United States Information Service
10 October 1997
TEXT: JEANE KIRKPATRICK TESTIFIES FOR NATO ENLARGEMENT
(NATO will strengthen and preserve new democracies) (1590)
Washington -- Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick told the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee October 9, "the case for admitting Poland, the
Czech Republic, and Hungary to membership in NATO is not only strong,
it is essentially the same as the case for organizing NATO in 1949 --
to provide a security shield behind which the free institutions of
these more geographically vulnerable European democracies can strike
deep roots and thrive, to deter aggression and discourage conflict."
Kirkpatrick said that Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary "share a
civilization with the countries of NATO." NATO enlargement would
contribute to strengthening and preserving democracy in Central and
Eastern Europe, she said. "What reinforces democracy reinforces
She argued that neither European institutions nor the United Nations
alone can provide the necessary force to prevent or resolve conflict
in Europe. "The passive, inadequate response of the EU, the United
Nations, the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe, and
the Western European Union [to the crisis in Bosnia] have testified to
the ineffectiveness of a collective defense based only on these
organizations," she said.
By comparison, "the United States spends each year in former
Yugoslavia several times the cost of enlarging NATO. How much more
economical in money and lives it would have been to deter that
conflict," she said.
Following is Ambassador Kirkpatrick's prepared statement:
Mr. Chairman, thank you for inviting me to testify before this
distinguished committee today.
The subject of today's hearing is important. The Senate's decision
will be more important. I have followed this issue with interest.
Why enlarge NATO?
The case for admitting Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary to
membership in NATO is not only strong, it is essentially the same as
the case for organizing NATO in 1949 -- to provide a security shield
behind which the free institutions of these more geographically
vulnerable European democracies can strike deep roots and thrive, to
deter aggression and discourage conflict.
Of course there are differences between 1939, 1949 and 1997. There is
no one major threat to peace and security throughout the region today.
But if the threats of aggression, subversion and conquest are less
clear now, as they were after World Wars I and II, the appetite for
democracy and peace is greater. Still, more people understand the
benefits of freedom and long to share it -- and the prosperity and
security of the "West." And more associate that freedom, prosperity
and security with joining NATO and the European Union.
The new members "fit" in NATO
Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary share a civilization with the
countries of NATO and were engaged in parallel patterns of democratic
development when, first, Adolf Hitler's, then Joseph Stalin's,
expansionist policies interrupted their evolution. The people in each
of these countries share our culture. They demonstrated their vocation
for freedom with heroic efforts to throw off foreign domination and
regain control of their own histories.
Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary can be incorporated into NATO
without creating serious disruption or without requiring reorientation
of NATO's operations. They will "fit" in NATO. Their inclusion will
not require qualitative changes in its purposes, culture, or mode of
operation. NATO has been and, after their inclusion, will be a
military alliance of democratic nations united in the determination to
preserve their free societies from aggression -- by force if
The Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary applied for membership in the
European Union and in NATO years ago (Hungary actually applied for EU
membership before Soviet forces had departed). They have met all
stated requirements and cooperated in all proposed projects, including
Partnerships for Peace.
Moreover, four years have passed since President Clinton said in
Prague, "Let me be absolutely clear: The security of your states is
important to the security of the United States ... the question is no
longer whether NATO will take on new members, but when and how." But
neither they nor any other country that suffered under Soviet
dominance has been admitted to NATO or the EU.
"Threats" to a democratic Eastern Europe
The post-Cold War period has seen numerous threats to the development
of a democratic Europe. Resurgent anti-democrats have won power in
some states and threaten peace in others. Serbian President Slobodan
Milosevic and Slovakian Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar are examples.
Milosevic sponsored and organized Serbian aggression, and "ethnic
cleansing" against Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovena (in that
order) and acted repeatedly to destabilize Macedonia. He repeatedly
violated democratic norms and the human rights of the Serbian
opposition. He undermined democracy in Serbia and outside it. The
violent attacks he sponsored devastated two states -- Croatia and
Bosnia and destabilized the region.
