February 27, 2001 PREPARED STATEMENT Dr. Jeffrey Gedmin Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute and Executive Director, New Atlantic Initiative before The Committee on Foreign Relations Subcommittee on European Affairs Introduction Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, I want to thank you for the invitation to appear before you to today. It is an honor to have the opportunity to discuss with you the state of America's most important partnership. I would like to address briefly four particular issues today, all of which have considerable bearing, in my view, on the current and future health of the Atlantic Alliance. I have a prepared statement, which I submit for the record. I would be pleased at this time to summarize my statement before answering any questions you have. 1.Unfinished Business The Balkans and Southeastern Europe President Bush has indicated that he would like a change in U. S. policy toward the Balkans. It is appropriate to review U. S. policy. The ouster of Slobodan Milosevic last October opened a new chapter in the story of the region. There are new opportunities for democracy, economic development and regional cooperation across Southeastern Europe. Of course, the challenges are still formidable. The new Serb leadership has rejected the idea of turning Slobodan Milosevic over to the UN tribunal in The Hague. Belgrade has shown little interest in bringing to justice other leading war criminals, like Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb leader and Ratko Mladic, the former commander of the Bosnian Serb army, who resides in Belgrade. In fact, Serbian President Milutinovic, an indicted war criminal, continues to hold office. Alas, it's also true that while these men were among the most notorious perpetrators of atrocities, many other Serbs served as willing executioners. Until the "de-Slobofication" of society properly begins, political, social and economic reform in Serbia will move slowly. Serbia needs to move from war to peace; from a communist ethos to democratic practice; and from the malign and lethal nationalism of the Milosevic era to a new period of liberal values, habits and behavior. All this will take time. Serbia is not the only country in the throes of a difficult transition. Kosovo and Montenegro, both legally still part of the Yugolsav Republic, continue to seek independence. There are those who argue that it's time to end the dissolution and begin the process of Western integration. I firmly believe that the prospect of Western integration is essential to the future stability and security of this part of Europe. At the same time, though, I question whether meaningful steps toward Western integration can begin if the process of dissolution in the region is not yet complete. Mr. Chairman, the status of Montenegro and Kosovo are inconvenient and complex topics that defy simple solution. I'd argue, nevertheless, that these problems are unlikely to go away and, if mishandled, especially in the case of Kosovo, could lead to an expansion of violence and a return to instability in the region. What role should the United States play? Whatever options Western policy pursues, I would urge us to consider our own evolving role in the Balkans in the context of American grand strategy toward Europe. Specifically, if the United States decides to reduce the scale of its military commitments, I believe it is essential that we do so in such a way that such steps do not re-ignite a crisis in the area. We intervened twice in a decade in the Balkans, deploying tens of thousands of troops and investing billions of dollars. I view the continuation of some U. S. presence in the Balkans as a modest overhead cost to protect our investment and contribute to the region's overall stability. I also believe, Mr. Chairman, if the President decides to reduce U. S. military commitments in the Balkans, that we do so in such a way that we do not diminish our standing within the Alliance. In this context, I welcomed the statements made by Secretary of State Colin Powell, who has said that the U. S. has no intention to cut and run from the Balkans. Similarly, I was pleased to hear Defense Secretary Rumsfeld earlier this month at the Wehrkunde conference in Munich, where he said that the U. S. "will not act unilaterally, or fall to consult our allies." The Completion of Europe: NATO Enlargement Mr. Chairman, I've just said that I believe that U. S. engagement in the Balkans should be viewed in the larger context of America's grand strategy toward Europe. A central part of that grand strategy, in my view, should be the completion of Europe. I believe it's in our national interest to promote the process of broad Euro-Atlantic integration that we began after the Soviet Union's collapse a decade ago. The United States will be best suited to face the challenges of the next decades if "Europe" includes not only our West European allies, but also the young democracies of Central and Eastern Europe; and that in time this new Europe is able to Join the United States in sharing responsibilities for the new risks that we all face. Admitting Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic into NATO was a step in the right direction. Of course, Euro-Atlantic integration should be driven by twin engines: the enlargement of NATO and the European Union (EU). Unfortunately, the EU has not yet opened its doors to anyone from the former Soviet bloc. It's clear that the EU's strategic priority remains "deepening," not "widening." This agenda began a decade ago with preoccupation over adopting a single currency for the West European group. It continues today with considerable energies being devoted to the development of a West European Rapid Reaction Force. I do hope that the EU moves forward with enlargement. The EU is an important economic and political institution. Inclusion in the EU will help the Central and East Europeans consolidate their democrat' wil1 progress and accelerate economic development throughout the region. I hope, Mr. Chairman, that the United States will continue to encourage, albeit gently, our West European friends to open up the EU1. As for NATO, the Alliance convenes