden used its allocation for these airplanes to provide humanitarian relief into Haiti. Sweden couldn’t afford one plane, and Finland, which is another non-NATO country that is part of this consortium, couldn’t afford that plane, but these 11 countries together were able to afford – these 12 countries together were able to afford three planes. That’s how you spend smart, more together.
Missile defense, the second example. The Dutch government has decided, even as it was reducing its spending quite drastically, that it would invest 250 million euros in upgrading radars on its first-generation, advanced generation frigates, so that those radars could track ballistic missiles as they were flying to targets in Europe. Now, if you have a radar that can track ballistic missiles but you don’t have an interceptor that can shoot them down, it’s not a particularly smart investment, frankly.
So the only way in which the 250 million euro investment to upgrade these radars makes sense is if the data from those radars can be plugged into a system that can be used by other countries that do have the interceptors to intercept the ballistic missiles that are coming towards you. So ballistic missile defense, by having NATO provide the core capability in which you can plug and play your interceptors and radars, and then for a small investment, means that the Netherlands, by investing 250 million euros into its radar systems, now has a defense capability because it’s part of NATO. That is smarter spending together.
Finally, air policing. When the Baltic countries joined NATO in 2004, they asked, we need somebody to police our airspace but we don’t have any aircraft. NATO took on the responsibility to air police, to provide air policing for the Baltic countries, and the Balts were then capable and used the resources that would otherwise be necessary to buy airplanes to invest them in real capabilities that we see today in Afghanistan.
Estonia has the largest per capita deployment of forces of any country in the world in Afghanistan. And all of them are in the south, in Helmand, and all of them are in the fight. And indeed, Estonia until recently had the largest per capita casualty rate. They were able to be an active participant in Afghanistan because NATO took care of their air sovereignty and air security. So an effective and efficient alliance is one that does more together. It doesn’t mean that we have to spend more; we just have to spend smarter in spending it together.
Finally, a word about partnerships. NATO is increasingly an organization that provides critical capabilities with which all member states want to be associated. In Europe, nonmember states like Sweden, Finland and Austria – and even Switzerland, the world’s number-one neutral country – increasingly see NATO as a vital institution to promote security and then to cooperate and contribute troops and money to operations and activities around – that NATO is engaged in.
In Asia, NATO is no longer a dirty word. It is not just Australia, but New Zealand and South Korea, which has 500 troops in Afghanistan, and even Japan, which provides vital resources in Afghanistan, that now look to NATO to be part of the international security effort. And in the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Qatar preferred to work through NATO when it came to the question of whether to use military force in Libya rather than to do so in a coalition of the willing.
All these countries have come to recognize that NATO is a hub for building security –
not that NATO is the world policeman, which it is not, but that it is a forum for dialogue and a forum for bringing countries together for collective action.
That is another area that we will recognize, and we will bring together in Chicago those countries that have contributed the most and recognize their contribution in order to both value that in and of itself and to provide them and other countries an incentive, in the future, to contribute more to collective security by being partnered and associated with NATO.
As the title of this series suggested, many have long heralded the end or the withering of this alliance. Indeed, I probably have written one or two articles myself doing that in my previous career. But what’s most remarkable about the debate today about NATO is that no one is thinking or writing about the withering of NATO or the end of this alliance. We just don’t hear that kind of talk anymore.
NATO proved itself in Libya. It proves itself every day in Afghanistan. It is, as President Obama has said, the cornerstone of our American engagement in the world and the catalyst for global cooperation. And the reason, I think, is simple: NATO, in 63 years, has proven to be adaptable. NATO, in 63 years, has proven itself to be enduring. And NATO, in those 63 years, has proven itself to be an alliance that delivers. It delivers value for money and it delivers security for all.
That is what we are going to come here in Chicago to underscore and to celebrate, and that is why we are all looking forward to coming back to Chicago in 80 days. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
MS. KING: Thank you very much, Ambassador Daalder. Now we’ve like to go out for a Q&A to the audience. If you will remember to please keep your questions – briefly identify yourself, keep your questions simple, and just one question, and we’ll take it from here.
Yes, right here. Ken Dampleisen (sp), third row?
Q: Thank you very much. That was very illuminating. And I liked your – your use of examples, and in that light, I’d like to ask you whether there are accepted NATO doctrines about when to intervene.
