Toward a Europe Whole and Free
Origins of a Europe Whole and Free

Brent Scowcroft, Chairman, International Advisory Board, Atlantic Council; Former National Security Advisor  
Horst Teltschik, Former German National Security Advisor
H.E. Frans Timmermans, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Moderator: Jim Hoagland, Contributing Editor, The Washington Post

Toward a Europe Whole & Free

Transcript by
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

JIM HOAGLAND:  Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the final panel of the day.  This shows what a hardcore audience we’ve got that you’ve been able to persevere and come back for more.  And since we’re standing between you and a glass of Romanian wine, I’m certainly not going to go overtime – (laughter) – on this panel.

I’m Jim Hoagland, contributing editor of The Washington Post, and I occasionally remind readers of my columns that they’re dealing with a historical optimist.  And perhaps I should start by warning you of the same failing.  It’s a product – I’m a product, as we all are, of my experiences of growing up in a segregated South Carolina and then working in South Africa and, finally, watching the amazing change that occurred in Europe in the late 1980s, perhaps most crucially of all to watch the abrupt end of totalitarian rule on the European continent. 

My wife, who is a novelist, says frequently that “Cinderella” is all of our favorite stories one way or another, that almost all stories are based on “Cinderella” because people love to hear that story told in many different ways.  And I’m reminded of that every time I read about or hear about the end of the Cold War, the end of the Soviet domination of Eastern Europe and the end of the Soviet empire.  Part of our discussion today is to do just that, is to tell that story again, to go back to the origins of the decisive moments of the transformation of Europe in 1989 and 1990, and then to look forward to see if this happy result, this happy ending if you will – but it’s not an ending really – can endure, and how free nations can see that it does endure.

No one has been more directly involved than two of our panelists, Brent Scowcroft and Horst Teltschik, who were their nation’s national security advisors at times of this moment of change.  We’re going to ask them to look back to give us some perspective on the meanings of this liberation, which was perhaps more partial than was assumed at the time, and to bring us forward a little bit into today’s vantage point.  And then we will turn to the Dutch foreign minister, Mr. Timmermans, to tell us what we should do going forward. 

Let me start – (laughter) – lucky you.  Lucky you.  Let me start by referring back to a speech that President Bush 41 gave at Mainz, Germany in late May of 1989.  It’s a speech that included a remarkable phrase in which President Bush talked about “the passion for freedom cannot be denied forever.  The world has waited long enough.  The time is right.  Let Europe be whole and free.”  “Europe whole and free” encapsulated what the United States and our NATO allies and our other European partners looked forward to. 

I don’t think anybody – perhaps Brent can give us some guidance on this, but I don’t think anybody in Washington, or perhaps even in any European capital at that point, saw how rapidly that change was going to occur and how traumatic, in some ways, the change would become.  In some ways, at least according to some of us who were writing about that speech at the time, President Bush had put forward an answer to Mikhail Gorbachev’s “common European home” idea.  If you look at the rest of the Mainz speech, it actually was rather cautious after this stirring phrase.  Perhaps “prudent” would be another adjective we could use.  President Bush laid out a four-part plan for East-West demilitarization – for the negotiations for that.

And so I want to start by asking Brent Scowcroft to talk a little bit about what the expectations were at the time of that speech, how that phrase would resonate, and how you would compare those expectations – May 1989 – with the results we see in Europe today.  Brent?

BRENT SCOWCROFT:  Well, thank you, Jim.  That speech was the culmination of a period right after President Bush, Sr. came into office.  When he came in, in January of ’89, there was a lot of ferment in Eastern Europe.  And we started to try to figure out how to deal with that ferment, and we decided that we would fundamentally change the attitude the United States had had towards Eastern Europe, because traditionally for a number of years it had been – we encouraged those of the satellites who were making the most trouble for the Soviet Union, and that turned out to be Romania because Ceauşescu was a pain, to put it mildly.  And instead, with this new ferment in Eastern Europe, we decided that what we wanted to do was reward those who were most trying to liberalize their structures.  And that – what that meant was that Ceauşescu went from number one in our favor right down to the bottom and Poland rose to the top.  So that was the fundamental purpose we had in mind. 

