This session was part of the CFR Symposium on NATO at 60, which was made possible through the generous support of the European Commission, CFR's Program on International Institutions and Global Governance, and the Robina Foundation.
This session was part of the CFR Symposium on NATO at 60, which was made possible through the generous support of the European Commission, CFR's Program on International Institutions and Global Governance, and the Robina Foundation.
ROBERT HUNTER: Well, good afternoon. I always believe "leave the best for last," which means we got this -- except for me, we got this extraordinary -- group of folks to talk here.
And one of the things I particularly like about this subject, NATO and the European Union, is it's something that requires action now and where action now might actually be possible if people in Europe -- and in the United States, but primarily in Europe -- have the political will actually to get on with it.
In fact, my own judgment -- which, if anybody heard when I was asking Lord Robertson last night -- is that some of this needs to get done by April the 2nd, 3rd and 4th in Strasburg and Kehl if, indeed, the Afghan issue is going to get done correctly across the Atlantic in ways that are going to be supportive of the American commitment to European security -- and not something where questions get raised, particularly on Capitol Hill.
There was an on-the-record or off-the-record, something or other, breakfast this morning with the foreign minister of Poland with a senior member of the U.S. House of Representatives who was very categorical about that, that if the president goes over in the beginning of April and talks about Afghanistan and asks things of the allies -- the Europeans, which includes the EU -- and comes back more or less empty-handed, that there are going to be real questions asked on Capitol Hill.
So the three gentlemen here will, of course, tell you exactly how to solve that problem, now that I've posed it.
I happen personally to believe that there should be a senior figure representing the EU in Afghanistan, and my good friend Ambassador Gordon Gray came up with the two magic words, Paddy Ashdown. Because he and I were in Afghanistan together when that issue came up the first time.
I will tell you -- in fact, it wasn't just -- we were saying, "Why not just have a -- have Paddy Ashdown type -- why don't we have Paddy Ashdown?" And so I ran into him in a conference a couple of months later on, and I said, "Well, that point has been made, but why don't we just get Paddy Ashdown?" And he responded with two very short, curt, one-syllable Anglo-Saxon words which I cannot repeat here. (Laughter.) And I said, "I guess you're saying you're not interested." So I guess that's what he meant.
First speaker -- we're going to have -- we're going to go in order of a -- sort of an academic framework. Then we're going to have a political presentation from the North Atlantic Council, and then we're going to have a military presentation of the man who actually has to make it happen.
Reminds me that when I was at NATO we used to have NATO and the Western European Union, and there used to be a fight about whose foreign ministers' meeting would come first. So we at NATO always wanted ours to come first so we could then tell the WEU what they had to do. And WEU people always wanted to come first so they could tell NATO what they weren't going to do.
Even worse was dealing with the French, because occasionally you would have the defense ministers' meeting before the foreign ministers' meeting at NATO and sometimes the other way around.
The French always wanted the foreign ministers to come first, because they said there is no right on the part of any military person to say anything until we foreign ministry people have spoken. So that's why Stewart will get to go second and the poor general's going to have a chance to go third.
Andy Moravcsik is probably the number one person in this country who knows about this particular subject, so it's an honor to have him down here from Princeton University -- he's going to help us do a little policy planning here today. (Laughter.) Am I allowed to say that? That's okay, a little policy planning -- where he runs the EU program there. His next book coming out is a -- (inaudible) -- for --
ANDREW MORAVCSIK: Bob Cohen.
HUNTER: -- Bob Cohen, which he'll tell us about. He did the same at Harvard. I guess for some people they would say that's a promotion.
HUNTER: A lot of people would have a different view. But all I know is that he is the person who will set the framework, and we could not have asked for anybody better to do that.
Andy, thank you for being willing to share your wisdom with us.
MORAVCSIK: Thanks very much.
I'm wondering what an EU official might say if he or she were up here on this panel. And I think the first thing he or she might observe is typical American event. It's about the EU and NATO. We've got two NATO guys and they're both Brits, and one of them's in uniform. And you couldn't find anybody to represent the EU but an American professor. (Laughter.) And that's the way the EU usually feels about it over here, which is that Americans kind of short-change the EU in these kind of discussions of the EU and NATO.
And the first thing that person might say is that they view the EU as the most important institution in Europe and NATO as the second most important institution in Europe, and not just simply in the sense that the EU is the institution that deals with people's day-to-day concerns in Europe -- trade and environment and all that kind of thing, but in the sense that we've been talking about it today, in the sense of global power projection or regional and global power projection, that it is the EU that in its quiet, subtle, incremental way is the most important global institution for projecting power and security.
Now, it does it in a different way. Of course, it stresses more civilian techniques for doing it. It focuses more on economic power, particularly. But if one looks to the person that might be in this position as a kind of academic EU analyst -- Robert Cooper's Solana's policy planner -- he uses the fancy word "postmodern" to talk about EU power. But in a sense, he has the heart and soul of a good old- fashioned conservative British foreign policy maker.
And what he's talking about is not so different from the old kind of informal imperial actions that Britain took part in in the old days, in one sense, which is that it involves the exercise of economic power to entice countries to change their domestic systems in a way that's consistent with what the core countries in Europe want to see.
Now, it's very different than it was in the 19th century, in that the countries around Europe in the region, countries that will become members of the EU through enlargement, countries like Morocco that have been very influenced by the EU even though they're not members -- these countries are relatively self-governing. In many cases, they're democracies. But they're still very heavily influenced by Europe, and often, in the case of enlargement countries, accept tens of thousands of pages of laws pretty much verbatim at the dictate of Europe.
As Ivan Krastev has said, the EU has a much greater impact on countries in its periphery, its broader periphery, than does NATO. And the nice thing about it is it does it stealthily, it does it in a way that a country like Russia has a much more difficult time objecting to.
So we might think of the EU as, if we have a choice, our preferred instrument for influencing countries in the European region. And I think this is a view that comes with some difficulty to Americans. We're not used to institutions like the EU, and there is a tendency in the U.S. to think of countries in the European region and beyond -- and I think our discussion about Russia and NATO this morning was an example of this -- as a bunch of nails, and we have one hammer called NATO and we pound the nails. But often, Europe is a better -- European Union is a better tool.
And that's true even for countries who will not become members. Again, the case of Morocco, or the case of Turkey today, are cases of countries that have been very heavily influenced by their trade relations, their legal relations, their human rights relations with Europe. And Europe is the dominant global power when it comes to foreign aid, when it comes to trade, when it comes to development expertise, when it comes to international organizations, when it comes to the projection of global values that most countries find -- if you look at the polls -- find attractive. These are all extraordinary assets that make the EU, not NATO, the primary institution in Europe.
Now, the second thing that this European official might say is, if the EU is so important, then perhaps Americans should be asking Europe and the EU to be doing the things in the Western relationship that it already does well, not doing the things that the United States does relatively well.
Or to put it another way, we should be thinking about the transatlantic relationship more in terms of comparative advantage, where each party does the things it does relatively well.
To put it yet another way, in a world of comprehensive security or smart power, the United States is relatively good at projecting military power, the European Union is relatively good at projecting these other power resources, and perhaps at least instinctively starting by expecting people to project the kind of power they're relatively good at would be a good idea.
Now of course, if we were ivory tower professors -- heaven forbid -- we would prefer to live in a world where everybody had a nicely balanced portfolio and we all did soft power, hard power, civilian power, military power. But that's not the world we live in. Power resources like military power or the ability to do something like European enlargement or give large amounts of foreign aid are capacities that countries build up over generations. And they can't be changed overnight.
Now, you don't want to exaggerate the extent to which the United States is specialized in one thing. And I think we did have a tendency earlier today to do this. I'll give one example. In Afghanistan, 45 percent of coalition deaths today have been non- American. And if you set aside the Canadians and the eight Australians and the two South Koreans, those are all Europeans. Right? So the Europeans have paid a large price militarily fighting in Afghanistan, and we shouldn't pretend as if it's just Americans fighting and dying there.
But nonetheless, the Americans are the most effective troops, and the Europeans might be expected in a place like that, when contributing to what everybody agrees -- and we just saw it on the general's slide -- ought to be a comprehensive security effort, one might expect that the first thing we should be doing is asking them to contribute in the way they contribute best. But we don't. Our rhetoric is constantly, "Where are the European troops? Where are the European troops?" And I think that leads us to set a set of political expectations, a set of political threshold that is both politically and, from the technocratic point of view, somewhat counterproductive.
I'm not saying the EU doesn't need to up its game. The EU is not as effective at providing trade policy incentives, development assistance, help on the ground, everything that needs to be provided to a place like Afghanistan. There should be a Paddy Ashdown there and so on. I think these are great ideas. But I think we should be focusing our demands very carefully or our requests or our negotiations with European friends toward those areas that they do relatively well.
