2:00 P.M. EST
Moderator: Hello and welcome to the Washington Foreign Press Center. Today we have Ambassador Ivo Daalder, Permanent Representative to the North Atlantic Treaty ORganization, who will deliver an overview of the upcoming NATO-Russia Council meeting. Without further ado, here is the Ambassador.
Ambassador Daalder: Thanks very much.
Let me just be very brief in the introduction and then go straight to Q&A.
As you know, back in March of 2009 when Secretary Clinton went to her first NATO meeting it was decided that we needed to restart the discussion between NATO and Russia. That decision was reaffirmed by the Heads of State in Government meeting in Strasburg/Kehl in April, and ever since we have tried to figure out a way to get back to reengage with Russian and to strengthen our relationship with Russia as an alliance within the context of the NATO-Russia Council.
In the bilateral sphere, the U.S.-Russian sphere, you of course know that the reset button was pushed and has produced significant results over the last few months with agreements on transportation, the transit links from over Russian territory to Afghanistan, with the very significant Russian support for the Iran Resolution that came earlier, with an agreement on START to reduce our nuclear forces, and on a number of other areas.
Now it’s time to move that into not just the bilateral but in the multilateral relationship that NATO, the 28 countries have with Russia.
This will be out third Foreign Ministerial tomorrow since the resumption of the NATO-Russia Council. Secretary General Rasmussen has issued an invitation to all 29 NRC members to come to Lisbon on the 20th of November, and we look forward to using tomorrow’s meeting as, in effect, a preparatory meeting for the summit at the end of November.
What we are seeking, we the United States, from the meeting tomorrow and the meetings that hopefully will occur in Lisbon is an agreement fundamentally among the 29 members that the NATO-Russia Council is a place where we can do business, where we can work together to resolve issues of common concern, where we can find common solutions to common challenges, and also where we can continue to have a dialogue about those issues on which we disagree. It is a forum that should be available under all circumstances, an all-weather forum. When the sun shines it should be there to help us to move forward in areas where we have common interests like Afghanistan, counter-narcotics, counter-piracy, as we hope over time missile defense, conventional forces in Europe and a whole host of other issues.
But it’s also a forum that will work and must work when we have disagreements, and there are disagreements that continue to divide Russia from not only the United States but all 28 allies with respect to the continued presence of Russian forces in Georgian territory beyond what the Georgian government accepts. We will insist on our principles of the territorial integrity of all countries in Europe, just as a founding principle on the sovereignty of all countries in Europe, the resolution of disputes through peaceful means. So those are issues which we’re happy to discuss, indeed must discuss in the NATO-Russia Council context as much as we discuss things of common interest.
That’s really what the meeting is going to be about tomorrow. Hopefully we can set the stage for an agreement to have the summit meeting which will be the first summit meeting of President Medvedev with his NATO counterparts, and frankly, the first meeting of the NATO-Russia Council Summit in which President Obama will participate.
With that, let me open it up for questions.
Question: My name is Andrei Sitov. I’m with the Russian News Agency Taas.
I wanted to ask you on two points that the Russians seem to care about. The first one is the new NATO Concept. We will look at the drafts presented by Secretary Albright among others and it seems that on the one hand we will be looking for partnership; on the other hand always there are caveats. Like those that you just made about some doubts that seem to stay with us.
My question is about what should we accept not only at the preparatory meeting tomorrow, but maybe even looking forward to the Summit, whether there will be some clear-cut understanding of what NATO wants to do with us -- build a partnership or build something in between? A partnership or just a relationship.
Ambassador Daalder: The answer to the question is very simple and very clear. NATO wants, the United States wants, all of the other 27 allies want a relationship with Russia, a partnership, not of enmity. We don’t want an adversary, we’re not looking for an adversary, and we don’t think Russia is an adversary. What we want is a partner. By having a partner, that means we will look at the problems as we see them, try to come up with common definitions of those problems, and then common solutions.
