Thank you very much, Horst [Teltschik]. It is good to be back with you. We have had some interesting times in this chamber.
Secretary General Annan, it’s good to see you sir. And Secretary-General of NATO. Jaap Hoop de Scheffer. How did I do? Pretty good?
My colleague Minister Peter Struck, it’s nice to see you sir.
And fellow ministers, I see all arrayed here fresh from our ministerial meetings in Nice.
Members of the United States Congress who will be soon reviewing our budget, it’s always a high privilege to see you, and looking so forthcoming, leaning forward. That’s wonderful.
Parliamentarians, distinguished officials and friends.
First, let me thank our hosts here in Bavaria for their always very warm hospitality, although I did notice this conference was scheduled away from Fasching. I don’t know quite how that happened. It didn’t used to be that way.
When I first mentioned that I might be traveling this week to France and Germany, it raised some eyebrows. One wag said. “That ought to be an interesting trip, after all that has been said.” I paused and thought for a moment. That was “old Rumsfeld.”
Well, it has been forty years since I was a NATO parliamentarian. So I hope you will permit me to make a few personal observations about the enduring relationship that has existed among the nations of this Alliance.
There have been times when it was predicted by the all-knowing pundits that the Atlantic Alliance would crumble, that it would become irrelevant, that it was history. And that is surely what our enemies have wished for. They know that divisions and differences aid their cause. But we know that our collective security depends on our cooperation and mutual respect and understanding.
Since we met last year, consider the historic events that have taken place. And I would say some would not have happened were it not for the contributions of some in this room:
- NATO added seven new members - nations eager to contribute to the Alliance in important ways;
- In Afghanistan, 8 million voters, 40 percent of them women, chose their first democratically elected President in 5,000 years. Think of it. Attending that inauguration with President Karzai was a truly memorable event for me;
- And in the Palestinian Authority, a democratically-elected president offers the hope of a new chance for peace;
- Ukrainians have demonstrated the depth of their commitment to free and fair elections;
- And in Iraq, Saddam Hussein’s former subjects voted for the first time with ballots that offered 70 political parties, rather than but one.
I spent Christmas Eve with our forces in Iraq as they were anxiously preparing for those elections. Yesterday was my first trip back to Iraq since the elections a week ago Sunday. I can tell you the Iraqi people are proud of their accomplishment. As well they should be. Even after a suicide bomb went off at a polling station, Iraqis still came to vote. Across the country, voters arrived on crutches and in donkey carts. They passed by posters that threatened: “You vote, you die.” But they voted.
On election day, Iraqi security forces protected with an inner perimeter and an outer perimeter more than 5,000 polling stations and they did it well. These are the brave forces that some critics still try to belittle.
Think of the transforming events these elections can have. Braving threats of bombings and beheadings, the Iraqis went out, tentatively. In some cases, they stood around polling places but not going in, waiting to see what others would do and they discovered that they were all there for the same purpose, and eventually they all went in.
For years, under the Iraqi dictator, decent citizens learned to keep their thoughts and their beliefs and their hopes to themselves. Imagine their astonishment to learn that everyone around them felt that very same desire to vote.
That life-changing experience had to give them enormous encouragement and a strong sense of national, as well as, individual identity. And what a damaging blow to the extremists whose ideology the voters were so clearly rejecting.
While there have been differences over Iraq, such issues among longtime friends are not new. Consider just a few of the divisions that have come up among NATO allies over the past decades since I was a parliamentarian in the 1960’s:
Remember Skybolt in 1962;
· France’s decision to pull out of the NATO integrated command and to ask NATO out of France in the late 60’s.
· Henry Kissinger and Michel Jobert debates of the 1970’s. Frank, you remember those so well.
· Disagreements about the deployment of Pershing II missiles in the 1980’s;
· Differences in approaches as to how the Middle East peace process should be handled, on frequent occasions;
· And so many more.
As ambassador to NATO in the 1970’s, I can remember having to fly back to Washington to testify before the United States Senate to try to defeat an amendment in the Senate to withdraw all of America’s forces from Europe. Think of it – in the middle of the Cold War in the mid-70s. What if we had lost our will?
So our Atlantic Alliance relationship has navigated through some choppy seas over the years. But we have always been able to resolve even the toughest issues. I submit that is because there is so much that unites us: common values, shared histories, and an abiding faith in democracy.
Today, we also share a common enemy. Extremists have targeted all civilized societies: in New York and Washington; Istanbul; Madrid; Beslan; Bali; and so many more.
Radical Islamists do not seek an armistice with the civilized world. They will not negotiate a separate peace. Rather, they seek to impose a totalitarian rule George Orwell described as “a boot stomping on a human face – forever.”
By now it must be clear that one nation cannot defeat these extremists alone. Neither can any one nation successfully combat the asymmetric threats of this new era.
It will take the cooperation of many nations to stop the proliferation of dangerous weapons.