The political risk-sharing should be tailored to comparative advantage.
The third thing that the European might point out is that in fact Europe has come a very long way in recent years toward a collaborative or convergent Western view of basic strategic vision and institutions. In fact I think the West is in these respects far more cohesive than it was during the Cold War, which is not the way we instinctively think about it, but I think it's true.
Think about the most serious problem, the one we spent most of the time talking about today, which is global or out-of-area military action. During the Cold War, the Americans and the Europeans, after the end of the Korean War, almost uniformly disagreed about out-of- area military action. And if you set aside Lebanon and the Congo and a few other cases, almost every major out-of-area intervention was disagreed about, was the source of major disagreement between the Americans and Europeans. I mean, there was Suez. There was all the stuff in Latin America and so on. In fact, in many cases, the Europeans were supporting, financially supporting, people who were shooting at American allies in Latin America, or take the Libyan bombing, where -- which was supported by 4 percent of the British population, which was the country where Americans based the plane. So there was considerable amount of controversy between the allies.
Since the end of the Cold War, there is only one place of the many military interventions abroad where the Europeans and the Americans have disagreed, and that is the second Iraq war. Every other one has been consensual.
So the level of consensus is in fact extremely high, and it's masked by the particular controversy over the Iraq war, which in fact everybody agrees is, to put it charitably, a not sustainable or repeatable event.
What's more, the institutional complementarity is great. I mean, now we have Sarkozy saying, you know, there's really no difference or fundamental difference that prevents us creating institutional complementarities between NATO and the EU. And I think he's just recognizing what's basically been true for a very long time. Even the Bush administration recognized it.
So I think we've gotten to the point now where we recognize that at an institutional level and a strategic level we can work together very closely. And in fact this shouldn't come as a surprise, because the purpose of these international institutions nowadays is not to try to get every single country to show up for an operation.
I think there was some discussion earlier today, particularly with regard to Afghanistan, that gave people the impression that the ideal in NATO would be if, you know, every single member state would turn up for something like Afghanistan.
But that's not -- that was the vision of the Cold War, right, when the purpose of NATO was to create a perfectly credible, uniform defense against a foe that everybody agreed upon. And everybody agreed it would be a disaster if the hypothetical Russians came across the border in a hypothetical attack and the Danes didn't show up, right?
But now the purpose of international institutions is to encourage people to contribute more to security challenges which are, although we don't like to admit it, secondary, are in a sense voluntary, where countries are not 100 percent sure, in any given case, that they want to be fully involved.
Even the United States waffled back and forth on how much they were really committed to Afghanistan. And now we're getting back committed seriously to it. Other countries are committed to a greater or lesser extent.
We can afford in that situation to have multiple institutions, all of which help create the political will to get countries involved. And that's precisely what we have. So if the EU were involved and NATO were involved, it would be a good thing.
The final thing that I think this EU representative might say is, Americans need to understand our complicated system a little bit better. Now this is what, of course, Americans always say to Europeans. It's universal at these kind of events.
But what is it that I think Americans or this hypothetical European might say Americans need to understand about the European system? And one thing is that in fact, the European system often works better precisely because Europeans do not speak with a single voice.
Now, you always hear the opposite. You always hear, when will the Europeans have a single voice, a single telephone number, a single representative, a single this, a single that?
And I just spent last year in China. And the Chinese say the same thing because like the Americans, they're a big country with a big-country sort of 19th-century sense of how foreign policy is carried out.
And they want, and so I think 25 graduate students came up to me during the year and said, I'm writing a thesis on Europe. I want to know when it's going to have a single foreign policy with a single representative. And then it will be a great power. And we Chinese have to take them seriously.
But I think that's based on a myth. It's based on the notion that in the modern world, you need to have a single phone number and qualified majority voting and an army in order to be effective.
But often Europe is more effective precisely because it's not any of those things, because it's deliberately ambiguous, because it gives countries opportunities to be unclear and ambiguous in a productive way.
Three quick examples, and then I'll be quiet. First, EU recognition of Kosovo. You needed to get the legal situation of Kosovo clarified so aid could flow, so you could move forward, even though it was politically difficult. There were various countries who, for national reasons, couldn't deal with that, for domestic reasons or other ones. So you had the EU do it for you -- some countries being able to give plausible deniability on a bilateral level -- and the issue moves forward. Good example of ambiguity.
Second case, Iran: Europeans moving forward on Iran, where basically three countries are handling the issue and going back and telling everybody else what they did. The whole negotiation has a kind of ambiguous legal status. Nobody's really quite sure what it is. But again, Europeans are keeping an open negotiating track with Iran going for years this way.
Third case, Turkey: Europe moving forward constantly on Turkey, giving politicians complicated and interesting plausible deniability. Sarkozy, for example, has -- gives everyone the impression that he's an anti-Turkey politician, right? But Sarkozy has quietly signed off on the opening of one tranche after the next of Turkish negotiations, creating deftly rhetorical opportunities to bash Turkey while doing so. Why? Because he doesn't have to take the decision. He just has to quietly accept the EU taking the decision. And he often creates other things, like reflection groups, to kind of cover while he does it.
Again, these are cases where the EU is a distinctively useful organization precisely because it creates this kind of ambiguity. I think it would be a little more effective at that if it has a high- level political representative, instead of Solana's office, to do that, but the basic status quo where member states have another level that permits them to work together in the way that they do now is actually a pretty effective system. And the kind of slow, civilian- based, incremental way in which the Europeans work has made it the most effective institution in Europe.
Thank you. (Applause.)
HUNTER: You know, listening to that, I wish you were down here more often, talking to more people, talking to people on Capitol Hill, because the story that you just presented doesn't get out here -- doesn't get out here as effective as it needs to, so -- as we tend to believe we do it all, and the Europeans do nothing. And I think this is a marvelous antidote to that, as we try to move forward together.
Next is Stewart Eldon. The most remarkable thing I find about his career is that he's not an international relations type, he's not a classicist, he's not a person who -- who did PPE and all that nonsense. He's actually a Cambridge man, which means he's a hard scientist, and actually got a starred-first in electrical sciences.
That means, when we actually try to do something at NATO, he's likely to understand what it is.
I had the honor of serving with him when he was -- he did me a profound disservice earlier. He said he was in knee pants when I was at NATO, which says less about his youth than about the opposite quality -- served in a lot of different things, including at the United Nations; served on Ireland in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office; and before he came to NATO, he was ambassador to Ireland.
So after having a hardship post, he decided that he needed something soft and easy. He's now Her Majesty's permanent representative at NATO, which means that he sits next to the American ambassador, whoever that happens to be, and keeps him or her honest.
Stewart, thank you.
STEWART ELDON: Bob, thanks.
I'm going to use the podium, because otherwise I'll spill my papers all over the floor, and just to say I'll make sure the CFR have my speaking notes (thing ?) on the website.
But I think, in the light of what Andrew has just said, I'll not stick to them entirely, and I think it's much better to weave around them a little bit.
And I do think this is an important session. I'm very grateful to the CFR for making it part of this NATO 60th anniversary gathering.
And I think the first thing I want to say is, I think it's extremely well-timed. It is really good to be here just a little over a month after the new administration has taken office, and it's particularly good to be here at a time when French reintegration into the NATO military structure is hopefully quite imminent.
And I think I'm going to do this in a slightly different way from Andrew, but I think you'll recognize a lot of the same themes, particularly in terms of comparative advantage and particularly in terms of comprehensive security. So I hope just to bring the threads together. I don't want to get too much now into the tactical issues that relate to NATO and EU cooperation. We can come back to those in the question-and-answer period, and I suspect John McColl will have something to say about one or two of them. But I do just want to try and sketch the political-strategic background and explain a bit about why I think the time is pretty good.
And I listened very carefully -- I was at the Munich conference earlier this month, listened very carefully to the vice president underlining the Obama administration's determination to work with the wider international community and specifically with Europe. And I think that's a very good message to come out this early in the administration's term, because frankly the days when the United States and/or NATO corporately might have regarded the development of ESDP, the European Security and Defense Policy, as some sort of threat are long gone.
And it was interesting, too, hearing President Sarkozy in Munich. And he made it clear that France regarded the transatlantic alliance and European defense as complementary elements of the same policy. So while I think Andrew's right to say that there's institutional complementarity, it actually goes further, if you listen carefully, into policy.
And that's quite an important background, I think. And we, as the U.K., have long felt the same way. So the time should be ripe, as these kinds of constellations come closer, to have a look again at the development of the relationship between NATO and the EU at -- to the mutual advantage of those institutions.
