NATO Sara Du Bois National Security Network 05/15/12 10:00 am ET Page 1 NATO Sara Du Bois National Security Network 05/15/12 10:00 am ET Operator: Good

day, everyone, and welcome to today’s program. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later you will have the opportunity to ask questions during the question and answer session. You may register to ask a question at anytime by pressing the star and one on your touchtone phone. You may withdraw yourself from the question queue by pressing the pound key. Please note this call may be recorded and I will be standing by should you need any assistance. It is now my pleasure to turn the call over to Ms. Sara Du Bois. Ma'am, go ahead.

Sara Du Bois:

Thank you so much. Good morning. My name is Sara Du Bois. I am the Communications Director at the National Security Network. Thank you for joining us today for this call to preview the NATO summit this weekend in Chicago. Today, we will hear first from Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, who will be attending the summit to conduct bilateral meetings and participate in other summit events. Senator Shaheen is the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on European Affairs. Last week, she also participated and oversaw a summit foreign relations committee hearing on the NATO summit, Chicago and beyond. Following Senator Shaheen, we will hear from Ambassador James Dobbins. He is the director of the RAND International Security and Defense Policy Center. He has also held State Department and White House posts, including Assistant Secretary of State for Europe, Special Assistant to the President, Special Adviser to the President and Secretary of State for the Balkans, and Ambassador to the European Community. Afghanistan. He also served as George W. Bush’s special envoy for Following Ambassador Dobbins, we’ll hear from James

NATO Sara Du Bois National Security Network 05/15/12 10:00 am ET Page 2 Goldgeier. He is the Dean of the School of International Service at the American University. His expertise there is on contemporary international relations, American foreign policy, and transatlantic security. In addition, he authored a 2010 Council and Foreign Relations Special Report on the future of NATO. Finally, just a reminder that this call is being recorded, so by being on this call, you are consenting to be recorded. The audio will be available later today and we will post soon in the next day on If you have any questions, please feel free to give me a call at (202) 289-5999 or you can e-mail me at With that, Senator Shaheen, I turn it over to you. Jeanne Shaheen: Thank you, Sara. I’m really pleased to be able to join you, NSN, Ambassador Dobbins, and Dean Goldgeier to talk about the importance of the upcoming NATO summit. This is the first time NATO will be convening a summit in the United States since 1997, the first time outside of Washington DC. So, this is obviously a critical opportunity to reaffirm the importance of NATO to the United States’ interests and to recognize its continuing influence around the globe. It really is the most important institution in influencing events around the globe. This is a summit that the Obama administration has laid strong groundwork for on many fronts. It’s got critical issues that it’s going to be addressing as I think people who have been paying attention know that the biggest priority coming up at the summit will be to finalize the plan for a responsible drawdown of the war in Afghanistan, both in the transition period between now and 2014, but also post 2014. I thought it was important that Ambassador Crocker said this week that getting this right is key to keeping us off the path to another 9/11. So, clearly this will be a huge focus for the summit in Chicago. Outside of Afghanistan, we also need to talk about the issue of burden sharing, how we will continue to fund NATO as we’re looking at declining defense budgets in Europe and the United States. The concern is

NATO Sara Du Bois National Security Network 05/15/12 10:00 am ET Page 3 how we can continue to ensure our mutual security, but recognize that we’re going to have less funds in order to be able to do that. Obviously, the United States has borne an overwhelming share of the NATO defense costs and as European nations are facing their current budget challenges, the concern is that they continue to step up and, I think, NATO’s smart defense initiative, which will be unveiled in Chicago, is going to be critical to ensuring that we get the most for our dollars, but we also need to continue to engage Europe on making sure that they’re spending their fair share of the cost of NATO. I assume there will be some conversation about the successful action in Libya. It really was a very successful NATO operation, but it also revealed some areas where there needs to be more work and more investment by some of our NATO partners. One of the other topics that will be not on the front burner, because everyone has pointed out this is not an enlargement summit, but clearly the question of other potential NATO members will be discussed. There are four countries who are hoping to have NATO membership in the foreseeable future and I think this will be an opportunity to lay out for them a process whereby they will be able to see a path forward to joining NATO – and that’s important. Finally, one of the other opportunities the summit

provides for NATO is to look at how their partnerships around the globe allow them to continue to address security challenges that are rapidly evolving. Obviously, we know we’re all in a global environment today and that unrest in one part of the world tends to spill over in other parts of the world and Europe and the United States and so we need a global response that clearly NATO can’t be everywhere, and so looking at those partnerships that allow NATO to operate effectively and efficiently around the world is very important. So, I think there’s a lot on the agenda for NATO. It’s going to be very exciting and I think, again, a real opportunity for us to point out that NATO has been the most successful military and security alliance in modern history and that it continues to have that role; and for those who question whether it’s still

