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German–American Relationship:
Using Compatible Security Strategies to Respond to Today’s Challenges

Remarks by Ambassador Coats at the Konrad-Adenauer Stiftung,
Bonn, February 3, 2004



General Secretary Staudacher,

Dr. Eisel,

I am very pleased to be here to discuss security strategies for the 21st century. I want to use this opportunity to underscore that in most regards the US and Germany continue to share strategic goals. Those goals are reflected in the US National Security Strategy, in the EU Security Strategy adopted in December 2003, and most importantly, in our day to day close cooperation on a wide range of issues.

In the days of decision after the end of World War II and at the start of the Cold War, President Harry Truman said: "Events have brought our American democracy to new influence and new responsibilities. They will test our courage, our devotion to duty, our concept of liberty."

The commitments made by one President and sustained by all ten of his successors, brought victory in the Cold War, and unprecedented success for the cause of freedom and democracy.

The military – and that includes the military of all our NATO partners -- have born the burden of this commitment. Those who answered the calling to purpose and hardship, to honor and risk have earned our appreciation. These achievements will not be forgotten.

Shared Commitment/Goals

In this new century, the commitments we make will also be decisive. At both the national and international levels, new strategies are being discussed, developed -- and deployed. These new strategies have put the Atlantic Alliance to a rigorous test but have not changed the core values and goals that shaped the Alliance in the past.
As evidence of this, I would like to quote an important diplomat. He said: “Europe and America depend upon each other in their fight against the new threat. We are in the same boat because we want to defend the same thing: the freedom and security of our citizens, as well as our open democracies and human rights. These are the goals which we are both pursuing. These are the values which we share.”

Those were the words of Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer when he addressed the students and faculty of Princeton University last fall. In that speech, Foreign Minister Fischer mapped out a strategy for the United States and Europe based on common values, multilateral institutions and joint actions. His speech was important because it showed that, while we may differ on tactics, we share a common policy foundation.

The new threats -- terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, state failure, regional conflicts and international crime -- have indeed dramatically re-defined the parameters of the security environment. September 11th gave us a shocking look at the threats and challenges that confront us. But even before September 11, it was clear that the security threats of the future would differ from those of the Cold War and that national and international defense doctrines, institutions and alliances would have to change to reflect not the reality of the past, but that of the present and future.

Perceptions in Europe

President Bush released a new National Security Strategy for the United States in September 2002. It was a statement of American strategy for the post-September 11th world. Praised by security experts as a response to the threats of the 21st century, the strategy nonetheless became controversial in some quarters and misunderstood in others.

Two sentences out of a 30-page document defining pre-emption as an option in dealing with the new 21st Century threats were taken out of context and criticized by many here in Europe as a fundamental departure from American foreign policy tradition.

This, even though Germany, and the U.S., and other European partners continued to agree on most issues and to work together non-stop to promote our common goals by promoting stability and democratic reforms around the globe. In NATO we are bringing stability to Bosnia, Kosovo and the rest of SE Europe. Within NATO’s PfP Program, our joint efforts are bringing democratic control of armed forces to countries, which only a few years ago were hostile to our interests.

Perhaps most importantly, NATO has taken the lead in Afghanistan. This historic decision to expand the role of NATO to include out-of-area deployment will bring the peace and stability necessary for freedom and democracy to flourish in a country that has never known these ideals.

Unfortunately, disagreements over the most effective strategy to enforce the 17 UNSC resolutions on Iraq eroded the perception of a shared community of European and American values and spilled over into dangerous mischaracterizations of the U.S. as a whole.

Indeed, some in the EU believe that we sought to divide Europe over Iraq. This is not accurate. We sought the support of all of Europe and got it for the UN Security Council Resolution 1441, and we similarly sought EU support for a follow-on resolution last March. At that point Europe was already split. What we patiently and persistently attempted to achieve was the support of all of Europe. Only when the French declared they would not support any resolution under any circumstances did we give up on a UNSC resolution on Iraq.

Last year, citizens of traditionally pro-American societies, like Germany's, expressed the opinion that George W. Bush was a greater threat to the world than Saddam Hussein. Polls also showed that conspiracy theories played a big role in many Germans' thinking. It was shocking to learn that, according to a July survey published in the weekly Die Zeit, one in five Germans indicated that it was possible that the United States had arranged 9/11 as a pretext for world domination.

