Full transcript of a NATO Forum public event featuring The Honorable Philip H. Gordon, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.





Transcript by
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

FREDERICK KEMPE: Well, who says NATO can’t draw a crowd? (Laughter.) Good morning and welcome. It’s a particular pleasure to see such a strong turnout. Phil, I think this is a credit to you and a credit to the timing and the importance of what’s coming up this week. But it’s a particular pleasure to see such a strong turnout for this important afternoon session of what we’ve called the NATO Forum.

We created the NATO Forum here in September 2009 to start a healthy trans-Atlantic debate, so not just in these walls but across the Atlantic and in Europe, about the future of the alliance as the group of experts, led by Madeleine Albright and NATO officials began discussions over the new strategic concept.

The NATO Forum has served as a place to aggregate the Atlantic Council’s work on NATO over the last year. And if you want to see that aggregation, you can go to acus.org, where we have it all organized nicely in our attempt to influence, and to a certain extent, reinvigorate the trans-Atlantic debate on the future of the alliance.

Our NATO Forum programming has included public speeches at the council by senior alliance leaders, issue briefs and reports issued by our Strategic Advisors Group with its co-chairs of Sen. Chuck Hagel and Tom Enders, the CEO of Airbus. And then the NATOSource blog written by Jorge Benitez, which is getting an increasing number of page views – we’re just delighted by the way this has become a central place on the web for thinking about NATO. And then closed-door strategy sessions with ministers of defense from NATO member states.

We very appropriately launched the NATO Forum in September 2009, with back-to-back speeches by Sen. Richard Lugar and NATO Secretary-General Rasmussen as they discussed their vision for the new NATO strategic concept at the outset of the discussion as the debate began over a year ago.

It’s fitting that we conclude the series on the eve of the Lisbon summit with a two-part event. The first part features public remarks and a discussion with Assistant Secretary of State Phil Gordon on the Obama administration’s agenda for Europe and priorities for the Lisbon summits, both NATO and the U.S.-EU summit.

And then after a short break for refreshments, we’ll reconvene at 2:15 for what promises to be a fascinating discussion on the future of NATO with three of the most experienced and respected experts you will find on the trans-Atlantic alliance, former Supreme Allied Commander Europe Gen. John Craddock, former U.S. ambassador to NATO, Robert Hunger and Sarwar Kashmeri, author of the soon-to-be-released “NATO 2.0: Reboot or Delete?” Some say we’ve already moved on to 3.0, but it should be a great discussion.

I want to thank BAE Systems for their support of the NATO Forum, right from the beginning and as well acknowledge EADS North America, Airbus and Gen. Brent Scowcroft for their support of the Strategic Advisors Group for the last three years. This has done much to shape the NATO debate.

It’s now my pleasure to introduce the Honorable Philip Gordon, assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs. Phil is no stranger to Washington and the think-tank community here, having so successfully shaped and provided thought leadership at Brookings Institution as a senior fellow from 2000, 2009, when some of the most innovative and interesting thinking in this town came from that institution.

Shame that it’s all now moved to the Atlantic Council, but – (chuckles). I’m just joking; I love Brookings. Prior to serving at Brookings, Phil was the director for European affairs at the NSC under Bill Clinton and during that time, played a key role in developing and coordinating NATO policy in the run-up to the alliance’s 50th anniversary summit in Washington, D.C.

So it’s a pleasure to have you here today, Phil. I know how busy you are, ahead of the summit, and that you’ll be boarding a plane relatively soon for Lisbon. So thanks for taking the time. The podium’s yours. (Applause.)

PHILIP H. GORDON: Fred, thank you very much for having me and for those kind words. I really am very pleased to be here, very pleased to see a lot of old friends and colleagues in the room. On behalf of the administration, I’d also like to thank you and the council for all that you are doing to promote the continued vitality of this trans-Atlantic relationship. And I’m very pleased to have the opportunity to speak to you all today just before the president departs for an important series of summits in Lisbon.

In Lisbon, the president’s going to do a number of things. He’s going to meet with heads of state and government from all 28 NATO members. He will convene a summit of the 49 nations that are contributing troops in – through ISAF to Afghanistan as well as major assistance donors there. And he will join with his allied counterparts and the president of Russia for a NATO-Russia Council Summit.

And finally, he will join the president of the European Commission and the president of the European Council at the U.S.-EU summit. Around 10 days later, Secretary Clinton will travel to Astana, Kazakhstan for an OSCE summit. And I think, you know, when you look at this spectrum of events, it is clearly an intense schedule of diplomatic engagement. And it reflects the intensity of our relationship and our partnership with Europe as a whole.

Indeed, when the Obama administration came to office, we made reengaging with our European partners one of our top priorities. The president chose to do so because he recognized that we have no better partner than Europe, where we work with democratic and prosperous, militarily-capable allies who share our values and our interests. We know that we face a daunting international agenda that cannot be handled by any single country alone and that’s why, so often, we turn to Europe as our partner of first resort.

So as near the two-year mark of this administration, I think it’s useful to take a step back and look at where we stand. And I’d like to, in that regard, do three things today, not just talk to you about the upcoming summits, though I want to do that, but actually to begin by taking a broader perspective outlining our overall relationship with Europe, assessing what I think we’ve accomplished over the last two years and then turning to the narrower and nearer-term agenda of the summits this week.

When we think about this administration’s priorities in Europe, there are three basic objectives that stand out. First, we work with Europe as a partner in meeting global challenges. On every issue of global importance, Europe’s contributions are crucial to solving major international challenges. No matter what the issue is, from the war in Afghanistan, to the Iranian nuclear challenge, to the ongoing global economic troubles, Europe is indispensable. We are vastly stronger, in terms of our legitimacy, our resources and our ideas when we join forces with Europe on a global agenda.

Second, we are still working with Europe on Europe, that is to say, working to complete the historic project of extending stability, security, prosperity and democracy to the entire continent. The extraordinary success that the United States and Europe have had together in promoting European integration, in consolidating and supporting the new democracies in Central and Eastern Europe and in integrating them into Euro-Atlantic institutions demonstrates the promise of this enterprise. But our work is not done. And the effort continues, particularly in places like the Balkans, further to Europe’s east and in the Caucasus, where we seek to complete that historic project.

Finally, we have sought to set relations with Russia on a more constructive course. President Obama recognized that he had inherited a relationship that was in a difficult place and that this situation did not serve the interests of the United States or its allies. Therefore, our goal has been to cooperate with Russia where we have common interests, but not at the expense of our principles or our friends. When you look back at the past two years of the Obama administration, I think we can point to significant progress in all of these areas.

Take working with Europe on global challenges. We have worked together as never before with our European partners on the major security challenges the world faces today. I can just name a few.