NATO Sara Du Bois National Security Network 05/15/12 10:00 am ET Page 4 functional, whether we have – continue to have interest in our transatlantic partnership with Europe, I think it’s an opportunity to recommit and reconfirm the importance of those relationships. So, I’m now going to turn it over to Ambassador Dobbins. Ambassador?

James Dobbins: Thank you very much, Senator. Let me go into a little more detail on a couple of the items that the senator mentioned, specifically the issues respecting Afghanistan and the Middle East that are likely to arise during the summit. Afghanistan is likely to be the major focus. There’s been a good deal of work. I suspect that some of the results are already pre-packaged, but that there are still a few issues that are being negotiated. The focus will be on both the drawdown in NATO forces between now and 2014, and in particular on the pace of that drawdown, and then on what kind of role NATO and its members will have in Afghanistan after 2014. In terms of the drawdown, one thing to look forward is the French position. As I think most of you know, President Sarkozy had announced an acceleration of French withdrawal to 2013 and his successor as president in the campaign said he would accelerate that even further to 2012. It’ll be interesting to see whether that’s reaffirmed or whether there’s some wiggle room in that. I would guess other NATO members will be encouraging the French not to withdraw quite so quickly, lest a bandwagon to that effect developed. The intent is to withdraw NATO combat forces by the end of 2014. There’s been a little confusion in public statements,

including in administration public statements, as to when responsibility for combat will be fully turned over to the Afghans, and I think that this will probably be clarified to some degree in the NATO communiqué and in statements that accompany it. As I understand it, the intent is to have turned responsibility over to the Afghans by 2013, but to remain in Afghanistan in considerable strength; that is to have NATO forces and American forces remain in considerable strength for another year beyond that to ensure that the

NATO Sara Du Bois National Security Network 05/15/12 10:00 am ET Page 5 Afghan – to back the Afghans up essentially and to ensure that they succeed in taking over these responsibilities. That’s my understanding of where the trend is going in terms of the handover and one hopes that that will be somewhat clarified. There’s also the issue of what kind of presence will exist after 2014. The United States has signed a bilateral agreement indicating its commitment to maintain both a military presence and an aid relationship beyond 2014. A couple of other countries, I believe, are negotiating similar agreements with the Afghans, as is NATO; so there’ll be some further clarification on that. I wouldn’t expect it to include numbers. I don’t think the US is prepared at this point to elaborate what strength and what kind of military presence it envisages, other than to say it’ll be a much smaller one than the current one; and I suspect other countries won’t, but it’ll be interesting whether NATO, as a whole, commits to some military presence beyond 2014. There’s also the issue of funding Afghan national security forces. This is a pretty hefty bill, although vastly smaller than the cost of retaining American and NATO troop presence there. There have been negotiations on a reduction in the size of the Afghan security forces in order to make them more affordable. This is something that’s still apparently under negotiation. The last I heard, the plan was to reduce the Afghan national security forces from something in the area of 360,000 to something closer to 230,000 by 2018. So, they would remain fairly robust and large through 2014, and then largely through a process of attrition rather than actually releasing people, gradually reduce to a smaller and more affordable force. My understanding is that the bill for that force is going to run about $4 billion a year and the question is how to distribute that responsibility. It’s expected the US will take the bulk of it, but it will want other donors to pick up a significant amount of it and also a significant amount come out of the Afghan budget, and so I think – I’m not sure how much precision there’ll be in the NATO agreement and NATO communiqué, but there’ll be some mention of this and some generalized commitment.