its next summit in 2002. In Washington, we've already entered into a period of quiet, informal pre- debate on what shape the next round of enlargement should take. I would urge us, Mr. Chairman, to begin consultations with our Allies as soon as possible. We want to avoid the frictions and bruised feelings we encountered last time, when our West European Allies felt that the United States did not properly consider their own preferred candidates for enlargement. Membership to NATO must be contingent, of course, on the preparedness and qualifications of each individual candidate. There must be a compelling case, moreover, that the inclusion of each and every candidate adds value and makes the Alliance stronger. I'd also urge us to consider NATO enlargement, though, in the broader context of what we want to achieve. That should be, in my judgment, an expanded and revitalized Alliance, which should serve as the basis for a new strategic partnership. What I'm talking about, I concede, is not easy. It is not inexpensive; nor is it without risk. But NATO enlargement is not a gamble, Mr. Chairman. It's a sound investment. I am fully convinced that the investment will pay for itself many times over. I might add, Mr. Chairman, that the continuing process of NATO enlargement also happens to be one major and constructive project about which we and our current allies generally agree, as Zbigniew Brzezinski has pointed out. With all the arguments and frictions we currently have, it's right to remember the important things we still share in common. 2. The Agenda Ahead Ballistic Missile Defense President Bush has argued that we need to come to terms with the new strategic environment in which the United States and its Allies find themselves today. A central concern of the new administration is that the United States become equipped to defend its people and forces against a limited, but deadly ballistic missile attack, whether the attack is deliberate or caused by an accidental launch. The ballistic missile threat continues to be a primary threat facing the United States. There are currently 13,000 ballistic missiles in the inventories of 37 states today. Whether short- or long-term, ballistic missiles are a cost- effective system capable of delivering their payload to a target with a high probability of success. What's more, if the United States has no means to defend itself, our adversaries will also be able to use ballistic missiles as a means of blackmail and coercion. This would pose a danger to the United States- and our closest allies. Imagine if Slobodan Milosevic had possessed ballistic missiles capable of reaching Athens or Rome. Would the fragile coalition that fought the war in Kosovo have managed to hold together for those 78 days? The United States is committed to developing and deploying missile defense systems that will protect the American people and our forces. The U. S. has also expressed its willingness to assist friends and allies to deploy such defenses. As you are aware, Mr. Chairman, our allies have expressed their concerns, though, about American plans. A central concern has to do with their worries about the reactions of Russia. Sometimes I wonder which Russia they are worrying about. The Russians proposed last week a joint- European defense system. Not for the first time, of course. President Putin was already pitching a version of the idea last summer. But it's also true that when the Russians are not proposing to work together on missile defense, Moscow is spending inordinate amounts of time ridiculing the rationale for such a system. Defense ministry spokesmen have said that the "true missile threat" is actually "nil"; that U. S. threat scenarios represent a "fantasy" of American defense planners. According to President Putin not so long ago, the missile threat, "which Americans mention ... does not exist today and will not exist in the foreseeable future." I believe that we should engage the Russians about our plans for missile defense just as we need to consult our allies. At the same time, though, we should be clear. The Russians understand missile defense. They know that our plans are not directed against them. What the Russians fear, of course, is that the deployment of U. S. missile defense systems will extend and consolidate America's considerable military and technological advantage. Mr. Chairman, some Europeans fret about missile defense for the very same reasons. Karl Lamers, foreign policy spokesman for the German Christian Democratic Union, recently objected to American missile defense in the grounds that it would enhance our current leadership status in the world to a position in which we would become outright "rulers of the universe. Naturally, the United States can-not choose to abdicate its ability to defend itself because others are worried that we may responsibility become stronger in the process. I am encouraged by the fact that our European partners-from NATO secretary general George Robertson to German foreign minister Joschka Fischer-have refused to be swayed by mischievous Russian behavior over missile defense (or misguided sentiment in their own countries). I also appreciate the fact that, through careful study and consultations, the gap on threat assessment seems to be closing between America and Europe. What the United States still needs to undertake, however, is a major public diplomacy campaign that opens up with our friends and allies a fuller discussion of ballistic missile defense. We need ballistic missile defense-in the context of a strong and healthy alliance. This discussion should include 1) a robust conversation about our threat assessment; 2) an explanation of why we believe that ballistic missile defense carries far more benefits than potentially harmful side-effects; and finally 3) an explanation of how prudent steps toward ballistic missile defense will be compatible with sensible arms control and non- proliferation policies. I was disappointed, Mr. Chairman, that Prime Minister Blair did not use the opportunity of his recent visit to Washington to show his own leadership on the issue. William Hague, leader of the opposition in the United Kingdom, had argued last