It’s a global concern, and it requires a global effort. This is why some 60 nations now have joined the Proliferation Security Initiative in an effort to keep deadly weapons from dangerous regimes.
Together, we are having success in dismantling proliferation networks, such as the one directed by the now notorious A.Q. Khan.
German, Italian, British and American authorities confiscated nuclear equipment bound for Tripoli in 2003. Such pressure surely prompted Libya’s decision to open its WMD inventories to inspectors.
Building on this collaboration, the U.S. proposed a Global Peace Operations Initiative – another way to work together by helping to train countries for peacekeeping operations and to develop their own defense capabilities.
And it surely takes a community of nations to gather intelligence about extremist networks, to break up financial support lines, or to apprehend suspected terrorists.
These efforts require the contributions of many governments and all elements of national power, not just military but legal, diplomatic, law-enforcement, and intelligence gathering. It is not the work of the military alone.
The arrests of Islamic extremists last month by French and German authorities show the work necessary to win the struggle against extremists. Often quietly, the U.S. and other nations are sharing intelligence, capturing terrorists, and disrupting their finances. And because we work together, some three-quarters of known al-Qaeda leaders have been killed or captured and still others are on the run.
This important work extends beyond the Atlantic alliance, as it should, to a 90-nation coalition that includes old friends on every continent, many here today, and most recently, two new allies with capitals in Kabul and Baghdad.
It will take many nations to help the Afghans and the Iraqis succeed in bringing democracy to places where tyrants ruled and terrorists once trained.
Because we know the value of democracy, we stand with those who freely choose it. In Afghanistan, NATO is leading the International Security Assistance Force. Every NATO nation, I believe, has had personnel in Afghanistan, and more than half of all NATO nations have had forces in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
Our host country, Germany, has been a contributor to Afghanistan’s security and reconstruction efforts. At the Marshall Center in nearby Garmisch, the United States and Germany are educating young leaders from Partnership for Peace countries on the challenge of building more modernized militaries and more efficient Ministries of Defense.
Spurred on by such examples, one of NATO’s newest members, Lithuania, is taking the leadership of a Provincial Reconstruction Team – joining other European nations in contributing to Afghanistan’s stability and progress.
In Iraq, the people are rejecting the ideology of Bin Laden and Zarqawi.
And as the Iraqi people take more steps along what is undoubtedly going to be a challenging road to democracy, more nations are standing with them. A few days ago, at our NATO Defense Ministerial Meeting in Nice, I was struck by the enthusiasm over the democratic experiment in Iraq. Many NATO countries have agreed to help train Iraqi Security Personnel, put together a war college and military academies, and still others to provide funds or send equipment for Iraqi Security Forces.
These are welcome and encouraging signs, and the Iraqi people are grateful. It sends an important message to the extremists: that they are on the wrong side of history.
These are historic times for freedom and democracy. Members of NATO share much more than the Atlantic alliance; we are united by ties and purpose, a heritage of liberty, and a calling to confront extremists’ violence -- and to defeat it.
Sixty years ago, World War II came to an end. Since that time, we have counted on each other in times of peril and challenge. I am old enough to remember both the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall, the rise and collapse of Nazism, and of Soviet Communism as well. Together we have helped to protect Kosovo. And recently we brought aid, as Peter said, to the victims of a devastating tsunami. Great achievements are possible when the Atlantic community is united.
Our unity need not be a uniformity of tactics or views, but rather a union of purpose. And those who cherish free political systems and benefit from free economic systems benefit from them, share similar hopes. And working together, those hopes can be realities for many more who yearn to be free.
As Winston Churchill once said of our Atlantic Alliance: “If we are together, nothing is impossible.”
I thank you and would be happy to respond to your questions.
Teltschik: Thank you very much, the Secretary is now ready to take questions. Please raise your name card, and then we can start. The first is Senator Graham.
Senator Graham: This will be for both of our speakers, but particularly for Mr. Struck. I thought the comments by the Chancellor, through you, were very insightful and encouraging. My question goes to Iraq. I am convinced that it would be in the world’s interest to expand the international footprint in Iraq. One of the ways to do that would be to have a greater UN presence to help this emerging democracy. My question is, if the Iraqis decide to request NATO support for a UN presence and NATO security apparatus to support the United Nations, I have been told by my German friends the politics of that in Germany would be very difficult. Would you confirm that, and do you believe that it is appropriate for NATO to come to the aid of the Iraqi people to help the UN expand in their country?
Teltschik: If you agree, we will take first the questions to the Secretary. Then Mr. Heisbourg is the next one.
Secretary Rumsfeld: Peter, I was hoping that the Senator was going to stand up and say that he would support our budget completely but. You know, nobody’s perfect.
Mr. Heisbourg: Mr. Secretary, you heard your German colleagues asking just a minute ago for active American support in the European negotiations with the Iranians, with the view to banning all Iranian nuclear fuel cycle activity. Would you care to comment on that call?
