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tv   Your Bottom Line  HLN  October 3, 2009 3:30pm-4:00pm EDT

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great to have you with us today, lucy. mr. secretary general, i hope that your address along with senator lugar's remarks will spark debate among key legislators. we were lucky enough to host you here during the transition where we had very good conversations and i know that your attention in the strategic concept is not to provide a piece of paper but to provide a debate that will drive the alliance forward in a more effective and meaningful fashion and we hope that this forum will help you to achieve that. it is a particular pleasure for me now to pass to senator chuck haigel, one of america's policy thinkers and the embodiment of the biartis an nature and commitment to renewing the global challenges, what i mean by bipartisan is that senator haigel last week gave a speech in minnesota called the eugene
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mccarthy speech and he's about to go to michigan to give the gerald ford speech. i think that it is safe to say that this is the first time in history that one man has given both those speeches. it's also a great privilege to say welcome home to the council chairman general jim jones, as atlantic council chairman, general jones and general scowcroft led the strategic advisors group, providing leading thought and analysis on critical issues to the alliance such as afghanistan and the difficult topic of nato reform. now cochaired by senator haigel and tom henders, the group is engaged again on these difficult issues and we're working to help shape and influence the debate on nato strategic concept. so with that, it's my honor to turn over to our chairman, senator chuck haigel. [applause] >> thank you, fred, and it's a glowing introduction that was
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overpowering. it does give you some sense of my reach into mccarthy's views and ford's and also the fact that really stand for very little. [laughter] and have no principles, thank you, fred. these are actually lecture series, which many of you know, so it's about all i've got to say. the hell with you, fred, if that's the way you want it. but that's what they do to the chairman, they kick him around and there's really no use for him, other than to finally do something useful and that is to introduce general jim jones who many of you, if not all of you, not only know who he is but have worked with general jones for many years on many projects. i don't know of a wider lens thinker, not only in our government but in our country in the world today than general jim jones. i've had the opportunity and privilege to work with general jones on many occasions when he
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captured me out on a boat in the mediterranean for a couple days and made me sit through a lot of marines talking about a lot of things that an old army guy has no capacity to understand. but, nonetheless, i am a better man for it today. this man, jones, really does span the gamut and is really one of our country's greatest public servants. and as you well know today he is the president's national security advisor, he is still learning from brent an scowcrof, that's according to scowcroft, but, nonetheless, we talked very favorably about you today at lunch, jim, because fred had a table full of former national security advisors and we had bri sin ski and scowcroft and
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together, secretary general, they made up a pretty good group. and jim jones always adds a dimension to whatever he does, and he's doing that now at i think one of the most defining times in the history of the world and i think what the secretary general is doing and so many of you in this room, not only in past careers but what you continue to do is adding to how we are going to shape that world that we're all going to have to live with over the next few years and jim jones has his steady happene hand on the throd for one mere mortal, i'm glad he does. so i think that's enough about jones, don't you, fred? it's a hell of a lot better than what you said about me, but, nonetheless, ladies and gentlemen, one of america's great leaders, general jim jones. [applause]
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>> wow. senator hagel, thank you very much. fred, thank you for your work here at the atlantic council and congratulations on the tremendous success that you are bringing to the council in terms of revitalizing this venerable institution and turning it into a win for the 21st century so, congratulations, it's a pleasure to watch you, albeit from a removed position. mr. secretary general, senator hagel and general scowcroft, fred and members of the atlantic council and distinguished guests, thank you for the opportunity to say a few words this evening. as it enters its seventh decade of existence, nato is one of the most successful nato alliance in history, of that there is no doubt, yet it and the 28 member states now face a 21st century, a new series of threats and
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challenges that were unthinkable 60 years ago. and nato's proud reputation as a provider of peace is being put to the test in afghanistan where allied service members and civilians from 42 nations work together to defeat al qaeda and the taliban to build a stable and peaceful state. proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile technology threaten the alliance populations and our territories and cyberwarfare will seek to undermine the infrastructure that we take advantage of in our everyday lives. and climate change and energy security and failed and failing states and the resumption is daunting and requires the closest cooperation among allies. some outsiders have declared that nato is outmoded, a cold war relic that cannot adapt to these new challenges.
