HEARING OF THE SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE
CHAIRED BY: SENATOR JEANNE SHAHEEN (D-NH)
WITNESSES: PHILIP GORDON, TO BE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR EUROPEAN AND EURASIAN AFFAIRS; ROSE GOTTEMOELLER, TO BE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR VERIFICATION AND COMPLIANCE;
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SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN (D-NH): Good afternoon, everyone. We apologize for the delay in starting the hearing. As you know, the votes won't wait for us.
Today the Senate Foreign Relations Committee considers the nominations of Dr. Philip Gordon to be Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, and Rose Gottemoeller to be Assistant Secretary of State for Verification and Compliance. These are both extremely vital posts, and I believe that President Obama has made two excellent nominations. We welcome the two of you and your families and look forward to hearing from you this afternoon.
As Assistant Secretary of State, Dr. Gordon would be at the forefront of developing our policies toward Europe and Eurasia, a region which spans from the Atlantic to the Pacific and which includes some of our most complicated relationships and our most important allies. If confirmed, his will be a challenging task, but Dr. Gordon will be well-equipped to manage these relationships.
Over the last decade, Dr. Gordon has served as the Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution and has developed a deep understanding and expertise on European security and NATO affairs. He was the founding director of the Brookings Center on the United States and Europe and previously served at the National Security Council as Director for European Affairs. Should he be confirmed, Dr. Gordon will need to effectively utilize all his experience and expertise because the difficulties he will face are immense.
Undoubtedly, America's relationship with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization will be high on Dr. Gordon's agenda. The effort in Afghanistan will be a pressing and defining test for NATO in the short term. In the longer term, the U.S. must work closely with our European partners to find consensus on some serious questions about NATO's mission, strategy, and objectives in our 21st-century world.
Dr. Gordon will also be responsible for managing our relations with Turkey, a valuable NATO ally with a predominantly Muslim population in a dangerous and geopolitically strategic location. How we define our relationship with Turkey over the next decade will have significant repercussions for our long-term interests abroad.
Dr. Gordon, the committee looks forward to hearing your ideas on how we can continue to deepen and expand these critical relationships.
Perhaps the most complex challenge that both of our nominees will face is the relationship between the United States and Russia. America does share a broad range of mutual interests with Russia; however, we must pursue these efforts with both eyes wide open. We have significant differences with Russia, which I'm sure we'll discuss today. But despite these differences, the United States and Russia should move forward on the areas of mutual interest, perhaps the most urgent and important of which is the negotiation on a legally binding successor to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, which is set to expire on December 5th of this year.
Our second nominee, Rose Gottemoeller, will be the point person in taking on this challenge.
With the two largest nuclear arsenals in the world, the U.S. and Russia have a responsibility to lead on arms reduction efforts. These upcoming negotiations and the resultant treaty will set the tone for the next generation of leaders with respect to arms reductions, and I am encouraged that this administration has indicated it will pursue an aggressive and ambitious agenda in this regard.
As Assistant Secretary for Verification and Compliance, Ms. Gottemoeller would be responsible for ensuring that appropriate verification requirements are fully considered and integrated throughout all of our arms control and nonproliferation agreements.
Now I know that Senator Lugar is going to do an introduction, so I won't speak further about Ms. Gottemoeller's impressive background. But I do think it's important to point out that she's extremely qualified to take on this important post. She carries a wide breadth of knowledge on nuclear security and defense issues and has a long, distinguished career in government.
In addition, having lived in Moscow over the last several years, Ms. Gottemoeller will bring an in-depth understanding of the Russian perspective in leading post-START negotiations. These experiences will serve her well during this complex negotiation process, and I am confident that she will be a great representative for the U.S. in these discussions.
The challenges before us are daunting, as you all know. There will be no quick fixes on any of these critical issues. Solutions will require hard work, unrelenting and active engagement, a meaningful and sustained partnership with Congress, and the best diplomats and personnel our county has to offer.
I believe President Obama has chosen two such exceptional and well-qualified public servants. I congratulate each of you on your nominations and thank you for being willing to take on these difficult yet critical posts. I hope the committee and the full Senate will act quickly and positively on your nominations. Thank you.
Now, let me turn it over to ranking member on the subcommittee, Senator DeMint, and then I will ask Senator Lugar to do his introduction.
SEN. JIM DE MINT (R-SC): Thank you Chairwoman Shaheen and Mr. Gordon and Ms. Gottemoeller. I appreciate the opportunity to hold this hearing, and thank you for being here. This dialog is obviously important because over the next few years U.S. policy in Europe will probably be more crucial than it has ever been.
Whether it's the negotiations of arm control agreements in Afghanistan and terrorism, economic issues or emerging energy and security threats, there are great challenges ahead. There are also great opportunities, and it's our hope we can look for the positive and seize those opportunities.
A lot of threats to Europe.
Since the attacks on September 11, many of our European partners have also experienced terrorism first hand. While Afghanistan is a central part of the war on terror, and many European capitals acknowledge the threat of terror, they've really done little to explain how important this fight is to their citizens. This has created a lack of public support, which has undermined the fight for everyone's security.
Mr. Gordon, you will play an important role in hopefully beginning to change this.
Another major threat to Europe is ballistic missiles. Last April NATO members agreed that ballistic missile proliferation poses an increasing threat to allied forces, territories and populations. Meanwhile, Secretary Clinton has said this administration supports missile defense, but qualifies this endorsement with effective and affordable.
This administration does not define these terms, and the absence of details on this matter is causing serious consternation among our allies. Last year the Czechs and Poles took important and courageous steps to help defend Europe and the United States from the threats posed by Iran, and now missile defense is becoming a litmus test of U.S. commitment to respond to the security of Europe.
Energy also remains a flash point in Europe. Europe and the United States share many of the same energy problems, a transmission system that cannot move energy efficiently, a pipeline infrastructure with numerous single points of failure, and questionable access to resources. Each problem creates a perfect climate for political manipulation, and we've seen this occur recently in Europe.