Secretary Rumsfeld: Well, the President and Secretary Rice have commented on it. The last thing in the world I would want to do would be to step on their words. How’s that? (Laughter) I thought that pretty well covered it. Next question.
Teltschik: Well as far as I know my friend Francois Heisbourg, he might not be quite satisfied. Well, if I am right, Mr. Baramidse from Georgia.
Mr. Baramidse: Thank you, sir, for a wonderful presentation. You know that Georgia is contributing (inaudible) in Europe. We come together with the German troops in Afghanistan. We are in Kososvo together with our friends and allies but Georgia is facing tremendous problems. On our borders with Russia, we have tremendous problems now. The BMO under the OSCE must be eliminated because of a strange position of Russia. We don’t know why Russia is against the border monitoring when at the same time, Russia is blaming Georgia. And we have conflicts in our territory but at the same time, Georgia is the first country except the Baltic states, from the Soviet Union era and area. We showed how to fight for freedom and democracy. And we are glad that Ukraine followed that path. Georgia is strongly committed to becoming a NATO member and EU member. How about this? How soon do you think we will be able to get enough support from all of the countries, not only from the United States? Thank you.
Secretary Rumsfeld: Well thank you. Needless to say, we value and appreciate the contributions that Georgia has made in Afghanistan and in Iraq. The NATO nations have for the most part indicated that the doors to NATO are open to democracies that meet the conditions that have been set forth, and we in recent years have demonstrated that openness and certainly have, I think, benefited as an Alliance, by having this broad Partnership for Peace arrangements as well as our NATO Council meetings with Russia and our NATO Council meetings with Ukraine, all of which have expanded the scope of NATO and begun the process of having other countries that previously have not been connected with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization begin to develop approaches and interoperability in ways that we believe are in the best interests of the world.
Teltschik: Thank you, Secretary. The next one is Mr. Grant from London from the Center for European Reform.
Mr. Grant: I have a question, Mr. Secretary, about the EU’s constitutional treaty. The governments have agreed on a new so-called constitution which, if implemented, would create a European foreign minister, a European diplomatic service with the objective of a more unified, coherent EU foreign policy. Is that good for America, if that objective is fulfilled and would you urge the European countries to ratify and implement that constitutional treaty?
Secretary Rumsfeld: Goodness gracious, what does that have to do with anything I talked about? You are running a disorderly house here, Horst. Does that mean they abolish all national foreign ministers? No? Oh, well. (Laughter) Just kidding. You know I don’t know that it is really for the United States to be opining on that. We have had a position in our country that Europe ought to do what Europe wants to do. And over the years, as Europe has arranged itself incrementally in different ways and become somewhat more unified, in a step-by-step process, the United States has always found a way to work with whatever arrangements Europe decided on. These are complicated questions that have to be sorted through internally and, at least, the Department of Defense of the United States has no formal position on that.
Teltschik: Quite understandable. The next one is Mr. Hoyer.
Secretary Rumsfeld: Back in Chicago you would say, some of my friends are for it and some of my friends are against it, and I’m for my friends.
Mr. Hoyer: I have a question for the “new Rumsfeld” as well as the good old Peter Struck. We have heard and seen that that are earnest efforts to pull closer together, between the Atlantic partners. In the speech of Chancellor Schroeder, we heard about the need for a completely new definition of NATO. I wonder about the political pre-conditions that American and German governments would assign to such a panel. It cannot be that we give ourselves over to independent scholars and experts without saying what we, as politicians, expect from this Alliance that in my estimation we need as urgently as never before. The second point is, what have we done and what can we do to credibly put forth our policies, based on our values and interests to partners like China or Russia, who are departing from a different basis. One example, the EU weapons embargo against China. Second question, how do we deal with those in Russia who are standing up for those values that are so important to us in NATO?
Teltschik: (Inaudible) No, he is at the end.
Secretary Rumsfeld: Now, in other words, he can save the question and I can’t. (Laughter) I think I am going to save that question and have Peter answer it after I leave for the United States.
Minister Struck: Perhaps we should go back to the question from Senator Graham about Iraq and NATO?
The position of the German federal government on Iraq is well known to you, Senator. And that position has not changed. And it is not going to change. We already have made a significant contribution to [Iraqi] training in Abu Dhabi. We have over 130 soldiers training in the area of vehicle maintenance and the like. Recently there was a parade in Baghdad where the trucks we donated were proudly displayed. In April we will begin training engineering troops in Abu Dhabi. We will also train explosives experts. Here in Germany, we have invited Iraqi officers to our war college in Hamburg. Don Rumsfeld has already mentioned the Marshall Center in Garmisch. We are doing a lot on Iraq. We should not underestimate, that in the face of the slight financial problems here in Germany, it was not easy for the Chancellor and the Finance Minister to forgive the Euro 4.7 billion that are owed to us by Iraq.
