Europe and North America Acting Together
Rasmussen, Anders Fogh, Hampton Roads International Security Quarterly
It's always stimulating to be at the Munich Security Conference and it was with great pleasure that I listened to Secretary Panetta and Secretary Clinton, and I would like to thank both of them for the reaffirmation of their strong commitment to European security. For me the strong transatlantic bond is the bedrock of Euro- Atlantic security, and our transatlantic community will only grow stronger if we engage with partners across the globe as outlined by Secretary Clinton.
Ambassador Ischinger, your report on Euro-Atlantic security is a very valuable contribution to the debate. And I would like to thank Igor Ivanov and Sam Nunn for their presentations this morning. I read the report with great interest. It is my firm belief that we should build a genuine strategic partnership between NATO and Russia. Because the peoples of our countries would benefit from:
* more security if we strengthen cooperation on fighting terrorism, proliferation, piracy, and narcotics,
* better economy if we create a secure environment for enhanced trade and investment, and
* reinforced political leadership if we join efforts in addressing the global challenges.
And lets remind ourselves that Euro-Atlantic security is interlinked with and a corner stone of global security.
During the last two and a half years we have made substantial progress in the NATO-Russia relationship. But is has not yet reached its full potential. Far from it. And I strongly agree with your report that a successful cooperation between NATO and Russia on missile defence would be a game changer.
Your report shows that cooperation on missile defence between NATO and Russia is not just the answer to a common threat but could also transform out strategic relationship.
At our summit in Lisbon, we invited Russia to cooperate with us on missile defence, so that we could tackle old suspicions and new threats at the same time. And at our summit in Chicago in May, there is a chance we could take the next step together.
I particularly welcome the fact that the report is the result of the joint efforts by senior political and military leaders from Russia, Europe, and the United States. The fact that you managed to reach consensus on such difficult issues is an inspiration to us all. It shows how much we can accomplish together, if we are committed to cooperation.
And that is my theme today - how we can work better together, both within NATO and with our partners.
For over sixty years, NATO has successfully delivered security and stability. In Europe, in the Euro-Atlantic area, and beyond.
For Allies, this has been an astute security investment. At its core lies a unique capacity for Allies to work together. This is what makes the Alliance more than the sum of its individual members. What made us successful in the past. And what will make us successful in the future.
That's why we need to continue investing in it now more than ever.
I see three significant changes that will affect NATO in the coming years: defence cuts in Europe; the evolution of United States defence posture; and the end of our combat operations in Afghanistan. We need to respond to these changes so that, by the end of this decade and into the next, we emerge stronger as an Alliance, not weaker. A key part of our response is what I call Smart Defence a new way for NATO and Allies to do business. Faced with fiscal austerity, and defence budgets under pressure, this is about doing more by doing it together.
I outlined it last year, in this very same conference room. And at our NATO summit in Chicago in May, I expect all Allies to commit to it. Because Smart Defence is a long-term strategy to deliver the right capabilities right across the Alliance. …