Europe and the United States can learn from each other if there's a serious engagement on this issue.
One of the biggest issues, as the chairman just mentioned, for us, is Russia. It's important to note that the threat of putting ballistic missiles in Kaliningrad or efforts to push the U.S. out of Manas Air Base, were, in part, Russian efforts to test this administration. However, even before these incidents, Russia had been challenging eastern Europe's move west, through cyber attacks, gas disputes, and the invasion of Georgia, and opposition resolving the frozen conflicts and countless other efforts.
Despite these actions, most European countries are fighting for their political and economic futures, and embracing the principles and freedoms of the West. President Obama's statement yesterday on NATO is welcome, but it is time we do more to defend our interests and reassure our allies. As one official from eastern Europe told me, everything in this region is interconnected. If U.S. policy were willing to provide stronger support to its allies, while simultaneously engaging the Russians, it would likely strengthen our hand in negotiations, and not weaken it.
Since the end of the Cold War, Russia has enjoyed a remarkable period of peace on its borders. Russia has not extended the same courtesy to its neighbors. There are many important issues we need to resolve with the Russians, but the price of negotiating should not be the surrender of important U.S. and European interests.
Mr. Gordon, one other area of concern I hope remains a priority is the Balkans. Despite the past decade, the Balkans remain an area in transition. Ethnic divisions in Bosnia and Kosovo are re-emerging, and they are slowing our progress there. Other Balkan countries are trying to move toward the West or NATO membership or efforts to join the European Union. It's important the United States support these countries in their aspirations.
So I have concerns with the direction U.S. policy may take on these and other issues. Free markets and free people are important U.S. ideals that our European allies and friends have agreed with, and as we confront the challenges ahead, it's imperative we affirm them and not abandon them, and I have a feeling you agree with me. And thank you both for being here.
SEN. SHEEHAN: Thank you, Senator. Senator Lugar?
SEN. RICHARD G. LUGAR (R-IN): Well thank you very much, Madame Chairman, and my colleague, Senator DeMint. It's really a privilege to have this opportunity to introduce my good friend, Rose Gottemoeller.
I think I recognize relatives of Rose in the audience. Would you introduce those who are here? Would you?
ROSE GOTTEMOELLER: Thank you Senator.
Yes it is Spring break this week, so there are a few relatives here, including from the great corn husker state of Nebraska, my sister, Laurie (sp) and her daughters Miriam and Rachel; good family friend, Mike Hammer (sp), as well; my sister, Meg (sp), from Bethesda, and last but by no means least, my dear husband, Raymond Armado (sp) and our two sons, Daniel, who is carrying on a now-family tradition by working at the Arms Control association, and my son Paul who is a senior at Santa Clara University in California. He's the one in the sling.
So thank you for the opportunity to introduce them, Senator.
SEN. LUGAR: Let me just ask the other fellow. Do you have relatives here also?
PHILIP GORDON: I do, and I'd be delighted to introduce them --
SEN. LUGAR: Please do.
MR. GORDON: -- starting with wife Rachel, who has been incredibly supportive throughout all of this; my son Merrill (sp) who is 17; (Van ?) who is 13; and Dinah (sp) who is 11 and recognizable by her pink dress. And I also want to thank the kids for giving up a day of Spring break. They were hoping for a hearing on a school day, but I thank them for being here. I'm also joined by my parents, Sol (sp) and Winnifred (sp) Gordon, who are the proud parents of five, and now residents of Fairfax, Virginia; and another one of those five, in addition to me, is my sister Debbie (sp) who is joined by her husband Ron Hunter.
I also have a number of friends and colleagues and potential colleagues, and I thank them for being here. Thank you.
SEN. LUGAR: Well we are grateful that you all are here. It's just a privilege to greet you, and let me just say that I congratulate President Obama on both of your nominations, and I wanted to introduce you, Rose, especially, for nominating you to be Assistant Secretary of State for Verification, Compliance and Implementation. I have known you for many years. You are uniquely qualified to hold this position and to be a lead negotiator for discussions with Russia on the START treaty.
I worked closely with Rose in the early 1990s when she was a director of the National Security Council in those days. At that time, she was heavily involved in the Nunn-Lugar Program work in Russia and the -- I can't pronounce it -- denuclearization of Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus.
When the Soviet Union dissolved, four countries emerged in possession of nuclear weapons. A major United States goal at the time was convincing Kiev, Astana, and Minsk to accede to the NPT as non- nuclear weapons states and to voluntarily return their weapons to Russia. This was an extremely delicate endeavor, and I watched Rose expertly navigate a very difficult set of negotiations. It was her job to manage the inter-agency process and to coordinate the United States efforts. Rose's patience and commitment to detail assisted in securing a tremendous diplomatic success as the third, fourth, and eighth largest nuclear weapons powers in the world agreed to become nuclear-weapons free.
Rose later continued her work by serving in the Department of Energy as Director for the Office of Nonproliferation and National Security, as Assistant Secretary for Nonproliferation and National Security, and as Deputy Undersecretary for Nuclear Nonproliferation. Her work helped lay the foundation for cooperation that continues today.
The United States and Russia recently completed security and safety upgrades at many Russian strategic nuclear warhead sites. This work required United States experts to enter and inspect sensitive Russian facilities. The notion that U.S. experts would be welcomed into the Russian nuclear weapons infrastructure was not a foregone conclusion. But without the pioneering work of Rose and her colleagues, this important United States security accomplishment would not have been possible.
Most recently Rose has served as the director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, and in this capacity, she engaged daily with Russian analysts and leaders in discussions over the bilateral strategic relationship.
I enjoyed visiting with her at Carnegie on numerous occasions, including last December. Her strong diplomatic capabilities, coupled with a complete understanding of the details of ongoing strategic agreements and negotiations were obvious. She not only was respected by Russian and American experts alike, but her personal diplomacy and strategy delivered results.
