Rudy Giuliani photo

Remarks to the NATO Supreme Allied Command Transformation Seminar in Norfolk, Virginia

October 11, 2007

Thank you Secretary General, all the distinguished members that are here. It's a great honor to come before you today and discuss baseball.


Aren't you all here as baseball experts?


Or football? Although we define football differently, right? We have a different definition. I'm here to talk about NATO. I have tremendous respect for the organization that you're all a part of. The second half of the Twentieth Century, from the signing of the Atlantic Charter to the fall of the Berlin Wall, NATO, I believe, proved to be one of the most successful military alliances in history. At a time when opposing forces had the power to destroy civilization, NATO came together, functioned together over decades, and was able to bring about freedom to millions and millions of people. There are very few accomplishments equal to that in, you know, history. So this is an enormously proud tradition that you're carrying on. NATO helped keep the peace and it helped to extend the blessings of freedom and democracy for many, many people, and it taught us all a lesson that North Americans and Western Europeans, Europeans, which has now expanded beyond Western Europe, thank goodness, we have much more in common than divides us. In fact, we have almost everything in common and in many respects it took, in some cases, bitter enemies and made them into the closest of friends. There are very, very few alliances that achieve all that in the period of time that NATO has been able to achieve it. But really in contemporary times we've seen equal acts of statesmanship. NATO brought new security to new friends in the Baltic Republics, Central Europe. These new members have added their strength and their wisdom to NATO, volunteering for missions far from their shores. They inspire us to overcome complacency and they give us, really a set of principles on which we can expand. And expand both the mission of NATO and the membership of NATO because NATO's work remains undone, and the reality, it's true of NATO, it's true of about just every institution you can think of, if you don't change with the times and you don't expand with the times you not only don't grow, you begin to wither. You begin to become less important, less relevant and that wouldn't be the right case for NATO because its accomplished so much.

And it's really important to remember that NATO actually fought its first wars in the 1990's when NATO aircrafts helped bring an end to the Bosnian War. Five years later in the face of the inability of the United Nations to really act, it was NATO that stopped genocide in Kosovo. So these are contemporary accomplishments, immediate accomplishments. Then in 2001, NATO for the first time, invoked Article 5, an attack on one is an attack on all. And NATO troops joined in the fight in Afghanistan. And I have to tell you I appreciate that as an American. I appreciate that personally because I was there for the main attack of that day which was on New York City and I saw the horror that the Islamic terrorists were able to perpetrate on my city up close. And of course I watched it in Washington and over the skies of Pennsylvania. So I have tremendous personal gratitude for how NATO took this on as an Article 5 mission. So NATO's contemporary value is very, very clear. The alliance is an effective force for defending and extending the international order as an order of peace and respect for human rights and respect for law. NATO has shown that it can act and it will act very, very effectively when other international institutions don't seem to be able to muster the will to be able to act under these circumstances.

But, you know, questions always remain. The first is should membership— and questions that you've kind of resolved, I think, you know, should membership have remained frozen at the 1989 limits? NATO expanded three times during the Cold War, but it's most difficult membership test came after the Cold War was over and NATO rose to the challenge of expanding. They embraced a former adversary when East Germany dissolved and united with West Germany. And Germany whole and free took its rightful place at the heart of the Atlantic Alliance. Since then NATO has expanded twice more, to include former adversaries and newly free possessions of the old Soviet Empire including the new republics. They were part of that empire that dissolved and fell apart in many cases due to the firm resolve of NATO.

A second question was whether the alliance ever could or should operate beyond the borders of its member states or even beyond the borders of Europe. That question was first answered by the conflicts in the Balkans and the second event, of course, by the response to September 11th and the implication of Article 5. So I would say that NATO has met all the challenges that its been faced with. Whether we go back to the Cold War period or the new period, its been able because of the resiliency of the alliance to adapt itself to meet the challenges that we face in the present world. And maybe now we're facing the toughest challenge we've ever faced before. It could be this terrorist movement, the Islamic terrorist movement. And NATO has to remain relevant and important to being able to combat that movement and give us the opportunity to defeat it in the shortest possible time and in the most effective possible way. And you know, as I said before, the laws of biology apply to institutions because they're made up of human beings. The laws of biology say to me that you have to adapt if you want to survive. You have to grow if you don't want to decline. It's just a natural law that applies to human institutions and to human beings.

And there are three things that I think NATO could do to expand effectively the meet the challenges of the 21st century. The first it should become a global security alliance. It should think of itself as a potential global security alliance dedicated to protecting international peace and order against whatever threats arise. The primary threats are threats from territorial aggression and threats from terrorism and threats from piracy. Second, in order to do that you have to look beyond Europe's borders. The new members among well-governed states with capable security forces, they can make real contributions to NATO. And third, all NATO members present and future must make a commitment to invest in their military and build it up because they need it to win the wars and secure the peace. These two things are very inextricably combined, unfortunately, in our world in the next half century or more.

