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Transatlantic Partnership on the Threshold of the Next Millenium
Remarks to , Munich, Germany , Saturday, February 06, 1999

Thank you very much Herr Teltschik and Secretary General Solana, Minister Scharping, distinguished guests.

Minister Scharping just indicated that he first attended this session, I believe, in 1994. I have been coming here since 1978 and there have been vast changes that have taken place. The room is bigger; the lights are brighter; the podium from which the speakers speak is much higher; the questions and interventions are much shorter, at least for the moment, and I attribute it to this machine that has been erected giving us green and yellow and red signals. I might point out that the United States Senate has had this procedure in effect for years. The difference is that no one ever observed it in the United States Senate. So far the questions and the interventions have been quite brief and I will try to be equally brief in my presentation.

I don’t see Hans Haekkerup here but he took me to the castle where Hamlet, theoretically, was supposed to have delivered his grave soliloquy. It recalled to me, at least, the line from Polonius who said that, "Brevity is the soul of wit." So I will try to be as brief as I possibly can in summarizing this presentation and obeying the dictate from Herr Teltschik. I will not talk about Kosovo so that we can reserve that for our discussion..

I would like to point out an essay that was written by Walter Lippmann, a great essayist of the past, who talked about some islanders in the Pacific back before World War I. They were shocked to learn, in the Fall of 1914, that the world had slipped into war months before they had any notice. These islanders, he said, had a view of the world that no longer corresponded to the world in which they were actually living. "There was a time," he said, "when each man was still adjusted to an environment that no longer existed."

It has been a decade since the end of the Cold War, and I believe the challenge for the United States, and indeed all of our European allies and friends, is somewhat similar to those islanders; we have yet to fully adjust to the world in which we live. And so we have to see it not as it once was, but truly as it is, and to imagine how it may be, and to try to shape it in ways advantageous to our interests.

When Vaclav Havel came before a joint session of Congress, he opened by saying that things were happening so quickly, he had little time to be astonished. I would like to point out what has happened in so short a period of time since last year. Since we gathered here at this hotel, at this approximate time, the world’s attention was focused at that time on Saddam Hussein, who was seeking to defeat the U.N. inspectors through a clear pattern of obstruction and obfuscation. It is a pattern that ultimately produced strikes on the part of the United States, with the help of our British friends and coalition partners in the region, and it did, in fact, diminish Iraq’s ability to deliver weapons of mass destruction and to threaten its neighbors.

But only weeks after we gathered last time, Serbian forces did, in fact, sweep into Kosovo. They unleashed a torrent of terror and they prompted preparations for air strikes by NATO. Strikes, that I might add, and Secretary General Solana is here to reaffirm, that remain as an option today, and should Serbia fail to accept a settlement to the crisis, will remain in effect.

Since we gathered last, we have seen nuclear explosions in India and Pakistan and they have shocked the world. We have seen terrorists who have slaughtered hundreds, indeed they have injured thousands – most of them African and many of them Muslim – near our embassies in Africa. They have planned more attempts to target our embassies, prompting targeted action that we took in self-defense. Also since we last gathered, North Korea has stunned the world by firing a long-range Taepo Dong 1 missile across Japan and into the Pacific. So the future is rushing at us with astonishing speed and we close our eyes to the present at our peril.

I would like to talk for a few moments about the future. In less than three months, we are going to be attending the Washington Summit. NATO is going to recall, at that time, the defining moment some fifty years ago when our predecessors looked at each other, and then looked to each other, for a common defense. We are going to reach out to the new NATO members, the three members, of Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary; also, our partner states all the way from Albania to Azerbaijan. At the Summit, we are going to resolve that we have to have a new NATO for a new age. I recall that words are said to be but the skin of a naked thought, and I would like to turn to similar thoughts, but first invoke a few words that perhaps our colleague George Robertson would appreciate.

It was in the wake of the Second World War, that Churchill said, "When military men approach a situation they are wont to write at the head of their directive the words ‘strategic concept.’ What then," he asked the question rhetorically, ‘is the strategic concept to which we shall inscribe today?" And he answered his question, "Nothing less than our safety and welfare and freedom and progress." Again these are all very meaningful words, but what we have to do is to find what lies beneath the words and our naked thoughts.

The Strategic Concept that we are going to unveil at the Washington Summit is going to re-affirm the enduring truths that Churchill mentioned and it is going to recognize the emerging realities: that NATO, first and foremost, is a military alliance whose central mission remains the collective defense of its members; that NATO will always act on the basis of consensus; and, that NATO will always act in the spirit of the principles of the United Nations.

Our first, and I would say over-arching, challenge of building a new NATO is to adjust the alliance and to transform it to meet new challenges, and to protect its common interests NATO must prepare its forces. We have to prepare them to endure the stresses and the strains of operations, such as those we found in Bosnia. There were no pre-existing communications, no pre-existing logistics, no headquarters, or other infrastructure. That is why we are developing this initiative to transform the defense capabilities of the Alliance.

Of course, in the Book of Proverbs, we know that "where there is no vision the people perish," and so we have to have a common vision. We have to transform NATO’s defense capabilities by focusing on four core capabilities. They are pretty fundamental, I think we all share them. We must be mobile enough to project our forces rapidly. We must effectively engage by delivering the right response, be it humanitarian or combat, when and where it is needed, in the right amounts in the right place at the right time. We have to increase our sustainability by supporting our forces with more tailored and efficient logistics systems. And of course, we must enhance the survivability of our forces by protecting them from terrorist, chemical, biological and even cyber attacks.

