Prepared remarks by former National Security Advisor General James L. Jones, Jr. at the 2013 Bronislaw Geremek Lecture.
Thank you Fred. Welcome President Kwasniewski; it’s always great to be with you.
Board members and honored guests thank you for being here as we gather this evening in the spirit of Bronislaw Geremek — a courageous dissenter, a visionary leader, and an enduring inspiration to lovers of freedom, human dignity, and justice around the world. And, of course, we honor him for his tireless advocacy for another idea we care deeply about…the idea of Europe—whole, democratic, and free.
His vision of a peaceful and prosperous Europe, bound by shared ideals and a common identity, inspires the Atlantic Council’s work every day. And, these are the goals that must guide our steps in these challenging times when Eastern Europe is building on the hard won gains of freedom; and the European Union seeks to regain its financial and economic footing.
Meeting these challenges is future-defining work. If Europe and the United States are not economically strong and politically cohesive, the Transatlantic Alliance simply can’t perform its essential role in a world where our solidarity, our leadership, and unswerving devotion to building a shared peace and prosperity is needed more than ever.
Last spring the leaders of the North Atlantic Alliance met in Chicago to reaffirm their commitment to the transatlantic partnership and to devise new strategies to achieve our collective security in these dangerous but opportunity-filled times.
Today, I would like to touch on what I believe are three core elements of such a strategy. They may surprise you. I’m not going to talk about NATO transformation, interoperability, or defense budgets, as important these issues are. We can save that discussion for another day.
Rather, in the spirit of Branislaw Geremek, I think it’s important we address ourselves to more fundamental and strategic requirements: U.S. and European economic revival; transatlantic energy security; and modernizing allied global engagement to meet the demands of a new and complex era.
We welcome the emergence of a growing awareness among NATO partners that we simply can’t meet the spectrum of security challenges confronting us today without strong and resurgent economies.
Prosperity and security are indivisible. What’s clear is that if we are to defeat radicalism, terrorism, the spread of WMD, and the roll call of dangers to our way of life, we must join forces to turn the tables on a set of more fundamental common threats: unemployment, un-competitiveness, unsustainable entitlement spending, and the ticking time bomb of oversized sovereign debt.
Overcoming these foes must be the central objective of a renewed, more holistic U.S. – European alliance, if we are to remain relevant and responsive to the needs of the 21st Century.
In the same way that NATO’s members must cooperate militarily to remain strong for confronting shared security threats, our economies must be more cohesive so that we can seize shared opportunities and maintain transatlantic influence in a rapidly changing global environment.
We hear a lot about austerity and belt-tightening—necessary tools to be sure; but none of the impediments just cited can be vanquished without unleashing the most powerful weapon in our arsenal — “economic growth,” – expansion that must be driven by our vibrant private sectors and fueled by wise public policy.
We can be encouraged that policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic are waking to the reality that generating faster, stronger economic growth is the mainspring of collective prosperity and security. What really counts, though, is action. So as we summon ourselves to the task of designing grand security strategy, a cornerstone must be making growth the over-riding objective of transatlantic economic policy—not just in words but in deeds.
Last fall I coauthored an editorial with Tom Donohue, President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, pushing for a sweeping transatlantic economic and trade pact toward that end.
The US-European economic relationship is already the largest in the world. U.S. firms have invested over $2 trillion in Europe since NATO was established, while European firms have put $1.6 trillion into the U.S. economy. We represent nearly half of global GDP and we conduct some 40 percent of global trade.
We can build on this powerful foundation and scale to loftier heights with even greater economic integration and collaboration. We can significantly enhance the global competitiveness of our companies, large and small:
-by reducing costs through the elimination of tariffs,
-by freeing services trade,
-by minimizing unnecessary regulatory differences
-by facilitating investment,
-And by broadening procurement opportunities.
On the heels of Obama’s endorsement in SOTU, now is the time to think big and do more.
We don’t need another amorphous concept with over-ambitious labels that can mean anything to everyone—nor do we need to embark on another tedious, years-long trek of studies, reports, summits and negotiations about the negotiations.
Business and government leaders across the Atlantic already know what’s in their interests and what is not. We already know which issues will be easy and which ones will be hard. What we also know is that we can’t afford more delay. Let’s get to it. Let’s not let the perfect be the enemy of the good; and let’s get it done because the stakes could not be higher.
If the transatlantic alliance is not at the fore, then who in the world will lead the way in addressing the global challenge of expanding opportunity through trade. Who will lead the way in helping lifting millions out of poverty not by the caliber of our arms by the power of free and efficient markets and healthy economic competition.
And if not the United States and Europe then who will lead on what could well be the catalyst for economic transformation: energy security.
As I survey the economic and security landscape I’m not sure we face an issue with greater influence on international security today than energy.
Indeed, throughout history…war and peace….poverty and prosperity… have been inextricably connected to energy. The enormous power it confers on those who have it and the vulnerability it spells for those who don’t.
