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NATO One Side of the Coin, ESDI the Other ?

NATO One Side of the Coin, ESDI the Other ?

Interview of U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense, Mr. Frank D. Kramer, in charge of International Security Affairs in Paris, March 3, 2000 by Joël-François Dumont, Senior Correspondent with France 3 Television, Periscope and European-Security.

Frank D. Kramer - Photo: Ó European-Security

Q. Mr. Kramer, what is the purpose of your visit over here in Europe ?

A. I came here to France to consult on some of the important security issues. We are developing - the United-States and France as well as all of our NATO allies - enhanced capabilities in NATO. And Europe is developing enhanced capabilities under the auspices of the European Union. And we want to make sure that those work most effectively and that we maintain the transatlantic link, as well as we develop important capabilities necessary for security her in Europe.

Q. As a matter of fact, France will take over the ‘lead’ on July the 1rst ... Mr. Richard, the French Minister of Defense was in Washington last week. Do you agree with what he said there ?

A. Well, Mr. Richard gave a very important speech in which he said that it was a ‘benefit for both sides of the Atlantic’ for the Europeans to develop their capabilities. We fully agree with that. There are only one set of forces, and those forces can be used to the advantage of both the Europeans and United-States if there is an effort. Mr. Richard pointed out that, what Europeans want to do is to ‘be able to deal’ with - he said - ‘the fires in their own backyard’. With the Americans - if we are able to join in - and alone, if we are not. We expect that we would join in.

Kosovo is a good example and Bosnia is a good example. Now we understand Europeans want to have their own capability and we support that.

Q. Regarding Kosovo, it was difficult to win the war but we did it. Do you think it will now be possible to win the peace ?

A. I think that we showed that we know how to win a war. And it’s important to say that this was done as a collective effort. And it’s important for the French people to recognize that they have an Air Force that had the second most airplanes in the war and they were very effective.

Winning the peace is even more complicated. It involves not only military means to make space, if you will, time, to hail those wounds but it also requires the establishment of civilian institutions. We need to have elections: Mr. Kouchner is working on that. And we need to develop a judiciary; we need to develop Police, and the EU needs to bring the stability pact forward. These are not different kind of things we can do so overtime. We have developed stability in most of Kosovo - obviously not in Mitrovica... We are working together as Allies to bring stability to that city.

Q. Regarding Kosovo, it was difficult to win the war, but we did it. Do you think it will now be possible to win the peace ?

A. I think that we showed that we know how to win a war. And it’s important to say that this was done as a collective effort. And it’s important for the French people to recognize that they have an Air Force that had the second most airplanes in the war and they were very effective.

Winning the peace is even more complicated. It involves not only military means to make space, if you will, time, to hail those wounds but it also requires the establishment of civilian institutions. We need to have elections: Mr. Kouchner is working on that. And we need to develop a judiciary; we need to develop Police, and the E.U. needs to bring the stability pact forward. These are not different kind of things we can do so overtime. We have developed stability in most of Kosovo - obviously not in Mitrovica... We are working together as Allies to bring stability to that city.

Q. Some comments last week let us suppose that may be Americans could withdraw from Kosovo. Is that true ?

A. No. The Americans have not withdrawn from Kosovo, but we will continue to support our Allies, certainly on emergency basis if necessary, and even if there needs to be routine changes, we will work on that. So some of the comments that were in the newspapers were inaccurate.

Q. Regarding NATO and ESDI, an important meeting is scheduled today in Brussels. For the first time, it might be symbolic, but in the future, it may show more European capacity... Nevertheless, over here we have the impression that Americans believe that Europeans talk more than they do. Do you believe that this time, they will be able to act ?

R. Well, there are too things to be said. First, Europeans can act very well. For example European forces in Bosnia fought almost eight years now. Europeans flew about half of the combat missions in Kosovo, so there is a capability to act.

One of the key issues is adding more resources to get new high-technology capabilities that will make us more effectively militarily. And Mr. Richard said in a speech that Europeans have resources. So this is not a distinction between what the Americans think and what the Europeans think. We both think that more resources need to be added to have this additional resources. We think you are passed to provide additional resources also, and we think that Europe will do this. That’s the meaning of the European Security Defense Identity.

Q. The French as well the German Minister of Defense both said recently that ‘NATO was one side of the coin, and ESDI the other’. Do you agree with that ?

R. I very much do. If you take a look at NATO, you will see that many members of NATO, the members of the European Union, European members of NATO will have arrangements with the European Union. So you have the same people, sometimes wearing a NATO hat, sometimes wearing a European hat. It’s too sides of the same coin..

 

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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).

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