Last week, Frontpage Magazine hosted the Symposium The End of the West? in which Charles Kupchan, Angelo Codevilla, Radek Sikorski and Joel Mowbray debated the possibility of America and Europe drifting into two divergent paths.
Frontpage now presents a fitting sequel: the transcript of a debate between Richard Perle and Christopher Patten over The State of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership:
THE TRILATERAL COMMISSION (EUROPE)
26TH EUROPEAN MEETING
PRAGUE, 18TH - 20TH OCTOBER 2002
Tape transcription (with slight editing) of the Sunday, October 20th Session on
THE STATE OF THE EURO-ATLANTIC PARTNERSHIP
Co-chaired by Peter Sutherland & Thomas S. Foley
CHRISTOPHER PATTEN, Member of the European Commission (External Relations), Brussels; former Governor of Hong Kong; former Member of the British Cabinet, London
RICHARD PERLE, Chairman, U.S. Defence Policy Board and Consultant to the U.S. Secretary of Defence; Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, Washington
WILLIAM DROZDIAK, Executive Director of the German Marshall Fund of the United States Transatlantic Center, Brussels; former Chief European Correspondent for "The Washington Post"
GRIGORY YAVLINSKY, Member of the State Duma; Leader of the "Yabloko" Parliamentary Group; Chairman of the Center for Economic and Political Research, Moscow
PETER SUTHERLAND, EUROPEAN CHAIRMAN:
If I may at the very outset, I would like to recognise our colleagues from other places who are with us here today. First of all, Tom Foley, who of course is here from the United States as our North American Chairman. Secondly we have Han Sung-Joo as the Pacific Asian Deputy Chairman from Korea, Allan Gotlieb who is here as the Northern American Deputy Chairman from Canada. Shijuro Ogata who is the Pacific Asian Deputy Chairman from Japan, and Lorenzo Zambrano who is the North American Deputy Chairman from Mexico. All have travelled, I hardly need tell you, very far distances to be with us - we will be having a Chairmen's meeting later in regard to future events. But also Tadashi Yamamoto and Michael O'Neil are also here, respectively the Pacific Asian and the North American Directors: we are very grateful to have them.
With regard to the session which is now about to start let me also welcome Chris Patten in the first instance, and Richard Perle, who will be the first two contributors. I will come to the others later. I don't think we could have chosen better speakers to represent the state of the current debate between the United States and the European Union, in particular regard to the events which we all know are so obviously covered in our newspapers on a daily basis.
And I'm going to go straight into the debate by asking Chris Patten. I don't have to introduce Chris - he's always been a formidable member of the European Commission in charge of External Relations. He has shown great courage in expressing very clearly, I think, the views which are widely held in Europe in regard to External Relations matters. And I think he's the perfect person to start this discussion this morning. Chris.
Thank you very much. I hope nobody told the Cardinal Archbishop of Prague yesterday what you'd planned for Sunday morning. The idea of starting off Sunday morning with a discussion led by someone once described by the Chinese as 'a sinner condemned for a thousand generations' on the one hand, and on the other, the 'Prince of Darkness' is I guess, pretty much the equivalent of saying a 'black Mass'. But, I'm sure that Richard and I will behave like a couple of old tabby cats for the next hour or so.
I think what makes this such an interesting, in a Chinese sense, and important time, is that three issues have come together at pretty much the same time.
First of all there is the question of how the rest of us deal with the United States, and how the United States deals with the rest of us. America isn't just a super power, it is, as the former American Ambassador in London Ray Sykes pointed out: a super-dooper power. It's powerful militarily, it's powerful technologically, it's powerful economically. It has a global cultural impact and reach, its universities are magnets for the world's young, and we have to ask ourselves, again to use a Chinese expression, does this potent 'Hegemon' want partners and allies, or does it just want followers?
Secondly, I think we're at a juncture in international affairs where there is a real danger of the Huntington Thesis becoming self-fulfilling. I think the gap, the gulf, between the Islamic world and Europe and North America is deeply troubling; I think the degree of antipathy in the Islamic world to the West is very worrying. Of course hatred of America is wholly, wholly unjustified, but if I was an American I'm not sure that I would necessarily feel that it could be best dealt with by bombing the haters. And I have to say in passing that I've always been rather sceptical about the proposition that military action in the Gulf is the best way of making the whole region more moderate and the best way of making the whole region believe rather more passionately in Jeffersonian democracy.
The third issue which we face today, is how we can deal with new challenges to international governance and the rule of law. Henry Kissinger has reminded us that since the Treaty of Westphalia, by and large international law has been based on the proposition that one State doesn't interfere in the affairs of another, another sovereign state, unless it is attacked. But now three different sorts of intervention are suggested: first of all you'll recall the speech which the Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan made about three years ago, in which he argued the case for humanitarian interventions - a recognition that people, as well as governments, had rights under which the rule of law: and that I guess, is what we were attempting to do during the Kosovo campaign. Secondly, its suggested that intervention should be justified where a particular, particularly unpleasant regime has particularly unpleasant weapons, weapons of mass destruction: that, I think, is the justification being used at present in relation to Iraq, and who knows what we should think about North Korea, passing Pakistan by for the mean time. Thirdly, there is the proposition that we should intervene where a bad regime is using non-state actors - that is, terrorist organisations - to threaten another state: and I'm not sure whether that is the argument in relation to Iraq.
Whatever. In all these cases there are questions of context, there are questions of the scale of threat, there are questions of the alternative options to the use of force. And how can we provide a means of determining these questions, if not wholly objectively, at least in a way that commands the greatest international consent, if it isn't by seeking to work through the United Nations?
Since the Second World War, American leadership has woven together her two strands of policy which we've largely associated with the names of President Truman and Secretary, or General, Marshall. Containment on the one hand, and establishing an international rule-book on the other. A rule-book and a set of institutions from the United Nations to the World Trade Organisation that sought to sustain democracy, to open markets, and to uphold the rule of law. And by and large, that policy has worked spectacularly well. Compare the second half of the last century with the first half; compare the leadership which America gave us after the Second World War and the success of the leadership with what happened after the First World War.
A couple of weeks ago, I had to give on the West Coast yet another memorial lecture; this one dedicated to George C. Marshall. And in order to prepare to write this lecture (this is a man who occasionally writes his own speeches), in order to prepare for this lecture, I read, re-read the Harvard Commencement Address in 1947 and a great deal more of Marshall's contributions to policy making. And these three sentences I picked out of Marshall's speeches which seemed to me to be a pretty good intellectual infrastructure for the policies pursued by him and by the United States. First of all, Marshall again, quote: 'A security policy is not a war policy'. Secondly Marshall, quote: 'Our policy is not directed against any country, but against hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos.' Third, Marshall quote: 'Democratic principles don't flourish on empty stomachs'. Now, applying these principles help to make the world a safer and a more prosperous place, not least for the United States. Those principles were applied through formal and through informal networks of international co-operation - its what very loosely, we all call multilateralism.
