NATO Leader Seeks To Reassure Soviets
BRUSSELS — FOLLOWING are excerpts from an interview with NATO Secretary General Manfred W"orner last week, before the opening of the NATO summit.
What do you expect from the NATO summit?
I think there will be a basic political message to start with.... It will give a very clear political signal, `Look, we do consider you [the Soviets and other Warsaw Pact members] as our partners, not as enemies or adversaries anymore.'
The second message ... is our ideas about the future order of cooperation in Europe ... How do we see the CSCE [Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe] process developed? ... We won't go into every detail, but we will give the outlines of such a CSCE structure ... which really makes it clear to the Soviets that we do not want to somehow put them outside Europe.
About the enhancement of NATO's political role: How much is substantive change and how much is simply changing perceptions?
This alliance has always been both a military alliance and a political alliance ... During the times of cold war, the military dimension of security overshadowed the political.
Now that the threat recedes, the role or the importance of the military part of security diminishes. The political dimension, even the economic, the social dimension, of security will gain in importance ...
You can see the results even now, and this will continue.... You can see that political questions dominate the picture: It is a new order, a peaceful order in Europe - that is a political task. It is arms control - that is a political task. Of course, it [arms control] has to do with military matters, but it is primarily a political task....
NATO's strategic review has been set in motion. Does this imply changes on the military side?
Oh yes, without any doubt. Major, major changes.... I'll give you two examples. The first is, of course, the forward defense. The way of implementation I think will entirely change, especially once the Soviets have left Central and Eastern Europe and we have arms control agreements.
The second field where you will have changes is looking at the role of nuclear weapons. We will of course maintain a minimum of nuclear weapons but ... nuclear weapons become a kind of last resort.
You said forward defense would require a new implementation. Could you be more specific?
Yes. At this very moment, what we have is a belt - what we call a layer cake with eight cores, national cores, one after the other - which has clearly not only a military sense but a political purpose to make clear to everybody, whoever attacks this country or this alliance has to deal with several nations; he cannot isolate one....
Now, of course, once German unification has happened, once the Russians are out of [East] Germany, this kind of a belt, of a layer cake, doesn't make any sense anymore. You will want to change it, also, because you have less troops. So what you create is more mobile, smaller, flexible units.
And that's where the idea of multinational units comes in. Why? Because you want to save this idea, this political-military idea, that you cannot isolate anyone.
What does the disintegration of the Warsaw Pact mean for the West?
I would not think that this affects NATO in any substantial way.... There is no reason - even if the Warsaw Pact disintegrated or was dissolved, or just withered away - to do the same with NATO.... Even if there is no more Warsaw Pact, the Soviet Union will still remain, I think. Whatever happens, they are the dominant military power on the Eurasian continent. So you need a kind of balance....
Second, NATO will remain the only institution with which you can firmly commit the United States and Canada to the security of Europe today and tomorrow....
And the third reason is, of course, the political one. You have here a model of partnership of 16 democratic, free, sovereign nations which works.... Now you are confronted with a situation where you can shape history ... where you need coordination and harmonization of policy between North America and Europe. Where can you do that if not in NATO?
How do you see CSCE and NATO functioning together?
Complementary.... We can do what the CSCE process cannot do because it's a process of 35 states of very different backgrounds, interests ... every state having its veto power, no executive power, no enforcement possibility.
It will be a kind of European United Nations or a European League of Nations, with useful functions. But it cannot provide the kind of security that we [NATO] can provide....
How do you assess Soviet security concerns?
There is a lot of concern on the Soviet side which I think is psychologically motivated, which is motivated by their historical experience ... and which is a serious political factor which you have to take into account....
We want to try to assuage their concerns, even those which we consider to be exaggerated and unjustified....
Basically, of course, the best guarantee for their security is the character of our alliance as a defensive one - and their own military power, which really enables them to protect their own security very, very well.