Ilves Event


  • Frederick Kempe, President and CEO, Atlantic Council
  • Andy Prozes, Atlantic Council Board Director and CEO, LexisNexis
  • Toomas Hendrik Ilves, President of Estonia

FREDERICK KEMPE:  Welcome to you all.  I am Fred Kempe, president and CEO of the Atlantic Council.  And I am delighted to welcome you to this Atlantic Council Global Leadership Series event.  We have had leaders from across Europe, heads of state and government, such as our last speaker, the Spanish President Zapatero, many foreign ministers, et cetera.  President Saakashvili from Georgia has been part of this.  So it has become a great platform for heads of state and government.  And I am delighted that President Toom Ilves is here to share his thoughts with us today.

Among the many distinguished guests this morning, we are honored to welcome Estonia’s ambassador to the United States.  Thank you so much for joining us and thank you for being such an active participant and supporter of the Atlantic Council.  And we have many other members of the European diplomatic corps.

My job today is not to introduce President Ilves, a man I have respected a very long time.  So I am going to resist saying all the nice things about you that the man is going to say about you who will introduce you, Andy Prozes.  Andy is the CEO of LexisNexis Group and he is an active, effective and committed member of the Atlantic Council’s board of directors.  And I am just delighted that he has come in today – flown in with his wife, Laura.  And thank you both for being here.  It is just great to have you here.

He has also – we have people – we have members of the board of directors do introductions for our speakers on many occasions.  And there is always some reason why we have chosen them, a connection to the issue, whatever else.  But I have never known a reason for a speaker that cuts quite as close to you and your history, President Ilves, as Andy.  The background professionally is a pretty clear one.  He is an acknowledged expert on the legal profession, as well as on the rule of law and economic development.  His company, LexisNexis, is today the world’s largest provider of content solutions for law firms and businesses.

But more than that, on the professional side, he has really driven and built this company, which has experienced enormous success and growth under his leadership.  But that is also not the reason why he is introducing you, although he has as great an interest in cyber security as you do, President Ilves.  But it is really his family background. 

Although he grew up in North America and is Canadian, Andy has a very strong connection to Estonia and a similar family history.  His parents – and he will tell you a little bit more about that in his own introduction – but his parents fled by boat – on a boat from Estonia to Germany in 1945.  He once described this by noting, quote, “the lucky ones ended up on a boat to Sweden.”

President Ilves’ parents were lucky.  Both Andy and then President Ilves grew up in North America; Andy in Canada and President Ilves in the United States.  But what this family background has done with Andy is imbued him with a very strong sense of right and wrong in the world.  And we love having that as part of the Atlantic Council.  Andy, I turn to you.  (Applause.)

ANDREW PROZES:  Well, thank you very much, Fred.  I have to say that you stole half the things I was going to say.  But I am going to repeat them anyway.  Anyway, I can’t tell you just how honored I am.  And if my mother could be here, she would be absolutely ecstatic.  But at any rate, I am deeply honored, on behalf of LexisNexis and on behalf of the Atlantic Council, to introduce to you the distinguished speaker this morning, President – now, I am not sure whether I should say it the Estonian way like Toomas or Toom – Ilves.

There aren’t a lot of members of the Atlantic Council who grew up with the firm belief that Saaremaa – which is a little island, by the way, off of Estonia, still part of Estonia, which, by the way, is where the Russians had the radar and the missiles during the Cold War – but at any rate, believing firmly and fervently that Saaremaa was probably the greatest place in the whole world – also, by the way, growing up believing that I was never going to see it. 

I mean, I honestly – I have to tell you that the only person more shocked – well, I shouldn’t say the only person – but I was shocked when Estonia became free the way it did.  But the person that was, I mean, incredibly shocked was my father, because after all of these years of sitting on Sunday night at the kitchen table saying those damn Russkies, to have it become free, I have to say, was an astounding experience. 

But my parents were born in Tallinn.  They both grew up in Saaremaa.  As you heard, they commissioned a boat in late 1944 to escape you-know-who and thought that they were heading off to Sweden.  The boat captain sold them off to the Germans and they ended up in Germany.  I was born in Germany right after the war.  And we immigrated to Canada in 1948.

And I grew up, quite frankly, looking forward to the day where we could see Saaremaa and thinking that that was the greatest place on the face of this earth.  But also, with a very fervent understanding, perhaps, what the rule of law meant and what it didn’t mean, because for those of you who are familiar with the communist regimes, they had incredible laws, I mean, incredible laws.

But it also meant that most of the letters that we got from Estonia were blacked out.  It meant that if you wanted to send a pair of shoes to Estonia, you had to take them down to the pond and rub them with mud because you couldn’t send new shoes to Estonia.  So that is the background that I grew up in.

And, of course, in 1989, 1990, 1991, the world completely changed.  And I think, as Fred said, one of the reasons why, perhaps the principal reason why, he asked me to introduce President Ilves today is because of the similarities of our backgrounds.  As you heard, his boat – his parent’s boat – because his parents immigrated to Sweden – his boat did actually make it to Sweden and President Ilves was born there in 1953, the day after Christmas.

His family immigrated to the United States.  He grew up in New Jersey.  And when you hear him speak, you will hear that he speaks just like us.  He was valedictorian of his high school graduating class, a member of the school tennis team.  He graduated from Columbia University in 1976 with a B.A. in psychology.  And then he got his M.A. in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, which I think qualifies him to be the first therapist of Estonia.  (Laughter.)  It sounds like you have heard that before.  Okay.