Attitudes like these provide clear evidence that we must re-double our efforts in working together in the international arena to highlight our common interests, goals and successes; and to actively counter and reject false arguments to the contrary.
Status Report in the War on Terror and Proliferation

Important milestones have been achieved as a result of President Bush’s direct engagement in the challenges of our day. The President, in his State of the Union Address, reminded us of the progress that has been made in the Global War on Terror and against the proliferation of WMD:

- Afghanistan has adopted a new democratic constitution and is looking forward to free and fair elections in the very near future;

- The U.S. has been working with the international community to achieve a diplomatic end to the North Korean nuclear program;

- The international community has united in pressing Iran to cooperate fully with the IAEA to resolve the very serious questions surrounding its nuclear programs;

- We have a new agreement with Russia to reduce substantially U.S. and Russian strategic offensive weapons;

And of particular importance – Pakistan’s admission yesterday that its leading nuclear scientist transferred nuclear technology and Libya’s renunciation of its programs for weapons of mass destruction. In the wake of the Iraq conflict, Libya’s renunciation shows that leaders around the world are beginning to conclude that weapons of mass destruction do not bring influence, or prestige, or security. Rather, they invite isolation.

A New Partnership

In the wider war against global terrorism, police, judges, border officers, and financial and banking officials in the U.S., Germany and more than a hundred other countries are working closely together in fighting crucial battles in the war against terror around the world.

This kind of cooperation is evidence of a new kind of partnership. The question now before us, is where do we go from here?

Let’s compare and analyze a pair of quotations from recent U.S. and German policy speeches on the main elements of a successful security strategy.

Who said: “The first element is the unconditional commitment to the fundamental values of freedom, human rights, tolerance, democracy, the rule of law and the social market economy…The second element is the commitment to and respect for an international order based on shared values, the law, consent, cooperation and participation... The third element is the political determination and military strength to avert new dangers. Both components are necessary to destroy once and for all totalitarian networks and ideologies built on hatred.”

President Bush? Secretary of State Powell? It could have been. But no, that’s another quote from Foreign Minister Fischer’s speech at Princeton. Fischer’s analysis closely parallels the three pillars for peace and security that President Bush outlined in London when he said: “The peace and security of free nations now rests on three pillars: First, international organizations must be equal to the challenges facing our world, from lifting up failing states to opposing proliferation. In this century, as in the last, nations can accomplish more together than apart… The second pillar of peace and security is the willingness of free nations, when the last resort arrives, to restrain aggression and evil by force… The third pillar of security is a commitment to the global expansion of democracy, and the hope and progress it brings, as the alternative to instability and to hatred and terror…”

The U.S. National Strategy

Although President Bush’s National Security Strategy has generated controversy, the strategy has more in common with European security strategy than critics like to acknowledge. After all, Article I of the European Security Strategy, like its US counterpart, identifies terrorism, proliferation of WMD, regional conflicts, state failure, and organized crime as the main threats Europe faces.

Article III of the EU document recognizes that the EU needs to be “more active, more coherent and more capable.” It notes also, “The transatlantic relationship is irreplaceable. Acting together, the European Union and the United States can be a formidable force for good in the world.”

Although the U.S. National Security Strategy focuses primarily on preventing conflicts, it goes beyond the EU Strategy by specifically allowing for the preemptive use of military force against terrorists or state sponsors of terrorism, but only in very limited circumstances. This is fully consistent with international law. In this context, it is worth noting that the EU document is ambiguous on the question of preemption.

It is also worth noting that, in November of last year at the Welt am Sonntag “Bundeswehr und Gesellschaft” conference, Defense Minister Struck pointed out that “sometimes it is forgotten in Europe that international law only carries weight if it can be enforced -- if necessary with military means.” [Richtig ist, dass in Europa biseilen vergessen wird, dass international Recht nur dann Gewicht entfaltet, wenn es auch durchgesetzt werden kann – notfalls mit ilitaerischen Mitteln.”]

Emphasis is on Promoting Security – not Preemption

I cannot underscore enough that, in the US National Security Strategy, the emphasis is not on preemption. Rather it is on measures to promote security. The first of these is promotion of the rule of law, free speech and religious freedom, equal rights, respect for women, religious and ethnic tolerance, and respect for private property. The second is the strengthening of alliances to overcome global terrorism and cooperation to prevent attacks on the U.S. and its friends. The third is – and I emphasize – to work with others to reduce regional conflicts. The emphasis of the U.S. National Security Strategy is multilateralism and the promotion of democracy and human rights. These strategies are given far more emphasis than any reference to preemption.

On the issue of preemption, however, it’s important to note that the European Union has also addressed this theme in the EU Security Strategy paper released last December. The paper points out that, unlike in the Cold War, certain threats are so dangerous and dynamic that they require action even before crises arise. The rationale of the EU thus parallels that of the US National Security Strategy by emphasizing the risks confronting us today.

The U.S. National