Monday, February 24, 2014, 11am
Αξιότιμες Κυρίες και Κύριοι, καλημέρα σας!
Επιτρέψτε μου κατ’ αρχάς, να σας ευχαριστήσω θερμά γιά την ευγενική σας πρόσκληση, καθώς και για την τιμή που μου κάνατε να μιλήσω σήμερα εδώ, στη Σχολή Εθνικής Άμυνας.
Πράγματι, είναι μια εξαιρετική ευκαιρία για μένα να συζητήσω απευθείας μαζί σας τον ρόλο των δύο χωρών μας στο ΝΑΤΟ, καθώς και τις προκλήσεις που αντιμετωπίζουμε «από κοινού» σε θέματα ασφαλείας.
Επιτρέψτε μου όμως, παρακαλώ, να συνεχίσω στην αγγλική επειδή τα ελληνικά μου δεν είναι τόσο καλά για να αναπτύξω ένα τόσο δύσκολο θέμα και φοβάμαι ότι θα σας κουράσω. Σας υπόσχομαι, όμως, την άλλη φορά που θα βρίσκομαι εδώ να τα πάω καλύτερα.
General Barkoukis, thank you for inviting me to speak to the National Defense College to share the American perspective on transatlantic security. To the officers here today, I would like to congratulate each one of you for being selected to attend the College at this point in your career.
Today I want to speak about our common security objectives, and the American perspective on the transatlantic relationship. Then I would like to highlight the role of NATO including Greece in this relationship, because it is a prime example of how our cooperation can bring real success in achieving our mutual global security objectives.
You may have heard that the U.S. is “pivoting” to Asia. You probably hear about events in the Middle East every day. So it is a reasonable question to ask: where does Europe fit in this scenario visa vs. U.S. policy priorities? What role does it play? I am here to tell you that Europe is, and will be, our primary partner when it comes to dealing with the most challenging global issues. No nation, including the U.S., can manage today’s challenges on its own – we need strong partners that share common values and interests. For the United States, those partners are, more than anywhere else, in Europe, in NATO, and with Greece. In 2013 alone you can see how we worked together in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Syria and increasingly in Asia and Africa. These joint efforts have a secondary benefit: they strengthen our broader partnership with Europe.
While we’re talking about that broader partnership, I’d like to divert for just a moment about our economic relationship, because the critical thinkers in this room will know that trade and investment have a huge strategic importance.
The U.S. believes that it is essential that we devote our energy to both our economic relationship and our security relationship. So many things that we do around the world depend on mutual economic strength, from investing in each other’s countries, to aiding development, to responding to humanitarian crises anywhere around the globe. Economic difficulties on either side of the Atlantic can challenge our collective security.
In fact, the United States and Europe enjoy the largest and most integrated trade and investment relationship in the world. We are each other’s largest trade partner, with transatlantic trade reaching nearly 2 billion dollars per day. Total U.S. investment in the EU is three times higher than it is in all of Asia, while EU investment in the United States is almost eight times the amount of EU investment in India and China together. These are deep and longstanding trade and investment links that support millions of jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.
But we can do more on the economic front. What we need in 2014 is a transatlantic renaissance, a new burst of energy and commitment and investment in the three roots of our strength: our economic prosperity, our shared security, and the common values that sustain us.
One specific idea that we can implement is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which is currently under negotiation. T-TIP, as it’s often referred to, will promote trade, investment, and innovation while maintaining high standards for safety, the environment, and labor. It will support hundreds of thousands of new and better-paying jobs for young people. T-TIP can be for our economic health what NATO has been to our shared security for over six decades: a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. T-TIP is so much more than a trade agreement. It is a political and strategic bet we are placing on each other and our shared future.
In a similar vein, with specific reference to Greece I would like to say that the U.S. recognizes the tremendous sacrifices of the Greek people over the past 5 years. We will work with the government and people of Greece for a future of stability and prosperity – Because we want to see Greece emerge from this crisis stronger – a stable country playing a stabilizing role in southeastern Europe and the Eastern Med. You all are an important part of that.
Just as our economies are closely linked, the United States and Europe work together on a broad range of security issues, from Afghanistan to Iran and beyond. And the cornerstone of our security cooperation is NATO.
In the words of President Obama at the opening session of the North Atlantic Council in Chicago, “For over 65 years, our Alliance has been the bedrock of our common security, of freedom, and of prosperity. And though the times may have changed, the fundamental reason for our alliance has not. Our nations are stronger and more prosperous when we stand together. In good times and in bad, our alliance has endured; in fact, it has thrived – because we share an unbreakable commitment to the freedom and security of our citizens.”
More than ever, the Alliance is the mechanism through which the United States confronts diverse and difficult threats to our security, together with like-minded countries that share our fundamental values of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. This has been continually illustrated through NATO’s role in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Libya, monitoring the Mediterranean Sea, conducting counter-piracy operations off the coast of Africa, and providing support to others in the region.
At NATO’s summit in Lisbon three years ago, Allies unveiled a new Strategic Concept that defines NATO’s focus in the 21st century. First and foremost, NATO remains committed to the Article 5 principle of collective defense. In addition to being a collective security alliance, NATO is also a cooperative security organization. NATO can respond rapidly and achieve its military goals by sharing burdens. In particular, NATO benefits from integrated structures and when it uses common funding to develop common capabilities. The NATO facilities in Crete are a good example of this.
Building on the Lisbon Strategic Concept, NATO members will be focusing on successful execution of current operations, and on dealing with future threats before they develop. I’d like to talk about both of those.
First, in terms of current operations, approximately 5,000 Allied troops operate just north of here, in Kosovo, as part of NATO’s Kosovo Force (KFOR). So this is the closest example of how Greece and the U.S., in the context of NATO, jointly support security in Europe.
While that represents the closest operation, the biggest today is in Afghanistan (where I recently served at the U.S. Embassy from 2011-2012). The 28 allies of NATO are joined by troops from 22 other countries in one of the largest joint operations ever: ISAF – the International Security Assistance Force. ISAF will transition this year from a combat focus to an advisory role. Its aim is to prevent Afghanistan from once again becoming a safe haven for terrorists. Through the end of this year, ISAF will continue to support combat operations alongside Afghan forces, as necessary. Beyond 2014, NATO has stated its commitment to supporting Afghanistan in a training, advising, and fiscal role. No country knows the immigration implications better than Greece, immigration pressure a result of conflict and instability to the east and south.
Also worth noting is that transatlantic allies cooperate even in non-NATO missions. Here I’m talking about removing chemical weapons from Syria. As we speak, American and European allies are working on a project to dismantle some of the worst weapons of mass destruction from an unstable country near Europe’s border.
Our combined effort hopefully will not only help reduce the level of human suffering, but also help make the region, indeed the world, a safer place.Turning to future threats, I’d like to mention a non-traditional but critical security task for the United States, NATO, and Europe. That is the role of cyber defense. President Obama has declared that the “cyber threat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation.”
So important is the challenge that the President created a Cybersecurity Office within the National Security Staff. As we all know, cybersecurity doesn’t stop at the borders. It involves protecting our broadband internet and wireless cellphones, it involves protecting the local networks in our schools and hospitals and businesses, and the massive grids that bring us our electricity. It involves protecting as well the classified military and intelligence networks that keep us safe, and the World Wide Web that has made us more interconnected than at any time in human history.
We all share a responsibility to improve our resilience to cyber incidents and reduce the cyber threat.We can be more resilient with better infrastructure that can stop penetration and disruption; and by improving our ability to defend against sophisticated and agile cyber threats, which can come from anywhere in the world.We can reduce cyber threats by working with allies on international norms of acceptable behavior in cyberspace, strengthening law enforcement capabilities against cybercrime, and deterring potential adversaries from taking advantage of our remaining vulnerabilities.
Underlying all of these efforts is the need to stay one step ahead of our cyber adversaries. We must make cybersecurity developments available to and usable by everyone who needs it, including network operators and defenders, law enforcement, and IT management officials in the U.S., private industry, and with our allies.In closing, there are many challenging issues and opportunities ahead that are ripe for our cooperation. As Secretary of State Kerry has said, “the United States and the EU are bound together by common values and together provide sustained global leadership.”
I would like to echo Secretary Kerry’s statement and emphasize the same as it applies to the U.S.-Greek relationship. We have traveled a great distance together and I’m confident that Greece and the U.S. will be side by side through future challenges. As career military professionals, I want to thank you all for what you have done for Greece, for NATO, and for the trans-Atlantic relationship with the United States.
I hope I, for one, will do all I can to strengthen, and build on, the ties between the United States and NATO, and the United States and Greece. And I look forward to working with you.Κυρίες και Κύριοι, Η χώρα μου θεωρεί την Ελλάδα ως πολύτιμο σύμμαχο και πυλώνα ασφαλείας στην περιοχή της Νοτιοανατολικής Ευρώπης και της Ανατολικής Μεσογείου. Οι χώρες μας διατηρούν μακροχρόνιους και ιστορικούς δεσμούς φιλίας και συνεργασίας.Είμαι σίγουρος ότι και οι δικές σας προσπάθειες στο μέλλον θα συμβάλουν στην βελτίωση αυτών των σχέσεων προς όφελος των λαών μας.Σας ευχαριστώ πολύ.