And we looked back on earlier periods in Europe where there had been a sort of a liberal stimulus and the Soviet Union came in, smack down.  Berlin, Hungary, Czechoslovakia – all were cases.  So what we – what we set ourselves the goal is encouraging the liberalization of Eastern Europe, but encouraging it at a level which the Soviets would not see they had to crack down.  Now, we didn’t know what that was, what level that was, but we wanted to encourage it at a level where it could flourish by itself and now have the hardliners in the Kremlin say, we’ve got to smash them.  So that was what we, in general, had in – had in mind. 

Now, specifically, when President Bush came into office there was a NATO summit planned for May, and it was a fairly crucial summit because the issue was whether or not we should increase our medium-range ballistic missiles.  And the Germans of course didn’t want more short missiles because they would go off on German soil.  And we and some of the other countries said, but the balance of forces is such we need those forces to create the balance.  So that summit was held in May, and we worked it out so that there would be postponement of the missiles while we worked on force reductions.  And the NATO meeting turned out to be a great success, and afterwards in celebration Chancellor Kohl took us on a little trip along the Rhine River and to the speech the president made in Mainz. 

Now, the other part of that speech was our plans for reduction in forces.  The Germans – or the Russians had a lot more forces than we did, and we figured it was – would be very hard to have each side – or to have the Russian side take much deeper cuts than we did.  So instead of saying we will cut by so much, we said why don’t we equal the forces at some level?  How you get there is your problem.  And so that’s what – that’s what we agreed upon and that’s what the president put in my Mainz speech.

Now, this atmosphere was very warm and friendly.  We had been working with the Germans heavily on the NATO compromise because a failure would have been very serious there.  And so the Mainz speech was sort of a speech of relief, optimism, warmth, all those things.  The speech was so dramatically received that Margaret Thatcher called and said, what has happened to the special relationship?  (Laughter.)  So that’s what it was.  But President Bush and President Kohl really bonded in that period and got to understand each other to a really unusual degree.

Why don’t I stop there?

MR. HOAGLAND:  Well, I’m not going to let you stop there –


MR. HOAGLAND:  – because it provides great perspective, what you’ve just outlined.

MR. SCOWCROFT:  Well, I – 

MR. HOAGLAND:  It provides great perspective for what I was going to ask you next, because that was not the only speech that President Bush gave that summer.  Two months later, on August 1, he went to Kiev to voice support for Mikhail Gorbachev’s gradual steps to create a more decentralized Soviet Union.  In what was otherwise quite a thoughtful speech he uttered these sentences:  “Freedom is not the same as independence.  Americans will not support those who seek independence in order to replace a far-off tyranny with a local despotism.  They will not aid those who promote a suicidal nationalism based upon ethnic hatred.”  That provoked a lot of commentary, as you’re well aware.  (Laughter.)  It provoked my late colleague Bill Safire to write –

MR. SCOWCROFT:  Yes, it sure did.

MR. HOAGLAND:  – “It’s Chicken Kiev.”  (Laughter.) 

MR. SCOWCROFT:  The “Chicken Kiev” speech.

MR. HOAGLAND:  The “Chicken Kiev” speech, as I say, which I thought in many ways was a thoughtful speech, but that language certainly kicked up a fuss.  Does today’s upheaval and confrontation in Ukraine mean that Bush’s “Chicken Kiev” speech in fact was prophetic, or at least justified in his warnings?

MR. SCOWCROFT:  Oh, I think there’s no doubt about it because the Kiev speech, following a meeting in Russia, was directed at the ferment in Ukraine and the ferment in Yugoslavia.  And what the president was saying is, in your enthusiasm and exuberance, don’t do things that you will later regret.  And it was specifically designed for the two major parts of Ukraine. 

MR. HOAGLAND:  Which in some ways is still the problem.

