MCCAIN REMARKS AT THE GERMAN MARSHALL FUND
April 28, 2006Brussels, Belgium - Today Senator John McCain (R-AZ) gave the following speech, "A Global Agenda for the United States and Europe: An American View," at the German Marshall Fund Brussels Conference:
On the 60th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, the Prime Minister of Belgium described the Allies who fought together as a band of brothers. "Brothers in ideals and conviction," he said, "It is now our duty to further strengthen this bond in order to secure this hard-won freedom for future generations." The U.S. and Europe have traveled a great distance since 1944, and a long way even since 2004. Our agenda today is truly global, and it pays tribute both to this continent's internal success and to the strength of the transatlantic partnership. America and Europe have had disagreements, strong ones, and we are likely to have more in the future. But as befits an enterprise of historic importance, we move past these differences and unite to achieve great things, locating in our common approach a force that has altered the world.
We do so precisely because of the bonds the Prime Minister so eloquently described. The transatlantic democracies believe in the legitimacy of governments chosen by the people. We believe that certain rights are inalienable, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We believe in a world built on human rights, possessing strong and legitimate international institutions and norms. And we know that free societies hold at their core the promise of happiness and prosperity for all, while oppressive regimes offer only tyranny and repression.
These are lofty sentiments, to be sure, but do not dismiss their real world impact. Whether we turn our attention to the regime in Iran, the displaced in Sudan, troops under NATO command in Afghanistan, or to our own citizens, individuals everywhere look to the United States and Europe for unity and leadership. They know that we pursue not just narrow self-interest, but seek the blessings of liberty for all. They, like us, know that the scope of our activities is, by necessity, ambitious and global. And they know -- or they should know -- that we will work together. The world needs the United States and Europe together, and it needs us now.
Among the natural areas of cooperation for the transatlantic partners is the promotion of democracy. Both the U.S. and Europe have long used diplomatic means to encourage democracy. The U.S. has promoted it directly since the creation of the National Endowment for Democracy in President Reagan's first term, the EU launched its Barcelona Process in the mid-1990s, and in recent years European interest has increased, with Hungary establishing a Democracy Transition Center and the EU creating a democracy fund. The German Marshall Fund's 2005 transatlantic trends survey showed that sizable majorities in both the U.S. and Europe support the promotion of democracy, and this support is evidenced today through proposals for democracy promotion foundations in Spain, Lithuania, and in the EU Parliament. All of this signifies great progress. Around the world, budding democrats, dissidents suffering under oppression, and reformist governments should know that they can draw on our support -- diplomatic, financial, technical, and moral. We need to coordinate our aid and messages and expand the mechanisms through which we promote democracy to effectively advance our deepest values.
This opportunity presents itself in a number of countries around the world, especially those where both our interests and values are under threat. Perhaps foremost on the minds of leaders today is Iran. I believe we are all aware of the danger posed by a nuclear armed regime in Tehran. Iran is a longtime sponsor of international terror. An Iran emboldened by a nuclear arsenal and the missile systems to deliver weapons would feel unconstrained to sponsor even more deadly terrorist attacks. Its calls for death to America and the extinction of Israel illustrate where its enemies list begins, but surely not where it ends. The nuclear danger reaches beyond the possibility of terrorism; Iran's moves could induce Turkey, Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia and others to reassess their defense posture and arsenals. Iran already possesses ballistic missiles capable of reaching major European capitals and, though many would rely on classic deterrence to insure against Iranian thoughts of attack, its President's messianic impulses are cause for grave worry. Europe's history teaches painful lessons: In the 1930s too few took at face value a dictator's threats to destroy peoples and countries, and the world paid a terrible price.
The EU3 deserves praise for its great efforts to present a positive endgame: an Iran with far reaching economic incentives, external support for a civilian nuclear energy program, and integration into the international community. But in rejecting these overtures, Iran leaves us with no option but to pursue more coercive measures, starting with immediate UN Security Council action. The Security Council should impose multilateral sanctions, including a prohibition on investment, a travel ban, and asset freezes for government leaders and nuclear scientists. In taking these steps at the UN, China and Russia should know that their decisions on the Iranian issue will be a key test of our relations. And all options must remain on the table. I'm not saying that military force is necessary at this moment; indeed, military action is always the last option we should consider, and moving toward sanctions will help forestall the need for greater coercion. But to preemptively forswear options is to weaken our diplomatic hand. In the end, there is only one thing worse than military action, and that is a nuclear armed Iran. By standing united on this issue, we can block Iran's efforts to split the great powers and increase the chances of a peaceful resolution.