On the question by my colleague Hoyer, it is still very clear to us that NATO continues to be the decisive [most important] military alliance in the world. No one is calling that into question. Indeed one has to be cognizant of the consequences of the differences we have had over Iraq. Not only between Germany and the US, Colleague Hoyer, but also between other European states and the U.S. Therefore I believe that the proposal of the Chancellor to work that over could be a useful one – one that could be discussed not only in the beginning of the Brussels session next week but also over the coming months. During the meeting of defense ministers in Nice we also discussed such mundane issues – but issues that interest me greatly -- as the financing of NATO. We also have to talk about how the burdens are to be distributed in certain operations, if NATO is to take on greater responsibility. We are now planning for Afghanistan, as proposed in Nice for a decision in Brussels, is indeed a significantly larger engagement of NATO in that country.
Teltschik: The next one is Pierre LaLouche from the French Parliament.
Pierre LaLouche: I am from the NATO Parliament, Mr. Secretary. It has been a terrific week for American-European relations and French-American relations. We had Condi Rice in Paris doing a wonderful number in French-American relations and European-American relations and now we have a “new Rumsfeld” this morning -- and even promising not to campaign for the referendum on the constitution. Good news. Let me ask you a serious question. You are the man, it seems to me, who coined the phrase over Iraq: “The mission is the coalition.” Or is it not you? I think it is you. The mission is the coalition, and if that is the case, there is of course no room for NATO. As the President of the NATO Assembly, when I talk with my colleagues, some of whom are here on various benches, we wonder about the role of NATO. If the mission is the coalition, and you call the coalition, there is no room for consultation and joint decision-making (inaudible). Last week in Paris, Condi Rice said we respect you, we will decide, discuss and decide together. I am quoting. Is this the new Rumsfeld policy? Or, are we still on the “mission is the coalition”? Sorry to be so direct, but I think this is a question on everybody’s minds. Thank you, sir.
Secretary Rumsfeld: No, I find directness refreshing. (Laughter) Let me respond this way. First of all, Condi Rice doesn’t have a policy. The President of the United States and the United States have policies, and they are expressed by the President, and in the case of foreign policy by Condi. And I think the way to respond to your question is this. If one just reviews recent history, there were problems in Liberia, and take the phrase “the mission determines the coalition.” It did. A number of countries stepped forward. The UN assisted. ACOAS participated.
There were problems in Haiti. The mission determined the coalition. In that case, the United States stepped forward. Some other countries assisted. The UN participated and eventually countries of Latin America and elsewhere I would add arranged themselves around that problem and have been, and even today, are assisting.
The tsunami relief. Capabilities vary dramatically. Fortunately, the United States – our taxpayers, God bless them – have invested billions of dollars over decades. And we were able within a matter of hours to move 19 ships and 15,000 forces into that part of the world with water and medical assistance and helicopters, dozens of helicopters, that could provide assistance. The mission determined the coalition. We ended up working there with other countries in Thailand and in Indonesia. We worked with nations, with non-governmental organizations that were on the spot and assisted. Many countries represented in this room did things with respect to the tsunami.
Afghanistan. We were struck. Three thousand people were killed. Al-Qaeda and the Taliban ruled that country. The mission determined the coalition. And a very small number of countries, very quickly, went in and worked to drive out the Al-Qaeda and drive out the Taliban and stop that country from being a terrorist training camp, attacking and killing thousands of innocent human beings. The mission determined the coalition.
Now, were you to reverse it and say the coalition determines the mission, that means that nothing would have happened in Liberia, if you are talking about the NATO coalition. Or Haiti, or any number of other activities. It’s a big world. It’s a complicated world. NATO is a terrific organization. It is the most impressive military alliance probably in the history of mankind. But it is what it is, and we vastly prefer to work through NATO. We do it continuously. We have been providing energy in that organization. We recommended the NATO Response Force, to make it a more relevant institution. We recommended fixing the NATO command structures and reducing it by about a half, where there was so much waste and excess, tooth to tail ratio. We have been participating in that institution fully, and it is a valuable one. But for example, take the OAS. If we did nothing in Haiti until the OAS decided to do it, what needed to be done in Haiti would not have been done, and more people would have been killed. Eventually they helped. Organizations can, but there are some times that things have to happen fairly rapidly. And so I think that the construct of your question was imperfect. I’m just kidding. I’m glad you asked.
Teltschik: Thank you, Secretary, for the straightforward response. Mr. Ziesemeyer, the chief editor Handelsblatt.
Ziesemeyer: Mr. Secretary, our Chancellor, Mr. Schroeder, suggested in his speech the creation of a panel of independent experts to review the NATO structures. Do you think that such a panel would make sense?