NATO Sara Du Bois National Security Network 05/15/12 10:00 am ET Page 6 Other issues are likely that NATO has existing partnership arrangements with both Mediterranean countries and Persian Gulf countries. These arrangements were not very substantive in the years preceding the Libya operation; they were largely talk fests. There’s now, I think, a recognition in the aftermath of the Libya operation – which was specifically requested by the Arab League and which had at least two Arab states participating militarily in the operation – that these partnerships may be more substantive in the future. I think there’ll be an interest in giving a more concrete content to them in terms of joint training and exercises as well as just the kind of talk fests that have occurred in the past, and I would expect to see some emphasis on those partnerships in – whatever emerges from it. Finally, it’ll be interesting whether anything at all is said about Syria. It’ll certainly play heavily in the corridors, I would think. I doubt NATO will say anything about a possible NATO role in Syria, but it might say something general about the importance of a peaceful outcome and a transition in power there. On the other hand, it may duck the issue altogether since at this point, there is certainly no agreement among NATO members or in any other form about any form in military action there. I think I’ll wrap up my section now and turn this over to Jim Goldgeier. Jim? James Goldgeier: Great! Thank you. Well, it’s such an honor to be here with Senator Shaheen and Ambassador Dobbins. I just wanted to start by noting that Libya reminded us that there just aren’t any other organizations out there like NATO. We remember that when the international community authorized the use of force to prevent the atrocities in Benghazi, NATO was the only institution that was available to do this action. So, there’s always a lot of criticism of NATO, we talk a lot, of course, about the burden sharing issues and NATO capabilities, and so on, but I think it’s important to remember that for all the criticism, it is the only institution like it in the world to deal with the

NATO Sara Du Bois National Security Network 05/15/12 10:00 am ET Page 7 kinds of things that we saw a year ago in Libya. Also, as both the Senator and Ambassador Dobbins mentioned, whenever we’re talking about these types of humanitarian operations, like Libya, or operations to defend against threats to Alliance members, the NATO seat of operation is likely to be outside of Europe and that’s why both of the previous speakers mentioned the importance of the partnerships. NATO has to build up partnerships with other countries, especially other like-minded countries. In part, that’s to share the burden, but it’s also for the purpose of legitimacy, because as NATO continues to act outside of the transatlantic area, since it’s a group of western countries, it’s very important to have other countries, in whatever region NATO is operating, join the effort for the purpose of greater legitimacy and so, for example, as Ambassador Dobbins mentioned, we had two countries from the Arab world participate in the Libyan operation and I think that in any other part of the world that NATO operates in, it’s very important that it has countries – that they partner with countries from that region for the purpose of legitimacy. The other aspect of partnership is that since so many of the threats that’s faced the NATO members, either our non-military nature or sort of some mix of, let’s say, for example, police work and military operations, NATO also really needs to work with other institutional partners out there; the most important of which is the European Union. Closer NATO EU

collaboration is very important going forward, because of the tremendous civilian capacity that the European Union has in taking actions, whether we’re talking about issues related to counter-terrorism, counter-proliferation or things like dealing with cyber security; it’s going to be important for NATO to work with the European Union. Now, we know that the joint ability of these countries to contribute to common defense is important if their alliance is to have any meaning. We also know that a lot more defense spending in Europe is unlikely and I think given that, what’s most important – which is why we’re talking about smart defense – is greater efficiency; and I do think I would just

NATO Sara Du Bois National Security Network 05/15/12 10:00 am ET Page 8 add to what Ambassador Dobbins said, which is the need to make these other partnerships, these partners – for example, he was mentioning with the Mediterranean dialogue, the need to make these partnerships substantive and not just talk fests. Then my last point would just be to just think about how different things are since the last NATO summit in the United States at the 50th anniversary in Washington in 1999. At that time, Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic had just joined the Alliance. It was the first post Cold War enlargement into Central Europe. NATO was at war at that time over Kosovo, and remember how controversial that operation was as an out-of-area operation? I mean now that NATO’s been to so many other places, it’s hard to think of Kosovo as far from home, but that was seen as a real major step for the alliance, because it wasn’t on the territory of a NATO member state and so it really is an alliance that has adapted tremendously, both in terms of taking on new members and taking on new missions, since the last time there was a NATO summit in the United States. With that, I’ll turn it back to Sara.