In Afghanistan, in the wake of the president’s speech in November 2009, Europe contributed some 7,000 additional troops, over 100 training teams for the Afghan army and police, and nearly $300 million for the Afghan National Army Trust Fund. European countries now have almost 40,000 troops in Afghanistan and the total European contribution to Afghanistan since 2001 comes to $14 billion.

On Iran, we maintained unity in our efforts to engage and have at the same time seen the strongest ever set of sanctions adopted by the U.N. Security Council and even more robust set of follow-on sanctions adopted by the European Union.

These additional measures taken by the EU cover a variety of areas critical to the regime including trade, finance, banking and insurance, transport, the gas and oil sectors, in addition to new visa bans and asset freezes. These steps have raised the price of Iran’s failure to meet its obligations and we hope will serve to bring Iran back to the negotiating table, again, a joint U.S.-European effort.

On missile defense, we gained broad support for our phased adaptive approach that seeks to counter the real and current missile threats Europe faces and we are moving forward with plans to identify various basing locations. We expect, at the NATO summit in Lisbon this weekend, that NATO leaders will adopt missile defense as a NATO capability.

In the second area of extending the European zone of peace, prosperity and democracy, we have also had some important successes, but we know that equally important challenges remain. As I said at the beginning, the work of completing Europe is not finished.

And even as we focus on global challenges with the Europeans, we have not at all lost sight of the importance of completing that project. What I think is most notable about efforts under the Obama administration is how closely and deliberately we are working together with Europe to achieve this goal.

If you take, for example, the countries of the EU’S Eastern Partnership: Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, the United States strongly supports and works with this EU initiative to help extend democracy, stability and security to this part of the world. We share the same strategy because we share the same goals.

The same can be said of the Balkans. The U.S. and European view is that Europe will not be complete until all of the countries of the Western Balkans are full EU members. I was with Secretary Clinton last month on her trip to the Balkans and I can tell you that our policy towards the region is extremely closely coordinated with the European Union.

Indeed, Secretary Clinton saw High Representative Ashton – discuss the Balkans with her before the trip. And she saw and discussed the Balkans with High Representative Ashton just after the trip. Just this morning, at the State Department, she met with Foreign Secretary Hague of the United Kingdom, where they also had an extensive discussion of the Balkans. And again, I can tell you that the United States and our European partners are at one in terms of our approach to that part of Europe.

Whether it’s the dialog between Serbia and Kosovo, discussion of the future of Bosnia or Croatia’s path to the European Union, we consult closely and share the views of our European partners. We welcomed Albania and Croatia into NATO, extended Membership Action Plans to Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro, and Macedonia will join once the dispute over its name is resolved. The intensive joint diplomacy of recent months has shown how closely our visions are aligned, which is essential for progress in the region.

Finally, and perhaps the most controversial part of our European agenda: Our reset with Russia, we think, has paid real dividends. We have made significant progress in setting our bilateral relationship on the path of pragmatic cooperation. We can now say that effective diplomacy with Russia can help with U.S. global priorities. This diplomacy has already had tangible benefits.

The new START treaty – it’s the most comprehensive arms control agreement in nearly two decades and significantly reduces the number of nuclear weapons and launchers deployed by the United States and Russia while also putting in place a strong verification regime. We’ve concluded a lethal transit agreement for getting supplies over Russia to Afghanistan, which has become an important logistics route for our efforts there. We’ve now completed more than 500 flights.

We have also, importantly, secured cooperation with Russia on Iran, both in terms of a strong U.N. Security Council resolution and additional steps by Russia not to proceed with the sale of S-300 missiles to Iran. We have done all of the above and more without compromising our principles, in particular, the steadfast commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all of the nations of Europe and our commitment to human rights in Russia.

So I think you can see, we have been active and covered a lot of ground in the last two years. We know we have more to do. And on the issue of doing more, it might be useful to say a brief word about the upcoming summits that I mentioned, which provide, indeed, the opportunity for us to continue to advance the agenda that I have just described.

At the NATO summit, we plan to unveil a new strategic concept, lay out the approach that we and our NATO allies are taking to transition in Afghanistan and advance our relationship with Russia. The new strategic concept – the first in 11 years – will chart the future course of the alliance and prepare it to meet new threats. NATO Secretary-General Rasmussen has done a superb job in producing a document with vision, clarity and focus.

It puts Article 5 – our collective defense commitment – rightly at the heart of why we are NATO Allies, while also recognizing that NATO is no longer just a regional military alliance. The strategic concept will identify the capabilities we need, including territorial missile defense and cyber early-warning systems, to meet new security challenges and better protect allied populations. We look forward to a robust endorsement of it from allies in Lisbon.

We also intend to revamp the way NATO does business through organizational reforms that will allow NATO to implement these capabilities more effectively and more rapidly. We will examine how to strengthen existing partnerships and create new ones. Partnerships with non-NATO members in Europe, with institutions like the U.N., EU and the OSCE, with strategic allies like Japan and Australia, are one of NATO’s most potent tools.

On Afghanistan, the President and his counterparts from ISAF will emphasize two mutually supportive themes. The first is moving towards a responsible transition that will gradually turn over lead responsibility for Afghanistan’s security to Afghan national security forces. Transition is actually a process that began in President Karzai’s inaugural address over a year ago.

The idea is that transition will unfold according to conditions on the ground, including progress in training Afghan forces and assessments carried out by Afghan and international experts. Transition will not happen overnight. It is not a single event and it will not be a rush for the exit. The second theme will be announcing that all NATO Allies will reaffirm their deep and enduring commitment to Afghanistan’s security and in particular, to the development of its security forces.

The NATO-Russia Council – NATO’s relationship with Russia has been transformed in the last 20 years from adversary to partner. We are partners in dealing with a full range of security challenges. And the business of practical cooperation will enhance our collective security, Russia’s and that of every ally.

This is the first NATO-Russia Council meeting since the Georgia conflict in 2008 and it’s an opportunity to demonstrate that we can extend our bilateral reset with Russia into the NATO arena. We have already demonstrated that we can practically cooperate while standing by our principles. We have consistently maintained our commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Russia’s neighbors and stood up for human rights within Russia.

We now want to take this practical cooperation to a higher level, in areas of shared interest such as Afghanistan, missile defense, counternarcotics, counterterrorism and counterpiracy. NATO and Russia expect to agree on the NATO-Russia joint review of 21st-century security challenges to demonstrate a shared understanding of these issues and other potential threats. Let me add, however, that these efforts at cooperation will in no way limit the United States’ or NATO’s capacity to deploy missile defense or other collective defense capabilities.

The U.S.-EU summit. This U.S.-EU summit will be the first since the EU strengthened itself in the Lisbon Treaty, which the United States supported. Our participation represents another opportunity to demonstrate that we believe that a strong and united Europe is a stronger partner for the United States. This summit, in particular, will highlight our expanded and strategic partnership in three concrete and crucial areas, the economy, security and global issues.