MR. SCOWCROFT:  Which in some ways they were already starting to argue about whether or not they would be together or not.  So with that in mind and with the incipient breakup of Yugoslavia in mind, what you say is, be practical.  You know, freedom is wonderful, independence is wonderful, but don’t do stupid things. 

MR. HOAGLAND:  Horst, let us talk about the expectations, as was seen from your key European nation.  I remember sitting in your office – it must have been early February of 1990.  You had just come back from a trip to Moscow where you had seen Gorbachev.  And you said to me that day, German reunification – it was an off-the-record conversation then; I trust you will allow me to repeat this phrase now – German reunification will occur within a year.  And I sat there in disbelief.  (Laughter.)  What was it that made you understand at that point that history was being radically changed?  What role did President Bush’s speech and his attitude play?

HORST TELTSCHIK:  Well, first of all, there was a real deep trust between the German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and President Reagan and later on with President Bush.  Helmut Kohl had met Vice President Bush already and they were traveling through Germany at a very important time when we had a lot of unrest in Germany because of the Double-Track Decision of NATO.  They shouldn’t forget that.  We have had more than 500,000 people on the streets demonstrating against our government because our decision was clear-cut:  If the Soviets will not destroy their SS-20, their nuclear medium-range missiles, we will deploy American Pershings and – what else?  Something else. 

MR. HOAGLAND:  Cruise missiles.

MR. TELTSCHIK:  Cruise missiles, yes.  And this was not a controversial issue in our government.  Even Genscher supported that, our foreign secretary.  And you see it was crucial for us that President Mitterrand gave a speech in January ’83 in the German Parliament as a socialist, backing Chancellor Kohl to stick to the Double-Track Decision.  And in ’83 we went to Moscow in July, having had a meeting with Andropov.  And you know, he threatened us:  If we would deploy, we would start a third world war.  That means – I’m reminding myself of our discussion today.  It was a new climax or so of the Cold War, yeah? 

Nevertheless, we tried to continue a kind of dialogue.  We went to Moscow and we went to Washington in December ’84.  Reagan was just re-elected.  And for the first time he signed a common declaration with the German chancellor, and our interest was to get Reagan.  After the Geneva negotiations were cancelled the end of ’83, there was a deadlock between United States and Soviet Union.  And our position was, as long as there’s nothing moving between both elephants, as we named them, yeah, we mice have no chance to communicate within Europe with the small – between – with the Warsaw Pact countries.  And therefore our main interest was to get Regan to agree to start again policy of summit between both powers, and secondly to restart arms control and arms reduction negotiations, and he agreed.  In December ’84, climax of new Cold War. 

Therefore, even we are facing now problems with Russia again, we should not only think about how to deter Russia.  My position is we should think about how to get Russia to a new cooperation, to overcome its policy and to cooperate again.  We didn’t discuss this today.  I think it’s good to discuss how to prevent Russia to be – to intervene in Ukraine and so on, but nevertheless we were ready at the climax of a new Cold War to continue dialogue, and it was successful. 

And why I was so convinced that we will be successful for simple reasons:  We watched closely what was going on in Poland with Solidarność.  I was asked by the chancellor in January ’89 to start negotiations with Polish government to establish a new – a new agreement how to deal with one another.  And I watched closely in ’89 the peaceful transformation in Poland from the last communist system to the democratic system without any interference by the Soviets.  And I was always surprised that nobody took care of that, you see? 

And there was a second lesson.  I will finish immediately.  I had negotiations – secret negotiations since ’84 with the Hungarians.  I started with the famous Secretary General –


MR. TELTSCHIK:  – Kádár – Kádár – and continued with Grósz and later on with Nyers.  And I – they told me all the time, we are moving to overcome the system, to transform the communist system and we don’t ask Moscow.  Moscow will tell us early enough if we go too far.  But Moscow didn’t interfere, even when they started to open up the border, yeah?  And I was – I was struck that nobody in the Western world and in Germany was aware of these changes, and then include Gorbachev, but he changed in the Soviet Union.