For example, there are several issues on the table right now in international affairs. One, of course, is Syria. And another one, a little more – (not ?) more natural case, perhaps – Syria is more before us, perhaps, as a possible NATO objective – is the case of Iran. But at least with regard to Syria – and you can go further if you like, of course – are there doctrines that have been developed that have to be understood, considering a role for NATO in Syria?
AMB. DAALDER: That’s a – that’s an excellent question and an important one.
In the course of our deliberations on whether or not NATO should intervene in Libya, we came up with three criterion that were important for determining whether we should even consider a decision. The decision whether or not to intervene is always a political decision. And in NATO, you need 28 countries to say yes. It’s a consensus organization. So ultimately, there can’t be hard and fast rules. But as you say, are there guidelines? Is there a doctrine?
And in Libya, we came up with these three criteria. One is there needs to be a demonstrable need. There needs to be a reason for engaging in military – in the use of military force, which is what NATO is ultimately about. Second, there has to be a sound legal basis. For many countries of NATO that sound legal basis needs to be, as it was in the case of Libya, a U.N. Security Council mandate. And third, there needs to be, particularly when it comes to an intervention beyond NATO territory and NATO’s normal focus in Europe, there needs to be regional support.
In Libya, we saw that all three of those criteria were met. There was a demonstrable need in the sense that rather than responding as the leadership in Tunisia and Egypt had done to the uprising by stepping down from power, the response from the Gadhafi regime was to go after those he called the “rats,” that is the people of Libya, and try to suppress the opposition violently. So the need was there.
The sound legal basis was provided by U.N. Security Council 1973, which provided explicitly for the use of all necessary means in order to protect civilians, and mentioned that it wasn’t only the responsibility of member-states but indeed of regional arrangements, of which NATO is one. And finally and most importantly, there was regional support. It was the Arab League that not only expelled Libya from the league, but came to the United Nations and called for the establishment of a no-fly zone. And it – were key Arab countries that then decided to participate in the very operation that NATO launched on the 27th of March of 2012.
If you look at Syria, you can clearly see that there is a need. There is – there is a horrific humanitarian disaster ongoing because of the way in which in the regime is treating its people. But there isn’t that – there is not regional support. The Arab League has not asked for military intervention. The Syrian opposition has not asked for military intervention. There is no cry out for that kind of support. And for NATO or, indeed, for any country to impose that might create more problems than it would – than it would resolve. And there is a legal – there is a problem in terms of the legal basis. I don’t have to explain that to you. There is no U.N. Security Council resolution, because the Chinese and Russians, fearing that you might down the road get a Security Council resolution, have vetoed every step along the way.
So as a result, in Syria, you don’t have that basis. Frankly, I doubt we will get to the point that you would have that basis. And even if you did, you’d still have to make a political judgment – does intervention in this particular situation make sense? But the three guidelines – demonstrable need, sound legal basis and regional support – at least give you a way to judge, not objectively but politically and analytically – whether the situation is ripe for military intervention.
MS. KING: Yeah. Right in the back there. Please, Josh. Thanks.
Q: Hello, Ambassador. Christopher Anderson (sp). My question is about the European Union and the center for security and foreign policy that’s headed by Chairman Ashton. You said that NATO is the perfect instrument for the type of work that you’re doing now in Libya. Could the U.N. – excuse me, not the U.N. – the European Union center for foreign security policy become that same type of apparatus? And if so, does it possibly present the Europeans with the political cover needed sometimes to distance themselves from the Americans?
AMB. DAALDER: Well, that’s an excellent question and one that we have looked at for many, many years – when is Europe going to stand up and be ready to undertake security operations, particularly of an intense kind, without necessarily having to wait or rely on the United States?
We in the United States and this administration and indeed the previous administration, made very clear that what we want is a strong and capable Europe. We are strong supporters of the common security and defense policy of the European Union. We would like to see Europe having the capacity to act in concert, including in high-intensity capabilities.
In reality, however, the European Union does not have what NATO has, which is, one, the United States. I used to say and continue to say, what the EU doesn’t have is us, that’s U-period-S-period. And having the United States is not an unimportant part when you want to intervene militarily. But second and more importantly, it doesn’t have the integrated military command structure that NATO provides and that I talked about earlier. It is the fact that you have militaries who on a day-to-day basis work together, operate together, are able to commence military operations on a moment’s notice, that are used to working together that provides the foundation for effective military action. It doesn’t guarantee it, but it provides the basis.
