Obama on Afghanistan, a Nuclear Alliance, and the NATO-Russia Reset

President Barack Obama, November 13, 2010.

From Barack Obama, the International Herald Tribune:  Neither Europe nor the United States can confront the challenges of our time without the other. These summits are thus an opportunity to deepen our cooperation even further and to ensure that NATO — the most successful alliance in human history — remains as relevant in this century as it was in the last. …

In Lisbon, we will align our approach so that we can begin a transition to Afghan responsibility early next year, and adopt President Hamid Karzai’s goal of Afghan forces taking the lead for security across Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

And even as America’s transition and troop reductions will begin this July, NATO — like the United States — can forge a lasting partnership with Afghanistan to make it clear that as Afghans stand up and take the lead, they will not stand alone.

As we move forward in Afghanistan, NATO will also transform itself in Lisbon with a new Strategic Concept that recognizes the capabilities and partners we need to meet the new threats of the 21st century. This must begin by reaffirming the lifeblood of this alliance — our Article 5 commitment that an attack on one is an attack on all. …

[W]e can work to create the conditions for reductions in nuclear arsenals and move toward the vision I outlined in Prague last year — a world without nuclear weapons. Yet so long as these weapons exist, NATO should remain a nuclear alliance, and I’ve made it clear that the United States will maintain a safe, secure and effective nuclear arsenal to deter any adversary and guarantee the defense of our allies. …

For just as the United States and Russia have reset our relationship, so too can NATO and Russia. In Lisbon we can make it clear that NATO sees Russia as a partner, not an adversary. We can deepen our cooperation on Afghanistan, counter-narcotics and 21st century security challenges — from the spread of nuclear weapons to the spread of violent extremism. And by moving ahead with cooperation on missile defense, we can turn a source of past tension into a source of cooperation against a shared threat.

Barack Obama is the president of the United States.  (photo: AP)

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