MR. HOAGLAND:  But, Horst, today you have a Russian leadership that is interfering.  What steps should we take to carry out your confidence that Russia can be engaged? 

MR. TELTSCHIK:  Well, I tell you, we can’t change the incorporation of Crimea anymore.  I think that’s settled, whether we like it or not, because this is a strategic topic for Russia – not just for Putin, for everybody in Russia.  But I think we did a lot of mistakes before.  We offered – had a lot of proposals to Putin but there was a lack of substance in everything. 

You see, just one example:  End of January Putin went to this European-Russia summit to Brussels when there were already close negotiations between the Ukraine and the EU Commission on – on association, and Putin came forward.  He repeated a proposal which was made by Prodi, the former president of the EU Commission, to Putin.  This proposal was a free trade union from Lisbon – Lisbon to Vladivostok.  This was a proposal from Prodi once to Putin.  Putin has told me the story by himself.  And he was very much in favor but nothing happened.  And he came to Brussels and repeated this proposal and said, let’s start because we are now a member of the WTO; therefore we are ready to move if – (inaudible).  If the EU would have said, well, we will – we are ready to do that, I think Ukraine would have been quite different. 

MR. HOAGLAND:  Let me just –

MR. TELTSCHIK:  That’s just one example.

MR. HOAGLAND:  Brent wants to come in on this, but let me – let me pursue one more final question for you, Horst, and it’s triggered by your reference to the very clear decision that Helmut Kohl made on the deployment of missiles and the very clear public enunciation of that position, despite tremendous pressure in the streets.  Is the German position today on Russia and what Russia is doing in Ukraine clear?  Is it clearly communicated?  Or is the feeling growing in other countries that Germany is quite satisfied with a Germany that’s whole and free but doesn’t see the necessity to complete the process?  Is that fair?

MR. TELTSCHIK:  Well, you see, when we unified Germany we had two main interests.  The one is to get Gorbachev to accept unification.  And then there was a second interest:  how to align Soviet Union to Europe, because our conviction – and it is still my conviction a nonaligned Russia is more dangerous than an aligned Russia with Europe.  And therefore we signed, in ’90 – Chancellor Helmut Kohl signed 22 agreements and treaties with Soviet Union, not just because of the unification but aligning Soviet Union to Europe. 

And there was one crucial agreement.  This was a treaty for partnership and cooperation between a unified Germany and Soviet Union.  We are negotiating before the unification and ratifying it afterwards.  And our interest was knowing what the Soviet interest is to include security agreements, because the main concern of Soviet Union, nevertheless it was – it was a world power, but nevertheless it was always interested in security issues.  And we have to be aware that the security interests of the Russians are over-accentuated.  Nevertheless, we have to take them serious and therefore we put in such proposals to the Soviet Union. 

And this was one of the breakthroughs at that time.  And therefore I believe that we could have done more in developing the relations between Russia and NATO.  For example, my Chancellor Merkel, when Putin gave the famous speech at my Munich Security Conference, he came – she came forward with a proposal:  We have to develop the relations between NATO and Russia further on.  But there was – there never followed any substance, you see?  There were always such kind of proposals – all European free trade, further on more cooperation NATO-Russia – but no substance. 

MR. HOAGLAND:  I think this may be the point Brent wanted to come in on.

MR. SCOWCROFT:  Yes, the difference between Gorbachev and Putin.  In 1989, Gorbachev was actually supporting the liberals in the satellites because what Gorbachev was trying to do is rejuvenate the Soviet Union.  He had Glasnost, Perestroika.  What he – what he was trying to do is improve the productivity.  He had an absenteeism thing.  He had increased wages and so on.  He wasn’t a democrat by any means but he wanted to increase the Soviet economy, so he was actually supporting liberals in Eastern Europe and threatened to run people against party people in the Soviet Union if they didn’t support him.

MR. HOAGLAND:  I didn’t know that.

MR. SCOWCROFT:  Now, he changed as soon as the Wall came down.