There are some Canadian connections, because I grew up in Canada.  My parents emigrated there in about 1948.  And he was a lecturer in Estonian literature and linguistics at Simon Fraser University, which is just outside Vancouver, in the 1980s.  And in the 1990s, he was the ambassador to Mexico, Canada and the United States.  And he married Evelin in 2004.

I think that is about where the comparisons between the president and me probably end.  It is a great honor for me to introduce him this morning.  I have got a tremendous amount of respect for his accomplishments and for the courageous positions that he has taken on many, many issues.  He is a great ally of the West.  He is a very strong supporter of the European Union.  He has got a reputation for taking strong positions and we certainly heard some of those this morning over breakfast on a variety of topics.  And one of the things that he has said and been quoted on is that the road from Tallinn to Moscow is via Brussels. 

One of the things that I really enjoyed reading about was during all the controversy about the monument to the Russian soldiers that was moved back to the cemetery – moved to the cemetery, I should say.  And he asked the Russians to try to act civilized.  And of course, they did the exact opposite and bombarded Estonia with one of the worst cyber attacks that anybody has ever experienced.

He is a very strong supporter of the education system in Estonia.  And I like his quote in his last Independence Day speech about the difficulty with education reform, which is not only difficult in Estonia, but I can assure you is difficult in all parts of the world.  He said when all roads to education reform lead to a dead end, everything seems dismal.  But if we had been this fearful and hesitant 18 years ago, we would still be using the ruble in Estonia.

The rule of law is one of the president’s prime issues.  And in the same speech, he talked about the rule of law by saying Estonia’s legal system is, by and large, complete.  And Estonia is, in practice, a state governed by the rule of law.  And that probably puts it ahead of many other countries in the world and also defines the cause that is LexisNexis’ global cause around the world, which is the rule of law.

I think you are going to hear that the viewpoint of Estonia is really quite a critical aspect of the debate going on in Europe about NATO and the role of the EU.  Estonia, by the way, has made one of the largest per capita contributions to the war in Afghanistan.  Even though it is only 175 soldiers, if you work it on a per capita basis, it is one of the highest contributors and has made some of the biggest sacrifices.  Estonia has lost six soldiers in Afghanistan, which again, on a per capita basis, is one of the largest sacrifices made by any country.

So as an Estonian ex-pat, which I like to call myself, Estonia is extremely fortunate to have somebody with the kind of world form and the kind of voice with which he speaks.  And President Ilves speaks not only on behalf of Estonia, but I think the Baltic States and I think Europe.  And I do believe that the ideals and values and the interests of Estonia and the president coincide with the ideals, interests and beliefs of us here in the United States.  So it is an extreme and distinct pleasure for me to introduce President Ilves as our distinguished speaker this morning.  And the floor is all yours.  (Applause.)

PRESIDENT TOOMAS HENDRIK ILVES:  Well, good morning.  Thank you very much for that all-too-kind introduction.  And it is really good to be able to speak in front of the Atlantic Council once again, this time in Washington.  I should say here that everything is in my CV, but I am a founding member of the Estonian Atlantic Council and I have spoken in a number of Atlantic Council – various Atlantic Councils throughout Europe before.  And I am glad to finally be here today.

And what I thought I would do is talk about the trans-Atlantic relationship, which is something that I think everyone in the Atlantic Council is concerned about.  And, in fact, it is one of my big concerns is the health and the future and the status of the trans-Atlantic relationship.  And that is why I am very happy to be just here because I think this is the ideal forum for discussing things.  And, in fact, I would like to discuss.  So I will not give a – I am not going to read off my speech.  I will rather touch upon some points and then actually hope to have a discussion because I think that simply hearing one person’s point of view without a discussion does not really lead very far.  It leads to probably some nice quotes somewhere.  But the goal is to be more than a sound bite.

Now, if we look at the state of relations today – I will begin by saying there is very much that is very good about the trans-Atlantic relationship.  That, in fact, we can – I think you can say first and foremost, on the European side, that this anti-Americanism that actually has gone up and down in amplitude beginning with the SS-20 debate actually, but reached a crescendo with the beginning of this millennium has abated considerably.  And I think that is a very good development and I think it allows us to move on.

And there are a huge number or a large number of issues where, in fact, both sides of the Atlantic meet regularly, talk and have a common understanding.  And these clearly are the issues of greatest interest.  These involve Iran, Afghanistan, the Balkans and the issue of terrorism, which is – I mean, those are in many ways defining issues today.  And here we don’t see a big problem. 

And I would say also on the issue of cyber security, I think there is an understanding on both sides of the Atlantic that this is a very serious issue.  Of course, that is not too surprising either.  If you look at the main objects of cyber attacks, which have been basically the Pentagon, the vertidings ministerium, the French foreign ministry – I mean, the French ministry of defense, the British ministry of defense.  I mean, if you are all being attacked, then there is a place there for a lot of common discussion.

On the other hand, I think we also sense in many quarters that there are problems.  First of all, we have the economic crisis, which is common to both sides of the Atlantic.  You can say it is common to the world almost.  The question is, is it serious enough today to actually cause problems for the trans-Atlantic relations?  I am not convinced the economic crisis should.  I mean, just look at – a picture is worth a thousand words.  Look at a picture of any German city in 1948 and say, well, is that a reason to have a bad trans-Atlantic relationship?  I mean, the trans-Atlantic relationship in 1948 was very good.  I think today we shouldn’t use the economic crisis as an excuse for letting the relationship deteriorate.

