An Enlarged North Atlantic Treaty Organization: Mending Fences and Moving Forward on Iraq

By Powell, Colin | DISAM Journal, Summer 2003 | Go to article overview

An Enlarged North Atlantic Treaty Organization: Mending Fences and Moving Forward on Iraq


Powell, Colin, DISAM Journal


[The following are excerpts of the testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Washington, D.C., April 29, 2003.]

I am pleased to testify on the enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) agreed in Prague last November, and on the future of the Alliance. With respect to enlargement, I strongly encourage the Senate to provide its advice and consent to the ratification of the Accession Protocols that will welcome into NATO seven new members, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia. This enlargement is part of an ambitious agenda whose goal is to transform the Alliance.

And Mr. Chairman, before I continue, let me acknowledge your leadership and vision in this process of enlargement. I know that you and your staff have provided invaluable guidance to the entire executive branch team. We could not have asked for better cooperation and support.

The Background

The West's victory in the Cold War and the defeat of Soviet communism signaled a decisive turning point in modern history a victory for freedom and democracy. But the troubles and tragedies of the past decade have made clear that new threats are rising. We have seen these threats take many shapes, from ethnic cleansing in the Balkans to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. To deal with these new threats, the United States has continued to rely on NATO and will do so in the future.

This great Alliance, which has kept the peace for more than fifty years, is more than a treaty for collective defense. It is the central organizing force in a great web of relationships that holds North America and Europe together. It represents a community of common values and shared commitment to democracy, free markets and the rule of law.

This was never more evident than on September 12, 2001

On that day, the Alliance invoked Article V of the Washington Treaty and told the world that it regarded the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon as attacks on all of its members. From this historic decision we know that the NATO has the will to combat terrorism and to address the new threats that face us. But the Alliance must also have the means. So it must transform, militarily and politically, to secure our collective defense on into the twenty-first century and to sustain the trans-Atlantic link. At the historic Prague Summit last November, NATO heads of state and government made decisions that have put us solidly on the path to transformation.

Their strong and unanimous endorsement of the U.S. crafted transformation agenda of new capabilities, new members and new relationships will help ensure that NATO remains relevant in the days and years ahead. President Bush and I were particularly pleased that Senator Voinovich, of this committee, and Senator Frist, along with other members of Congress, were able to join us in Prague. There, our leaders agreed to expand NATO membership to include all of the new democracies in Europe who are prepared to undertake the responsibilities of leadership. Such an enlargement will help to strengthen NATO's partnerships to promote democracy, the rule of law, free markets and peace throughout Eurasia. Moreover, it will better equip the alliance to respond collectively to the new dangers we face.

The Current Enlargement

The United States and other NATO allies signed the Enlargement Protocols last month in Brussels. President Bush has transmitted them to the Senate. Your swirl action on these protocols will bring us a major step closer to realizing President Bush's vision for a "Europe free, whole and at peace." This enlargement will revitalize NATO by expanding its geographic reach, enhancing its military capabilities and inducting seven countries committed to a strong trans-Atlantic link. It will serve U.S. interests by strengthening both NATO and our bilateral ties with these new allies, who have already done a great deal to support our vision for NATO and collective security. …

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An Enlarged North Atlantic Treaty Organization: Mending Fences and Moving Forward on Iraq
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