Of course the United States sometimes felt that it couldn't accept the rules by which everyone else wanted to play. We had arguments, I recall, with the last Administration, over anti-personnel landmines, over the torture convention. But those arguments were I think by and large the exception, rather than the rule.
For some years now in the United States there has been a new school of thought, I think increasingly influential, of which Richard has been a pellucid luminary. And it is a school of thought which has challenged the liberal internationalism and indeed the Realpolitik internationalism (think of the first President Bush of the post-Cold War years) - challenged it both in its more and its less liberal manifestations. This is a school of thought made up of politicians and journalists and academics who thought that we shouldn't trust Mr. Gorbachev. This is a school of thought which argued passionately against negotiating strategic arms reductions. This was a school of thought which believed that we should identify China as America's next enemy. Indeed, it is school of thought which shows a dispiritingly pessimistic tendency to hunt for as many new enemies as possible. If you read that distinguished book by William Kristol you would think that America had five wars to fight at the same time. It's a school of thought which strongly opposed the Madrid and the Oslo peace processes in the Middle East, a school of thought which believed that Benjamin Netanyahu was a wimp because he went along with some of those peace processes. A school of thought which argued in one or two cases that the Palestinians should be driven out of the West Bank - to borrow a phrase from a member of the present Administration, that the West Bank should be 'detoxified'. Above all it is a school of thought which believed that any multilateralism undermines America's sovereignty and America's ability to stand up for its own interests. So you know what the views are on Kyoto, on the ABM treaty, on the International Criminal Court, on the Small Arms Convention, on the Biological Warfare Convention.
The atrocities of September 11th seems to have convinced these distinguished unilateralists that they've been right all along. Now, I think we understand how those terrible events affected the American psyche and I think we should understand in Europe that, if anything, we fail to grasp the full impact of these atrocities on America. But are we wholly wrong to think that the 11th September made international co-operation more important, not less? That the 11th September should have made us realise that technological and military force don't and won't ever provide the whole answer if we want to live in a safer world.
It's interesting, as I hope William Drozdiak will point out later, that that remains the view of the great majority of the American public. When you look at the material provided for you, when you look at the material on the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations Survey of American Public Opinion and European Public Opinion, its perfectly clear that outside the beltway, in the rest of America, in the mainstreets, Americans are just as multilateralist, just as supportive of the UN, just as supportive of working with the international community as they've ever been.
We're going to have to cope in the next few years with a witch's brew of problems. There are the consequences of the revolt of the dispossessed; the fact that we live in a world where globalisation has benefited most people but left well over a billion behind, marooned in misery and poverty. We have to deal with the consequences of the revolt of the alienated, people who don't see the glittering prizes of the modern world in terms of freedom and the rule of the law, but see the brashness, the licentiousness and the greed of the modern world. Alienation, a reversion for example to religious fundamentalism, seems to me to be a very human reaction to these circumstances. Not least because poverty acquires a certain dignity if it can be recast as religious simplicity. But the issue I believe is not Islamic fundamentalism, the issue is religious fundamentalism. You only have to look at some of the Christian Evangelical websites to notice that. We also have to deal with the consequences of the dark side of globalisation - we referred to this yesterday: aids, drugs, international crime, environmental degradation. And we have to deal with the consequences of failed States - most of the problems, as a distinguished member of the US Administration said the other day, most of the problems these days comes from states that have failed, not from states that have conquered.
So how do we deal with these problems that emerge from the swamp? Should America, as the only super-power, camp on its own strength and sovereignty, setting and imposing the rules but not necessarily bound by them, in pursuit of its own national interest? But then I ask myself, how should we define the national interest without talking about international co-operation? American citizens want prosperity and want security. How, without international co-operation can you actually get those things? One of the speakers, one of our speakers yesterday I think in the discussion on the Trilateral Commission and its future, referred to the very senior American official who spoke the other day about the contrast between the allegedly firm ground of the national interest and the interests of an illusory international community? Try defining that allegedly firm ground of the national interest and for your next trick nailing jelly to the ceiling. It's surely better for the United States, supported more energetically by Europe - a point to which I want to return very briefly - to continue on a path laid down fifty years ago: trying to build a World Empire without a Emperor, a world where international rules set the parameters for the legitimate pursuit of national interests, but where the same laws apply to everyone - though admittedly the strong have more influence on their formulation and on their application.
I said 'supported more energetically by Europe' - just as there's a tendency in Europe to define our Europeanness in terms of our hostility to the United States, so there is also a tendency in Europe to confuse European foreign policy with being critical of the United States. Madeleine Albright said that the United States was the 'indispensable nation'; I think that Europe and the United States represent the 'indispensable partnership'. But it's crucial for us in Europe to be able to put more weight on our end of the rope if we're to be a serious player, if we're to be a serious counterweight and counterpart to the United States. Now of course, that involves us doing more on the security front - somebody spoke yesterday about the European Security and Defence Initiative (ESDI). I have to say that this is still alas, what Saint Thomas Aquinas called 'an idea in the mind of God'. We still haven't seen political leaders in Europe take on their electorates and argue for higher defence spending. Nobody supposes that we can match the United States, nobody supposes that a European politician could get re-elected proposing what President Bush has just said ('14% increase in defence spending while cutting health and education spending'), but we should be able to do at least a little bit more. So that, for example, we don't have to depend on America or rented planes from the Ukraine to airlift our armed forces. Equally, if we're to play to our strength, economic trade and aid, we have to take a lead and we can't take a lead in that debate unless we reform, as I said yesterday, the Common Agricultural Policy.
Churchill said once that 'You need to have allies. But the problem about allies is they do tend to develop opinions of their own.' We have opinions in Europe, they are opinions which are strongly rooted in a commitment to multilateralism. But if our opinions are going to be taken more seriously then we have to be a lot more serious about the role we're prepared to play in the world - not with a single foreign and security policy (I don't think we'll see that as long as I'm on the pitch) but a more effective common foreign and security policy. Europe learning to use its weight more effectively, moving on from a position in which European foreign policy is communiqués full of strong nouns and strong adjectives but extremely weak verbs. We actually have to strengthen the verbs otherwise we're not going to be taken seriously.
THOMAS FOLEY, NORTH AMERICAN CHAIRMAN:
First of all Peter, may I say on behalf of the North American guests and perhaps also on behalf of the Pacific Asia guests, our gratitude for the hospitality and welcome which we've received here at the meeting of the European Trilateral Commission. I've always thought having a long association with the European Group of the Commission, with the Commission itself, that in every Triennium its relevance seemed to me to be reinforced, and I think that's its certainly true presently. There is no doubt that there has been a remarkable growth of tension, irritation, conflict between North America, particularly the United States and Europe, and I think this discussion is an example of the importance that Trilateral Commission continues to play in resolving major issues and problems, not only among its own members but on a broader scale.
