Deputy Secretary Talbott, Address to the German Society for Foreign Policy, Bonn, Germany, "The New Europe and the New NATO," February 4, 1999


Thank you, Karl [Kaiser], for the introduction and for the opportunity
to be here today. In the many years I've known you, I've admired your
leadership of the German Society for Foreign Policy.  You've been one
of the most articulate advocates of a strong Europe as essential to the
foundation of a strong Atlantic community.

I'm joined this evening by several American colleagues who believe in
that same principle: Ambassador John Kornblum, well known to everyone
here -- and the outstanding Germanist of his generation in the American
Foreign Service; Ron Asmus of our European Bureau at the State
Department, on whom Secretary Albright relies so heavily; and Tony
Blinken, who has just assumed the post of Special Assistant to the
President and Senior Director for European Affairs at the National
Security Council.

Let me lay the ground for my remarks this evening with a personal
reflection. I first came to Bonn more than 27 years ago, in November
1971.  My wife, Brooke, and I were journalists on our way to Belgrade
to cover the Balkans and Eastern Europe.  We stopped here to pick up a
car and to check in with Time's Bonn bureau chief, who was my immediate
superior.  (Some of you may remember Bruce Nelan.)  Once we got settled
in Belgrade, Brooke and I made frequent trips to Munich -- I'll admit,
for rest and recreation, but also for briefings at Radio Free Europe
about what was happening behind the Iron Curtain.

In short, my first sustained experience on this continent came at a
time when Germany was divided and Yugoslavia was united.  The
intervening quarter-century has seen two developments that epitomize
the best and the worst of the new Europe that has emerged since the end
of the Cold War:  The transformation of Germany from a partitioned
state to a peacefully unified one is the most dramatic example of what
we hope to see in Europe as a whole.  At the same time, the violent
disintegration of the old Yugoslavia -- followed, first, by the
attempted partition of Bosnia and then by a vicious cycle of
brutalization and secessionism in Serbia -- constitutes the most
ominous example of a danger that threatens the peace of Europe and,
consequently, the vital interests of the United States.

Secretary Albright has asked me to come to Bonn this week to consult
with Minister Fischer and with my friends, Wolfgang Ischinger and
Walter Stuetzle, the Foreign and Defense State Secretaries.  Our agenda
is the full array of challenges we face, especially in the Balkans, and
our preparations for the 50th Anniversary NATO Summit, which will take
place in Washington less than three months from now, April 23-25.

The U.S. approach to that event is based on three general propositions
that I would like to put before you now:

First, in the 21st century, as in the 20th, the well-being of the
United States will depend in large measure on what happens in Europe.
In other words, the Euro-Atlantic community is indivisible and the
security link across the ocean is unbreakable.

Second, the United States recognizes and welcomes that "Europe" is
redefining itself; it is not a static phenomenon; it is evolving -- in
its institutions, in its degree of integration, and in its very
identity.

Third, we recognize and welcome the role of the Federal Republic at the
epicenter of these processes -- expansion and integration, broadening
and deepening.

Under its previous government, Germany established itself as a vigorous
and conscientious participant in one of the greatest construction
projects in history -- the renovation and innovation of the structures
that make up the Euro-Atlantic community.  There are dozens of such
bodies, and Germany has been active in more of them than any other
single state.  This year, under Chancellor Schroeder and with the
Presidency of both the European Union and the Group of Eight, Germany's
contribution assumes a new importance.

We Americans appreciate the complex and daunting challenges with which
you Europeans are grappling. We are confident that with Germany in its
current role, there is every reason to believe that Europe will meet
those challenges successfully.

For the U.S., the standard of success is simple: We want to see Europe
define and pursue its safety, its prosperity, its integration, and its
identity in a way that not only preserves but that strengthens the ties
that bind North America to Europe.

The U.S. is acutely aware that we have obligations of our own in this
regard.  I hope that sense of reciprocal and shared responsibility will
be apparent in the way we conduct our end of the relationship between
the U.S. and the EU, especially as we prepare for our participation in
the U.S.-EU Summit in Cologne on June 21.  You can count on us to do
our best to understand, respect, and, to the maximum extent possible,
support your great work-in-progress, which is European union.

The most obvious and immediate chance for you to succeed -- and for us
to support you in your success -- is, of course, EMU. The successful
launch of the euro 35 days ago has, for the moment at least, quieted
the skeptics and left pundits groping for comparably momentous
breakthroughs in European history -- from the first printing of the
Gutenberg Bible in Mainz 5-1/2 centuries ago to the Congress of Vienna
in 1814.