Rose faces an extremely challenging mission now. Our most time- sensitive agenda item is the preservation of the START treaty, and it expires on December 5th of this year. The key element of this enduring document is its verification regime, a proven system of on- site inspections and detailed data disclosure that provides each side, Russia and United States, with confidence that the other is living up to its obligations. This robust verification mechanism is also the underpinning of the 2003 Moscow Treaty, which calls for dramatic reductions in Russian and American deployed nuclear arsenals, down to 17-hundred warheads each.
If the Senate is to ratify a new START treaty before December 5, the expiration date, the treaty will have to be submitted to Congress probably by early Fall to allow for hearings, debates, and floor votes. This in turn means that the treaty will have to be signed by both sides perhaps no later than August to ensure time to prepare for necessary analysis and documentation. In short, our team will have barely four months to start and finish complex arms control negotiations in an atmosphere of tense relations between Moscow and Washington.
Notwithstanding the time pressure, I am confident that Rose has the judgment to make difficult decisions, including, if need be, advising the president that a hastily concluded negotiation does not serve United States security interests.
I am very hopeful, along with you Madame Chairman and Senator DeMint, that the Senate will move quickly on this nomination so that Rose can begin her important mission. I thank you for this opportunity to introduce the candidate.
SEN. SHAHEEN: Thank you very much, Senator Lugar, and I would also like to join Senator Lugar in welcoming the families of both of our nominees.
I'm conducting my first hearing, chairing my first hearing today, and so I'm grateful for Senator Lugar's being here to correct me when I go astray.
Ms. Gottemoeller, we'd like for you to go ahead and make opening remarks.
MS. GOTTEMEOLLER: Thank you very much, Madame Chairman, Senator DeMint, Senator Lugar. If I may, I'd like to make very brief remarks and submit my testimony as a whole for the record. Thank you, thank you.
It's a great honor for me to come before this committee today and be considered for the position of Assistant Secretary of State for Verification and Compliance. I am grateful for the confidence that President Obama and Secretary Clinton have shown in nominating me for this position, and I am fully cognizant of the important responsibilities that I will undertake on behalf of our country, should I be confirmed by this Senate.
I am also very grateful to Senator Lugar for introducing me to this committee. His warm words are really strong encouragement for the difficult tasks that lie ahead, and I thank you very much, Senator.
Madame Chairman, as I begin my testimony, I'd like to repeat a phrase from Senator Clinton's statement for this committee. She said, "For me, consultation is not a catch word. It is a commitment." I wanted to let you know that I share Secretary Clinton's commitment, and I look forward to working very closely with you and with all the members of the Foreign Relations Committee as the negotiations proceed forward on START and throughout my service in the Department of State, should I be confirmed.
Let me say just a few words about the bureau that I will be heading up if I am confirmed, and then I will be ready to take your questions.
Since its establishment in the 1980s, then as part of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, the Bureau of Verification, Compliance and Implementation as it is known today has gone through a series of organizational evolutions. However, for the constant period throughout the last 25 years, the bureau's verification role has been there. For over 25 years the bureau has advanced U.S. national security by promoting verifiable agreements and verification technologies, and by working to ensure compliance by other countries, with respect to arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament agreements and commitments.
In 2005, the bureau's portfolio was expanded to include implementation responsibilities for nuclear agreements, such as the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, START, and the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, CFE, also other related European security arrangements, such as the Open Skies Treaty and the security building measures under the Organization for Security and Cooperation, in Europe.
Today, these core missions place the bureau at the center of key national security initiatives of President Obama's administration. As I am sure the committee is aware, and as Senator Lugar just mentioned, START will expire before the end of this year, and President Obama is committed to negotiating a follow-on agreement to replace START and to continue along the path toward eventual elimination of nuclear weapons.
If confirmed as assistant secretary, as part of my responsibilities, again, as Senator Lugar has mentioned, I would head up the START follow-on negotiations on behalf of the United States government. If confirmed, I would also be directly involved in negotiations for solving the impasse with regard to the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, and would work to ensure that the importance we attach to the CFE treaty is reflected in any broader discussion of European security that goes on.
These are but two of the very important national security initiatives that President Obama will pursue, and they underscore the serious responsibility that I will undertake if confirmed as Assistant Secretary of State.
With that, Madame Chairman, I'd like to close my remarks. As I said, I would gladly submit my full testimony for the record, but in the interest of time, I will proceed forward with your agenda now.
SEN. SHAHEEN: Thank you very much. Mr. Gordon.
MR. GORDON: Thank you very much, Madame Chairman, and Senator DeMint, Senator Lugar. I've also prepared a more detailed statement, but if that could be submitted for the record, I'll just make a few brief opening remarks.
It really is an honor to be before this committee as President Obama's nominee for the position of Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs. I'm really grateful for the confidence that the President and Secretary Clinton have shown in nominating me, and I hope to earn the confidence of this committee, as well.
In a range of different positions over the past 25 years, I have spent extended periods of time in many of the countries in the European bureau's area of responsibility, and I've devoted my career to thinking about how the United States can enhance its interests by helping to promote security and stability in Europe, and by promoting global cooperation with the other western democracies.
If confirmed, I would look forward to working with this committee and the Congress to advance America's interests in this vast region. No one should doubt the enormity of the challenges we face in Europe and Eurasia, and nearly all of these challenges have gotten more daunting because of the deep economic crisis that we face on both sides of the Atlantic. There's no doubt about that.
But I'm also convinced that this is a moment of opportunity as well. While traveling with then-Senator Obama to Europe last summer, I saw the reservoir of support for our country that still exists in Europe, as manifested in one case by a sea of American flags being waved by several hundred thousand people in Berlin. Our mission today is to translate the enduring European desire for American leadership and the significant goodwill I think Europeans still have for our country into a genuine partnership that advances the national interests of the United States and helps the people of the region.
If confirmed, I would be honored to serve the president and the secretary and to work with this committee in seeking to accomplish that mission.
Since I last served in government, as Director for European Affairs on President Clinton's National Security staff almost 10 years ago, many of the specific issues have changed -- it evolves -- but there are some constants as well. The United States continues to have a core national interest in helping to build a more democratic, stable, peaceful and prosperous Europe, and our European allies remain among our most critical partners in dealing with global issues, including proliferation, terrorism, climate change, poverty, human rights and many, many more.
