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 You are in: Under Secretary for Political Affairs > From the Under Secretary > Remarks > 2002 Under Secretary for Political Affairs Remarks

NATO Enlargement

Marc Grossman, Under Secretary for Political Affairs
Remarks to the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations
Chicago, IL
September 30, 2002

As Prepared

Good evening everybody.

Thanks very much for having me here tonight. Thank you, Lorraine, for inviting me. Marshall (Bouton), it’s nice to see you again. Thank you for all you do to promote America and America’s role in the world. It’s a pleasure to have the opportunity to speak to you all.

First, let me say, I am pleased to speak for the first time here at the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations. In fact, it’s the first time I’ve ever been to Chicago, so this is a double treat for me.

The Chicago Council on Foreign Relations was founded in 1922 by men and women who believed WWI had irrevocably propelled America into global politics, and who advocated American internationalism.  I hope they’d be very pleased to know that, tonight, we are here to discuss the future of NATO, an international organization that today serves as a cornerstone of America’s global internationalism and leadership.

Secondly, I’d like to say thank you to you and the German Marshall Fund for your recent study of U.S. and European public opinion.

Marshall was in my office the first week in September and outlined the findings of your Worldviews 2002 study Comparing American and European Public Opinion on Foreign Policy. A welcome visit indeed.

Yes, we have differences with our allies across the Atlantic but the facts in your survey tell us that we share a deep partnership based on common interests and shared values.

Your work made our work easier and more relevant by helping us understand that some of the pundits and nay-sayers on both sides of the ocean overstate the gap between European and American public opinion, and that policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic have support to – indeed must – strengthen and deepen this key tie.

CCFR-German Marshall Fund Study

We hear a lot that while European and American foreign policies are largely in agreement, our publics’ are moving apart on the fundamentals.

Your poll shows the reverse may be true: On most issues, European and American publics see the world similarly. Maybe, just maybe, it’s transatlantic policy makers that need some rethinking about what we are doing or not doing.

Consider the following from your poll:

  • Europeans and Americans share support for international solutions to international problems. Europeans and Americans believe their countries should play an active role in world affairs. 78% of Europeans believe their country should play an active part in the world; 71% for the same question in the United States.
  • Europeans and Americans have comparable perceptions of friends and allies and strong affinity for each other. When asked to rate the warmth of feelings on a given scale Americans and Europeans like and dislike the same countries – with Iraq, by the way, at the bottom of both European and American rating scales.
  • Europeans generally see threats the same way – if not with the same intensity – as Americans. Asked to rate threats to their country’s national security over the next 10 years, the same threats appear at the top of both lists: international terrorism, Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and fundamentalism.
  • Either a plurality or a majority of the public on both sides of the Atlantic believes the World Bank, IMF, WTO, UN, and today’s topic, NATO, should be strengthened. The UN gets strong support from roughly three-fourths of Europeans and Americans.
  • Americans show high support for international, rather than unilateral, approaches to foreign policy. Long-standing American support for doing things with allies and friends has been reaffirmed an in some cases strengthened in the aftermath of Sept 11.
    • 61% of Americans say we should work more closely with other countries.
  • Europeans and Americans are in broad agreement when it comes to the war on terrorism, Iraq, and a host of other international issues.
  • Publics on both sides of the Atlantic have similar concerns regarding Iraq. Both regard Iraqi weapons of mass destruction as a top international threat. Europeans, as well as Americans, give conditional support for an attack on Iraq.

So what of those who say the opposite is true?

Other Voices

We should not shy away from this debate. It is a healthy one. Many of the critics are friends and make serious points. A foreign policy in a democratic country can only be successful if it is democratic, debated and transparent.

Consider Robert Kagan who argues that the U.S. and Europe have developed fundamentally different outlooks on the world.  Essentially, he says, Americans are from Mars and Europeans are from Venus: we agree on little and understand one another less and less.

And, he says, this state of affairs is not transitory. The reasons for the transatlantic divide are deep and enduring and will have important consequences for the future course of US-European relations. And these differences may result in decreasing transatlantic engagement on strategic and military issues.

Kagan argues that the differences are caused by a discrepancy in military power. America has said a(n) Hobbesian worldview because it alone is responsible for upholding global order. We feel comfortable wielding military power.