The other side of this discussion, debate, is going to be presented by Richard Perle. Now you've seen his biography I'm sure, but just to recount briefly: he is a senior resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington and was the Director of its Commission on Future Defence Requirements. He has had a long association, interest and expertise in the field of arms control, defence requirements and security issues and he was in the Reagan Administration, the Assistant Secretary of Defence for International Security Policy - that may not mean very much to our European friends but it is an extremely important post in the US Cabinet. Going back a while beyond that, in the 1960's, when we were both much younger, Richard and I served together on the staff of Senator Henry Jackson, so we have known each other a very long time and I have had a long-standing admiration, respect and friendship for Richard Perle whom I'm happy to introduce to you now.
Tom, thank you very much. If I may, what I would like to do is to begin by responding to some of the things that you have just heard from Chris Patten and I'll try to do that more or less in the order that he made his points. And then I want to make one or two points of my own.
Chris began with the question: 'Does the US want partners and allies, or only followers?' That's an easy question to answer: we want partners and allies. We can't always find partners and allies for the enterprises that we consider vital to our national security interests. But the idea that we have a preference for acting without partners or allies is simply wrong. I know of no instance in which we have preferred, or there has been a serious argument that we would prefer, acting without partners or allies.
Chris referred to the 'clash of civilisations' almost as though we were somehow responsible for it. I very much hope that a clash of civilisations can be avoided - there's nothing inevitable about it. It was in part out of an apprehension that we might slide into a clash of civilisations that I believed, and others in the United States believed, it was essential that we intervene in Bosnia at a time when Muslims were the victims of mass murder approaching genocide. And many of you will recall that the American approach, which was admittedly rather more half-hearted than one would have wished, was rebuffed by Europeans who preferred first not to get involved and then when they did get involved, not to act in a sufficiently robust way.
Chris mentions the Treaty of Westphalia. It is ironic that an official of an organisation that is in the process of shedding sovereignty should invoke a treaty, the essence of which was the recognition of the fundamental building block of the international community, the Sovereign State. New concepts of sovereignty--we see it in the European Union--often lead Europeans to believe that only collective action is legitimate, that only multilateral institutions can confer legitimacy, especially when the issue is the resort to force. There are alternatives, Chris says, to the use of force, and indeed there are, and by and large they are to be preferred. But this easily slides into the cliché which we hear all the time, that force must be a last resort.
In the case of Europe, it is often not even the last resort because there's no capacity to apply force. On this point I certainly agree with Chris' assessment of the feeble defence capabilities of the European Union. And I must say the inability to act leads easily to an abhorrence of action. We Americans re not so constrained in our ability to act, and that's perhaps why we consider action in the face of threats to our security rather more readily. But I want to raise this question of the notion that force must always be a last resort. What do we mean by a last resort? Do we mean that force must only be used after we have applied political and economic measures, sanctions for example, sanctions against Iraq for example, sanctions in the case of the former Yugoslavia for example? Did we save lives or improve the security of Europeans by imposing sanctions in the case of Bosnia--sanctions that in that particular instance prevented the victim for defending itself?.
Have we improved our situation or dealt effectively with Saddam Hussein by imposing sanctions that have in many ways strengthened Saddam within his own country? The question of the appropriate time and circumstances to use force has to be approached with greater sophistication than the cliché that it must always be the last resort. Sometimes the timely use for force may forestall great dangers and may avoid a prolonged period in which the situation, far from getting better, actually gets worse. So I would hope that the disparagement of the use of force would be treated in the real world in which we're living - there are sometimes situations that can only be dealt with effectively by the use of force and if that can be reasonably anticipated at the outset, it seems to me foolish, dangerous and costly to indulge in a prolonged period of ineffective political and economic measures.
Chris Patten said 'We must work through the United Nations.' I'm very troubled at the idea that the United Nations is the solely legitimising institution when it comes to the use of force. Why the United Nations? Is the United Nations better able to confirm legitimacy than, say, a coalition of liberal democracies? Does the addition of members of the UN, like China for example, or Syria, add legitimacy to what otherwise might be the collective policy of countries that share our values? I don't think so. It is a dangerous trend to consider that the United Nations, a weak institution at best, an institution that includes a very large number of nasty regimes, is somehow better able to confirm legitimacy than institutions like the European Union or NATO.
Chris puts a great deal of stock in containment and the rule-book. To be sure, there are situations in which containment is an entirely appropriate policy. And we all wish there was a rule-book that was adhered to by everyone. But there are those who break the rules, we know that, and containment is not always effective. Containment of the Soviet Union would have meant its continuing existence-are we not better off because we wound up with something other than containment? The ideological challenge, the moral challenge to the Soviet Union that was mounted by the Administration in which I served, the Reagan Administration, which took us beyond containment. We believed that containment alone was not an adequate response to the totalitarian Soviet Union. So sometimes we have to look beyond containment because it isn't adequate. And if containment simply means that a country that is capable of doing great damage is left unhindered to prepare to do that damage, then I think we run unnecessary, foolish and impudent risks--and this will bring us in due course to Iraq.
General Marshall was right - a security policy is not a war policy, but I have to point out that it took a war policy to get to the point where General Marshall was able to make that statement. We had to fight that war in order to make the transformation to the luxury of Marshall's principles.
Now Chris referred to a new neo-conservative "school" that is challenging some established notions about foreign and defense policy. Here I must say that it is one of the common mistakes made by observers of American policy to lump together people whose views in fact vary substantially. I don't agree with all the ideas Chris attributed to this new school, and I doubt whether there is anyone in that school who would agree with everything he had to say. Shouldn't trust Gorbachev? Well some of us thought that Gorbachev was trying to save the Soviet system and we thought the world would be better off without it--and that Yeltsin proposed a more fundamental challenge to a system that the world is well rid of. Anti-arms control? I negotiated some of the agreements that we entered into in the Cold War and the debate was never between those who were for and those who were opposed to arms control. It was always between those who believed that arms control agreements should serve a security purpose and those who desired arms control agreements for their own sake. And by the way, it might be worth some time looking back at the history and results of the Arms Control agreements of the Cold War. We now know that the Soviet Union had 50,000 nuclear weapons, 20,000 more than we ever knew. They hid far more weapons than were ever subject to limitation in the course of those negotiations.
China is the next enemy? I don't believe that, Chris. Whether China turns out to be an enemy will depend on decisions yet to be made in China. But there's certainly no reason automatically to expect that China will be an enemy.
Opposed to Oslo? I don't think anyone can say that Oslo had a very happy ending - it got ultimately to Camp David and we saw what happened when it got there.