So let's start first with the new purpose. In my view, NATO has to consider itself something more than a military alliance. We actually are a lot more than just a military alliance. We've learned that democracies are strongest when they act together to protect each other. And we've learned, unfortunately, and this is not meant to be any kind of unnecessary criticism, it's just meant to state reality, that there are areas in which the United Nations too often finds itself unable to act and act effectively. So in addition to defeating international terrorism movement, NATO should focus on a safer and more secure world by deterring territorial conquest, stopping proliferation, whether we're talking about nuclear weapons or weapons of mass destruction or chemical weapons or biological weapons. By preventing the implosion of failing states, protecting the lanes of commerce, protecting the seas, addressing the budding humanitarian crisis and defending out common values of freedom, democracy and the basic human rights of men, women and children.

Now some of our friends, some of our allies, some of the people in this alliance, not all but some worry that the United States will turn away from NATO, focusing our attention on the United States' interest outside of Europe. But all of us have interests outside of Europe. Europe has interest nowadays very much tied up to things outside of Europe. The security of the Persian Gulf matters to America, matters to Europe just as much. The stability of East Asia matters to Americans, it matters to Europe just as much as it matters to America, where we have to uphold nuclear peace and it's just a given of the world that we live in.

We live in a globalized world and an inter-connected planet. European shipping is just as vulnerable to piracy. European cities are just as vulnerable to international terrorism. Unfortunately, we've seen that. It's not just someone's exaggerated prediction. Since September 11th we've seen attacks on European cities by roughly the same movement that attacked New York—Islamic terrorists. And European factories are subjected to energy extortion which is something that we have to jointly combat and deal with. So European interests extend just as much as American interests do across the globe and our interests are co-extensive and so no one should have any fear that as America looks at Asia—that's an area in which we have to be much more involved in. Look at Africa or we look at the Middle East. That's somewhere where we're turning our back on here. We're kind turning our attention to all those areas together with Europe because our interest in all those areas are co-extensive with Europe and in dealing with these problems, you know assembling coalitions of the willing one at a time in a reactive manner is not the worst option, but quite frankly, it's not the best option either. It's rushed. It's cumbersome. It's less effective in a permanent alliance. These members know each other, have planned to work with each other, have a long history of working with each other effectively. That's the desirable way to deal with these things. We, all of us, and new members, particularly the older members, alliances work together now these countries have. They learn to fight together for 50 years. Our equipment is designed to be interoperable. Our operational doctrines are often very well integrated. Our command structures are cohesive. So why wouldn't we build on this success? This is a better way to do it than having to assemble coalitions of the willing which is necessary, you have to do. Nobody's criticizing that. You have to do it. But this is a desirable way to do it. So I think we have to build NATO together and we may have some disagreements about how exactly how to do it. That's what NATO's for, to work out those disagreements. What we should agree on is the notion that we have to build NATO. We have to expand NATO. And our alliance has already demonstrated that it can act very effectively outside of Europe.

In the current environment, threats can come from anywhere and travel from any distance to come to your home shores. From the most remote corners of the world to the hearts of our greatest cities. So this brings us to our second principle for the future of NATO and that is expanding NATO membership beyond Europe. It's an imperative, I believe, for European security and for American security and for the growth of NATO to be everything that it can be and most importantly for the maintenance of the international order. NATO is strong only because it's member states are strong and numerous and adding more strong states based on our collective wisdom in areas of the world may be distant from the original focus of NATO can only make our alliance stronger and more effective.

For those who have some resistance to this, we should remember that it was only three years after it's founding that NATO added Turkey, a Muslim nation on the doorstep of Asia. That was a bold step way back then and it turned out to be a right step and it turned out to be a good one. It's one that strengthened NATO. So let's not be afraid of expansion. Expansion has helped NATO and there's no reason why today we can't reach responsibly into other parts of the world. If anyone wants to look at the value of expanding NATO, go ask people in Warsaw of Prague or any of the other new states that have joined. It's been good for them. It's been good for us. So, I mean, we know there are countries that would be interested in joining. We know that there are countries that should be considered for that. Many of them cooperate with NATO already in training missions, in particular organizational structures whether it's Australia or South Korea or Israel or India or Japan, Singapore. We should consider all these countries if they want to be considered, and based on our collective wisdom, there may be some others that you can think of that should be considered. There probably are a lot of others that should be considered, but the main thing is rather than any one particular state, NATO should be open to expanding its membership.

