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The World in Disarray - Shifting Powers, Lack of Strategies

The World in Disarray - Shifting Powers, Lack of Strategies

Munich Conference on Security Policy (Munich, Germany). As Delivered by Dr. Franz-Josef Jung, Member of the German Bundestag, Federal Minister of Defense, Federal Republic of Germany. Munich, February 8, 2008. Source: Wehrkunde.

Prof. Dr. Horst Teltschik (left) with the Germen Minister of Defense, Dr. Franz Josef Jung. Photograph by Sebastian Zwez.

Prof. Dr. Horst Teltschik (left) with Dr. Jung. Photograph by Sebastian Zwez

    Dear Professor Teltschik, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen!

When the world around us changes, it is good for us to be standing on firm ground and to know what its foundations are. And one of these foundations is undoubtedly NATO.

"Forming the link between two continents, it provides a unique range of political and military instruments for peacekeeping and peace restoration." That is what it says in the 2006 White Paper of the German Federal Government.

This is the claim. But what is the reality? Are we where we would like to be? Is the Alliance in the state in which we would like it to be? I'm afraid it isn't yet. There are many indications that we must still establish a number of conditions in order to achieve further progress.

This is the task behind the political and military transformation of the Alliance, and this is the task to which we must devote our attention. The summit meeting of the heads of state and government of the NATO members in Bucharest offers us the next opportunity to do so.

Let us take a look at what we need. We need greater cooperation with our partners. We need more dialog and consultation, the basis for joint decisions. Above all, however, we need more unity in our intentions.

We must discuss current international security policy issues in their entirety and arrive at an approach that combines all the areas of politics in even greater measure than at present. This is the only way NATO can develop its full value as an alliance.

The Atlantic Alliance is an element of a large international community. And we will only attain the success we need if we adopt a network approach and synchronize our actions.

Are we managing to do that today? In some respects, perhaps, but altogether the result is not yet satisfactory. NATO-EU cooperation is more necessary in today's theaters of operations than it has ever been. In political terms, however, it is still based on procedures that date back to 1997. This is an area in which we must urgently make headway.

Pragmatic collaboration in small steps, by which we make the best of things on operations, is not enough. What we need is a fundamental political consensus - between NATO and the EU in particular - in order to achieve real success in the use of the many different civil and military means we, and by that I mean the West as a whole, have at our disposal.

Political priority must therefore be given to overcoming blockades between the two institutions and raising our cooperation to a higher level. This is the only way we can ensure our operations are a success. This is the only way we can exploit their strengths and generate synergies. Both organizations will profit from this in the end.

I ask each one of you to do what you can to overcome these blockades. That will benefit our joint mission, and that will benefit the soldiers and civilian reconstruction personnel who put their lives at risk to accomplish it.

And the same goes for cooperation with the United Nations: It is good in the theaters of operations, but unsatisfactory at the political level. The signing of the NATO-UN Declaration would be a first major step in the right direction. It would add an institutional component to the practical cooperation. It would enable political-level exchanges to be intensified and mutual understanding to be improved. And in an ideal world, the result would broader and more effective cooperation, without any duplication of effort. The international security organizations must cooperate, whether they like it or not. The resources available are in too short supply and of too much value to be used unnecessarily.

Before the Alliance mounts an operation, a general networked security concept must be devised. For long-term and sustainable stability can only be established if the support services provided by each of the actors in the conflict zones of this world are combined and coordinated to suit the specific objectives.

Afghanistan is an example that highlights just how important cooperation is in this field. NATO, and with it the international community, faces immense challenges in Afghanistan. From an unstable security situation, a drug-based economy and sluggish economic reconstruction to a lack of government presence and authority. Against this background, a firm general civil-military concept, a political strategic plan, is indispensable for the country.

German Minister of Defense, Dr. Franz Josef Jung, during his speech. Photograph by Kai Mörk.

Dr. Franz Josef Jung, during his speech. Photograph by Kai Mörk

Who decides what? Who helps where and on what scale? We must formulate clear-cut specifications and monitor their implementation. What we need are criteria for success. NATO, the EU, the UN, the donor nations and the Afghan government itself - we are all called upon to do something.

The Alliance needs an overall strategy for Afghanistan, one in which not only the objective of our operation is identified and defined, but also the role of ISAF in the establishment and maintenance of security.

We must also make headway in the support we are providing for reconstruction and good governance and in the integration of the neighboring states, above all Pakistan. I submitted proposals for such an overall strategy at the informal meeting of Alliance defense ministers in Noordwijk. We agreed to turn this strategy into a Comprehensive Strategic Political Military Plan by the Bucharest summit.

  • Every single member has to do its bit

Germany has supported the reconstruction effort in Afghanistan from the outset. Since the ISAF mission began, we have been one of the largest troop contributors, have borne the responsibility for its success in Regional Command North and have supported the ISAF partners across the country.

One of the priorities we pursue in our area of responsibility is that of training the Afghan National Army, and we indeed intend to step up this effort during the year. The objective remains that of establishing self-supporting stability in Afghanistan.

I have therefore decided that as from July, the Bundeswehr will provide the Quick Reaction Force in Regional Command North that Norway has so far provided. We will perform all the tasks this entails within the mandate assigned to us by the German Parliament.

ln Kosovo, the progress that has been achieved so far is due quite considerably to NATO's KFOR mission. What we must do now is maintain the positive effect, despite changes in the setting. And the best way we can do that is by offering Serbia the prospect of being integrated into European structures.

The Alliance is not only called upon to act in its operations. We must also further develop NATO's structures. We want to see France fully integrated into the Alliance's military structures, and that includes the defense planning process. This will strengthen the European pillar and consolidate North America's partnership with Europe. This partnership is today more necessary than ever: The stronger each pillar is, the stronger the Alliance is as a whole.

Expansion: Decisions will be taken in Bucharest on the expansion of the Alliance. As regards this issue, there are two points that must always be borne in mind. Firstly: NATO is not only a military alliance. It was and still is a community based on values. Our door is open to those who are prepared to adopt the principles that govern our Alliance. To gain admission, and this is a fact that must not be forgotten, states have to do something. For those aspiring to join, this should be enough incentive not to slacken in their fervor for reform. Secondly: NATO sees itself as a Security Provider for Europe. It would like to promote stability both within its borders and beyond. The admission of a new country ought to assist the Alliance in performing this role and help it to develop further. This is the only way we can achieve sustained stability. And this is why the prospect of NATO membership in the near future for Croatia, Albania and Macedonia will not only bring about more in the way of security for these states in particular, but will also stabilize the region as a whole.

We are cultivating a special partnership with Russia. We value the NATO-Russia Council as a forum for dialog on topics that are of concern to us all. It is a matter of our taking each other seriously and working together to come up with pragmatic solutions to the problems we face.

This includes the topic of missile defense. It is important that there are no zones of different security within the Alliance territory. So we must build a combined MD capability that unites US national plans with NATO's plans. But we can only do this in dialog with our partners. The United States has tabled far-reaching proposals for constructive cooperation with Russia. This is a good basis for discussion.

In time, all these considerations must converge into a new Strategic Concept. Never before has the range of tasks covered by the Alliance been so broad. Never before have its operations been so demanding. Never before has the necessity of cooperation been so great. This gives us reason enough not to slacken in our efforts in the future either. What we need today are a sense of proportion, patience and passion. This is what I wish us all. I am certain that the effort will be worthwhile and will yield success.

Thank you very much.

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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).