John McCain, US-Senator (R-Arizona)

Posted in NATO , United States | 04-Feb-06 | Source: Munich Conference on Security Policy

US-Senator John McCain.
US-Senator John McCain.
NATO's Future Role in International Peace Keeping

Nearly a century ago, President Theodore Roosevelt wrote that, "There can be no nobler cause for which to work than the peace of righteousness." With this and other eloquent turns of phrase, Roosevelt touched on a question of international politics no less salient in our time than his: how does a state achieve at once both peace and righteousness?

The question goes beyond the armed strife to which America's 26th president referred. How today should the transatlantic democracies use their national influence in various circumstances - from Iran to the Balkans to Russia to the completion of a free Europe? Our gathering today addresses NATO's mission, and so this question has particular importance. For our alliance exists not solely to defend members from outside threats. NATO is the very embodiment of the transatlantic community, a partnership built on shared values, bountiful resources, and democratic legitimacy. It has transformed the world and, limited only by the imagination and will of its leaders, can continue to do so.

Those who argue that the vanished Soviet threat undermines NATO's very rationale should look at the western Balkans. By deploying peacekeepers in 1995, the transatlantic partners staunched the bloodshed in Bosnia. Working together, we stopped further killing in Kosovo and then averted civil war in Macedonia. There are important final status issues to be resolved this year, about which I will say more in a few moments, but the story in that region is one of unmitigated NATO success. Today the democratic aspirations of Balkan peoples have become a reality - Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia, and Albania are on a path to full membership in Euro-Atlantic institutions, a prospect unimaginable in the days of Srebrenica and the siege of Sarajevo.

To those who say that disagreements over the war in Iraq strained the alliance irreparably, I again dissent. Even at the peak of Iraq-related tensions, NATO was engaged in successful operations in Afghanistan, and since then has expanded its role throughout the country. In December, NATO committed to send an additional 6,000 troops to Afghanistan, a contribution that is vital to maintaining stability there. The 37 countries active in Afghanistan are faced off against terrorists who believe they can apply lessons from Iraq to undermine President Karzai and Afghanistan's democratic government. We cannot let them do that. Operations there are costly and they are dangerous, but they are necessary to preventing the reemergence of a pre-9/11 failed state.

NATO is continuing its internal transformation as well, evolving from a territorial defense mission to an expeditionary alliance. As Secretary General de Hoop Scheffer has detailed, this means investments in new capabilities, including strategic airlift, special operations forces, and intelligence.

In short, the transatlantic partnership has accomplished things that no other alliance has. We will need to maintain this solidarity throughout 2006 and into the future, as we face a number of very challenging issues.

Foremost on many minds is, of course, Iran. The world's chief state sponsor of international terrorism, the Iranian regime defines itself by hostility to the United States and Israel - a point made shockingly apparent by President Ahmadinejad's recent comments about Israel and the Holocaust. Tehran has repeatedly used violence to undermine the Middle East peace process and governments friendly to the United States, and it has sponsored at least one direct attack against the United States.

Tehran's continued pursuit of nuclear weapons plainly poses an unacceptable risk to the international community. Protected by a nuclear deterrent, Iran would feel unconstrained to sponsor terrorist attacks against any perceived enemy. Its flouting of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty would render that regime obsolete, and could induce Turkey, Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia and others to reassess their defense posture and arsenals. And the world would live, indefinitely, with the possibility that Tehran might pass nuclear materials or weapons to one of its allied terrorist networks. Iran already possesses ballistic missiles capable of reaching major European capitals. The threat, to Europe, the United States, and countries beyond, is clear.

In facing down this problem, the EU3 has made great diplomatic efforts, but Iranian intransigence has resulted in failure. Europe has outlined one potential endgame if Tehran abandons its nuclear programs: an Iran with far reaching economic incentives, external support for a civilian nuclear energy program, and integration into the international community. But Tehran has rejected this offer and instead removed IAEA seals. Now the international community must stand together as we present Iran with a different set of incentives.

Immediate UN Security Council action is required to impose multilateral sanctions, including a prohibition on investment, a travel ban, and asset freezes for government leaders and nuclear scientists. It is in the interest of Russia and China to support these moves, notwithstanding their business interests. Surely they do not wish to see a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, an end to the NPT, and a more malicious Iranian foreign policy in Iraq and elsewhere. But should Russia and China decline to join our peaceful efforts to resolve the nuclear issue, we should seek willing partners to impose these sanctions outside the UN framework. The countries of Europe, with their close economic ties to Iran and diplomatic leadership on the nuclear issue, will have a special responsibility in this regard.