But I think it's also wise to pause a little as we do this and just think about the wider debate on European security. Because it is relevant, as Andrew said. There is a comprehensiveness and the growing identity (at view ?) here. And I just want to draw attention to two strands which are going to be very relevant to NATO if, as I rather suspect, the Strasbourg/Kehl summit commissions a new strategic concept for adoption in 2010. And these issues are actually relevant on the other side of Brussels as well.
There is a difference in the sense that while NATO may find itself working on a tasked draft of a new security -- strategic concept, there isn't quite the same immediate emphasis following the work undertaken on the European security strategy by the French presidency last year. But the commitment in that updated security strategy, to build a stronger strategic partnership with NATO -- and that is EU policy -- is, I think, both welcome and significant.
And I come back again to Andrew's point about complementary and reinforcing roles that the two bodies have in reinforcing and maintaining European and international security. And as others have said earlier in this seminar, I think the first strand of the debate is about security in its traditional sense, the traditional sense of common defense and the protection of state sovereignty. Reading Bob Hagan's (ph) book last year, we may be closer to that traditional paradigm than we thought we were a while ago.
But certainly the Russian intervention in Georgia last year has (rife ?) concerns about the integrity of borders in Europe, to the point where some at Munich were arguing that we've seen a fundamental shift in the European security paradigm.
Now, I don't, myself, buy that argument, and would agree with others who said earlier in the conference that in current circumstances I find it very difficult to argue that Russia, for example, poses a direct military threat to the territory of any NATO member. I don't see that.
But since the alliance's deterrent depends ultimately on its credibility, it's entirely reasonable that it should be more visible in the contingency planning exercising it undertakes, in support of its core tasks.
That in turn though shouldn't detract from the continuing requirement to transform to more deployable and expeditionary forces. And other speakers have set out the reasons why much more eloquently than I can. But both in the context of Article 5 and in the context of crisis management, bitter experience shows that instability abroad can lead to insecurity at home. And Afghanistan is a classic, textbook case of that.
And as the NATO comprehensive political guidance that was published, at the Riga summit in 2006, makes crystal clear, the alliance requires the agility and flexibility to respond to complex and unpredictable challenges, which may emanate far from member states' borders and arise at short notice. And I think there is a comprehensive security bread basket here, if I may say so, that is very relevant to NATO.
The second strand of the debate is about new threats to our security. Their relevance, I think, is incontestable. After all, NATO invoked Article 5 for the first time in response to a terrorist attack. But I think to terrorism, you now have to add things like energy security, fueled, if that's the right verb, and it probably isn't, by the gas crisis earlier this year, cyberattack and climate security.
The key thing about these new threats is that they can really only be tackled by the international community acting together. In NATO-speak, that's the comprehensive approach that others have mentioned.
Under Articles 2 and 4 of the Washington treaty, the alliance fulfills an essential purpose in providing a forum for transatlantic discussion, of issues relating to the security of its members, and for promoting conditions of, and I quote, "stability and well-being."
It can for example provide useful advice to its members on the security of energy installations or on transit routes for gas and oil. But it is never going to be in the business of regulating energy markets or negotiating supply contracts for its members or imposing a common energy policy and implementing a common energy policy for its members.
That's, as Andrew would say quite correctly, the business of EU, national governments and many others. And that's where the comprehensive approach comes in.
Ultimately it is fundamental to our ability to prevent conflict, if you look at security in this wider sense. (Inaudible) -- such as energy security have to be addressed in close cooperation with other international states, active international institutions, including the EU, UN and OSCE.
And I think this is -- it's important to bear this in mind, because the development of NATO's relationship with the EU needs to be seen as an important subset of a wider network of relationships, designed to join up the international dots more effectively.
It's a particularly important subset, as Andrew just said, because actually the security and defense interests of the two organizations and their members are so closely intertwined.
And the issues are really complex. It's not easy to disentangle them all. One reason for that is that it's because they involve not only the institutional relationship between NATO and the EU, but the U.S.-EU relationship and the network of bilateral relationships that the U.S. has with its European allies.
And I think that as we move into the tenure of the new administration, there's going to be some interesting choices that are going to be necessary on both sides of the Atlantic on how far and what -- and in what areas this broad nexus is pursued bilaterally within NATO, where Europeans and North Americans sit together around the same table as part of the same organization, or in a format couched more in terms of a trans-Atlantic dialogue, the EU-U.S. relationship.
And I think that's going to be really thought-provoking, as we go through the next little while. And it's a nexus that I think it's a good time to explore in more detail, as we have to look at more profound things like the strategic concept.
As Andrew said, NATO and the EU bring very different capacities to the table. NATO's forte is common defense and hard security. But Afghanistan -- and I want to come back to Afghanistan at the end -- illustrates the need for the alliance to develop the limited capabilities necessary to facilitate the delivery of civil effect, too, mostly by others, but in a few difficult areas, under the direct umbrella of NATO operations.
The EU's got a much broader range of capabilities at its disposal, ranging from military capabilities focused on the Petersburg tasks -- crisis management, not common defense -- through to the rule of law, development assistance and trade policy; all of which amount to important civil capabilities of one sort or another. And it will have a very important role in developing civilian capacities and civ- mil coordination, but it's within and across international institutions.
The recent operational interaction between EU and NATO is actually perhaps more closely illustrated, or clearly demonstrated, by the international response to piracy off the Somali coast. I don't have Karl Eikenberry with my slide, but it's nevertheless quite an interesting and graphic example.
NATO used one of its standing naval maritime groups to mount a short-term operation pending the establishment of the EU Operation Atalanta, which is currently on station off the Somali coast.
NATO's longer-term involvement in anti-piracy work's currently under discussion in Brussels. And of course, Kosovo is another theater in which NATO and the EU are both engaged, and this time with separate and contingency roles.
(Inaudible) -- institutions can offer to each other, ranging from political synergies -- for example, in dealing with Russia over Georgia, as we saw in the summer -- or through support in operations. And closer cooperation between NATO and ESDP should further strengthen European capabilities in support of NATO.
Last year's French presidency, it wasn't widely noticed, but did actually give a useful push to EU capability development, including some ideas on pushing multinationalism by setting a challenging level of ambition, which takes account of the fact that Europeans need to focus much more capability investment on enablers. As Karl Eikenberry commented earlier, it's an uncomfortable fact that the great majority of European allies currently fall well below the line in terms of capability generation and deployable forces.
So we need reform in this area in both NATO and the EU. There is a joint interest in both bodies in doing that. And it's particularly important at this time of economic difficulty, where they're simply going to have to do things better, more effectively, and produce more results with less.
Within NATO, the prospect of French reintegration and the increasing stake it will bring for France in the NATO command structure and defense planning process should provide new impetus for reform. And within the EU, both the current Czech and future Swedish presidencies are as keen as their French predecessor to make ESDP work better. And part of this should involve new structures designed to improve efficiency and reduce -- (inaudible).
So I hope that in the run-up to Strasbourg, we'll see in short hand changes to the NATO defense planning process designed to put the emphasis squarely on capabilities delivered rather than overall numbers. Enablers are often more important than untrained or unsophisticated boots on the ground.
These changes should also deliver clear prioritization of alliance requirements, in accordance with the political guidance that should emerge from the revised strategic concepts. And they ought to be coupled with steps to promote more coherent and mutually reinforcing capability planning within NATO and the EU. And this is key. We ought to see additional proposals for multinationalization of capability development and operational deployment in terms of, for example, logistic support and multinational helicopter and other units.
And these multinational initiatives should be deployable in both the NATO and the EU frameworks.
And finally, we need to see increased use of the EU-NATO Capabilities Group and the informal high-level NATO-EU group proposed by the French as to promote cooperation between the two organizations.
Now, if that all sounds rather anoraky and technical in nature, these reforms are pretty fundamental to the success of both the NATO and the European endeavor. And none of them should cross institutional red lines.
But if that's all rather abstract, the realities of NATO-EU cooperation are not. And here I want to come back to Afghanistan. It's going to be a major theme at Strasbourg/Kehl. The summit will come shortly after the conclusion of the U.S. Strategic Policy Review, and it should help set the course of the future international effort.
As at Bucharest, I think it more than likely that there will be a declaration on Afghanistan. And the summit is also likely to review the comprehensive strategic plan for Afghanistan it agreed last year.
Now, ISAF troop contributors, as at the Bucharest summit, are likely to be associated in some way with both these documents, though the formal plan is an internal one; it's not public.
And one lesson of the past year has been the vital importance of joining up the various threads of the international effort. We heard earlier today the simple fact that there will be no success in Afghanistan through military means alone. And without a more coordinated international -- (inaudible) -- on both the civil and the military fronts, and better international burden-sharing, we risk, as David Miliband has put it, strategic stalemate.