Madame Chairman, I was deeply honored when Secretary Clinton asked me to accept the nomination for this critical and challenging position, and if confirmed I would be honored to work with you in this committee in the pursuit of our common goals. Notwithstanding the many challenges we face in Europe and Eurasia today, I am convinced that the administration, working closely with this committee and Congress, can accomplish great things with and for the citizens of the United States and with and for the hundreds of millions of people who live in this region.
I thank you for the opportunity to appear before you, and I look forward to your questions.
SEN. SHAHEEN: Thank you both very much. Each of us will have seven minutes now in which to ask questions, and we may have some other senators coming in and out during this time period.
I would like to begin really getting a better sense from each of you about how you think we should approach Russia. I was able to attend the Brussels forum over the weekend and had a chance to both watch and speak to a number of representatives of our European allies from the EU and from NATO, and it was clear to me in those conversations that there's not unanimity about how we should approach Russia or what our strategy ought to be relative to the many issues that we have in common with them.
So I wonder if you could each talk a little bit more about what you think the approach should be, obviously with respect to restarting the follow-on agreement to START and about some of the other challenges that we face when it comes to engaging Russia.
MS. GOTTEMOELLER: Thank you very much, Madame Chairman, for that question. You know I did, as you mentioned, live in Moscow over the last three years, so I saw Russia up close and personal, both the good aspects and sometimes very bad aspects. I experienced it first hand, this slide away from reform, that has been occurring over the last several years, and was and am very, very concerned about that.
So Russia is not always on a straight trajectory in the directions we would like to see it go, and I think we need to be very clear about our concerns in that regard. I think it always is a good thing to be very upfront and open about what are concerns are.
That said, for the history of the strategic arms reduction talks, they began back in the 1960s, really, before we even established an early détente with Russia. There were discussions that began to try to figure out how we were going to deal with this enormous threat of nuclear holocaust. And for that reason, for many years, it has been a consensus between Moscow and Washington, shared by our allies in other countries around the world, that our two countries, as the two largest nuclear powers, have a global responsibility to focus on how to lessen the threat of nuclear war and how to reduce, over time, nuclear capabilities.
So there has been, I would say, on our side, a bipartisan commitment to this over the years, from the early stages with President Nixon's focus on it, through the 1970s. President Regan of course was very focused in the 1980s, and it was his very strong commitment that led us to the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty that is now about to go out of force in December.
So, strong bipartisan commitment to issues that are in our national security interests. I think that is the key point to underscore at all times with regard to Russia. And I think there are areas that are in our national security interest and that we can and must pursue, and strategic arms reduction is one of them. And so I hope that I will be able to carry that tradition forward. Thank you.
MR. GORDON: Thank you. The president has made clear that dealing with Russia will be an important priority for the administration, as I know it is for this committee, and he has acknowledged that U.S. - Russia relations in the past several years have deteriorated, frankly, possibly to the worst state since the end of the Cold War. And what he has said is that he would like to try to put that very difficult period of tension and recrimination behind us where we can, for the simple reason that, in certain areas, we have common interests.
We have an interest in reducing the number of nuclear weapons in the world. We have an interest in containing nuclear proliferation to other countries, including particularly Iran. We have an interest in combating terrorism. We have a common interest in dealing with climate change. We have a common interest in stabilizing Afghanistan, and in other important areas.
So the president is going to try, where possible, to work cooperatively with Russia. At the same time, and I think this is important to stress as much as all of the first part, that the effort to improve the tone and substance of cooperation with Russia, of the relationship with Russia, in no way can mean the sacrificing of American principles. And those principles, as the secretary of state and the vice president and the president have all said, include rejection of any notion that there's a privileged sphere of influence for Russia in Europe, and an affirmation of the principle that European democracies can join whatever alliance they want to join. So it's a question of balancing those two things.
SEN. SHAHEEN: Thank you. When you raised the issue of NATO and Afghanistan, I know that the 60th anniversary of NATO is coming up, and obviously one of the biggest challenges NATO faces is how we continue to handle Afghanistan.
Do you think success in Afghanistan is critical to NATO, and what do you think the long-term strategic questions are that NATO should answer in the coming years with respect, in the short term with respect to Afghanistan, and with other challenges that NATO is facing as it redefines itself?
MR. GORDON: Thank you. Indeed the president will travel next week to the 60th anniversary summit that I think, as you suggest, Madame Chairman, much more than a celebration of 60 years of successful alliance. But it is that. It is important to underscore and to remind ourselves and the citizens of all of the NATO members what this alliance has done for our common security, even as its mission has changed over the years.
One of the ways its mission has changed is that it is no longer primarily dealing with, or exclusively dealing with a threat in Europe, but including some global challenges. And you mention Afghanistan, is the most important one. And the answer to your question, Madame Chairman, is yes. I do think that Afghanistan is critical to NATO's success, just as NATO is critical to Afghanistan's success. And we could spend a lot of time talking about the drawbacks and the complications and the insufficiencies in the NATO operation, and we should. We should have another hearing on that. But at the same time, we should acknowledge the importance of the fact that all 26 NATO allies are there, all working together towards a common goal, and all of them have troops, which amount to some 31,000 non-Americans helping us to achieve our goals in that country. So I do think NATO plays a critical mission there.
And I would also want to underscore the importance of the process of NATO enlargement. As another important strategic goal, it has inspired countries to become more democratic, more cooperative, and it has very much contributed to European security and stability, and I believe this administration will put an important priority on keeping that process moving forward.
SEN. SHAHEEN: Thank you. Senator DeMint.
SEN. DE MINT: Thank you Madame Chairman.
As I guess we all know, the Russians are reasserting their sphere of influence over former satellites, as well as in other parts of Europe. I think there is a growing consensus in Russia -- or maybe not a consensus at this point, but that the United States may be increasingly a paper tiger, in the sense that we will rhetorically support our allies of former Soviet republics, but we don't necessarily have the resolve or resources to actually defend them.