month that "America's oldest and staunchest ally" should "co-operate with the United States to the best of our ability as it develops and build its weapons shield." Mr. Hague also argued for cooperation on an Allied missile defense system. I hope Mr. Blair will reconsider his deep ambivalence about ballistic missile defense and join United States in leading a constructive conversation with our other allies on the issue. If conducted properly and in the right spirit, this effort should lead to a serious and deep strategic dialogue that looks forward on a range of issues--and breaks down the categories of old Cold War thinking about arms control and deterrence that continue to dominate far too much of our transatlantic discourse today. The European Union's Rapid Reaction Force Mr. Chairman, let me add that I was also disappointed by Prime Minister Blair's recent reluctance to support ballistic missile defense, because President Bush had gone out of his way to offer such strong and clear support for a protect that is so near and dear to the British Prime Minister's heart. That is, Europe's own Security and Defense Policy (ESDP) and the European Rapid Reaction Force. I'd simply like to say here, Mr. Chairman, that I believe that we should now spend far less time debating the merits and modalities of the European Rapid Reaction Force. It is not unimportant. But there are other important items on the transatlantic agenda-- issues like expanding NATO; pursuing, in cooperation with our allies, ballistic missile defense; and, if I might add, containing-and I hope with the new administration now in place- removing Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein from power. The arguments by American skeptics about the West European defense protect have been made. Build capabilities, not Just institutions, we have said. Pursue European defense in a way that strengthens NATO and does not undermine the Alliance. But today the debate has become overly acrimonious and counterproductive. It's counterproductive in part, Mr. Chairman, because the European Rapid Reaction force is still today a largely theoretical matter. As the Economist wrote recently, the EU-led force to be assembled by 2003 is ... likely to be severely hobbled in its formative years by political and military growing pains, and by European governments' reluctance to put up money." While the British government recently published a budget that foresees the first real increase in defense spending since the end of the Cold War, both Britain and France face serious defense budgetary pressures. Germany, moreover, Europe's largest economy, will reduce military spending by $ 1 0 billion over the next four years. Mr. Chairman, please do not misunderstand me. I continue to share your reservations about the European defense project. You and Senator Helms wrote recently in a letter to the Daily Telegraph in London that you worried about the "true motivation behind ESDP, which many see as a means for Europe to check American power and influence within NATO." I share this concern. When French President Jacques Chirac says, for example, that European Defense will develop "in complete harmony with NATO," what kind of NATO is he thinking about? Some of us believe that an effective NATO thrives on American leadership; that without American leadership, NATO will lose its effectiveness for action and become an institution where inaction, passivity and lowest-common-denominator politics are the order of the day. Others contend, however, that leadership is domination; and that American dominance is a problem. That is why, I believe, Annex VII of the Nice Treaty speaks of the EU's "strategic partnership" with NATO, a partnership in which "each organization will be dealing with the other on an equal footing." The document demands, moreover, that NATO show "total respect of the autonomy of EU decision making." It's why Gen. Jean-Pierre Kelche, the French chief of staff, has testified to the Assemble Nationale that Annex I to the Nice Treaty was specifically worded to rule out "any interpretation that would give NATO a decision-making priority in the reaction to crises. In a word, Mr. Chairman, with the increase of Euro-nationalist and Euro-Gaullist tendencies across the continent, I believe that there are still serious questions about the direction of European integration in general. As Henry Kissinger wrote recently, "many advocates of European integration are urging unity as an exercise in differentiation from, if not opposition to, ,4 the United States. Within this context, there are questions about ESDP. It's not yet clear whether European defense policy will add ships, guns, or aircraft; or whether it will decouple important assets from the Alliance and contract them to Brussels. Nor is it clear whether European defense is to speak, as my colleague Richard Perle puts it, with a British or a French voice. I'm told, Mr. Chairman, that Prime Minister Blair had not read the text of the annexes to the Nice Treaty; that when he was confronted later with controversial passages he quipped that such language didn't really mean anything; that nobody was really suggesting that the Europeans create structures separate and independent from NATO. It reminds me, Mr. Chairman, of a line from British editor Charles Moore about European integration. Each and every time a strange and seemingly imprudent proposition is put forward by EU elites, an official steps forward to answer critics by saying, "Of course, nobody is suggesting that ..." And lo and behold, observes Charles Moore, six months or a year later "nobody," it turns out, is getting his way. No, Mr. Chairman, let's not lose our critical voice. I'd only like to suggest that we establish priorities. That is, so long as European defense remains largely theoretical-and at least some Atlanticist members of NATO truly believe that ESDP is a step toward burden-sharing-I believe that we should concentrate our energies on the most immediate challenges at hand and not find ourselves lost in unproductive acrimony where it can be avoided. Mr. Chairman, again thank you for the opportunity to testify today. I'd be happy to answer any questions you have.