The idea that there is a school, a group of people, who believe that any multilateralism is hostile to American interests is simply wrong. We hear it all the time and the repetition of it only confuses matters. And given the importance of Chris Patten in interpreting the United States and representing Europe to the United States, Chris, I hope you can get beyond that stereotype of American thinking because I don't know anyone who would agree with it, especially the people you refer to.
'The problem is religious fundamentalism... Look at the Christian evangelicals.' I'm not very sympathetic to fundamentalism of any sort but the Christian fundamentalists at least, so far as I'm aware, are not killing civilians around the world. And it's an unfortunate fact but we have to face it that the terrorism the world is now experiencing is driven by religious fanatics, driven by a vision of Islam that is certainly not mainstream Islam, but is Islamic in origin.
'Defining the national interest is like nailing jelly to the ceiling' - well, Chris, it's not that difficult. The American national interest lies in a peaceful world, a world in which we can do the things we do best. And those have to do with trade, with the development of technology, a world in which we can export and import and in which we are not threatened. I think that's probably a reasonable definition of the national interest for most countries…certainly all of those represented in this room.
And then we have the suggestion that the 'laws must apply to everyone' as though the United States were lawless and we did not agree that laws should apply to us. Let me just say that I think Chris would be hard put to cite an example in which the United States has acted outside the law. Even the contemplated military action in Iraq, were it to take place, would take place entirely within the structure of International Law, Article 51 of the United Nations' Charter, for example which acknowledges--does not confer but acknowledges--the right of self defence. But in any case in the special situation of Iraq, we are dealing with violations of a ceasefire - and on this international law is very clear. Where cease-fires are entered into contingent upon undertakings of the parties, and a party fails to comply, the ceasefire ceases to exist. That would be clear, should be clear to everyone. It should even be clear to the United Nations and to the European Union and if it isn't clear it is because there is a lack of will and resolve on the part of the United Nations to secure compliance with its own resolutions, and on the part of the European Union to support the United Nations in supporting its own resolutions.
When President Bush challenged the United Nations to take its own declarations seriously, I think he put the challenge in exactly the right place: the UN is in grave danger of going the way of the League of Nations, by failing to rise to an obvious challenge - the expulsion of the inspectors, and the violation of a dozen different resolutions. And what has been the response of the international community? Nothing, it did nothing. And now we hear that we've got to give Saddam a last chance. How many last chances are we going to give Saddam Hussein? How many last chances is the United Nations going to offer to someone who is so obviously in violation of every one of its declarations. So we accept that the laws apply to us as well.
Chris referred to a tendency to define Europe in terms of its hostility to the United States. I'm afraid there's a lot of truth in that and I would ask Chris whether he thinks that's a healthy thing. He then said something that surprised me a little bit - I'm not surprised that he thinks it, I'm surprised he said it. After all, he's not French! Speaking of Europe, Chris used the phrase, 'if we are able to be a serious counterweight to the United States…' Now, you recall he began by asking whether we wanted friends and allies, or followers. Now he proposes that our friends and allies in Europe should be a 'counterweight'. Will somebody explain to me the relationship between a friend and an ally on the one hand, and a counterweight on the other? The concept of counterweight suggests opposition, it suggests that you need to function in order somehow to limit, to restrain or balance us. That's not my idea of a friend or ally - but it is a deep underlying theme in European thinking.
A word or two about unilateralism and self defence. Clearly the most difficult issue straining the relationship between the United States and much of the world, has to do with the American attitude towards Iraq. And the charge is that if we were to act militarily, we would be acting in a unilateral manner. But everyone recognises the right of self defence. The question then is: is the danger from Saddam Hussein to the United States of such imminence that we are justified in invoking the concept of self defence with respect to any military action that we might take? And here I think we need to reflect on the notion of imminence, because everyone would agree that if you were about to be attacked and you could forestall that attack by acting first, it's entirely legitimate to do so-especially if the action you fear might entail weapons of mass destruction. But we hear the argument that it's not imminent.
In 1981 the Israeli air force destroyed a French supplied reactor at Osirik not because it was about to produce a nuclear weapon but because the fuel, the nuclear material, was about to be inserted into the reactor and once that had been done it would have been impossible to destroy the reactor without spreading radioactive material in a populated area. So the Israelis debated--and I've talked to people who participated in that debate-- whether to act then. And they acted because had they not done so then, they would have been prevented from doing so later, and in due course-probably years later - nuclear material produced in that reactor would have been available to Saddam Hussein for the construction of a nuclear weapon. So what is an imminent threat? When is it timely? When is it appropriate to take action? Do you have to wait until the threat announces itself with an attack and possibly an attack on a massive scale?
Chris said that Europe understands well the impact of September 11th on American thinking. I don't think that's right. I don't think Europe understands it very well, and I'm not sure Chris understands it very well. One of the lessons of September 11th was that it is possible to wait too long. We waited too long to deal with Osama Bin Laden. We knew what was going on in Afghanistan. We observed the training camps with overhead photography, we listened to conversations among the terrorists, and through various other means we were well aware that Osama Bin Laden was planning attacks on the United States. He had already carried out a number of attacks on the United States, our embassies, garrisons and warships, to which by the way, the feeble American response was almost certainly an incitement to further attacks, culminating in September 11. What we did in Afghanistan after September 11 could have been done before September 11. And 3000 people, Americans and others-probably victims from every country in this room - would be alive today. So we don't want to make that mistake again of waiting too long which is what you're observing in America thinking about Iraq. It's not that we're lawless. It's not that we're unilateralist. I would be the first to concede that we are having trouble getting others to support us on this venture. I think that's a great shame, and I think some of the countries that are have refused to support us may not fully appreciate that one of the victims-if we in the end act with the backing of only a small number of countries-one of the victims will be the very United Nations, the importance of which Chris invoked. Because if the UN can't live up to the challenge, if it falls to coalitions of the willing to do what the UN is unable to do, the UN will marginalise itself and demonstrate its irrelevance.
I don't want to go on much longer. When we talk about unilateralism, let's remember German unilateralism. How else should one interpret Chancellor Schroeder's position that not only would Germany not participate, but even if the United Nations conducted an operation against Iraq, Germany wouldn't participate in that? Is that not unilateralism? What about French unilateralism? There's plenty of unilateralism in the world. No one much likes it and it's a tragedy if the United States, in defending itself and in defending the common values of all of us, is driven to acting alone, or nearly alone.
And let me say one last word about the impression that the United States is above the law because we have rejected a number of agreements that have either been completed or are near completion, agreements for which there is broad approval in the international community. Part of the problem is that the 'globalists', (multilateralism isn't quite the right word), including the last American administration, believed that the solution to some very difficult international problems was to get all the countries of the world to accept obligations in the form of treaties and conventions. The way to deal with an outlawed country was to get it to sign up to the same rules that would be adhered to by the non-outlaws. But there is another approach to these matters which is to say that those countries, like the ones represented here, might from time to time get together to deal with the outlaws, and not pretend that bringing them into a set of legal obligations is the right way to manage their behaviour. So a globalist attitude developed in the last Administration which has been largely rejected by this Administration.