And this seems to have emboldened Russia even more and led some of our allies to question whether or not they should cozy up to Russia because we're not going to be there for them.
What steps do you think we need to take, or can take, to begin to turn that around?
MR. GORDON: Thank you very much, Senator. I appreciate that question because it gives me the opportunity to say that I think what needs to be said, which is that this administration takes its responsibilities for European security very seriously and must not allow the type of situation that you described to develop, one in which countries in central or eastern or southern Europe have doubts as to the allegiance of the West or the value of the NATO treaty.
And for this administration, the NATO treaty, and its Article 5, are rock solid commitments, and as I noted previously, the administration rejects any notion of a sphere of privilege of interests, and it insists that the democracies of Europe be able to join whatever alliance they choose.
I do think you raise an important matter that we all need to take a close look at, which is the ability of the alliance to defend all of its members. And it is true that it is sometimes easy not to backup a defense guarantee with the means to implement that guarantee. And I think that's something we need to keep an eye on, but what must be clear, and, if confirmed, I would see it as an important role of mine to make it clear, is that Article 5 is absolute, and when we say it we mean it.
SEN. DE MINT: Thank you. When you mention -- we know our European allies, our NATO allies have not made the commitment to defense spending in modernization that we would hope for. The United States appears to be reducing its own commitment to our military spending as a percent of our economy here. Does that raise your concerns even further?
MR. GORDON: Especially with this economic climate, it is indeed difficult to persuade allies and ourselves to do what is necessary in the defense area, and the short answer to your question is yes. I do have concerns about the level of commitment to defense. Among the number of European allies the trend is a negative one, and it becomes difficult to uphold our commitments in Europe or even more importantly globally, like in Afghanistan, when countries aren't willing to spend what is necessary. And I think it would be an American priority to work with the allies to do more.
SEN. DE MINT: Thank you. Thank you.
Ms. Gottemoeller, thank you again for your testimony. Just a few questions. As you know, the U.S. provides a sort of a protective umbrella in Europe with our nuclear force warheads, and there has been some debate of whether or not that should continue. Do you support lifting this umbrella by completely removing U.S. nuclear warheads deployed overseas?
MS. GOTTEMOELLER: Senator, this matter of U.S. extended deterrent in NATO-Europe has been a very strong foundation for the European security relationship now since the birth of NATO really, and I think the commitment, not only in Europe of an extended nuclear deterrent but also to our Asian allies, is extraordinarily important. So I think that is indeed part of the glue that holds the alliance together and that any changes in the status of those forces must only be undertaken with very careful consultation with our allies. And certainly, if there were ever to be any negotiations undertaken with regard to those weapons, any changes in their status should come about as part of a negotiation and not as part of any unilateral withdrawal.
I feel that it is very important indeed that there should be negotiations with the Russian federation in this regard because as you may know they have a considerable stock of non-strategic nuclear weapons that are a threat to the NATO alliance, so that any reductions judiciously taken should be taken as a result of negotiations and not as a unilateral matter.
SEN. DEMINT: Thank you.
Just a clarification. Last year, in an article, I think, "Our Arms Control Today," you recommended counting conventional warheads, other strategic delivery platforms, as nuclear warheads. Wouldn't such a counting role set a precedent that would replace counting of all conventional weapons or strategic strike capabilities under the Strategic Nuclear Arms Control? I'm just looking for a little clarification of what you meant.
MS. GOTTEMOELLER: Yes, and first Senator, if I may comment, I have now for years been on the outside as a non-governmental expert and so have had the opportunity to do a lot of interesting analytical work, but analytical work doesn't always translate into official government policy, of course, much to the sorrow of our non- governmental counterparts -- (laughs).
That is the reality of the situation, but I will say that in the case of that article, there was a particular thought that in a near- term period, while the United States did not have a very great intention to deploy a large number of conventional long-range strike missiles, that -- and while we have a very large number still of nuclear long-range intercontinental missiles -- that we would not be paying any particular price at the negotiating table if we should count conventional weapons of that kind as nuclear.
But I don't believe it sets a precedent for future negotiations. People recognize that as numbers come down and numbers of nuclear weapons get lower then we have to be looking at these very factors in a different way.
SEN. DE MINT: I still, I have some concerns there, and I hope that's one of the matters of collaboration here with the committee that we don't get ourselves in a situation where we cannot be properly prepared to defend our interests, and I think you have that same interest in mind.
But thank you very much to both of you. Thank you Madame Chairman.
SEN. SHAHEEN: Thank you. Senator Menendez.
SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ (D-NJ): Thank you Madame Chairman. I have a budget vote that is taking place, so I'm going to hopefully be able to get my questions in, but if not I may come back if there are still members, and return. If not, I'll submit them for the record.
Mr. Gordon, I want to focus questions that -- we had an opportunity to have a brief discussion, and I want to follow up. Let me read this statement to you and ask you if you agree with it or not: "A negotiated political settlement on Cyprus wound end the Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus and repair the island's tragic division, while paving the way to prosperity and peace throughout the entire region." Is that something that you would agree with?
MR. GORDON: Yes, Senator, I would.
SEN. MENENDEZ: Okay. So, like the president of the United States, you recognize that there is an occupation in the northern part of Cyprus.
MR. GORDON: There is a Turkish presence in the northern part of Cyprus that is not accepted by the government of Cyprus and would be the subject of the negotiations that we support to bring about a Cyprus settlement.
SEN. MENENDEZ: But you don't consider it an occupation.
MR. GORDON: There are a number of outside experts in the government of Cyprus who consider it an occupation.
SEN. MENENDEZ: The statement I read to you is from then-Senator Obama as he was running for president of the United States.
It was his policy statement, and so it's not simply my view or the view of others that it was a occupation, but it is his.
Let me ask you this. I read your articles with reference to the Annan plan in which you criticized the Greek Cypriots who rejected it. That plan included -- and did you read that plan?
MR. GORDON: I did.