MR. SCOWCROFT:  He changed, got frightened.

MR. HOAGLAND:  Got frightened.

MR. SCOWCROFT:  But at that time he was a supporter.

MR. HOAGLAND:  Minister Timmermans, you’ve heard how these two have created the situation you face, and –

MIN. TIMMERMAN:  Well, thank you very much, gentlemen.  (Laughter.) 

MR. HOAGLAND:  I wonder if you can point us to the way out, yeah, particularly in Ukraine. 


MR. HOAGLAND:  And by that I mean, can you discuss the extent to which the Netherlands and other Western European countries feel that resolving the Ukraine crisis, which includes the occupation of Crimea, is vital to completing a Europe that is whole and free, or is it optional?

MIN. TIMMERMANS:  First of all, I want to go back very back very briefly to the early ‘90s when I – when I served in Moscow for three-and-a-half years in the Dutch Embassy.  And what strikes me since then is that Russians are extremely good at taking tactical decisions which have unforeseen and unintended strategic consequences.

Gorbachev went into Glasnost and Perestroika to reinvigorate communism.  He ended communism and he ended the Soviet Union – never his intention.  Yeltsin, after the August coup of ’91, wanted to get rid of a political structure.  In agreeing with the presidents of Ukraine and Belarus, he got rid of the whole Soviet Union.  It was never intended to have that consequence.  He just wanted to get rid of Gorbachev and his structure and try something new, and had thought that this would be accepted by Soviet and Communist leadership just as any other change in leadership had been accepted.

And I think that now again we need to see President Putin as a man who’s a great, great tactician but doesn’t really have a strategy other than his intuition that he needs to create greater security and that, as he said I his speech, the end of the Soviet Union was a tragedy.  In other words, could he recreate the same sort of security?  But there is no – I’m afraid, no long-term strategy.  But, you know, at the end of the day, if you take enough tactical steps you’re left with a strategy anyway, and we need to react to that.  And I think the worst possible reaction would be a knee-jerk reaction in us ourselves going back into Cold War mode because we see Putin doing something that looks like a Cold War attitude.

So my – very concretely, what I think we need to do is, first of all, provide absolute assurance to our – all our NATO partners that the alliance and Article 5 of the alliance is not just a political agreement, it is a real security agreement we have.  And that is why, you know, all NATO nations should answer SACUER’s call and add additional means to our collective defense in Central and Eastern Europe.  My country has done that.  Other countries are doing this.  France has done this specifically.  And I think this is what we need to be doing in the short term.

In the medium term, I think it is of the essence that we put TTIP into place.  I think TTIP is going to change the way the world sees trade and therefore create a huge dynamic in trade relations, including with Russia.  And I think TTIP needs to be put in place not just for trade reasons, that we should not leave this to the trade girls and boys doing this in Europe and the U.S.  It is a geostrategic decision and it should be dealt with at the highest level –


MIN. TIMMERMANS:  – as a geostrategic decision.

Thirdly, I believe the European Union should start with a far-reaching, long-term energy strategy and should include the United States in devising the strategy and in being part of that strategy, not to exclude Russia from an energy market but to exclude the possibility of one-sided dependence of individual nations, because I believe, overall, dependence in Europe on Russian energy is about 30 percent, a bit more – 32 (percent), 33 (percent) – but some countries it’s 90 percent or 85 percent, and we need to – we need to create the situation where there’s more balance.  And there again I think we have a number of strategic opportunities.

Now, your specific question, can we give up on Ukraine and still have a Europe whole and free, no we can’t.  We can’t for a very, very specific reason.  The fact that if you have a dispute with another nation you can just march in and take away part of its territory was unthinkable, not just since the end of the Cold War but since the Helsinki Final Act of 1972.  So this change in Russian attitude is a tectonic change, and it will – it has created a sense of insecurity in the whole of Europe that will not go away even if Russia were to sort of stop destabilizing Ukraine after the elections of the 25th of May. 

