Ambassador Daniel R. Coats
United States Ambassador to Germany
A TIME OF HISTORIC CHALLENGE
It is a pleasure to have the opportunity to welcome you and to acknowledge the many people here I have become acquainted with and worked with over the years, including President Adamkus, Minister Scharping, and Ambassador de Ruyt.
Everyone says that this is a time of historic change. Of course, all times are times of historic change, but there are some moments that are defining moments in which the world changes in fundamental ways and changes the way we look at things and the way we respond to challenges. Clearly, the end of the Cold War was one of those defining moments, and some amazing consequences have resulted from it, including new relationships and different challenges. But without a doubt, September 11 will go down in history as a defining moment that changed many things from that point forward.
The war on terrorism, as we have discovered, is far more complex and far more difficult and challenging than we first imagined. The events of September 11 were the consequence of a decade of terrorist networks spreading around the world, networks that are more intricate and extensive than we had realized. President Bush was correct to say in his first address to Congress following the attacks that the struggle against the networks will be long and difficult and require resolve, persistence, patience, and incredible commitment, not only on the part of the United States but on the part of countries around the world who find themselves facing the challenges and dealing with the consequences of terrorism.
The impact of terrorism is very different from the impact of the traditional conflicts we have been used to. The threat does not emanate from a defined state or enemy, but is vague, amorphous, difficult to identify, and certainly difficult to counteract. It requires new thinking. The impact of terrorism has had a new psychological effect on our people, our economies, our psyche, and our social order, and we must find ways to adjust to it.
POSITIVE CHANGES SINCE SEPTEMBER 11
Out of the difficulties have come new and remarkable possibilities. Who would have thought before September 11 that we in the United States would be embracing General Musharraf, who came to leadership through a coup in Pakistan, and that he would be one of our key allies in the war on terrorism? We are also considering a relationship with Russia that was not anticipated before September 11. I recently read a newspaper article reporting on the cooperation between the United States military and the Russian military, with a Russian colonel assisting General Franks in Tampa and a Russian general attaché working with General Joe Ralston in Brussels. Such coordination and cooperation were unthinkable before September 11.
We are also developing a new and growing military and strategic-involvement relationship with Germany that was highly unlikely before September 11. More than 10,000 German troops are now deployed in missions outside Germany, including those deployed in ships off the Horn of Africa, German forces leading the effort in Macedonia, and forces participating in the Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) efforts in Afghanistan. This is a new day for Germany. This is historic. The government has taken on a new world role and stepped up in significant ways to lead Germany out of its post-World War II state and to become a major player in international affairs. I think this trend will continue and trust that it will, because Germany can play a very significant and important role in foreign affairs and use its military to provide stability in many parts of the world. What has been unthinkable-the possibility of stationing German troops in Israel as part of an international peacekeeping force-is even being considered and talked about. I do not know if it is possible or feasible or if there will be American troops or any other troops in Israel, but these are new possibilities we are considering as we try to meet the new challenges around the world.
FINDING NEW WAYS TO MEET THE CHALLENGES
The topics you will be discussing at this workshop are incredibly important, and many speakers will provide great expertise. This is a time to set aside all assumptions. This is a time to challenge conventional wisdom. It is also a time to look at ways to provide security that we have not thought of before. We must open our minds and our ideas and our thoughts to the new challenges and to new ways to address those challenges, and consider new possibilities for shaping security forces and foreign policy. We must put our creativity to work during this workshop and in the days to follow.
In closing, I wish us all success as we step up to the plate, see the new challenges for what they are, and think in new ways about how we can address those challenges, because the future of our societies rests in the balance.