SEN. MENENDEZ: Okay. I know you supported it, and you also read it, right? So that plan included prohibiting Greek Cypriots from purchasing property in a third of their own country, allowing the same number of Greek Cypriots on the Cyprus Supreme Court as foreign citizens, constitutionally establishing Turkish troops permanently on Cyprus, and taking tens of thousands of Greek-Cypriot homes, and in essence, giving them for free to those who at present are occupying them, maybe with some compensation.
It took Americans two years to approve our four-page Constitution. Cypriots were only given a few weeks to consider a constitution and its attachments that numbered over 9,000 pages. So I think one might see why a Western Democracy like Cyprus would reject permanently structuring the future of their country in such a way and in such a time frame.
So how do you view, in light of these and other facts -- there have been 15 million crossings from one community to the other in recent years without an incidence of violence -- how do you in light of these facts, would you rethink your support of such settlement provisions on Cyprus that produce such an unproductive vote, or are you wedded to the views that you originally held?
MR. GORDON: Thank you Senator. As we discussed yesterday, I acknowledged that I did support the Annan Plan at the time. I thought it was better than the status quo. I thought it had enormous problems because it's a terribly complicated situation, but I thought it was better than the status quo because it was a settlement, because it brought security to the island, because it recognized one Cyprus, which is U.S. government policy, because it would lead to a significant departure of Turkish military presence, and a territorial adjustment that that would be in the interest of both sides.
I supported it like the United Nations, like the European Union and like the Bush Administration, so that was my thinking, and we discussed that a bit yesterday. But that is irrelevant because as you say the plan was rejected. As you noted, it was rejected by a democratic majority of Greek Cypriots in the Republic of Cyprus. And they spoke, and democracy spoke, and the --
SEN. MENENDEZ: And I appreciate that. The question is: Those who are trying to revive the Annan plan, and even though the two parties are negotiating, and the reason I ask you these questions is because the reason you get nominated for this position is your expertise, your background, your knowledge, and the fact that the secretary of State, and for that fact, the president of the United States, will ask you what are your views.
And therefore you will have not an insignificant position by which to fashion U.S. foreign policy, and that's what I'm concerned. I'm also concerned when I read your comments with reference to the Armenian Genocide. This is a quote from an article you wrote: As if tensions with Turkey were not already strained enough by the Iraq world and the Curtis issue, moves in the U.S. House of Representatives to recognize a "Turkish Genocide" against Armenians in 1915 have stroke the sense of crisis.
And, you know, I have a concern when there is a veto by a foreign government over domestic policies and policies of the United States, including the Congress of the United States. And I have a real concern that those who would be in the position of authority would actually seek to fashion that.
You know, that same record doesn't speak out about Turkey's legacy of denial. The fact that it has a series of other issues that affects its entrance into the European Union, with Cyprus being one. The whole question of the (Ecumenical Patriarch ?) and a whole host of others. So I'm concerned that at the end of the day that there will be the appropriate balance here, if you were to be confirmed by the senate. Can you speak to that for me?
And lastly, since I'm going to have to go for budget votes, and I'm going to hang in here to listen to your answers as long as I can. In the pursuit of complete transparencies, would you provide for us for the record subsequent to this hearing, the list of countries that will be under your jurisdiction. And would you also provide to us the organizations that you have worked with prior to this nomination? And what monies were received both those organizations from any foreign government at the time that you were involved there?
MR. GORDON: Sure, I would be happy to do that. Very briefly based on a number of very important issues that I know are important to you and to this committee and to this administration. On the Annan plan very briefly, my understanding is it's not on the table in terms of the debate about whether we support it or not. My understanding is that there is no such thing as an Annan plan any more.
What there is, very fortunately -- what there are, are negotiations that are going on directly between the two parties. It's not the U.N. writing a plan. It's not the United States writing a plan, but the two parties on the island are negotiating, which is a very good thing because I think like you Senator, I believe that a negotiated settlement on Cyprus would be very much in the interest of the parties.
You quoted comments of mine on Armenia, and the suggested that these congressional measures would provoke a nationalistic backlash in Turkey, which analytically I think is accurate. And that's what I was writing. I have been at a think tank for a number of years, and that's what we do when we analyze. And I was making the analytical statement that such a resolution would provoke a nationalistic backlash in Turkey.
You suggested the need for balance, and I absolutely agree. And I absolutely agree that the United States and Congress and citizens, including in Turkey, need to recognize that a terrible tragedy took place. That more than a million and a half people were driven from their homes and massacred. And people need to recognize that in honor of the victims of that strategy.
And that sort of balance, I think, is necessary as I say not only here, but in Turkey. And you mentioned the debate within Turkey, and I think if you've looked at my writings, you have seen that I've personally long encouraged that. The United States government has encouraged that. And if confirmed, I would also do so. I think there's been some progress in that regard, including on this issue. But not enough, and if confirmed, I would make it a priority of mission for you.
SEN. MENENDEZ: Madame Chairlady, thank you very much. There's a budget vote going on now. I look forward to -- I have a series of other questions I'll submit for the record, and I look forward to your responses to them. Thank you very much.
SEN. SHAHEEN: Thank you, Senator Menendez. I would just point out that we will leave the record open until noon tomorrow for questions.
SEN. LUGAR: Well, thank you very much Madame Chairman. I just wanted to mention for the record that Mr. Gordon has been very, very helpful for at least the past decade in conferences we've had. We've had roundtables with this Committee that sponsored, sort of after hours, to talk about the two triages of expansion of NATO. And his participation there was faithful and constant. And he's been a good advisor to each one of us in whatever his capacities were through the years.
I want to raise this question to Mr. Gordon. In 2006, I had the privilege the night before the Chief of State arrived at the Riga Summit to give a speech, and in that speech I raised a question that Article V, of course, which has been mentioned earlier today, is at the heart of our obligations of NATO. But what if an attack upon one of our NATO allies came in the form of somebody setting off the gas tap on the country foes. As people died, the industry terminated.