And I think if we look at sort of the view from Europe today – well, let’s be honest – there was a very strong reaction against the previous administration.  And there was a strong sense – this is part of what I said.  There is a lack of anti-Americanism today.  I think there was a very strong sense of anti-Americanism in a number of major capitals in Europe before.  But today there is – when there is no reason to be anti-American, and the reasons for the anti-Americanism or unilateralism or accusation of unilateralism so far have gone away, it doesn’t seem as if – it doesn’t seem as if the relationship is back on track. 

And when, in fact, though, we have a common understanding of Afghanistan, when the U.S. president asked for more troops from the Europeans, then the response is not uniformly supportive in this regard.  And it doesn’t result in all of the allies contributing.  And what I think where we are – the situation we are in – this is now my view; it is not the official Estonian government view, which doesn’t take views of this sort, but it is my view – is that we are in a – that looking in hindsight, we are in the – we have gone through two decades of a wind down in the trans-Atlantic relationship because basically, the trans-Atlantic relationship was created as a response to the Soviet threat.  And that is what kept it alive and threw all kinds of problems, including the aforementioned SS-20 times, where basically, the two sides agreed on most issues and talked constantly.   

The next 20 years, the ones that we just celebrated in Berlin in November with the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Wall, actually was, in fact, living out the promise of the previous 40, which was that if the premise of the Cold War is that there but for the grace of the Soviet Union go I or therefore, but for the grace of NATO go I or all those countries from Estonia down to Romania, Bulgaria are, in fact – would be just like us except they happened to end up on the wrong side of the iron curtain.  There was an implicit moral obligation to make good on the promise of 1948-49 to 1989, 1991 that okay, once you people have made the choice for democracy, rule of law, respect for human rights and a market economy, that, in fact, you will be with us.

And that became, in fact, the driving force, I would say, of the trans-Atlantic relationship for that period up until really, I would say, now the eventual completion of the European project, the European – Europe whole and free with all of its Huntingtonian implications by calling Europe precisely those countries that as of 2007, with the inclusion of Bulgaria and Romania, define Europe.  And it is not only NATO; it is also the EU because, of course, that was a common project to bringing those countries into this thing, legal space and the military space known as the EU and the European Union.

The question is where to go from here.  I think we have to admit that as much as my country, for example, very much, very strongly believes that we must continue with enlargement of the European Union and expansion of NATO, that this is a minority position today.  And that how we proceed now lacks the general consensus that we saw in the last 20 years on both sides of the Atlantic that we do need to move forward towards European integration in both the one organization that unites or brings together the Europeans and the Americans and the Canadians, which is NATO, but also in the European Union.

And the challenges today are much different.  Lacking now this desire to move forward on expansion or enlargement of either one, where do we find our common positions?  And that has ended up being much more difficult than before.  And instead we talk, I think, either across purposes or not each other.

The common purpose of collective defense, I think, has petered out.  We no longer detect on either side of the Atlantic the same sense of common purpose.  And a lot of this is understandable because, after all – I mean, let’s take the U.S. position.  I mean, I can always articulate the European position, but I try to put myself in the U.S. position.  And we say okay, I mean, U.S. foreign policy has always been a problem-solving foreign policy.  I mean, you have a problem, you fix it.  So it takes 50 years.  You have the Soviet Union, communism, the Cold War.  You win that, okay?  And then you have sort of the intellectual extension of that, which is making good on the promise of everything you said during the Cold War.  Then you bring that to fruition.

So basically, you have two missions accomplished.  First, you win the Cold War.  Then you bring in basically what heuristically could be called the broadcast area of Radio Free Europe, which you left out of my CV, which is one of the best parts of my life was working in Munich as a cold warrior in Radio Free Europe.  But it doesn’t extend to the area known as Radio Liberty, which is everything – which are the countries that are not in the EU or NATO today. 

So for the United States, the problems are all together.  I mean, Europe has been solved.  So why bother dealing with these issues, would be sort of a gross caricature, especially when you have – you know, you have Afghanistan.  You have terrorism in general.  You have a rising China, which first and foremost today economically, but who knows?  It is a rising power.  It is kind of this juggernaut that is coming to the fore.

And in this case, well, you know, Europe is not really – in this view, Europe really doesn’t – it doesn’t present problems.  It doesn’t also present solutions.  And if you don’t present solutions to issues that are not problems, well, then really it is not that much on the radar screen.  And it is understandable.

Now, in the case of Europe, we are – we in Europe are also dealing first and foremost today as in the United States with our economic crisis.  On foreign policy issues, we really don’t have that much of a common position on issues because there are very divergent views on how to proceed.  And it is not clear where Europe will go because let’s face it, institutionally now we have on paper a number to call.  We are still working out the details that – I guess you know the old Henry Kissinger line.  But now you do have a number to call.  It is not quite clear whether it is still the president of the council or it is the president of the presidency or whether it is commission or, in fact, it is the double-headed foreign minister.

We hope that these issues will be sorted out.  But as with any constitution-like agreement since we don’t call it a constitution, but basically, it takes time to figure out.  I mean, when the U.S. got its constitution, then it took a while to figure out, you know, whether you could have a central bank or not and all those fundamental issues have yet to be resolved.

And we are amidst them.  And I can’t even predict how it will all end up.  But certainly, these are the fundamental directions.  Clearly, I think issues where Europe has not reached a consensus is what we do with the project begun in 1989, about bringing these countries in.  I mean, we brought in the ones we did.  But my feeling is that today, further enlargement is not really a high priority for a lot of countries.

I mean, there are issues of enlargement fatigue.  There are legal issues.  Any country after Croatia – and Croatia is the only country left in this position – any country after Croatia that wishes to join the EU will have to be – its submission will have to be decided – and this is constitutionally mandated both in France and in Austria  as to whether to let them in, which is an additional hurdle that was not faced by any country before.

