DoD News Briefing: Dr. Joseph Nye, ASD/International Security Affairs
Wednesday, June 7, 1995 - 1:00 p.m.
Col. Kennett: Good afternoon.
We have back-to-back presentations for you this afternoon.
First of all, we will have an on-the-record single subject presentation by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, Joseph Nye, on the publication, "The United States Security Strategy for Europe and NATO." Following that we'll have a short break and we'll go into a background session where a senior defense official will discuss Dr. Perry's upcoming trip to the NATO Ministerials.
Both of these are single subject. We don't plan to get into any details about Bosnian policy.
Dr. Nye: Good afternoon.
I am here to talk to you about the third in a series of regional security strategy reports. I see you already have in hand this one on Europe. These were commissioned by Secretary Perry as policy guidance, if you want, within the security area, supplementing President Clinton's strategy of engagement and enlargement. The first of these was on East Asia; the second, released a couple of weeks ago, was on the Middle East; the third which you have released today is on Europe. We're releasing it today, essentially on the eve of the Secretary's visit to NATO because it summarizes many of the things which he will be addressing during the NATO sessions.
Basically, the argument is that America's security and prosperity are inextricably linked to Europe. President Clinton's four trips to Europe last year reflected that fact. America has been, remains, and will continue to be a European power.
What we are trying to do in the post-Cold War era is create a new security architecture for Europe. The strategy has six major elements to it. One is to enhance NATO's efforts to reach out to the East through the Partnership for Peace. The second is to develop a deliberate and transparent process of NATO enlargement. Third, is to build cooperative relations with Russia. Fourth, is to support European integration as exemplified by the European Union. Fifth is to strengthen the Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe as a Europe-wide structure. And sixth is to maintain close bilateral relationships with our allies and our new partners.
These policies or these elements of the strategy are designed to help realize President Clinton's vision of an integrated democratic Europe cooperating with the United States for a peaceful and prosperous Europe. We believe that the central part of realizing this vision is maintaining a strong NATO alliance while avoiding creating new dividing lines in Europe.
It's important to keep in mind this broader picture on the eve of Secretary Perry's trip tonight for tomorrow's Defense Policy Committee and special meeting of the partners in the Partnership for Peace countries -- the Ministers which will be at the NATO meetings.
Let me go into a little bit of detail on several of these elements. On Partnership for Peace, one of the goals of the NATO meetings is to strengthen PFP programs, and the purpose of these PFP programs is to essentially create an interlocking architecture across Europe which bridges dividing lines. PFP is a path to membership for countries wishing to join the alliance, but it's also much more. It's an integral, lasting part of the Europe-wide security architecture, and it provides a dynamic interaction between NATO members and non-NATO members in creating a broader zone of stability. As you will have noticed, Russia has now deposited its PFP instrument and is prepared to participate. This will be one of the subjects which we'll be discussing in Brussels.
The important related development is the Warsaw Initiative announced by President Clinton in Poland last July. This initiative has been funded by Congress. It means the United States will provide $100 million to PFP members in 1996 to support participation in PFP activities, promote interoperability, and deepen defense and military cooperation. I should point out for you that in the report there are a number of details of the types of activities that have been going on in PFP.
NATO enlargement. This year, as you know, the alliance is exploring the how and why of enlargement. The study, which will be discussed at the DPC will be complete by September, and the results will be briefed to interested PFP partners in the early fall. NATO Ministers will then review these exchanges at their December 1995 meetings and decide on the next step.
Cooperation with Russia. The NATO allies and Russia have agreed to develop closer relations between the alliance and Russia in parallel with NATO enlargement, both within PFP and outside it. Russia's recent commitment to full participation in PFP reinforces this progress. At the Ministerial level, with Minister Grahev, Secretary Perry will urge Russia to take full advantage of PFP activities.
Another dimension that's mentioned in the report that I'd like to highlight for you is combined joint task forces, CJTF, which is an American proposed concept which allows NATO to find ways to use the collective assets of the alliance not only in NATO-led missions, but also in WEU-led forces or of coalitions of the willing, which could include non-NATO members such as PFP partners.
Indeed, if we get to a NATO with larger numbers of countries, this will become increasingly important to develop the CJTF concept in the procedures.
Counter-proliferation is another dimension where the alliance has made significant progress toward integrating a counter-proliferation policy as part of its post-Cold War agenda. NATO has agreed to a broad political/military approach to proliferation and has developed a three-phased work plan to address the defense implications.
Finally, I would turn to reinforcing all this architecture -- the essential role of a U.S. military presence.
America's military presence in Europe has been reduced by over 200,000 since 1989, but we are committed to retaining it in the level of about, or approximately 100,000 troops into the foreseeable future. This presence remains vital to enduring U.S. interests in Europe and beyond.
It's worth noticing that since the end of the Gulf War in 1991, forces in the U.S./European Command have been deployed some 51 times to over 30 countries including Bosnia, Iraq, and Somalia.