Secretary Rumsfeld: I don’t know. I would want to read the text and discuss it before I could really develop a firm view on it. We are reviewing NATO’s structures already. And I don’t know quite -- the way you phrased your question is slightly different than I heard the translation -- and so it is not clear to me what role that would take. For myself, I think that there is an enormous value in NATO. To have 26 nations use that forum as a place to discuss important issues -- and debate them, and consider them, and learn from each other, and for the big countries to do it in front of the little countries, and for those countries’ perspectives to be taken into account and considered in those deliberations – I think has a certain magic to it. And so anything where someone says they want something that is a high level thing, that goes off to the side and figures things out for everybody else, if that is the thrust of what that was, then I think we would have to pause and be careful about it. I don’t find myself inhibited sitting down in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization meetings and talking among 26 countries – 26 countries that all have a stake in what’s going on in the world, 26 countries that share common values, that are all democracies, that believe in free political systems and free economic systems, and having to discuss in front of them complicated political and military issues, I think is a healthy thing. But I would reserve judgment until I had a chance to figure out what some of the details might be in the proposal.
Teltschik: Thank you, the next one is Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.
Hoop de Scheffer: Thank you very much, Chairman. Let me try to very briefly react to the challenging speech given on behalf of the Chancellor by Peter Struck. I think we should rather “do” transatlantic relations than “talk” transatlantic relations. I mean we can talk a long time about ideal structures but if I see the answer to doing transatlantic relations, I look at Afghanistan indeed. I look at Kosovo. I look at the training mission in Iraq. I look at the mission in the Mediterranean. So “doing” as far as I am concerned is even more important than “talking.” And I think that this Atlantic alliance has seen more change and transformation over the past 3 or 4 years than over the many decades of its existence before.
Are we there in NATO? No, of course not. We need continuing military transformation. We do not have the forces available we need. We discussed this in Nice with Minister Peter Struck and all the other defense ministers. Are we using NATO’s political structures to the full? No, I think the unique transatlantic forum we have can be used more strongly and more fully for political consultations. Of course there is one unique feature of this organization, I think, and that is that we have our American friends, Canadian friends, and the European friends around the table on a permanent basis.
Now the key question I think is: do we think that a stable and secure world order in the present framework of new threats and new challenges is possible without the full and active participation of the United States of America. I think the answer to that question is negative, and that’s the unique character of NATO. Does that mean that one should be against the European Union develop its own security identity? Of course not. That’s in the interest of NATO as long as it’s complementary and as long as there is no duplication. So my point would be that we should use the unique political forum that we have more to the full and that we have a more intensive NATO-EU agenda. So we have the organizational structures. It might well be that a panel might come to the conclusion that a NATO structure would be the answer to the questions that we have, and we should know (and I agree with Hoyer here), that we should know what we want in the framework of discussing leaving matters in the hands of panels. So in other words, NATO is in full transformation. That transformation should go on, in the political sense and in the military sense.
So we are not there yet, but we have, as Secretary Rumsfeld said, seen more discussions and even crises in the history of NATO, and it has never lost, in my opinion, its unique character. But now I am doing what I think we should no do. I am talking transatlantic relations. I think we should talk what we can do. And if I look at Secretary-General Annan, may I say that in Afghanistan, in Kosovo, in Iraq, NATO is operating under UN mandate. So in other words, here also is a very, very important field to cover. Finally, 26 democracies discuss these issues with each other. Twenty-six democracies debate, so let’s not shy away from debate. If there is debate, let’s not day that NATO is ill or terminally ill, or what have you. And finally, if I look at NATO’s partnerships, if I look at the partnerships with the Russians, with Ukraine, with the countries of central Asia, with the countries of the Caucasus, with countries in the Middle East – I’ll speak about this afternoon -- I would say that this Alliance is very alive and very kicking. Thank you.
Teltschik: I take it as a comment. Secretary, would you like to…?
Secretary Rumsfeld: No, I think it was fine, perfect.
Teltschik: I have further 7 interventions. I take three of them. And then you should answer. The first one is Mr. Weisskirchen. He is Member of the German Parliament.
Weisskirchen: Mr. Defense Secretary, I do not believe that the problem is that the mission defines the coalition, or the other way around. I believe the problem lies somewhere else. The problem from the political perspective, in my opinion, is what benchmarks are applied, what means are used to fulfill the mission. There is the difference and we could see it in the past at several occasions very clearly. Take the example of Iran. There I have a question for you: The EU3 has positioned itself clearly to try at the moment to complete either the process of negotiation or the exchange of different perceptions. The question is does the United States believe this can be fulfilled or at what point where do you think that this mission, that is how I understand what we do, can’t be accomplished? Who will decide that at this point other benchmarks, other means will be applied. I think this is where the conflict is.
Teltschik: The next one is Joe Joffe, chief editor of Die Zeit.
