United States Information Service
10 October 1997
TEXT: ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI TESTIFIES ON NATO ENLARGEMENT
(Enlargement "central" to a "secure international system") (670)
Washington -- Speaking before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,
former national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski said that NATO
enlargement "has global significance" and "is central to the
step-by-step construction of a secure international system in which
the Euro-Atlantic alliance plays the major role in ensuring that a
peaceful and democratic Europe is America's principal partner."
Voicing strong support for NATO enlargement, Brzezinski said that it
was "about America's role in Europe" and whether the U.S. will remain
a European power "organically linked" to a larger democratic Europe.
It is also "about Russia's relationship to Europe" and whether NATO
enlargement helps a democratizing Russia, Brzezinski said.
Enlargement, according to the former official, "is not principally
about the Russian threat, for currently it does not exist...." Neither
is it "primarily a moral crusade" to undo injustices suffered by
Central European peoples under Soviet oppression.
Rather, Brzezinski said, it is "the long-term historic and strategic
relationship between America and Europe" that is central to NATO
expansion. "NATO expansion is central to the vitality of the
American-European connection, to the scope of a democratic and secure
Europe, and to the ability of America and Europe to work together in
promoting international security," Brzezinski asserted.
Following is the prepared text of Brzezinski's introductory statement:
INTRODUCTORY STATEMENT ON NATO ENLARGEMENT
Senate Foreign Relations Committee
October 9, 1997
I would like to comment very briefly on the historic and geopolitical
significance of NATO's enlargement. In my view, that enlargement has
global significance -- it is central to the step-by-step construction
of a secure international system in which the Euro-Atlantic alliance
plays the major role in ensuring that a peaceful and democratic Europe
is America's principal partner. Hence,
-- NATO's enlargement is about America's role in Europe -- whether
America will remain a European power and whether a larger democratic
Europe will remain organically linked to America;
-- it is about Russia's relationship to Europe -- whether NATO's
enlargement helps a democratizing Russia by foreclosing the revival of
any self-destructive imperial temptations regarding Central Europe.
(Let me note in passing that NATO and the EU have creatively resolved
the old question of disproportionate German power in Europe; the
progressive expansion of NATO can similarly resolve the question of
disproportionate Russian power in Europe. It is also noteworthy that
public opinion in key NATO countries is favorable to expansion.
Moreover, so far, all the apocalyptic predictions of the critics of
NATO expansion have failed to come to pass.)
In brief, to me NATO expansion is not principally about the Russian
threat, for currently it does not exist, though one cannot exclude its
reappearance and hence some insurance against it is desirable.
Secondly, to me NATO expansion is not primarily a moral crusade, meant
to undo the injustice the Central European peoples suffered during the
half-century-long Soviet oppression, though one cannot ignore the
moral right of the newly emancipated and democratic Central Europeans
to a life no less secure than that enjoyed by the West Europeans.
For me, the central stake in NATO expansion is the long-term historic
and strategic relationship between America and Europe. NATO expansion
is central to the vitality of the American-European connection, to the
scope of a democratic and secure Europe, and to the ability of America
and Europe to work together in promoting international security.
The expansion of the Euro-Atlantic alliance will bring into NATO
counsels new, solidly democratic and very pro-American nations. That
will further deepen the American-European kinship while expanding
Europe's zone of peace and democracy. Such a more secure Europe will
be a better and a more vital partner for America in the continuing
effort to make democracy more widespread and international cooperation
more pervasive. That is why NATO's enlargement -- in itself a vivid
testimonial to the dynamism of the democratic ideal -- is very much in
America's long-term national interest.
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