So I believe we are seeing a tectonic change in relations in Europe and we need to act upon it without, however, thinking that Cold War methods could solve this problem, because it’s far too complicated for that.  It’s way too easy for us to go in the Cold War mode.  I would think that would not be very smart.

MR. HOAGLAND:  I think there is a view that Vladimir Putin has no intention of allowing the May 25th elections to take place.

MIN. TIMMERMANS:  Well, that’s why he’s destabilizing Ukraine, so that he can say afterwards that these elections aren’t free, fair, and aren’t –

MR. HOAGLAND:  And that could be, rather than the invasion that many fear, the trigger event for American sanctions that would apply to economic sectors in Russia.  Would Europe go along with such sanctions?

MIN. TIMMERMANS:  You know, the American administration and Europeans and NATO have said we will not use military means in Ukraine, so you’ve set a clear limit to what you will do to act in Ukraine.  So what you have at the end of the day are only economic means, and that means that you have to be very careful when you escalate these economic means.  So to rush into what we in Europe call the third phase and go immediately into economic sanctions might be a self-defeating strategy because, you know, it will end there and then what? 

So I would – I would argue that what we’re doing now, in close cooperation – because I believe if there is a difference between the U.S. and Europe, it is in rhetoric not in content on this issue.  So taking a step-by-step approach is the smart way to act.  Having said this, if this continues until the elections and continues destabilizing in Eastern Europe, the third phase, economic sanctions, will become inevitable. 

MR. SCOWCROFT:  And Europe will join.

MIN. TIMMERMANS:  Europe will join, yes.  I have no doubt. 


MR. HOAGLAND:  Please.

MR. TELTSCHIK:  May I add one point?

MR. HOAGLAND:  Briefly though.  We’ve got some questions from the audience.

MR. TELTSCHIK:  May I remind you that a few months after the Soviet intervention in Prague ’68, we started in the public negotiations within the European and within the alliance to move and to take up a Soviet proposal of a conference of security in Europe, yeah?  We continued and we even pushed forward a Soviet proposal, yeah?  The main mentor in Europe was Willy Brandt as a foreign minister, yeah?  And as you know, everybody agreed at the end and we got the CVCE summit in ’75. 

But what I want to say is what is happening now is not worse than ’68.  Nevertheless, we said what we had decided – NATO had decided with the Harmel report in December ’67 we have to change our strategy.  Our first priority is security, being safe.  Then we have to move ahead with dialogue, cooperation and détente.  If we now start a new war from our side, forgetting all kinds of cooperation and dialogue, I think it would be a big mistake. 

And I have no understanding at all that we should now give up everything we have reached because of the Ukraine.  As long as there is not a reliable government there, yeah, which is not corrupt, which is ready to establish a legal system which really works; as long as there is no government which is able to modernize Ukraine, yeah – the interview of Poroshekno in The Washington Post two days ago, what did he say?  The Russians will not intervene in East Ukraine, but what we have to do is we have to fight corruption; we have to modernize the country.  I think give him a chance if he is elected.  Why should we punish – think about punishment of Russia as long as there is no stable government and reasonable president in Ukraine?

MR. HOAGLAND:  Let me move to the audience and –

MIN. TIMMERMANS:  Just a brief comment –

MR. HOAGLAND:  – get a brief comment first.

MIN. TIMMERMANS:  – because I believe there is a very important point here.  We have made a huge mistake, Europeans and Americans, in not being strict with the Ukrainian political elite for over 20 years. 


MIN. TIMMERMANS:  Many of the people in Ukraine are completely fed up with their own politicians.  Putin could do what he does because people have the distinct feeling – and they’re quite correct – that the only function politicians have taken in Ukraine in the last 20 years is to line their pockets at the expense of the Ukrainian nation.

MR. TELTSCHIK:  Absolutely.

MIN. TIMMERMANS:  It makes it easier for the Russians to destabilize Ukraine because there is no politician –


MIN. TIMMERMANS:  – with a minimum of credibility.  And we are partly to blame for this because we’ve given them a lot of money but we’ve not been strict enough on this point.