But just as friends disagree, and indeed as an Ambassador to NATO I can tell you friends and members of NATO disagree, so we will find there will be times when NATO and Russia will disagree. That’s not a bad thing. That’s just a reality. The bad thing is when we can’t talk about it. The good thing is we have a forum and we use that forum to talk about it.
So within the Strategic Concept I would expect, and we haven’t seen a draft yet, the actual concept is going to be drafted by the Secretary General and only by the Secretary General. But within the Strategic Concept we would expect a vision of the relationship between NATO and Russia that is one of partnership, not one of adversarity.
That doesn’t mean that Article 5, the core function of NATO, will not be mentioned in the Strategic Concept. It must because it is what NATO is all about. It is, after all, a defensive alliance. But it won’t be mentioned within the context of Russia.
Question: That’s what I was asking.
Ambassador Daalder: That’s not how we see the relationship. Of course we will have to see when the Strategic Concept comes out what it will actually say. I think the Secretary General has had a very open process, in which he first had a group of experts, then he had a group of experts that spent a lot of time with a lot of other organizations and countries, and then the group of experts traveled to Moscow. We’ve had discussions about the Strategic Concept within the NATO-Russia Council, all of which were designed to give the Secretary General as much input as possible, and we’ll have to see how that is reflected in his draft.
Question: And secondly, the Russians also seem to be worried about this whole idea of NATO projecting its power at will, at NATO’s will, all over the world.
Tomorrow’s meeting will be taking place basically at the margins of the UN, or at least a time to coincide with the General Assembly. What about the plenary role of the UN? Where can NATO supersede the UN Security Council, and can it? Should it be able to?
Ambassador Daalder: I’ve read about the concerns, I’m not sure where they’re coming from. In the charter of the very treaty, the Washington Treaty, it is very clearly stated that every action taken by NATO will not only be in conformity of international law, but it will be in fact in support of the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations.
So there is no sense of NATO having a [inaudible] by itself, a decision of nascent capability to decide where and what and how it operates. In every operation that it has ever conducted, it has conducted that either under Article 51 which is the Operation Active Endeavor which is the only Article 5, Article 51 operation that exists in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11th, or under UN mandate including in Afghanistan, including in Kosovo today, including in the Balkans.
So the issue of NATO deciding for itself when and how to use force is an issue that does not exist outside the context of the charter. Every member of NATO is a member of the United Nations, and every member of NATO is committed to upholding the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations.
Question: Jacek Przybylske, Rzeczpospolita
Secretary Rasmussen said last week that NATO should invite Russia to cooperate on the missile defense system. What do you think about this idea? And do you expect that it can make it easier for Russia to accept American installations in Poland and Czech Republic?
Ambassador Daalder: Well, let’s be -- I mean we accept that cooperation with Russia on missile defense is important and something we should pursue, and certainly something that ought to be open to the Russians. Indeed, the idea behind President Obama’s presentation of a new approach to missile defense, the phased adaptive approach that was adopted last September, had at its core not only a recognition that this is something we’d like to do with our allies, all 27, as opposed to a bilateral U.S. and some allied countries, but we’d like to do it with the allies. But also open up the system to cooperation with non-allied countries including first and foremost Russia. That was part of the initial presentation; it remains very much part of our thinking. We believe that Russia and NATO in fact have had a very good history of cooperating on missile defense. We’ve done a series of exercises. We’ve long had discussions and talks on missile defense cooperation with Russia. That was suspended in 2008. We are now seeking the resumption of those exercises and testing. And if and when -- and NATO needs to make a decision first. But if and when NATO decides that it wants to acquire a capability of territorial missile defense, putting the phased adaptive approach at the core of it, at that point I would expect and I anticipate that NATO will offer as part of that position to Russia, and indeed to other countries, but first and foremost to Russia, to have a dialogue and further cooperation on that so that we can partner NATO and Russia just as we’re trying to do in a bilateral sense between the United States and Russia on the issue of [missiles].