And for a practical reason. We need their help. We need their help in terms of active militaries, militaries that are vital, militaries that will participate. Obviously each new potential member will have to apply and it has to be considered like any other, but expansion beyond Europe should be a focus of NATO and NATO should be open to it. It should consider each one of these countries. Some may want to be considered. Some may not. Some may want to continue to have a more informal relationship. Some may seek to make the relationship more formal and I don't mean by exclusion to exclude any country you might want to think of. I just mentioned these because they've been actively discussed at various times over the last three or four years. And the NATO charter also has to evolve with time. The United States Constitution which is a pretty basic document that has guided the United States has been amended 27 times to meet the challenges that we face in the future. I believe it's important that we make clear that full membership in NATO should be restricted to democracies withstanding, and in fact, sometimes, the ability to get into NATO as you move toward democracy. Look what it did for Portugal. This goal—sometimes it can help encourage countries to settle disputes, settle territorial disputes because you can be considered for membership in NATO if you got those disputes settled. So we should also think about the tremendous potential NATO has for helping to solve some of these long-term disputes because if you get them solved then you become a member. So this a very, very valuable thing. We see that kind of thing working in Turkey in a different context in Turkey's seeking admission in the EU. There's value to this that goes way beyond just the alliance itself.

So I believe that the opportunity to join NATO has strengthened the new democracies in Eastern Europe. I've visited some of them in the last couple of years and I've been enormously impressed how quickly democracy and rule of law and free market economics have taken hold in these countries. And NATO isn't the only reason for that, but I think it's one of the reasons for that. We also have to be cognizant of the fact that many of the democracies in the world have sunk into a peace time level of military spending that is, frankly, very dangerous. And my own country went through that. Gosh we've gone through this couple of times. You know, we win wars and then we disarm. It almost seems like a knee jerk reaction. I'm talking about America now. We helped win the First World War and America disarmed. We helped to win the Second World War and America disarmed. And Truman had to come along a rebuild our military very, very quickly to deal with the Cold War just like we didn't rebuild our military until really the Second World War had already started in Europe. Then, remarkably we make the same mistake after the Cold War. The Cold War, basically won with the fall of the Soviet Union and the Berlin Wall, what does America do? For the third time in a century America disarms. I thought it was a mistake then. In retrospect it's a much bigger mistake then I even thought it was. We cut our military 20-30%. We cut our intelligence services 20-30%. And that phenomenon has also overtaken some of our allies. This idea you know we all of sudden have a peaceful and rosy world and we weren't paying enough attention to the growing Islamic terrorist threat. And now that we look back on it, and I'm not criticizing people at the time, but now that we look back on it, it was a big mistake because they were giving us warnings with the attack on the World Trade Center in 1993 and with the attack on Khobar Towers and Kenya and Tanzania. With the attack on USS Cole and the declaration of war from Bin Laden. They were giving us warnings and nobody expects people to be prophets. The point is not to point the finger pointing anywhere. Clearly with the light of history, by not repeating the same mistake. It was a mistake to disarm during that period of time. One task for the next President of the United States will be to rebuild the military. President Bush has taken steps in that direction and they're very positive ones, but a lot more has to be done because a lot was taken out. So I support creating immediately ten new combat brigades for the Army as a start.

I think the planned increases to the Marine Corps, which will take its strength back over 200,000, should happen. It should happen really, really quickly. Our Navy should be expanded, both to maintain its current role as a guarantor of seaborne commerce and to intercept possible proliferation. The fleet should be built back over 300 ships with a combination of platforms, including the Littoral Combat Vessels and Virginia Class submarines. And we must make sure our carrier force is large enough and flexible enough to meet 21st Century demands. This is our responsibility as Americans. We have to rebuild our Army, we have rebuild our Marines, we have to rebuild our Navy and we have to rebuild our Air Force. The Air Force needs, desperately needs new refueling tankers. They should be provided. They need a new long range bomber to replace the ancient B-52 and it's time for the hand-wringing over the future of the F-22 to end. America spent years developing the finest air superiority fighter the world has ever seen and its not—we shouldn't be abandoning it, even as we move ahead with the F-35. So, that just a few of the ideas. But the idea here is, America has to rebuild it military. It has to rebuild its Army, its Navy, its Air Force, its Marines, its Coast Guard. And frankly, America should do it for our own purposes and America should do it as an example to all of you. You should do it too. We need a stronger military. One way to do it is to bring in new members. Another way to do it is for the present members to invest more in their own defense. And ultimately then in our entire defense. America has and should lead the way but everybody else should participating in it.

