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Monday, 13 January 2003

President Aleksander Kwaśniewski pays a working visit to USA

13th January 2003, the President of the Republic of Poland Aleksander Kwaśniewski opened his two-days visit to the United States of America upon invitation of the US President George W. Bush. During the first day of the visit President Aleksander Kwaśniewski received in his residence in the Blair House representatives of the Lockheed Martin company with its president Mr. Vance D. Coffman. Later the same day Aleksander Kwaśniewski visited the National Defense University, where after the meeting with the University President Paul G. Gaffney II, Polish President delivered a lecture titled "Transatlantic Security at the Beginning of the 2003": I am glad to have an opportunity to visit the National Defense University (NDU) and address such a distinguished knowledgeable audience today. This university is appreciated very much in Poland, and our officers who graduated from the NDU take the highest military positions. There are not many of them, however, because the NDU opened its doors to our officers only ten years ago. Let me list some active duty alumni for you, by the year of graduating class: Class 97: General Henryk Tacik - Polish MILREP to the NATO Military Committee - appointed in 1998; Class 98: General Edward Pietrzyk - Commander in Chief of the Army - appointed in 2000; Class 99: General Czesław Piątas - Chief of Defence of Poland - appointed in 2000; Class 2000: General Mieczysław Cieniuch - J5 of Polish General Staff - appointed in 2000; Class 2001: General Ryszard Olszewski - present today with us - Commander in Chief of Air and Air Defense Forces - appointed in 2002; Class 2002: General Franciszek Gągor - J3 of Polish General Staff - appointed in 2002. Just last week he was selected by the UN Secretariat for the post of the Force Commander of the UN Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission - UNIKOM, and is taking over a new job. Thus we in Poland have a chance, not only to recognize, but to benefit in practical terms from the NDU`s extremely valuable knowledge, expertise and training programs. Knowledge and expertise of the NDU alumni testify best to high quality of your staff. I would like to express my gratitude to the NDU, to its President Vice Admiral Paul G.Gaffney II, to Steve J.Flanagan, Director of the NDU Institute for National Strategic Studies, to Dr Hans Binnendijk and Dr.Jeffrey Simon, for all their efforts to raise public understanding of the complex policy issues faced by the global community. I am really happy to be here with you today and to share with you my reflections on transatlantic security. Trying to identify the challenges and opportunities stemming from the new international security environment I shall devote my observations to the two basic subjects: the security environment before NATO Prague Summit and the new security agenda. At the very beginning l would like to recognize the positive developments in the security environment leading to the Prague Summit decisions. The most important of them, in my opinion, are consequences of September the 11th and NATO enlargement process. In Prague the roads of the process that started after September attacks and the process of enlargement crossed and generated an extremely strong stimulus for change. Therefore NATO is not going to be the same any longer. The tragic events of September the 11th have forced and reinforced a very important process: general review of the way of thinking and doing business within NATO. Nations have got a strong incentive for change. We stopped talking and started doing - working out the ways of adjusting our defense capabilities to the real and immediate requirements of the post-cold-war security environment.Second wave of enlargement is of outmost importance as well. It is not an automatic repetition of the decision to invite Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary as it is often said or thought. The first wave of enlargement was a very important political decision making the beginning of the open door policy, made in the conditions of a strong opposition of Russia. However, the decision on the first enlargement did not bring internal change to the Alliance.The posture of NATO force structure and planning procedures, 50 years old and created for the Cold War environment, remained in place. We did not rest waiting for better times, of course. The need of change was recognized and vulnerable points were identified at Washington Summit. We started discussions and consultations how to improve defense capabilities, conduct operations out of NATO area, co-operate with other international organizations and non-NATO nations. For the last three years the new members have proved that they are reliable and attractive as Allies. They contributed to the development of NATO Russia Strategic Partnership in such a way that the resent decisions on enlargement did not bring about any crisis in our relationship with Russia. However, real change of NATO will come with the implementation of the Prague Summit decisions. In Prague we decided to invite 7 countries. This will increase defense potential of NATO meaningfully and expand stability zone from the Baltic to the Black and Mediterranean Sea. But it is not only NATO geographical dimension that will change - political center of gravity will move to the East of Europe as well. This wave of enlargement will deliver a lot of "fresh blood" into the body of the Alliance, and NATO will get a unique chance of revitalization. 