But when you look at the agreements to which Chris referred, I'm willing to bet that several of them have never been read by any head of state. Some of them are hundreds of pages long. They were negotiated over a decade or more by people beavering away in Geneva, or Vienna, or elsewhere without adult supervision-if I can put it that way. Then when they're brought forward and scrutinised--and new Administrations sometimes do go back and scrutinise--we found them wanting. We found the Protocol to the Biological Weapons Convention utterly without a verification capacity; we found Kyoto sufficiently damaging to our economic interests so that something better had to be done - and by the way that was a view shared by virtually the entire Congress of the United States. A less forthright Administration might simply have handed it to the Democratic Congress to reject rather than exhibiting the candour the President did when he said we could not accept it.
Chris mentioned the landmine convention. It is a case that undermines his idea about us all being bound by the same rules. Landmines are a terrible thing because they kill innocents. But he landmines that the United States uses are self-destructing landmines: that is when they are no longer necessary for the military purpose for which they are deployed, they self-destruct. Those are not the landmines that are killing our children. The landmines that are killing children are the mines placed there by our adversaries, who some people think are going to be restrained by a set of rules.
I think we have to look at these questions in a more practical way, and if we went through the list of agreements (and I'm not going to do that now unless we get into it later), I think we can justify the position we've taken toward each and every one of those agreements after careful scrutiny. And so the question is really the quality of the agreements, and not whether we are somehow in a category of lawlessness because we don't subscribe to the vision of a global set of regulations that lump together in a single arrangement both the liberal democracies that are protecting the values that are important to all of us, and the rogue state that challenge and threaten those fundamental values. Some of us think that there's a better way to deal with the problems of the world.
What we propose to do in regard to the debate now is to continue with two brief commentaries that are also important on what we've heard. First Bill Drozdriak, who I will shortly introduce, and then after him Grigory Yavlinsky. These will be commentaries on the debate that we've heard which I think is extraordinarily important for this group. And then we would propose to go directly into the question and commentary part.
I'd now like to introduce Bill Drozdriak, who is a very relevant participant and we are very grateful for his presence. He is the Executive Director of the Transatlantic Centre of the German Marshall Fund, which is the first independent American Policy Centre in Brussels. He has had a very distinguished past as Chief European Correspondent in Brussels for the 'Washington Post', Foreign Editor of the 'Washington Post' at various stages. We are very grateful for his attendance. Bill, please.
Well I've known some of you for the past twenty years. I must admit when I took this job with the German Marshall Fund, I was quite struck by the first challenge that I faced, which was to lead this survey that we conducted on public attitudes on the United States and Europe towards each other. Now as a journalist, I suppose I had bought into the conventional wisdom that we'd been seeing played out in the newspapers for many of the past months: that the caricatures on both sides, that Americans perceived Europeans as Euro-wimps, so adverse to using military force partly for the reasons of their national history, but also because of their skittishness about projecting power. And from a European side, the perception of the Bush Administration as an arrogant, unilateralist force, trigger happy, willing to use military force because its powerful arsenal, military arsenal, was the only weapon, the only tool in its box.
But when we conducted this survey, and for thirty years the Chicago Council for Foreign Policy has been doing this survey in America, this was the first time that we decided to add a European component. And so we added the Mori organisation and conducted surveys in six European countries: Britain, France, Italy, Germany, The Netherlands and Poland. What was striking about these results was that the large sampling that we took - more than 9000 respondents - made this the most comprehensive survey ever conducted of public attitudes on foreign policy issues. And the results really were quite counter-intuitive when you judge them against the commentary we've seen.
Americans turned out to be much more multilateralist in their thinking than one would have assumed. That while there was support for an attack, if necessary on Iraq, a strong majority of Americans only wanted that to be carried out with the support of the United Nations and its allies. There is no doubt a greater sense of vulnerability as felt by Americans as will be born out in a couple of the findings I'll release. And there was also a greater awareness that foreign policy issues cannot be neglected. I found it striking that, compared to 1998 when the last survey was taken, only 7% of the issues were foreign policy issues cited as serious threats to the national interests. This time foreign policy issues accounted for 41% so it was quite clear that Americans felt that far from becoming more isolationist they had to engage more in the world. And from the European side, we found greater sentiment, warm sentiment, towards the United States than one would have assumed. So there was a remarkable convergence on both sides of the Atlantic that reflected the shared values and shared affinity on both sides.
One of most interesting questions we asked was on threat perceptions - we posed ten possibilities over the next decade that would be seen as serious threats to your national interests and these included issues such as turmoil in Russia, the role of China as a world power, globalisation, India/Pakistan, the Israeli/Arab conflict and of course Islamic fundamentalism, weapons of mass destruction and international terrorism. And not surprisingly terrorism was sighted as the most grievous threat by Americans - 91%. In Europe it was seen at 65%. But terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and Iraq were all seen as the top three issues by Europeans and Americans. What was striking was the disparity in how many Americans saw these foreign policy issues as very serious, and I think this reflected the alarmism that we saw after 9/11. On only one issue was there a gross difference and that was the perception of China as an emerging world power: 56% of Americans said that in next decade China could become a serious threat to American national interest; only 19% of Europeans see China as a potential threat.
Besides the terrorism issue, the Iraq question no doubt has come to the fore for America. Now this survey was conducted over five weeks this Summer before Iraq emerged as a very serious crisis. But people said that they would only support an attack with the support of the United Nations: 65% of Americans felt that this was necessary, only 20% of the Americans surveyed said they thought the United States should go it alone. And on the other side, Europeans said they would be willing to support a military campaign against Iraq: 60% of them said it would be acceptable if this was supported by the UN Security Council; only 10% of the Europeans felt that the United States should go it alone. Another interesting question in this survey was to Americans: 'What do you think is the most important lesson from the September 11 attacks?" And here again the multilateralist theme is underscored: 61% of Americans said that the most important lesson is that the US needs to work more closely with other countries to fight terrorism; only 34% said the United States needs to act more on its own. And indeed one of the methodology aspects was that we followed through with five or six follow-up questions in order to confirm these results. On a follow-up question 71% said that the United States should do its share in solving international problems together with other countries; only 17% of Americans said that as the sole superpower, the United States should continue to be the pre-eminent world leader in solving international problems.
On some other scenarios that we posed such as North Korea invading South Korea, Iraq invading Saudi Arabia, Arab forces invading Israel, and China invading Taiwan, not in one case did a majority favour using US troops when no multilateral context was specified - so there was support for using these troops again only with support from the allies and from the United Nations.