So we don’t know where enlargement is going to go.  I am worried sometimes by the approach avoidance conflict nature of the EU’s – our EU’s response to our Eastern neighbors, which is that we would like them to be more like us.  We want them to have rule of law.  We want them to have open markets.  We want them to have democracy, but not too much because lest they become too much like us, then we are going to have to take them in.  And god forbid, we have had to take someone in.

And I think that is an issue that we have to work out intellectually among ourselves.  And that is going to take a while.  And that is going to start happening, I think, after we figure out exactly how the constitution works and what are the actual powers of the double-headed foreign minister.  And what is the relationship between the council and the commission.  And if those words don’t mean anything to you, then it is okay.  (Laughter.)  Not to mention what we do with Russia.  This, I think, is one issue where we have not – we have not really come to a clear understanding of what even a common foreign policy should be.  And this is a direction that, I think, we should be watching with care. 

I do think frankly that despite attempts to minimize its importance and the wish of all kinds of people for the issue to go away, I think that in 2008, August invasion of Georgia was a transformative event insofar as it basically destroyed the Helsinki agreement world.  No changes of borders through military force.  And the response of the EU to that in which we found consensus was well – I mean, the big quote was thank god common sense prevailed.  And the common consensus was that we do nothing in response to the collapse of the security architecture of Europe.  And I think that is going to come and haunt us in the future.  And so I think those are sort of the big issues facing us on the European side.

Now, how to bring all of this together?  And I would propose one way of doing – bringing this all together is that if we are – if we are problem solvers on this side of the trans-Atlantic relation – and we are problem-solvers, at least my country, because we always have problems and we are always trying to solve them.  We sort of like – I mean, Estonia is a sort of project-based society that we sort of set a goal.  Right now it is joining the euro.  And now we do everything needed to solve that.

And I would say there is one big problem that we, in fact, need to solve in the trans-Atlantic relationship.  And it is not, perhaps, seen always as a problem.  But it underlies the lack of a really strong trans-Atlantic relationship now that we have solved the other problems.  And I would say that is the complete and utter inability of the EU and NATO to work together on security issues, even though if you take a Venn diagram of the overlap between the EU and NATO, it is rather large.

So we have this odd situation in which we have the whole European security establishment and then we have NATO.  And most of it is led – most of these things are led by people who are the same people.  But they can’t talk to themselves.  Basically, if you know anything about anatomy, it is basically, you have the left side of the brain, the right side of the brain, and they communicate through this thing about that big called the corpus callosum. 

And if you cut through it, then you basically can’t communicate between the two sides of your brain.  And this is the situation that all EU ministers of defense and ministers of foreign affairs that are in NATO and all NATO ministers of defense and foreign affairs that are also in the EU face because they can’t talk to themselves fundamentally.  Their corpus callosa are cut because these issues are not – I mean, they are different issues.

And it really comes down to sort of fundamental blockage on certain issues, on bilateral ones, bilateral issues.  I mean, unless we get resolved the issue of Northern Cyprus in some way acceptable to all sides, then we will continue to have discussions together with the EU, blocked by Turkey, and we will have discussions in the EU with NATO blocked by Cyprus.  And that is just the fact.  I mean, that is an empirical fact.  That is the problem that up until now has kept us from talking to each other.

When I went to Brussels – I mean, on one of my very many trips to Brussels – I even lived there for a while – but on one of my very many trips to Brussels, one of my first, I guess, in this office, I invited to dinner my friends from both sides, the left half and the right half of my brain.  And for the first time in years and years – in all of the years that Gunter Verheugen, who was the commissioner in charge of enlargement and was in charge of the economy in the EU, and Robert Kagan, you know, Americans from Mars, Europe are from Venus. 

Well, in fact, the first time in all the years both of them lived in Europe sat together at the same table was when I invited them both there.  So we have these two brilliant people, two who are deeply involved in the work of two of the great successes of liberal democracy in the 20th century.  And they live in the same town and they have never even been at the same table.

I think that that should be our new project is to bring the discussion of security policy and defense policy – and not only the discussion, but, in fact, the instruments and tools that we use to solve issues together because this duplication is ridiculous.  We see, thank god, that U.S. opposition to the EU security and defense side has sort of withered away like Karl Marx’s description of the state. 

We no longer have that opposition.  And I think on the European side as well, there was an understanding that it is not going to work unless we do it together with NATO.  And, of course, this understanding really is among all of those poor ministers of defense and foreign affairs whose corpus callosa are cut because they would like to get those things connected again.  And with that, I think I have given my message.  And actually, as a former professor, I much prefer the discussions and the questions to my own pontificating here.  So thank you very much, and it is great to be here.  (Applause.)

MR. KEMPE:  This one seems to have broken.  I will stand as I start and we will get another seat up here.  First of all, I just want to say seeing the Swedish ambassador, outgoing president of the EU sitting next to the Portuguese ambassador, which will be hosting the Lisbon NATO Summit.  The Atlantic Council tries to be a corpus callosa in its own small way.  And so I am actually glad you have given this role a word.  And it is a powerful thought.

So many questions.  I am going to ask a first couple and then I am going to turn to the audience.  You talked about – I think what you are talking about is an erosion of sense of common purpose in the trans-Atlantic relationship.  And also you are calling for a project, EU-NATO, as something that could help bring that about.  But I also wonder whether there is something deeper in this.

Part of the common purpose before was democracy promotion, human rights, third basket, Helsinki.  Do you see that that also has been lost in the trans-Atlantic relationship?  Do you think that that has to be something that, again, becomes a center either EU-U.S. policy or trans-Atlantic purpose?