Joffe: I have a question for both ministers. The first question goes to the German minister (who represented the Chancellor this morning). Mr. Struck, the key sentence of the Chancellor’s speech was that NATO will no longer be the primary place for transatlantic issues? And now my question to the American defense minister who tells us the mission determines the coalition. That means in both cases NATO is no longer the decisive framework for transatlantic policy. My question to both defense ministers: have we buried NATO this morning?
Teltschik: The next is Mr. Schmitt, Member of the German Parliament,
Schmitt: I would like to add to what the speaker before said. About the sentence “the no longer primary location in NATO,” which, Mr. Struck, in light of a review of structures, I don’t know whether this really presents the issue or whether it is a discussion of the which strategy to use. This question is to both ministers. The Europeans did present a strategy, with substantial input of our friend Solana, which in a number of points differs from the American national security strategy, in particular in the question of which means will be used by preemptive strikes and preemptive politics. Is having both of them in place side by side a viable structure or is this a way to put the alliance in question as has been done by both sides? What would be the answer?
Teltschik: Thanks, who would like to start first? Secretary, would you like?
Secretary Rumsfeld: Fine, first with respect to Iran. My impression, as I said this is not my portfolio, my impression is that the U.S. has said that the hope is that the Europeans, or the IAEA, could proceed on the diplomatic path and find a way to persuade Iran that their seeming path towards the development of a nuclear weapon is not something that would contribute to stability in the world and that there is not much daylight as between the approaches of the U.S. and the Europeans, I think there is really broad agreement that there it is not in the interest of the world that there be a nuclear program in Iran.
NATO, I don’t quite follow the idea that NATO was buried today. I don’t think so. I think quite the contrary. NATO has a great deal of energy and vitality. It is doing things that are significant. Just only a few years ago people would not have dreamed that NATO would be involved in places like Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan to the extent they are. I believe they are undertaking the kind of reforms to bring that institution into the 21st century -- which it needs to do, just as all our respective ministries and bureaucracies need to do. The place to discuss transatlantic issues, clearly, is in NATO. And, we do it bilaterally, which is important; we do it multilaterally, which is important. The advantages of doing things within NATO is that we have countries there that have such common interest and such common approaches to the world and are able to do it together and in front of each other in a very efficient way. People criticize NATO as being slow and as not doing this and not doing that, they criticize the UN for being slow and as not doing this and as not doing that. The fact of the matter is that is the nature of institutions that have a multinational character -- that it takes some time and the truth is that NATO, given a little time, finds it way to right decisions on big issues. It has consistently, and it can and will in the future. I should add, Mr. Secretary-General, about the UN, having just come from Iraq last night the work that Mr.Vellensuela did there with respect to the elections, I thought was impressive. We all benefited. Horst, I have finished.
Minister Struck: A short answer to the question from Mr. Joffe and Mr. Schmidt. Mr. Joffe, you would mischaracterize the Chancellor’s speech by describing his main point as a funeral for NATO. You don’t have to believe everything that you read in the papers. The key is to find and improve possibilities for cooperation between the EU and NATO and within NATO. The key is to improve and transform the framework for cooperation and to make the adjustments necessary for the changed security challenges. It is important to the Chancellor to find ways to make NATO more effective, as well as cooperation with the EU. I agree absolutely with what Jaap had to say. NATO is moving in the right direction, as is the European Union.
Teltschik: I have four more questions and then we have to come to an end. The next one is Mr. Chipman.
Chipman: John Chipman, Director of International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. First, I think I should congratulate our host Horst Teltschik, the president of Boeing Germany, for the cunning and skill he showed by convincing EADS to sponsor the splendid dinner we had last night. (Laughter) Thank you very much.
I have a direct question for Secretary Rumsfeld and I am taking care to ask a question of the Secretary that I know he is passionate about. I want to ask him a question about military transformation. There is a huge debate in the United States about military transformation, about the adaptation of the right technologies for the right kind of warfare that is now being pressed upon the civilized world, the right kind of platforms that have to be procured, the right techniques, and a lot of debate about technological interoperability. But I would like to ask the Secretary what debate there is now within the United States armed forces about adapting military doctrine to the new type of warfare with which we are confronted and what experiences from Iraq are being taken in by the military forces of the United States about adapting doctrine for counter-insurgency, for complex peacekeeping operations, and to make that doctrine perhaps itself more interoperable with the techniques and practices that some European countries have traditionally deployed in complex peacekeeping operations, and whether you think that NATO might, for example, be a good place to seek to achieve ever-closer harmonization of the techniques of counter-insurgency if one day indeed a number of NATO states together will be found fighting those counter-insurgencies? Thank you.
Teltschik: Thank you, John. Next time I will ask you to sponsor. Next one is Bob Hunter from Rand Corporation.