MR. TELTSCHIK:  Exactly.

MR. HOAGLAND:  Can I ask each of you, starting with you, Brent, and working that way, in a sentence or two tell me whether you think Finland is the appropriate model for Ukraine given Putin’s attitude. 

MR. SCOWCROFT:  I think not even remotely.  Finland is an entirely different case.  The Finnish people are unified.  They’ve had a unified attitude toward Russia, the Soviet Union, old Russia.

MR. HOAGLAND:  Got it. 

MR. SCOWCROFT:  I don’t think it’s the same.


MR. TELTSCHIK:  Well, I fully agree, for another reason.  When we discussed the question of NATO membership of a unified Germany with Gorbachev, he gave us very simple but very right answer.  He told us, look, Germany will be unified, will get back its full sovereignty, and it’s a decision of a sovereign country whether it wants to join an alliance and what kind of alliance it would join.  I think this is true for each country worldwide, yeah, if it is a sovereign decision.  Therefore if there is a reasonable government in Ukraine and they are eager to join any alliance, let them do it.  It’s their decision.

MR. HOAGLAND:  Minister Timmermans?

MIN. TIMMERMANS:  Well, I don’t know what you mean exactly by Finland because Finland is a full member of the EU, has had an incredible economic and social development in the last 20 years.  It is a great contributor to stability in the Baltic States over a long period of time.  I think, you know, to use Finland as a model just because it’s not in NATO doesn’t mean it’s a provider of security in Europe. 

I don’t know – I don’t see NATO membership as an answer for Ukraine, frankly.  I’m not saying – it should be up to them.  They should make that decision themselves.  But if you ask me as an outsider, I believe the strongest possible position for Ukraine is to be in a position to be – to have an association agreement with the European Union and to be part of a customs union with Russia.  That would be, I think, the best possible outcome, for Ukraine to be a bridge between east and west of Europe.


MR. HOAGLAND:  Enough softballs from me.  I’m now going to throw you to the wolves – I mean to the audience – (laughter) – and we’ll see. 

Sir?  If you could identify yourself and state any affiliation.

Q:  Thank you.  My name is Bokanoyov (ph).  I’m a former minister of defense of Bulgaria, and I have a question about the notion of defense of common values and a way of life, which has been a major driving force after the war and especially in the post-Cold War period.  Do you think this notion is still viable today?  Do you think this notion has not been compromised?  Many people believe that the debate that we have around Ukraine and Russia casts some doubt about this notion, whether we are able to defend our common values and our way of life.  My question is, do you think this notion is dead or still alive, or if it is semi-dead or semi-alive?  Thank you.

MR. HOAGLAND:  Let me take one more – at least one more question.  The gentleman back here?

MR. TELTSCHIK:  It’s still important to stick to common values.

Q:  Scott Erwin, McKinsey and Company.  General Scowcroft, what role do you see for the business community in strengthening the trans-Atlantic bond more generally, and in this specific case combating the threat from Russia in particular, given the discussion of economic sanctions?

MR. HOAGLAND:  That’s such a nice, specific question.  Why don’t we take that one right now and address it, and then we’ll ask each of you to address the common values question?

MR. SCOWCROFT:  I think there’s – I think there’s an important economic part to this whole thing.  And what I would suggest we do with Ukraine now is the United States, the European Union and Russia sit down together and work out an economic structuring plan for Ukraine, and add to that if you – if we could how we deal with energy in Europe, fold that in.  I think – I think that’s a given and could help solve the problem.

MR. HOAGLAND:  All right.  Would you like to continue on then with the common values question, then pass –

MR. SCOWCROFT:  Well, I think it depends what it is you’re talking about on the common values.  I think we ought to encourage them and certainly not do anything to damage them should they – should we add to them, like, membership in NATO and things like that?  I don’t think so.  It seems to me that we ought to promote a Europe which is whole and free, but if it – if it can’t be done through willingness, then it’s not a solution which will survive.