Richard was referring to the conviction in the Bush Administration about the shortcomings of the Kyoto Protocol and also the International Criminal Court. To our surprise these were not shared by the American public: in fact 70% of the Americans surveyed said that the United States should sign the Kyoto Protocol even when a possible negative impact on the domestic economy is cited; and 65% supported US participation in the International Criminal Court even when the possibility of trumped up charges being brought against US soldiers is mentioned. So it shows that concerns expressed by the Administration are clearly not shared by many of the people across the country. And this pole, I might add, was conducted across a wide range of social and professional classes and we gave the detailed results to the Administration, President Bush was given this briefing two days before the United Nations speech. And I was told by Senior State Department Officials that the results had a clear effect in pushing the language of that speech toward a more multilateral context, and I'm sure - at least I've heard in Europe, as well as my partners in cases in the United States - that this was regarded as one of Bush's most effective public presentations.
On the clash of civilisations that was raised earlier, here again a large majority of American reject the notion, with 66% saying that most Muslims should be regarded as people everywhere that we can find common ground and that violent conflict is not inevitable. Only 27% disagreed and said that this kind of clash of civilisations is inevitable. Now as far as the assessments of the President Bush and his foreign policy team, 70% of Americans regard President Bush as doing a good job overall, but on several key foreign policy issues he gets very low marks. 33% of Americans say he's doing a favourable job on the Arab/Israeli process; only 32% approve of what he's doing in Iraq. Among the Europeans surveyed, the score is naturally quite lower: 20% for a favourable assessment for the Arab/Israeli conflict and also on Iraq.
Overall, Europeans are more critical than Americans of the Bush Administration's handling of foreign policy: while 53% overall say the Bush Administration are doing a good job among Americans who were poled, only 38% of the Europeans feel that way. And finally, we asked on the European side whether Europe in enlarging Europe should subscribe to achieve superpower status, commensurate with that of the United States: 91% of them said 'yes' this would be a desirable goal. But on follow-up questions they also reaffirmed that this should be done in ways that would be as a partner to the United States and not as a rival. This was again underscoring the general direction of the responses to our survey that indicated there is a yearning on both sides of the Atlantic for politicians to find co-operative solutions to common problems.
Another interesting finding was that in following up on the super-power status question, Europeans were asked whether they would be willing to strive for this status even if it involved increased spending on military budgets. And that's where we saw a precipitous drop in support for this achievement. In the case of finance for example, 91% want to see the EU become a superpower; that approval level drops to 48% when it involves spending more money. This is true right across the board in Europe; public opinion in Germany drops from 48% to 24% when it involves extra-military spending. So this is clearly a challenge to the political class in Europe to make a strong case to the public, that if Europe is going to live up to its global responsibilities by acquiring greater military power its going to have to spend more money.
And finally I would like to just add, on a couple of economic issues there were some interesting results: a strong majority of Americans, 64%, said that the US should comply with the World Trade Organisation decisions even when they go against the United States. And on the controversial issue of biotechnology, 66% of Americans said the European Union and Japan should be able to require the labelling of genetically modified food, even if it keeps consumers from purchasing food imported from the United States.
So as a journalist looking at the results of this survey, I was really quite stunned to see the internationalist approach taken by the American public. And, as was pointed out in the briefing that was given to the President - and the audience also included his political adviser Karl Rove who has a great and significant role in preparing the mid-term election campaign - I think that this has been a kind of strong reminder to politicians in the United States and in Europe as well, that there are powerful majorities who believe in the strong foundations of the Atlantic partnership and want to see their politicians act accordingly.
Our final commentary before we open the discussion to questions is Dr. Grigory Yavlinsky - an elected member of the Russian State Duma. Dr. Yavlinsky was re-elected in December 1999 and is the co-founder and President of the 'Yabloko' group in the Russian State Duma, a group that has had considerable influence, being organised first as a responsible Opposition party to the Russian government. It has taken principle stands - I think stands that most would admire and respect - proposing economic reforms with a social face, opposing the war in Chechnya and taking a strong stand against corruption in Russian society. He is always a welcome guest at Trilateral meetings.
Thank you very much. I will try to be as short as possible. First of all, responding to the question about the pressure on Saddam Hussein, I want to be crystal clear: I'm saying that Saddam Hussein and his regime is such a type that it only understands military pressure, and the military pressure in this case means to deploy substantial international military forces around Iraq and to execute this pressure in this way. And that would be much cheaper than starting the war itself, maybe that would give the possibility to reach the changes not through the war and that would be the cheapest way to do that. Secondly I wanted simply to make an observation that in many other cases it may be the other war round, but in this (Iraqi) case, that is the only way.
Now the question about the foreign and domestic policies of Mr. Putin: What I want to say is that up to now the foreign policy - after 11th September - of the Russian President was, from my point of view, correct and I support it. The domestic policy, which concerns the media, democracy, oligarchs and many other areas including the war in the Northern Caucasus, is wrong and I oppose it. It happens also because he is under the pressure from the oligarchic leaders who are still there, the Nomenklatura which is still there, and he is a successor of Yeltsin's regime himself. That's why it has happened.
What about the corruption? Corruption certainly for Russia is more than a problem because it has become, during the last twelve years, an institutional basis for the Russian state and Russian economy, and that is one of the major outcomes of Yeltsin's period of time. The only one thing I want to say: I want to open to you a state secret that Russian corrupted oligarchs and corrupted officials are not keeping their money in North Korea or Saddam Hussein's banks! I can tell you that they are keeping their money in New York, in Zurich, in Paris, in London, and many other places - so it's a joint venture! Thank you.
I now turn to Mr. RICHARD PERLE for his concluding remarks:
Well Mr. Chairman, I apologise for trying to respond in pretty rapid-fire sequence but there's not much time. Two or three people have made the point, John Kerr among others, that the UN is imperfect - but it's the only one we've got. And I was trying to think of a metaphor to deal with that. And in the end it seems to me that if you've got a fire extinguisher that you know won't work, you don't approach a fire with it because it's the only one you've got: you find another way to put out the fire! And the UN has its role, the UN has its purposes, but it is a mistake to relie on the UN to do things that the UN cannot do.
The EU may well provide two-thirds of the world's development assistance; I think that the statistics understate the American contribution because so much of our assistance is from the private sector, about equal to the public sector in fact. But I have a couple of reactions to that: first of all, we can finance unlimited development assistance with the difference between what we spend on defence and what Europe spends on defence.
Secondly, there's real reason to doubt whether we are very good at helping countries with our development assistance. Indeed, you can make the argument that the recent history of development assistance has been to perpetuate the State structures and institutions that are in fact the principal obstacle to the development of the countries we are trying to help. So I wish more development assistance would solve the problem, but I don't think it will, and in this I think John Kerr is quite right. Trade is the critical element and I regret as much as anyone in the room some recent American decisions to interfere with free trade.
