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  LIbrary Treaties The North Atlantic Treaty, Testimony of Marc Grossman, April 21, 1999

Testimony of Assistant Secretary of State
for European Affairs Marc Grossman

To The Subcommittee on European Affairs of
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee
April 21, 1999

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Thank you Mr. Chairman. It is a pleasure to be here today to testify before this Subcommittee just two days before the Washington NATO summit.

The Alliance was founded fifty years ago by a generation of Americans and Europeans who fought in World War II and witnessed the Holocaust. They created this Alliance in large part because they believed it was their obligation to ensure that such horrors never again occurred on European soil. Today a new generation of political leaders, soldiers and diplomats on both sides of the Atlantic are determined to uphold that legacy.

Mr. Chairman, thank you and the committee for the close bipartisan support you have offered on NATO.

I remember well my first visit to your office. You told me that we should work to keep this Alliance strong. That sense of bipartisan teamwork was evident during the Senate debate and vote on NATO enlargement.

I hope you agree that we have continued this teamwork over the course of the last year. Our staffs have worked together closely to fulfill the requirements you set for us through briefings and reports to the Committee on the new Strategic Concept and on preparations for the Summit in general.

It is also a pleasure to follow Senator Kyl and his testimony earlier today. During the NATO enlargement debate some 90 Senators led by Senator Kyl passed an amendmen t laying out clear criteria for NATO's updated Strategic Concept. We heard your message and made the criteria established by Senator Kyl our own. I am confident that when you see the new Strategic Concept unveiled this weekend, you will be satisfied that we have met that benchmark.

Mr. Chairman, in my testimony today I would like to focus on three questions:

1) What are our goals for the NATO Summit and how do they serve U.S. national security interests?

2) What does the Kosovo conflict mean for the NATO Summit and the Alliance more generally?

3) What is our longer-term strategy for Southeastern Europe and what role can NATO play in that strategy?

The Washington Summit: Preparing NATO for the 21st Century

Mr. Chairman, our goal for the summit is to prepare NATO to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Over the course of the last year President Clinton, Secretary of State Albright and Secretary of Defense Cohen have all talked about both the need and the opportunity to use this summit to set a solid strategic direction and course for the future. In doing so, we have been conscious of the need not to alter or change NATO's core purpose, which underlies its success.

President Harry S Truman had it right in his speech at NATO's founding on April 4, 1949: He defined the Alliance's purpose in terms of defending the common territory, values, and interest of its members. That made sense in 1949. It makes sense today.

If NATO's core purpose has not changed, the security environment that we confront today has. Today we must be prepared to deal with a world in which threats to the Alliance can come from new directions and where conflicts beyond NATO's territory can have an impact on our common values and interests. NATO must be able to do as good a job in meeting the challenges of the 21st century as it did in dealing with the threats of the Cold War.

When we talk about the future of NATO, it is not because we want to change NATO's core but rather because we want to ensure that this Alliance is better equipped for the future.

Based on these three themes, Secretary Albright announced last December a seven-part package of initiatives for the Summit.

Those seven initiatives, which we expect will be approved at the Summit, include:

1) A Vision Statement;

2) The new Strategic Concept;

3) An enhanced Open Door Policy;

4) The Defense Capabilities Initiative (DCI);

5) The Weapons of Mass Destruction Initiative (WMDI);

6) A package of Partners Initiatives;

7) The European Security and Defense Identity.

These initiatives are designed to create an Alliance committed to collective defense, but also even more capable of addressing current and future risks, strengthened by and open to new members, and working together with partners to enhance security for the Euro-Atlantic area.

Some say it would be best for America to stick with the status quo. Others claim that NATO is a relic of the Cold War and should go out of business. Both views ignore a key lesson we learned from the history of the 20th century. We need a strong military Alliance between the U.S. and Europe, and it must focus on preparing for the threats of the future not of the past. That is why this package of initiatives is so clearly in the U.S. national security interest.

Mr. Chairman, if you would allow me, I'd like to briefly touch on two parts of this package of initiatives that I know have been of special interest to you and your colleagues.

The first is the new strategic concept. It is important to remember what kind of document the new strategic concept is and what it will and will not do. As the President said in his letter to Senator Warner, "The Strategic Concept will not contain new commitments or obligations for the United States but rather will underscore NATO's enduring purposes outlined in the 1949 North Atlantic Treaty."

What this document does do is provide a new framework and political-military guidance that will create incentives for allies to build more flexible forces capable of meeting the broader range of possible threats to our common security we must confront today and in the 21st century.

Mr. Chairman, in this connection let me also say something about the issue of mandates. There is nothing in this strategic concept that will require NATO to have a UN mandate for it to act.