Each of us, individually, is taking steps to combat these types of threats, to defeat chemical and biological arrows aimed at our Achilles’ heels. But I think collectively we can do more to halt the hopes of those who would show us fear and a handful of dust, if I could paraphrase Eliot. That is why we have proposed an initiative on weapons of mass destruction with a central clearinghouse to increase the sharing of information and to improve programs to protect both our military and civilian populations.

We talked about protecting ourselves against terrorism. It means having greater intelligence, we have to gather more information, we have to share that information on a collective basis, if, in fact, we are going to be able to defeat those who seek to bring great casualty to our populations. These efforts will enhance, they will not eclipse, the work that is already underway across the alliance.

I should also note that it is my firm belief that the best hope for protecting ourselves against those who would unleash weapons of mass destruction -- be they nuclear, biological or chemical -- is to reserve the right to respond to such attacks with any means at our disposal. Any question about this policy undermines our deterrent capability. I think we have to make that very clear to all who would contemplate unleashing any sort of a weapon of mass destruction upon the Alliance.

Preparing our forces for the future also means preparing for the possibility of terrorist attacks against NATO forces and facilities. Again, each of us, individually, is taking measures to combat this, but collectively we have to do more to address this threat of terrorism; and, I believe, the Washington Summit is going to afford us the ability to really lay the groundwork for dealing with this threat as an Alliance and not simply individually.

If our forces are going to be designed, equipped and prepared to deal with tomorrow’s missions, we have got to make more prudent and wise investments today. Last year at this conference, I noted the growing gap between Allied spending and U.S. spending on research, development and procurement. I argued at that time that, if Allied defense budgets continued to decline in the pursuit of peace dividends, it is going to be peace and not the dividend that will be at risk.

This year, I can report that we have measured up to our own words with deeds. President Clinton’s budget proposal that we submitted to Congress just a few days ago will make available 112 billion dollars in additional defense resources over the next six years. This is the largest sustained increase in defense spending in fifteen years. In order to ensure today’s readiness our budget includes the largest increase in military pay and benefits in a generation. In order to ensure tomorrow’s readiness -- General Clark is nodding with affirmation -- our budget includes 53 billion dollars in procurement for the next fiscal year and it will climb to 60 billion dollars in the year 2001 and much higher thereafter. These new resources are going to keep us on a path to make sure that we have the forces which will be equipped with the ships, the aircraft and the weapons they will need to carry out this revolution in operational concepts which are going to change the way in which we fight.

Our budget not only reflects the world the way it is, but the way it might become. We are going to continue funding the research, development and deployment of air and missile defenses designed to protect U.S. forces overseas, as well as our friends and our allies. Our budget also contains substantial new funding for a National Missile Defense (NMD) program.

I see the former U.S. Secretary of Defense, Don Rumsfeld, is in the audience today, and I would pay a particular compliment to him and to the Commission that was formed to analyze this situation. As a result of the Rumsfeld Commission, we have indeed altered our view in terms of the pace at which our people and our country will be subjected to the threat of a ballistic missile attack. So, we have put funding in our budget to prepare for the protection of America’s homeland against emerging strategic ballistic missile threats from rogue nations.

As I have indicated on a number of occasions in recent days, President Clinton will not make a deployment decision until June of the year 2000. But in the meantime, the United States is actively engaged in discussions with our Russian friends on the nature of the modifications that might be necessary and required to the ABM Treaty; modifications that will satisfy our mutual strategic concerns while providing protection to our people from a limited ballistic missile attack.

It may not be possible for all of the members of the Alliance to seek significant or substantial defense increases; but we believe that if the Alliance is going to exist in word and deed in fighting capacity as well as political appeal, then, at a minimum, defense budgets cannot be reduced any further. The difficulties and dangers of the world surely do not permit it.

I would just offer a few other comments. My prepared text, I believe, is available to each of you and I will try to summarize it very quickly. The dangers that we face and the changes that we must embrace that pertain to building this new NATO for the next century involve forging even stronger partnerships with our European friends. The Partnership for Peace Program -- and Bob Hunter, I see you on the aisle seat -- I will say to all here when the Partnership for Peace program was originally formulated I was a great skeptic. I have become convinced, as a result of his truly heroic efforts to make this work, that the Partnership for Peace Program has been an enormous success. We intend to engage the Partnership for Peace Program in a way that will assist more and more nations to open NATO’s door. But as we have said before, the PfP Program should be an end in itself for those nations who do not wish to seek entrance into NATO.

Enhancing the inherent worth of PfP membership is a driving force behind our efforts in several areas. We are going to strengthen this program. We are going to improve military education through a consortium of defense academies. We are going to enhance training exercises through a computer simulation network. We are going to share expertise through specialized training centers in Partner nations. We intend to devote great effort to enhancing the PfP Program.

Finally, let me say, with respect to the U.S. relationship with Russia and NATO’s relationship with Russia, we think that it is extraordinarily important. Every time that we have a Permanent Joint Council meeting with our Russian friends, we believe that we are helping to stabilize our relationship throughout the European and Eurasian continent. We feel the same way with the same intensity and passion about the charter we have with Ukraine. We intend to continue to work with both Russia and Ukraine, understanding that there can be no stability throughout the continent without a stable Russia and a stable and prosperous Ukraine as well.

So, my colleagues, I will cease and desist here, saying that I am looking forward to, not only to your interventions this afternoon, but also to your attendance at the Washington Summit. I think we look back at our predecessors and thank them for their vision and foresight in overcoming the cynics or the determinists who believed that we were destined to simply linger in the backwash of the conflict of history and that we will look to the future and say that we have the opportunity to forge a relationship that is even stronger and more enduring for the next fifty years. I look forward to seeing all of you at that Summit.

Thank you. [Applause]