On economic cooperation, it is important to remember that the United States and Europe are each others’ largest trade and investment partners, accounting some $4 trillion in flows and generating approximately one-in-10 jobs. The relationship is central to both our economic futures.

We will follow up on the G-20 meetings last week in Seoul to sustain the recovery and generate jobs for our economies by consulting on best steps to address current imbalances in the global economy and by addressing bilateral barriers to trade. The leaders will task the Transatlantic Economic Council to coordinate our policies and promote innovation and to get regulators to pursue greater collaboration, especially in new and emerging technologies.

On security cooperation, we will identify ways to enhance our already significant common efforts on counterterrorism and security, including through data exchange programs such as the Passenger Name Record Agreement which protect both our privacy and our security, through cooperation on cyber security and through sharing best practices to combat violent extremism. As the events of this summer demonstrated, both Europe and the United States face an ongoing threat and close trans-Atlantic cooperation is crucial to addressing it.

Finally, on global challenges, the leaders at the U.S.-EU summit will address a number of critical foreign policy issues such as Iran, climate change, the Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

In particular, we will look to better coordinate development assistance. The United States and Europe provide, together, some 80 percent of the world’s development assistance. We will work on ways to avoid duplication and get greater value from U.S. and EU resources, while better meeting the development needs of poorer countries, as well as those emerging from crises and disaster.

I think the scope of this agenda reflects a single, enduring truth. Global problems today are so complex and interrelated that they are beyond the scope of any single country, even one as powerful and prosperous as the United States to dictate solutions. In seeking partners to meet these new global challenges, the United States can have no closer friend than Europe. Together, and only by working together, can we build a world with more freedom, opportunity and security for all our citizens.

Thank you all very much. I look forward to your questions. (Applause.)

MR. KEMPE: Phil, that was really great. And I think the way that you laid this out, looking at the global challenges, looking at the issue of completing Europe, looking at Russia reset also gives us a great way of looking at sort of pillars of what may hold up, the way to look at this relationship right now.

Let me actually start with a couple of questions on my own. Before I do, I just want to thank the team that’s put together just this and what’s to follow. Damon Wilson and his international security team, the vice president of the Atlantic Council, there’s just been terrific work, day after day.

Jeff Lightfoot, Trish (ph) Puttnam, Simona Kordosova and Rosanna Broadbent. And then I also want to thank Athena Katsoulos from the State Department who’s really helped us a lot in this venture today.

So let me start with Russia. It strikes me as missile defense might be the big deliverable in diplomatic parlance, in Washington parlance of the summit, particularly if Russia would come forward and agree to participate in some sort of shield and NATO agrees to make it a core mission of the alliance. So there’s sort of those two issues.

So I guess on the first issue, are you confident that Turkey will agree to make it a core mission, what stands in the way of that? And then on the second issue, what kind of involvement can you see Russia having in a NATO missile-defense system? I suppose there’s the possibility of joint threat assessment, theater missile-defense cooperation or could one actually have Russian cooperation on territorial missile defense as well?

MR. GORDON: Thanks, Fred, that’s a good place to start. It’s one of the most important things we’re facing at the summit. Let me, though, add my thanks to your team and our team at the State Department for pulling this together.

I worked with Damon at the time of the 50th anniversary NATO summit on the vision statement of the strategic concept. In my view, that was all so well done, I’m not sure why we needed to revisit it all. I’m sure you would agree – (laughter) – but since we’ve decided to do so, that sets our agenda for the present.

And indeed, one of the key issues that we are – we are looking to move forward on is missile defense. And that – notwithstanding joking about it – is one of the reasons the alliance felt it was necessary to update the strategic concept because the world is continuing to change. Already by 1999, it had significantly evolved from the end of the Cold War, but the world has continued to evolve.

And what this process is about of updating the strategic concept is dealing with some of the evolving threats. And certainly, the threat from ballistic-missile proliferation is one of them. And that is why the United States, for a number of years, has argued that we should move forward on this front.

You will recall the Obama administration changed the approach from the plans inherited from the previous administration, but it didn’t change the starting point, which is that there is a growing threat from ballistic-missile proliferation, particularly short and medium range that can already reach Europe.

And one of the things we have emphasized in our approach to missile defense is the need to protect all of our Europe and to protect all of NATO. Allies, over time, have gradually and officially and formally recognized that missile defenses can make a contribution to our collective security. And what we are hoping to do at this summit is to take the next forward, is adopting this as a capability for the alliance.

The United States has offered to put our assets at NATO’s disposal as part of the phased adaptive approach as part of what would be a NATO ballistic-missile defense system. And that is our hope for Lisbon this weekend, is that the alliance, as a whole, will adopt this as a capability and a mission for the alliance.

We have made clear from the start that it’s not directed against Russia and that’s why, to get to the second part of your question, Fred –

MR. KEMPE: But in the first part, on Turkey –


MR. KEMPE: Turkey is in the issue with identifying Iran – is this still being sorted out – has been sorted out – how much can you say about that?

MR. GORDON: Well, I don’t want to get into, you know, specific negotiations as we close on exactly how the threat will be characterized. We, the United States, have been quite clear about characterizing threat. We’ve said what we think the threat is. We have said who we think is threatened by it and we have put forward a plan for dealing with the threat.

It remains to be seen exactly how the alliance, as a whole, will characterize that threat. But for what – for us, what is important is agreeing that there is a threat to the alliance and the alliance needs to take action in terms of deploying missile defenses to deal with that threat. And then there will be later phases where we make specific decisions on precisely what gets deployed where and how it all (mixes ?) together in terms of command and control.

We don’t expect that to be decided at this summit. We would like to see this summit decide that NATO needs a capability to deal with the threat from ballistic-missile proliferation. And then there will be – we have been specific on what part of this architecture would look like and we’ve discussed with certain countries, Poland and Romania, for example, have agreed to host interceptors that would be part of the U.S. contribution to missile defense in Europe.

Further decisions down the road will have to be taken on things like radars and command and control, but first things first, let’s go to the summit and agree –

MR. KEMPE: So the goal is agreeing to a NATO mission and then other details later.

MR. GORDON: That’s right.

MR. KEMPE: And then on Russia?

MR. GORDON: On Russia, as I said, we have made clear – we’ve made clear what we think the threat is and we’ve made clear that it’s not Russia and that the missile-defense systems that we are proposing are not a capability – do not have the capability to undermine Russia’s strategic deterrent and are not designed to do so.

It’s particularly the growing threat from the Middle East, growing threat from beyond Europe that we believe allies need protection against to protect their territories, their – our deployed forces, their forces and their populations. That’s what we want to do.

And because this is not directed at Russia and because we believe Russia faces the same ballistic-missile proliferation threat that we do, we think Russia should join us in a cooperative missile-defense system and we will also be seeking, as part of the NATO-Russia Council, to move forward on that agenda.

