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Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

29 January 2010

Clinton Signals Unwavering U.S. Commitment to European Security, January 29, 2010

By Merle David Kellerhals Jr.
Staff Writer

Washington — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton outlined a set of principles that guide U.S. foreign and security policies with Europe, and also signaled the “unwavering commitment” of the United States to European security in a speech January 29 in Paris.

Speaking at France’s École Militaire, Clinton emphasized that the Vienna-based Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and NATO, the two largest and most comprehensive security organizations in Europe, are well-suited to deal with the 21st-century security environment and should be the venues for future discussions. At the same time, she said, Russia has offered a variety of proposals about the future of European security that deserve a thoughtful response.

“European security remains an anchor of U.S. foreign and security policy,” Clinton said.  “However, we believe that these common goals are best pursued in the context of existing institutions, such as the OSCE and the NATO-Russia Council, rather than by negotiating new treaties, as Russia has suggested.”

In November 2009 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev put forward new ideas on European security, arguing that organizations such as NATO and the OSCE have become outdated.

In a statement on the Russian government’s Web site, the Kremlin said the new European security treaty would be based on the principle that “no nation or international organization ... is entitled to strengthen its own security at the cost of other nations or organizations,” according to a news report by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

The draft European Security Treaty calls for the U.N. Security Council to “bear primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security.” Russia is one of the council’s five veto-holding, permanent members.

In her Paris speech, Clinton rejected this notion, saying that “we strongly believe that the enlargement of NATO and the [European Union] has increased security, stability and prosperity across the continent and that this, in turn, has increased Russia’s security.”

Clinton was in Paris for consultations with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his national security adviser, Jean-David Levitte, following two days of meetings with foreign ministers in London on Yemen and Afghanistan. While at the London talks, Clinton held private meetings with British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, among others.

The speech before a select audience at the 250-year-old military academy in Paris was in part intended to provide Europeans with specific policies and to emphasize continued U.S. commitment to their security. Some in Europe have feared that the United States has become distracted by ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and south-central Asia.

But Clinton told the audience that the traditional definition of security as deterrence, which dominated Cold War thinking and policymaking, has become largely obsolete. While security policy still embraces arms control, territorial sovereignty, and accords against the use of force, it must now consider threats from non-state actors, terrorism, cyberattacks and natural disasters, she added.

Clinton emphasized that the United States objects “to any spheres of influence in Europe in which one country seeks to control another’s future,” adding that “NATO must and will remain open to any country that aspires to become a member and can meet the requirements of membership.” Both Georgia and Ukraine have sought NATO membership in recent years.

In the 21st-century threat environment, security cannot be taken for granted, and Euro-Atlantic nations should avoid becoming complacent, Clinton said, citing the August 2008 Russia-Georgia crisis over the breakaway provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Russia has since recognized both provinces as newly independent states and has maintained military forces in both provinces, but the United States and European nations have rejected that claim as a violation of the sovereignty of Georgia. Clinton said the United States will not recognize the Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states. Russian forces continue to occupy both regions despite agreeing in a ceasefire commitment to withdraw its troops to positions held before the August conflict.

Clinton said part of the U.S. security commitment to Europe is Article 5 of the North Atlantic Charter, which commits its members to the security of any NATO nation attacked by outside powers.

“An attack on one is an attack on all,” Clinton said, reiterating that the United States will maintain military forces in Europe to bolster security.


Clinton addressed six security principles that guide U.S. policies in Europe, which specify:

• The cornerstone of security in Europe is a commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states.

• The United States is committed to the collective defense of allies.

• True security requires security for individuals as well as security among states and respect for human rights, free expression and a free news media.

• There should be transparency in all relations to blunt decades of mistrust.

• Security is indivisible, which effectively means there cannot be security for some without security for all.

• People everywhere have the right to live free from the fear of nuclear destruction.

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