UNESCO - my impression is that we've rejoined because we think it has dealt with some of the problems that it faced in the past. I hope that's right.
Count Lambsdorff - I can only say, I regret that he's not the German Chancellor.
Kyoto - the question was put 'what can we do?' I think we have to take greenhouse gases seriously, we have to take global warming seriously and we have to fashion a global response to it. The question is whether Kyoto was the most effective, or even a minimally effective global response. I'm not an expert on these matters, but it seems to me there was one very unfortunate development in the closing hours of the Kyoto negotiation and that was the decision not to allow states to meet their quotas by reforestation outside their own national territory. I'm told by some very tough environmentalist friends that this was at the instigation of the EU, prodded principally by France. And its looks to them to have been petulant and wholly counter-productive. If we can make an appropriate contribution to the suppression of greenhouse gases by planting trees in Brazil, why should that be prohibited by Kyoto? We can't reforest in our own country because of the mature state of our forests. It seemed to me, and to many others, a very foolish limitation on the freedom to deal responsibly with these matters and let me just say that I think I'm not alone in lacking expertise on Kyoto. I don't know how much expertise there is in this room, but it has become the mantra that Kyoto was right and the reluctance to go along with it must therefore be wrong. This deserves serious scrutiny.
Is the US attached to the rule of law? Yes we are, but we have to recognise that international law is weak, it is not as fully developed as law within civil societies. There are no enforcement mechanisms that you can rely upon and it is the product of nations-some of whom themselves are law-breakers. So again, it has its uses but it has its limitations too and to treat it otherwise, I think, would be a great mistake.
'There has to be a collective source of legitimacy and it must be the United Nations.' I reject that. Why must it be the United Nations? Why is the United Nations a greater source of legitimacy than NATO? Horst Teltschik has asked about the future of NATO-here is a proposal: NATO has every capacity to become a legitimising international institution with respect to the use of force because it is composed of liberal democracies that have exhibited since its inception an absence of self-aggrandisement and a responsible effort to bring about peace and stability. Why shouldn't NATO be as legitimate as the UN which happens to contain a lot of dictatorships?
It is quite true, as Signor Ramponi suggests, that the UN passed anti-Taliban resolutions and nothing was done to support them. Exactly my point, Sir. Nothing was done to support resolutions of the UN, including by the previous American Administration, I acknowledge that. We need the UN to get a consensus in the fight against terrorism, but the UN includes countries that harbour terrorists. So we certainly need co-operation if we're going to deal with terrorism, but that means the co-operation of nations, frankly, and not the co-operation of the UN per se.
I'm grateful to Charles Guthrie for his comments on Kosovo; he understands that situation far better than I do, and for his comments on Pakistan. And I think the lamentable answer to the apparent dilemma of our associating from time to time with countries that don't meet our standards, is that sometimes it's simply necessary. Sometimes it's necessary-we could not have dealt with the Taliban in Afghanistan without co-operation from Pakistan. And I'm afraid he's quite right about the past failure of American political leadership in Kosovo, but if the Europeans are sufficiently successful in intimidating the American Administration we will repeat the failure of political leadership in difficult situations.
The question has been raised, by Shlomo Avineri and others, whether we are lumping Iran and Iraq together. The 'axis of evil' speech was meant to point out that North Korea is a supplier of the instruments of terror to countries like Iraq and Iran. They are not all the same and we can't treat them all the same. With respect to moderates in Iran, with all due respect, the moderates unfortunately are not in control of the instruments of power in Iran and every time they think they are, the Mullahs arrest their supporters, their members, the newspapers that editorialise in their support. So the dilemma that the West faces in my view is whether we can pretend that we can coax a weak Khatami Government to a substantially different Iran, or whether to encourage the very widespread opposition in Iran, on the part of the people of Iran, to the government that dictates every aspect of their lives. And my view is we should work with the people of Iran and hope that they bring about real change. Thank you Allan Gotlieb for what you had to say on legitimacy.
And finally, Shlomo Avineri was eloquent on the comparison between the current situation with all its historical imperfections, and the situation in 1936. I wish we had acted unilaterally in 1936 and had not waited until we were attacked. The whole point about a doctrine of pre-emption is that you don't wait until its too late. And if we strike some of you as impatient, that is the reason why.
I want to start with the modesty, the becoming modesty of Richard Perle, at the outset saying that there was no "new school of unilateralism" in Washington or in the United States. I'm reminded of a great biography of the British Prime Minister, 19th century Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, by Robert Blake, in which Blake at the beginning of the book points out that Disraeli wrote a number of novels when a young man in which he advocated social responsibility. He became Prime Minister as a much older man and he acted on those principles and executed social responsibility. And Blake seems to argue, I always thought counter-intuitively, that there's no relationship between the one and the other. Now, I've read what a number of influential advisors to the Vice President and the Secretary of Defence have been saying and writing at the American Enterprise Institute and at other think tanks over the years. I pick up what the Number Three in the State Department has said about an issue we've been discussing here this afternoon. 'There is no such thing as the United Nations. There is an international community that can be lead by the only real power left in the world and that is the United States, when it suits our interests and when we can get others to go along.' I read those things and I see what is happening at least in part today, and I sort of wonder whether there is some relationship between the one and the other. And I hope this won't be regarded as an ad hominem remark and I hope it won't seriously blight the career of an international public servant who I admire as much as anybody I've ever met in political career, but I don't think we'd all have been having exactly the same discussion this morning with Colin Powell. I think there are different traditions in the American Administration and you mustn't be surprised if in Europe we feel more committed to one of those traditions than we do to a newer one.
Are things different? Have things changed? You can't have it both ways. You can't, on the one hand say "no", nothing's really changed and then attack the vague globalism of Mr. Clinton. I read with some admiration the political commentaries of David Broder - who is not an extremist in the American debate - who talks about the fundamental change in American foreign and security policy thinking . So I do think that there are different arguments being put to those with which we have been familiar in the past and I don't say that with any bitterness. But I do think it is reasonable for concerned Europeans to put our own view of how we think the world can best be managed -- provided we are prepared to back up that view with a few resources.
Richard asked me whether I was arguing that the United States played the international role outside the rules. Let me define terms - does the United States exist under the rule of law? Absolutely. Does the United States believe in due process? Absolutely. But what are we to make of extra-territorial legislation? What are we to make of Helms-Burton on Cuba? What are we to make of the legislation on investment in Libya and Iran? An enthusiasm for extra-territorial legislation affecting European companies, but no American Congress would dream of allowing extra-territorial legislation to affect US companies! What are we to make of the Small Arms Convention - a convention designed to try to stop weapons going into countries like Sierra Leone and the DRC, and the American leader of the negotiating team withdraws from the talks on the convention on the grounds that the convention would undermine an American citizen's constitutional right to bear arms! How does this play in Sierra Leone? How does that play in the Democratic Republic of the Congo?
I am well aware of American concerns about the International Criminal Court - and more than a lot of other people understand those concerns - while believing passionately that we should set up the Court. We tried and are continuing to try to satisfy American concerns about the politicisation of that court and that legal process. But I ask this question - how easy it going to be for the next American public official who is trying to persuade the Croatians to send somebody to The Hague? And the Croatians are saying, no we can deal with this person in our own country. How easy is it going to be to argue that case with Serbia? I don't begin to suggest that there is any comparison between the United States and Serbia, or the United States and Croatia, but people do see when you have an argument like this, they do see just an itsy-bitsy bit of double standards.
I said that the "national interest", in my judgement couldn't be defined without referring to international co-operation, and I repeat that. American citizens, American voters want prosperity, they want security; you can't have prosperity and security without working with other countries whether through the UN or the WTO or in other ways.
Now, Richard took exception to my use of the word 'counterweight' in talking about Europe's role in relation to the United States - I also said 'counterpart' and I also said that we needed to put more 'weight on our end of the rope'. I just make this point in passing, but I am not one of those Europeans who would ever, ever express the ambition that Europe should become a "super-power". I think it is crazy language and a crazed ambition and I think it is an exceptionally old-fashioned way, if I may say so, of looking at the world. There are places where we are at present an effective counterpart to the United States - I hope we will be in our development of our Doha Round on trade. And I've said twice already - I totally agree with what John has said: until we are prepared in Europe to reform the Common Agricultural Policy, we cannot be credible about international trade and helping poor countries - it's as simple as that.
On development assistance, we must make sure that we put in place the targets that we agreed at Monterrey, and I just say this: reversing what Richard said earlier - I am in favour of us spending more on security, but if Europe was to reduce the amount of development assistance that we give as a proportion of GNP to American levels and put all that money into security, would the world be a more secure place? Would it be a more secure place with more poverty? Would it be a more secure place with more environmental degradation? I happen to rather doubt that. There are European forces at the moment in ten UN peace-keeping operations around the world. We are working, and I think working hard - but not as effectively as any of us would like - with the United States in Afghanistan and Afghanistan I assure you is by no means done and dusted. We are working in the Balkans, where I think we have managed, in at least that area, to demonstrate the credibility of a common foreign and security policy.
So in all those places we are a 'counterpart'. But there are going to be occasions where we need to be a 'counterweight', where the United States and Europe don't agree; where we have to take responsibility for making multilateral solutions work - that is the case on Kyoto. And one reason, one reason why the point about forests isn't terribly relevant to the US situation, is the US has 4% of the world's population, and produces 25% of the greenhouse gases. So it's not unreasonable for people outside the United States to say, as 70% apparently are saying inside the United States, we should be part of this process. We want in Europe to make the International Criminal Court work. There's no point in us haranguing the United States about that, there's no point in us sitting in the Grand Stand shaking our fists. Again, we have to be an effective counterweight and actually make that aspect of multilateralism work as well.
Two final points: we've spoken a great deal about the UN - the only one we've got and so and so on. Imperfect, as John Gilbert rather graphically put it, though he must have seen more brown envelopes than I have! But I just want to make this point - we are talking as I said (sorry, I didn't mean to John Gilbert, I meant …, my God I could see John's lawyers sue, grab it and run, on the phone within nano-seconds!) about a world in which post-Westphalia we have to look at sovereignty in a new way, we have to look at a world in which you justify humanitarian intervention, intervention to deal with mass destruction, intervention to deal with terrorism.
But if you simply do it without any reference to existing institutions, existing rule-books, what are you left with? If we think its so simply right to be able to intervene to deal with a state which has weapons of mass of destruction, and is perhaps helping terrorists and we do it without any reference to the UN - what do we say to India? How do we stop the Indians bombing Islamabad? There they are, there's a state next-door which has weapons of mass-destruction and which is manifestly helping terrorists who are causing mayhem in parts of India. So you do need to try, hard as it is, to establish international rules. And if we can't do it through the UN, what the hell else is there? And if the American Administration doesn't believe that, why has it gone to the UN over Iraq? I don't believe, I don't take the cynical view that President Bush only made that remarkable speech in New York in September, because Karl Rove told him to do so. I think there is a clear understanding in the United States that in order to do what they believe is necessary in Iraq, they need the moral authority, the legitimising factor that is provided through working through the UN. And I just say this - I want to make this absolutely clear: if there is a Security Council resolution on Iraq, and if Saddam Hussein doesn't comply, I will be one of those who advocates the use of force in order to make him comply. I have no difficulty with that. What I have difficulty with is working without that legitimating factor provided by the United Nations, imperfect though it is.
Finally, do I think America is responsible for the clash of civilisations? Of course I don't. Richard mentioned US intervention in Bosnia; he could have mentioned as well US intervention to save Muslim lives in Kosovo; he could have mentioned US intervention within an international alliance in the Gulf to save lives in an Islamic country. I do think that it's surprising that one dog didn't bark until late in the debate and we haven't talked much about the Middle East, because I do think -- whether correctly or not-- that the perceived American views on Israel and Palestine are one of the reasons for some of the hostility in the Islamic world to the United States. Fair or not, I think that one has to understand that that is the situation.
But what is the biggest, the biggest and most important example of American power and American authority? It is that America has been identified for decades above all with opportunity, freedom and democracy. And if you're the world leader and that reputation starts to fray at the edges, you can be in very serious trouble. And very serious difficulty indeed. Because as well as producing very warm feelings about all those attributes, if you're the Number 1, you also, I'm afraid, produce a lot of jealousy and a lot of resentment around the park. And we want to stop that and we want to stop a gulf opening up with the Islamic world because otherwise we will all have an extremely disagreeable future.
I want to finish on a positive point: I hope that Europe can work closely with the Unites States over Iraq, I hope we can work closely over Korea, I hope we can make a success of Afghanistan, I hope that we can have a more sensible debate about Iran - Iran is a great pre-Islamic civilisation and it's not simply enough to say that there are some extremist Mullahs and we can't deal with the moderates. I hope that we will be able, wherever possible, to co-operate multilaterally, but where we can't, I hope that we in Europe will take our share of the responsibility.
Final point: Charles Dickens said that he wasn't prejudiced about the United States except to be prejudiced in favour of it. That is entirely my point of view. Winston Churchill, again, said that you would always depend on the United States to do the right thing in the end, but not before it had tried all the available alternatives. I'm confident that America will continue to give the world beneficent leadership and will be the first great super-power which has ever done that.
PETER SUTHERLAND:Thank you very much indeed. I think this obviously is a debate that will run and run, and we could be at it for the next week here and we wouldn't bring it to a conclusion. But I want to thank our speakers this morning for a very enriching and lively debate which I think has been really excellent.