PRES. ILVES:  Well, I think you will find that not only – but I think a lot of – in this swath of countries stretching from Estonia down to Slovenia and Bulgaria and Romania and everyone in between, what was unfortunately called new Europe, but I would say – you could say the new members of the two organizations, the ones that have joined in the last – since 1999 – feel this is a more fundamental issue than some other countries, than a lot of other countries.

I mean, national history, unfortunate history matters.  I mean, we always talk about the EU as a project that overcame the antagonism between Germany and France.  This is the raison d’être of the EU.  Well, in fact, I mean, now we have an addition, which is for 100 million people in the EU or more – 125 million – human rights, rule of law, fundamental freedoms, democracy are very important.  And they are more important, I would argue, in terms of where we were to do sort of a Maslowian list of sort of needs than they are for some other countries, which for whom or for which, you know, making a little – having good deals or selling something or buying something is more important.

And let’s not pay attention to those things.  And this is why I think there is, I think, a division between those countries for which human rights and the Helsinki third basket is more important.  And I think we are not ashamed of being among those countries that think it is more important.

MR. KEMPE:  We had Secretary Clinton speaking at an Atlantic Council event a couple of weeks ago.  And I asked her whether she could imagine a day when the Russians would join NATO.  And her quote was, “I could imagine it; I am not sure the Russians can imagine it.”  What about you?  Can you imagine it?

PRES. ILVES:  Well, being among those people who think that democracy is not defined by your history and that, in fact, every country, every society – I don’t buy the theory of Lee Kuan Yew of 40 years ago or 30 years ago that your cultural background prevents you from having free elections, rule of law out of respect from human rights. 

Now, the argument that you see in Russia and a lot of other countries today is that we have a different kind of democracy.  We have managed democracy.  That is a bad PR term.  You call it sovereign democracy.  And those kinds of things don’t apply to us because we have a different cultural heritage.

I think the post-communist experience of countries from Estonia to Poland, Hungary show that democracy and respect for human rights is not culturally defined, which is all of the background saying yes, I think that Russia can belong to NATO.  It would be great to have Russia in NATO.  But NATO is defined by those values.  NATO is a value-based organization.  And it has to be. 

It is not strictly highfaluting rhetoric that we support human rights, democracy.  You cannot mobilize governments or citizens of sovereign nations to go fight for something, which is mercantilistic or imperialistic.  You can only – you can get Estonians to go to Afghanistan because you are doing it – because you are doing it in an organization base that defends democratic values.

If it were some other reason to go there, you wouldn’t find – it wouldn’t work.  NATO works only insofar as it stands up for those values.  And we would like to see a Russia that respects human rights, freedom of speech, that has real elections.  And if it does all those things, it should be in NATO.  I think, however, the contrapositive, NATO will fail if it brings in countries that do not respect human rights, that do not have free elections.  And that is a recipe for disaster.

MR. KEMPE:  Thank you.  Take some questions.  Please.  And please identify yourself as you ask your questions.

Q:  Hi, my name is Andre Sitiva (ph).  I am with TASS, the Russian news agency.  Thank you, sir, for doing this and thanks to our friend at the council for inviting us.  It was a very interesting talk that you just gave.  I understand that you believe the current architecture – security architecture in Europe doesn’t work.  The Russians agree.  The Americans mostly, I think, agree.  The Europeans agree.

We need to talk about that again.  Everybody agrees.  The question for the Russians, Russians say, let’s talk about it all together.  So when you were talking let’s bring everyone to the table, does that include Russians or not?  That is my question to you on the subject.  And I also wanted to ask you, if you want to go to Moscow for the 65th anniversary of V-E Day in Europe.  Five years ago, you criticized your predecessor for not going.  Will you be going?  And what are you doing for the war veterans in Estonia?  Thank you.

PRES. ILVES:  Well, you are clearly not following the news.  This is the big news in Estonia for three days, is that I said I was going. 

MR. KEMPE:  But now you can run it on TASS.

PRES. ILVES:  RIA Novosti already had it.  I don’t know if they are competitors or not.

MR. KEMPE:  Natural decision for you, or was it –

PRES. ILVES:  No, I mean, I was one of the – five years ago, I thought it was silly not to go and I think it – I mean, what is the big deal?  I mean, European countries are happy that, you know.  Estonia was occupied by two totalitarian regimes.  And we celebrate the defeat of one on the 8th of May.  And then that is also Moscow for reasons that are historical celebrated on the 9th of May.  And the defeat of the other totalitarian regime, from the Estonian point of view, happened on the 21st of August, 1991.

Now, in terms of the security architecture – well, I mean, I think that there are two discussions.  I mean, you have discussions with those countries that are democratic and have re-elections and for which you can mobilize troops.  That is the ultimate issue.  Can you get people to go and fight and die?  And that is one group. 

And then, of course, there is the other group where you have discussions with those people who don’t share your values and that is – I should say, you know, my personal view is that the argument of the Russian side with the publication of the Medvedev plan was that Georgia showed that – the Georgian war showed that Helsinki doesn’t work was kind of disingenuous to me. 

It says basically – it is like the child who said I broke my toy, and then says, now give me a new one.  So if you are a parent, you are going to give your child a new toy because he on purpose broke the toy that he wants a better version of?  I think that is really the appropriate analogy because by destroying the Helsinki fundamental in that you don’t change borders through invasions or through military force, then to use that argument saying that well, clearly, we need something new because we destroyed the old one doesn’t really convince me.  And I don’t think it convinced anyone in NATO, frankly.  