Improved NATO-EU cooperation, within the context of the comprehensive approach I'd mentioned earlier, is essential to avoiding this. And Afghanistan must move higher up the EU agenda.
There's a lot to be done in terms of mobilizing the instruments at the EU's disposal to support development, attack corruption in the narco-trade, and promote justice and the rule of law.
And NATO and the EU need urgently to resolve between them any remaining impediment to the effective deployment of the EU policing shield. And together with the U.S.-led coalition, both NATO and the EU need to discuss how best to expedite the training of the Afghan police -- we covered that at some length in the last session -- because decent police is crucial to the sustainability of democratic rule in Afghanistan, and to the success of the international mission.
I just want to conclude by saying I hope what I've said illustrates that the broad political background is promising in terms of improving NATO-EU cooperation in the short to the medium term.
The days of cutthroat competition are over. But actually as I'm sure we'll discuss later, the institutional challenges still remain daunting, when it comes to making things work.
Reform on both sides of Brussels is essential to remake synergy and improve efficiency. But actually the gains are really considerable and make the effort worthwhile. And I have to say, as so many have said during the last day and a half, that Afghanistan would be a crucial and important early win.
Thank you. (Applause.)
HUNTER: Stewart, thank you very, very much for that very fine presentation. It's remarkable, as you talk about this, how far the relationship has come from the days, you know -- (inaudible) -- 10 years ago or only a few years ago, where our secretary of Defense, in commenting upon the effort by the European Union -- (inaudible) -- to have a planning staff of 50 people -- (inaudible) -- commented that that was the worst threat to NATO in its entire history.
My kind of roguish answer was, if NATO is really threatened by 50 men and a dog, it's got real problems. But this is I think in part forced by necessity and, as Andy was saying, kind of a growing up of the relationship, as we recognize that more really unites us, the practical things, than divides us.
Third speaker is indeed from the European Union. He's an operational commander of European Union forces. The fact that he looks like he's a NATO person is not at all coincidental, because he as deputy supreme allied commander Europe is, in circumstances which are operated under the so-called Berlin Plus agreement, the operational commander for the EU.
An extraordinary career. I don't think Britain has been in a scrap through your entire history, except maybe the Falklands, when you weren't there on the front line, whether it was Northern Ireland or Sierra Leone or Bosnia, Kosovo.
In Afghanistan, he was the person who started out this thing we call the International Security Assistance Force way back, I guess, in 2001. And he was the deputy commander of the Multi-National Force in Iraq, meaning that he was the commander of the British contingent, and therefore had an extraordinary degree of experience bringing of course to, from our perspective, as important a job as any British Army officer can have, which is deputy SACEUR.
Sir John, thank you very much for being with us and sharing your views.
GENERAL SIR JOHN MCCOLL: Thank you. I'll also use a podium, given my lack of blood flow.
MCCOLL: As you've heard, my current appointment is DSACEUR, which gives me not only responsibilities within NATO, but I also sit on the EU side of the house, under Berlin Plus, as the operational commander for the EU operation in Bosnia.
Going back to NATO, one of the jobs I have on behalf of DSACEUR -- of SACEUR is as NATO's strategic coordinator with the EU. So what I intend to talk about today is the practical realities of cooperation between the EU and NATO. I don't intend to indulge in the exchange of ideas, which has been done far more eruditely than I could possibly do by the two previous speakers. I'll just talk about the practicalities, and that's probably appropriate for somebody in uniform.
However, before I do that, just a couple of points of context. There's absolutely no question that the EU and NATO must cooperate. That's come across, I think, very, very strongly over the last couple of days from virtually every speaker.
The two organizations contain within their ranks members who are among the most powerful -- and, indeed, the most prosperous, at least up until recently -- nations in the world. And they can be a tremendous force in good, and indeed they have already been a tremendous force for good.
The successive presidencies of the EU -- and they change every six months -- always produce a list of priorities, and at least number one or two in those priorities is always improving the relationship between the EU and NATO. The EU special representative constantly refers to the requirement to achieve that. The NATO secretary general also talks about the requirement to improve it. They talk about cooperation in the security and defense spheres, the requirement to cooperate and not compete, to maximize resources.
And clearly the need is manifest. The will is obviously there. But has it been translated into reality? And if not, why not?
Well, one issue is that the two organizations do not regard themselves as essentially complementary. I.e., NATO, a military security alliance, and then EU being a political and economic union. The EU, as we've heard earlier, has a wide range of tools that it can bring to bear on any particular issue. It has a common foreign and security policy and a (European ?) security and defense policy, which has progressively been developed over the last decade or so. The EU therefore plays an important role in international (affairs ?), embracing all its strengths and resources, including, naturally, security and defense.
However, as the EU has developed its identity alongside NATO, many have recognized the dangers of creating duplicate systems and of wasting resources, of two sets of headquarters structures, two sets of enablers and two sets of forces. In order to avoid the creation of unnecessary duplication, the EU and NATO agreed to a set of arrangements which are known as Berlin Plus, as I've said earlier. These arrangements set out how NATO's common assets and capabilities can be used to support EU military operations where the alliance as a whole is not engaged.
And in both -- here today and, indeed, in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in 2003, the arrangements worked well and are, indeed, today working well.
But because the arrangements are not -- are confined to military operations, they do not cover the sort of practical situations in which the two organizations find themselves today. So let me give you a couple of examples.
In both Kosovo and Afghanistan, NATO and the EU work alongside each other in the same operational space, but they do so carrying out distinct functions. In both areas, NATO is fulfilling the military security role, and the EU is carrying out a civilian ESDP mission. In Kosovo, that is the rule of law, justice and policing; and in Afghanistan, police training and mentoring.
It would clearly make sense for the two organizations to be able to coordinate, cooperate and function as a partnership, particularly on the ground; not least because the respective NATO and EU missions have many contributing nations in common. It would make sense, but it's not proved possible in organizational terms, and why is that?
Well, I'm sure some of you know this, but I'll go over it because I think it's important. The problem can be traced back to the difference in NATO and EU membership. Europe has been a turbulent continent for centuries, and in a number of areas this has left a legacy of complex political historical issues. One of the issues is the relationship between Cyprus and Turkey. There are a number of aspects to this complex issue, but the effect -- and it's the effect that I'm interested in -- is that NATO is restricted in its ability to pass information to the EU. And that result of that is extremely debilitating.
I'm not attributing responsibility or blame to either side of the issue, but merely pointing out that it had the effect of preventing the two organizations -- preventing from developing any formal procedures to allow for cooperation and coordinating theaters where the two organizations are operating side by side.
With Kosovo, it's meant that the two international organizations with responsibility for aspects of security and law and order are prevented from producing sensible, necessary and robust arrangements for cooperating on the ground.
For example, in a crowd control situation, where responsibility may be passed as the situation escalates from what we describe as first responder, second responder, third responder; first responder being the Kosovan police, second responder being the international police presence, currently EULEX, and then on to the international military presence, KFOR. There is no formal arrangements for cooperation between the international police presence and the international military presence. And the prospects of such formal arrangements being made in the current environment are zero.
Talk about specifics: March the 17th, last year, in Mitrovica, we had a riot situation involving the local police -- UNMIK(P) then, it was a U.N. mission then -- and KFOR. The force on the ground dealt with what was a very difficult situation well. But tragically, on that day, a Ukrainian UNMIK policeman lost his life. Forty-eight members of KFOR and more than 30 members of the UNMIK police force were injured.
Were the same situation to happen tomorrow, EULEX's IPUs, as they're named -- international integrated police units -- would take the place of UNMIK(P)'s FPUs, as they were known, former police units. However, the arrangements for cooperation would be informal, rather than formal.
Now, I would suggest to you there's a time for informality between organizations, but the middle of a volatile, crowd-control situation, where lethal force may be used, is not one of them.
Now, this situation would be completely intolerable were it not for the efforts of those on the ground. They have developed between themselves closely coordinated parallel and identical procedures.
Over the last two years, in addition to this, where the developing political situation has meant that coordination between the parts of the international community is essential, that coordination has only been possible through informal meetings, with no agenda and no minutes. We are still today in a situation where even to mention the idea of practical cooperation between the two organizations on the ground is to publicly -- is to risk censure from within the organization, and by that I mean from within NATO.
Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, this difficulty has meant that the EU policing mission has been unable to sign a memorandum of understanding with NATO's International Security Assistance Force. As a consequence, rather than have one over-arching MOU with ISAF, it has had to enter into 14 individual MOUs with the nations of the PRTs. So, individual ones.
