Full transcript of an Atlantic Council videoconference with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.






Transcript by
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

DAMON WILSON:  (In progress) – to your hard work, we’ve been able to pass out to our audience today, the miniature size of the strategic concepts hot off the press that your staff has sent to us.

In many respects, over the past two years, to coincide very much with the beginning of your leadership at NATO as well as new leadership here in Washington, the council’s really put an emphasis on spotlighting issues around the alliance and the buildup to the Lisbon summit.  So I think in many respects, it’s only natural and quite elegant that we’re able to bookend much of our programming over the past 18 months with today’s video conference.  So thank you for giving us this time.

To get us started, I’m going to turn it over to Steve Hadley.  Steve Hadley is an Atlantic Council board director.  He’s now at the U.S. Institute for Peace and as everyone knows, former national security advisor among many other positions in the U.S. government.  But most importantly, he’s one of my former bosses.  So Steve, please, the floor is yours.

STEPHEN HADLEY:  I’m in the – an enviable position of introducing a man who needs no introduction, but I want to remind folks that the secretary-general assumed his position in – on August 1, 2009.  He did so after serving as – eight years as prime minister of Denmark.  And that was a capstone of a successful political career that began when he was elected to parliament in 1978. 

This just-completed NATO summit, of course, is the subject of the conversation today.  I think it is fair to say that in many ways, it was a personal triumph of the secretary-general.  He personally shepherded the new strategic concept through to approval by the heads of state and government. 

He achieved the singular feat of getting both a NATO commitment to missile defense and an agreement from the Russians that they will talk about NATO-Russia missile defense cooperation.  And finally, I would say he provided much needed clarity and commitment on the issue of Afghanistan. 

And I’d like, if I might, just to read some of the secretary-general’s words:  “But one thing must be very clear.  NATO is in this for the long term.  We will not transition until our Afghan partners are ready.  We will stay after transition in a supporting role. 

And as you just saw, President Karzai and I have signed an agreement on a long-term partnership between NATO and Afghanistan that will endure beyond our combat mission.  To put it simply, if the Taliban or anybody else aims to wait us out, they can forget it.  We will stay as long as it takes to finish the job.” 

Mr. Secretary-General, let me congratulate you on this successful summit, to thank you for being here and being with us today.  The Secretary-General has about 10 minutes of remarks and then we’ll devote the rest of the time to questions.  Mr. Secretary-General.

SEC.-GEN. ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN:  Thank you very much indeed, Steve, for that kind introduction.  And thanks to the Atlantic Council for organizing this meeting.  I’m very happy to be with you, even it’s only on screen.  But I’m very happy to discuss the Lisbon summit and the NATO’s way forward.

And I can tell you that this summit has been a historic success.  And this is not just small talk.  The number of achievements and level of commitment makes a real difference for NATO.  And feedback from many nations, including yours, confirms this. 

I can say that after Lisbon, NATO has fully entered the 21st century.  We are about to create an alliance that is more effective, more engaged and more efficient, more effective in its operations, more engaged with the wider world and more efficient in the way we spend taxpayers’ money.

As you know, there were three major meetings, a meeting of the 28 allies that adopted the new strategic concept and decided on major reforms and last but not least, decided to develop a NATO-based missile defense.  Next, we have also an ISAF meeting that launched the way for transition to Afghan leads responsibility and finally, a NATO-Russia summit which is a key milestone in revitalizing our relations with Russia.

I think you’ve all read the strategic concept.  I also think that its themes may not come as a surprise because of the open and inclusive way in which we developed the new strategic concept. 

And let me take this opportunity to once again express my strong appreciation of the work done by Madeleine Albright and her group of experts – a very important preparatory work.  I think, in general, the process illustrates a change of mindset for NATO to shift to more engagement and more openness with others. 

The text is short and readable to resonate with the public.  I think you have already seen this pocket edition of the new strategic concept.  But though it is half the length of the old strategic concept from 1999, it is at the same time, a very concrete outline of policies with around 50 concrete action-oriented points in it. 

It sets the alliance’s ambition clearly in a time when we need to remind our publics about NATO’s importance now, not just on the issue of Afghanistan.  The three core tasks set in this strategic concept clearly articulate this vision.  Collective defense of our populations and territory has been reaffirmed as our cornerstone, reinforced by concrete measures.  And we have updated this idea to take into account new threats and new challenges such as missile defense and cyber defense.