Sara Du Bois:

Thank you, all. So, at this time, we will take some questions. Just a note, Senator Shaheen will have to drop at 10:30, so if there are questions for Senator Shaheen, we are looking to take those first. If you’re already in the queue and your question’s not for Senator Shaheen, you can press the pound sign and then we’ll get back to those questions after the fact. To register a question, you can press star/one. So we’ll wait just a moment. Again, let’s first take questions for Senator Shaheen and then we will get back; and if your question is not for her, press the pound sign. Thanks so much. Operator, let’s start with the first question, please.


Certainly. Our first question will come from James Kitfield, National Journal magazine. Go ahead. Your line is open.

NATO Sara Du Bois National Security Network 05/15/12 10:00 am ET Page 9 James Kitfield: Thank you for doing this, and maybe Jim and Dean Goldgeier could answer this after Senator Shaheen leaves, but I’d like her comment, too. I mean it was at NATO’s ministerials where former Defense Secretary Gates was saying the Alliance could face a dismal future if it doesn’t turn around defense spending and burden sharing, and since that time nothing has suggested to me – and I’m curious about your views – that NATO has done anything other than to talk about smart defense, which sounds like a rationalization for doing [more than less], to me. So, what has NATO done in the last year, even as it sort of accelerates its withdrawal from Afghanistan and defense budgets are still being cut? What has it done to sort of get off this path [of it] towards a dismal future that Secretary Gates was talking about? Jeanne Shaheen: Well, certainly, I think if we go back to Libya that the UK and France really – after that mission ramped up, they really took the lead in Libya. Now, I did point out some of the shortcomings in terms of operational capacity, but the fact that they took the lead, I think, was an important diversion, really, from some of – certainly from the operation in Afghanistan. If we look at what’s being talked about and done at NATO now, to think about how to really do smart defense – and we had this conversation with the Secretary General last week when he came and met with the Foreign Relations Committee, and there was a fair amount of back and forth on this, but as he pointed out, they’re doing Strategic Airlift Capability; it was one of the concerns that we saw with the Libyan operation, but 12 nations are procuring and operating C-17 transports; so I think that’s important. Again, as we think about how do we better cooperate? The whole Baltic air policing mission is another example of trying to pool resources to more effectively fulfill the national security mission that they have. So, I think the analysis is correct; we’re not going to see significant increases in the foreseeable future and what Europe is spending on defense, which is why we need to think about ways in which we can better

NATO Sara Du Bois National Security Network 05/15/12 10:00 am ET Page 10 and more effectively use the resources that we have and thinking about how to pool efforts as the C-17 transport effort shows and the air policing mission shows is one way to better do that. For our next question, we’ll go to Emily Cadei, Congressional Quarterly. Go ahead. Your line is open.


Emily Cadei:

Hi, Senator! I have a quick question for you on expansion, and I know you mentioned that briefly, although everyone’s reiterated that this is not an expansion conference. There’s been quite a bit of lobbying from some of the [Afghans], like Macedonia and Georgia, some of the former Yugoslavian countries, and I’m just curious if you can talk a little bit more about the discussions you think will take place on expansion potentially, especially with Macedonia and how you see that moving forward in the future, if not at this conference?

Jeanne Shaheen: Well, one of the things that I think is important for this summit is to make it very clear that there is a path forward for – that was as foreign countries that the door is still open because it provides very important incentives for those countries to continue to do the internal reforms that are important as they’re moving towards democracy and as they’re joining, whether it’s the EU – thinking about the EU or NATO; I think those – it’s important for them to see that there is an open door and an opportunity to join NATO and so I have, as have some other members of the Senate, argued that it’s very important to send a clear signal at this summit that there is going to be a continued open door policy and that those countries, Georgia, Macedonia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Montenegro do have an opening; and as you all know, they have – particularly Georgia – have been very important in contributing to the

NATO Sara Du Bois National Security Network 05/15/12 10:00 am ET Page 11 NATO mission in Afghanistan. So, they need to be recognized for those efforts and they need to be clear that there is a path forward for membership. For our next question, we’ll go to Adam Aigner, CNN. Go ahead. Your line is open. Thank you, Senator. I know you only have like a minute left roughly – but my first question involves the news this morning that NATO will be inviting Pakistan to the summit and also the sort of the effect that might have on the, I guess, somewhat rocky relationship we’ve had with Pakistan recently, and sort of the need for them to participate in conversations regarding the path forward in Afghanistan.