If you haven’t seen it yet, I would urge you take a look at the Global Trends 2030 produced by the National Intelligence Council and the Atlantic Council.
The report identifies the main drivers of global security over the next seventeen years. It is as much a report on energy and natural resources as it is on bad actors, and their weapons, and their tactics.
Quite simply energy will remain the flywheel of the international economic system and will continue to define the global security landscape.
Just a few years ago, the energy debate in Washington and in capitals throughout Europe centered on dire predictions of peak oil, continued import dependence, and resource scarcity.
Thanks to recent innovations we are now able to unlock vast reservoirs of shale energy, not only in the United States but in Europe to help power our economies and enable new levels of energy security.
Nothing, save the quality of our human capital, is more instrumental to our global competitiveness, create jobs, than harnessing energy abundance, derived not just from shale oil and gas, but from renewable energy, coal, and conservation, and no doubt coming soon are new innovations from entrepreneurs for whom nothing is impossible.
We need only consult those finding new jobs and the states enjoying new tax revenue from shale energy development and from the repatriation of manufacturing companies seeking energy security. They will tell us everything we need to know about the transformative economic power of reliable access to affordable energy.
Plainly and simply, the transatlantic community must have the energy it needs to grow and prosper. There’s no room in that equation for over-dependency and vulnerability.
Together we need to build the ethic of responsible development and best practices to harness energy abundance for an economic renaissance across the alliance and worldwide.
All the energy in the world, however, will do us little good in securing a better future unless we in the transatlantic community modernize the way we engage with the rest of the world, and in particularly with developing countries.
Today, we seem to be struggling with the fact that national security is a far deeper and broader concept than it was during the last half of the 20th century.
In the bipolar world in which most of us grew up, security was measured by military might. By the power of our faith, sacrifice, and determination we prevailed in the Cold War. We proved the concept of freedom and democracy; and the world hasn’t stopped changing since.
Anachronistically, many of today’s challenges and events are measured against the backdrop of the last century. Too often our policy approaches remain mired in the past as well.
Global stability is no longer defined solely by the ability of nations to deploy and defeat; but rather by our capacity to engage and endow — to meet human needs, sustain economic growth, and turn promise and opportunity into jobs and a higher quality of life.
Yes, our armed forces will remain a central pillar of our national security portfolio, but they must be part of a more sophisticated tool kit. More than ever our government, our firms, and our NGOs must work together in harmony to secure our interests at home and across the globe.
Modernity demands a contemporary “whole of government,” “whole of society,” and “whole of alliance” global engagement strategy—one that synchronizes, economic development, security, and rule of law – the three pillars of peace and prosperity to nurture developing societies and build markets. Prevent stability rather than having to react and respond to it.
In the long run, this is the weapon that will cause the lasting defeat of radical fundamentalism—but it must employed in a proactive and energetic campaign using new tools relevant to modern circumstances.
A big part of the approach must involve “commercial diplomacy,” in which the private sector, businesses and NGOs, lead the way. The fact is that the private sector is better poised today than many governments to make significant contributions to our national “presence” abroad.
President Barzani, of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, recently expressed the dynamic powerfully when he noted that, “Four companies (in Kurdistan) are worth two Army divisions” when it comes to building goodwill and sustaining influence. I’m sure that dynamic is the same no matter the flag.
Here’s the good news for the future…despite the so-called rise of peer competitors, only the transatlantic community has the capability to accomplish this new type of global engagement. We have the strongest governments, the best companies, and the most capable NGOs.
The integration of our capabilities towards common, proactive goals where the transatlantic community leads by deed and example, will keep our relevance unchallenged for many years to come.
It seems to me that in this exciting new era of human development entrepreneurs, investors, and innovators are as fundamental to geopolitical stability as politicians, generals, and diplomats; trade agreements are as instrumental to world order as defense pacts; and public/private sector collaboration is the key to solving social ills that nurture insurgency and instability.
Dear friends and fellow Atlanticists, in the last century the transatlantic community saved mankind—by working and sacrificing together. Now it’s time to write a new chapter.
Doing so requires a new vision bolstered by the reality that security and prosperity in a borderless, trade-based global economy are inseparably linked.
–It requires military and economic cohesion through a stronger NATO and an economic partnership for prosperity.
–It requires commitment to growth by unleashing private enterprise on both sides of the Atlantic through policies that promote trade, investment, innovation, and job creation.
–It requires energy security
–And it requires a revolution in our approach to modern global engagement – one that is far greater than assuring our military ability to defeat adversaries; but about improving lives, and winning hearts, minds, and nurturing markets.
We have to lead. We have to grow. We have to work together. We’ve done it before and we can do it again. With a new commitment to transatlantic solidarity, I have abiding faith that our collective security and prosperity will be won for a new generation.
Again, thank you for being here and for all that you do achieve that victory and to help build the kind of future envisioned by Bronislaw Geremek.