It is no accident, as Marxists liked to say, that in democratic
Czechoslovakia separation of Slovakia from Czech Republic was
peaceful. And that the separation of Yugoslavia was violent. The
difference was respect for democratic decisions. There was no will to
conquest in the government of the Czech Republic. The Czech Republic
is a democracy prepared to accept democratic self-determination of
Slovakia. Serbian rulers are not committed to democratic methods.
There is, finally, only one reliable guarantee against aggression --
it is not found in international organizations. It is the spread of
democracy. It derives from the simple fact that democracies do not
invade one another, and do not engage in aggressive wars.
Numerous studies establish beyond reasonable doubt that the best
system, the only reliable system of collective security is that all
the governments in an area should be democratic governments.
Therefore, what reinforces democracy reinforces peace. That is the
reason that the top priority for the United States and NATO should
today be to preserve and strengthen the new democracies in Eastern and
Central Europe and Russia as well. Preserving and strengthening
democracies in Central and Eastern Europe should be the United States'
central goal and top foreign policy priority in Europe. Membership in
NATO helps achieve those goals.
The Inadequacy of a Purely European Response
It is not graceful and perhaps not even appropriate for an American to
labor the inability of the EC and the WEU to protect peace and provide
collective security to Europe. That failure is manifest, the more so
because at the time Serbs took up arms against Slovenia and Croatia,
then-President of the EC, Mr. Poos of Luxembourg, said, "This is a
European problem that will be solved by Europeans. There is no role
Everyone knows what happened. Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton
were more than willing to stand aside while first Europe, then the
United Nations and Europe worked on the problem.
Unfortunately, this experience provided additional and timely evidence
of the inadequacy of purely European security arrangements. And
UNPROFOR, Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali provided definitive
evidence on the inability of the United Nations to mount an effective
The passive, inadequate response of the EU, the United Nations, the
Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the Western
European Union have testified to the ineffectiveness of a collective
defense based only on these organizations. NATO has a different and a
better record though it was tarnished in Bosnia by its association
The Inadequacy of a U.N. Response
Certain lessons of great relevance to European security leap out of
the Yugoslav experience:
-- that membership in the United Nations cannot be regarded as a
reliable guarantor of European security;
-- that global institutions cannot necessarily provide solutions to
-- that diplomacy may not be able to forestall aggression -- whether
or not that diplomacy is directed from the U.N.;
-- that "peacekeeping" is not an adequate response to the determined
use of military force;
-- that the "peacekeeping" rules of engagement may make "peacekeepers"
hostage without deterring the aggressors or assisting the victims;
-- that effective force is often necessary to repel force; and
-- NATO can be that force.
Why Act Now?
Czech President Vaclav Havel, a man of unusual foresight and courage,
told the Economist magazine about a year ago that he fears the spirit
of Munich has returned to Europe.
"I do not have in mind some concrete political act," Havel said.
"Rather I refer to a mentality marked by caution, hesitation, delayed
decision-making and a tendency to look for the most convenient
solutions." Havel charged the governments of NATO and the European
Union with "excessive caution" and worried aloud that the opportunity
to build a Europe of independent democratic nations will not last
As usual, Havel was right. Years which might have been used to
integrate the new democracies and extend the institutions of freedom
have already been lost through indifference, procrastination and
Can We Afford It?
The United States spends each year in former Yugoslavia several times
the cost of enlarging NATO.
How much more economical in money and lives it would have been to
deter that conflict.
What About Russia?
NATO is a defensive alliance dedicated to deterring and, if necessary,
A democratic Russia will pose no threat to anyone. The most urgent
problem in U.S. relations with Russia is to help Russian democrats
defeat internal enemies of democracy. Our government is working hard
on that problem.
It should be remembered that President Yeltsin has repeatedly
indicated that he has no problem with the inclusion in NATO of these
independent European neighbors. We do not help Russian democrats by
appeasing their opponents.
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