And the European Union is much more than a military organization. It is, after all – came out of the economic interaction and integration, and politically and in the defense sphere has only done this more in more recent times. It is a strong voice, diplomatically. It’s a huge voice, economically. And militarily, it can be a good voice.
And indeed, there are many military operations that the European Union has engaged in. But when it comes to serious military operations, like the one in Libya, it is going to be NATO that will have to take charge or some other coalition of the willing of which the United States would have to be in the lead. There really isn’t anybody else, including the European Union, who could take on an operation of this size and this consequence. And that is now widely recognized within Europe as well as beyond it.
MS. KING: OK. Over here, please.
Q: Hi. My name is Alexander Lang (sp). I’m a graduate student at the University of Chicago. My question relates to Turkey; I’m wondering where the United States sees the role of Turkey. You mentioned regional partners being important in the context of a potential Syrian intervention in the future, but also in the medium term with Turkey becoming an increasingly important power in that region and with Turkey being ever more distant from joining the European Union. Could you say a few words on what the United States and NATO sees the role of Turkey being in the future?
AMB. DAALDER: Well, one of the good things about Turkey is that they joined the NATO alliance 60 years ago in February – February 18th, and they have been a stalwart ally of NATO and in NATO ever since. And that is one of the differences between the European Union and NATO is that they are an ally, they are contributing to all our operations.
And indeed, having Turkey as part of the alliance is of fundamental strategic importance, particularly as the world is developing in its own region. Having Turkey on – as part of NATO, having a Turkish voice in NATO has been an extremely valuable addition to how we look at and need to approach what happens in the – in that part of the world, indeed, in the world as such.
Turkey is a major contributor of forces and capabilities and insight in Afghanistan. As a country with a large Muslim majority population, having a country like that on your side as you think about how you deal with security situations in a country like Afghanistan, as you think about intervening in Libya, it is important to have a country like Turkey on our side. And the – as Turkey becomes stronger, it becomes a more important player. It becomes a more important player in the region, and it becomes a more important player within NATO. That – in the U.S. view and indeed, I think, in ally views – is to all of our benefits.
We want a strong, capable and forward-looking Turkey that is democratic, that wants to make sure that as the changes in the Arab world are moving forward, that they can look to Turkey as an example of how you can prosper, you can have a strong democratic tradition even while maintaining an identity that is – that is not the same as in Western Europe or in the United States. In that sense, having Turkey on our side is vitally important. And it is great to have them as an ally.
MS. KING: Great, thanks. Yeah, right here please.
Q: Thank you, sir. Don Baka (sp) from DePaul University. There’s got to be, right, obviously a recognition that, with the 28 different member states, there is an enthusiasm gap. I’ve heard some discussion in terms of some of the posting sites and blog sites in regard to thoughts about – the perceptions of whether NATO is our alliance, not just in terms of the United States but in terms of, if you’re a European nation, NATO as our alliance; the perceptions of the United States being a separate entity with separate objectives; Europe having a separate role, separate needs.
But there is an enthusiasm gap, I think. Obviously in an environment where – especially if you look at the selectivity in the – in the war on– the – excuse me, the global war on terror – you know, not all the nations – not all 28 nations perceive themselves as being at war right now. So obviously there is going to be kind of an enthusiasm gap. What do you think can be done to overcome that enthusiasm gap and make it everybody’s alliance? Thank you.
AMB. DAALDER: Let me take that question in sort of two ways. I mean, one is: If you look at opinion polling throughout the 28 countries, support for NATO is remarkably high. In fact, in recent polling, the only place that is not as high as it is in Europe is in the United States. So if there’s an enthusiasm gap, it may be – it may be more here than there, which is one of the things we’re trying to change.
One of the reasons we’re coming to Chicago is to remind people that NATO actually is not only a European organization; it’s one that we are a member of – in fact, we are a leader of – and that NATO is providing good value for money. We couldn’t have done the Libya operation without NATO for $1.1 billion, which is the total amount of money we spent – about a week’s worth of what we spent in Afghanistan, but for the fact that 90 percent of the bombs being dropped were being dropped by Europeans and paid for by Europeans. That’s one way in which we can achieve our – in which – in which NATO works for us.