The 1949 Treaty acknowledges the important role of the United Nations in international security and it reaffirms faith in the purposes and principles of the UN. Translated into policy, this means that while it is obviously preferable to have UN endorsement of NATO actions, the Alliance must retain the needed flexibility to act on its own.

Finally, let me say a brief word about our open door policy. Senator Smith, I know you were with Secretary Albright in Independence, Missouri some weeks ago when we welcomed the three new members into our Alliance. At a time when we are dealing with instability and conflict in Southeastern Europe, it is important to step back and realize that Central Europe is now safe and secure--and that NATO enlargement is a large part of that success story.

Based on the benchmarks NATO set out at Madrid in terms of judging candidates' countries in terms of their performance and the Alliance's own strategic interest, I do not believe that this summit is the right time to extend further invitations for additional new members.

This, however, only underscores the need to reaffirm our open door policy both in word and deed. That commitment will be evident later this week not only in what we as an Alliance say but through the issuing of a new Membership Action Plan or MAP--a practical plan that goes beyond anything we have done in the past in terms of using NATO's talent and expertise to help these countries help themselves become the strongest possible candidates for the future.

Kosovo and the NATO Summit

Mr. Chairman, as we prepare NATO for the 21st century, we still have 20th century work to do.

The Summit will be largely a working meeting with Kosovo as a central theme. We still plan to commemorate NATO's 50th anniversary: we have much to honor on that score. But the first focus has to be on supporting NATO forces in harm's way.

The conflict in Kosovo has underscored why we still need a strong Alliance between the United States and Europe.

It also underscores why NATO needs to be more flexible and capable of handling a broad range of risks.

The Kosovo crisis:

-- shows the need for a new Strategic Concept to prepare the Alliance for the full spectrum of possible missions;

-- shows the need for a clear Open Door policy and long-term vision for those countries in the region aspiring to eventual NATO membership and who are assisting the Alliance in the current crisis;

-- underscores the importance of a Defense Capabilities Initiative to ensure that American and European forces can operate together effectively in the future; and, finally

-- demonstrates NATO's interest in having a close political and military relationship with its Partners that we can rely on in a crisis.

Mr. Chairman, no one on either side of the Atlantic who has been involved in deliberations on Kosovo can imagine how we could have responded effectively without NATO. And if we did not already have a plan to modernize NATO to meet the needs of such crises, we would have to come up with one now.

At the same time, let me make it clear that our goal is not to involve our Alliance in new situations such as Bosnia and Kosovo; our goal is to prevent that need.

NATO's new Strategic Concept does not commit us to act in new Kosovos any more than the old one did. But the more prepared we are to respond rapidly and effectively to outbreaks that threaten Europe's stability, the more likely it is that we will be able to deter such outbreaks.

A Long-Term Strategy for Southeastern Europe

Mr. Chairman, let me conclude with brief remarks on the need to stabilize Southeast Europe and on the role we think NATO can play in such an effort.

It can be summed up in two thoughts: first, NATO must prevail in the Kosovo conflict and second, we must move, working together with Europe, to implement a long-term strategy to stabilize the region and to integrate it into the European mainstream. As President Clinton said last week in San Francisco, "If we truly want a more tolerant, inclusive future for the Balkans and all of Southeast Europe, we will have to both oppose (Milosevic's) efforts and offer a better vision of the future, one that we are willing to help build."

We never again want to fight in this part of Europe. We must ensure that we never again have to. Southeast Europe, as Secretary Albright said recently, "is the critical missing piece in the puzzle of a Europe whole and free. That vision of a united and democratic Europe is critical to our own security."

The first requirement is to focus on strategy aimed at transforming this region from Europe's primary source of instability into part of its mainstream. In this regard, I call your attention to the Southeast Europe stability proposals put forward by Germany, Turkey, and Greece. We welcome these types of forward-looking proposals. As the Germans rightly noted in their plan, a strategy for this region must have several components -- political, economic, and security. It will eventually require the extensive involvement of many key institutions, in particular the OSCE as well as the EU and NATO. NATO's role will be critical because security is a prerequisite of any stabilization program.

We will only be able to take the first steps toward building a broad, long-term Southeast Europe Initiative at this Summit, but we will keep you informed as we move ahead. It will require the involvement and support of Congress, if it is to succeed.

At this Summit, we want to adopt regional stability measures that the Alliance can implement on an accelerated basis.

These might include: more frequent NAC consultations with countries from the region, promotion of regional cooperation in the EAPC; better coordination of security assistance through PfP; and regionally focused PfP activities and exercises.