At a time when some say that there is decreasing willingness for investment in defense in the alliance, we took the major decision to build a NATO missile defense system.  It is a huge political commitment and testifies to the value of our alliance.  And it comes at a relatively small additional cost, less than $200 million between 28 nations over 10 years.  This is what I call value for our money.

The second core task, crisis management, underlines the importance for NATO to address security threats beyond its borders.  There is value in preventing and managing crises and that includes prevention.  We need to be better prepared before violence erupts and also before the human and financial costs of intervention increase. 

And we will use the North Atlantic Council as a true forum for political consultations.  We will also need to better integrate military and civilian efforts and contribute to a comprehensive approach, political, civilian and military.  We have agreed, now, to create a civil crisis management capability within NATO so that we better interact with other actors like the United Nations or the European Union from the outset of a crisis. 

NATO will also have to be able to employ a nation’s civilian tools when other actors are unable to deploy or to act and taking into consideration how controversial this issue has been in the past, it’s quite an achievement that we have now agreed on this comprehensive approach.  In addition to that, we have also agreed to develop our capacity to train local forces in crisis zones.  Personally, I do believe that this will be one of the important instruments in future crisis management. 

And then the third core task if cooperative security, especially our partnerships.  Even as NATO is the most successful alliance in history, we need partners to best assure our security.  We are committed to deepening our relations with existing partners.  We will also connect with others.  In the strategic concept, we state that we will engage with any nations and relevant organizations across the globe that share our interest in peaceful international relations.  And this also includes emerging powers like India, China and others.

Another major step taken at the summit concerns Afghanistan.  We have defined a way forward on transition to Afghan leadership, a way forward that demonstrates to our publics that we are making progress and a way forward that reinforces President Karzai’s desire for Afghan security forces to be in the lead, countrywide, by the end of 2014.

The goal is realistic, even if it’s – will not be easy.  It will be condition-based, not calendar-driven.  I have to stress that.  We now have the commitments for trainers to meet our shortfalls.  Trainers are our ticket to transition.  We have also developed a long-term partnership with Afghanistan, a long-term partnership which will ensure that NATO’s relationship with Afghanistan will continue even after the combat mission ends. 

And then last, let me mention Russia.  The NATO-Russia summit marks a new stage in our relationship.  And of course, most significantly, a decision to take full cooperation on missile defense.  This underlines what I would call a sea change in our relations.

So to conclude, we have taken very significant steps.  The implementation of the strategic concept and our reforms will now take consistent effort.  But the principles and the commitment are there.  So this is a renewed alliance which hopefully will play a role in this century as central as the one it played in the last.  So I’m very satisfied with the outcome of the summit. 

And now, I look forward to your questions and to discussion and I would like to thank the Atlantic Council once again for this invitation.  Thank you very much.

MR. WILSON:  Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary-General.  We have about 30 minutes for questions and answers from our audience here.  And I do want to remind folks that the discussion today will be on – it’s private here in this room, but it will be on the record and available after the fact.

I just wanted to start off with the first question by saying I actually very much agree with how Steve Hadley introduced you in that this was quite a success for you personally and for the alliance.  The backdrop headed into Lisbon was not auspicious – difficulties in Afghanistan, a defense recession if not depression sweeping many of our allies’ defense budgets, the potential for major divergences in a public way on issues like nuclear policy, missile defense.

And the list of accomplishments you’ve just walked through are quite impressive for the alliance.  My question to you, looking forward, is how do you now – sort of the day after Lisbon, how do you think about your priorities going forward?  What’s at the top of your list in terms of implementation? 

And let me ask it a little bit more specific – particularly in those areas where you felt that you didn’t make the kind of progress you wanted to make at Lisbon, where do you still see – what issues do you see at the top of your to-do list?  For example, I think NATO-EU relations was an area where you had a pretty bold proposal, yet clearly, those on the other side of the table weren’t quite ready to embrace all elements of that. 

What are the areas that you want to focus on going forward?  You mentioned partnerships and in many respects, I think while the group of experts, the strategic concept underscore partnerships as a new important element for the alliance, it’s not very clear how, beyond opening up some flexibility, how we actually see NATO relating increasingly into countries like India, Japan, China, Brazil. 

So what do you see as your unfinished business or the to-do list in terms of your priorities going forward from Lisbon?

