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 You are in: Under Secretary for Political Affairs > From the Under Secretary > Remarks > 2001 Under Secretary for Political Affairs Remarks

New Philosophy for Strategic Stability

Ambassador Marc Grossman, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
Remarks at a Press Availability at the U.S. Embassy
The Hague, The Netherlands
May 9, 2001

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: First of all, thank you very much for waiting for us. I apologize for keeping you waiting a few minutes, but we had the good fortune at the last moment to go and call on the Ministry of Defense. So my apologies to you.

Let me introduce myself. I am Marc Grossman. I am the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, and as you know, we are doing some consultations around NATO, Europe, to talk a little bit about a new philosophy of deterrence and a new philosophy for strategic stability.

I wanted to thank all of the people who have been involved here at the Embassy and with the Netherlands government, for helping us out today, both at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and over at the Ministry of Defense.

I wanted to give you, if I could, a very short report on why we came today, and what it was that we think we accomplished. And I step back, if I could, to talk a little bit about the speech that President Bush made on the 1st of May. He promised that we would consult with our allies on how to meet the opportunities and the threats that come to us in this new world. And The Hague is one of the key allied capitals where we have come to consult on our new vision for the future. Many of you know the Deputy Secretary of State, Ambassador Armitage, is in Asia as well, speaking to the Japanese and the Koreans. It is very important in all of this that I stress to you the importance to the United States of our core, allied relationships. What I did today with my team, was, we made a series of presentations to the Dutch government. All of these presentations had two themes.

Theme number one was the theme of consultations. We came here to convey the views of the United States, but also very importantly, as President Bush said on the 1st of May, to hear the views of allies, and very importantly, our allies in the Netherlands.

The second theme that ran through all of the presentations that we made, is that the world of 2001 is not the world of 1972. The Cold War is over; Russia is no longer an enemy. There are huge plusses to this world. We are no longer confronting the same kinds of threats that we confronted in the Cold War. But there are minuses to this world as well. And one of the minuses is that of proliferation. Proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery has really become a major new treat to the Alliance, and to our friends and to our allies. We need a way to think together about this new world and what it is we are going to do about it.

Yesterday we were at NATO, and Secretary-General Robertson said that from his perspective what we are trying to do is: do some thinking together about how to meet these new threats and these new opportunities. We had a chance to say at NATO yesterday, and here in the Netherlands, that NATO is a successful alliance because we believe in deterrence and we believe in collective defense. And we believe in the necessity in meeting these opportunities and these new threats.

I obviously will let the government here speak for itself and other allies speak for themselves. But I think it is fair to say that everybody that we talked to today welcomed the consultation. I think it is also absolutely fair to say that they will welcome lots more consultation, and we are certainly committed to that. I think it is fair to say that they welcomed the comprehensive approach that we have talked about, which has to do not only with defenses, but with lowering the number of offensive weapons; talking about non-proliferation, the importance of diplomatic and other measures to meet the threats of this new world. And so this comprehensive approach in terms of reduced offensives and non-proliferation is important as well. I think it is also fair to say that our allies have recognized that there is this threat out there that we need to deal with. And I would also say that allies welcomed the President’s clear commitment to work with the Russians on this. As you know, another part of our consultation team will be visiting Moscow—we hope on Friday.

So, let me stop there, and just stop where I started, which is to say that what we are about today is continuing this consultation, continuing the conversation with allied governments and very importantly, with the Dutch government, about a new framework for strategic stability for a new time.

And now I will be very glad to answer anybody’s questions.

QUESTION: I am Martijn Delaere of the Haagsche Courant. The Dutch government is working very actively with the United States in modernizing their NMD. My impression has always been that the Dutch are in favor of NMD. Is that your impression as well?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: Well, obviously, I will let the government here speak for itself. But let me make two points. One; I want to make a slight clarification here. When you talk about ‘in favor of NMD’, I think it is very important to recognize that as best we can, we are moved here to talking about missile defenses. This is not about the defense about one country or another country. It is about the defense of the North Atlantic Alliance, and other friends and allies. We would like to see a day when all countries are not subject, are not vulnerable, to the threats of terrorism, to the threats of blackmail, from these kinds of systems. So, this is about missile defense.