Europeans, by contrast, are weak and therefore do not confront but negotiate. Protected by American military capabilities, according to Kagan, Europe is moving beyond power into a self-contained world of laws and rules and transnational negotiation and cooperation.

In fact, he says, "When it comes to setting national priorities, determining threats, defining challenges, and fashioning and implementing foreign and defense policies, the United States and Europe have parted ways."

Another eloquent friend, EU Commissioner Chris Patten, earlier this year warned of a rift opening up between Europe and the US – wider than at any time for a half a century. Patten proposed Europe take a hard stance against American "unilateralist overdrive."

I believe both these views underestimate what you have discovered, or indeed rediscovered. Our public’s desire, demand and requirement that we take opportunities to work with others when and where we can because we do share values and outlooks across the Atlantic. That is the lesson of your poll.

If we listen to our publics, we are offered ways to approach our challenges. Not always philosophically or rhetorically elegant, perhaps, but practical, focused on solving problems or, dare I say, even visionary in cases like the transformation of NATO.

Differences remain: Kyoto; the International Criminal Court; the death penalty, and defense spending.

And we should be absolutely clear about one thing. America will act alone if we must. No one should doubt this for a moment.

Secretary Powell has said, "There will be times when the U.S. must act alone."

The NATO summit in Prague 2002 is a chance for us to build upon what you’ve found our public’s want, and to bring together Euro-Atlantic policies and publics through our strongest, most important transatlantic institution: NATO.

The NATO Summit

There is no greater example of the strong and enduring ties between Europe and America than the NATO Alliance.  For more than half a century it has been the indispensable link between our peoples, ensuring our common security and uniting us in pursuit of a free and democratic future.

These ties were never more in evidence than in the days following the tragic events of September 11. The next day, NATO met in emergency session and, for the very first time in its history, invoked Article 5, the key clause of the North Atlantic Treaty obligating the Alliance to come to the aid of any member who comes under attack.

This was not just a symbolic gesture. Our Allies have delivered, both collectively through NATO, and as individual Allies.

In the first months of the war on terrorism, NATO AWACS surveillance planes logged over 3,000 hours patrolling the skies above American cities, and all NATO Allies have provided blanket overflight rights, access to ports and bases, refueling assistance, and stepped up intelligence efforts. In addition, NATO’s collective naval forces, STANAVFORMED, have worked together to pursue the war against terrorism.

Fifty years of cooperation through NATO made natural the participation of Allied forces in both combat and peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan.

Allied combat contributions included air reconnaissance, refueling, cargo, and close air support missions, use of special forces, specialized nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons units, mine clearing units, medical support, and an array of Allied ships on patrol.

Almost all contributors to the current peacekeeping operation in Kabul, initially led by Britain and now by Turkey, are either current Allies, potential future Allies, or countries who have been training and exercising with NATO in our outreach program, the Partnership for Peace.

All together, these Allies and Partners have deployed nearly 4,000 troops to Afghanistan.

NATO’s actions in response to September 11 came as no surprise to us. The alliance remains the key to the stability and security of the Euro-Atlantic area.

Throughout its history, this alliance has adapted to meet new threats and seize new opportunities.

NATO acted to end a war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. It responded to end murder in Kosovo. And, it has built new patterns of cooperation through the NATO-Russia Council, NATO-Ukraine Commission, the Partnership for Peace and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council.

NATO’s most recent round of enlargement erased the line Stalin drew across Europe and brought new stability and security throughout Europe.

NATO still matters

NATO Today: Enduring Values, Common Purposes

On November 21 NATO heads of state and government will meet in Prague. This NATO summit--the first in a former Warsaw Pact capital—has twofold significance.

Symbolically, it is testament to the changes that have taken place in Europe since the end of the Cold War.

Prague, once a city that Winston Churchill lamented had fallen behind an Iron Curtain. Prague, later synonymous with rebellion against oppression and striving for democracy during the Prague spring of 1968. Prague, host in 1991 of the meeting to dissolve the Warsaw Pact.

President Vaclav Havel, who will host the Prague Summit, told the world on that occasion in July 1991: "We are putting a complete end to this period in order to shape a new Europe in quite new conditions, rid of the yokes of the past unequal ties. . . . The all-European process is overcoming the so-far existing division of Europe and is creating its new architecture based on a joint system of values."