If you take this in the context of the two prior reports that have been issued, you'll remember that in the East Asian report we committed to maintaining approximately 100,000 troops forward based in East Asia. When I briefed the Middle Eastern report, I pointed out that we have made major progress towards a capability of abut 20,000 troops which can be rapidly deployed in the Gulf. And we will now have this commitment of 100,000 troops forward based in Europe. We believe this gives us a very robust, forward-based presence in critical regions, and within that framework we're able to provide the type of reassurance of American leadership which will help us to establish the type of architecture in the various regions which are described in the reports in general, and in Europe in particular.
Let me stop there and take your questions about the report, or our strategy toward Europe.
Q: In the report you are focusing on [the feud] between Greece and Turkey, and you understand that we are deeply concerned about growing tension between the two countries, and that the United States can play an active role in reducing this tension. After  years [that it exists], I was wondering (inaudible) to reduce the tension between the two countries.
A: The United States has urged upon both Greece and Turkey the importance of maintaining a relationship which is appropriate for allies. Within the context of NATO, we're better able to press upon both countries the fact that they have a common obligation as fellow allies to maintain their disputes and conflicts within a limited framework. This is one of the agenda items that will be on the agenda for the NATO meeting, the way the conflict affects NATO procedures. There have been a number of times in the past where the U.S. has spoken to both countries about the importance of making sure that whatever their disagreements on various issues, that they are carefully controlled. So I think the existence of NATO, the existence of both as allies within NATO has provided a number of opportunities to try to mediate and to restrain the conflict.
Q: Do you take any [new] initiative to mediate between the two?
A: A new initiative? There's a constant discussion or dialogue that goes on. I wouldn't call it a particular initiative. There have been conversations for, indeed, decades as you pointed out, on this issue.
Q: I'm pretty sure that this issue is not on top of your agenda, but I still would like to know as an Austrian journalist, how much Austria's neutrality would hamper the country to become a member of NATO once the negotiations get to a stage where this would come.
A: Austria certainly has no difficulty in participating in PFP. At some point, Austria would have to decide whether it wished to go beyond Partnership for Peace activities in terms of NATO membership. Membership of NATO might cause trouble. It would have to be in terms of a formal neutrality, something that would have to be discussed at the time.
One of the things we're doing in the how and why study is laying a framework or a baseline by which we can discuss with other states what it means to have NATO membership. Then in particular cases there will be followup discussions going into what does this mean for a particular country and how it will affect the various procedures they have in place. I'm sure at the point where it came to particular discussions, that would then be something that Austria and NATO would discuss.
But in terms of the near term, Partnership for Peace activities are a good way to approach closer to NATO, and the question then of full membership could be left to a future stage.
Q: I wonder if you could discuss how the current situation in Bosnia and NATO's role there is affecting NATO overall. Has it had a positive affect, a negative affect?
A: I think there was a period, I would say about two years ago, when the conflict in Bosnia was creating a fair degree of tension within NATO. I think that since last autumn when the President affirmed his willingness to use American troops as part of the NATO force to rescue or help extract UNPROFOR forces if that became necessary, I think that had a very powerful, reassuring affect on NATO. I remember being with the Secretary at the December DPC. There was a large change in the climate from let's say a year earlier in terms of the sense of solidarity within the alliance and the feeling that we were pulling together.
So I would say that for about the last year, certainly since the announcement of willingness to help with UNPROFOR if UNPROFOR got in trouble, that that had a power, reassuring affect. If you look at Secretary Perry's trip to Paris last weekend and the report that he made on it this morning on the Hill, it will show again the NATO partners holding together very well.
Q: Do you sense in the long run that the absence of a U.S. presence in the ground force, the quick strike force, will have a bad affect on NATO?
A: No, I don't. I think if you look at what we have said very clearly since the start -- the President has been consistent -- that we are not going to put ground forces into Bosnia because we do not regard Bosnia and the civil war in Bosnia as a vital American interest. But we have said that we regard any dangers of spillover of this conflict as a vital American interest, and we've made that distinction very clear. In that sense, we have said right from the start that participation in ground forces is not a vital American interest. Containment of the conflict... Our policy has been containment, alleviation of the humanitarian affects, and trying to mediate it. Those things are where we have the strong interests, and we've made that clear to our NATO partners from the beginning. I think that that is quite well understood.
I should also point out that sometimes people think that NATO is about Bosnia. I think that is not what NATO is about. In fact if you think that that's what NATO is about, you really should go and visit capitals in East and Central Europe. There you will find enormous popularity of NATO. The view that NATO is obsolete or that it can't solve the Bosnian problem -- which nobody else has been able to solve, including Bosnians -- you're missing the point, which is that NATO is enormously popular in every capital in Europe. It's not something that's regarded as obsolete. It's something that people want more of, not less of. So I think we would make a grave mistake if we argued that Bosnia is the test of NATO.
Q: I wasn't saying Bosnia was the test as much as I was wondering if it was some sort of test that the U.S. was not a participant in this force that they've put together.
A: I think what we've shown is that we have a strong interest in containing the conflict which reflects our strong interest in Europe. That's different from claiming that we have a vital interest in settling the civil war inside Bosnia. I think the Secretary made that very clear in his testimony this morning.
A: That's what I said when I argued that NATO helps to resolve or mediate disputes among members as well as threats from outside. The common membership in NATO is a way, if you want pacifying or conciliating, some of these disputes.ednesday, June 7, 1995 - 1:00 p.m.