Now, we've been going through, over the last 18 months or so, the protracted negotiations to deliver those. We haven't achieved the full 14 yet. There are still some to go. In addition to that, discussions about a tracker system to enable ISAF forces to recognize EU vehicles on the ground and thereby dramatically reduce the prospects of a blue-on-blue have dragged on. Again, it's taken around two years as we try to navigate carefully through the sensitivities of passing NATO classified information to the EU.
And when the system is introduced, what will be introduced will be a system which allows NATO to see where the EU are, but not the EU to see where NATO are, because of the difficulty of passing classified information.
Now, there are other examples of our inability to cooperate and turn political intent to synergize our efforts into practical reality in the operational, training and equipment spheres. If acting together on the ground in areas of crisis is an important part of nations' views -- (inaudible) -- then we will have to grapple with the hard political issues which are currently preventing us from developing this relationship.
There is no lack of will from the military side. Indeed, at an individual level, as I've tried to explain, on-the-ground cooperation is excellent. But we need the right framework within which to work. The issue isn't a technical one caused by generals, diplomats and officials. The issue is one of political cooperation. And leadership in providing appropriate support to those individuals whom our nations place on the ground in dangerous missions abroad is required.
The current political discourse that we have -- and there's a lot of momentum around the question of EU-NATO relations at the moment -- is encouraging, really encouraging. But my concern is that it will be absolutely nothing more than empty rhetoric unless progress is made in easing the political obstacles that stand in the way of the practical relationship between NATO and the EU.
Leadership's required. Those on the ground in harm's way, both working for the EU and for NATO, I would suggest, deserve nothing less.
Thank you. (Applause.)
HUNTER: Well, so, John, thank you very much for your candor and your wisdom on that. I can see now why your country puts you in a top position. But this is exactly the kind of sobering assessment we need.
I want to say one word before the first question. Since this is the last session, and I want to catch people before they leave, I want to say, on behalf of everybody here, a profound thanks to the Council on Foreign Relations, to Jim Goldgeier and our dear friend Charlie Kupchan here, who -- Charlie, you've managed to bring together an extraordinary group of people, which I think underscores your own leadership in the profession and this particular issue. So I'm honored to be associated with your work here, as elsewhere.
We had the occasion to go to the Emerald City not so long ago -- also known as Dubai, but if you haven't been there, you better go in a hurry, before it disappears.
Let me ask the first question. Keying off on what Sir John just said, what is the -- if you look at it in terms of troops on the ground, people risking their lives, a question of how NATO and the E -- and ESTP are able to work together, what do you think the most important immediate priority is to get done, and how do you think we need to get it done? If I could ask all three of you.
MR. : Go ahead.
MCCOLL: You want me to start?
MR. : Please.
MR. : Yeah. Go ahead. You're the man.
MCCOLL: Okay. The most important issue, from the point of current operations today, is to release this issue of the passage of information. What stands in the way of quite a lot of the difficulties is the simple problem about being able to communicate classified information from NATO to the EU. And when I say "classified," I mean (NATO-EU ?) restricted.
HUNTER: How much of that is my country doing this, as opposed to --
MCCOLL: No, no. No, it's not your country.
HUNTER: All right.
MCCOLL: It is connected with the broader political issue --
MCCOLL: -- associated with, as I said, with Cyprus. I'm sure there are other political issues in there which others may wish to refer to, such as Turkish access into the EU, and also issues associated with the European Defense Agency which probably impact on the issue as well. But it is that issue which stands in the way of cooperation. And --
MR. : That put lives at stake, doesn't it?
MCCOLL: I'm sorry?
MR. : Puts lives at risk --
MCCOLL: It -- what it does -- it adds friction. I talked about the two years it's taken to negotiate arrangements between the EUPOL and PRTs, rather than an overarching MOU. That's a friction in the system which is unnecessary. I've talked about the difficulties of getting a blue track force tracker system for EUPOL -- again, two years in the making.
These are all frictions in the system, which, as you rightly say, put people's lives at risk.
The nub of the problem is this question of classified information, but behind that, there's the broader political issue which requires resolution. And I do think that it's going to require a great deal of heavy lifting to make any progress on that, on that issue.
But that's a political issue, which others may wish to address and comment on.
HUNTER: Yeah. Let's kick it up here a notch. Let's see. Stewart?
ELDON: Well, I just want to say that as a diplomat and as a member of the North Atlantic Council, I'm acutely conscious of this. And we would not be doing our job properly is we took an irresponsible approach to situations in which people's lives are potentially put at risk.
So I attach a great deal of importance to this. But as John has said, it's quite a complex web. The nub of the problem is information transfer, which in term implies security agreements.
And I also want to say that the fault lies not on just one side of Brussels. It lies on both sides of Brussels. And what we need to do, as negotiators, as diplomats, as enablers, is to create enough confidence to make sure that we can resolve those outstanding issues, in terms of security agreements.
And there are likely to be, in practice, a number of elements to this, in addition to the straight security agreements. One outstanding issue is that of Turkey's status. (Inaudible.)
And there are, I want to say, a number of helpful proposals around out there, which ought to help build confidence to get this done. And one of those is a French -- (inaudible) -- proposal for an informal NATO-EU group composed of the two secretaries-general and their advisers, to discuss current operational issues.
Now, if that can be made to work, I think, it would have a useful effect in increasing confidence, to the point where some of these things, you might be able to sort of undo some -- (inaudible) -- that has tangled things up. But it's really complicated.
The saving grace there, as John has said, is the way in which people on the ground manage to make the relationships work. And I think to be fair, there has been some loosening of the political impediments, in terms of that practical cooperation on the ground. It's where you run into the institutional elements that you have problems.
MCCOLL: So if I can just come back on that, I think, the concept of the high-level group is an encouraging one. However it is noticeable that that suggestion was made, I think, at a meeting on EU- NATO relations convened by the French, at the beginning of their presidency in September.
That EU high-level council has not met yet. And I suspect that what's behind that is the difficulty of this question of the passive information, with anything that might be construed as being a formal construct.
MORAVCSIK: I defer to my colleagues on the nuts and bolts on the NATO side operationally. On a slightly longer time frame, a lot of these issues have been tied up with defense industrial issues.
And so I would be very pessimistic if I shared the view of General Eikenberry that progress in increasing the effectiveness of European forces, over the medium term, would require increases in defense spending.
But I'm persuaded by those people, you know, Mike O'Hanlon, other people, Center for European Reform report and so on that, you know, gains are possible through increases in the efficiency of European spending.
But that -- the politics of that is very much tied up with the politics of the defense-industrial adjustment -- that the silver lining of a kind of economic crisis like this is that it's going to force some defense-industrial adjustment.
Now, in the short term that might be problematic. In the medium term, it might be positive. So I think there's going to be opportunities for a certain amount of greater cooperation, greater standardization looking forward, and if we get proactive about that, there'll be opportunities to move forward on that.
There have been efforts in years past that haven't moved forward so well, but over the longer term, you know, a plausible argument can be made that the willingness of the British and French to move forward in the late '90s had a defense-industrial component to it too. So I think let's keep an eye on that aspect.
HUNTER: Please. Starting with Andrew -- Andy Pierre.
QUESTIONER: Thank you, gentlemen, for your remarks. It is -- very interesting day and a half.
There have been a few brief, fleeting references to, you know, the latest thing, which is France's prospective military integration into NATO. But that has not really been fleshed out in a significant way. I guess it was Ambassador Eldon who said that would be impetus for reform, an opportunity for reform.
So my question to our two Brussels-based speakers is, could you sort of talk a little bit about what significance -- political, military, any way you wish -- France's military integration will actually have? Will NATO feel different two years from today than it feels now because of France's return?
HUNTER: Why don't we take, actually, two or three. I think it'd be a good idea.
Our Turkish friend here, and then Ambassador Boyden Gray.
QUESTIONER: Thank you very much. My name is Ikstan Geloot (ph) and I'm with the embassy of Turkey. And I was previously posted in NATO Brussels.
I actually have a comment, since there have been some direct references here to this issue, which I've also been partially involved in. It's a complex issue, as the ambassador and general have said, and I won't go into the nuts and bolts. But I don't want to leave a misleading impression of -- the audience here. Turkey is fully in favor of NATO-EU relations. We've been involved from the beginning, from the '90s. We're also involved in the (FPP ?) operations. So we have no intention of hindering NATO-EU cooperation.
As it is, the rules of the game were set previously and agreed by both organizations. So our expectation is simply that the EU, especially, lives up to those expectations and what was previously agreed within Kosovo, within Afghanistan. General, I'm sure you know. We're all -- from the beginning, we have troops on both borders at the moment. So the issue of the matter of lives, of course, is very important for us as well.