In essence, a result as devastating as if aircraft had flown across the border or tanks and guns and people. Are we prepared for that? This came not as a shock to people. Had people thought about that before.
And foreign ministers came, and sort of behind the barn and after the meeting, and said, "Of course this is an existential problem, but we just don't talk about it out loud. But we try to work out the best arrangements we can in these circumstances. Besides, it's probably an EU problem, not a national problem to try to get it out of Article V." Well, fair enough, the EU has struggled a bit with it.
During this past summer I sort of traced in the local pipeline project, and we were traveling up where Nabucco might come, in addition coming to Azerbaijan and Turkey are instrumental points in this. But Nabucco is not moving very fast, nor the other alternatives. And in Brussels as I had conferences on the energy issues, I found the problems that sovereignty of each of the nations often impede any thoughts about larger grids or sharing of this responsibility.
In your position, obviously, this is bound to come to the forum, among other things. And I mention it simply because frequently when we think of Article V, the defense of nations, you know, in terms of armament. And we should be prepared in that respect. But what preparation have we made, and which ones should we be forwarding, so that in fact if the attack happens to be perhaps equally fatal and unconventional through the energy resources we've accrued and how could we be prepared for that?
MR. GORDON: Thank you, Senator Lugar. Thanks, first, for your kind word, and let me also take contribute to your leadership, not only on this issue of NATO energy, but on NATO enlargement and NATO's global activities such as in Afghanistan. You were, of course, one of the early proponents, both of enlargement and NATO's global role.
And on the energy question, you're absolutely right to draw attention to it as you did in Riga and have subsequently. If your efforts didn't succeed in waking up people to this fact, then Russia's efforts in the gas crisis in 2006 and then again last year, completed the job. And I think reminded Europeans and opened their eyes to the vulnerabilities that you have been talking about.
And it remains to be seen which organizations take the lead in this regard. It's difficult to do it within NATO, but I do think that the United States will support getting NATO to pay closer attention to this issue. Because it is a security threat. Article IV of the North Atlantic Treaty says that countries can and should consult on anything that threatens their security. And I believe, and if confirmed with support, NATO taking more action in this area.
As I think the Secretary has said to you, persuading all of the allies to make it an Article V commitment might be difficult, but certainly getting allies to do more and putting it on the agenda is the right thing to do.
SEN. LUGAR: And the last administration appointed Boyden Gray as the Special Envoy, and I thought he did a lot of good work, although it was a very short time period in which he worked. It's something that you and the Secretary and the President might consider again, somebody with more of a portfolio, more time, it would helpful to you.
Ms. Gottemoeller, let me ask as I've talked about this timeframe for the start of negotiations. And it is very tight. Now, as people have discussed this at least in the academic circles, and sometimes maybe beyond that, some have suggested that those negotiations ought to include such things as missile defense, tactical nuclear systems, conventional weapons reductions, the newest strategic weapons limits, and on and on.
Describe just from your experience in negotiations of this variety, given a four-mouth or four-month-plus timeframe, if my scope is accurate here, what is possible in this period? And do you have any idea what additional thoughts Russian negotiators might have as to items they want to put on the agenda in coming to a new-start situation.
MS. GOTTEMOELLER: Thank you, Senator. I, halfway jokingly, said that I'd been on the outside in a non-governmental organization for several years, and so that didn't extend always to the official side. But I will say that having worked in Moscow over the past few years with some very excellent Russian experts, some of them retired military people, I did have an opportunity to take their temperature to get an idea of what they think would be acceptable for a future start negotiation.
There was no question that they are concerned about missile defenses, and the impact potentially of U.S. missile defense deployments in Europe on their strategic nuclear arsenal. Not today, but should those deployments expand in the future, they are concerned about it. So I think there is an urge on the Russian side to try to place some constraints on missile defenses. I have urged them that we have a very important goal here, and that is to ensure that the Start- 1 Treaty does not go out of force with nothing to replace it, and, therefore, placing both countries and our nuclear arsenals into a kind of legal vacuum.
So I have urged them to keep the agenda tight, to keep the agenda focused on reductions in strategic nuclear forces, and on retaining some essential verification and monitoring measures from the important verification protocol of Start-1. So in my view, we will keep the agenda tight. We will keep it focused. And we will do everything we can to be finished by the tight deadlines that you have spoken about today.
SEN. LUGAR: I'm hopeful that you will keep the Committee well- informed of what seems to be coming along the trail and what might be in the package that would come to the Senate for ratification. This is a problem that President Regan faced back in 1986 when it appeared that arms control negotiations with the former Soviet Union were going to begin. At that time we were all very optimistic, and things did not move all that rapidly, as it turned out.
But he asked the leaders of the Senate, who were then Senator Byrd and Senator Dole to select an arms control observer group. And, in fact, as I recall, eight members of the senate on the democratic and eight on the republican side went to Geneva, including Senator Byrd and Senator Dole the first trip. And met the Russians.
And this turned out to be something that did not come to fruition very rapidly. And as a matter of fact, it was three or four years later before, as I recall Secretary Powell was then the Secretary of State, and we had an Arms Control. But the idea was that there would be somebody on the Senate floor in a bi-partisan way who understood what this was all about.
And because the getting of two-thirds of the Senate, the votes that were required was not a full-blown conclusion. It never is in these situations. And so I mention that experience because as time came along there were people. And one of the -- my partner, and on legal business, Sam Nunn was there at the beginning. And we visited with the Russians frequently and Geneva subsequently. And it was those Russians that came to us and asked us for help after the Soviet Union fell.
And so just an idea as you approach this again and work with the Secretary as to how a rapport with our Committee, with the Senate as a whole, with the leadership, because this timeframe has given me some concern. It gives you concern. Hopefully, we'll still be in session in December or November or what have you. But others may feel they would prefer not to be in session that absolute long, you know. And enough said. You've worked with us before, but please plan to do so again. And I thank you.