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i emphatically disagree and our speaker tonight also emphatically disagrees with that notion. he's arrived at the helm of nato in an extraordinary time. when there's a sense of opportunity and a collective desire for action. he brings to the table the political savvy of a head of government, the economic skills of a financeman and a compassion of a father and shall i say new grandfather. he's hit the ground running, in only two short months he's begun to leahy the groundwork for a new nato strategic concept, one that will address the challenges that i spoke of and to pave a way for nato that is ready and relevant well into the 21st century. he's called for a reexamination of relations with russia, one that seeks practical cooperation on mutual interests while
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acknowledging the fundamental issues on which nato and russia still continue to disagree. he's embraced new media, working to bring the message of nato to a new generation that has grown up never knowing firsthand the experience of a divided europe or a warsaw pact. he's recognized the growing ballistic missile threat to the alliance and the need for nato to play a central role in having an adaptive approach to missile defense that will protect all allies and he's reaffirmed the commitment to our shared tasks in afghanistan on which he will share his views and vision with us tonight. ladies and gentlemen, it's my great privilege to welcome to the podium, the man who will lead our alliance into a new era, the 12th secretary general, anders rasmussuen. [applause]
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>> general scowcroft, general jones, leanl, first of all, thank you very much, jim jones, for your kind introduction and let me also thank the atlantic council for inviting me to speak here today. i know that the atlantic council which already has a long-standing reputation as a preeminent think tank has new energy and new wind in its sails. and that is the kind of atmosphere that i like which is why i'm so pleased to make my first speech in the united states as a new nato secretary general here today. as you heard during that very kind introduction, i was prime minister of denmark for nearly eight years before taking up
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this post. and i can tell you that a lot of people ask me at the time why i wanted to give up that very special job to head up an organization some consider out of date and which is struggling with a very, very difficult operation in afghanistan. my answer then was as clear it is now, because nato is the standard when it comes to international security cooperation. because i believe first believee potential of the transatlantic partnership now as much as ever. because we must succeed in afghanistan and i intend to help make that happen and, finally,
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because i want to help shape the new nato, not least through the new strategic concept. these are the more specific reasons why i accepted my new job. however, there is what i would call a more overall reason and that became even more clear to me during the past weekend. i visited springfield, illinois. as you all know the hometown of abraham lincoln with the impressive lincoln library and museum and the old state capital where lincoln served as state legislator before his
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presidency. in 1858, lincoln gave a speech in which he praises the desire for liberty as the strongest defense against desperatism. i quote "our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as a heritage of all men, in all lands, everywhere. dry this spirit and you have planted the seeds of desperatism around your own doors. " of all dates, abraham lincoln gave this speech on 9/11, 1858. a reminder of the timeless truth and significance of these words.
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and i consider it a duty to work for the accomplishment of these values and principles in the world of today and tomorrow. therefore, i was pleased to take on the responsibilities as leader of the world's strongest military alliance, an alliance that is not just military, but built on shared political valu values. of course taking the job was the easy part, making it all happen is slightly more complicated. meeting the security challenges we face today will take all 28 members of this alliance standing together and pulling together in the same direction. and it's my job to help make sure that we do.
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as nato secretary general i have to straddle the atlantic with one foot in europe and one in north america. when europe and north america come together i am more comfortable. when they drift apart, i'm the first to feel the pain. and i must say upfront that i am a little concerned, concerned about the doubts i hear these days in the united states about nato. some look at the operation in afghanistan and wonder if the europeans have the will to fight, you know, and some wonder if the europeans have the capabilities to fight even if they wanted to.
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others simply think that the days of strong transatlantic bonds are a relic of the past and that the future for the united states is india or maybe somewhere else. i want to tackle these doubts head on because i must say that i get the impression that many americans are losing sight of what nato is and how much it does. in the interests of u.s. security and international security, and that is a trend that we need to reverse. afghanistan is a case in point.
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i know that there are many here in washington who are frustrated by the restrictions some nato nations put on their forces, by the time it takes for nato to take decisions, by the reluctance of some countries to send more forces to the mission, even for training. let me be very clear, i understand those frustrations. and i'm already working hard to address those very real problems. but i also think that people are missing the forest for the tre trees. yes, running this mission as a nato operation has its share of challenges. all things considered, that is to be expected. but those challenges are far, far outweighed by the benefits,
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including very much for the united states. first and foremost, all 28 nato countries are in the mission. without exception, that is solidarity. and there are 13 other countries, all nato partners, with troops in the field as well. 41 countries in total, nato and non-nato, but all under nato command. this is no ad hoc coalition of the willing, this is an alliance that is proving its staying power every day. which brings the second benefit, boots on the ground. there are 35,000 non-u.s. troops in the mission. that's 40% of the total.
