U.S. Won't 'Turn Away' From Europe, Rumsfeld Says
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
ANKARA, Turkey, Jun. 4, 2001 China has garnered a lot of the Pentagon's attention lately, but that's no signal U.S. defense planners have written off Europe, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said June 3.
Rumsfeld, speaking to reporters en route here from Washington, noted, Asia is growing and is an important part of the world. "(But) any suggestion that the United States is going to, or ought to, or might turn away from Europe is fundamentally flawed in logic," he added.
He called the world's relationship with Western Europe "central to prosperity and the economic health of the American people and of the Europeans and the Northeast Asians."
The prosperity of Western Europe and other successful regions across the globe comes from environments that are "hospitable to enterprise, and to transactions, and to globalization, and to training, and interaction of all types," he said.
Rumsfeld said America's defense policy promotes peace, stability and economic prosperity throughout the world. Without peace and stability, he added, prosperity "is gone."
American military capabilities assure allies and dissuade potential adversaries. The U.S.-Atlantic Alliance "is central, important, and indispensable," he said, adding that the Europeans are seeking to enhance their defensive needs.
"The Europeans -- and President Bush has agreed -- are moving toward an initiative for a European defense capability," Rumsfeld said. "It needs to increase capability rather than detract from it. It (also) needs to have the planning mechanism embedded in NATO, so it is transparent."
The secretary is on a weeklong European trip that includes meetings June 4 with senior Turkish officials on regional defense issues and with U.S. troops participating in Operation Northern Watch. Subsequent scheduled stops include Ukraine, Greece, Belgium and Finland. Rumsfeld is expected to return to Washington June 9.