MR. TELTSCHIK:  Well, writing speeches for our chancellor, always – we always use the wording “an alliance of common values.”  But what about Turkey, for example?  Well, have we really common values with Turkey all the time, and mainly nowadays?  Therefore, we should – we played with this wording in the past, and we will be play – (inaudible) – yeah, being ready for compromises.  Life is more – we have to make life a little bit easy, yeah?  And to Clinton – President Clinton came forward with a proposal to Yeltsin to join, once, NATO.  He told me this – he did it by a letter, and he did it personally to Yeltsin.  Yeltsin’s answer was, it’s too early for him, yeah?

Even the foreign minister of Poland gave an interview in a German newspaper telling the German public, well, Russia might become – might be once member of NATO.  Yeah, why not?  But Russia is listening to such announcements, and is frustrated that nothing is – that there is no follow-up at all, you see?  And coming back to Ukraine just one sentence – for 20 years, nobody took care of Ukraine.  The last chancellor who went to Ukraine was Helmut Kohl in ’96. Since that, nobody.  No foreign minister besides Poland.  Poland was the only neighboring country which was, all the time, interested in the Ukraine.  Nobody else.  And suddenly, it’s a main topic for us.

MR. HOAGLAND (?):  Minister Timmermans, I wonder if you could take on the common values question, which I gather had an element of whether or not you believe that we have already compromised the common values by – I guess weakness would be the word that wasn’t used.  But could you also take on a specific question about the common position?

Secretary Kerry, in a very, very strong speech here today, talked about the absolute necessity of showing that we will defend NATO’s partners– sorry – NATO’s members against territorial aggression.  Is this a message that European officials are delivering to their publics?  And if they’re not, should they be?

MIN. TIMMERMANS:  I think they are, and I thought I just delivered exactly the same message.  I only, you know, framed it a bit technically by referring to article V of our NATO treaty, but it means exactly the same.  And I feel that responsibility for all NATO partners – NATO members making the same distinctions – probably Freudian.

MR.     :  (Laughter.)

MIN. TIMMERMANS:  But to say something that might be painful, but it needs to be said – about values.  In the eyes of our own public, we ourselves have compromised our values.  Iraq, Guantanamo Bay, waterboarding – those things contravene the values we want others to follow, and we are responsible for this.  I’m not laying the blame on the United States.  We as an alliance should bear the brunt of that responsibility, and we should regain the trust of our populations that the values we cherish are the values by which we act ourselves before we can get full support of our population for being strict on those values, also, to the outside world, because I see also, on the extreme left and the extreme right in Europe – sadly, on the left you see a surge of anti-Americanism, and say, well, they want Putin not to do what they did themselves in Iraq.  On the right, you see support for Putin and saying, well, at least he says no to this monster called the European Union, and he stands up for his nationals, et cetera, et cetera.

So the fact that this can happen in European societies means that we are challenged.  Our values are challenged by our own people, not by people outside alone, by our own people.  And if you don’t have the full support of your people in such strategic issues, we will not be strong enough.  It’s not a military thing, it’s a moral issue we need to face as well.

MR. SCOWCROFT:  I would just point out that NATO was not set up as a common values institution.  It was set up as a defense treaty.  Right in the beginning – it’s pretty hard to say Portugal was a democracy.

MIN. TIMMERMANS:  No.  Nor was Turkey, and Turkey was essential to our collective security.

MR. SCOWCROFT:  Well, nor was Turkey.  Nor was Greece for part of the time.

MR. TELTSHIK:  Nor was Spain.

MR. HOAGLAND:  This has been a fascinating exercise in living history – (laughter) – and at looking in the future.  And it inspires me not only to invite you to take some Romanian wine, but to make a suggestion to Fred Kempe that we simply adjourn this conversation for a year, and come back next year and see where we’ve gotten.  (Laughter.)

MR.     :  Good idea.

MR. HOAGLAND:  Thank you.  Please join me in a hand for the (audience ?).