Question: Thank you for coming. Martin Klingst.
I would like to know if you can take us a little bit to the Afghanistan strategy of NATO and where you can see further cooperation with Russia, and how is the cooperation nowadays?
Ambassador Daalder: On Russia there are a number of things on which we are cooperating closely. First, I mentioned the transit agreement. This is both a bilateral agreement that allows the United States to fly over Russian territory both lethal and non-lethal materiel and troops. We have a transit agreement, we NATO, have a transit agreement with Russia to ferry non-lethal materials. That has been very useful as a way to get in. We’ve had some problems getting other countries in between Russia and Afghanistan to allow for the transit of particularly rail traffic, but those have been sorted out so we’re moving forward on that. That’s one way in which we’re cooperating. We are cooperating on training, particularly of counter-narcotics. It’s one of the most successful NATO-Russia programs that has direct relevance to Afghanistan, and we do the training for Afghans as well as for Central Asian countries in order to improve the strategy to intercept and interdict narcotic traffickers.
NATO has requested from the Russians helicopters, particularly MI17s, which is the kind of helicopter that’s being flown by the Afghan Air Force. And asked for a donation of that equipment as well as training of Afghan pilots and mechanics and maintenance work.
So those are the kinds of things, that is something that is still under discussion. Those are some of the areas in the training area in particular where we can work together with Russia on Afghanistan.
We see the issue in the same way. We both want a stable Afghanistan. We want an Afghanistan that doesn’t export terror. That isn’t a safe haven for terror, which is something that again, we share with Russia a view that we need to combat terrorism together. Nor is it an exporter of narcotics which in the Russian case, and indeed in the European case, is a direct threat to the health and safety of segments of our population.
So we have a lot of interests together. Russia has no interest in seeing us fail in Afghanistan. It has every interest to make sure that Afghanistan is not a source of instability. Afghanistan is a lot closer to Russia than it is to the United States or indeed to Europe. So in that sense we have shared interests and we are working together to figure out how we can translate those shared interests into more and more projects for cooperation.
Question: Is there also military cooperation?
Ambassador Daalder: Russia has made very clear that they have no interest in deploying troops, and for reasons that are well known. We do talk to them about their experiences that may be helpful for us, but there is no direct military support to the NATO mission.
Question: Nickolay Zimin, Russian news agency Itogi. Sir, let’s look at relations between Russia and NATO on a personal level. How do you get along with your Russian counterparts?
Ambassador Daalder: Famously.
Question: What kind of personal relations do you have with the officials?
I work with all my colleagues. I found very early on that working in a multilateral organization like NATO, it is very very important to have close cooperative relations with the individuals who represent the countries there. So I spend a lot of time cultivating good relations with everyone, and that includes Dmitry Rogozin who is a close cooperator on a host of issues. It is important that we have personal interaction, which we do. We see each other socially as well as through work. And indeed, that’s how I have to deal with every single colleague at NATO. It’s the only way we can get business done. Sometimes it takes a glass of wine or even a vodka to get some deals struck. That should not be alien to anyone in the diplomatic world.
Question: No caviar any more?
Ambassador Daalder: I haven’t had any recently. [Laughter].
Question: I'm with the Russian news agency Rossiskaya Gazeta, . Ambassador, you mentioned a number of officials which are getting together tomorrow. Do you expect any breakthrough from tomorrow’s meeting?
Ambassador Daalder: I don’t expect, it’s an informal meeting so there are no decisions that are going to be made. I don’t expect any announcement of we have now, therefore, agreed to do A, B, C, and D. What I hope we get out of this is that there is a, everyone will leave with an understanding that there is now a good basis for trying to achieve some significant breakthroughs and agreements by the time we would be able to get together at the leader’s level in November. At that point we would hope and see the possibility of getting an NRC Summit, which is a turning point, which basically says from now on we will look at the problems that are out there in a way to understand how they affect us equally, and how we can chart the most effective course forward to deal with them. So I would expect that by the time the summit is ended we have a work program, we have an agenda of action on a series of issues. I’ve mentioned some which we think are important, but we’re happy to listen to anybody else including any of our 28 other partners in the NRC including Russia, of course, about ideas that they would have to move forward.