SEC.-GEN. RASMUSSEN:  Yeah.  Thank you very much.  I can assure you that we don’t rest on our laurels.  We have started already the implementation of the decisions taken at the summit.  And the most I would say – the most important follow-on tasking is to actually translate the new strategic concept into our military capabilities.

And we have just had a first discussion in the council today on how to do that.  And it will be a two-step approach.  First, we will elaborate a political guidance where we specify further what is already in the strategic concept.  And our timeline is that defense ministers should take a decision on the political guidance at their meeting in March.

This is will be followed by further details.  The military authorities will then elaborate a military implementation plan with a view to defense ministers’ meeting in June.  So the next half year will be devoted to follow-on decisions taken at Lisbon where the most important follow-on will be political guidance followed by military implementation.

But in addition to that, we have other taskings like the partnership policies.  And we have decided to elaborate, have comprehensive partnership concept – a new partnership concept.  And we have started that work already with a view to foreign ministers’ meeting in April.

On military capabilities, we have initiated specific follow-on work on cyber.  We will prepare a specific cyber policies paper and an action plan.  Similarly, on missile defense, we will produce a specific action plan.  We have, all in all, a number of follow-up projects already started now at headquarters in Brussels.

I intend to use the minister – the ministerials (sic) during 2011 as a driving force.  We will have defense ministers meeting in March and June.  We will have foreign ministers meeting in April.  And we will have foreign ministers and defense ministers meeting in the autumn as well.  And we have already decided to have a new summit in 2012 in the United States.  So there are a lot of goalposts and they will serve as driving forces.

MR. WILSON:  Thank you.  Please catch my eye if you want to ask a question.  When you – when I call on you, please introduce yourself for the record as well.  I’ll start with Julian (ph).

Q:  Good morning, Secretary-General, Julian Lindley-French.  Two quick questions, if I may.  What specific reforms will take place to the defense planning process given the synergies between NATO, European forces that will be, in particular, necessary to realize the vision inside the strategic concept?  And what steps are you going to take to operationalize the comprehensive approach?

SEC.-GEN. RASMUSSEN:  On the comprehensive approach, I would in particular highlight three – three elements.  Firstly, we have decided to establish an appropriate but modest civilian capacity as it’s called in the strategic concept which can also – which can be used to interact, to improve our interaction with other actors like the United Nations, the European Union.

But this civilian capacity can also be used to – for planning purposes if we have to do civilian activities ourselves in an intermediate period until other actors are actually capable to deploy their resources in theater.  And this is really a breakthrough that we finally agreed on this.  In the past, it’s been very controversial to develop such a civilian capacity within NATO.

I have to say, it will be a restricted civilian capacity.  We will not – we will not take the lead role, but it is a breakthrough that NATO will be able to take on some civilian responsibilities, if necessary, to accomplish our security mission.  So that’s one point how to implement it.

A second important element is to identify civilian personnel in member states that can be deployed in theater and cooperate with the military, within NATO or cooperate with civilian experts from other organizations and institutions.  So that’s the second element.

And the third element in the implementation of comprehensive approach is to develop the capacity to train local security forces.  Personally, I do believe that this is a crucial point in future crisis management and a very important lesson learned from Afghanistan.  Seen retrospectively, we should have started and organized training of Afghan securities (sic) forces at an earlier stage.

But better late than never and we have achieved significant progress.  I think the lesson learned from Afghanistan is that we should have a standing capacity to train and educate what sometimes is called indigenous security forces so that they can do the fighting in theater instead of sending in NATO troops or as a supplement to sending in NATO troops.  So these three elements are, in my opinion, the main elements in our new comprehensive approach.

MR. WILSON:  Let me pick up two questions here.  Harlan and Sally.

Q:  Good morning, Secretary-General.  I’m Harlan Ullman and your enthusiasm is contagious.  My question has to do with Afghanistan.  We’ve set a date of 2014 and the question is, how do we get to that date successfully? 

Of the many, many issues that are crucial to success or failure in Afghanistan, of course, is Pakistan, where the condition is continuing to deteriorate, deteriorate badly because of the floods, so forth.  What do you think came out of the summit, vis-à-vis support, help and assistance for Pakistan?  And what do you think the alliance can be doing that it’s not doing right now because without a successful Pakistan, the chances for success in Afghanistan are seriously reduced?

MR. WILSON:  Let’s go ahead and pick up the second question with Sally.