Security of information. There is a NATO-EU security agreement, and within that context I think the passage of information is possible. So, as the ambassador said, we also have to look at the EU side about what's happening and why information is not being distributed within the EU, and why the EU did not come to consult with NATO before it launched its operation, its mission in Afghanistan, why the EU did not consult with NATO when it was preparing the revised version of the European security strategy.
So it is a complex issue, but I just wanted to highlight those points. Thanks very much.
HUNTER: Thank you.
QUESTIONER: Well, I won't need a microphone unless I'm supposed to be transcribed.
HUNTER: The NSA picks it up anyway. You don't have to -- (off mike). (Laughter.)
QUESTIONER: No, just a comment to support this discussion, and a question, I suppose, having to do with whether the little problem I'm about to describe has ever been fixed. It wasn't fixed when I left some months ago. But about the coordination, it isn't just the EU, it's also the United States. On the EU, yes, the EU can't talk to -- NATO can't talk to the EU. On our side, I must confess, it is religious faith in the Department of Defense that we can only talk to Europe, on anything remotely involving the military, through NATO, because to talk to the EU -- for the U.S. to talk to the EU, it would undermine NATO. So we can talk to NATO, but NATO can't talk to the EU, which means that we cannot talk to the EU.
And what this means is I get a letter, when I asked -- it was 18, 20, 24 months ago -- when I asked Solana for the name and number of the person with whom U.S. government military should coordinate on the civilian side, so as to coordinate police and troop movements, aid, development, et cetera, drug arrests, and about four weeks later I got a nice letter back saying, "Here is the man and here is his telephone number. Can I have someone on your side who would be the counterparty?"
And I could not get the letter responded. I banged on the secretary of State, I banged on the secretary of Defense; no one would respond to the letter, because we do not correspond with the European Union. And when I went to Afghanistan with your moderator -- it was, I think, of course a NATO mission, but the plane was financed by or flown by the U.S. government. And consequently, I had no rank when I was in Afghanistan. I was not treated as a government official of any sort. I could not go to any official meetings. I was, as far as the trip was concerned, a complete civilian. And I'm glad to be one again. (Laughter.)
HUNTER: I wish I'd known. I would have complained on your behalf. Those are three questions, so three comments.
ELDON: Well, let me have a try. Don't, please, knock complete civilians, Boyden. I think there's a lot to be said for them, actually.
But just to take the three points, and I'll do them in reverse order. I think that the sort of stuff that you talked about is changing.
And I thought it was very revealing that when we were discussing parity and diverting the NATO Standing Maritime Group to do a job which was needed at the request of the World Food Program, and that the EU was in the process of standing up Operation Atalanta, the emphasis was much more on "There's a problem, and we must collectively fix it," rather than "Who should collectively fix it?"
And I think that's a very good sign. And to be honest, it's only common sense. If you look at the area of the Gulf of Oman, at the number of ships passing through it, at the number of piracies that are going on, that just really makes good sense. So I think, in terms of the attitudes of the players, we're seeing a distinct and helpful evolution.
I won't get drawn into the complexities of the institutional issues. I chanced my arm often enough on that in Brussels, and the results do tend to go on for rather a long time. So I'm just going to limit myself, in response to our Turkish colleague, to being actually very British, and to say what we are concerned to see is results. And we must not lightly countenance situations which mean that we are less effective than we should be in doing the things both organizations have to do.
And I think that there is a change. You know, when the NATO-EU arrangements were negotiated, this was all very much in the spirit of Berlin Plus, where the concept was that one organization would be doing the job. We're now in a situation where we're increasingly looking at theaters in which both NATO and the EU are likely to be involved, with their own mandates, doing different things, but as part of the global whole.
And I think we need to make sure that the arrangements we have in place allow that to happen, and also the arrangements that we have in place take account of the evolving membership of both organizations, which has changed since those arrangements were negotiated. But I just want to preserve the British focus on results -- indeed, some practical outcomes.
French reintegration. In one sense, you could argue that it won't make much difference, in the sense that France has contributed for a long time to NATO operations, and it has monitored the goings-on in the NATO command structure. And for example, in ACT in Norfolk, France has consistently filled posts in that headquarters to a much higher fill rate than other allies. So in one sense, you could argue it's not going to make that much difference.
In another sense though, politically it is very important, I think. It would be very politically important to see France back in the integrated structure. And certainly that will look different, because part of this will be, part of the return of the French will be, a number of command posts, quite a large number of command posts, because of their military contribution, and all that goes with it.
So I think NATO will look different. I think it will feel different. And I think that as I've discussed this with my French colleagues and counterparts, we've both realized just how much of a common stake we have in doing what a lot of people have talked about, which is improving the alliance's business processes. I think that's very helpful.
MCCOLL: (Off mike.) But I absolutely take the point about the Turkish contribution to operations, both in Kosovo and Afghanistan, which you mentioned. What you didn't mention was that the Turkish contribution to the EU operation that I command is significant.
In fact, I think, you're the second or third largest troop contributor to the EU operation in Bosnia, which I think is worthy of mention. And the work that you do in all those theaters is first class.
My purpose in raising the issues that I've done is not in any way -- (inaudible). It's simply to make the point, make the point that I disagree with those who suggest that muddling through is acceptable.
I find quite a lot of -- (inaudible) -- which suggests that because we're making this work on the ground, to a degree, that it's okay. It's not okay. It's not okay when -- (inaudible) -- which has taken two years to put into effect. When we do get it in, it will be suboptimal.
It's not okay that we have a handover between piracy missions. Absolutely they did come one after the other. But there was no handover on the ground. There was no situational awareness passed between the two, because the two can't communicate. That's not okay.
So I just -- we need to come back to the point that we need to move this forward. And we mustn't accept that this suboptimal arrangement we have is in any way acceptable, because our people on the ground deserve better.
In terms of the French issue and reintegration, I'll summarize what I think we would expect from it. The first thing is a greater understanding of the EU, of NATO issues. And I hope that what will flow from that is that whilst we do have to make things work, to work around what I've described, there's greater latitude to allow us to do it, greater freedoms that go with that greater understanding.
I also hope that that understanding will lead to a constructive addressing of the substantial political issues. (Inaudible.) So I hope it will move forth. (Inaudible.)
I hope we'll see significant French officer participation in the future establishment eye of the command structure. The French have a lot of very talented, very experienced officers. And we need them.
We've got some of them at the moment, but not enough.
So I'm looking forward to working with more of them. I think they'll add a great deal to the alliance. And alongside that, we'll see their (participation ?) in the budgetary structures that -- they already contribute significantly to the budget, but more so. That will follow. And also, as we've heard earlier, getting them fully integrated into the defense timing process -- so will that.
I hope -- and I must say this, because I'm responsible to SACEUR for force generation. I'm the chap who goes down with a tin cup asking nations to contribute, on his behalf -- I was -- hope we will seen an increased contribution to operations. I would say that to every nation, but I would particularly say it to France, because they are going to take significant roles in our command structure, and along with that command profile comes a certain responsibility. And we look forward to seeing that being developed over time. I'm sure it'll take a little while.
And the final area --
MORAVCSIK: Particularly if they would take over the NATO restaurant. I think it'd be very important. (Laughter.)
MCCOLL: (Chuckles.) We're all in favor of that.
And the final point I'd make is on the question of the comprehensive approach. NATO's political -- comprehensive political (garden ?) makes it clear that security won't be delivered by military means alone. And it says that it places a premium on close cooperation amongst international organizations.
Now, there's been some discussion within NATO on exactly what a comprehensive approach is. And I think it would be fair to say that impacting on that dialogue has been the view amongst some members that the EU has a particular capacity to deal across the instruments of power in a way that NATO probably can't to the same degree and probably shouldn't.
And I hope that as -- and that has been blocking, I think, to a degree, our development of a -- of the modalities to deliver on the comprehensive approach. And I hope that with the French integration into NATO, we'll see an understanding of what we need to do to be able to deliver on that in a more direct and constructive way. We've had a lot of talk about the comprehensive approach, but as Karl Eikenberry put it very well when he said that we can do it in practice but you can't do it in theory. I hope it would help us be able to do it in theory as well as in practice.
QUESTIONER: I actually want to pose a question rather than make a comment, which is, is the case of Cyprus typical of lots of cases, or is it unique? Because it -- when you look at EU decision-making, particularly in foreign policy, most people are inclined to think of the complex of issues that arise around Greece, Macedonia, Cyprus -- a little bit Turkey, but mostly Greece, Macedonia and Cyprus -- as uniquely difficult in the EU, particularly with regard to foreign policy, but actually with regard to some of the civilian issues as well.