10 out of 26 Allies - 40 % of the total will come from the former communist countries. All of them are very enthusiastic, full of vigor and faith in NATO. Let us take a straightforward approach. We witness a gradual evolution of a notion of "defense". We also participate in this process. Until recently defense was understood as protection of one`s own territory against an enemy. This approach allowed to develop such concepts as detention, deterrence or forward defense. However, these assumptions turned out to be outdated in the new security environment. The most fearsome enemy of civilization - terrorists - do not attack and do not occupy any territory. Terrorists spread destruction aimed to bring chaos and paralysis to national and social institutions and mechanisms. What is then our new security agenda? To defend against such an enemy, we have to change the philosophy of our action: first, it is us who have to find the enemy. We must not wait for the enemy to find us; second, once found, the enemy should be neutralized before they grow in strength; third, the means to achieve these ends are not tanks, but political, military, economic and financial measures, all combined; fourth, our efforts are worth nothing if done single-handed even by a great power. The transatlantic community has to adapt itself to the new security environment, just as NATO has started the process of its deep transformation, strengthened with the decisions of the Alliance`s Summit in Prague last November. Europe has woken up and European Allies proved that they are prepared to change to face new challenges, and NATO could again become a critical vehicle for achieving objectives of both the US national security strategy and security strategies of European Allies. The basic transatlantic challenge is how to maintain a community of security interests. It is a prerequisite for co-operation and joint endeavors, under the conditions of somewhat different threat perceptions and a clear gap between the U.S. and European military capabilities. In that regard we have to remember that both NATO and the EU are enlarging and undergoing deep transformation in parallel. When compared with the US, Europe is technologically and militarily backward. It has to (as it does) undertake efforts to diminish this growing gap. However, in spite of these deficiencies, Europe is still a mature political, economic and trade partner for the US. One of the most promising US-European co-operation initiatives is the Prague NATO Summit decision to create combined NATO Response Force, ready to be used everywhere and "everywhen" would measurably strengthen the transatlantic community. It means that all US and European efforts related to the adaptation of the transatlantic community to new challenges should be made mutually compatible. NATO is not an ad hoc coalition. It is an alliance based on common security interest and shared values. The best example is the Prague summit decision on the next round of enlargement. The historic significance of this decision is that only in Prague the historic justice was done. The division lines in Europe are deeply rooted in history - they were created by two totalitarian systems: Hitler`s Germany and Stalin`s Soviet Union and now finally they are erased for good. The secret Molotov-Ribbentrop`s protocols meant the fourth partition for Poland in her history and for three Baltic States - the forceful incorporation to the Soviet Union. I wish to use this opportunity to pay tribute to and to thank the people of United States for the fact that they never recognized these shameful decisions. Are the principles of the Washington Treaty valid in the light of a new perception of the security threats and the new concept of defense, especially against terrorism? The Polish answer is clear: YES. They are enduring, tried and true, grounded in commonly shared values of modern civilization. They are more than a means to deal with the "cold war" military threat, they have vitality enabling transformation and adaptation to new realities. New members want a strong NATO, capable of meeting new global threats, NATO that is a defense capability multiplier for member states and plays a key role in the international security environment. The Alliance that conducts out of area operations to prevent potential threats and menaces. New members understand importance of transatlantic relations, but they are not looking for security guarantees for free, at the cost of the US only. Rather than that they are looking for the US assistance to develop their own defense capabilities, to be able to provide for the best contribution to the common Alliance defense efforts, to get the highest possible synergy effect. Armed forces of new Allies have to change. They will have to replace old post-Soviet equipment by modern systems. Polish pilots will fly modern F-16s instead of desolate Migs. It may look very much like the change in the communications area when a fibre-optic technology was introduced. On the top of the transatlantic security agenda I would place NATO - EU relationship that to a large extent reflect the