So in the – in sense of the enthusiasm gap, it may be more a problem for us here than it is – than it is in Europe. That said, there are clearly differences within the alliance. You have 28 countries. They are not always going to see eye to eye on each and every issue. That may come as a surprise for you; it’s not true for even within the 28 countries that there is a commonality of interest. And it is the challenge of each and every nation to work together to figure out how we can – when the – when it is necessary, how we can create a common view on a particular issue.
When we set out in the early days of the Libya operation, there was no agreement on whether NATO should intervene. And we had a vigorous debate, which is what a – which is what healthy democracies do. They come together and they debate. And out of that debate came a consensus: a consensus that everyone shared, that we should intervene, that it was the right thing to do, the right thing for NATO to take that on.
And we moved from an alliance that was divided on this issue to an alliance that was so united that, no matter how long this would have taken, we would have stayed the course – as I am convinced they are. And that’s what is different about NATO. It’s why bringing together just the countries that share a community of values is so important – that we decide that even if there are disagreements, there are times where we just do the right thing. We do it because it’s important.
Everyone knows that Germany abstained from the Libya vote in the U.N. But the first statement made in the North Atlantic Council, which is the governing body of NATO, by the Germans was: We will not participate in any military operation, but we will not stop NATO from doing so, and we will do our share when it comes to NATO – the NATO common command structure. That’s what Germany did. They weren’t necessarily in agreement with a military operation, but they came along because, as an alliance, it’s an – important that you work together.
And that’s how you create enthusiasm. Success breeds success. We’ve done it in Libya; we’re doing it in Kosovo; we’re in the – on the way of doing it in Afghanistan. And that is – that’s why NATO in the end, again, is good value for money – not only for the United States, but it’s good for – it’s an organization that delivers the security for every one of its 28 members – and indeed, increasingly, nonmembers too.
MS. KING: Yeah, the young woman behind the pillar there, please, Greg .
Q: Hello? I guess it’s on. My name is Shawn (sp); I work with the British Council. And there was a summit recently with NATO, SDA and British Council looking at cultural diplomacy, especially in the Balkans. So in two weeks we’re all going to Kosovo and to Banja Luka. And I wondered if you could speak to what you see as NATO 4.0, and a little bit into – a little bit more into the role of cultural diplomacy and what you see happening in the Balkans in the near future.
AMB. DAALDER: Balkans reminds me of NATO 2.0. You know, I broke my teeth on working on the Balkans in the Clinton White House, when my first day there as a – somebody coming from academia who had never been in government – my first day was August 1st, 1995, when the CIA had just published pictures of the Srebrenica massacres which, four days later, Secretary – then-Ambassador Albright showed to the world in the U.N. Security Council and became the basis for finally acting in Bosnia. A memorable time.
So Banja Luka is a – is a – is a word from my past, from NATO 2.0. But it is still a part of NATO’s concern. Bosnia remains a fundamental part of our effort to bring this part of the world in – the Western Balkans into the integrated Euro-Atlantic world, to – that they too can benefit from being integrated in the European Union, in NATO. In Kosovo, the United States and its allies and partners still have 6,000 troops today, 12 years after the Kosovo air campaign, in order to ensure that this country has a future, not only in the Balkans but in the European Union and ultimately in NATO as well.
And we will work together with the European Union, which has a vital role to play. It’s one of those areas where the European – as the question was earlier – European common and – security and defense policy is very important, is critical to making sure that stability and security and ultimately prosperity and progress is made, working together with NATO. Ultimately we would like to see a place – a situation in which we don’t need to have 6,000 troops in Kosovo. We would like to have a situation in which the Kosovars can take care of their own security, that they live in a situation that is stable and secure with Serbia and with the rest of the community.
So I applaud you for going out to this part of the world that is still a – an area that needs a lot of help and a lot of assistance and a lot of growth to come to move forward and become part of the Euro-Atlantic area, which is what we set out to do in 1989 and we will continue to do until it’s completed.
MS. KING: The woman right there, please, Josh, thanks.
Q: Good evening, Ambassador. My name is Natalia My question is in reference to two of the statements that you made pertaining to – you mentioned that in Chicago you’ll be bringing together the countries that have contributed the most, and I believe you referenced those that have contributed in Afghanistan. And I know you mentioned Estonia as being one of the top contributors. I was wondering if you could tell us who are the other – per capita, who are the largest contributors to the effort in Afghanistan. And how will those countries be prioritized, if you will, in terms of our upcoming meeting in May?