SEC.-GEN. RASMUSSEN:  Firstly, on the 2014 timetable, I think it’s useful to outline this roadmap.  Starting at the beginning of 2011, we announced at the summit that transition to lead Afghan responsibility is about to start at the beginning of 2011 and hopefully, it will be completed by the end of 2014.

Nevertheless, let me stress that of course, it has be condition-based.  We can’t hand over responsibility to the Afghans unless we are sure that they are actually capable to take that responsibility.  But I do believe that this is a realistic timetable and that conditions will be met by the end of 2014.

And I built my optimism on the fact that we are, right now, making significant progress in theater.  It may, in the media, be overshadowed by negative stories of more fighting, but you shouldn’t be surprised that we see more fighting because we have sent in more soldiers and obviously, more soldiers (give ?) more fighting. 

And we are now attacking the Taliban strongholds in Kandahar and Helmand.  And of course, the Taliban fight back because they know that if they lose here, they will lose everything.  So you will see more fighting, but the fact that we see more incidents and more casualties – this fact does not reflect a failure of strategy.  On the contrary, it’s part of our strategy to clear these areas so that the Afghan government can eventually take control.  So that’s one thing.

Another element in my optimism is the fact that the Afghan security forces are making significant progress.  One thing is quantity – we are ahead of schedule as regards the quantity.  We have set the goal to have 300,000 Afghan soldiers and police by the end of next year.  Already now, we have more than 260,000.

But more importantly, maybe, we also see an increase of quality.  Eighty-five percent of the Afghan security forces are now partnering with the international troops.  They participate in – also in major military operations.  And in some military operations, there are more Afghan soldiers participating than international troops.

So we are seeing progress.  The Taliban is under pressure everywhere.  So in conclusion, I believe the 2014 deadline is realistic.  But I also have to say, I envision a continued international military presence beyond 2014, but in a more supportive role.  We will continue to build up the capacity of the Afghan security forces.

Finally, on Pakistan, it’s a difficult – very difficult question.  We are currently trying to develop a political framework for increased partnership with – strengthen partnership with Pakistan.  Of course, it has also to be driven by Pakistani demand.  And to speak very openly about it, too visible NATO presence in Pakistan is not welcomed.

We have developed practical cooperation with Pakistan.  We assist Pakistan in different ways.  Obviously, we cannot solve problems in Afghanistan without a positive engagement of Pakistan.  To that end, I do believe that engagement with partners in the region could be very useful.

If we are to engage Pakistan positively along Pakistan’s western border, then we have to ease tensions between Pakistan and India.  And to that end, an engagement with India could be of utmost importance.  Likewise, I think China can play an important role.  So this just stresses the need for a more active partnership policies from NATO side.

MR. WILSON:  Mr. Secretary, Secretary-General, given your time is short and my list of questioners are long, with your permission, I’m going to call on a couple of people to bundle maybe two questions for you.

SEC.-GEN. RASMUSSEN:  Yep, you’re welcome.

MR. WILSON:  Let’s pick up Sally.

Q:  Sally McNamara from the Heritage Foundation.  So I’d like your – to ask you a question in the weeds about training of troops and policemen in Afghanistan.  Over the past year, all we’ve heard is trainers, trainers, trainers.  We don’t really need any more combat troops, but send us many trainers as you’ve got.

We haven’t had enough OMLTs.  We especially haven’t had enough POMLTs.  The training of gendarmerie-style police, which I think we absolutely have to get right for the long-term of Afghanistan.  Shortage of funds in the Afghan security funds, equipment that they will use once we leave.

How are we with actually the numbers of trainers that we’ve got?  And if you had a wish list, what would you want from member states right now?

MR. WILSON:  Thanks, Sally.  Let’s pick up Hans as well.

Q:  Secretary-General, Hans Binnendijk from NDU, very good to see you, sir and congratulations on a great summit outcome.  I’d like to ask you a question about something that will dominate thinking here in Washington over the next month or so and that has to do with ratification of new START.

I know that the communiqué endorsed new START.  A number of heads of state at the Lisbon summit called for ratification.  The progress that was made on missile defense, both within NATO and with the Russians, I think enhances the prospects of ratification.  And in the strategic concept, we said that NATO will remain a nuclear alliance.  And that, too, I think enhances the prospects for ratification.

I wonder if you might comment on the question of new START and specifically, if new START is not ratified, what would be the consequences for you as the leader of NATO and for Europe?