Hunter: Thank you, Horst. Robert Hunter, president of the Atlantic Treaty Association. Let me try a practical suggestion because people have been talking about that. George Robertson used to say that the problem was capabilities, capabilities, and capabilities. What we in America want is the Europeans to do more, and yet there are still limitations on the flow of high technology capabilities across the Atlantic in one way or the other. The American arms market is still largely closed, at least compared to the European. I was wondering if this is the time, Mr. Secretary, for a new kind of grand bargain, to get the companies and the countries of NATO and the European Union together to sort this out so that NATO and the United States will be able to fight together in the future. What I suggest is that you throw, at one and the same time, allied command transformation to help the European Union as well as NATO and by the way, maybe if this could be done, that would slacken some of the European appetite to sell to China.
Teltschik: The next one is Mr. Rinkler, the first deputy minister of foreign affairs for the Czech Republic.
Rinkler: Thank you, Chairman. I know we should focus on what is strengthening transatlantic links today here, however we cannot avoid some of the difficult points. I would like to stress that we as one of the new EU members that we feel uneasy when we are pushed to take sides. We feel perfectly well in NATO. We want to accommodate ourselves well within the EU. We look for our niche opportunities within the CSFB framework. Iraq was one big dividing issue, and we really hope it is over. Iran seems to test our integrity and our flexibility. EU approach towards Cuba is another test. Perhaps China embargo is something we can overcome without tensions. My question is, what are the main U.S. concerns in case the embargo, at least in technical terms, is and will be by codes of conduct, strengthened by the toolbox, not the central and primary forum for consultation, at least not at the present time. The question is whether we want it to become such a forum. If so, then we must do something about it. That is not a new idea, simply the description of reality. Second, on the issue of Iran. Following up on what Mr. Weisskirchen said, if I understood Condoleezza Rice correctly, then the United States is not for a military solution of this difficult problem, and I am very thankful that she said this so clearly. What is missing, however, is the urgent support of the United States of the political negotiation process. This touches on issues in the Chancellor’s speech this morning, for political negotiations require clear security guarantees of security for Iraq. For it is only in this context that the negotiations can be successful. For this reason, an urgent request to the American colleagues about whether this is not possible.
Teltschik: This afternoon, there will be an opportunity to discuss these issues further. The last one from Jim Hoagland from the Washington Post.
Hoagland: I have a couple of questions for Minister Struck, coming out of the remarks from this morning. The Chancellor’s speech clearly identified a common threat that NATO had faced as an attack on the borders in Europe coming from the Soviet Union. He put it very much in the past tense. Secretary Rumsfeld discussed today a common threat from Islamic extremism and defined it in the context of September 11th and Al-Qaeda. Do you agree that that is a common threat that requires a common strategy from NATO countries?
Teltschik: Thanks gentlemen. It is your last chance to answer. Would you like to start?
Minister Struck: Thank you for this question, Mr. Hoagland. What we are doing in Afghanistan, we are doing primarily because it is clear to us that the retreat of the international protective forces would lead to a re-strengthening of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. There is no doubt about that. The authority that President Karzai won through the presidential elections in the first phase is supported by the presence of international protective forces. It is also clear to us that, as I once said, Germany’s security is also strengthened through these actions, for a state like this that could again become a “failed state” represents a security threat in Europe. For this reason, Mr. Hoagland, there is a joint European position to naturally make sure that, as Mr. Rumsfeld so dramatically described, such a state become a democratic and free state from which terrorism cannot flow.
Teltschik: Secretary, please go ahead.
Secretary Rumsfeld: Thank you, Horst. I can’t challenge the individual who said that important issues aren’t being discussed in NATO but my impression from reading the cables and from participating in NATO defense ministerial meetings and participating in NATO summit meetings, I have the impression at least that important issues are discussed at NATO, and usefully so. There may be other things that could be discussed but of course we have 26 members and they can all lob them over the transom and see that they get considered. The question I believe that Mr. Chipman raised, it was about military transformation. I don’t think of transformation as something that starts un-transformed and goes to something that is transformed. I think of it as a process where we are forced by the nature of our world in this 21st century to continue, and it’s more a matter of culture and attitude than it is technologies or platforms. It’s more a question of recognizing that in the world today we are faced with things that come at you very fast and we need speed and we need agility and we need flexibility in our militaries if a great many lives are to be saved. I noted that somebody mentioned the Allied Transformation Command that is headed by Ed Giambostiani. We call it Joint Forces. It is our Transformation Command. It is working effectively with NATO and with NATO nations in my view. I have seen a great deal of effort on the part of some of our allies to connect there. I would add that we are also including other countries – South Korea, Japan and Australia – in working with the Allied Command Transformation because we recognize how important that is.
The question I think went on to ask about peacekeeping about post-conflict stabilization. And you are right, these are terribly important aspects of it, and they are not something that the Department of Defense alone is involved in. In many cases, as we found in Bosnia and Kosovo, for example, you can put some military people in there but unless you develop the non-military part of a society, the civil justice system and the criminal justice system and a court system and the other aspects that go along with making a civil society, it doesn’t work.