MR. KEMPE: And do you expect to have any statement, any indication from Russia – or do you want it – at the summit on Russian participation in a future shield?

MR. GORDON: Well, you know, we’ll see. We’ve made clear that this is where we want to go.

MR. KEMPE: I thought it was very good that you put this relationship, also, in the context of economics. Four trillion dollars, did you say, one-out-of-10 jobs? But President Obama could also hit the ground in the midst of an Irish crisis, a Portuguese crisis – one hopes not.

But clearly their financial instability – I guess my question is, more, how does this impact the relationship as a whole but also NATO – this downward pressure on budgets, economy, et cetera, et cetera. How does this change the context of this kind of a summit in the relationship more generally?

MR. GORDON: Well, let me address both parts of that. It is important not to lose sight of the importance of this economic relationship. That Europe is facing financial difficulties is not a secret, like, much of the rest of the world. But that it remains – and notwithstanding the rise of Asia and the appropriate focuses on other parts of the world in economic terms – such a key investment and trading partner. It is sometimes easy to lose sight of that and one of the things we have to do at the U.S.-EU summit is to underscore the importance of this ongoing relationship.

I think our foreign direct investment in Ireland, alone, is greater than it is in several of the rising Asian countries powers – emerging markets put together. And we shouldn’t forget that in the U.S.-EU summit will, as I mentioned in my speech, through work in the trans-Atlantic Economic Council seek to further reduce barriers so we can take advantage of that relationship.

How does it affect NATO and the ability of this alliance to function in the future? We have underscored that it remains important, notwithstanding the economic crunch and fiscal belt tightening that we see all around the world for allies to maintain adequate levels of defense spending so that we can fulfill our obligations as an alliance. I think Secretary Gates has said that the strategic concept won’t be worth the paper it’s written on if allies aren’t able to deploy the necessary capabilities.

So there’s tightening going on, there is some scope to be more efficient and more deployable so you can do more with less. But we have underscored the importance of maintaining adequate defense spending because of the agenda I just described. Yes, we face economic challenges but when you think about Afghanistan, Iran, ballistic-missile proliferation; you have to understand that, that it’s necessary to continue to spend on defense.

MR. KEMPE: Thank you, Phil.

Afghanistan: The administration’s internal review is due next month but the summit is this week. What have you done to make sure – what has the administration done to make sure that what the allies sign up to and discuss this week is consistent with what might come up next month?

And then, beyond that as one is starting to talk more about July 2014 versus 2011 and, you know, all the discussions that are going on. How do you ensure that the allies remain engaged through whatever the time of the transition is “in together, out together” approach when everybody has domestic-political pressures including the United States but not only. And we’ve already seen a couple of allies pulling out.

MR. GORDON: On the first part of it, we have been intimately engaged with our European partners all along. And even the December review, which was an analogous part of the president’s approach in Afghanistan – it’s not as if, you know, we haven’t been thinking about this all along and suddenly there’s going to be a complete review out of the blue that could end up anywhere.

I think we’ve made clear they’re unlikely to be surprises in a December review. We’ve been studying this all along; we’ve been in close touch with our European partners. We’re talking about it together in the run up to Lisbon and at Lisbon. We believe the strategy is working. We believe the strategy is right. It’s not a problem that there will be a more formal part of a U.S. review even a month after undertaking this review together with our allies.

And we are, actually, encouraged by the way allies have responded. I mentioned the more than 7,000 additional troops since the president announced our latest increase – the 40,000 European troops that are in Afghanistan. For all of the belt tightening and for all of the talk you’re right, Fred, to allude to public opinion and how difficult it is. That’s no secret. It’s not easy in this country. It’s not as if people want to see American troops stay in Afghanistan forever.

But the notion that Europeans are rushing for the exits is simply wrong. They’re more European troops in Afghanistan today than there have ever been in the past. In the run up to Lisbon there have been more and more trainers and troops both pledged and will be pledged. You mentioned some countries announcing departures.

It is true that the Netherlands and Canada announced the departures of their troops since which they have both been studying how they can help further in Afghanistan including in trainers. And the Canadian government announced yesterday another 750 trainers and 200 troops. So even the trend there is not as bad as I think it might seem as people talk about public opinion.

Yes, no one wants to stay in Afghanistan forever. The strategy is transition and I said what we were going to try to achieve. And I think it is worth noting that allies are committed to the same strategy with us despite the difficulties.

MR. KEMPE: Thank you for that and then one last question from me and then I’ll go to the audience. And this is sort of the big underlying question that one hears in town a lot from people who follow Europe. And that is how much does this administration care about Europe versus Asia? Sometimes I think it’s like caring about your brother and your sister or something like that.

But at any rate, if you just look at the time that Obama spent on the ground in Asia versus the time he’s going to be spending on the ground in Europe and the way and the depth with which his engagement took place in Asia you could read that even more into evidence that the administration isn’t interested in Europe. Obviously, your remarks today refute a lot of that.

But still, in that context talk a little bit about how you see the health of the trans-Atlantic relationship including what problems you see in it. And then how does this fit in to a worldview and the just ended trip to Asia as well?

MR. GORDON: Great. No, I’m glad you raised that as it is an important thing to talk about. You could make that argument but you would be wrong to make it. I will reveal to this group in the privacy of this room that we think Asia is important. (Laughter.)

MR. KEMPE: We are on the record. (Laughter.)

MR. GORDON: We are on the record? (Laughter.) I’m willing to go there. The United States believes Asia is important. The president went to India because India is important. He also believes that Afghanistan and Iran and the Middle East are important. And I don’t think anyone in the United States or in Europe disagrees.

But that interest in those parts of the world doesn’t come at the expense of Europe. Indeed, as I argued, it is precisely because we face such challenges in other parts of the world: the implications of the Chinese economic growth, the war in Afghanistan, the challenge of Iran’s nuclear program. It’s because the world is changing in important ways that challenge us that we need to look around and ask who are we going to work with as we try to deal with these things? And you know, what’s the answer to that question?

In many cases, including those that I’ve mentioned, it’s our European partners because they share our values, they share our interests, they have a lot of resources and they’re stepping up and doing that with us. When we’re dealing with ballistic-missile proliferation we’re working with Europeans. Who’s in Afghanistan with us? It’s the Europeans. There are others, too, but by far who is our most important partner dealing with the Iranian nuclear program? Dealing with the world economy and climate change? Where are we going to go for partners?

So I mean, that is the way the president thinks about the relationship; it’s the way the secretary thinks about the relationship and I think it is reflected in our policies. And so, yes, the president just took an important trip to Asia. I don’t think anyone would question the reason for that or the importance of it. He also took six trips to Europe during the first year of the administration which is more than any president had ever done before.

He is going to, on Friday and Saturday, see all of our key European partners in the NATO context and U.S.-EU context. He regularly speaks to European leaders whether it’s on the phone or in a video conference or in person – they come here. So I really think the relationship is in very good shape and critically important to us and I think Europeans know that.