What we look to is substantive practical cooperation on issues of mutual concern. We think there are plenty of them, and the time has come that we now turn attention to those issues and how we can better cooperate together in order to resolve the challenges that we face in common.
Question: What's your personal view on the ability of Russia joining NATO in the possible future or in the long run?
Ambassador Daalder: I have a very simple view which is that Article 10 of the North Atlantic Treaty is very clear. It’s that any country, any European country, may be invited to joint NATO if it meets the standards of NATO membership.
So the question of Russia joining NATO is a question that first, is it a European country, to which the answer is yes. That by definition is found under Article 10. It’s a question first and foremost for Russia to decide. It is not up to NATO to invite anyone. It is up to NATO to invite only those who want to join. Secondly, it’s a question of whether the standards of membership will be met. There are plenty of countries in Europe that meet the standards of membership and don’t want to be members of NATO. And there are also countries in Europe that do want to be members of NATO and don’t meet the standards of membership.
Russia will have to decide for itself first and foremost what relationship it wants with NATO. For the moment, let’s start with having a NATO-Russia relationship within the NRC, and make that work. Over time as the relationship develops, Russia will have to decide itself whether joining NATO is something that it is of interest to it. At that point we can have a discussion of those issues. It’s not on the table because Russia hasn’t put it on the table. But it’s also certainly not off the table because NATO hasn’t made a decision. Let’s be clear on that.
Question: There are some critical questions like NATO enlargement and also you mentioned the question of sovereignty. Where are we now in the talk of Russia when it comes to NATO enlargement, which is for other countries to be a member that might, you know, meet the standards and requirements. How big of an obstacle still is the Georgia question?
Ambassador Daalder: The question that NATO has with countries that want to become members of NATO is between NATO and those countries. We don’t discuss who wants to be a member with other countries. The issue of Georgian membership or indeed anybody else’s membership is between Georgia and those other countries with NATO. It’s not a subject that is to be decided by anyone else.
Like I said, with respect to the issue of Russian membership, the policy is very clear: the door to NATO membership is open to any European country that wants to become a member and that meets the standards of membership. And I will stress, it’s any European country. As long as you’re a country in Europe and you meet the standards of membership and you want to join, the door will be open to NATO membership, and that is a discussion between that country and NATO and no one else.
Question: I’m a reporter from China Xinghua News Agency.
I have read a report from a Japanese news media right around the visit of NATO leadership to America earlier this month. Saying that NATO might be looking at the possibility to add new role to the traditional security of the military cooperation, such as economic cooperation. It was also noted that Russia is looking at possibility too, of joint economic recovery with America based on the President Medvedev visit to America last time.
So do you think that will become the sort of a new area NATO will be looking at with the relationship with Russia?
Ambassador Daalder: On the economic side?
Ambassador Daalder: No. NATO is first and foremost a military alliance. It is changing from what used to be an alliance focused on defense of territory and populations into a security organization. The belief that the way we can best defend and ensure the security and safety of the people and territory of NATO member countries is by helping to create greater security, not only within the area but outside of it. But economics is not part of its mandate. NATO is not going to be in the business of negotiating trade deals or opening up markets or deciding what the currency level should be of respective members. We have other organizations that are responsible for that. That is not within NATO’s remit. Our economic focus is on making sure that countries spend enough on defense so that we can have a sufficient capability to operate together. In the economic realm we leave that happily to other parts and other organizations in the world.
Question: What about energy also? There was an idea here from Senator Lugar and others for NATO to take up a role in supporting energy security.