Second, as we talked about today on a number of occasions with the Dutch government, both at the foreign ministry and at the defense ministry, the government here has really paid a lot of attention to theater missile defense. And I think I took the impression from the minister of defense that they would continue to do so. So, in a way, recognition of the threat, recognition that this is an alliance problem, and recognition that everybody has something to contribute, is, I think, one of the positive aspects of the message of today.

QUESTION: Anthony Deutsch from the Associated Press. You mentioned the word consultation very specifically. Could you tell us what your definition of ‘consultation’ means in this context? What kind of input did the Dutch bring into the meetings? What kind of input are you hoping for from the Europeans on this issue? What kind of ideas might they bring to it?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: A very good question. To me, consultation in this case means that we were not just talking, but that we had our ears open as well. And we were listening to people’s reaction to our points of view. We do not come here just to talk. We came here to listen. And I thought that some of the questions and some of the comments that we received from the Dutch government today were very helpful. Helpful in the area of working with Russia; helpful in the area of what a future framework might look like. And as your colleague said, very helpful in terms of the things that the Netherlands government has already started in this area. So, we want this to be a real consultation. This is not about us coming here with a series of answers already written down, and going from place to place, and seeking people’s endorsement of some specific issue. What we are seeking an endorsement of is the idea that we need to think in a new way about deterrence. We need to think in a new way about the year 2001; not the same year as 1972.

QUESTION: (Anthony Deutsch) So what kind of input did they give you today?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: Well, as I say, I think they gave us input in terms of what they are interested in; their encouragement, certainly, of our working with the Russians; encouragement of working with the Alliance; encouragement to more consultations; encouragement to make sure that we are taking into account a lot of the work that has already been done.

QUESTION: (Martijn Delaere, Haagsche Courant) Mr. George White, in reaction to the President’s speech in May, said that the President seems to be tackling a problem that does not exist, with solutions that do not exist either. What would be your reaction to that?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: Well, I do not agree to either of those things. We think that a threat does exist. A threat does exist in the short range, in the medium range, and we believe that a threat could very soon exist in the long-range missiles. And if you think back to the Gulf War, and you read the newspapers about what is going on, in a number of countries, I think you can recognize that concern. The second thing is: the technologies. What we have been saying to people is that we ought to be able to look at deterrence in a new way. Again, I just want to emphasize that this trip is about having people think about deterrence. ‘Dissuasion’, I think, is a very good word that the French use, here. As a whole, it is about defenses, yes. But it is also about restructuring our offensive forces. As the President said on the 1st of May, he would look to reductions in that area. It is about non-proliferation, because we ought to be working in advance of when these systems are already out there. And it is about all of the ways in which we can have strategic stability. So I think these things are well worth looking into. There are things already on the way. Other things need to be invested in. But in this new world, we think these are things worth consulting on and worth pursuing.

QUESTION: (Anthony Deutsch, AP) Was there any sort of endorsement of the idea, of the broad plan, here today?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: One: the government here can speak for itself. Two: I want to be really clear. I did not ask for that. It is not the purpose of my visit here to say: ‘I want this, that, and the other thing’. What I was trying to do today was to continue the conversation that we started at NATO yesterday. And as we said yesterday, to see if we could expand minds: ours, and the people’s we are talking to, about what it is going to take to be safe and secure in the future.

QUESTION: Bouke Bergsma from Dutch news agency ANP: You said this is not about a special new missile defense, but missile defense for all of the Alliance and its friends. Does your government expect a financial contribution from the participating states, and if so, how much?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: The easy answer is that we are not there, yet, by any stretch of the imagination. What we tried to convey today, as we tried to convey yesterday at NATO, is that we hope for the participation, in any way that people wish, in this program by Alliance states. And there are lots of ways in which that could be done. But we are, I think, far away from saying, ‘this is the technology’, ‘this is the architecture’, and therefore ‘this is the cost’.

Again, I recognize the difficulty on my side of this. We actually are having a consultation. And, as I said to a number of people today, I would rather be in this position that in the opposite, where, you know, we come with a plan, put it down, and say, ‘Now everybody has to endorse this; this is the cost; this is how it is going to look’. That is not consultation. What we really are doing is having a conversation with allied governments as to where we are headed. So, I would like to be able to answer your question, but as Secretary Rumsfeld has said, and Secretary Powell has said, we are far away from being able to be that specific.

Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

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