And as in so many other issues, the U.S. and Europe must define their policy not just by what we stand against, but also by what we stand for. In Iran the transatlantic partners support the people's longing for freedom and democracy, their hopes for change, their desires for jobs and an end to isolation -- none of which the ruling regime provides. 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. One day this proud and great nation will join the world's democratic community, and we must assist its people in that effort.
The Iranian nuclear issue will be a key test of our relations with Russia, and I hope Moscow will rise to the occasion. But even an improved position on Iran cannot entitle Russia to a free pass on other concerns. In recent years Moscow has pursued increasingly troubling foreign and domestic policies, and the trends continue to worsen. In the past few months alone, Russia has used its natural gas supplies to punish democratic Ukraine in the middle of winter, embargoed the import of wine from Moldova and Georgia, invited Hamas to Moscow, expressed public opposition to sanctioning Iran, and taken several steps to link North and South Ossetia. The Kremlin pursues greater autocracy at home and undermines democracy abroad. It appears to define affairs in the Black Sea region and Central Asia in 19th century zero-sum terms. For these reasons I have expressed deep skepticism in the past about the other G8 members conferring upon Russia the prestige that accompanies the St. Petersburg summit.
Recognizing that the G8 heads of state will attend the summit, however, I am encouraged that the "frozen conflicts" in Georgia and Moldova will be on the agenda. We should be crystal clear: these conflicts endure because of Russian policy and Russian support for illegal separatists. Other issues too, need to be addressed, including Russia's predatory use of energy supplies and its reversal of democracy at home. I know that President Bush will raise these issues, and I hope that all G8 leaders will do the same. We must recognize that our differences are with that government, not the Russian people. In order to pursue a cooperative relationship with its government, many of its decisions must be reversed. And if Europe and the United States are not united in demanding this, we are unlikely to see any progress at all.
One area that demands progress is in the Black Sea region. The German Marshall Fund has done important work in identifying the Black Sea as a region, highlighting how the frozen conflicts and trafficking of both narcotics and humans make the region a key focus for the U.S. and Europe. Our approach to the region as a whole must emphasize several elements, including increased security on land and on the sea, accelerating the construction of a trans-Caucasian energy route linking Central Asian and Caspian oil and gas with European markets, expanding trade ties, and putting the region's states on a path to full membership in NATO and the EU.
When it comes to individual countries in the Black Sea region, the Ukrainian experience exemplifies what the transatlantic partnership can achieve. Refusing to accept fraudulent elections in 2004, the U.S. and Europe together maintained solidarity with protestors braving fear and cold. Now that Ukraine has held a truly democratic election and is institutionalizing the reforms promised by the Orange Revolution, the transatlantic partners must respond by extending tangible benefits. As a first step, NATO should endorse a Membership Action Plan for Ukraine as soon as possible.
We should do the same for Georgia, which 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.
And we must not overlook Turkey. Competing visions for Turkey's future have been a source of some friction between the United States and Europe in recent years, so let me be clear about where America stands. I know that there are some in Europe who resent our strong support for Turkish membership in the EU. But I hope these skeptics would see that the benefits of Turkish integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions far outweigh the alternative. Our vision is one of a democratic, secular Turkey, a westward looking member of both NATO and the European Union. That vision the vast majority of Turks share. But there is another possible outcome -- a Turkey turned away from Europe, rejected by and alienated from Euro-Atlantic institutions, a country that could give rise to extremists, whether inside or out of government. None of us wants this. By further integrating Turkey, we send a strong message to the Islamic world that the West is not a closed club, but rather is open to all those who share our values.
Nor does any of us want to see a continuation of Europe's last dictatorship, and for that reason I am very encouraged that Europe has taken steps to sanction Alexander Lukashenko's government in Belarus. For too long, Mr. Lukashenko has ruled his country through fear and intimidation, and, notwithstanding his supporters in Moscow, his tyranny cannot forever endure. His latest outrages -- stealing the presidential election and then breaking up protests in Minsk -- are an affront to the liberal conceptions on which Europe prides itself. The way in which the U.S. and European countries, including Lithuania, Latvia, Germany, Poland, and others, have cooperated to support the Belarusian opposition, promises great hope for the future. I hope that we can continue and expand such cooperation. Alexander Milinkevich and the other opposition leaders need it. The Belarusian people deserve it. And democracy in Belarus depends on it.
2006 is 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 Balkans do not flare up in this period of transition, when Montenegro conducts its referendum and the future status of Kosovo is determined. While the timing remains uncertain, it seems clear that Kosovo will eventually become independent. With independence come domestic and international responsibilities, and 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. By doing so, Europe can ensure that the Serbian people are anchored firmly in Europe. If we can accomplish these goals, the transatlantic allies can, this year, successfully conclude their greatest European democracy project since the end of the Cold War.