And every option must remain on the table. There is only one thing worse than military action, and that is a nuclear armed Iran. The regime must understand that it cannot win a showdown with the world. Should diplomacy fail, the responsible members of the international community - and the transatlantic partners especially - need to stay unified to answer this grave challenge.

While we do so, we need to reassure the reformers and the millions of Iranians who aspire to self-determination that we support their longing for freedom and democracy. The talented and educated Iranian people are stifled by a corrupt and repressive elite. Hungry for reform and an end to their country's international isolation, they have voted for change time and again - only to discover that their votes count for little with the ruling regime. The mullahs provide neither the jobs, nor the freedom, nor the basic human rights that their people want so badly. The regime cynically uses the nuclear issue to rally its people, hoping they will forget the everyday difficulties under clerical rule. The countries of Europe are particularly well placed to support democratic forces in Iran through democracy programs, broadcasting, and by lending political support to dissidents. After decades of difficult relations with Iran, it is important that we remain on the right side of history, supporting the legitimate aspirations of the Iranian people.

The Iranian nuclear issue will be an obvious test of our relations with Russia, which I hope will support swift Security Council action. With the G8 summit in St. Petersburg five months away, it is clear that Moscow wishes to be seen as a great power. That possibility remains, because there is much that the U.S. and Europe could do together with Russia. We could stand up to Iran's threats, end the frozen conflicts in Europe's east, ensure Ukraine becomes an oasis of stability and prosperity instead of a Cold War-style battleground, and help to transform Central Asia.

The Kremlin, however, shows no interest in such a relationship. Instead, it continues to pursue foreign and domestic policies strongly at odds with our interests and values. Even after Iran rejected the EU3 talks and removed nuclear seals, Moscow indicated that it would proceed with a $1 billion deal to sell short range missiles to Iran. In recent weeks Moscow has used its natural gas supplies as a weapon, punishing democratic Ukraine and Georgia while providing cut-rate gas to the dictatorship in Minsk. It continues to prosecute a brutal war in Chechnya that has killed as many as 200,000, radicalizing the Muslim population, and it actively supports dictatorships in Central Asia. As one journalist recently catalogued, the broadcast media are Kremlin-controlled, as are parliament, provincial governors, and the judiciary. All of these were free and independent when Mr. Putin took office. Andrei Illarionov, Mr. Putin's former economics advisor, said upon resigning, "It is one thing to work in a partly free country, which Russia was six years ago. It is quite another when the country has ceased to be politically free."

After the Soviet Union collapsed, the West invested resources, political capital, and above all hope in Russia. We wanted to see a reformist, democratic, capitalist Russia acting in partnership with the West. But let's be honest with ourselves - everything we see today indicates that the Russian government has chosen its path, and it is not ours. The Kremlin seems to prefer the pursuit of autocracy at home and abroad, to prefer blocking concerted action against rogue states, to prefer weakening what it views as democratic adversaries. This is a Soviet mindset, not a post-Cold War one. Under Mr. Putin, Russia today is neither a democracy nor one of the world's leading economies, and I seriously question whether the G8 leaders should attend the St. Petersburg summit.

Russia is not the only issue on Europe's borderlands that will face us this year. Ukraine's political development will have reverberations throughout the region, and the March 26 parliamentary elections will illustrate the degree to which Ukraine has made the shift to a competitive democratic political system. As Ukraine moves further down the road to reform and orientation toward the West, the transatlantic partners must respond by extending tangible benefits. NATO can take a first step this year by endorsing a Membership Action Plan at the June Ministerial.

It should do the same for Georgia. Since the Rose Revolution, Georgia has implemented far-reaching political, economic, and military reforms, and has presented a viable peace plan for South Ossetia. By integrating reformist democracies like Georgia and Ukraine into transatlantic institutions, we can meet their aspirations for a secure partnership in a community of values - and extend the zone of democratic peace into regions of vital interest to Western security. Just as NATO enlargement stabilized Europe's north and center, so too will it stabilize Europe's east.