Adam Aigner:

Jeanne Shaheen: Well, as we all have been following for several years now, what happens in Pakistan is critical to continued stability in Afghanistan and being able to have Afghanistan take over the security of their own country, and so I think that was very smart to include Pakistan, because they have an ongoing very important role in what happens. It’s a very critical region of the country – or of the world, not just Afghanistan, but Pakistan and so engaging them in what happens, I think, we can’t do too much of that. Thank you, all. I’m going to drop off and I just wanted to acknowledge Jim – Dean Goldgeier corrected my misspeaking on the last time the summit was in the US, so I appreciate that; and it was nice to be with all of you this morning. For our next question, we’ll go to Emmanuel Parisse at AFP.


Emmanuel Parisse: Hello?


Go ahead. Your line is open.

NATO Sara Du Bois National Security Network 05/15/12 10:00 am ET Page 12

Emmanuel Parisse: Yes. Hi! Thank you for taking my question. I will ask the Ambassador, [for instance], if is it a concern about NATO’s plan in Afghanistan that the French president decided to end combat troop earlier, and do you think that NATO – all the nations, the US and other nations in NATO, should ask [Israel] to reconsider?

James Dobbins: Well, I think people will regret an early French withdrawal. I think they probably will urge him to reconsider. I don’t know that they’ll do it formally – in fact, I’m pretty sure they won’t do it formally; they’ll do it bilaterally and individually. France will not be the first country to pull its troops out early. Other countries have come and gone over the years, but France is a major participant there and has made quite a successful contribution, and I think its participation will be missed. So, yes, I would anticipate urging that he reconsider or at least find some way of slowing down that withdrawal. I don’t know how possible that is within the framework of French politics; and if France leaves, it won’t collapse the NATO mission, but it certainly would set an unfortunate precedent and it will put pressure on other allies. For our next question, we’ll go to Roxana Tiron in Bloomberg News. Go ahead. Your line is open.


Roxana Tiron:

Yes. Hi! I was wondering whether there is any concern, whatsoever, that the United States is going to be able to raise $1.3 billion that they are at least looking to get from the NATO members and some of the other allies, to fund the Afghan forces after 2014. It sounds like the United States has been having some trouble raising that money and what do you expect would happen, considering the budgetary concerns both in the United States and in Europe?

NATO Sara Du Bois National Security Network 05/15/12 10:00 am ET Page 13 James Dobbins: Well, Jim may want to add something to this. No country, including the United States, can make firm commitments beyond a year or so in advance, because of the budgetary cycles and the legislative oversight, so the commitments are bound to be general and statements of intention, rather than firm binding commitments. I think the US – and commitments that are talking about three or four years for now will obviously depend – their fulfillment will depend a lot on the general state of the European and American economies, the politics in these countries. So, the commitment is going to be a soft commitment, but my guess is that recognizing that the commitment is a somewhat soft one, the US probably will secure adequate promises to be able – for the summit to be able to, with reasonable confidence, state that the funding requirement will be met. Okay. Who was speaking? I’m sorry.

Roxana Tiron:

James Dobbins: That’s James Dobbins.

Roxana Tiron:

Thank you so much, Ambassador.


Our next question will come from the side of Andrew Lubin at the Gazette. Go ahead. Your line is open.

Andrew Lubin: Mr. Ambassador, Andrew Lubin from Marine Corps magazine, the Gazette. Sir, what kind of NATO do you envision in the future with Mr. Sarkozy departing, the Germans who don’t – are not very proactive, the British aren’t proactive, and our policy nowadays seems to be want to do things in partnership? Do you see us drifting or just – would you see an opportunity, if necessary, to do another Libyan type operation?