We also need in the American military a hybrid military civilian force. I call it the Stabilization and Reconstruction Corps. It's staffed by military people and civilian people because another thing that I think we've learned is, we no longer have to only win wars, we have to win the peace. And we've learned a lot about how to do that. We've learned a lot about how to do that in Bosnia and Kosovo. We've learned a lot about how to do that in Afghanistan and in Iraq. But one of the things we should learn in advance is to have a force ready to do this. So, I think that Corps would undertake tasks like building roads and sewers and schools and advising on legal reform and restoring the local currency. Maybe it's because I was Mayor of America's largest city and I was Mayor of America's largest city during periods of crisis. You know about September 11th. You probably don't know the crime crisis we had and the fiscal crunch we had. I used to think of New York City as a crisis a week that had to be dealt with. Because we're so large and so cosmopolitan and every problem kind of gets amplified in New York City. So, to me, when I look at Iraq what I look to is, how well and how effectively are we keeping the civilian order functioning in the right way. Because ultimately that's going to be enormously important to whether we accomplish our goal in Iraq. And our goal of victory in Iraq is a stable government that is able to take care of, responsibly take care of, the problems of its people. And then act as an ally for all of us in the Terrorists' War Against Us. That's the goal. And a hybrid civilian military force has been developed there, kind of on an ad hoc basis. We should develop this on a long term, a long term basis. And right now our alliance is struggling to meet its commitments and NATO and NATO nations should take this responsibility on and we should rebuild our military commitment to our defense. NATO has to be seen as strong enough to discourage any potential challenges to the international order, to the peace and international order. So strong even, that the rising nations, and we want them to rise peacefully and the best way to assure that they rise peacefully is they have such strong military that they wouldn't even consider challenging that, that it would be beyond really reasonable comprehension. If you could spend that percentage of your GDP to match where we are already in defense of democracy of freedom and human rights. So, alternative structures like a European defense and security policy should be seen as enhancing the integrity of our alliance rather then dividing it or competing badly with for needed resources.

The surest path to irrelevance is to downsize itself and you downsize when you don't grow. And then we have to develop a new joint doctrine to deter terrorist's use of weapons of mass destruction. We should use the dormant mechanism of the NATO nuclear planning council to help us transition to a new doctrine that addresses the changing threats of terrorists armed with WMD's and risk that they may attack. I know we're in this together. I knew it from before September 11th, it was kind of reinforced to me on September 11th and my wife and I happened to be in London on July 7 of '05. I was a half a block away from where the bomb went off in the Liverpool station in London when that first attack took place. I was having a meeting with a group of lawyers. Usually not the most exciting kind of meeting you can have with a group of lawyers, but I am a lawyer. We were having a meeting, my now campaign chairman and I started with a group of lawyers discussing legal business. Seems like a pretty benign subject to be discussing and all of the sudden, John Huvane, who is not in the room with me, but John Huvane is a former New York City detective who was with me on September 11th, helped guide me and others out of the building we were trapped in, was with me every moment on that day. All of the sudden he walks in to the meeting in London and he leans over and he says to me – "Mayor, I think a bomb just went off right near us." And I looked at him to make sure he wasn't lying and the expression on our face was, we aren't going to go though this again are we? And he said, "I'm going to check. I'm going to check with the Prime Minister's security and I'm going to find out but let's no say anything until we know. We don't want people to get- we don't want people to get panicked." So I said, "Okay, John I'll carry on the meeting, let me know right away if these people have to go and evacuate." He said "Okay." He comes back a few minutes later and said "A bomb just went off half a block away and I think another bomb has gone off and I don't know how many are going to go off today," and when you live through one of these attacks you – by the end of the day you know how many attacks there are going to be. While you're going through it you don't know and that day in London reminded me of September 11th because when we had the first attack and then the second attack I checked with the White House when we had got information that there might be as many as seven or ten other attacks. It reminded me of, when I lived through this in London through the other three attacks that day, is we are all vulnerable. We are all vulnerable. We're in this together. From the point of view of the Islamic terrorists, New York is a target and Washington, D.C. is a target, Los Angeles, California, London, Madrid, who knows where else, Rome, Paris. I took many of the then leaders of your countries through tours of Ground Zero right after September 11th and more than one of them said to me, talking about Germany or England or France – this could be one of our cities.

They were right then and they are right now and we're in this together whether we want to recognize it or not. This is something that's been with us for quite some time, we should get used to it, we shouldn't frighten our citizens over it. The more we prepare for this the calmer our citizens should become. The more we are alert to the threat, the calmer our society should become and it should build our mutual respect, our mutual understanding – believe me, nobody has all the answers here. America doesn't have all the answers, none of your countries have all the answers, some of our ideas may turn our to be right ones, some may turn out to be wrong, some of yours may turn out to be right or wrong but the beauty of this alliance is that we work together and together we give ourselves a much better chance of being correct in the policy judgments we make and being overwhelming and overpowering in our ability to deter and defeat our enemies. And that's been NATO's history to date. Every single challenge it's been faced with, it has met and it has overcome beyond expectations and I am absolutely certain it will do the same thing with Islamic terrorism. Thank you very much.

Rudy Giuliani, Remarks to the NATO Supreme Allied Command Transformation Seminar in Norfolk, Virginia Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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