Ambassador Daalder: Well, critical infrastructure. I’m talking specifically about infrastructure, pipelines and that when you talk about energy, are elements of the security policy and NATO can have a role in the defense of critical infrastructure. Including pipelines, if they were blown up on the territory of NATO, is something that will have an impact on NATO and NATO would have a role in responding to it. Cyberspace is a new area in which we increasingly spend time on as an area that we need to focus on as critical infrastructure.
The actual supply of energy is something that NATO countries will have an interest in because a healthy economy and prosperity is important, but it’s not an issue that is first and foremost a NATO issue. It is much more an issue for other organizations, as such. So I make a distinction between the actual supply and the infrastructure.
Question: But the safety of the routes, could also be a question.
Ambassador Daalder: The safety of the routes -- so is the safety of airspace, so is the safety of highways and trains that are on NATO territory, sea lanes. So ensuring access to the various dimensions in which one operates is important, and energy is one of those. This is not something new. In fact NATO’s had pipeline infrastructure jointly owned for many, many, years. Securing those pipelines is something NATO has been doing for a long time.
Question: But is it something that you discussed with Russia, that you want to discuss with Russia?
Ambassador Daalder: Energy security is something we discuss with Russia, and Russia in fact is interested in having those discussions with us. In a broader sense, thinking about the future of energy is something that Russia, European countries and the United States could and do spend time thinking about. NATO’s particular role in that is small, and very limited, and very precise.
Moderator: Ok, at this time we'd like to start taking questions from the phone, we will give the media seated here at the table one final chance to ask a question. If you would like to ask a question via phone, please state your name and publication, ask your question, and please let one media organization talk at one time. Go ahead now.
Is there anyone on the phone who would like to ask a question of Ambassador Daalder?
Ambassador Daalder: Is there anyone on the telephone? (Laughter)
Moderator: If there is anyone on the phone who wishes to ask a question of Ambassador Daalder, please chime in and we will give you the floor, otherwise we will return to the roundtable here. Go ahead.
Question: I just wanted to go to another issue, maybe a couple of issues also with regard to the Russian CFE and the fate of the CFE as you see it, and the NATO attitude to that. And maybe connected to that is the NATO attitude to the Russian ideas of the common European security and an instrument if they’re needed. If not, why not?
Ambassador Daalder: The NATO attitude toward CFE is that it’s an important treaty that we need to figure out a way to modernize the conventional arms control regime. We are in intensive discussions within NATO with Russia and other about how we can best do that. We understand that the only way we’re going to do that is if all are agreed, so we need to find a way forward to agree on how to modernize that regime based on the fundamental principles that we think underpin that regime. But rather than going into great detail about how, we would just say this is an issue that we are committed to, we want to work with Russia on --
Question: Can you be more specific, sir? Do you believe that all NATO members need to belong to CFE?
Ambassador Daalder: Yes.
Question: What about the Baltics?
Ambassador Daalder: Including the Baltics. As part of a modernization of the new regime, we would look towards having all members of NATO as well as all current CFE Treaty members, be part of a regime that deals with conventional arms control.
We have some differences over how best to do that. We’re now in intensive discussions about how to overcome those differences. But ultimately the goal is clear. We want a conventional arms control regime that covers all of Europe, that doesn’t leave any gaps, and that is based on the fundamental principles of reciprocity, verification, transparency, host nation defense, and stability and security for all. Not increase the security of some at the expense of others.
In that regard with respect to the European Security Treaty, we don’t think that the issue is a lack of treaty. We think that the issue of European security is best addressed by looking at areas in which Europe, the United States, Canada, Russia and others can cooperate by increasing in very clear, substantive ways, increasing transparency of military activities, increasing reciprocal limitations on forces, dealing with threats to us that come from outside our immediate area, upholding the fundamental principles that have guided our relations since 1975 in the signing of the Helsinki Final Act, and reaffirmed many times after. And developing better crisis prevention, crisis management areas, issues that the list of five listed here, that Vice President Biden put forward in The New York Times earlier this year. That’s where we think our efforts should be, rather than in in trying to figure out how to negotiate a treaty. And the bottom-up kind of ways to improve security for all. And that way will all find a point that we live in Europe, that we truly hold, that is truly peaceful, truly free and democratic. Which is one end goal that all of us share.