SEC.-GEN. RASMUSSEN:  Thank you very much.  I will also contribute to making the best use of our time by making my answers a bit shorter.  So first, on training, we reached important goals, I would say, at the Lisbon summit.  As you all know, Canada made a very important announcement.  They will now contribute significantly to our training mission.

Other countries have also made important announcements.  So I think all in all, in the short term, we have filled the gaps.  But I also have to say.  This is work in progress.  We have to make sure that we develop our training mission continuously if we are to accomplish our goal to see the Afghans take lead responsibility – all of Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

So also, as regards our training mission, I think the NATO summit – the ISAF summit represented a real – a real success and demonstrated clear commitment from the allies to our training mission.

As regards to START treaty, we send very important signals and messages from the summit as regards to START treaty.  It is important to note that improved NATO-Russia relations are supported by all allies.  Such improved relations mean reduced tension and greater security for all allies, which is in the interest of all NATO members, old and new.

And that’s why I believe that a ratification of the START treaty is important.  And this is why you heard so many leaders of NATO allies speaking out in favor of ratification.  Viewed from a NATO perspective, ratification is definitely not a gift or a concession to Russia.  It is the completion of an important step forward to greater Euro-Atlantic security.

And this would also open up opportunities to talk with Russia about increased transparency and reductions in their short-range nuclear weapons in Europe.  And that’s another step that would serve the interest of security in Europe.

But I think we can only get there once a new START treaty is ratified.  As secretary-general of NATO, I’m definitely not going to interfere with domestic U.S. politics, but seen from a NATO perspective, the START treaty should be ratified as soon as possible.  And if it is delayed, not to speak about if it’s not ratified, I think it would have a very negative impact on the overall security in Europe.

MR. WILSON:  Thank you.  Certainly, the clear message from Lisbon on START gave the summit even more profile here in Washington.  That is a certain case.  I’m going to Ian Brzezinski and Peter Flory next on my speakers’ list.

Q:  Secretary-General, Ian Brzezinski, Atlantic Council.  Could you share with us a little bit more insight into your vision for the command and control of the missile defense structure that NATO has embarked upon under your leadership?  When you look at the figures, you mentioned $200 million being contributed by the Europeans. 

When you compare that to the billions of dollars the United States will spend on Aegis, on land-based systems and such, is this going to be an American umbrella run and commanded by the United States?  Or do you truly see a trans-Atlantic missile defense architecture where command and control decisions are made in NATO organizations?  A NATO command?

MR. WILSON:  Peter?  If I could remind folks to try to keep questions brief so we can get through the rest of the list as well.

Q:  Secretary-General, good to see you again, sir.  And congratulations for excellent work on the defense capability area and steps to make NATO more effective and efficient and particularly, the decision on missile defense. 

The question, now that you’ve gotten nations to agree to do these things is the execution, which has always been the hard part.  And I know you’re conscious of this and you’ve got the nations to sign up to a schedule that holds their feet to the fire in terms of rapid work on implementation. 

The question is, are you confident that the nations, having agreed to do these things and to hold their feet to the fire will deliver?  And what are the steps – what are the ways in which you’re going to help them do this when it comes to making some of these really hard decisions on resource allocation and priorities and particularly difficult, some of the organizational reforms that are on the table?  Thank you.

MR. WILSON:  Terrific.  Thank you.

SEC.-GEN. RASMUSSEN:  First, on missile defense, yes, it will be developed within a NATO framework, which also means that command and control will take place within a NATO framework and according to normal command and control procedures within NATO.  So that’s a brief answer.

Let me stress, as regards economy, that the less than $200 million I have mentioned, that’s the additional cost on the NATO common-funded budget.  In addition to that, of course, we have national investments in missile defense.  But my point is that we took the decision already years ago to develop a NATO so-called theater missile defense system to protect our deployed troops.

There’s nothing new in that; that’s an old decision.  And nations have committed themselves to making that investment.  What’s new is that we can now link these existing systems, our national systems together.  The United States has offered its missile defense system as a concrete input.

European nations use their missile defense systems as an input and through a linkage, we can create not only a theater missile defense system to protect deployed troops, but a missile defense system to protect the whole population.  So that’s really a good deal, I think.  And it will be within the NATO command and control system.