American-European relations. The EU Summit in Copenhagen made a breakthrough decision to open door to further development of NATO-EU co-operation in the defense area. Again, we have got a very positive development, because Prague Summit decisions and EU enlargement strengthens European pillar of NATO, and strengthens NATO at large by increasing the ability of its members to develop common political purposes. But it is only when the theory become practice we can achieve the most effective and appropriate solutions. At the end of my address I would like to make a few remarks of a more general nature. Not all of them are related directly with the main topic of our meeting, but I find them important enough to mention them today. Not so long ago the main task of the security policy was to prevent a possible attack from strong, aggressive states. Now, it is the weak and failed states that constitute a serious challenge for our common security. It is their territory that harbors different criminal structures. It is there that terrorist groups are trained. The point is that the contemporary international legal regulations as well as the whole modus operandi of the international community is oriented at states, which retain full control and are responsible for activities undertaken at their territory. The weak states do not often meet this criterion. Thus they are a new challenge, risk and source of threats and there is no ready-made answer how to deal with this problem. To fight traditional challenges we have international law, armies and international security structures. Our societies are mentally prepared to meet this threat. Contemporary threats find their source in different conspiracies, terrorist organizations and other non-state actors operating at the territories of weak states. The question that we face now is how to adapt the existing legal norms to new requirements? How to change the mentality of people? How to modify the functioning of international organizations so that they were able to efficiently fight new threats at the time and place of their origin. How to prevent the evil before it kills. I do not have all the answers to these questions. But two things I do know. One cannot fight alone effectively. And the international law must be observed. It is true even in the case of powerful states. The legal bases for the war against terrorism - successful international defense against terrorism should be based on clear international legal procedures. It should creatively make use of multilateral mechanisms such as that of the UN. Our idea is to read the UN Charter as the Bible. The Bible gives us Ten Commandments, fundamental principles of human relations. Just as the UN Charter gives us the principles of relations between the states. However, the reality I am describing makes us adopt a new act - the act that will meet the challenges and outline political philosophy of today and tomorrow. Poland, during the last session of the UN General Assembly proposed to start work on the elaboration of such a political act. Thus, this document may have to guarantee also what I think is obvious - the security of people if they are threatened by their own authorities. National sovereignty must not shield the violations of the principles of international law. In such cases international community must be able to intervene. Those who break the law must not go unpunished. The US leadership in the defense against terrorism must be comprehensive. It cannot be reduced to operational leadership in successive military campaigns. The leading role of America is unquestionable and the way in which it is exercised should not raise the questions as well. I am saying this in the capital of the state that for many people in the world is a role model of democracy and respect for human rights. Today`s leadership of the US in the world is not questioned and it should be exercised. But it should be clearly said that in order to be effective it has to be cooperative and based upon the rules acceptable by all the parties. If these rules are not applied then leadership can be perceived as hegemony or domination. To avoid this one should talk with others, listen to them, and learn other`s arguments. The US and Europe will remain the key players in the security environment. In my view the US and Europe will remain the key players in the security environment for foreseeable future, and there is a role to play for Poland and the US to make thinks go better. Last year, during the meeting of the heads of state and government of the Vilnius Group, and V-4 in Riga I presented the initiative of regional cooperation at the time after the EU and NATO enlargements. The Riga Initiative has been meant as a platform for exchange of experiences and consultation on security and other regional issues among member of NATO and the EU and those who still remain outside these organizations in the region. Let`s do our job and be optimistic. You can see a new and very positive quality emerging in Europe.It is true that the way in which it is evolving does not satisfy everybody. It is very true that it does not develop fast enough, but let us remember how complex and tough are the challenges we face, and be optimistic. There is a West Point saying: "When the going gets tough, the tough get going".
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