Question: We all know there is a rift between the Russian politicians and the Russian military, and that the military is more traditional and conservative than some of the political leaders. When we look at the START Treaty and other treaties, we know that the military is a lot more hesitant in giving in. So what is NATO doing to build up trust with not only the politicians, they come and go, but maybe to the heart in Russia, which will also go one of these days, and what do you do to build trust with the army?
Ambassador Daalder: Without commenting or accepting your characterization of the internal divisions of Russia, which I’ll leave to the Russians to decide, we believe that building trust is central, is important. And the military to military relationship is growing, it’s expanding. We believe that increasing transparency of military activity is something that builds trust over time, which is why we are trying to find ways to revive the Conventional Forces in Europe agreement. We, as NATO countries, at least those who are members of CFE, still exchange our data on an annual basis. Russia does not. We still think it’s important that other countries know where our forces are and what our forces are doing, because that we believe is a trust-building exercise.
So we’re all for building trust. In a generic sense, it’s why we want to sit down and talk in the NRC even in issues about which we disagree, which is a political issue. Why we want to have intensified military to military cooperation on a whole host of issues.
Indeed, I must say there are signs of progress on that. Russia is undergoing an extraordinary reform effort on defense capability on disarmament. Historically extraordinary. Indeed Secretary Gates and the Russian Defense Minister had conversations about this last week. And that exchange of information is useful. Exchange of lessons learned. We can learn from Russia about how to reform our own institutions, and Russian can learn from us. So all of those are aspects of how we try to build trust and continue to build the trust. It’s not that there’s that much distrust, it’s that the trust needs to be continually built up over time. It’s why we think it’s important that the START Treaty gets ratified. Not because we think if we don’t have the exact limits the world will come to an end, but because the verification regime is a way for the United States to demonstrate to Russia what it’s doing and Russia to demonstrate to the United States what it’s doing.
I would note that whatever differences there may have been internally within Russia, Russia did sign the treaty. I have no doubt that it will ratify the treaty once the U.S. Senate ratifies it, which we hope is sooner rather than later. That act in and of itself will be one that builds trust between our two nations. And we want to replicate that in a whole series of areas between NATO and Russia.
Question: Russian [inaudible] said that Russia is increasingly concerned about any activity in the Arctic region. Do you have [inaudible] any comment on that?
Ambassador Daalder: I’m not sure what he’s referring to. NATO doesn’t have a lot of activity in the Arctic region. Except that four out of the five countries happen to be NATO members. That is a reality that’s not going to change. Norway, Canada, Denmark and the United States are four out of the five Arctic nations which are NATO members.
NATO has no interest whatsoever in seeing any militarization of that part of the world. We quote the Norwegians: high north, low tension. We think it’s a good sign. We think the issues of the Arctic are best addressed in the Arctic Council. They’re best addressed cooperatively among the Arctic nations. The kind of resolution we’ve seen through Russia and Norway and finally resolving the boundary dispute, which was just signed last week, is the kind of way in which we want to deal with the Arctic, all of us, every NATO country. There is no interest whatsoever in trying to bring the Arctic into the orbit of a military alliance. Quite the contrary, we want to find ways to cooperate among the Arctic nations and do so without having to bring NATO or anyone in there other than the fact that because there are four NATO countries, it is part of NATO’s territory, and the definition of what NATO’s territory is. But that’s a reality that we’ve lived with for a very long time and I’m sure we can live with it for a very long time in the future.
Moderator: Are there any questions from anyone who has not already asked a question, particularly over the phone?
Question: (Inaudible) listening here.
