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Rumsfeld: 21st Century Challenges Can’t Be Overcome by Military Means Alone

By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service

PORTOROZ, Slovenia, Sept. 29, 2006 – The challenges the world faces in the 21st century can’t be overcome by military means alone, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said here today.

In a meeting with reporters capping this week’s informal meeting of NATO defense ministers, Rumsfeld said that while NATO has expanded in size, scope and capabilities, the alliance and other free nations face a world far different from that of the 20th century.

NATO is fully engaged in Afghanistan, the first time the alliance has taken on major military operations outside its geographic boundaries, and has the same kinds of issues that the United States and the coalition face there, the secretary said.

“Twenty-first century challenges are not challenges that can be overcome with brute military strength,” he said. “They just don’t lend themselves to military victories.”

Rumsfeld said progress is necessary not only in the security part of the equation, but also in the governance, political and economic arenas.

“All of those things have to come along together,” he said, “and one of the elements of the discussion (among NATO defense ministers) today was that reality, which … is something that we discuss inside of our government continuously. How do you get all of those things moving in reasonable synchronization?”

Rumsfeld said the current tension between Russia and the former Soviet republic of Georgia was among the topics discussed when he met this morning with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Ivanov. The subject also was discussed in the NATO-Russia Council meeting today. “It’s a subject of great interest to the United States and also to the NATO alliance,” Rumsfeld said. “The thread of those discussions clearly was for there to be calm and for those tensions to be eased down in a peaceful way.”

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Donald H. Rumsfeld

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