18 January 2002
Text: Sen. Lugar Calls War on Terrorism "Most Critical Issue" Facing NATO
(Sees terrorism with weapons of mass destruction as new threat) (4450)
U.S. Senator Richard Lugar (Republican, Indiana) says the most
critical security challenge facing the United States and the NATO
alliance is the intersection of terrorism with weapons of mass
And NATO "has to decide whether it wants to participate in this war.
It has to decide whether it wants to be relevant in addressing the
major security challenge of our day," Lugar, a senior member of the
Senate Foreign Relations and Intelligence Committees, said January 18
during the U.S.-NATO Missions Annual Conference in Brussels.
While NATO enlargement and its relationship with Russia are major
priorities facing the alliance at the Prague summit in November, any
failure at this point to defend against major terrorist attacks
involving weapons of mass destruction would be a failure in a
fundamental sense, he said.
"Al-Qaida-like terrorists will use NBC [nuclear, biological and
chemical] weapons if they can obtain them. Our task can be succinctly
stated: together, we must keep the world's most dangerous technologies
out of the hands of the world's most dangerous people," Lugar said.
NATO invoked Article V of the Atlantic Treaty in response to the
September 11th terrorist attacks on the United States. The article
treats an attack on one member as an attack on all nations in the
Following is a text of Lugar's remarks:
NATO'S Role in the War on Terrorism
By Senator Richard G. Lugar
January 18, 2002
There are moments in history when world events suddenly allow us to
see the challenges facing our societies with a degree of clarity
previously unimaginable. The events of September 11th have created one
of those rare moments. We can see clearly the challenges we face --
and now confront what needs to be done.
September 11th forced Americans to recognize that the United States is
exposed to an existential threat from terrorism and the possible use
of weapons of mass destruction by terrorists. Meeting that threat is
the premier security challenge of our time. There is a clear and
present danger that terrorists will gain the capability to carry out
catastrophic attacks on Europe and the United States using nuclear,
biological or chemical weapons.
In 1996, I made an unsuccessful bid for the Presidency of the United
States. Three of my campaign television ads, widely criticized for
being far-fetched and grossly alarming, depicted a mushroom cloud and
warned of the existential threat posed by the growing danger of
weapons of mass destruction in the hands of terrorist groups. I argued
that the next President should be selected on the basis of being able
to meet that challenge.
Recently, those ads have been replayed on national television and are
viewed from a different perspective. The images of those planes
crashing into the World Trade Center on September 11th will remain
with us for some time to come. We might not have been able to prevent
the attacks of September 11th, but we can draw the right lessons from
those events -- now.
One of those lessons is just how vulnerable our societies are to such
attacks. September 11th has destroyed many myths. One of those is the
belief that the West was no longer threatened after the collapse of
communism and our victory in the Cold War. Perhaps nowhere was that
myth stronger than in the United States where many Americans believed
that America's strength made us invulnerable.
We know now that we are all vulnerable -- Americans and Europeans. The
terrorists seek massive impact through indiscriminate killing of
people and destruction of institutions, historical symbols and the
basic fabric of our societies. The next attack could just as easily be
in London, Paris or Berlin as in Washington, Los Angeles or New York.
And it could or is even likely to involve weapons of mass destruction.
The sober reality is that the danger of Americans and Europeans being
killed today at work or at home is perhaps greater than at any time in
recent history. Indeed, the threat we face today may be just as
existential as the one we faced during the Cold War, since it is
increasingly likely to involve the use of weapons of mass destruction
against our societies.
We are again at one of those moments when we must look in the mirror
and ask ourselves whether we as leaders are prepared to draw the right
conclusions and do what we can now to reduce that threat -- or whether
it will take another even deadlier attack to force us into action.
What Needs to be Done: The Lugar Doctrine
Each of us recognizes that the war against terrorism and weapons of
mass destruction must be fought on many fronts - at home and abroad.
And it must be fought with many tools - political, economic and
military. President Bush is seeking to lead a global coalition in a
global war to root out terrorist cells and stop nation states from
The flip side of his policy is one that I have spent a lot of time
thinking about: namely, the urgent need to extend the war on terrorism
to nuclear, biological, and chemical [NBC] weapons. Al-Qaida-like
terrorists will use NBC weapons if they can obtain them. Our task can
be succinctly stated: together, we must keep the world's most
dangerous technologies out of the hands of the world's most dangerous
The events of September 11 and the subsequent public discovery of
al-Qaeda's methods, capabilities and intentions have finally brought
the vulnerability of our countries to the forefront. The terrorists
have demonstrated suicidal tendencies and are beyond deterrence. We
must anticipate that they will use weapons of mass destruction in NATO
countries if allowed the opportunity.
Without oversimplifying the motivations of terrorists in the past, it
appears that most acts of terror attempted to bring about change in a
regime or change in governance or status in a community or state.
Usually, the terrorists made demands that could be negotiated or
accommodated. The targets were selected to create and increase
pressure for change.
In contrast, the al-Qaida terrorist attacks on the United States were
planned to kill thousands of people indiscriminately. There were no
demands for change or negotiation. Osama bin Laden was filmed
conversing about results of the attack, which exceeded his earlier
predictions of destruction. Massive destruction of institutions,
wealth, national morale, and innocent people was clearly his
Over 3,000 people from a host of countries perished. Recent economic
estimates indicate $60 billion of loss to the United States economy
and the loss of over 1.6 million jobs. Horrible as these results have
been, military experts have written about the exponential expansion of
those losses had the al-Qaida terrorists used weapons of mass
The minimum standard for victory in this kind of war is the prevention
of any of the individual terrorists or terrorist cells from obtaining
weapons or materials of mass destruction.
The current war effort in Afghanistan is destroying the Afghan-based
al-Qaeda network and the Taliban regime. The campaign is also designed
to demonstrate that governments that are hosts to terrorists face
retribution. But as individual NATO countries prosecute this war, NATO
must pay much more attention to the other side of the equation - that
is, making certain that all weapons and materials of mass destruction
are identified, continuously guarded, and systematically destroyed.
Unfortunately, beyond Russia and other states of the former Soviet
Union, Nunn-Lugar-style cooperative threat reduction programs aimed at
non-proliferation do not exist. They must now be created on a global
scale, with counter-terrorism joining counter-proliferation as our
Today we lack even minimal international confidence about many weapons
programs, including the number of weapons or amounts of materials
produced, the storage procedures employed, and production or
destruction programs. NATO allies must join with the United States to
change this situation. We need to join together to restate the terms
of minimal victory in the war against terrorism we are currently
fighting -- to wit, that every nation that has weapons and materials
of mass destruction must account for what it has, spend its own money
or obtain international technical and financial resources to safely
secure what it has, and pledge that no other nation, cell or cause
will be allowed access to or use of these weapons or materials.
Some nations, after witnessing the bombing of Afghanistan and the
destruction of the Taliban government, may decide to proceed along a
cooperative path of accountability regarding their weapons and
materials of mass destruction. But other states may decide to test the
U.S. will and staying power. Such testing will be less likely if the
NATO allies stand shoulder to shoulder with the U.S. in pursuing such
a counter-terrorism policy.
The precise replication of the Nunn-Lugar program will not be possible
everywhere, but a satisfactory level of accountability, transparency
and safety can and must be established in every nation with a WMD
program. When such nations resist such accountability, or their
governments make their territory available to terrorists who are
seeking weapons of mass destruction, then NATO nations should be
prepared to join with the U.S. to use force as well as all diplomatic
and economic tools at their collective disposal.
I do not mention the use of military force lightly or as a passing
comment. The use of military force could mean war against a nation
state remote from Europe or North America. This awesome contingency
requires the utmost in clarity now. Without being redundant, let me
describe the basic elements of such a strategy even more explicitly.
NATO should list all nation states, which now house terrorist cells,
voluntarily or involuntarily. The list should be supplemented with a
map, which illustrates to all of our citizens the location of these
states. Through intelligence sharing, termination of illicit financial
channels, support of local police work, diplomacy, and public
information, NATO and a broader coalition of nations fighting
terrorism will seek to root out each cell in a comprehensive manner
for years to come and keep a public record of success that the world
can observe and measure. If we are diligent and determined, we will
end most terrorist possibilities.
Perhaps more importantly, we will draw up a second list that will
contain all of the states that have materials, programs, and/or
weapons of mass destruction. We will demand that each of these nation
states account for all of the materials, programs, and weapons in a
manner, which is internationally verifiable. We will demand that all
such weapons and materials be made secure from theft or threat of
proliferation using the funds of that nation state and supplemented by
international funds if required. We will work with each nation state
to formulate programs of continuing accountability and destruction
which maybe of mutual benefit to the safety of citizens in the host
state and the international community. This will be a finite list, and
success in the war against terrorism will not be achieved until all
nations on that list have complied with these standards.
The Nunn-Lugar program has demonstrated that extraordinary
international relationships are possible to improve controls over
weapons of mass destruction. Programs similar to the Nunn-Lugar
program should be established in each of the countries in the
coalition against terrorism that wishes to work with the United States
and hopefully its NATO allies on safe storage, accountability and
planned destruction of these dangerous weapons and materials of mass
What Role for NATO
If this conference had taken place before September 11th, I would now
deliver an eloquent statement about the importance of continuing NATO
enlargement and trying to build a cooperative NATO-Russia
relationship. In a speech preceding the remarkable call by President
Bush in Warsaw for a NATO which stretched from the Baltics to the
Black Sea, I listed Slovenia, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania,
Romania, and Bulgaria as strong candidates for membership
consideration and I visited five of these countries last summer to
encourage continuing progress in meeting the criteria for joining the
Alliance. After ten years of hands-on experience in working with
Russian political, military, and scientific leaders to carefully
secure and to destroy materials and weapons of mass destruction in
cooperative threat reduction programs, I anticipate that a new
NATO-Russian relationship could be of enormous benefit in meeting the
dangerous challenges which we must now confront together. In many
ways, September 11th has strengthened my conviction that both of these
efforts are critical.
But they can no longer be our only major priorities. As important as
they are, neither NATO enlargement nor NATO-Russia cooperation is the
most critical issue facing our nations today. That issue is the war on
terrorism. NATO has to decide whether it wants to participate in this
war. It has to decide whether it wants to be relevant in addressing
the major security challenge of our day. Those of us who have been the
most stalwart proponents of enlargement in the past have an obligation
to point out that, as important as NATO enlargement remains, the major
security challenge we face today is the intersection of terrorism with
weapons of mass destruction.
If we fail to defend our societies from a major terrorist attack
involving weapons of mass destruction, we and the Alliance will have
failed in the most fundamental sense of defending our nations and our
way of life - and no one will care what NATO did or did not accomplish
on enlargement at the Prague summit. That's why the Alliance must
fundamentally rethink its role in the world in the wake of September
At the Washington summit in the spring of 1999, NATO heads of state
made a bold statement. They stated that they wanted NATO to be as
relevant to the threats of the next 50 years as it was to the threats
of the past five decades.
The Alliance invoked Article 5 for the first time in its history in
response to September 11th. But, NATO itself has only played a
limited, largely political and symbolic role in the war against
terrorism. To some degree, Washington's reluctance to turn to NATO was
tied to the fact that the U.S. had to scramble to put together a
military response involving logistics, basing and special forces
quickly -- and it was easier to do that ourselves. Since it was the
U.S. itself that was attacked, we were highly motivated to assume the
lion's share of burden of the military role of the war on terrorism
and we had the capability to do so.
But U.S. reticence to turn to NATO was also tied to other facts. Some
Americans have lost confidence in the Alliance. Years of cuts in
defense spending and failure to meet pledge after pledge to improve
European military capabilities has left some Americans with doubts as
to what our allies could realistically contribute. Rightly or wrongly,
the legacy of Kosovo has reinforced the concern that NATO is not up to
the job of fighting a modern war. The U.S. did have confidence in a
select group of individual allies. But it did not have confidence in
the institution that is NATO. And the fact that some military leaders
of NATO's leading power didn't want to use the Alliance it has led for
half a century is a worrying sign.
Some of us in Washington did suggest to the Administration that it
could and should be more creative in involving NATO. Senator Joseph
Biden and I, for example, wrote an "op-ed" suggesting a number of
tasks the Alliance could assume in the war on terrorism. But I am not
here to second-guess the President and his national security team on
these issues. Whether we should have used NATO more is a question best
left to future historians. The strategy the U.S. employed in
Afghanistan worked, and I congratulate the Administration for that
The key issue is: where do we go from here? Will we -- Americans and
Europeans -- now decide to prepare NATO for the next stages in the war
against terrorism? If not, how should we organize outside of NATO to
meet the military challenges of the war on terrorism? What do we want
NATO to look like in three to five years? How do we launch that
process between now and the Prague summit next November?
Washington's "Schools of Thought"
You will not find a single American answer to these questions. Indeed,
as I listen to the Administration and my colleagues around Washington,
I hear very different views. One school of thought holds that NATO
should simply remain the guarantor of peace in Europe. With successful
integration of all of Central and Eastern Europe into the Alliance,
they see NATO's next priority as trying to integrate Russia and
Ukraine into European security via the new NATO-Russia Council. They
accept the fact that NATO is likely to become more and more a
political organization such as the OSCE but one with at least some
military muscle. They consider any attempt to give the Alliance a
military role beyond Europe "a bridge too far." If all NATO does is
keep the peace in an increasingly secure Europe, that's enough.
A second school thinks NATO as it is currently constituted is about
the best we can do. It does not want to take a big leap forward either
with regard to NATO cooperation with Russia or with respect to new
missions such as a war against terrorism. This school would be willing
to enlarge to some additional countries but is much more cautious
about NATO-Russia cooperation. It is willing to work with allies on
future missions, but on an ad hoc basis and not as an Alliance, lest a
NATO framework create "war by committee" and coalition "drag" on the
prosecution of hostilities. It prefers a division of labor whereby the
U.S. focuses on the big wars and leaves peacekeeping in and around
Europe to the Europeans.
A third way of thinking about NATO is to see it as the natural defense
arm of the trans-Atlantic community and the institution we should turn
to for help in meeting new challenges such as terrorism and weapons of
mass destruction. With Europe increasingly secure, the Alliance needs
to be "retooled" so that it can handle the most critical threats to
our security. If that means it has to go beyond Europe in the future,
so be it.
This last way of thinking about NATO's future is closest to my own for
First, I have always had a problem with the "division of labor"
argument that assumes the U.S. will handle the big wars outside of
Europe and lets Europeans take care of the small wars within Europe.
It presupposes that the U.S. has less interest in Europe and that
Europeans have less interests in the rest of the world. Both are
wrong. We have interests in Europe and Europeans have interests in the
rest of the world -- and we should be trying to tackle them together.
Second, the U.S. needs a military alliance with Europe to confront
effectively problems such as terrorism and weapons of mass
destruction. We can't do it on an ad hoc basis. We were willing to
proceed more or less alone in Afghanistan. But we might not be so
inclined next time, depending on the circumstances. What if the next
attack is on Europe -- or on America and Europe simultaneously? The
model used in Afghanistan would not work in those scenarios. Americans
expect our closest allies to fight with us in this war on terrorism --
and they expect our leaders to come up with a structure that allows us
to do so promptly and successfully.
Third, the problem we faced in Kosovo, and the problems we are
encountering with respect to developing adequate military capabilities
to meet the new threats, do not lead me to conclude that the answer is
to reduce NATO to a purely political role. Rather, they are arguments
to expand our efforts to fix capability problems so that NATO can
operate more effectively in the future. Americans do not want to carry
the entire military burden of the war on terrorism by themselves. Nor
should we. We want allies to share the burden. The last attack may
have been unique in that regard. We were shocked by attacks on our
homeland. The U.S. was prepared to respond immediately and to do most
of the work itself. But what if the next attack is on Brussels, or on
France and the U.S. at the same time?
Finally, some of my critics have said: Senator, that is a great idea
but it simply is not "doable". And it would be a mistake even to try
because you might fail and that would embarrass President Bush and
hurt the Alliance. I find it hard to believe that the U.S. and Europe
-- some of the richest and most advanced countries in the world -- are
incapable of organizing themselves to come up with an effective
military alliance to fight this new threat.
When NATO was founded, there were those who said it would be
impossible to have a common strategy towards the Soviet Union. And in
early 1993 when I delivered my first speech calling for NATO not only
to enlarge but to prepare for substantial "out of area" activities,
many people told me that what I was proposing ran the risk of
destroying the Alliance. Those of us who believed in NATO enlargement
stuck to our guns. We now have three new Perm Reps with us today, and
a much more vital NATO as a result.
My view can be easily summarized. America is at war and feels more
vulnerable than at any time since the end of the Cold War and perhaps
since World War II. The threat we face is global and existential. We
need allies and alliances to confront it effectively. Those alliances
can no longer be circumscribed by artificial geographic boundaries.
All of America's alliances are going to be reviewed and recast in
light of this new challenge, including NATO. If NATO is not up to the
challenge of becoming effective in the new war against terrorism, then
our political leaders may be inclined to search for something else
that will answer this need.
I believe that September 11th opened up an enormous opportunity to
revitalize the trans-Atlantic relationship. It would be a mistake to
let this opportunity slip through our fingers. Neither side of the
Atlantic has thus far grasped that opportunity fully. It is a time to
think big, not small. It is a time when our proposals should not be
measured by what we think is "doable" but rather shaped by what needs
to be done to meet the new existential threat we face.
In the early 1990s we needed to make the leap from NATO defending
Western Europe to the Alliance assuming responsibility for the
continent as a whole. Today we must make a further leap and recognize
that, in a world in which terrorist threats can be planned in Germany,
financed in Asia, and carried out in the United States, old
distinctions between "in" and "out of area" have become utterly
meaningless. Indeed, given the global nature of terrorism, boundaries
and other geographical distinctions are without relevance.
At NATO's founding on April 4, 1949, President Harry S Truman
described the creation of the Alliance as a neighborly act taken by
countries conscious of a shared heritage and common values, as
democracies determined to defend themselves against the threat they
faced. Those same values that Truman talked about defending in 1949
are under attack today, but this time from a very different source.
In 1949, Truman went on to say that the Washington Treaty was a very
simple document, but one that might have prevented two world wars had
it been in existence in 1914 or 1939. Protecting Western Europe, he
opined, was an important step toward creating peace in the world. And
he predicted that the positive impact of NATO would be felt beyond its
borders and throughout the World.
Those words strike me as prescient today. Truman was right. NATO
prevented war in Europe for fifty years. It is now in the process of
making all of Europe safe and secure and of building a new
relationship with Russia. That, in itself, is a remarkable
accomplishment. But if NATO does not help tackle the most pressing
security threat to our countries today - a threat I believe is
existential because it involves the threat of weapons of mass
destruction -- it will cease to be the premier alliance it has been
and will become increasingly marginal.
That is why NATO's agenda for Prague has to be both broadened - and
integrated. While NATO enlargement and deepened NATO-Russia
cooperation will be central to the summit's agenda, they must now be
complemented by a plan to translate the fighting of terrorism into one
of NATO's central military missions. NATO enlargement and NATO-Russia
cooperation should be pursued in a way that strengthens, not weakens,
that agenda. This means that new members must be willing and able to
sign up to new NATO requirements in this area, and that the new
NATO-Russia Council must be structured in a way that strongly supports
the Alliance in undertaking such new military tasks.
To leave NATO focused solely on defending the peace in Europe from the
old threats would be to reduce it to sort of a housekeeping role in an
increasingly secure continent. To do so at a time when we face a new
existential threat posed by terrorism and weapons of mass destruction
will condemn it to a marginal role in meeting the major challenge of
That is why this issue has to be front and center on NATO's agenda
before, during and after Prague. The reality is that we can launch the
next round of NATO enlargement as well as a new NATO-Russia
relationship at Prague, and the Alliance can still be seen as failing
-- that's right, failing -- unless it starts to transform itself into
an important new force in the war on terrorism.
I plan to work with the Bush Administration in the months and years
ahead in an effort to promote such a transformation of the Alliance. I
hope that the representatives of member states in the room today will
join me in this effort.
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list