Just as ethnic cleansing in the Balkans cried out for transatlantic action in the 1990s, so today does genocide clamor for our attention. I speak, of course, of Sudan. Policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic refer to the humanitarian catastrophe in Darfur on occasion, mostly to emphasize that "we need to do more." But as time passes, more innocent people die. The United States has labeled the killing there genocide, Kofi Annan has called it ethnic cleansing and called on the international community to act. Estimates of the dead start at tens of thousands, with over 2 million displaced -- most living in unsafe, desperate conditions. Now there are spillover effects -- weapons flowing into Darfur from Libya, Chad, and the Central African Republic; refugee flows throughout central Africa; and janjaweed militias terrorizing Chadians across the border.
This may well be a strategic issue, it is certainly an issue of international credibility, but above all it is a moral issue. As Ambassador Richard Williamson has written, "Even if we do much, achieve a great deal, but turn our backs on the great moral challenges of our time, history will not be kind to us. Nor should it be." I believe that we can develop, at this conference, some measure of the political will necessary to take immediate action. We need to be blunt -- to stop the killing and expedite the return of over 2 million displaced Darfurians requires us to act.
And make no mistake -- the crimes continue. The UN humanitarian coordinator in Sudan estimated that earlier this year 150,000 people fled their homes in just two months. The African Union should be applauded for its courage and efforts to resolve the situation and its troops have served under very difficult circumstances. But the AU forces need help -- not just a few more troops, but thousands more. The UN has begun planning to send peacekeepers to Darfur, and we need to push for a commitment to deploy. To do this the UN needs real contributions of well-trained and equipped peacekeepers, and we must find and finance them. NATO's current role should be expanded as well, providing logistical and communications support for peacekeeping forces, and the allies should look at NATO enforcement of a no-fly zone over Darfur. The U.S. and Europe should seek UN sanctions against militia leaders and complicit government officials and, barring sanctions at the UN, impose them outside the UN framework. In the end perhaps only a political settlement will end forever the conflict in Darfur; in the meantime there are huge populations at risk and we must defend them. If we do not, the pledge of "never again" will once more ring hollow.
And while we keep our gaze fixed on near term challenges, we must also keep in mind the greatest geopolitical shift of this generation -- the rise of Asia, and China in particular. The founders of the liberal international system must work cooperatively in order to integrate China into global institutions and give it a greater stake in upholding and contributing to international order. This means encouraging China to commit to norms ranging from nonproliferation to free trade to peaceful relations with its neighbors, while continuing to emphasize the importance of freedom and human rights. We can do little of this without a joint transatlantic strategy, as Europe will have a key role in shaping the Asian century.
I began this address speaking of values -- the universal ones we hold dear and wish to promote in lands as diverse as China, Sudan, and Belarus. It is important to recall that our ability to do so is directly tied to the degree to which we ensure the triumph of these values at home. It is no secret that American society and government are imperfect; so too are those of Europe. We must strive to uphold our values, even as we confront the very real threats that exist in our world today. America took a step in this direction last winter by passing legislation that clarifies the terms under which captured terrorists may be detained and interrogated. We are currently in the midst of a debate in the U.S. about how best to deal with the flood of undocumented immigrants entering our country. Any real solution in the U.S. must start with a view of immigrants as individuals possessing of certain basic human rights -- and as an economically and culturally revitalizing force. Europe would, I hope, move toward such a view. In such questions of values, it is imperative that we hold ourselves to a standard at least as high -- and surely higher -- than we hold everyone else.
In looking over the U.S.-European agenda, it is conceivable that we succeed on every front. We could see a Europe whole, free, and at peace, with democracy in Belarus and Russia and with the Balkans and Black Sea regions squarely integrated with the rest of the continent. The Iranian nuclear crisis could be resolved peacefully and we could succeed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Darfurians could return home and live without fear, Africans could prosper. And democracy could spread in lands where it is today denied.
I don't know if things will turn out that way. But we can say for certain that if we fail to try, we will fail for certain. And I do know this: We greatly increase the chances of success in our global agenda by working together. Americans welcome a strong, capable, and independent Europe, a Europe able to wield significant influence around the globe. Not only do we seek European leadership, we believe it is necessary to make the world a better, safer place for our interests and our values. This means true leadership B not a group of countries that merely follows American directives, as some fear, nor a coalition that opposes American power simply because of its country of origin, as others suggest.
To follow any other course would discount this shared and historic endeavor, a force that has already transformed the lives of millions. 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 partnership. And in doing so, we will prevail, as we have prevailed before "together."