United States Department of Defense United States Department of Defense

News Release

Press Operations Bookmark and Share

News Release


IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 412-03
June 12, 2003

Secretary Rumsfeld Remarks As Delivered at the Marshall Center's 10th Anniversary

The remarks below are the text of a speech Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld delivered at the Marshall Center's 10th Anniversary, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, on June 11, 2003.

Thank you very much, Dr. Rose, Minister Struck. Where are all the Ministers of Defense that are here? Would you all stand up? You’re spread all over. There’s one. Please stand, all the Ministers of Defense, we want to see them. There they are. Look at that. Now that’s a pretty picture (Applause.). Thank you, thank you.

It’s good to be back here in Garmisch. I’m trying to think when it was. I think it was 30 yeas ago, I was Ambassador to NATO, and I came down here with my children and taught them to ski right here. It’s a lovely setting, and certainly I’m delighted to be able to be back here.

I came from the United States, Portugal, to Albania, to Garmisch. And when one thinks about it, Portugal was an original founding member of NATO. Albania is in the so-called MAP program, Membership Action Program, is on a track to become a member of NATO. And now here in Germany, a country that has of course an enormous contributor to NATO. I do greet my fellow Ministers of Defense, the distinguished guests, Mrs. Wörner, it’s nice to see you again, students, ladies and gentlemen.

I’m pleased to be here on the 10th anniversary of this historic joint effort by the Federal Republic of Germany and the United States to strengthen the transatlantic relationship and to extend it deep into the heart and soul of Eurasia.

In reading the history of the Marshall Center, I came across those same names you heard here – Powell and Cheney and others. Like its founders, the students of the Marshall Center have also gone on to great things. I heard Dr. Rose mention and Dick Cheney mention how many of the graduates and people here have gone on to become ministers and deputy Ministers of Defense, Chiefs of the General Staff, Deputy Chiefs of Staff, Cabinet Ministers, Ambassadors, Flag Officers. It’s kind of humbling. Here I am, I’m in the same job I was in 25 years ago (Laughter.). It just shows what a graduate can do from the Marshall Center (Laughter.).

I know this Center is important not simply because of its success of its alumni, but also because of the importance of the transatlantic relationship that it is designed to support and to sustain.

So I want to visit today a bit about the future of that relationship, and this institution that is part of its anchor in the North Atlantic alliance.

In 1949, President Truman called the founding of NATO "a neighborly act," an interesting phrase, not surprising from a man from Missouri, comparing the new Alliance to a group of neighbors, living in the same locality, who form an association for their mutual self-protection and self-interest. And he was right.

But it has of course become much more than a neighborly act. In many ways, the North Atlantic community is much like a family. Millions of Americans trace their roots back to Europe, and proudly identify themselves as German-American, Polish-American, Italian-American.

So Americans and Europeans -- Europe, both Eastern Europe and Western Europe are joined together by more than just common interests. We’re united by ties of blood and purpose, a common heritage of liberty and democratic self-government; ties that have been in a very real sense forged in war and sealed in struggle.

Like a family, from time to time we don’t agree on everything, sometimes we have debates and discussions. But when threatened or challenged, we need to come together, as we did after September 11th.

And today, we are adding new members. The arrival of each one of those new members in NATO, it was 15 back when I was ambassador of NATO, now 19 and soon to be 26. The addition of each new nation brings new energy and new perspective to the Alliance.

Like many of you, I vividly remember the excitement of seeing the revolutions in Central and Eastern Europe unfold -- watching those newly-liberated people bringing down the statues of Lenin in their capitals. It was a remarkable sight to see.

Europe is a better place for the involvement of these recently-liberated nations. And so is the world.

Our new NATO allies, those also who will soon become allies, and those countries that work in the Partnership for Peace, are all making an important difference.

The record speaks for itself. Dr. Rose has mentioned the numbers of people that have been trained from so many different countries here in this Center. Almost every one of those nations that he mentioned, the 50 plus nations, has contributed in some way to our activities in the global war on terror.

Some 35 have sent representatives to the U.S. Central Command in Tampa; 33 were part of the coalition in Operation Iraqi Freedom; 28 are currently contributing troops or assistance for post-war conflict operations in Iraq; 29 are helping today with security, stability, and humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan.

That’s an impressive record.

But it begs the question: Why is it that so many nations -- some small, others still struggling with economic and political transitions of their own -- have been able to make such outsized contributions to peace and security?

The key, I believe, is that even as they are busy looking inward, at rebuilding their economies and societies as they must, they’ve had the vision to look outward as well, to find ways that they can contribute to a more peaceful and a more secure free world.

It suggests that the distinction between old and new in Europe today is really not a matter of age or size or geography. It’s really a matter of attitude -- of the vision that countries bring to the transatlantic relationship and to the challenges that we will all face in the years ahead.

Many nations in Europe -- but not all -- see the nexus of terror and weapons of mass destruction as a very serious threat, and recognize that transatlantic unity is more critical than ever if we, collectively, are to able to successfully deal with those threats.

I think that most see the value of a robust transatlantic relationship. It is, I believe, compatible with European integration. It certainly is critical to our mutual security and the success of our common interests.

These differing attitudes, that do exist, however, drive the choices that nations make; choices about a willingness to recognize new threats and take action to deal with them; choices about a willingness to invest in the kinds of military capabilities that will allow us, each of our nations, and collectively, to contribute to peace and stability.