Q:  (Off mike.)

PRES. ILVES:  I hate foreign policy by analogy.  But if for two years, you tell people to stop genocide and then you finally have to go in there to stop it, that is different from having a troop buildup that begins in April of 2008, immediately after the Bucharest summit and in which July of 2008, you use so-called railway troops in Abkhazia to repair the railway so that you can move our troops quickly and you have the Roki Tunnel filled with troops before the beginning of the war.  Then I think it is a somewhat different situation from Kosovo.  And I think basically, that is not my personal opinion; I think that is what most people will say, I mean, when they are allowed to be politically incorrect. 

MR. KEMPE:  Thank you, Mr. President.

Q:  Jonas Hafstrom, ambassador of Sweden.  The Russian president, Medvedev, gave a speech a month ago about fixing Russia, reforming Russia.  Can Russia reform itself and is Pres. Medvedev the person to do?

PRES. ILVES:  I don’t like to talk about other people.  I can talk about Europe.

Q:  (Off mike.)

PRES. ILVES:  Well, basically, I think only Russia can repair itself.  I think any idea that anyone else is going to go there to change something is ridiculous, stupid, obnoxious, patronizing and colonialist.  I think that we can’t do anything.  It is up to Russia.  And I, again, reject sort of the sovereign managed democracy approach that the rules don’t apply here because we had a different tradition.  And again, I think the experience of the countries of Eastern Europe show that it is a false position that democracy is a culturally defined or is specific to a culture.

If we adopt that position, then we might as well forget about Turkey in the EU.  And I would say that, you know, Estonia is probably one of the biggest supporters of Turkey in the EU.  If we do that, there is no point in actually hoping for democracy.  We might as well all hunker down into our bunkers and say we are going to defend democracy against all of those other people.

But basically, the position that democracy is defined by religious, cultural, historical values and that you can’t have a democracy basically says Samuel Huntington’s sort of warning was correct.  He was correct to warn us against a world based on those lines.  And knowing Huntington, I mean, I don’t think he thought of that as a positive program.  That was a warning.  And I don’t want to have a world in which democracy is a priori not possible in countries because they claim they have a different tradition.

And, of course, empirically, the evidence works against it because why is Estonia, why is Poland, why are these countries – why do they manage to be democracies?  Why does Japan manage to be a democracy, even though it is a completely different tradition?  So I am very hopeful for Russia.  And I think – I mean, I think it is all there.  It is all possible.  And it is up to Russia.

Q:  I am Frank Kramer.  I am the vice chairman of the council.  I want to ask a question about the EU-NATO part.  You suggest a project to solve that.  But it seems to me that it doesn’t need a project.  It just needs a decision.  For example, we created the Defense Planning Commission in NATO because France couldn’t be part of the integrated military structure for years.  Don’t need it anymore. 

But I would think on each side, if there was a decision by the relevant countries, we could just go forward, no projects necessary, but just move.  And the notion that you are going to let two relatively smaller countries control everyone else seems to me to be something that the rest of the countries ought to say well, we have had enough and it is time to go forward.  That is point one.

And then if you do that – you talked about a common security approach.  What is the content of a common security approach?  Can Europe now go and work harder on the Afghanistan, Iran, China issues?  Or is there – or for that matter, Russia?  Or is there something else that you are thinking about?

PRES. ILVES:  Well, on the first one, unfortunately, for a small country like Estonia is, strict adherence to rules is – if you are going to be against might makes right, you have to believe always in the rules.  And the rules say that anyone, no matter how small, can veto things.  And that is one of the good sides, in general, of the EU.  And then the negative fallout is that occasionally the small do things that really are against the wishes of everyone else.

Why I think a project is necessary is because it wasn’t – I mean, if we look at the other sort of difficult decisions where there was strong opposition over the years.  And basically, NATO enlargement was one of those.  I mean, the decision was easy once you had done all the work beforehand.  And it is going to take a lot of work beforehand.  I mean, the decision is all it takes.  I mean, theoretically all it takes is NAC to say, you know, we take them.  But in order to get there, that is where the project comes in, especially since we in Europe are very process oriented.  

Now, on the other issues, well, I mean, I think the real issues that we have to deal with in the world involve the world.  And I don’t think that Richard Lugar was wrong when he said out of area or out of business.  It is just that we hadn’t finished the business of the area when he wrote the article.  I think that in terms of the broad history of the relationship, that is the future. 

That is the sign of the success of the trans-Atlantic relationship is that we have – it can go or should go out of area.  But unfortunately, when he wrote the article, the area was not even defined.  We didn’t have the ’99 enlargement.  We didn’t have the 2004 enlargement.  And we didn’t have the Georgian war.  I mean, I think those are all issues that mean that we do have to deal with territorial defense. 

I mean, Article V remains the core issue of NATO member states.  That is not going to go away.  But the more successful we are, the more we can deal with.  We will designate what is NATO’s role in Africa, what is NATO’s role in Darfur, what is NATO’s role in Afghanistan.  Should it get involved in whatever?  I mean, East Timor, if there is a problem.  I mean, all the various problems we have had where, in fact, it has been a case of Western intervention that has been necessary.  And certainly, I mean – the world is ripe with possibilities for conflicts and problems that we would, in fact, be called upon to change.

MR. KEMPE:  Ambassador?  The ambassador of Portugal?

Q:  Yes, the ambassador of Portugal.  I think you somehow started to answer to my question in your last sentence.  But still, I would like to ask you, Mr. President, if you could share with us some of your thoughts about the updating of the NATO strategic concept.