MR. KEMPE: Great. Thank you very much. Let me take questions from the audience and please do make them questions and if you can identify yourself as well as you ask your question. Please. Q: (Inaudible). Sir, when you were making your statements – you omitted Turkey when you were talking about reintegration, or completing the reintegration, of EU. I just wanted to ask, in case you omitted. And what would you say EU-Turkey relations currently? And second is, clearly, there is a difference that you mentioned that this weekend should be expecting NATO alliance to take decision, fundamental decision whether this alliance should have capability to protect its population and territory against ballistic threats.

And Turkish prime minister just yesterday stated – and this is a quote – that the major concerns is who will be given the command of this action. “If something that concerns an entire territory is considered, then the command should be given to us. Otherwise, it is not possible to accept such thing.” So clearly there’s a problem – a priority problem, and do you think we are going to be able to overcome this problem this weekend? Thank you.

MR. GORDON: Yeah. Thank you. On the first, just to be clear, the United States continues to support Turkey’s EU accession path. We think it’d be good for Turkey; we think it’d be good for Europe. So let there be no mistake about that question.

I was actually referring, when I talked about completing Europe, not really to an institutional question but to those parts of Europe where there are still many challenges in terms of stability, prosperity, development. And that’s why I mentioned, in particular, the Balkans, the Caucasus, Belarus, the countries of the Eastern partnership, so just to be clear about that.

On missile defense, as I mentioned earlier with Fred, there are going to be lots of technical questions that need to be sorted out regardless of what happens in Lisbon in terms of deciding on missions or capabilities. There are going to be lots of questions about command control and deployment and radars that the alliance is going to have to deal with. But that’s for the next phase.

I said that the U.S. objective for the summit is to have an agreement that NATO should have such a capability. Foreign Minister Davutoğlu, if accurately quoted in the Wall Street Journal, said that it would be out of the question for Turkey to stand in the way of something that was critically important for the alliance as a whole. That’s what we are seeking to do in the near term, and then we’ve got much more work ahead when it comes to designing, precisely, the architecture that we’ll use.

MR. KEMPE: Thank you. Please. Yes?

Q: Christoph von Marschall from the German daily Der Tagesspiegel. I would like to revisit a topic. We talked last time about, at SAIS, START Treaty and the relationship with Russia. What is your assessment of the situation after Mr. Kyl’s comments? Is this just an attempt to postpone the ratification process or is this, rather, an attempt to derail the ratification process because he doesn’t agree with the whole direction of the Nuclear Posture Review and so on? What is your assessment?

And what would be the price for the United States? I understood that the vice president said it would be endanger as a national interest of the U.S. and these are pretty strong words. I understand and just would like you to comment that, that even if there would be a nonratification the administration would still honor the content of the treaty and reduce the weapons, but it would have enormous consequences for the relationship to Russia, Iran, Afghanistan and so on.

MR. GORDON: Yeah. Thank you. Well, for the specific answer to the first part of your question you have to ask Senator Kyl. I won’t speak for him or about what his motivations might be. He can speak for himself. All I can tell you is that we believe the START Treaty is critically important. I already noted that it would do in terms of reducing numbers in launchers.

Even more importantly, right now, as you know, the START Treaty expired. We have no limits with Russia on strategic nuclear weapons and launchers and we have no verification mechanism and we have no inspection regime. If the treaty is ratified, we will have both. And different people can assess what they think of those regimes, but as present, we have neither. And that, if nothing else, seems a compelling reason to ratify this treaty.

We also believe it would have – the failure to ratify the treaty would have negative consequences for our relationship with Russia, which I described as moving in a positive direction. Without compromising any principles or interests, we have agreed with the Russians, not only in the treaty itself but in significant ways in Afghanistan, on Iran.

I think, you know, had we met here a year ago there would have been great skepticism that we could get a tough U.N. Security Council resolution with Russia, that Russia would refrain from delivering us 300s, that we would make such progress on the economic relationship and Russia’s potential accession to the WTO. We’re moving in a positive direction that serves American interests, and to refuse to ratify the treaty might interfere with that important process. And that’s why the president feels so strongly that it should be ratified in the U.S. national interest.

MR. KEMPE: Thank you very much. Please.

Q: I am Alex Spielman (ph), I’m working for the Russian service of the Voice of America and my question refers to the situation in the Balkans. It’s well known that historically, Russia has played very different roles in the region, and I would like you to somehow characterize the role of the Russian Federation, its government, the Kremlin is playing currently in the region. Thank you.

MR. GORDON: We’re in close touch with Russia where the Balkans are concerned and it is not a problematic relationship. I think Russia understands what we’re trying to do in the Balkans. I described it for you as completing the historic project and bringing stability and prosperity and democracy to that part of Europe, and we think Russia shares those interests with us.

MR. KEMPE: Thank you. In the back, please.

Q: (Off mike.)

MR. KEMPE: Can you just wait one second? Sorry, we’ve got this recorded.

Q: Thank you for your presentation. You mentioned a new strategy concept of NATO. Does it reflect, somehow, issues of energy security and security of the supply lines of power plants and others? And a second question, is NATO summit actually going to address, somehow, issues of commitment to Georgia’s NATO membership that was made in Bucharest in 2008? Thank you.

MR. GORDON: Well, on both of those I need to remind people, the strategic concept won’t exist until it is adopted. Obviously, there’s a draft and allies have the draft but I can’t – I both can’t and won’t tell you exactly what’s in it. The can’t part is because it’s not done until it’s finalized.

I can generally say that we are confident it will reaffirm Article 5 as a core mission while also – and I think I said this in my speech – addressing new and growing challenges. And it’s in that category that energy security belongs, as does ballistic-missile proliferation, as does the potential threat from cyber attack.

So NATO will – again, that we expect that the strategic concept in addition to reaffirming the core mission of collective defense – will identify a number of areas where the allies need to be better prepared to deal with growing threats. Article 4 of the alliance has always provided for a mechanism for consultation and identifying such threats, and we think energy security is one of them that the allies should be prepared to deal with.

In terms of enlargement, again, the document is not completely done and agreed. But I think it’s fair to say that there will be an agreement on the open-door policy. I think all allies recognize that NATO enlargement has served the alliance in the past, that the prospect of NATO enlargement continues to serve the alliance. And I think you can assume that there will be a reaffirmation of that policy.

MR. KEMPE: Since you mentioned cyber, perhaps, without revealing what would be in the strategic concept as being worked on, what ambitions does the Obama administration have for NATO on cyber security? Is it something much more expansive and ambitious than what exists right now or would it be more of a blessing of some of the more limited initiatives that NATO has already taken on?