NATO Sara Du Bois National Security Network 05/15/12 10:00 am ET Page 14 James Dobbins: I mean I think NATO will continue to react to events. I mean NATO didn’t want to go to Afghanistan. It didn’t want to go to Libya. It was forced by events; by 9/11, by the prospect of the human rights tragedy in Libya; and we’re now facing similar kinds of situations elsewhere. Syria, for instance – I’m not necessarily predicting that NATO will go to Syria, but I certainly wouldn’t exclude it if the Arab League would ask for it, if the Syrian opposition would ask for it; if Turkey were prepared to take the lead in such an operation, I could well see other NATO countries participating in some kind of humanitarian operation in Syria. So, I think that NATO will continue to be the most powerful and most cohesive of large alliances and an instrument which will be employed when the occasion arises. I don’t think that the particular change from Sarkozy to Hollande will make a big difference; maybe France will be a little less enthusiastic about NATO. Sarkozy went a long way toward reintegrating French forces in NATO. I don’t think they’re going to withdraw; I don’t think Hollande has any intention of doing that. The British are certainly – continue to be very

proactive. Germany has, because of its history, always been sort of one step behind in terms of its willingness to commit forces abroad, but it’s moved a long way since 1989 in that respect and I expect it to continue to move. The defense budgets are going down since Secretary Gates made his speech that was referred to earlier. Almost all countries, including the United States, have announced major defense cuts, but it’s important to remember that the US defense budget is still about half of the total world defense budget and the largest defense budget after the US defense budget continue to be the budget of the rest of NATO combined, which is considerably larger than, for instance, the next size budget which would be China. So, even at reduced levels of spending, the US and NATO are going to remain the most powerful military instruments on Earth.

NATO Sara Du Bois National Security Network 05/15/12 10:00 am ET Page 15 James Goldgeier: Can I just add just a couple of things to that, which is I just would come back to the point I made at the outset? This is Jim Goldgeier. There isn’t another institution out there that the international community can turn to. So, again we can look at the problems that NATO’s having and the defense spending, and comments like Secretary Gates’s about a dismal future, but then you look at the rest of the world, you think, “Well, who else is there that can act when action needs to be taken?” So, it may not be all that we hoped it will be, but it’s more than anybody else has. We’re always going to be disappointed with the defense spending coming from our allies in Europe; and Mr. Kitfield raised the question about whether smart defense is an effort to do more with less and, yes, sure, but I think that’s okay and it’s about as good as we’re going to get. So, I think we just need to be realistic in our expectations. For our next question, we’ll go to the side of [Jo Bedell] at [AOC]. Go ahead. Your line is open.


[Jo Bedell]:

Good morning. Thank you very much for taking my call. I wanted to return to the issue of smart defense, if I may, and specifically some of the projects that are likely to be unveiled in Chicago. I understand one of them would be some kind of joint management of munitions, and I’m wondering if you could talk to that and how far down the line the NATO alliances [and actually] [unintelligible] [some of the] framework agreement, and what sort of timetable are we talking about, and what kind of munitions, and whether there’s even been a country yet which has been chosen, if you like, as the host of the joint storage?

James Dobbins: Jim, do you want to take that?

NATO Sara Du Bois National Security Network 05/15/12 10:00 am ET Page 16 James Goldgeier: Well, [I – one of the details and I – then I do] – I mean I would just say that this initiative was really first hinted at by the agreement that Britain and France reached a couple of years ago on pooling their resources and trying not to duplicate what each other was doing, and to try to see if they could try to combine and get more from working together; and I think we’ve seen these initiatives develop from necessity, basically; and I don’t have any specific information on specific policies that are going to be announced this week, but I think the larger issue is this commitment to a recognition that pooling resources is the only way forward for an alliance in which defense spending is dropping. James Dobbins: Yes, I’d just add – this is Jim Dobbins – that there’s a difference between pooling resources and establishing division – sensible divisions of labor and collective procurement. Multinational production and procurement efforts tend to be a good deal more expensive on average than the national ones, and the more countries you add to the process, the more expensive they tend to become. So, I think that the NATO thrust to this will be to endorse bilateral and trilateral initiatives for the most part, rather than to try to do NATO-wide arrangements. I also think that to some degree, it means countries agreeing to buy a particular item from a single supplier, rather than to try to actually produce that item multinationally, which almost always adds significantly to the cost. Some of the agreements, like that between Britain and France, may also be agreements in which one country will decide not to retain a certain capability – an aircraft carrier, for instance – while the other country will commit to provide that asset should it be necessary. So, I see those as the areas that NATO is likely to focus on.