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and that number is going up. over the last 18 months about 9,000 extra troops have been provided to the mission from the non-u.s. members. 16 countries have increased their contributions over that period. none has cut back. i'm not sure all of this gets as much visibility in the u.s. as it deserves. and the allies are not running from the fight, despite the conventional wisdom. 14 countries have forces in the south and east alongside u.s. forces. and while body counts is no measure of solidarity, it is, unfortunately, a symbol of
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commitment. over 20 countries have had their soldiers killed, some in large numbers. every wednesday in brussels i begin the meeting of nato ambassadors by offering my condolences to the countries that have lost soldiers in afghanistan during the previous week. that has happened every week without exception since i took office. so i will not accept from anyone the argument that the europeans and the canadians are not paying the price for success in afghanistan. they are. let me mention one other benefit that sometimes goes unseen, development assistance. billions have been pledged to
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help rebuild afghanistan and hundreds of millions have been spent by nato allies in afghanistan. it's all part of the same package. a team effort to achieve a common goal at a very high price in blood and treasure. these are not costs that the u.s. can afford to pay alone. because of nato and through nato they are costs we bear together. to my mind afghanistan doesn't suggest nato is past its prime. it proves just the opposite, the solidarity build-up over 60 years is being strongly tested in afghanistan and it is holding up over years despite casualties and setbacks.
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that is a huge achievement and a precious asset. i hope that is recognized here in the united states. let me stress there is no doubt that the united states is an indispensable part of this mission and all allies respect the sacrifices the united states has made. but talking down the european and the canadian contributions, as some here in the united states do on occasion, can become a self-fulfilling prophesy. if they don't feel as if their efforts and sacrifices in nato are recognized and valued, they will be less inclees inclined te
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those efforts and those sacrifices. and that is not in anyone's interest. and it doesn't reflect the reality on the ground first and foremost in afghanistan. we are there together and that is the only way we should go forward. that is my first main point tonight, if we are to succeed in afghanistan, it will only be if we do it together. i deliberately said "if we succeed." i know that despite everything we have already done, reaching our goal in afghanistan is not guaranteed. which brings me to my second point, we cannot simply continue doing exactly what we're doing now. things are going to have to
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change. the reasons are clear, public support for this mission in troop contributing countries is falling, because of rising casualties, because of concerns about the way the elections was held, but most of all because of a sense among many people that despite all the progress we aren't getting anywhere, part of the problem is simply communications. we in governments haven't managed to show to our populations how much has been accomplished. seven million afghan students are in school, a third of them girls. 85% of the population has access to basic health care, up from 6% a few years ago. millions of people can vote and
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did so in the past elections despite taliban threats. women can walk the streets, and hold jobs in parliament and al qaeda has no safe haven, no training camps, no launch pads in afghanistan for terrorist attacks against us in the west. these are huge achievements in just eight years. but the reality is that this mission cannot continue forever. and it should not continue forever. and our populations, afghan and international, want to see light at the end of the tunnel. they want to see the beginning of transition to afghan lead, and that means from a security point of view afghans taking
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lead responsibilities, province by province, with international forces in a supporting role. it means afghans running their own schools, their own hospitals, their own government. i believe that if we can show transition actually happening, our public will continue to support this mission through to success. but i'm convinced that if we do not clearly and concretely begin to move towards transition to afghan leads, it will be impossible to sustain public support for this mission over the long term. sooner, rather than later, transition must begin. but let no one spin this as a run for the exits. it is not.
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nato will stay for as long as it takes to succeed, and i want to repeat that, as long as it takes. but that cannot mean forever. which means we have to start doing things a little differently. general mcchrystal's top secret close hold strategic assessment is studied by not only anyone that reads the "washington post" but also by the nato nations and our partners as well. on the military and on the political aspects. we will discuss it within the alliance and when the time is right we will discuss the resource aspects as well. but one thing is already clear,
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if the afghan security forces are to take the lead, they will need to be better trained, better equipped, and likely more numerous. which means we are all going to have to invest more in training and equipping them because they're not ready now. it is a very simple calculation. we have to do more now if we want to be able to do less later. that is why nato has just established a training mission in afghanistan and why i'll be pushing allies very hard to resource it and resource it fully. we cannot do transition on the cheap.
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that would be the ultimate false economy. and that applies to the civilian effort as well. i discussed that with u.n. secretary general ban ki-moon last week and we looked ahead to the conference on afghanistan that will be held at the end of the year. in a nutshell, i believe that that conference needs to set out a clear strategy, identify concrete benchmarks, and earmark sufficient resources for transition to afghan lead across the board in the coming years. i have no illusions, none of this will be quick, and none of it will be easy. we will need to have patience, we will need more resources,
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and, unfortunately, we will lose more young soldiers to the terrorist attacks of the taliban. but i fully agree with president obama when he says that this is not a war of choice but of necessity. it is obvious that if we do not succeed afghanistan will again be a terrorist camp, pakistan, nuclear armed pakistan, will be severely destabilized. the terrorism will spread fast into central asia and then to europe. that is simply the reality. which brings me to my third point, today our


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