As the United States prepares for the upcoming Chicago Summit on May 20-21, the United States today underlined that NATO is vital to its security.
On her remarks at DC on Chicago Summit 2012 and U.S. Policy, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Tina Kaidanow for Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs said United States is proud to be hosting in Chicago the NATO Summit.
Ms. Kaidanow says it will be the first NATO Summit on American soil in 13 years and the first ever outside of Washington.
US hosting of the Summit is a tangible symbol of the importance of NATO to the United States, as well as an opportunity to underscore to the American people the continued value of the Alliance to the security challenges the United States faces today, Ms. Kaidanow stressed.
“NATO is vital to U.S. security.” -Ms. Kaidanow
More than ever, the Alliance is the mechanism through which the U.S. confronts diverse and difficult threats to US security together with like-minded states who share our fundamental values of democracy, human rights, and rule of law, she noted.
She cites that US experiences in the Cold War, in the Balkans, and now in Afghanistan prove that its core interests are better protected by working together than by seeking to respond to threats alone as individual nations.
NATO was founded in 1949 by 12 nations in order to stabilize a Western Europe that had been devastated by two world wars.
For the next 40 years, Ms. Kaidanow stresses they then stood united in purpose against the specter of communism.
When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, NATO helped to rebuild Central and Eastern European countries while integrating them into the trans-Atlantic community of democratic states, Ms. Kaidanow noted.
She says the Alliance, now comprised of 28 members, has played an integral role in the realization of a Europe that is more united, peaceful and democratic that at any time in its history.
At NATO’s last summit in Lisbon nearly 18 months ago, Allies unveiled a new Strategic Concept that defines NATO’s focus in the 21st century, she underlined.
“NATO remains committed to the Article 5 principle of collective defense.” -Ms. Kaidanow
She notes that it is worth recalling that the first and only time in the history of the Alliance that Article 5 was invoked was after terrorists attacked the United States on September 11th, 2001.
The very next day NATO invoked Article 5 in recognition of the principle that an attack against the U.S. represented an attack against all, she recalled.
In addition to being a collective security alliance, NATO is also a cooperative security organization, Ms. Kaidanow underlined.
She explains that unlike an ad hoc coalition, NATO can respond rapidly and achieve its military goals by sharing burdens.
In particular, NATO benefits from integrated structures and uses common funding to develop common capabilities, Ms. Kaidanow noted.
“It is in this context that Allies and partners will be meeting in Chicago next month.” -Ms. Kaidanow
She cites that building on the decisions taken in Lisbon, the President has three objectives for the Chicago Summit.
The centerpiece will be the announcement of the next phase of transition in Afghanistan and a reaffirmation of NATO’s enduring commitment to the Afghan people, Ms. Kaidanow stated.
Second, the United States will join Allies in a robust discussion of their most critical defense capability requirements in order to ensure that the security that NATO provides is both comprehensive and cost effective.
“And finally, we must continue our efforts to develop NATO’s role as a global hub for security partnerships.” -Ms. Kaidanow
She cites that as they look to Chicago, these three summit priorities are defining the next phase of the transition in Afghanistan, outlining a vision for addressing 21st century challenges in a period of austerity, and expanding partnerships.
The reasons for the Alliance’s continued success are clear: NATO has, over the last 63 years, proven to be an adaptable, durable, and cost-effective provider of security, Ms. Kaidanow stressed.
She notes that in Chicago, the United States will work with its allies and partners to ensure that the Alliance remains vibrant and capable for many more years to come.
On March this year, the NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen met in Washington, DC with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta and National Security Advisor Tom Donilon discussed a range of issues related to the upcoming Alliance summit scheduled for 20 – 21 May in Chicago.
The meeting was an opportunity to discuss policy issues related to the Chicago Summit and beyond with representatives of the host nation. The Secretary General also met with Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and with Senator Lindsey Graham from the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The summit will focus on the Alliance’s commitment to Aghanistan through transition and beyond, ensuring the Alliance has the capabilities it needs to defend its population and territory and to deal with the challenges of the 21st century, and strengthening NATO’s unparallelled network of partners across the globe.
Since beginning its contribution to the mission in Afghanistan, NATO involvement has grown considerably. NATO’s International Security Assistance Force now has responsibility for the entire country, and consists of 36,000 personnel from 37 nations.