The U.S. Government's bottom line on EMU is simple and positive.
Ambassador Kornblum stated it clearly in a recent speech:
We Americans are well-served when Europe is vibrant economically and is
opening its markets and strengthening its connections with the global
economy.  Europe will prosper from an economic and monetary union that
supports these ends -- and if Europe prospers, this will help
prosperity in the United States.

        In fact, ladies and gentlemen, the euro is off to such a strong
start that I'd like to use it as a touchstone for making several points
about our hopes for Europe in general and about our vision for NATO in
particular.  As we ponder from the far side of the Atlantic what has
made the euro successful, several factors stand out.

First, the plan is ambitious. It is a venture worthy, in its essence
and in its scale, of the opportunities at hand.

Second, the euro is based on the premise that common interests and
common challenges require common solutions -- that is, collective and
cooperative action.

Third, the creation of a single currency for 11 countries has required
each of those national leaderships to make hard political choices,
especially on fiscal discipline, and to engage in hard political work,
especially in marshalling support from their constituencies.

Fourth, the euro will have to prove itself in concrete ways; it must
make sense, not just in theory, but in practice.

In these four features, your introduction of the euro has a lot in
common with the work we must do together in the transformation of NATO.

In that project, too, we must be ambitious.  NATO was founded and
designed to deal with the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact.  That state
and that alliance are gone, and so is the threat they posed.  Germans
can see and feel that change as much as anyone -- in fact, more than
most.  Few Americans know much about the town of Fulda, but many know
that during the Cold War, NATO was poised to repulse a Soviet tank
assault through something called the "Fulda Gap." Ambassador Kornblum
tells me that today the only "gap" in Fulda is an American clothing
store of that name, and it sells jeans made famous by a Bavarian-
American, Levi Strauss.

This isn't to say that NATO's original task of collective defense is
finished or that collective defense is no longer at the core of the
Alliance's mission.  NATO must maintain its capability, enshrined in
Article V of the Treaty of Washington, to deter and if necessary defeat
what might be called classic aggression.  Such a threat could arise in
the future.  But it is less likely to do so if NATO remains robust and
ready.

However, that is not enough if NATO is to remain relevant to the times.
With the end of the Cold War, new, less spectacular but more
diversified threats have arisen.  Disputes over ethnicity, religion, or
territory can, as we've already seen, trigger armed conflict, which in
turn can generate cross-border political instability, refugee flows,
and humanitarian crises that endanger European security.

NATO must be able to deal with threats such as these while maintaining
its core function of collective defense.  To make sure that NATO is
able to do both these jobs, Secretary of Defense Cohen has been working
with Minister Scharping and their colleagues from other Allied states.
Secretary Cohen will have more to say on this issue at Wehrkunde, where
he will lay out his latest thinking on NATO's modernization.

One subject sure to come up in Wehrkunde is the European Security and
Defense Identity (ESDI), just as it came up in my talks in Paris
yesterday and here in Bonn earlier today.  ESDI has gone from being an
esoteric bit of Euro-jargon to becoming very much part of the American
vocabulary in thinking and talking about the future of NATO.   We're in
favor of ESDI.  But while our support for the concept is sincere, it is
not unqualified.  ESDI is, in one respect, like EMU -- to work, it must
reconcile the goal of European identity and integration on the one hand
with the imperative of transatlantic solidarity on the other; it must
reinforce, not duplicate or dilute the role of the Alliance as a whole;
and it certainly must not attenuate the bonds between our defense and
your own.

If done right, ESDI can be part of the -- what might be called the
deepening of NATO. In that respect, it can serve as a complement to the
broadening of the Alliance, as NATO reaches out to former adversaries.
A word about enlargement -- which is an essential aspect of our joint
construction project in the superstructure of the Euro-Atlantic
community. Three members of the old Warsaw Pact will formally join the
Alliance within the next 8 weeks. That is an extraordinary thing to be
witnessing, for all of you here, I'm sure, and certainly for someone,
like me, who as a journalist used to visit Warsaw, Prague, and Budapest
when they were subjugated outposts of an armed camp headquartered in
Moscow.  As for Russia itself, it is one of 19 former Soviet republics
and Warsaw Pact members that now belong to the Euro-Atlantic
Partnership Council; Russian soldiers serve side-by-side with Americans
and Germans in the defense of peace in the former Yugoslavia. Nor is
that collaborative venture merely ad hoc:  Russia has institutionalized
its cooperation with NATO -- through the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint
Council.