And to Peter, of course, it’s good to see you again.  And you’re quite right that the execution of this, of course, will be essential.  And to that end, I have ensured that we have very clear timelines all over in the decisions taken at the summit, in particular, in the summit declaration. 

If you go through the summit declaration, you will see that all decisions are accompanied by clear deadlines so that this work will not get stuck in committee.  I will make sure that we make progress.

MR. WILSON:  (Inaudible, off mic) – ambassador of NATO well.  Given our short time, I’m going to take our last three questions as a bundle and then come back to you, Mr. Secretary-General.  So let me turn to Paul Gebhard first and then to Fiona and Steve.

Q:  Hi, Paul Gebhard from the Cohen Group and congratulations, again, sir.  One of the important criteria I would suggest for the strategic concept, at least going in, was to provide a rationale and an impetus for NATO’s friends within a European context to be empowered and to push forward in terms of their support for the alliance. 

I mean we’ve seen, for example, in the Netherlands’ government falling, withdrawal from Afghanistan.  And clearly, there are other parts of the European political spectrum which have been less and less inclined to be supportive in Afghanistan and other places.  And in fact, within sort of – shall we say throwing stones at NATO over time, certainly in the past few years.

From your point of view, have you either heard from national governments that now, they have a stronger platform in which to argue in terms of the alliance or could you talk to at least a couple of the elements that you think really demonstrate or provide ammunition for NATO’s supporters in the European context for the alliance?

MR. WILSON:  Good question.  Fiona.

Q:  Thank you.  Fiona Hill from the Brookings Institution.  I have a related question.  It really picks up from the question, also, that Damon first posed to you at the beginning, which is really how are we going to move forward in coordinating between NATO and the EU?  You mentioned the civilian component and I think Paul’s question also touches on some of the tensions that have always existed between the EU and NATO. 

But as Damon said at the beginning, that was one of the key elements of the summit and one that perhaps hasn’t been emphasized so much.  Could you say a little bit more about how to move forward with the EU-and-NATO coordination on the security side?

MR. WILSON:  And our last question with Steve.

Q:  Mr. Secretary-General, Steve Flanagan from CSIS and ditto on the congratulations.  Two questions about implementation.  One, the summit declaration tasked the council to undertake a defense and deterrence review, but the timelines aren’t exactly clear, nor is the scope.  And I wondered if you could elaborate a bit on how you see that unfolding.

And secondly, one of the surprises, it seems, at the summit, was NATO entered the discussion with Russia on missile defense thinking about a more cooperative kind of approach, parallel efforts, but it seems as if President Medvedev surprised us with a bit of a – a proposal for a more integrated approach to the development defense.  And I wondered, is that impression correct and how do you see what Medvedev put on the table in Lisbon?

MR. WILSON:  Good question.

SEC.-GEN. RASUMUSSEN:  Thank you very much.  First question about Europe and defense spending, if I understand it correctly or translate it correctly, yes, I do believe that the new strategic concept, as well as the summit as such, demonstrate a clear European commitment to defense investment despite the current economic austerity.

And the fact that we decided to invest in a NATO-based missile defense system, the fact that we decided to develop a cyber – stronger cyber defense, the fact that we agreed on a list of 10 critical military capabilities are all testament to an engaged Europe – a Europe that is prepared to invest in the trans-Atlantic relationship and a capable defense.

Having said that, I would also add, as a clear message to the Europeans, that it is a matter of concern to see the gap across the Atlantic when it comes to defense spending.  Ten years ago, the U.S. defense expenditure represented 49 percent of total defense expenditure within our alliance – 49 percent 10 years ago.  Today, the U.S. defense expenditure represents 73 percent of total defense expenditure within our alliance.

    It’s really a significant – a significant example that demonstrates the gap – which is also a technological gap.  And in the long term, it might have a negative impact on trans-Atlantic cooperation.  And obviously, it is important to convey the message to the European part of our alliance that Europe should not only be a consumer of security but also a provider of security. 

    And this part of it will be an important element in my activities in 2011.  But I think the point of departure is quite good because the NATO summit in Lisbon really demonstrated unity within our alliance, also, when it comes to investment in critical capabilities.  And that leads me to NATO-EU – the NATO-EU relationship. 

    Actually, though I could, of course, have wanted stronger progress – but actually, it was not that bad.  I mean, if you – if you read paragraph 32 in the strategic concept, it is quite forward-leaning in the description of the strategic partnership between NATO and the European Union. 