[Jo Bedell]:

Okay. Thank you very much.

NATO Sara Du Bois National Security Network 05/15/12 10:00 am ET Page 17 Operator: For our next question, we’ll go to Paul Adams at BBC. Go ahead, sir. Your line is open.

Paul Adams:

Thank you very much, gentlemen. This was a question originally aimed to the senator, but I’d be interested in getting your thoughts anyway, just coming back to the whole issue of funding in Afghanistan post 2014. I’m just sort of wondering whether in an atmosphere where there’s a huge debate over sequestration and the impact on defense spending, when troops are coming out and people are beginning to think that our job is done in Afghanistan, when the connection with 9/11 feels a bit distant – in other words, that people identify threats as coming from places other than Afghanistan, I just wonder whether those can’t be an appetite among legislators here in the US for this enormous continued bill.

James Dobbins: Well, $4 billion isn’t enormous compared to $100 billion, and $100 billion is what we’re paying now. So, I think you’re right to raise the question; $4 billion is still pretty significant for any bilateral aid program. If the US part of that was $2 billion, it wouldn’t be much more than what we already provide and have provided for years to Egypt and Israel. So, it wouldn’t be

completely out of proportion to the other two largest American military assistance programs, but those programs have constituencies in the US, which Afghanistan probably lacks. So, I mean I think you raised good questions. I think it’s entirely appropriate to speculate about the appetite and the willingness to continue this level of funding. I think you can make good arguments why it’s a sensible investment and I think those arguments will be made. I think both Republicans and Democrats will at this stage, in an

election year, commit themselves to sustaining the effort in Afghanistan. I don’t see any real debate between the parties; if anything, the Republicans are going to criticize Obama for cutting his costs too far in Afghanistan, rather

NATO Sara Du Bois National Security Network 05/15/12 10:00 am ET Page 18 than the reverse; but in the longer sight, I think it is right to speculate – but at this point, all you can do is speculate.

James Goldgeier: Again, this is Jim Goldgeier. I would just add that the argument is going to be made and I think you are correct, the appetite for doing much longer is going to diminish rapidly, but the counter-argument that’s going to be made is the United States lost interest in the affairs of Afghanistan after 1989 and look what happened on September 11, 2001. So, I think it’s going to be, I think, those who support continuing to try to create stability in Afghanistan are going to hearken back to that earlier period and just warn those who would leave entirely that the consequences of not paying attention to Afghanistan can be quite great. For our next question, we’ll go to Denise Chrispim at O Estado. Go ahead. Your line is open.


Denise Chrispim: Oh, thank you. Thank you for this opportunity. I wanted to know if it might be discussed in Chicago on the extent of a NATO operation to South America. James Dobbins: I’m not sure what you mean by a NATO operation. I don’t know of any…

Denise Chrispim: Not operation, but I mean it was said last year, especially, that NATO could have more attention – could get more attention to the South Atlantic and so this was an issue of concern by the governments of Brazil and Argentina and others. I wanted to know if this is still an issue for NATO.

James Dobbins: Well, I mean I think if the countries of South America or Latin America are generally were interested in a relationship with NATO – a partnership relationship, I think NATO would probably be responsive. I haven’t seen any

NATO Sara Du Bois National Security Network 05/15/12 10:00 am ET Page 19 signs of that and I suspect that the continued differences between Argentina and the UK over the Falklands would be a significant impediment to any such relationship in the near term.

Denise Chrispim: Thank you. For our next question, we’ll go to Clayton Jones with the Christian Science Monitor. Go ahead, sir. Your line is open.


Clayton Jones:

Thank you for doing this. I assume that the Russian objections to the Missile Defense Program will come up at some point in the summit and if so, I’m trying to understand what the real Russian objections are. Do they want to retain a first strike capability on Europe or a second strike? What do you see as their strategic motive in objecting to the program?