But much work still remains to be done. And NATO leaders will also come to Prague to continue shaping that new Europe based on shared values and to reaffirm the strength, unity and vitality of the Atlantic Alliance. All key words from your poll.

21st Century NATO: New Capabilities, New Members, New Relationships

September 11 has brought home to us that the world is far from safe and secure. In this dangerous world, Allies are indispensable if we are to defeat new threats posed by terrorists and hostile states seeking weapons of mass destruction.

Despite the substantial contribution our Allies have been making to the war on terrorism, there has been criticism, both here and in Europe, that NATO is no longer relevant to the threats we now face.

To protect our values and way of life, NATO must be as an effective tool in the world after September 11 as it was in the world before the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania.

NATO is not less important to our security, it is more important.

When President Bush meets with his NATO counterparts in Prague in November, NATO will stand ready to take historic decisions to enhance the ability of the Alliance to deal with these and other threats.

Our agenda will be threefold:
-- ensuring NATO has the new capabilities needed to meet today’s threats to our people,
-- extending NATO's membership to more of Europe's newer democracies, and
-- renewing NATO's relationships with Russia, Ukraine and other Partners.

New capabilities. New members. New relationships. This agenda, while moving NATO in new directions, is rooted in NATO's enduring values and common goals as set out in the 1949 Washington Treaty -- to safeguard the freedom, common heritage and civilization of our peoples, live in peace with all peoples and governments, and promote the stability and well-being of the North Atlantic area.

It is the right framework to meet today’s challenges.

New Capabilities

Since the end of the Cold War, the Alliance has taken steps to revise its doctrine and improve its command and force structures to meet today’s threats.

In devising a new Strategic Concept in 1999, NATO defined these new threats explicitly, noting that "new risks to Euro-Atlantic peace and stability were becoming clearer -- oppression, ethnic conflict, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and the global spread of weapons technology and terrorism."

While we have recognized the new threats and have created the right concept to meet them, we have more to do to prepare NATO to meet the role it must play in the future.

The September 11 terrorist attacks demonstrated that the threats to Allies and to our Alliance can come from anywhere, at any time, employing devices ranging from a box cutter to weapons of mass destruction.

In order first to deter and then to defend ourselves against these new threats, NATO needs to be able to deploy at short notice flexible and well-armed forces capable of conducting sustained operations anywhere in the world.

At Prague we will also seek Allied agreement to have these more capable European forces brought to a higher level of readiness through creation of a NATO Response Force that will rotate among Allies and ensure that NATO possesses a pool of forces at any given moment capable responding at short notice to emerging threats.

I’m happy to report that Secretary Rumsfeld, following his informal meeting with NATO Defense Ministers in Warsaw last week, believes this proposal has broad and enthusiastic support from our allies.  While the U.S. currently possesses such forces, in large measure our European Allies do not.

In order to fight effectively alongside of us, European forces need to overcome serious deficiencies in strategic lift, modern strike capabilities and logistical support for deployed forces.  Unless the disparity between U.S. and European capabilities is substantially narrowed, the military burden of meeting the new threats we face will continue to fall primarily on the United States, with NATO itself taking on an increasingly secondary role. This is not a healthy situation for the Alliance.

Our European Allies share our concern and at Prague we expect NATO to take decisive steps to begin redressing the imbalance. Although increased spending on defense remains an important goal, we believe effective European forces can be created within current spending limits by identifying key shortfall areas and agreeing to pool appropriate resources and specialize.

This will enable European Allies to do collectively what they are increasingly unable to do as individuals.  In meeting the new threat environment NATO needs to do more than improve its ability to go anywhere in the world to counter threats to the Alliance.

It must also develop the means to defend its citizens and its forces against new kinds of attacks. This means developing effective defenses against weapons of mass destruction fielded either by rogue states or terrorist groups or by some sinister combination of the two.

At Prague, NATO will also take key decisions to move forward toward developing missile defenses capable of defending the Alliance against this growing and horrific threat.

New Members

Our second goal for Prague is to continue the process of building a united Euro-Atlantic community by extending membership to those democratic European countries who have demonstrated their determination to defend the principles of democracy, individual liberty, and the rule of law, their desire to promote stability, and their resolve to unite their efforts for collective defense.

As the President observed last year in Warsaw, "Yalta did not ratify a natural divide, it divided a living civilization."