MR. GORDON: Well, the president feels very strongly this is a critical capacity. He has noted, you know, traditionally, NATO had to worry about a conventional attack, NATO had to worry about a nuclear attack. Increasingly, it has to worry about a ballistic-missile attack, and that’s what missile defense is for. And increasingly, it has to think about the prospect of a cyber attack.

That’s just the world we live in and we need to understand that. In the U.S. context, the president has been very clear about the critical importance of this issue, naming a coordinator for cyber-security. And he has been pushing very hard for NATO to adopt the capacity to contribute in that area. I would note that NATO is not the only institution that would have such a role.

This is primarily a national function for countries across Europe. The European Union has a role. So we expect – we would like to see NATO take its appropriate par, but let’s not imagine that only NATO has responsibility for dealing with what is often a national and EU capability.

MR. KEMPE: But again, in Lisbon what one would have is more of a blessing for NATO to make this more of a mission without any –

MR. GORDON: Yeah, I think that, similar to what we discussed in terms of missile defense, the first step is to recognize that something is critically important and determine that the alliance should take measures to help deal with it, and then more work is going to have to be done precisely what those measures will be.

MR. KEMPE: Sarwar?

Q: I’m Sarwar Kashmeri from the council. Secretary, my question is on the missile defense shield. As it appears, all of the costs for manufacturing, deploying, maintaining it is to be borne by the American taxpayer with the exception of some minor costs of connecting into the network, and I suppose the same applies for Russia. Is this correct? Are we going to pay for everything? Is it practical with the new Congress and the defense cuts and so on? Thank you.

MR. KEMPE: Thank you.

MR. GORDON: We have said that the phased adaptive approach that the president outlined, including the Standard Missile 3 that would be deployed in Poland and Romania, would be the U.S. contribution to a NATO missile-defense system. And we would seek – the supporting structures that this phased adaptive approach would plug into – what NATO calls ALTBMD – would be an alliance function.

So allies, as a whole, would pay for that through collective allied budgets. And the United States contribution would come in the form of the phased adaptive approach. That is something we have decided we want to do for our own security and for allied security, and we would like to see the alliance, as a whole, agree to do its part.

MR. KEMPE: Ambassador Finley.

Q: (Off mike.) What does the United States hope is accomplished at the Astana summit? Thank you.

MR. GORDON: This will be the first OSCE summit since Istanbul in 1999. It comes on the 35th anniversary of – or the year of the 35th anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act. And we see it as an opportunity to reaffirm the principles of the Helsinki Final Act, including sovereignty, territorial integrity and nonuse of force. And it will be an opportunity for leaders to discuss not only the importance of those principles but how they apply to some of the protracted conflicts that we still see in Europe.

We would like to make some progress in areas of transparency and conflict resolution and further work on those protracted conflicts. As a former representative there, Julie, you know how difficult some of those issues are but also how important they are. And we hope this will be an opportunity for us to make progress in all of those areas.

MR. KEMPE: Marc Grossman – on our board and formerly senior statesman of the State Department – wrote for us about a triple-crown strategy, saying the U.S. – the NATO summit, EU summit, OSCE summit as something that could tie together a single strategy for the United States. Is there that sort of thinking in putting these together?

And then secondarily, this is a head of state summit – OSCE. But my understanding is that the president isn’t going there. Is that firm? Might that change? He has been on the road a bit, lately. (Laughter.)

MR. GORDON: He has indeed, and I think the secretary of state will represent us at the OSCE summit in Astana. And yes, it’s not coincidence that we’re doing all of these in a row. They overlap in some areas and they have different emphases. But they’re all important in their own way, and that’s why the United States is going to be a major player at all of them.

MR. KEMPE: And the single, overarching strategy that ties together the three summits?

MR. GORDON: Well, that’s what I said.

MR. KEMPE: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

MR. GORDON: I mean, we have a whole set of challenges with which we’ve worked with Europeans and they each make a contribution in their own way.

MR. KEMPE: Okay. Damon.

Q: Thank you. I just wanted to pick up on an element of that in terms of NATO-EU. The president will be in Lisbon for both the NATO and the U.S.-EU summit and in one respect folks can look at that and be concerned that the EU summit might be perceived as an afterthought. On the other hand, it’s also – there’s no better symbolic way to demonstrate the importance of the two relationships and the aspiration for the relationships between the two of them by doing the summits back to back. Yet, the reality is, we know of all the challenges that continue to obstruct real cooperation between the two.

How would you characterize where the administration wants to try to take NATO-EU cooperation? How do you expect this to move forward? What kind of an issue? One of the big themes of the Group of Experts report – presumably, the strategic concept – is the importance of partnerships to NATO. Given the difficulty of the political obstacles to NATO-EU cooperation, what are your goals for NATO-EU – the relationship? Is there any prospect for a strategic partnership between the two?

MR. KEMPE: And we’re in a situation where the secretary general of NATO is pushing this. He’s put a lot of his own personal effort and energy into this, as well, and it’s been a great frustration for anybody who has served in these two institutions in Brussels – that you have them so close together but somehow, one hasn’t been able to actually make the sum of them greater than the parts.

MR. GORDON: We have supported the secretary general’s and other efforts in this area. It has always been regrettable that these two organizations that do so much together and are in the same city don’t work together as much as they could. And so we continue to support efforts to overcome – to strengthen that partnership. We hope that both summits will send a positive signal in that direction.

But also, let’s not overstate the problem. There’s so much of an overlap of the countries in both organizations and, as I described in my speech, we’re working very well together on the full range of problems. That’s what’s really important here and that, again, one shouldn’t lose sight of in terms of this engagement with Europe.

I think it’s fair to say that we are more strategically aligned with Europe right now than we have been for a very long time. All of the challenges I mentioned, as difficult as they are, we’re on the same page. Now, that’s not a sufficient condition for resolving the problem. It’s probably a necessary one. And so yes, we would like, institutionally, to be a little bit better or more perfectly aligned, but it’s much more important that we’re pursuing the same strategies together in both organizations, and the point is that we are.

MR. KEMPE: Thank you. Just in back of you, Bob (ph), and then we’ll come to – please. Yeah. Sorry.

Q: I’m Cesare Merlini from the Italian Institute for International Affairs in the Brookings Institution. Nice to see you, fellows.

MR. GORDON: Hi, Cesare.

Q: One sentence on the issue of the time the president devotes to Asia and to Europe. Let me say that this is not that much of concern in Europe that the outcome of the engagement of the president in Asia is more important than the comparative time he devotes to Asia and to Europe. My question is related to another issue.

Both you and Fred Kempe mentioned the economic constraints we are facing with our security and defense problems. They are very serious, and they affect both sides of the Atlantic. Probably, to a large extent due to that, there has been an important step in cooperation between France and Britain on defense issues and the ISS determine this is a very ambitious project.

I would like to have you to comment on this. Would this resolve – not only in itself, but also as a blueprint from – for the developments in the field of rationalizing our defense effort? Thank you, Phil.