PRES. ILVES:  Obligado.  Well, it is – I mean, we hope that it will be nicely updated.  (Laughter.)

MR. KEMPE:  This could be another hour-long seminar.  What is the most important thing you are going to be looking at in it?  What do you want it to be?

PRES. ILVES:  Article V and territorial defense as the – I mean, the core mission of NATO remaining the core mission of NATO.  No dilution of Article V, strong maintenance of territorial defense.  That is the core issue, I think, for not only Estonia, but I would say that among the countries to have joined since 1999, for all of those countries – not wanting to speak for them – but I have a hunch that is an issue for all of them because, you know, the sort of – Fukuyama – and end of history, which we all believe in, was kind of disrupted by August of 2008.

MR. KEMPE:  And should a cyber attack be considered an Article V offense?  And if so, then how do you answer that sort of cyber attack in an Article V manner?  For those – I think this is such a savvy audience.  Everyone knows what – a lot of people know what Article V is.  That an attack on one is an attack on all and calling for the common defense.

PRES. ILVES:  I think this is the big intellectual conundrum of the future of warfare, frankly, which is – and given that – and even as I mentioned with the cyber attacks on probably all NATO ministries of defense at some time or another in the last several years. 

If you can destroy an electrical system with a missile or if you do destroy an electrical system with a missile, that is an Article V action.  That is to say, if that happens, you know, NAC gets together.  We have been invaded.  They have blown up our – sent a missile.  It came from there.  And then all of the thinking that has gone into all those years of NATO is what is the appropriate response?  What is the proportional response?  I mean, all that comes into effect.

If you recall, I guess about a year and a half ago, there was a piece in the Wall Street Journal about how a bit of malware had been discovered in the U.S. electrical system that upon activation from outside could have shut down all of the – or one-third of the U.S. electricity.  What is a proportional and an appropriate response in that case?  It is just as bad as a missile attack.  Its effects are identical.  The means are different.  And I think that is something we have to put a lot of smart people to think about.

MR. KEMPE:  But you would say in the strategic concept, it should be Article V or not?  I mean, how you respond is another issue. 

PRES. ILVES:  Well, how do you determine who did it is the problem.

MR. KEMPE:  But if you can.

PRES. ILVES:  Well, I think that clearly is.  I mean, the effect is the same.  The problem with Article V and cyber war is figuring out who did it is very hard.

MR. KEMPE:  But it is very interesting how strategic concept will deal with this.  I have two or three more questions.  We have about 10 minutes, so let’s make these questions sharp and we will try to get in as much as we can.  Please –

Q:  Anne Penketh from the British American Security Information Council, BASIC.  One issue that you didn’t mention in your speech is the one of the removal of the American tactical weapons from Europe, which, as you know, is within NATO, very divisive.  With this coming up at Tallinn to be discussed, how do you think it is possible to heal this NATO rift?

And this discussion keeps coming back to relations with Moscow, obviously.  How do you think – how do you see with the two halves of your brain in Estonia, with your ethnic Russian community, how do you see an improvement in relations with Russia?

PRES. ILVES:  Well, I think the last two have nothing to do with each other.  The ethnic Russians in Estonia have nothing to do with the relations with Russia unless you adopt a Heinlein, Sudetenland approach, which we would rather not do.  But I think there are people who want to do that. 

In terms of – well, I mean, you know, if you were on the border of Russia, it is kind of – it is a different situation than if you now have – thanks to NATO enlargements – suddenly a long, long row of countries between you and Russia.  I recall how upset people were when a year and a half ago, Mr. Putin said well, we are going to put Iskanders in Kaliningrad.  Even in Estonia, they were upset.  And, of course, I said, well, yeah, but they are right across the lake over there.  I mean, we have a river that is, you know, like 100 meters wide. 

So, I mean, we think – I think it would be kind of silly to sort of make a big deal out of this issue, when at the same time, you have a country next door bragging and boasting about its tactical nuclear weapons on its rockets and their right next door is just across the river.  So, I mean, I think the issue will be resolved according to each country’s view of its national interest.   

MR. KEMPE:  Thank you.  I am going to take – I am going to take the three questions I saw in order.  I am sorry in the back because that is all we probably have time for.  But why don’t you go first?  Mr. President, we have a young Turkey professionals, young American group that is in this week.  And this is one of the members who is actually Estonian-American.

Q:  No, I lived in Estonia.

MR. KEMPE:  Lived in Estonia, but you were speaking quite fluently.

Q:  I spent a great deal of time there.  My question directly relates to this work.  I am from American Jewish World Service, a human rights organization based in New York.  We have been discussing a lot the issue of Northern Cyprus, which you raised in your speech.  And it has been suggested on various panels with academics and policy makers that, perhaps, the Greek fiscal crisis is a lever that should be explored in negotiations on the issue of Cyprus and Macedonia.  I was wondering what your thoughts were, right or wrong, on this as a lever.

MR. KEMPE:  And let me pick up this last two as well, if I could.  Matt and then Julie?

Q:  Thanks.  Matt Bryza from the State Department.  Estonia is in a pretty good condition in relative terms in terms of its energy independence, certainly compared with some other European countries and therefore, can view European energy security maybe more objectively.  So how is Europe doing in terms of promoting competition on gas, on electricity and applying competition law?

MR. KEMPE:  And then Julie Finley, please.

Q:  Julie Finley, council member.  I have just really a blunt question.  If you were Ukraine and you had decided that you preferred to join the EU rather than NATO, could that decision have been based on the fact that you assume, if you were attacked, the NATO community would come to your rescue anyway.

MR. KEMPE:  Would not?