AMB. DAALDER: You’re asking me to go a little further than I could do in a public – in a public forum. But let me – let me tell you sort of how to think about this. What we try – what we’re trying to do is to bring together countries that, in all various ways, can – are contributing to NATO, are part of NATO operations. One way is by contributing to operations. Another way is by contributing financially to education or training – or indeed to paying salaries in – for security forces in Afghanistan, as the Japanese are, and have as broad an array, across the globe, of countries that want to work with NATO and that are recognized as having worked with NATO, from around the – around the globe – and bring them together to celebrate that, to make sure – to underscore the centrality of NATO as a hub for security. And we’re in discussions right now with individual countries to see if they are interested to coming.
And it would be – it would be (amiss ?) for me to announce that from this podium, at this period of time, of who those countries – who those countries are. When it comes to per capita contributions, Estonia is a member of NATO, so they’ll come by definition. Denmark is another country that has contributed significantly in terms of per capita. Of course, the United States does.
Georgia is a country that soon will have the largest non-NATO contingency of soldiers in Afghanistan, larger than any other non-NATO country – per capita will be largest of NATO and non-NATO countries. This will happen sometime in the middle of – towards the fall of 2012 – so that’s another country that is contributing mightily and we welcome it. They think it’s important for their security and we think it’s important that they – and we – we very much welcome their contribution in that regard.
Q: The question is about NATO investing in missiles. And as NATO moves east, with more countries from the eastern former bloc as part of NATO, and then putting missiles east, it certainly makes Russia highly uncomfortable, as I understand it. And I’m wondering what the purpose is, especially since so much of warfare now becomes not nation against nation, but groups against nations.
AMB. DAALDER: Well, it’s an important and excellent question. The defense interceptors – they’re missiles, but they are defensive missiles. They are designed to intercept warheads that are from ballistic missiles coming towards NATO Europe – are being deployed – will be deployed in Romania and in Poland – and if you look that the map, you will find – you will understand why.
The threat from ballistic missile proliferation is increasingly coming from the Middle East. And it is – in order to defend Europe, you need to defend – you need to have a radar in Turkey, which is the most southeastern point, which is where we are deploying a radar. And if you want to have some capability to defend southeastern Europe, having missile interceptors in Romania gives you that coverage of Turkey and of Romania, Bulgaria, and Greece, which are the easiest to be reached from points in eastern – in the Middle East – from ballistic missile threats.
And as the ranges of ballistic missiles increase, and they start to possibly reach places like Germany or France or the Netherlands, God forbid, or Italy or the United Kingdom, you need interceptors based in the north of Europe. And Poland, just if you look at the range of the missiles, Poland is a good place to have them.
We are engaged in discussions with the Russians to make clear that, one, these interceptors and this system is designed for a threat that comes from outside of Europe. It is not designed for the threat by Russia, which we don’t see as a threat. We no longer regard Russia as an enemy. We regard Russia as a partner.
And indeed, in the Lisbon Summit, when President Medvedev came together with the 28 other leaders, we recognized that. And we have also said that as we deploy our missile defense systems to protect Europe against this threat from outside of – from outside Europe – we want to work with Russia to find a way to cooperate on the deployment of missile defenses, because we believe they’re threatened too.
And having cooperation on missile defense is a way for us to strengthen the bond, to strengthen the partnership between Russia and the United States, and Russia and NATO. This discussion is ongoing. It’s not clear that everyone in Russia sees it exactly the way we see it. But as I mentioned earlier, among friends there may not always be agreement. That doesn’t mean that we don’t talk to each other, and we will continue to talk to each other.
And at the same time, we believe it is important to deal with the threat that is out there by deploying missile defenses. And that is – the next step of that will be taken here in Chicago, when the interim capability of the NATO missile defense system will be decided and implemented – not in order to threaten Russia, but in order to strengthen the security of Europe and, ultimately, of this alliance. Thank you. (Applause.)
MS. KING: Thank you, Ambassador Daalder. And I think you will all agree that we are extraordinarily well-represented in NATO by Ambassador Daalder, for his expertise and his generosity of time, flying all over to be with us tonight. And he will be coming back later in March as well. So thank you again for being with us and for, as one person said, such an illuminating discussion. Thank you. (Applause.)