He made it clear that his goal is to erase the false lines that have divided Europe and to "welcome into Europe's home" every European nation that struggles toward democracy, free markets, and a strong civic culture.

The process of enlargement to Europe's new democracies launched in 1997 has fulfilled NATO's promise and brought us closer to completing the vision of NATO's founders of a free and united Europe.

But our work is not done.

The President affirmed his belief in NATO membership for "all of Europe's democracies that seek it and are ready to share the responsibilities that NATO brings."   In his first meeting with Allies a year ago last June, the President secured a consensus to take concrete, historic decisions at Prague to advance enlargement. He made clear to Allies and aspirants his belief that NATO "should not calculate how little we can get away with, but how much we can do to advance the cause of freedom."

At Prague, the Alliance will be prepared to offer NATO membership to those European democracies that are irrevocably committed to our common values and are ready to share the responsibilities that NATO brings.

Bringing in new members will extend the area of security and stability in Europe and bring new Allies into our struggle against terrorism.

Since the President spoke, we have been working closely with Allies and the nine current aspirant countries to strengthen their preparations so that the aspirants who may be asked to join will add to NATO's strength and vitality.

A team led by our Ambassador to NATO visited all nine current aspirant countries earlier this year to reinforce the importance of addressing key reform priorities in the months before Prague.   Our team came away from its meetings impressed by the commitment of each candidate to sustaining democratic and economic reforms.

A second team will visit the nine in mid-October to make final assessments.  We will then consult with Allies and the Congress and make our final recommendations to the President, who will probably make his decision on whom to support sometime in early November.

Some have already made their opinion public. Senator Joe Biden recently wrote an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times supporting seven specific new NATO allies.

While the administration has not made a decision on the number of countries that will be offered NATO membership this fall, we are listening to ideas in a bipartisan manner.

The NATO Treaty says that states invited to join the Alliance should be in a position to further the principles of the Treaty and contribute to the security of the Euro-Atlantic area. This is the standard that we and our Allies will apply as we approach decisions at Prague.

All nine aspirants know that NATO involves serious commitments and solemn responsibilities. Many have already demonstrated their determination to contribute to Euro-Atlantic security and stability.

The Vilnius Group, meeting in Sofia last October declared its shared intention to "fully support the war against terrorism" and to "act as Allies of the United States."   And they have delivered, acting like Allies in providing overflight rights, transit and basing privileges, military and police forces, medical units and transport support to U.S. efforts.

Most have or will participate in the peacekeeping force in Afghanistan.  Some have asked in the aftermath of September 11 whether enlargement should remain a priority.

The President's answer is "yes." The events of September 11 have reinforced the importance of even closer cooperation and integration between the United States and all the democracies of Europe.

If we are to meet new threats to our security, we need to build the broadest and strongest coalition possible of countries that share our values and are able to act effectively with us.

With freedom under attack, we must demonstrate our resolve to do as much as we can to advance its cause.

New Relationships

Our third goal for Prague is also aimed at advancing NATO's core principles -- those of living in peace with all peoples and promoting stability in the Euro-Atlantic area. We must continue to reach out and expand cooperation and integration with all the nations of Europe.

NATO and Russia have taken steps to give new impetus and direction to their extensive cooperation in the aftermath of September 11.   President Bush's vision is of a Russia "fully reformed, fully democratic, and closely bound to the rest of Europe," which is able to build partnerships with Europe's great institutions, including NATO.

Last spring at a summit in Rome, NATO and Russia took an historic step to create a new NATO-Russia body -- the NATO-Russia Council – that will facilitate joint decisions and actions in areas of common concern between NATO and Russia.  The NATO-Russia Council permits Russia to sit at the table on an equal basis with the 19 NATO Allies to work on carefully selected projects.

This "at 20" relationship will give Russia the opportunity to demonstrate its willingness to cooperate with NATO in areas such as counter-terrorism, civil emergency preparedness, airspace management, and joint training and exercises.

For example, we are already realizing the benefits of the NATO-Russia Council through such unprecedented events as the joint civil emergency planning exercise in Russia just a few days ago.

This exercise, which ran uninterrupted for 48 hours with more than 800 emergency responders and observers from 30 Allied and other nations, helped the U.S. and other participating countries to refine and improve their capability to respond to a terrorist attack involving chemical contamination.