If you read the text as it stands, I think it provides the framework for an excellent and very strong partnership between NATO and the European Union when it comes to cooperation in theaters where we operate together, when it comes to development of capabilities, when it comes to political consultation. 

    All of this is in the text.  But it’s in real politics – in daily life, we do have the problems, yet – and I will work hard to make further progress.  I have presented a package of concrete, pragmatic steps as to how the two organizations could approach each other more intensively in daily life. 

And in speaking briefly about it, I have suggested that the EU side accommodate wishes from Turkey as regards Turkish cooperation with the European Defense Agency, the conclusion of a security agreement between the EU and Turkey and finally, that the EU involves non-EU member states more closely when it comes to EU operations where non-EU member states contribute like the operation in Bosnia where Turkey, by the way, is the second-largest contributor.  I think the EU should move on these three points. 

And then in exchange, of course, Turkey should also accept that cooperation between NATO and the EU takes place with all 27 EU member states.  So I have presented a very concrete package which I think could make progress in our relationship.  But as regards to strategic concept, I’m very satisfied with the text because it creates the framework for further progress in our relationship.

Finally, on the deterrence posture review which has foreseen – as in the strategic concept, as well as in the Lisbon Summit Declaration – there’s no – in that specific case, there’s no exact timeline.  You rightly pointed to that.  I would envisage a completion of that review by the end of 2011. 

But as you all know – and there’s no reason to write that – it also reflects, let’s say, some internal discussions within the alliance.  So I think we will – we’ll need some time to complete that deterrence posture review.  So a realistic time frame might be to use the year 2011 to finalize it. 

And the very final point on Russia and the Russian president’s proposals as to how we could develop practical cooperation on missile defense – first of all, in general, I would say we had a very, very positive NATO-Russia Council meeting.  And President Medvedev presented concrete proposals. 

In general, a very positive approach, I would say.  There were also elements which are not acceptable for the allies.  In particular, the Russian idea to develop a sector-based missile defense system.  That’s actually not what we are looking for.  On the contrary, what we are looking for is one common security roof through cooperation. 

As far as I can see, the most realistic approach would be to have a Russian system and a NATO system and let the two systems cooperate.  Among other elements, exchange of information and data would be essential.  And if we did so, we could make the whole system more efficient and give better coverage.

But all in all, it was a very positive experience and we decided to initiate a joint analysis as to how we can develop practical cooperation on territorial missile defense; and we also decided to resume practical cooperation, including exercises on theater missile defense right away.  So it was a very big step forward. 

MR. WILSON:  Mr. Secretary-General, thank you very much.  This has been just tremendous to get your personal take on the outcomes of the Lisbon summit.  When you were here after resigning as prime minister and before assuming the position of secretary-general, General Scowcroft set out – you know, the challenge of a strategic concept was to define what the alliance is for. 

Well, on Saturday, the day after the concept was issued, General Scowcroft issued a statement at the Atlantic Council saying that you had succeeded in that task in helping to define with clarity what the alliance is for.  And now, the burden shifts to implementation. 

I think – hearkening back to Paul’s question – many of the issues that we’ve talked about in our group here at the council has often focused on the Strategic Concept becoming a tool that actually now shifts a bit of the burden to allied governments and leaders to use what you’ve helped provide them through this process to make the case for the alliance, to make the case for the trans-Atlantic relationship and then to make the case for defense investment in Europe. 

So I want to come full circle to end, conclude with where Steve Hadley kicked us off.  Lisbon was very much – I believe I agree with him – a personal triumph, a personal success for you and a testament to your leadership.  We’re very grateful for your time today.  And we want to thank you very much.  Your team on your end – Jeff Rathke, Luke Heismann (ph) have been terrific in helping to set this up. 

And I want to thank on our side, as well, Alex and Charlie for handling the technical side; Jeff Lightfoot, Patricia Puttmann, Matt Czekaj and Simona Kordosova for helping to run it on our end.  Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary-General, for taking a few minutes out of your busy schedule today. 

SEC.-GEN. RASMUSSEN:  Thank you.  Thank you, all of you.  And I would also like to thank you for strong support from the huge policy environment and community in the States.  Thank you very much.  It’s of utmost importance for me.  All the best.

MR. WILSON:  Thank you.  (Applause.)


Related Experts: Ian Brzezinski and Harlan Ullman