MR. GORDON: Thank you, Cesare. You know, as I said, we are all facing belt-tightening. Everybody is looking at how they can do what they need to do more efficiently and at less cost. And the British and the French decided that there were areas in which they could cooperate on research and development and on deployability.

And they were transparent with us in what they were seeking to do and what they have done. And if that helps them become more efficient at less cost, then we applaud it and we welcome it and have no trouble with it, whatever. If allies can find ways to do that, we think they’re working towards the common goal and we support what they’re doing.

MR. KEMPE: And the French sale of the Mistral to Russia, can that help with the Russian reset? Or is that something one would feel – (laughter) – well, I’ve heard that. I actually have heard that argument, that if you’re actually going to want a closer strategic relationship with Russia, that this may be one way to start working in that direction or not.

MR. GORDON: Decisions on arms sales are national decisions, and France will make a national decision on whether to sell some version of Mistral to Russia. I would just note, we have thought it right to exercise restraint when it comes to arms sales to conflict regions, and that is one, and we would encourage our allies to exercise similar restraint when it comes to such questions.

MR. KEMPE: Thank you. Bob?

Q: Thank you. Robert Hunter, RAND. A bit to follow up on what Cesare said. You’ve touched upon the financial problems, the difficulties of belt-tightening. I wonder if – and it might be more serious than many of us have discussed, because you have the big three – Britain, France and Germany – have all cut, apparently without coordinating with one another what they’re doing.

We’re going to also go through a major exercise here next year in terms of our budget. It’s no secret that the United States is thinking about major reductions of U.S. deployments in Europe. Will the summit address in any way, beyond its Critical Capability Initiative in certain areas, a way of working together in the alliance to see that, as budgets get more constricted, NATO will rationalize and try to build to capabilities that don’t reduce and maybe even increase? Some people see this as the great unspoken problem sitting behind this summit.

MR. KEMPE: I think that’s an excellent question, because you really can’t separate the G-20 summit from this sort of summit. I mean – as you were saying, everything is interconnected, so what level of discussion will there be at this summit about those sorts of pressures and how does one as an alliance come to terms with it?

MR. GORDON: I do think – I agree. That’s a really important question. I don’t think this agenda has a long time set aside for leaders to talk about defense budgets and defense coordination. They will no doubt – having just come from the G-20, many of them – they’re conscious of this. I suspect that in defense ministers’ channels in the course of the coming year – our own defense secretary has obviously been thinking a lot about this question. So have those of the countries you mentioned, in Britain, Germany, but also all of them. And I suspect the high priority for defense ministers of NATO in the coming year is going to be precisely that.

MR. KEMPE: And I’m trying to get to people roughly in the order I’ve seen, so I apologize, but I saw someone way in the back who’s been very patient with me. So right in the very back. Oh Chuck – all right. I couldn’t even see you, you were so far back.

Q: Hello. Chuck Berry with the National Defense University. I have two questions, one on the NATO-EU summit. It’s been 15 years since 1995, when we agreed the new Transatlantic Agenda. A lot has happened since then in U.S.-EU relations. At this summit, is there any suggestion, even on the margins, that we might begin to look at a new agreement with the EU that would reflect the deeper relationship that the Obama administration has taken forward with the EU?

So we seem to be stuck with that. We’ve had two NATO strategic concepts now, or we’ll soon have two NATO strategic concepts since that period of time, reflecting the deeper relationship there. What about the EU?

The other thing is with respect to NATO internal reform. It would seem that we don’t see much immediacy, thank goodness, on the Article 5 – in the Article 5 area, but we are putting more and more of a premium on consultation, particularly in consultations in short-notice issues such as missile defense and cyber. We all know that Article 5 has only been used once, but a few of us remember that Article 4 has only been used once by the alliance when we put planes in Turkey in advance of the Iraq mission.

Can we look for more consultations or more – maybe in a more expansive use of Article 4 in the future with NATO, particularly, maybe, with maybe Lady Ashton participating on the margins to bring in the EU side?

MR. GORDON: Thanks. On U.S.-EU, I don’t think we need a new institutional relationship. I described the relationship we actually have, which is incredibly rich. The EU now has new structures in place in the post-Lisbon Treaty arrangements which we support and work very well with. And I think the leaders at this U.S.-EU summit, as I said, are going to get on with serious, substantive discussions about the world economy, about challenges to our security and about global challenges and foreign policy. And I think our mechanisms are actually in excellent shape and not in the need of a touch-up, institutionally.

Q: But within those mechanisms, could we use a new or ambitious project? You’ve seen U.S. Chamber now talking about transatlantic zero-tariffs regime, which has some pretty interesting job benefits if you read the small print of it. Do we need something like that to recapture imagination in that relationship, even if you don’t need an institutional change?

MR: GORDON: I think leaders will spare no effort to look at any possible way that they can improve transatlantic economic efficiency and create jobs. And those ideas have been around for some time. But we won’t hesitate to look at either old ideas again or new ideas, given the circumstances.

And then on Article 4, as I think I’ve described, we consult so intensively with our European allies across the board – bilaterally, multilaterally – and in NATO we have two defense ministerials per year, two foreign ministerials per year, the secretary’s in constant touch with our European partners. I’m not too worried about how many times we formally invoke Article 4 to deal with the types of challenges that will be in this strategic concept. I’m absolutely confident that we are talking about everything we need to talk about in this relationship.

MR. KEMPE: Thank you. Please, right here.

Q: Andrew Pierre, U.S. Institute of Peace. Good to see you, Bill. Could you talk a bit about the remaining U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe, freefalling bombs and the controversy that took place in the past year, particularly in Germany. And if it’s not formally part of the Lisbon agenda, because it’s not formally NATO strategy, do we see some path toward sort of resolving this issue in a way which we can live with over the course of the coming years?

MR. GORDON: Secretary Clinton has addressed our approach to that issue. We have underscored our view that, so long as nuclear weapons exist in the world, NATO will remain a nuclear alliance. We seek reductions in the numbers and reliance on nuclear weapons. In a further phase, we also believe that, so long as NATO is a nuclear alliance, the risks and responsibilities of stationing nuclear weapons should be widely shared among allies.

We have also said that in a further phase, nuclear-arms reduction, sub-strategic weapons, should be addressed. In arms control with Russia, of course the new START agreement is strategic weapons, but in the next phase we think, and we believe a lot of our European partners think, that, that should be addressed. I would say, though, because you referred to controversy, I think, actually, we did pretty well to avoid a controversy.

Different European countries – each one has their own ideas about the need for NATO to remain a nuclear alliance and the fate of the weapons to which you refer, but one of our principles is that NATO decisions about nuclear weapons should be done by consensus for the alliance as a whole, and we have successfully stuck to that principle all along. We’ll stick to it at the Lisbon summit and we’ll stick to it next year.