The new relationship has also improved the tenor and substance of NATO’s discussions with Russia, on such critical subjects as counter-terrorism, peacekeeping, joint military training and exercises, and airspace management.

The relationship will not give Russia the ability to veto NATO actions nor serve as a back door to NATO membership. But we do hope it will serve to expand and deepen the cooperation between NATO and Russia over time, a development that would be in all our interest.

While forging new links with Russia, our cooperative vision for NATO embraces all of the members of NATO's successful outreach program, the Partnership for Peace, including Ukraine and the countries of Central Asian and the Caucasus.

So there you have our Prague agenda. New capabilities. New members. New relationships.

Evidence that more than fifty years after its creation, NATO continues to renew itself and to adapt to each new challenge that comes its way in a very turbulent and still very dangerous world.

NATO is and will remain the core of the United States commitment to Europe, the essential instrument that assures our security and stability, and the essential glue that binds our two peoples together.


I wanted to take a moment, before I open this up for questions, to talk to you about the State Department’s leadership role in American foreign policy.

Your State Department manages diplomatic relations with other countries and international institutions.

We promote peace and stability in regions of vital interest.  Through diplomatic intervention, your State Department prevents local conflicts from becoming wider wars that could threaten allies, embroil American troops, and create instability. We respond to humanitarian crises to help save lives.

And your State Department brings nations together to address global challenges. We fight terrorism, international crime and narcotics. We prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the spread of communicable diseases, nuclear smuggling, humanitarian crises, trafficking in women and girls, and environmental degradation.

Your State Department creates jobs in U.S. by opening markets abroad.  In the last 20 years we have helped facilitate more than 250 trade agreements over the last 20 years. Trade has expanded 25-fold since 1970 and nearly 120% since 1990.  This expansion has created more than 15 million new jobs.

  • Illinois exports are in excess of $34.4 billion per year
  • 590,000 Illinois jobs are supported by exports.
    • 1 in 8 jobs in Illinois is dependent on international trade
  • Illinois exports $12.98 billion to NAFTA countries, nearly 87%
    Increase since NAFTA implementation in 1994.
    • Trade with NAFTA countries is responsible for 209,000 Illinois jobs.
    • Canada and Mexico are Illinois’ two largest trading partners

And let me take a moment to mention the upcoming Transatlantic Business Dialogue CEO Conference which will take place November 6-8 in Chicago.   TABD presents a key opportunity for the private sector to contribute ideas and recommendations to U.S. and EU decision-makers. The TABD adds value by creating transatlantic business consensus that can bridge policy differences and disputes to support economic growth.  

America's economic well-being, global leadership, and national security are all reinforced when American companies successfully compete in the global economy.

In addition, we provide services to U.S. citizens traveling or live abroad.  We protect Americans abroad during international crises; provide information critical to traveling and residing abroad; help U.S. citizens obtain emergency funds;l and assist U.S. travelers who become ill or are arrested while overseas.

We issue American passports – more than 7 million in 2000 . We also assist absentee voting; distribute federal benefits payments; advise on property claims; issue visas to foreigners wishing to enter the U.S. -- more than 9 million in 2000.  The American government spends just a little more than 1% of the total federal budget on international affairs in contrast to the approximately 16% spent on defense.

Of late, State Department responsibilities have expanded enormously to include combating threats like terrorism, as well as international crime, and narcotics trafficking.  This small investment protects American interests people and allows the United States to maintain its position of leadership.  The State Department conducts its responsibilities with a work force smaller than 10 of the 14 U.S. Cabinet departments. 

Your Foreign and Civil Service Officers in the Department of State and U.S. missions abroad represent the American people.  Your Foreign Service is a corps of about 9,000 employees. These officers are America's first line of defense in a complex and often dangerous world.

The foreign service is a way of life that requires uncommon commitment – unique rewards, opportunities – sometimes hardships. FSO’s can be sent to any embassy, consulate, or other diplomatic mission anywhere in the world, at any time, to serve the diplomatic needs of the United States.

You also employ about 6,500 Civil Service employees, most of whom are headquartered in Washington, DC.  Civil service employees are involved in virtually every area of the Department--from human rights to narcotics control to trade to environmental issues.

So as you can see, your State Department will continue to play an ever-important role not only in transatlantic relations, but also in the relations among nations around the globe as we endeavor to build a pluralistic global village.

Thanks very much, and I’d be glad to take your questions.

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