I think it should come as no surprise that many of the nations with fresh memories of tyranny and occupation have been among those most willing to face the new threats, and contribute to dealing with them. This attitude is why, a decade after the Cold War ended, NATO now has invited 10 new allies to join the Atlantic Alliance. They’re bringing new vision and new vitality to this old Alliance.

Let me be clear: these countries have not been invited into the alliance as junior partners, allowed to join the so-called grown-up’s table so long as they sit quietly. No, they have been invited to participate fully and to help lead.

And already we are seeing leadership in action. Poland is preparing to lead one of the three division headquarters in Iraq -- a 7,000-man force that will probably be comprised of some 12 forces from some 12 different counties. Romania has an infantry battalion deployed in Afghanistan, and plans to deploy another infantry battalion shortly to Iraq. Albania has forces in Afghanistan as well as in Iraq. Many others are contributing in important ways as well.

We need to work even more closely today, because the threats we face in the 21st century are of a nature that really no nation can face them alone.

Take proliferation. It’s not a problem that individual nations can handle by themselves.

We know that North Korea is the world’s foremost proliferator of ballistic missile technology. Now they’ve stated that they may not only build, but also sell nuclear weapons and materials.

If free nations do not come together and come to grips with the proliferation problem, it’s possible that not so many years from now, when folks gather here for the 20th anniversary of the Marshall Center, we could be living in a world with up to twice the number of nuclear powers -- and the reality that a number of those new nuclear powers could be terrorist states.

The fact is, we face three intersecting dangers today: the growing arsenal of rogue, failed or failing states; the exponential growth in trade among these states in WMD-related materials, technologies and delivery capabilities; and the relationship between these states and terrorist networks that are seeking to obtain chemical and biological and nuclear material.

If we are to deal with these new dangers, we need new tools of international cooperation, including new authorities to prevent -- and, if necessary, interdict -- the import, the export and the transshipment of weapons of mass destruction, ballistic missiles, and WMD-related materials from and between and to terrorist states.

We also need to strengthen existing mechanisms for international security cooperation. We are working to transform our Department of Defense in the United States. And we are also working with our allies to help transform NATO from a 20th century defensive alliance, into a 21st century alliance capable of projecting power out of area, with leaner command structures, and a rapid response force that can deploy in days instead of months.

As we strengthen institutions that allow free nations to cooperate on a multilateral basis, we must take care not to damage the core principle that under-girds the international system -- the principle of state sovereignty.

Today, we see respect for states’ sovereignty eroding. We see it, in my view, in the International Criminal Court’s claim of authority to try the citizens of countries that have not consented to ICC jurisdiction.

We see it in the new Belgian law purporting to give Belgian courts "universal jurisdiction" over alleged war crimes anywhere in the world. Already charges have been filed against General Tommy Franks under this dangerous law, which has turned Belgium’s legal system into a platform for, what I believe will prove to be, divisive, politicized lawsuits against officials of her NATO allies. There are, I might add, suits also pending against President George Herbert Walker Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and others. I suppose if George Marshall were alive there would be suits against George Marshall in the Belgian courts.

These trends are dangerous, not simply because they threaten to disrupt cooperation between friends and allies, but also because the erosion of respect for states sovereignty absolves states of their responsibilities to deal with problems within their borders.

Sovereignty is a two-way street -- it implies rights and also responsibilities, it seems to me. Those who would strip away the sovereign rights of nations have to recognize that in the process they may also strip away states of sovereign responsibilities.

Too often, the erosion of sovereignty gives states an excuse to take the easy-way-out -- by blaming globalization, or punting problems to supra-national bodies, instead of taking responsibility for problems that originate from poor national governance.

A case in point is the threat of terrorism. Terrorists are parasites who seek out weak and struggling nations to serve as hosts. As states have appeared weaker, terrorists have moved in -- hiding in ungoverned areas, using them as bases from which to launch attacks on innocent men, women, and children.

It’s my view that states have a responsibility to govern areas within their borders. And we need to be able to hold states accountable for their performance. Those who want to push sovereignty away can’t have it both ways: either states are responsible for the governance of their countries or they’re not.

Strengthening the state is also critical if we are to give international cooperation a new lease on life. It took the will of sovereign states, working in large coalitions, to deal with problems like Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. The lesson is that truly effective multilateralism requires the cooperation of sovereign nations, working together through strong alliances and coalitions of the willing.

To deal with the threats of the 21st century, we have two important challenges. First is to strengthen states -- including their ability to effectively govern their territory, police their borders and contribute to coalitions of the willing. And second, to strengthen and reform the institutions that facilitate multilateral action by, and cooperation between sovereign states -- such as NATO and the Partnership for Peace.

For a decade now the Marshall Center has produced the leaders who are helping to make these changes happen. That’s a good thing. In just ten years, the graduates of this Center have already made an enormous difference -- in their countries and also in the world. I believe part of that is because they are the kind of people who were selected to participate here, part of it is because of what they may have learned here, but part of it also are the relationships that they’ve developed here and the linkages they take back to their countries, and the respect they develop for other people and for other countries and for other customs and approaches.

So I have confidence that, with your vision and your commitment, our successors a decade from now will be able to look back on the 20th [anniversary] of this institution, and say that free people rose to meet the challenges of a still dangerous and a still untidy world.

Thank you very much and God bless you all. (Applause.)