Not that Russia agrees with or approves of NATO enlargement: Of course
it doesn't. Yet Russia is still prepared to work with NATO on behalf of
those principles and objectives where we do agree.

For their part, the member states of NATO are committed to helping to
bring a democratic Russia more fully into Europe, notably including in
the security sphere.

Now, I recognize that the wisdom and even the feasibility of these
tandem ventures -- NATO enlargement and NATO-Russian partnership -- are
not self-evident to everyone, and they remain to be vindicated.  In
fact, the continuing existence of NATO itself has engendered its share
of controversy and criticism.  On both sides of the Atlantic, there are
those who have suggested that the Alliance is a relic of the Cold War
and as such should be retired -- perhaps with full honors, but
nonetheless put out of business.

The best rebuttal, I believe, is to ask a variant of the question that
Voltaire made famous in a more theological context: If NATO did not
exist today, would we have to invent it?  The answer is, emphatically,
yes.  But if we were to create NATO from scratch in 1999, it probably
would look quite different from the Alliance that Harry Truman and
Konrad Adenauer felt necessary nearly half a century ago in the
chilliest days of the Cold War.  A newly invented NATO would have more
members than the old one (hence enlargement); it would have cooperative
relations with those former adversaries that are either unwilling or
unready to seek membership (hence Partnership for Peace); it would have
a broader, more variegated range of missions to meet the new challenges
of European security (hence a new strategic concept); and it would be
more flexible and balanced in its ability to deal with threats that do
not necessarily require direct, on-the-ground U.S. involvement (hence
ESDI).

There, in a nutshell, you have the agenda -- the appropriately
ambitious agenda -- of the Washington Summit.

At this point I should acknowledge that there is some concern -- again,
on both side of the Atlantic -- that we Americans, as the hosts of the
April Summit, are being excessively ambitious.  I think not.  I believe
we are being properly ambitious.  It behooves NATO, in its own
transformation, to reflect the evolution in the nature and scope of
both Europe and the transatlantic relationship.

Let me explain what I mean.  For decades, the U.S. concentrated on the
task of what it could do for Europe -- through the Marshall Plan,
through the Treaty of Washington, and deterrence of the Soviet threat.
Now the U.S. is thinking much more about what it can do with Europe --
to advance our mutual security, prosperity, and democratic values.
We've already taken some significant steps together in the context of
the U.S.-EU relationship.  To wit:

Together we are lowering global economic barriers.

Together we are alleviating poverty and seeking to shore up the cause
of non-proliferation in South Asia, where I was earlier this week.

Together we are working to expunge child pornography from the Internet;
developing a global early warning network against communicable
diseases; fighting hunger worldwide; and combating criminals,
terrorists, and drug traffickers wherever they may be.

What does this mean for NATO?  Let me first assert what it does not
mean.  It does not mean that there is, on some drawing board in the
basement of the White House or the State Department or the Pentagon a
blueprint for a "global NATO."  I spend a lot of time on those
premises, and I assure you there's no such thing.

Just as you Europeans have done with EMU, we Euro-Atlantic allies must
balance ambition with realism.  And, just as you have also done in
launching the euro, we, in reinventing NATO, must make hard political
choices and a convincing political case with our constituencies.  Here,
I would submit, is the case we should make about the role and mission
of the new NATO: It should start, as I've already tried to make clear,
with Article V of the Washington treaty -- our commitment to collective
defense.  But we also need to recognize that most current and
foreseeable European security challenges involve non-Article V
missions; therefore we need to be better prepared to deal with them as
well.

Furthermore, in this increasingly complex and interdependent world of
ours, we face a more diverse and far-flung array of threats than we did
in Truman and Adenauer's day.  The proliferation of weapons of mass
destruction and the scourge of terrorism do not fit neatly into our old
slogans and concepts like "The Free World" and "The Iron Curtain," or
old geographic simplicities that suggested outdated geopolitical ones -
- like "East versus West."  In other words, there are many dangers in
the world that can strike in downtown Bonn or Cologne without ever
coming through the Fulda Gap.

        This means that as we maintain our ability to defend the
territorial integrity of all NATO members, we also need forces,
doctrines, and communications assets that will allow us, when
necessary, to address the challenges of ethnic strife and regional
conflict that directly affect our security but that lie beyond NATO
territory -- as we have done and are doing in the Balkans.  Also, it is
mere prudence and common sense, not excessive ambition, to suggest that
a truly modernized Alliance should be able to cope effectively with the
all-too-modern challenges posed by the spread of ballistic missiles and
weapons of mass destruction.