MR. KEMPE: Thank you. Please –

Q: My name is Walter Jerazic (ph), Polish-American Congress. Today, maybe tomorrow, is the same debates in Europe, in Germany, in Poland or other countries. And how can you explain to every Joe – Let’s say that I’m every Joe in Europe, and they will ask you a question: Why do you have – need NATO existence when they don’t believe that Russia is a threat as well as Middle East is a threat to Europe? And politician have to answer to the public in order to trust that we do need NATO. So how can you explain them that we do need NATO?

MR. KEMPE: So what’s the most compelling argument that European leaders could make to their publics of why they still need NATO?

Q: Because –

MR. KEMPE: Yeah. Thank you.

MR. GORDON: You know, the question of whether NATO continues to have a role has been asked at least since the end of the Cold War, at the Atlantic Council and elsewhere. And the answer keeps coming back that we do, and often in ways that we didn’t imagine in the first place. And so for a decade after the end of the Cold War, the Balkans, NATO was playing a critical role, which in ways wouldn’t have been foreseen before that.

Article 5 ended up being invoked for the first time because of an attack on the United States coming from a non-state actor, and then NATO ends up fighting a war with tens of thousands of troops halfway around the world in a way, I think it’s fair to say, that people wouldn’t have predicted in advance. There are new threats, such as ballistic-missile proliferation, that wouldn’t have been on the minds of NATO’s founders.

I think, you know, you have a set of countries that share the same values, ideals, interests, are territorially contiguous, and there are a lot of different threats. And we don’t spend a lot of time, and frankly, I think our publics understand, you know, questioning – as we speak, NATO is together, putting to use its integrated military commands and experience and familiarity, fighting a war that’s critical to our common security.

MR. KEMPE: Let me pick up a small part of that question, because he was talking about – without Russia anymore as a threat. Do you see any shifting in how Russia sees NATO at all, because you know where they’ve been, you know what they wrote in their strategic – their equivalent strategic statement concept. Does Medvedev’s trip to Lisbon indicate a change of heart of one sort or another? And then, how does that fit into Russia’s proposal of some sort of new European security architecture?

MR. GORDON: Well, on the question of a different Russian attitude towards NATO, I would like to believe so. This is the first NATO-Russia Council that will – at that level – have met since the war in Georgia that was such a divisive event. I would like to see more. I think one of the – I mean, I talked about remaining challenges or unfinished business in Europe. We believe we really need to get beyond a zero-sum thinking with Russia.

NATO will say – the United States will say, we don’t see Russia as a threat. Russia is a partner. We have many common interests, and we should be pursuing them together. I can’t say that all of Russia is there yet. But that’s the direction in which we’re moving. And I think there are some positive signs.

And again, the very fact of the NATO-Russia Council meeting – we’ve had our national reset with Russia, and as I argued, we think it’s going pretty well. We need to make more progress in terms of NATO’s reset with Russia. But there’s good reason to believe that we can do that.

MR. KEMPE: But so far it’s hope without any firm –

MR. GORDON: I wouldn’t say without any firm – we’re talking about things NATO and Russia might do together. We’re willing to talk about more. I wish it was farther along, and that’s still important unfinished business so that Russia doesn’t see NATO as a threat. That’s where we’d like to get.

MR. KEMPE: And I keep hearing that when Russian officials meet with U.S. officials, they don’t bring up their idea of the European security – their new idea of how European security is supposed to look. But they do with European officials. Have they fleshed this out with you? Is this off the table? Is this –

MR. GORDON: I think Russia has presented its ideas and hasn’t backed off of them. We’ve made clear that we don’t think a new treaty is necessary or useful. We’ve been very clear about that. And I think we’re now talking about different things in terms of advancing the agenda in European security.

MR. KEMPE: Okay, now I have never been able in this room to call on someone from the doorway. But since – (chuckles) – if we can get a microphone back to him. And then we have time for, I think, one or two more questions and then –

MR. GORDON: You, too, have an open-door policy?

MR. KEMPE. (Laughter.) Yes, absolutely.

Q: Thank you. Good afternoon. (Inaudible) – embassy of Finland. Sir, you listed very many future common challenges we have. But will the Arctic be an issue? Will it be on the table with NATO, EU or Russia there for NATO countries and Russia in the Arctic? Or is the Arctic not an issue today?

MR. KEMPE: And fitting that we would have had our open-door policy toward Finland as well. (Laughter.)

MR. GORDON: That’s right. The Arctic and Arctic security is very important, not least because there are a number of NATO allies that have important interests in the Arctic. And that is the core NATO principle. If an ally faces security challenges, we stand together; because it’s such a core interest to some of our allies, it’s an interest to the alliance. And we’ve talked about it in an alliance context. And the alliance has had workshops on the Arctic. It’s important to the United States. And it will be discussed by NATO allies.

MR. KEMPE: Madam Ambassador?

Q: Thank you. Elena Poptodorova, Bulgaria. Mr. Gordon, thank you. Indeed, that was great. My question goes to the CFE. Given the current deadlock with Russia over CFE, how do you expect to handle it, if at all?

MR. GORDON: Thank you. CFE is important to us. As you know, the treaty has not been implemented by Russia for several years, the data exchanges that are a core part of transparency in Europe. And that’s why we launched a recent effort and appointed a CFE negotiator to see if we could find a way to move forward.

The United States hasn’t been in a position to ratify the amended CFE treaty. And for that reason, we’ve been stuck. And discussions on this topic go on. I don’t expect any breakthroughs for the summits. We have a process in place where all CFE signatories and some others are discussing ways to move forward. We hope to get there because we think it’s in our common interest. But those discussions are going to go on, not only in the run-up to the summits but after them as well.

MR. KEMPE: Thank you very much. Go, please.

Q: Would you please – your intention to withdraw from the data exchange at the end of this year?

MR. GORDON: I won’t comment on exactly how we’re going to proceed on the data-exchange issue. I can tell you that we regret that for several years, Russia hasn’t been transferring data while the rest of NATO has. And it is a legitimate question how long that can go on, how long parliaments in respective NATO countries, including this one, will be satisfied with an arrangement that we have an arms control treaty where not all of the parties participate in all of those mechanisms. So I think it is something to think about.

MR. KEMPE: Okay, thank you very much, Phil. Let me close with that. I want to just say a couple of things in thanking you. First of all, you’re busy. You’ve got a lot of things on your plate and you’re under a lot of pressure. And thanks very much for taking this time.

This was a rich conversation, a rich discussion. I think what’s nice about this kind of event is being able to take the time not just to lay out some ideas, but then be able to flesh them out a little bit and then engage in richer conversations. We’re lucky to have you in your job, a person who knows the complexities of Europe and the relationship, but also the broader context. And so thank you so much for sharing your time with us. (Applause.)

MR. GORDON: Thank, Fred. I appreciate it. (Applause.)

MR. KEMPE: Thank you, all.


Related Experts: