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European Security According to Hillary: NATO and Russia


(BRUSSELS2) A few days before the Munich conference, the American Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hillary Clinton, was in Paris, at the Military Academy, to give some “Remarks on the future of European security” followed, as is customary, by questions from the audience. A very constructed speech, intended, first of all, to reassure the (East) European public, who might have been surprised by the Obama administration's lack of attention to Europe during this first year in office. “European security is (still) anchored in US foreign policy. she pointed out.

But this speech was mainly aimed at Russia. On the one hand, H. Clinton recalled the necessary “ respect for territorial integrity (cf.
Georgia) and the right for each country to choose the alliances » as he hears. On the other hand, it also highlighted the American availability to consider “ together » the security of the European continent, in particular the anti-missile shield.

As for European defense, the Secretary of State seems to remain in a very classic pattern, 1980s. When she talks about defense or military questions, she thinks above all, and above all, of NATO, not of the Union European Union which has other tasks according to it. As for the European Common Defense and Security Policy (PeSDC), it is… unknown to the battalion!

Europe: you will always be at the heart of our concerns…

Hillary Clinton hammered it home: “A strong Europe is crucial for the security and prosperity of the United States and the world (…) What if
Europe is not safe, Europe cannot lead
(lead).” What Hillary Clinton sees above all in the European model is its reconciliation asset. “ Europe is stronger than ever. The bitter divisions of the Cold War have been replaced by unity, partnership and peace. (...) The challenges we face call for a collective response and the European Union is an invaluable and increasingly effective force for global progress. Europe is more than a collection of countries
linked by history and geography. Europe is a model for the capacity for reconciliation, cooperation and community

Enlargement, a guarantor of stability. For Americans, this seems clearer than in the eyes of Europeans, the enlargement of the EU (and NATO) has been a guarantor of European security and should continue to be so tomorrow by extending its sphere of influence. 'influence. “ The former communist countries of Central Europe have benefited from technical, social and legal assistance in democratic institutions and the rule of law, the richness of a single market and the unifying experience of a common European identity. There are powerful forces for progress and stability. (…) We continue the enterprise begun after the end of the Cold War to extend the zone of democracy and stability throughout Europe ". She thinks of the Balkans, but also of Ukraine. And the United States wants to remain engaged “ to resolve the persistent conflicts in the Caucasus and in Cyprus »
US troops still stationed in Europe. Hillary reiterated her desire to preserve the effectiveness of Article 5 of the NATO treaty: “ an attack on one is an attack on all ". A message intended mainly for Eastern European countries facing… the Russian threat. As “Demonstrating this commitment, we will continue to station American troops in Europe, both to deter attacks and to be able to respond quickly if they occur ". " We work with allies to ensure NATO has plans where necessary to respond to new and future emergencies ».


The GI's will remain in Europe

US nuclear deterrence active and offered to allies. The objective stated by President Obama in Prague in 2009 remains intact: “ in the long term, to live in a world without nuclear weapons. But as long as these weapons exist, the United States will maintain an effective, safe and secure arsenal to deter adversaries and we will guarantee this defense to our allies. ". (see also later, the Start Treaty).

An anti-missile shield covering all of NATO and even Russia. Clinton also reiterated her commitment to missile defense. " We are engaged in discussions with European allies to build an anti-missile defense architecture that will defend any NATO territory against ballistic missile attacks ". We can note the two key words in this sentence: "with the allies", "the entire territory", two of the main criticisms made by the Europeans to the Bush administration's anti-missile shield. Clinton explained that he wanted to extend this shield to Russia. “we are serious (when we say want) explore all avenues of cooperation with Russia to develop this anti-missile defense that will enhance the security of everyone, including Russia.”  Still need to “Russia (is) determined to cooperate with us. This is an opportunity between our countries for our mutual security she explained.

The index finger pointed at Russia in warning, and the hand outstretched

Generally speaking, Hillary Clinton's entire speech revolved around Russia, practicing the policy of the outstretched finger as a warning, and the outstretched hand as an opening. Hillary Clinton was quite harsh, recalling that “ The cornerstone of security is the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all States. and refusing the Russian project of European security. However, she does not intend to fall back into past mistakes: The Obama administration inherited a deteriorated relationship with Russia. "" We don't always agree – she explained. Our interests do not always overlap. But if we disagree, we will seek constructive ways to discuss and work through our differences.. (...) Russia is not our adversary for long, and more often a partner on key global issues »

Territorial integrity of Georgia and the right to join NATO. “We must remain vigilant in our efforts to oppose any
attempt to undermine (the fundamental rights of free nations). (…) We refuse to recognize Russia's declarations on independence for Abkhazia and South Ossetia. And more generally, we refuse any areas of influence in Europe in which one country seeks to control the future of another. Our security depends on nations that can choose their own
" This includes " The right of all countries to enter into alliances of their own choosing (a right) recognized by Russia and other OSCE members at the 1999 Istanbul Summit. NATO must and will remain open to any country that aspires to become a member and meets the membership conditions » she stated very clearly, alluding to Georgia and Ukraine, whose membership is, in fact, suspended.

Inseparable European security. " Europe's security is indivisible. There are not several Europes, there is only one. It's a
Europe which includes the United States as a partner. And it is a Europe that includes Russia
(…) " NOTWe believe that common goals will be better pursued within existing institutions such as the OSCE and the NATO-Russia Council, rather than by negotiating new treaties, as Russia suggests ».

The anti-missile shield will be European and open to Russia

Dealing with a range of common threats
. " We want to build a more substantive and constructive relationship based on our mutual interests (…) We have a series of mutual security concerns including the stabilization of Afghanistan, the Iranian nuclear program, North Korean mistrust of its international obligations, a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (Start) and confronting non-traditional threats such as pandemics, climate change, cybercrime and child trafficking ».

Exchange and visits to military sites. " We are committed to practicing transparency in our dealings in Europe and we call on other nations to do the same "Clinton offers a" more open exchange of military data, including visits to military sites and observation of military activities and exercises. When our nations are uncertain about the military capabilities of their neighbors, this uncertainty can foster suspicion and even conflict. She also reiterated her support for the Conventional Forces Treaty. suspended by Russia two years ago. We need to revive discussions on this subject. (…) Our objectives remain those of the original treaty: limitation of military deployments, strengthening of the principles of transparency, territorial integrity, non-use of force, rights of host countries to consent to the stationing of foreign troops on their territory. »

A renewed Start Treaty. Clinton confirmed that she wanted to hold a summit on nuclear security in April to draw attention to nuclear terrorism and " galvanize support for strong measures to secure nuclear materials around the world ". The review conference on the nuclear non-proliferation treaty will be held in May. The United States will seek to ratify the Global Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and negotiate a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT). And “We are conducting a comprehensive review
nuclear positions to find a new direction that strengthens deterrence and reassurance for the United States and its allies in reducing the role and number of nuclear weapons

Security to NATO, the rest to the European Union

The questions asked by a few hand-picked speakers helped to clarify certain points. Hillary Clinton thus appears either very poorly informed about the realities of European defense today, or very skeptical about a Europe of autonomous defense from NATO (or both!).

A distribution of roles. Responding to a speaker (General Perruche), she estimated that a “ close cooperation and more
complementary between the EU and NATO is in all our interests to try to forge common policies: political, economic, development and legal on the EU side, and mainly security on the European side.

The European army: no! Responding to another on a possible European army project (between France and Germany), she was frankly skeptical. “ From an American point of view, I think we do not want see anything supplanting NATO » – she explained. “ If it is available to NATO, it could be different. But given the constraints that already exist on the NATO budget and military spending in our countries, we thought it was smarter to calculate how to use our resources that we actually have and to use the Alliance that we we are members in a more strategic way. »

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

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