Lots of other countries object to things and make a fuss, but often that's so they can get some sort of opt-out, side payment, arrangement which settles the concern, and then the issue is settled. That area causes more than its share of persistent objection, which causes problems that persist for a long time.
So if that were true in this case too, then if that issue were resolved, then, you know, actually, this relationship might work well. So I'm wondering if this is really a kind of exceptional case that, you know, really needs to be dealt with, or whether it's typical of a whole lot of problems in the EU and NATO that, you know, even if we solve the Cyprus problem, they would probably be worse ?)
HUNTER: Andy, have a go.
MORAVCSIK: Let me try and have a go at that. Actually, I'm probably not the best person to comment on this, because the first meeting I ever attended when I joined the Foreign Office as a young third secretary in 1976 and went to New York was with the government of Cyprus. And the last meeting I chaired when I left New York as deputy permanent representative was with the government of Cyprus. And the faces have changed, but I'm not sure the arguments have.
So I think the problem goes far wider than an EU dimension. And it is very complicated. There are a whole host of interests at stake. There's territorial division, there's religion, there's culture, there's ethnicity. There's a whole host of things. I think there are some hopeful signs now, and that's partly due to a change in the political constellation on the islands. It's partly due to a whole host of other things.
But I wouldn't characterize it as a totally EU-related problem. It's not. But it's a very difficult one. It's a long one. And if I think how long it took us to resolve Northern Ireland, where some, but not all, similar factors were involved, it takes a long time.
ELDON: I think the specific answer to your question is yes, if there was movement on the Cyprus access to a security agreement. The difference between Cyprus and the other members of the EU is that Cyprus doesn't have a security agreement. And therefore, the protocol doesn't exist. If that problem was resolved, would it unlock the access to information? My understanding is that it will. I'm sure that there other other issues associated with EU accession, (EDA ?), that we'd have to deal with, but the specifics of, for example, Blue Force Tracker I spoke about, I can't understand why that wouldn't -- I think that would go away.
HUNTER: Well, we've got about 40 days and 40 nights before Strasbourg/Kehl; maybe we can get it done.
One more round of questions. We have -- well, actually several people here. The gentleman here, Jan (sp), and this gentleman, and then I've got two more. So we'll take at least three. Maybe we'll take all five of them.
QUESTIONER: Hi. Stewart Patrick, here at the council. My question is for Sir John, although if Ambassador Eldon or anyone would jump in --
HUNTER: Could you speak up, please.
QUESTIONER: Yes. This is for Sir John, but if Ambassador Eldon or Andy want to jump in, that would be great.
The question has to do with the relative roles of NATO and the EU as exporters of security to a region that we haven't spent that much time talking about, and that's Africa. And I was wondering whether or not, Sir John, you could speak about how you see the EU and NATO engagement proceeding in Africa. NATO obviously has some combat and logistical capabilities as well. EU is full spectrum civilian capabilities.
They've both been involved to some degree in supporting the UNAMID and, before that, AMIS, I believe, mission in Darfur.
There are counterterrorism, peacekeeping, stabilization and reconstruction contingencies on the continent. How do you -- in your experience, how has the cooperation between these two entities been? And does the creation of -- by the United States of the Africa Command bode any different level of engagement?
QUESTIONER: Jan Lodal, Atlantic Council and other places. But I -- start with a brief statement. I think that these kinds of operational problems really are very, very important. I think that they are the source of a lot of the difficulties that Boyden faces when he calls the Pentagon, for example, because they seem to reinforce the idea that this is a bad idea, this EU-NATO stuff, and particularly because they're operators, and so they say this gets in the way.
So now we have in the U.S. a new president. We have a national security adviser who's a former SACEUR, who knows perfectly well what needs to be fixed and all these sorts of things. Wouldn't it make sense not to try to solve these individual problems at this point in history but rather to fix some of the structural problems? Why in the world, as the commander, don't you have the authority to deal -- to make decisions on what kind of information can be shared or not shared? Military commanders have that authority everywhere in the world, certainly up to some level. And so that's one example.
But across the board, wouldn't this be the time to really bundle up a whole bunch of issues like this that have impacted our ability to operate, and more so now in the context of cooperation with the EU, and go beyond Berlin Plus and set some new rules for going forward?
HUNTER: I love it.
Gentleman here. No, right there. You. Sorry.
QUESTIONER: Ole Weber (sp) from Copenhagen. So as the kind of almost continental European missing on the panel, I must say -- and --
MR. : Would you like my chair? (Laughter.)
QUESTIONER: (Chuckles.) No, I was very, very impressed by the way that you managed to get us beyond the old discussions that we have had far too many times. So I'm very -- I'm generally very pleased with this way of approaching things.
But there was one puzzling absence in the way things were discussed, in my view, and that was the question of U.S.-EU relations. It was partly raised from over here.
And I wondered if -- we touched very briefly over these days on the question of new issues in the agenda, new things that potentially might be part of what we are dealing with in the future, questions like climate change, organized crime and so on; why we couldn't make the case this is part of the security agenda; you can make the case that it's not. And all of these kind of borderline cases are not very easily just put on the NATO agenda and accepted there, because there are well-known reasons who some countries would oppose the idea of just expanding the NATO (remit ?), and also there is a certain power structure in NATO which is not always the one that all of us want to go under.
So it seems to me that a lot of these broader political discussions really will depend more on a U.S.-EU discussion. And it still remains a little puzzling why that relationship generally is moving so slowly and why we find it so difficult to develop kind efficient organizational formats there.
So it seems to me that -- and then you can also make a more general argument that we talked yesterday a lot about the very likely prospect that NATO is generally less and less efficient as a political forum. It has its specific capabilities, but it's not a decision- making, policy-developing, dynamic political forum.
So where will the political-political aspects go? It seems to me that they will in the long-term future be more a question of U.S.-EU relations. So my question for those of you who might want to answer is really what is the relationship between relationships here? I mean what is the relationship between the NATO-EU relationship and the U.S.-EU relationship? If you could fit that small dimension into a broader institutional picture.
HUNTER: Good question. Let's just take two more, unless there are more. Gail Maddox (sp), in the back there?
QUESTIONER: Thank you. Mine really had a lot to do with what Stewart Patrick addressed on Africa and AFRICON. But let me just expand it out a little bit and also ask you to talk on the battle groups, the EU battle groups. What's -- you know, what's the state right there? What are the complications and all, and NATO and EU cooperation in that realm?
HUNTER: And I think there was one more question here in the center? Yes, thank you.
QUESTIONER: I, in fact, work in the U.K. delegation of NATO, so I'd better address my question to Mr. Moravcsik, if I may. (Laughter.) Not wise to address your bosses.
There were two models for EU or European-U.S. cooperation. One is block-to-block, which is effectively what happens in EU-U.S. cooperation. Yes? The other is joint working. You take decisions that have been prepared by a joint secretariat. Do you have a view on which of those is better? Because you've got two very different mechanisms.
And if I may be -- prepared a second, perhaps slightly rhetorical one?
QUESTIONER: We've heard a lot about what the U.S. wants from the Europeans in NATO -- i.e., more troops, more in Afghanistan. What's the U.S. offering? Thank you.
HUNTER: Before going to questions, I want to just make a little announcement, to show that things sometimes take a while, but they do get done. The United States Senate has just decided that, after 220 years, those of us who live in the District of Columbia get to vote for someone in the House of Representatives. So you -- Pardon?
MR. : Not in the Senate?
HUNTER: Not in the Senate. So we now will all have to change our license plates. We can no longer say "Taxation Without Representation."
Please, you three want to finish up on the last round here?
MCCOLL: Dealing first, then, with the roles of NATO and the EU in Africa, as you say, NATO currently is involved in -- with no great significant role. I mean, there is support, there is advice, and there is the coordination of logistic support in terms of the movement of African units as and when required. But I have not detected any great appetite to become involved to any greater extent in Africa. Clearly, the appetite for that would depend upon, first of all, political will, and then a capacity to so become involved.
I think that it was interesting when we were looking at the options to deal with piracy off the coast of -- of Africa, and particularly that was emanating from Somalia, it was clearly that the issue was one which -- the substance of the issue, it was occurring on land.
But the various options that were outlined; there was difficulty in terms of generating political will. And indeed the military -- (inaudible) -- in that way.
And so we dealt with it as we were able to, within the resources and within the degrees of political will that were available, which is to deal with it, as you heard earlier, in terms of mounting an anti- piracy mission in the sea.
So I don't see that changing, unless there is a significant reduction in the level of commitment, across the alliance. (Inaudible.) So I don't see that changing. And I don't see the advent of AFRICOM changing -- (inaudible). The ambassador may wish to comment on the issue of political will.