Some commentators contend that such adaptations require a revision of
the North Atlantic Treaty or believe that we are proposing one.  This
is untrue.  The framers of the Washington Treaty were careful not to
impose arbitrary functional or geographical limits on what the Alliance
could do to protect its security.

Let me be clear: I am not saying there are no limiting factors on what
NATO can and should do.  Of course there are.   NATO is a consensus
organization, and it defines its common interests accordingly -- by
consensus of its members.  We would not go anywhere as an Alliance
unless all our members want us to go there.  No ally can force others
to agree to a NATO action.  Under Article IV of the Treaty of
Washington, NATO members will consult when their security is threatened
and together they will determine the appropriate response.

There are also limits implicit in the military capabilities of the
Allies themselves.  No one is suggesting that we deploy NATO forces,
say, to the Spratley Islands.

Nor are we suggesting that NATO act in splendid isolation from or high-
handed defiance of the United Nations or the OSCE.  All NATO Allies are
members of both those organizations.  We believe NATO's missions and
tasks must always be consistent with the purposes and principles of the
UN and the OSCE.  We expect NATO and its members will continue to be
guided by their obligations under the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final
Act.

At the same time, we must be careful not to subordinate NATO to any
other international body or compromise the integrity of its command
structure.  We will try to act in concert with other organizations and
with respect for their principles and purposes. But the Alliance must
reserve the right and the freedom to act when its members, by
consensus, deem it necessary.

A final point, ladies and gentlemen: In the final analysis, our new
Alliance, like your new currency, will rise and fall on its practical
merits.  Just as the euro must work on a day-to-day basis in the
pockets of consumers, in the bank accounts of savers, and in the
transactions of venture capitalists, so the new NATO must work, day-to-
day, in meeting challenges that face us in the here-and-now.

By that standard, NATO can be proud of the job it has done in Bosnia.
Yet even though its work there is far from done, the Alliance now
confronts another exceptionally dangerous and urgent threat to the
peace of Europe in Kosovo.  NATO is meeting that challenge too.  In
October, the credible threat of airstrikes against Serbia averted a
humanitarian disaster and a flood of refugees that would have affected
a number of NATO states, notably including this one. Over this past
weekend, the Alliance reiterated the threat of force, making clear to
Belgrade that it must comply with the October agreements.

Now, the drama, the suspense, the difficulty, and the danger in Kosovo
are still with us as I speak.  We cannot relent in our resolve, and we
cannot take for granted the success of our endeavor. But I believe
there is already reason to hope that Kosovo will prove to be a case
study in how NATO is both willing and able to work hand-in-glove with
other institutions and together with them defend our common interests.

We started that process of institutional joint action in Bosnia, and we
have built on it in Kosovo; We have seen five bodies -- NATO, the EU,
the OSCE, the United Nations, and the Contact Group develop an
unprecedented and promising degree of synergy.  By that I mean that
these disparate but overlapping organizations have pooled their
energies and strengths on behalf of an urgent common cause.

When the conflicting parties gather at a peace conference in
Rambouillet it will be a direct result of that synergy: The UN has lent
its political and moral authority to the Kosovo effort through a
Presidential Statement; OSCE, through its verification mission, remains
on the ground in Kosovo to help tamp down passions; the EU, especially
through the good offices and statesmanship of Ambassador Petritsch, has
helped implement the provisions of an interim settlement; and last but
not least -- in fact crucially, indispensably -- in the air over
Kosovo, on the ground nearby in Macedonia, and at sea in the Adriatic,
NATO has been there exerting the power of compulsion and posing the
threat of retribution. In short, NATO is supplying the muscle that so
often makes the difference between diplomatic breakthrough and
diplomatic breakdown.

Moreover, it will fall to NATO, working in concert with these other
institutions, to provide the confidence and security necessary for
whatever political settlement the parties reach at Rambouillet to take
root.

So for all these reasons, Karl, I'm gratified to be returning to Bonn
today, 27 years after my first visit here. I say that not just because
today the good news in this part of Europe exceeds the bad news in the
Balkan lands where I used to live. I say it because the Alliance that
helps bind the U.S. to Germany is helping make it possible for the
forces of integration and cooperation in the new Europe to prevail over
the forces of disintegration and enmity that have erupted out of
Europe's past to threaten its future. We Americans are proud to be
joined with you -- as Germans and as Europeans -- in that good work.
Thank you for your attention, And I look forward to what I'm sure will
be, for my colleagues and me, a lively and useful discussion.


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