Q:  No, would come to your rescue anyway.  Therefore, why bother to try to join NATO?

MR. KEMPE:  Very interesting question.  So using the Greek fiscal crisis to fix the EU-NATO – what was it corpus – I am not as anatomical as you are.  And how the U.S. is doing on competition?  And then Ambassador Finley’s good question.

PRES. ILVES:  Well, the first thing I would point out is that Cyprus and Greece are not the same country, we hope.  In fact, Cyprus’ objections are – Greece has the fiscal crisis; Cyprus has Northern Cyprus.  Well, basically, it is not really comme il faut or – (inaudible) – to link issues like this.  On the other hand, it happens all the time in Europe.  And, in fact, some of the same countries link issues all the time.  In fact, there is a very strong linkage between EU and NATO cooperation and the Cyprus issue.  So I don’t know.

Someone may do it precisely because if you are a country that constantly stresses linkage, someone may turn around and do the linkage.  But, I mean, I doubt Estonia will be the country to do that.  But it is one of the problems of linkage is that it can come back and boomerang on you because in general, the idea is not to link disparate issues.  But Northern Cyprus is clearly the issue blocking a very important issue, which is EU-NATO cooperation.  Maybe this will come back.

Now, energy.  Well, I mean, for reasons that have nothing to do with our location and our history – it has to do with history.  I mean, Estonia is really a firm believer in open markets, free trade and energy.  My position for the last 4 years has been if you have a U.S. corporation called Microsoft that gets fined twice $1.3 billion for putting a optional or including an optional browser on its operating system where, in fact, you have the right to download Mozilla if you want or you don’t even need to use their system, but you can have a Mac, as I do, or you can use Linux, and fine them twice for 1.3 billion for antitrust or bundling, as we call it. 

To then turn around and say that the prohibited by European standards of having ownership both of energy distribution networks and supply and say that is a whole different matter where there is no choice – you have no choice about what gas you use, where you buy the gas from, you have no choice.  There is no sort of – you don’t have a MAC OS pipeline versus, say, Microsoft pipeline versus a Linux pipeline.  You have no choice. 

And then we are told that that is something completely different and there is no antitrust issue.  And that, in fact, is what prevents the European Union from having a common energy policy and open markets.  And people come up with all kinds of reasons not to have open energy markets.  And the internal market basically is incomplete when it comes to energy as it is with regards to services.  And on both issues, Estonia would like to see them all open.

And the last issue, well, I don’t know what they are thinking.  I mean, the problem is that I think there is probably a great willingness to take Ukraine into NATO than there is for the EU to take in Ukraine.  So putting your eggs on the EU basket may not be too smart.  And I would say that the amount of reforms that need to be done to make Ukraine, well, acceptable for the EU in terms of legal reforms, corruption, rule of law, all of those things. 

That is a big project, whereas for NATO, in terms of really the standards of democracy without all of the other issues that you have to meet.  I mean, you don’t have to transform your entire society in order to join NATO.  You just have to have free elections and you need to have rule of law, human rights.  So it is actually much tougher to get into the EU in many ways.  But if you would say that you want the EU, but not NATO, I think it is difficult.  But you would disagree.

Q:  Well, no, no, no, no, no.  I am sorry.  I didn’t state correctly what I was after.  Basically, I am after what is the use of joining NATO now in that community if you can assume that the NATO community will come to your defense.

PRES. ILVES:  I think that is way too big an assumption.  I mean, if the strategic concept issue is the validity and strength and efficacy of Article V for NATO members, then the idea that by being a member of the EU, NATO is going to come to your defense – and that is a pretty hefty commitment – I don’t think – I don’t know where they get that idea.

Q:  It is not being a member of the EU.  It is being in the neighborhood.  And I think it is fair to assume the United States is certainly not going to stand by and allow Ukraine to be invaded and taken over by who knows whom.  And although I am sure that Mr. TASS over here can, you know, fill that in.  (Laughter.)  You know, you could assume that.  And then the U.S. would go to its brothers and sisters within the NATO community and say, we have got to help these guys.

PRES. ILVES:  Well, I frankly don’t think that invading Ukraine is really in the cards right now.  And I think that if you wanted to, again, achieve your ends in terms of controlling Ukraine, it is much better to do it through soft power than through hard power.  And the ultimate weapon of soft power we always forget when we talk about soft power in all of these discussions is the bribe.  (Laughter.)

MR. KEMPE:  Is that really the last word you want to – (inaudible, laughter)?

PRES. ILVES:  Well, I mean, that was just the answer to a question.  But I think in terms of Europe in general, we should think about that issue.

MR. KEMPE:  Mr. President, before I thank you, I just want to say a couple of small things.  First of all, I want to thank Andy Prozes, but not only for the introduction today, but we are doing some important work on rule of law with LexisNexis, and thank you very much for partnering with us on that.

I also want to thank you, but also go back in your CV, which we did fail to do.  It is the 30th anniversary of the birth of solidarity this year.  We will have our annual Bronislaw Geremek lecture in September marking that anniversary.  And I was in Poland at that time and I know what Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty’s impact was then.  And I know your work from that period of time.  So from that period of time to now, you have campaigned for all the right things.  And so I want to thank you for that.

And then finally, I want to thank you for today.  You have put things bluntly.  You have put things clearly.  I think you have – the reason our mission is to renew the Atlantic community for global challenges is we know it needs to be renewed.  We know it is not where it ought to be.  But you have also given us a new vocabulary and I think pretty soon, you will see an Atlantic Council called corpus callosum.  And so Mr. President, on behalf of the audience, I want to thank you.  (Applause.)

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