2006 will be a critical year not just for the countries in Europe's east, but also on its south. The international community needs to ensure that old tensions in the Balkans do not flare up in this period of transition, when Montenegro will conduct is referendum and the future status of Kosovo is determined. It seems clear that, while the timing remains uncertain, Kosovo will eventually become independent, and that with this independence will come domestic and international responsibilities. The government in Pristina will be expected to protect minorities, address crime, root out corruption, and conduct its foreign policy responsibly - and how it approaches each of these issues will affect the timing of independence. At the same time, the EU should smooth the way for a future status decision this year by putting Serbia on a fast track to membership, and by moving ahead with visa and market access agreements. In so doing, Europe can ensure that the Serbian people are anchored firmly in Europe. If we can accomplish these goals, the transatlantic allies can, in 2006, successfully conclude their greatest European democracy project since the end of the Cold War.

In speaking of the countries on NATO's periphery, we return to the future of international peacekeeping. For in each of the enlargement debates, the question arose: Will the new members be contributors or consumers of alliance security? A look at NATO's current operations answers this definitively. Every member of the latest round of expansion is currently contributing to NATO operations, and Romania is active in every NATO operation in the world. It is my hope that our host today will adopt this same activism. Germany has been a bit quiet on the world stage in recent years, and yet it could assume a true leadership role within NATO - one commensurate with its role as a leader of Europe.

As history's pace quickens, and with some difficult times ahead, the members of NATO will need to rely on each other more often in the future than in the past. The world will rely on NATO to a greater degree as well - as a security guarantor, as a peacekeeper, and as diplomatic leverage. But to adequately and appropriately fulfill these roles, the Euro-Atlantic community must clarify their understanding of what constitute the core threats to our interests and our values. I believe the greatest threat today is the specter of international terrorism, along with situations that give rise to it and render it more dangerous - whether this means a failed state in Iraq, a nuclear armed Iran, weapons proliferation, or a Russia that exports autocracy. I hope - but am not sure - that we have the consensus within NATO that this threat demands.

If and when we achieve this consensus, we can take action. We can robustly fund our militaries, and employ them in defense of our common heritage as democratic allies. We can transform our alliance so that countries specialize in peacekeeping, interdiction, foreign military training, or any other field. We can orient our diplomatic energies toward the defeat of terrorism and the promotion of democracy, human rights, and freedom.

In 1942, another President Roosevelt commemorated the first anniversary of the Atlantic Charter, which established the moral foundation of the North Atlantic Treaty. Referring to the nations bound by alliance, he said, "Their faith in life, liberty, independence, and religious freedom, and in the preservation of human rights and justice in their own as well as in other lands, has been given form and substance. . ." That vision, made so concrete through NATO, now includes former enemies once divided by war, both hot and cold. Today, the challenge is to strengthen and extend that vision, and to bring its faith to those lands in which it is so sorely lacking.

We in the transatlantic community should dare to dream today of the future we might help build in Europe's borderlands, in Central Asia, and throughout the Broader Middle East. As partners in a shared and historic endeavor that has already transformed the lives of millions, we should discount neither the power of our ideals nor the capacity of our democracies. In turning back the forces of tyranny and terror, and in helping to secure the blessings of liberty everywhere, we will embark on a project worthy of this grand alliance. And in doing so, we will prevail, as we have prevailed before - together.

The spoken word is applicable!

US-Senator John McCain. Bavarian Minister-President Stoiber presents Mr. McCain with the Peace Plaque in the presence of Mr. Teltschik.
US-Senator John McCain. Bavarian Minister-President Stoiber presents Mr. McCain with the Peace Plaque in the presence of Mr. Teltschik.
Mr. McCain Second Holder of the Munich Peace Plaque

War Veteran Honored for his Struggle Against Torture

By Bettina Hunold

Munich. (04. Feb. 2006). -Thick snowflakes are dancing in the air. Heads between the shoulders and coat collars turned up due to the cold, the participants of the Conference on Security Policy are hurrying through the snow-covered courtyard of the Munich Royal Residence heading for the wide stairs to enter tonight’s venue, the Kaisersaal. Here, US Senator John McCain is going to be presented with the Peace Medal.
Some guests immediately gathered around the blackboard in the festive, chandelier-lit hall to study the seating plans for the evening. Others went to the bistro tables to have an aperitif and exchange impressions or sum up the first conference day. A frequent topic was the speech of the German Chancellor. The bottom line was that it had been “convincing” and “spontaneous”. Her clear-cut message addressing Iran and the new Palestinian government received praise. The fact that conference host Horst Teltschik had once again managed to bring conflicting parties together to talk was seen as a major achievement. This applied to the Iranian delegation first and foremost. Again, numerous inofficial bilateral talks were conducted outside the main conference halls.

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