In terms of the role of the commander, in the release of information under his command, that may well be the case. And you have a great deal more leeway when you're operating within a coalition of the willing, primarily operating under national auspices; very different when you're operating within a NATO environment.
And there are specific protocols associated with the release of information, over which the commander on the ground does not have the control that he might like. He is controlled by the protocols that are in place.
I think it extends beyond that. It extends beyond that. The commander on the ground in ISAF, for example, has no resources, financial resources, for example, to do anything. You heard last night that George Robertson was complaining that he didn't have the ability to hire or fire his gardener or raise his pay by a penny or two.
That's clearly a frustration if you're living in Brussels, a damn sight more frustrating if you're in Kabul and you don't have the resources to be able to exert financial control where you feel it needs to be done.
So I think there's a real clamor for reform across the piece, probably starting with some of the decision-making processes, the speed and the agility in Brussels, to do with budgetary controls -- (inaudible) -- commanders in theater. I absolutely agree with that.
The transformation so far has focused as what I would describe below the line, in other words, below the line which stops just south of Brussels, the command structure and everything below it. It has not yet managed to permeate above the line and into Brussels. And it needs to and go from there into theater.
The final issue, I think, was --
ELDON: Well, just a few comments from me.
On Africa, there is some NATO assistance to the African Union and some NATO logistical assistance with getting AU troops into various theaters. But John's absolutely right in saying that it has not been a high priority and that the EU has tended to concentrate more on Africa.
I mean, it's not, I think, a sense of demarcation in particular. But it's just that the problems that Africa poses have been perhaps more suited to the capabilities the EU can bring to bear on them. I mean, it's broad-spectrum, you know, help and reform, as opposed necessarily to hard security.
That said though I think there is considerable interest, in the AU, in what NATO might be able to offer.
And part of the problem with this has been inhibitions about cooperating with NATO because the U.N. relationship with NATO was not formalized, and a little bit, I guess, conditioned by 1970s nonaligned vision of what NATO might have been then but never was and certainly isn't now.
I think that the signature of the NATO-U.N. MOU might actually lead to something here. And if it socializes the concept of the 21st century NATO more widely, among African governments and the Group of 77 more widely, then it would have done a good service. Personally -- but it is only a personal view -- I would quite like to see some of NATO's security sector reform instruments applied to some African situations because I think it would in some cases be a considerable help in promoting the role of a democratic military, building up decent defense ministry structures and so on and so forth. But we're not there yet.
Ole's (sp) point -- and I'd be very interested in Andrew's answer to that, and to Philip Hall's (sp) point, too -- I think it's very interesting. I don't have any answers for you. But I do think that, you know, if you look at the way in which the broader political constellation is shaping itself, there are really interesting issues about how both sides of the Atlantic want to handle particular issues and with whom. And of course, you're absolutely right that, you know, on things like energy security, climate change, that NATO is not going to be the lead organization.
The one point when I would have taken issue with what you said last night is that I suspect we may see a little bit more profile given to the political aspects of the alliance, not necessarily so much as a political discussion leading necessarily to an outcome, but, you know, I've thought in the two years I've been in Brussels I've seen how much some allies simply value the opportunity to be able to sit down and discuss what's bothering them in that forum. And that does come up in the context of what you'd call, I guess, the new threats.
So we'll see how it works out. But I suspect that you may see, actually, a slight renaissance of political discussion in NATO, actually partly simply for the sake of having that discussion. And how we deal with implementation on some of these issues, it is going to require linkages with other institutions who will probably take the lead.
HUNTER: Last word.
MORAVCSIK: Well, to Ole's (sp) question, what -- on the -- you know, why these -- the EU relationship doesn't generate more prominence in the United States, I think the United -- it's a bureaucratic politics question in the United States.
I think the U.S. government is a strange animal, and it is a strange paradox within it, which is, our bureaucracies for dealing with the things the EU deals with -- trade, the environment, and so on -- are extremely good. That's where I worked in the government and, you know, USTR and so on -- extremely competent bureaucracies, great. But they, in a sense, don't quite get to the top, right? They're very good at what they do, but the people that run foreign policy, the part of the government that reaches all the way up to the top is the political-military part, right?
So they're viewed as sort of a specialized bureaucracy. Bob Zoellick gets, you know, sort of so high, but he's a sort of a rare occasion for somebody who achieves prominence in foreign policy generally. Most of the people who run the USTR are specialists.
In Europe somebody who becomes, you know, Economics Ministry (sic) or finance minister then becomes prime minister, right? I mean, it's a track to the top. And their polities are reversed the other way.
And that's one of the reasons why, you know, these societies are -- it's related with the fact these societies have built up fundamentally -- fundamentally -- different strengths. And these are not going to change overnight. Right? They are fundamentally connected with their natures as a polity.
So, you know, it's not that the United States is incompetent at these things; it's just it isn't fundamental to their identity.
Now I hope I understood the questions correctly, because I was grasping for a pen as -- but on what the U.S. is offering, this is a question I have asked of my compatriots and should be asked tonight -- those few people I know who are making policy these days -- and I think it's a very good question. And one of the reasons I'm a little skeptical about asking for troop commitments from the Europeans in places like Afghanistan, as opposed to other things I think it might be easier for them to give is precisely because I think actually the American bargaining leverage, in this case, is limited.
Obviously President Obama will try to leverage a certain amount of popularity and a certain amount of concessions on issues which a Democratic president might give anyway -- Guantanamo, whatever else -- in order to achieve this.
And I think there are two other answers to your question. One is, look, there are some issues on which we expect heads of state and government to take a leadership position even if they're not tremendously popular. One which the Europeans have taken an extraordinary leadership position on is European enlargement, where in a lot of countries, you know, the public opinion support is single digit, and nonetheless they've gone forward with it. And this may be another one.
The other one -- and I think there's a possibility that the U.S. government will take this position -- is that governments may be more inclined to go along, particularly if the strategy is one of comprehensive security, if they have ownership from the start and input into what kind of a strategy it is, and they think that they -- that -- they have confidence that the strategy will work, and therefore it's providing a public good that they think is -- they can contribute to, and they think that their contribution will make a difference.
And I think that involves getting European input early and making the whole thing work. Whether that's enough I don't know, but I think it's a very appropriate question.
Finally, on the question of the precise -- you know, what kind of committees to have, it's a difficult question, and I'm going to waffle it in the following way. I actually think the European Union is a good example -- and European Union's integration with NATO is a good example -- again, of this kind of constructive ambiguity, that increasingly we're double-hatting people, having committees and career paths where people move back and forth, and precisely to end-run these kind of theological questions of whether there should be (silos ?) or committees to oversee them or something, it's clear that you can't just have a committee that tells these big organizations what to do.
On the other hand, you don't want to have (silos ?) and end up with a decision you can't make. And increasingly you have ambiguous processes where people are sort of conduits, they move back and forth, they're double-hatted, they have people who, you know, you mistake one for the other.
And I think the more kind of processes you have now in this -- in this area of bureaucratic processes like that, the better, particularly when they have subtle effects, like people are not able to so easily judge what their future career path is going to be. And you've seen, for example, very interesting incentives for European national politicians to be much more open to various kinds of international cooperation, because they figure, particularly in a small European country, that they're going to top out the political system at the age of 43, and what are they going to do with the rest of their life if they haven't been good at the last European council meeting?
Maybe I don't want to be quoted on that, but -- so I do think that there are, you know, a lot of interesting benefits to what my wife Anne-Marie Slaughter might call a networked horizontal system of political organization.
ELDON: Which -- sorry, I -- In all fairness, we didn't answer one question, and I should. But I'd be interested -- tell me afterwards, Andy, which 43-year-old you have in mind.
But the -- I just want to say, the question about shouldn't we try and solve the institutional differences as a package -- I'm going to come back to what I said before about practical outcomes. And there have been a number of events to do just this. Past history will be extremely boring.
But if I as, you know, a NAC negotiator were to do this, I'd want to -- before committing my resources, I'd want to be sure that I would get more out of trying a package approach than I would out of trying something (serrated ?). And I think that's just good planning and the way in which diplomacy works. Don't think there's any simple answer. I don't think there's any general answer. I understand and sympathize with the frustration I sense lies behind your question.
HUNTER: Well, thank you very much. And I think this has been an extraordinarily rich discussion about a subject that not so many years ago wouldn't have been rich at all because so little was happening and so little possibilities were there.
I want to thank our three panelists and also say I think they have underscored one word that we haven't heard enough of, which is the word "leadership." And not just leadership from this country, but leadership from my European friends and their institutions.
I would think if we could put this relationship in the hands of these people, it would be in extraordinarily safe hands. And I want to thank the three of you and again Charlie for making it possible for this to happen.
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