So we have a Joint Forces Command. The Allied Command Transformation after the Iraq major conflict ended did a very comprehensive “lessons learned.” They then went and worked with the Iraqis who were in prison for the most part and did a “lessons learned” from their standpoint. What did it look like from their standpoint? And the two briefings are fascinating. I got an hour and a half on the first one and ended up going back for another 15 or 20 hours to try to understand precisely what took place and why and, of course, the thing that many observers to conflict forget, is that plans kind of end when you hit the battlefield and you are against a thinking enemy and the enemy adapts and adjusts.
The thing that strikes me, and the other day I sat down and started musing over what it was that was going on, and came to the conclusion that waging a war is obviously always difficult but given the realities of the 21st century, it is particularly complex and we have to recognize that this global war on terror is the first war in history that is being conducted in a world dominated by a particular set of new realities. Multiple global satellite television networks, 24 hours news coverage, dozens of domestic and international television channels devoted to news, commentary and analysis, live coverage of terrorist attacks, disasters and combat operations, 24 hour talk radio where everything gets chopped around and discussed and analyzed, a global Internet with universal access and no inhibitions – something doesn’t have to be true to be there, you might not have noticed that – bloggers and hackers and chatrooms, digital cameras and camcorders, wielded by journalists, the public, by soldiers, emails and cell phones with global reach where something is happening on one place is instantaneously known halfway around the world; the reporters embedded with the military who are physically there looking at a slice of what’s taking place, a single slice to be sure but an accurate single slice; a Congress that stays in session near endlessly with television broadcast and I believe the number of congressional aides has doubled from 8,000 to 16,000 since I was Secretary of Defense back in the 70s. That is a lot of congressional aides. A House and a Senate in the United States, and I suppose in the parliaments of other countries as well, where fewer and fewer members ever served in the military. The increasingly casual regard for national security and classified documents. Things leak out continuously. It alters how you have to behave. In discussing things, if you know a classified document is likely to leak, you end up not having that document – which forces you to do things in different ways, non-intuitive ways.
We have a Freedom of Information statute that I, in my youth, co-sponsored. Back in the 1960s, it was called “freedom of information” – I was for it. Today the United States government disgorges over a million pages of documents each year under that statute, from any Department, with no one in the other Departments knowing who asked for what or when it might be disgorged. Of course then the question immediately comes up, well why didn’t you tell us, or something? And obviously you didn’t know. It was some other Department’s interaction on that subject at some level. So, it adds a level of complexity. We have an executive branch of government, and I suspect many of you do, that is really still organized for the Industrial Age, not the Information Age. And so is the subcommittee system in Congress organized for the Industrial Age, and not the Information Age.
We have an enemy -- these terrorists that don’t have bureaucracies, don’t have parliaments, don’t have freedom of information laws, don’t have any of those things and are able to turn on a dime -- and those of us in government have difficulty. And they also lie. They are able to lie and a lie travels in this new reality of ours across the globe in seconds, and of course the truth is still putting on its shoes, trying to get ready to figure out what the correct answer is because we have to be accurate. We can’t just respond, we have to go out and find the facts. So there are two or three new cycles where the lie lives and dominates – and it is continuous, some of these in particularly vicious networks in the Middle East that are constantly misrepresenting what is taking place in the world.
Now why do I mention all of that? It is the world we are in and we believe in democracy, that people given right information, enough information over time, will find their way to reasonably right decisions. We are going through a period where for the first time in history we are having to conduct warfare in that new environment, and we are seeing people’s carburetors flooded from time to time and it’s going to take some adjusting. And we all know that inside human beings, free people, they have got inner gyroscopes that can spin you this way for a while and that can spin you that way for a while, but eventually it centers. And so I have confidence we can live in this environment but it isn’t easy and it is a heck of a lot easier to sit outside and critique it and complain about it and fuss about it than it is to do it, and we need to, I think, recognize that the militaries – this is a military conference – of the west were organized, trained and equipped to fight big armies and big navies and big air forces, and that is not what we are doing. We are doing something entirely different and we are breaking our necks in the NATO environment. I know Peter is doing it. I know I am doing it. I know Sergei Ivanov is doing it with his military. Trying to take these large institutions and turn them to fit this new century so that they have some minimal capability of wrestling with the way things are happening today, the speed with which they are happening, the lethality with which they pose and I have got a lot of respect for the way that the NATO ministers and their discussions on these subjects, and the way they have addressed tough issues and are tackling them and trying to reform their militaries. I watch what Sergei is doing and what has been announced in the Ukraine and I know Georgia’s being going through this process. I must say for those of you who are observing this process. I shouldn’t say this. What did I say here? It’s like Wagner’s music is not as bad as it sounds. No. There are an awful lot of good things happening and a lot of fine people trying to make it happen. And the purpose is to try and assure the safety and the protection of our way of life.
Thank you very much.
Teltschik: Thank you very much Secretary. I think this was a really lively start this morning.