James Goldgeier: Well – this is Jim Goldgeier. I think the Russian objections have to be put in a larger context, which is continued Russian resentment of the past 20 years about what they see as western, particularly United States, efforts to take advantage of the end of the Cold War and expand western influence. Russia’s nuclear capability is what enables it to maintain its major power status as one of the two leading nuclear powers. It’s part of what creates its ability to claim a major status in world affairs and I think no matter what the United States says about where the missile defense is directed and the limited nature of it and the effort to combat a short-medium range threat coming from Iran, that the Russians are going to continue to see this as something that the United States is attempting to foist on the region and on a Russia that’s weaker than it was 20 years ago. We’ve been through conversations with the Russians since 1992 on efforts to find some kind of common ground on working together on missile defense, and the Russians seemed to continue to be stuck in a mindset

NATO Sara Du Bois National Security Network 05/15/12 10:00 am ET Page 20 on this issue that is from an earlier period. No one can tell another country how to define its interests, but it just seems to me that when Russia looks out at the world and thinks about the things that are of concern to it, it’s hard to see how a missile defense shield against short and medium range missiles coming from Iran would be high on the list of things to worry about.

James Dobbins: Yes, I mean I think that the American argument for missile defense in Europe raises questions for the Russians. The US has argued for missile defense in Europe on the grounds that it’s needed to defend against Iranian missile threats, but one would only want to invest the amount that’s being invested in this if one were talking about Iranian nuclear arm missile threats. The

amounts being spent for missile defense would be astronomically out of proportion if all you were worried about was Iranian missiles with conventional warheads. On the other hand, the United States has said that it’s not going to permit Iran to have nuclear weapons. Obama has recently said that he rejects containment as an alternative and therefore, there’s a certain lack of logic in spending a huge amount of money against the threat that you also have a policy of never allowing to eventuate. Therefore, the Russians say, “Well, maybe Iran isn’t a threat,” and certainly, there are – some of the supporters in the US political system for missile defense do have larger ambitions for such missile defense, and the Russians are aware of that, too. So, the Russians’ concerns are not illogical, even if they are perhaps somewhat exaggerated. The Russians want a couple of things, which the US and NATO haven’t been willing to give them so far; they want much more access to the technologies involved, so they’d understand it better and could defend against it, if necessary; and they want some role in the command and control, and so the negotiation over collaborative missile defense is a negotiation over those kinds of issues, and those are very difficult issues on which to reach a mutual accommodation.

NATO Sara Du Bois National Security Network 05/15/12 10:00 am ET Page 21


For our final question, we’ll go to Ed Krayewski with Go ahead, sir. Your line is open.

Ed Krayewski:

Hi, gentlemen! Thanks for doing this today. My question, I guess, is if whether with the human rights watch report coming out the other day – it seemed that 72 civilians were killed in NATO air strikes in Libya – [I’ll ask you] what are the chances that that might come up in the summit this weekend in terms of how do you prevent that from happening again or what might have happened wrong, or any kind of self-evaluation?

James Dobbins: Well, if only 72 civilians were killed in eight or nine months of NATO air strikes in Libya, that would be a remarkably low number and they’d probably be congratulating themselves on having the least collateral damage of any similar operation in world history. So, I think there’s always an effort to reduce those kinds of casualties and I think they have been reduced very dramatically over the last 20 or 30 years, as the result of more precision weapons, advances in international war and in conformity to international law by western states; and I think if you compare those figures even to the figures of, say, 10 or 12 years ago in Kosovo, you’ll probably find that there have been significant advances. I would expect that to continue, but I don’t see a lot of breastfeeding at the NATO summit over this.

Ed Krayewski:

Right. Thank you. That will conclude the question and answer session. I’ll now turn the call back over to Ms. Du Bois for any closing remarks.


NATO Sara Du Bois National Security Network 05/15/12 10:00 am ET Page 22 Sara Du Bois: Thank you so much. I’d like to, again, thank our speakers for joining us today: Senator Shaheen, Ambassador Dobbins, and Dean Goldgeier. Thank you, too, to all the reporters and the other participants. Again, we will have a recording of this available, which we will put on the NSN website. You can find it at If you have any other questions for the participants, other issues, please let me know. You can contact me at (202) 289-5999 or you can get me on e-mail at NSN will also be providing additional materials in the lead-up to the NATO summit, so if there are other issues that you would like more information on, either those that were covered or those that were not, please don’t hesitate to let me know. Thank you so much and have a great day.


Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful