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Military

20 November 2002

Transcript: NATO America's Most Important Global Relationship, Bush Says

(Also discusses terrorism, rogue states and Iraq in Prague speech on
eve of summit) (3130)
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is America's "most
important global relationship," and the United States strongly
supports its enlargement now and in the future, President Bush said
November 20 in a Prague speech on the eve of the two-day NATO Summit
in the Czech capital.
The summit, in which the 19-member alliance is expected to invite
seven former Soviet-bloc nations to join, will be the first ever held
in the capital of a former Warsaw Pact member. Bush said the meeting
will enact "the most significant reforms in NATO since 1949," when it
was founded during the Cold War. Reform is needed so the alliance can
effectively confront the new dangers of the 21st century, the
president said.
The years since the end of the Warsaw Pact, Bush said, "have brought
great challenge and great hope to all of the countries on this
continent. And tomorrow in Prague we will have reached a decisive
moment, and historic moment. For, tomorrow, we will invite new members
into our alliance. It's a bold decision -- to guarantee the freedom of
millions of people."
News reports carry speculation that Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia,
Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia will be invited to join the
alliance at the Prague meeting. The Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland
were admitted to NATO in 1999.
"America believes that a strong confident Europe," is good for the
world, Bush said, and welcomes the growing unity of Europe.
"A larger NATO is good for Russia, as well," he said, noting that
following the summit he will meet in St. Petersburg with Russia's
President Vladimir Putin. "I will tell my friend ... and the Russian
people that they, too, will gain from the security and stability of
nations to Russia's west."
"Through the NATO-Russia Council we must increase our cooperation with
Russia for the security of all of us," the President said.
Expansion of NATO also brings many advantages to the alliance, itself,
Bush said, noting that in the war against global terrorism in
Afghanistan forces from Romania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania,
Slovakia and others have joined with 16 NATO allies.
The President also said the United States has proposed the creation in
NATO of a response force that will bring together well-equipped,
highly ready air, ground and sea forces from NATO allies -- old and
new" to confront the 21st century threats, and he hopes that the
Prague Summit will begin that effort.
"The Soviet Union is gone, but freedom still has enemies," he said.
"Today the world is also uniting to answer the unique and urgent
threat posed by Iraq," he said. "A dictator who has used weapons of
mass destruction on his own people must not be allowed to produce or
possess those weapons. We will not permit Saddam Hussein to blackmail
and/or terrorize nations which love freedom.
"Last week Saddam Hussein accepted U.N. inspectors. We've heard those
pledges before and seen them violated time and time again. We now call
an end to that game of deception and deceit and denial. Saddam Hussein
has been given a very short time to declare completely and truthfully
his arsenal of terror. Should he again deny that this arsenal exists,
he will have entered his final stage with a lie. And deception this
time will not be tolerated. Delay and defiance will invite the
severest of consequences."
International stability must be actively defended, Bush said, "and all
nations that benefit from that stability have a duty to help. In this
noble work, America and the strong democracies of Europe need each
other, each playing our full and responsible role. The good we can do
together is far greater than the good we can do apart.
"Great evil is stirring in the world. Many of the young here are
coming up in a different world, different era, a different time, a
different series of threats. We face perils we've never thought about,
perils we've never seen before. But they're dangerous. They're just as
dangerous as those perils that your fathers and mothers and
grandfathers and grandmothers faced.
"The hopes of all mankind depend on the courage and the unity of great
democracies. In this hour of challenge, NATO will do what it has done
before: We will stand firm against the enemies of freedom, and we'll
prevail."
Bush made his remarks to a group of students from NATO and NATO
aspirant nations. He was introduced by Lithuanian student Gedrimas
Jaglinskas, a cadet at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New
York.
Following is the White House transcript:
(begin transcript)
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
(Prague, Czech Republic)
November 20, 2002
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT TO PRAGUE ATLANTIC STUDENT SUMMIT
Hilton Prague
Prague, Czech Republic
PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you all very much for that warm welcome. It's an
honor to be here in Prague, home to so much of Europe's history and
culture, and the scene of so much courage in the service of freedom.
After the recent floods, I know it's been tough on the citizens of the
Czech Republic to not only recover, but to host this important
gathering. So, on behalf of all the American delegation and all the
Americans who are here, I express our gratitude for the fantastic
hospitality we received. We thank the Czech people and their
leadership for working hard to make sure this summit is a successful
summit, and we wish them all the very best.
I want to thank Jimmy for his kind words. Really proud of Jimmy and
we're proud to have him at West Point. He's a credit to the Academy,
he's a credit to the people of Lithuania. And we wish him all the very
best.
I want to thank Alan Lee Williams, Antonio Bores Cavallo, for the
tremendous work at the Atlantic Treaty Association. I'm grateful to
Christopher Makins, who's the President of the Atlantic Council of the
United States, for organizing this event. I want to thank Tom Dine,
President of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, for joining us. I
want to thank all the good folks who work there for joining us, as
well. I appreciate your service.
Dwight Eisenhower said this of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty --
"The simplest and clearest charter in the world is what you have,
which is to tell the truth." And for more than 50 years, the charter
has been faithfully executed, and it's the truth that sets this
continent free.
I'm honored to be traveling with members of my senior staff. The
Secretary of State of the United States Colin Powell, who's done such
a fantastic job for our country and for world peace. Condoleezza Rice,
who's my National Security Advisor, is here; Chief of Staff Andy Card;
Ambassador Nick Burns to NATO. A few others who I don't particularly
want to recognize for fear of damaging my reputation. (Laughter.) But
all of them doing a great job. Thank you all for coming.
I also want to recognize members of the Congress who are here. I'm
thrilled to see members of the Senate. I thought you were voting.
(Laughter.) But Senators Frist and Voinovich and their wives are with
us. I see Lantos -- yes -- good to see you from California. Who else?
That's it. Two members of the House, two members of the Senate. Thank
you all for coming. I'm honored you're here.
This NATO summit that convenes tomorrow will be the first ever held at
the capital of a Warsaw Pact. The days of the Warsaw Pact seem distant
-- they must seem to you; after all, the Warsaw Pact ended a half a
lifetime ago for you. It was a dark and distant era. The years since
have brought great challenge and great hope to all of the countries on
this continent. And tomorrow in Prague we will have reached a decisive
moment, and historic moment. For, tomorrow, we will invite new members
into our alliance. It's a bold decision -- to guarantee the freedom of
millions of people.
At the summit, we'll make the most significant reforms in NATO since
1949 -- reforms which will allow our alliance to effectively confront
new dangers. And in the years to come, all of the nations of Europe
will determine their place in world events. They will take up global
responsibilities, or choose to live in isolation from the challenges
of our time.
As for America, we made our choice. We are committed to work toward
world peace, and we're committed to a close and permanent partnership
with the nations of Europe. The Atlantic alliance is America's most
important global relationship. We're tied to Europe by history; we are
tied to Europe by the wars of liberty we have fought and won together.
We're joined by broad ties of trade. And America is bound to Europe by
the deepest convictions of our common culture -- our belief in the
dignity of every life, and our belief in the power of conscience to
move history.
And this city and town squares across the Czech Republic are monuments
to Jan Hus who said this: "Stand in the truth you have learned, for it
conquers all and is mighty to eternity." That ideal has given life to
the Czech Republic, and it is shared by the republic I lead.
America believes that a strong, confident Europe is good for the
world. We welcome the economic integration of Europe. We believe that
integration will extend prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic. We
welcome a democratic Russia as part of this new Europe, because a free
and peaceful Europe will add to the security of this continent. We
welcome the growing unity of Europe in commerce and currency and
military cooperation, which is closing a long history of rivalry and
violence. This continent, wounded by Nazism and communism, is becoming
peaceful and secure and democratic for the first time. And now that
the countries of Europe are united in freedom they will no longer
fight each other and bring war to the rest of the world.
Because America supports a more united Europe, we strongly support the
enlargement of NATO, now and in the future. Every European democracy
that seeks NATO membership and is ready to share in NATO's
responsibilities should be welcome in our alliance. The enlargement of
NATO is good for all who join us. The standards for membership are
high, and they encourage the hard work of political and economic and
military reform.
And nations in the family of NATO, old or new, know this: Anyone who
would choose you for an enemy also chooses us for an enemy. Never
again in the face of aggression will you stand alone.
A larger NATO is good for Russia, as well. Later this week I will
visit St. Petersburg. I will tell my friend, Vladimir Putin, and the
Russian people that they, too, will gain from the security and
stability of nations to Russia's west. Russia does not require a
buffer zone of protection; it needs peaceful and prosperous neighbors
who are also friends. We need a strong and democratic Russia as our
friend and partner to face the next century's new challenges.
Through the NATO-Russia Council we must increase our cooperation with
Russia for the security of all of us. Expansion of NATO also brings
many advantages to the alliance, itself. Every new member contributes
military capabilities that add to our common security. We see this
already in Afghanistan -- for forces from Romania, Bulgaria, Estonia,
Lithuania, Slovakia and others have joined with 16 NATO allies to help
defeat global terror.
And every new member of our alliance makes a contribution of
character. Tomorrow, NATO grows larger. Tomorrow, the soul of Europe
grows stronger. Members recently added to NATO and those invited to
join bring greater clarity to purposes of our alliance, because they
understand the lessons of the last century. Those with fresh memories
of tyranny know the value of freedom. Those who have lived through a
struggle of good against evil are never neutral between them. Czechs
and Slovaks learned through the harsh experience of 1938, that when
great democracies fail to confront danger, greater dangers follow. And
the people of the Baltics learned that aggression left unchecked by
the great democracies can rob millions of their liberty and their
lives.
In Central and Eastern Europe the courage and moral vision of
prisoners and exiles and priests and playwrights caused tyrants to
fall. The spirit now sustains these nations through difficult reforms.
And this spirit is needed in the councils of a new Europe.
Our NATO alliance faces dangers very different from those it was
formed to confront. Yet, never has our need for collective defense
been more urgent. The Soviet Union is gone, but freedom still has
enemies. We're threatened by terrorism, bred within failed states,
it's present within our own cities. We're threatened by the spread of
chemical and biological and nuclear weapons which are produced by
outlaw regimes and could be delivered either by missile or terrorist
cell. For terrorists and terrorist states, every free nation -- every
free nation -- is a potential target, including the free nations of
Europe.
We're making progress on this, the first war of the 21st century.
Today more than 90 nations are joined in a global coalition to defeat
terror. We're sharing intelligence. We're freezing the assets of
terror groups. We're pursuing the terrorists wherever they plot and
train. And we're finding them and bringing them to justice, one person
at a time.
Today the world is also uniting to answer the unique and urgent threat
posed by Iraq. A dictator who has used weapons of mass destruction on
his own people must not be allowed to produce or possess those
weapons. We will not permit Saddam Hussein to blackmail and/or
terrorize nations which love freedom.
Last week Saddam Hussein accepted U.N. inspectors. We've heard those
pledges before and seen them violated time and time again. We now call
an end to that game of deception and deceit and denial. Saddam Hussein
has been given a very short time to declare completely and truthfully
his arsenal of terror. Should he again deny that this arsenal exists,
he will have entered his final stage with a lie. And deception this
time will not be tolerated. Delay and defiance will invite the
severest of consequences.
America's goal, the world's goal is more than the return of inspectors
to Iraq. Our goal is to secure the peace through the comprehensive and
verified disarmament of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Voluntary,
or by force, that goal will be achieved. To meet all of this century's
emerging threats from terror camps in remote regions to hidden
laboratories of outlaw regimes, NATO must develop new military
capabilities. NATO forces must become better able to fight side by
side. Those forces must be more mobile and more swiftly deployed. The
allies need more special operations forces, better precision strike
capabilities, and more modern command structures.
Few NATO members will have state-of-the-art capabilities in all of
these areas; I recognize that. But every nation should develop some.
Ours is a military alliance, and every member must make a military
contribution to that alliance. For some allies, this will require
higher defense spending. For all of us, it will require more effective
defense spending, with each nation adding the tools and technologies
to fight and win a new kind of war.
And because many threats to the NATO members come from outside of
Europe, NATO forces must be organized to operate outside of Europe.
When forces were needed quickly in Afghanistan, NATO's options were
limited. We must build new capabilities and we must strengthen our
will to use those capabilities.
The United States proposes the creation of a NATO response force that
will bring together well-equipped, highly ready air, ground and sea
forces from NATO allies -- old and new. This force will be prepared to
deploy on short notice wherever it is needed. A NATO response force
will take time to create and we should begin that effort here in
Prague.
Yet, security against new threats requires more than just new
capabilities. Free nations must accept our shared obligations to keep
the peace. The world needs the nations of this continent to be active
in the defense of freedom; not inward-looking or isolated by
indifference. Ignoring dangers or excusing aggression may temporarily
avert conflict, but they don't bring true peace.
International stability must be actively defended, and all nations
that benefit from that stability have a duty to help. In this noble
work, America and the strong democracies of Europe need each other,
each playing our full and responsible role. The good we can do
together is far greater than the good we can do apart.
Great evil is stirring in the world. Many of the young here are coming
up in a different world, different era, a different time, a different
series of threats. We face perils we've never thought about, perils
we've never seen before. But they're dangerous. They're just as
dangerous as those perils that your fathers and mothers and
grandfathers and grandmothers faced.
The hopes of all mankind depend on the courage and the unity of great
democracies. In this hour of challenge, NATO will do what it has done
before: We will stand firm against the enemies of freedom, and we'll
prevail.
The transatlantic ties of Europe and America have met every test of
history, and we intend to again. U-boats could not divide us. The
threats and stand-offs of the Cold War did not make us weary. The
commitment of my nation to Europe is found in the carefully tended
graves of young Americans who died for this continent's freedom. That
commitment is shown by the thousands in uniforms still serving here,
from the Balkans to Bavaria, still willing to make the ultimate
sacrifice for this continent's future.
For a hundred years place names of Europe have often stood for
conflict and tragedy and loss. Single words evoke sad and bitter
experience -- Verdun, Munich, Stalingrad, Dresden, Nuremberg and
Yalta. We have no power to rewrite history. We do have the power to
write a different story for our time.
When future generations look back at this moment and speak of Prague
and what we did here, that name will stand for hope. In Prague, young
democracies will gain new security; a grand alliance will gather a
strength and find new purpose. And America and Europe will renew the
historic friendship that still keeps the peace of the world.
Thank you for your interest.  May God bless you all.  (Applause.)
END  5:03 P.M. (Local)
(end transcript)
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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