Moderator: Yes, please go ahead and state your name and publication.
Question: I'm in phone cyberspace. This is Klaus Fahrendorff from Danish Broadcasting. You might have been answering this, but I have a question.
General Secretary Rasmussen said in Rome that he was very positive towards having Russia part of the missile defense system, the shield. And do you see that become any reality in the near future?
Ambassador Daalder: We share Secretary Rasmussen’s desire to have as much cooperation as possible between the United States and Russia and between NATO and Russia on missile defense cooperation. It is an issue that we are addressing with increasing focus and regularity, and only time will tell how far it is that cooperation will lead.
I would note that on the theater missile defense side there has been extensive cooperation between NATO and Russia in the past. We are looking at resuming that as soon as possible, that cooperation, including holding joint exercises and more exchange of information. And if and when NATO decides to acquire the capability to defend NATO territory and populations, we at that point would also expect and hope that we can have a cooperative partnership with Russia to find out ways in which Russia and NATO can enhance the security and defend their territory and populations by cooperating as much as possible.
So it’s certainly something that we are looking forward to, and we are in dialogue with the Russians on. And expect and hope that it will bear fruition at, or soon after the Lisbon Summit.
Question: NATO’s future and the way it will decide to go is also of major concern not only of Russia but mainly for Russia. I would like to know if you could tell us a bit more about the reshaping of NATO and where the restructuring of European armies will go and what kind of, in the framework of the NATO Treaty, what kind of obligations it will have in the future, and is there anything like a rapid reaction force that will see daylight?
Ambassador Daalder: Well, there is a rapid reaction force.
Question: Which doesn’t really exist.
Ambassador Daalder: No, it exists. The NATO rapid reaction force has committed forces to it. The initial deployment force is a smaller force, but could be deployed in a relatively short period of time.
Let me answer your question, which is pretty broad, and we could spend a long time talking about it, in the following way. One of the great challenges we have of NATO is to make sure that as all of us face the fiscal challenge of meeting our requirements, and that we do so in a way that doesn’t weaken our ability to work together and cooperate together. In fact, better still, that it actually strengthens our ability to cooperate together, particularly militarily.
I’ve pointed out that NATO comes very cheaply. 0.3 percent of total defense spending by NATO countries is actually spent by NATO. By nations at NATO for NATO. That’s three cents for every ten dollars that we spend on defense.
A number of nations who are facing the need to cut their defense budgets are saying maybe we should spend less at NATO. Well, you can eliminate the 0.3 percent of your defense budget, but it doesn’t help you balance the books. In fact, you ought to look at them slightly differently.
For about ten cents of defense spending for major European countries, ten cents, you get a dollar’s worth of -- You get 90 cents that’s going to be paid by somebody else.
So as you think about reducing your defense budgets, think about spending a little more on the joint capabilities. That means that you can actually get more capability, more ability to operate in common, more ability to, more defense bang for your buck than you would if you continued to spend separately.
One way to think about the future of NATO -- What makes NATO unique, what makes it different from a coalition of the willing, is that it has this common funding, common capabilities and common command structure that is paid by NATO for NATO that makes it cohere. We need to remember that in an era of rapid change and flexible capabilities and highly unpredictable, that we have the capability still to operate. Operate at large distances, operate within our territories, be able to fly relief supplies to Pakistan which is what NATO Airlift is doing right as we speak.
We don’t know what the next requirement is, but having the capability to do so together is cheaper and more effective than doing it the capability separately. It’s cheaper to have ten countries buy three C-17s which is what we’ve done, 12 countries, than each country buying one of those C-17s themselves. For one, they can’t afford it, which means they have nothing. For another, it’s a cheaper way to maintain and share the cost.
It’s a slightly different answer to your question, but it is an important consideration.
Moderator: Are there any final questions, either from the telephone or from the room here? We have time for one or two more? Thank you all for coming, this event is now concluded.
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