MS. GOTTEMOELLER: If I may, Senator Lugar, Madame Chairman, I just wanted to say again how committed I am to communicating closely with you during this period. I well remember the work of the Arms Control observance group when I served as a State Representative, State Department Representative, on the Geneva delegation. And I do think that it is extraordinarily important to maintain tight consultation, whether it is in the format of an observer group or working individually with Senators and staff as they are interested. I am committed to personally investing my time in this, and I will look forward to being in touch with you, Senator Lugar, and with Senator Shaheen, and the rest of the Committee as and when questions arise.
REP. LUGAR: We thank you.
REP. GILLIBRAND (?): I would echo those sentiments, as well. Although I'm new to the Senate, I can appreciate the challenge of getting two-thirds votes for anything. And obviously this will be a very complicated issue, and so keeping in close communication will be very important.
I want to change the topic a little bit at this point, and move off of Russia and those negotiations. We heard this morning news about a pending missile launch in North Korea. And I wanted to get your sense of where you think we are with North Korea's nuclear program and the Six-Party Talks, and what role your bureau would play in continuing negotiations. And how we get over the current impasse over verification questions.
MS. GOTTEMOELLER: First of all, Senator, if confirmed, we'll be the Assistant Secretary responsible for the bureau that deals with verification and compliance. It is that aspect of the most Korea Six- Party Talks that I will be responsible for. In other words, the very question that you raised at the end.
The other aspect for the Six-Party Talks, their current status and the diplomatic tactics that will be pursued, will be the responsibility of the so-called ISN Bureau, that deals with the nonproliferation policy questions.
I will underscore that we are at a impasse with North Korea on verification matters at the moment. They have so far declined to put down in writing the procedures and overall commitments on verification. And I do think that it is important to pursue that with them, because my experience and everyone's experience over years of working with the Soviets and Russians on bilateral reductions in strategic nuclear forces and other Arms Control treaties, is that it's only when you have the commitments written down clearly and the procedures written down clearly that the implementation can flow forward smoothly.
So I do think that it is very important in this case. And I am hoping we can return North Korea to the agenda of getting that writing-down done shortly. I will also note that we've had many ups and downs in our negotiations with North Korea over the years. I remember very well, however, a bright spot in that when I was working at the Department of Energy as the Assistant Secretary responsible for the North Korean programs, as we were canning up the fuel rods in their spent-fuel pool. And that was a period when we were able to work with them very smoothly, and, in fact, put into cans, working in cooperation with North Korean teams, 6,000, 8,000 fuel rods.
So it is possible to make progress with the North Koreans. And I wanted to leave you with that little note of optimism. It's hard work, but I do think that we can make progress. And I expect this administration to push hard to do so.
REP. GILLIBRAND (?): Thank you. I appreciate that note of optimism. I want to go back to the issue, Mr. Gordon, that Senator Menendez raised with respect to Turkey, because I know that's an area where you've done a lot of work and writing. And I wonder if you could speak to what you believe are the benefits for the United States of a constructive bilateral relationship with Turkey. Why is it important for us in the west and the United States to win over Turkey?
MR. GORDON: Thank you very much. It is indeed a critical question for the United States to revive functioning partnerships, strategic partnership with Turkey, that frankly has suffered in recent years. If you look at public-opinion polling in Turkey in the past couple of years, nine percent and then 12 percent of Turks has a favorably opinion of the United States.
And it's hard to get work done with a democracy when there's such skepticism about our country in that country. And we have a lot of work to do with them. Turkey is critical for, as Senator Lugar mentioned, energy routes between the Caspian and the Middle East and the west. Turkey is a country that has borders with Greece and the Black Sea and Armenian, Azerbaijan and Iran and Iraq and Syria, and the Mediterranean. For that reason that alone, it's a critical strategic player in the world.
And it is an aspirant to European Union membership. And I think the global symbolism of the majority of Muslim country, joining the European Union would be very powerful. And it would be -- it would strengthen the European Union, and it would strength Turkey.
So I think for all of those reasons and more, we have a compelling national interest in working with Turkey, which is not to say we agree with them on everything. And there are things we need from Turkey. I mentioned earlier the importance of pressing for a more open debate within Turkey, and I think that is something the administration would do.
And we've had some differences with the Turkish leadership on Israel and Hamas recently. So it's not going to be easy, and we won't see eye-to-eye on everything. But restoring a partnership with Turkey, I do think is a compelling American interest.
MS. GOTTEMOELLER (?): Thank you. I want to go back to your exchange with Senator Lugar about the enlargement of NATO. Because I would certainly agree with the assessment that bringing in a number of the eastern European countries has been -- and the enlargement of NATO has been a huge success. It's been something that we in the United States should feel very good about, as should all of the other -- a number of countries as NATO.
But, again, going back to my experience this weekend at the Brussels' forum, one of the questions on the agenda was: Why happens next? Because it's clearly not enough as we think about the threats that you all discussed previously, to just think that continuing enlargement of NATO is going to address its future strategic role.
So what other questions should we be looking at as we're thinking about the future of NATO?
MR. GORDON: Thank you. It's a very good question. Enlargement clearly is not enough, and yet, enlargement needs to go on or at least the openness to enlargement needs to be there. And countries need to be ready before they join, and there needs to a consensus before they join. But as we noted earlier, I think that incentive of membership has been a very powerful tool.
We also alluded earlier, I think to the need for Europeans to continue to reform their militaries to be better able to play a global role. And this has been something that the United States has been working on for the two decades since the Cold War. And they have had some success. As I noted, there are 31,000, mostly European NATO troops in Afghanistan.
But we still have more work to do because there are security crises all around the world that require faster and more flexible military forces that most of the Europeans still don't have. And if NATO is really going to be a tool for dealing with the security challenges of the 21st Century, I think that military transformation modernization is going to be critical.
REP. SHAHEEN: Thank you.
Senator Lugar, do you have any further questions?
SEN. LUGAR: I have no questions.
SEN. SHAHEEN: I also have no further questions. As I said, we will keep the record open for questions from other members of the subcommittee until noon tomorrow. And we will certainly be in touch with you relative to any other questions that are submitted. And I saw you take notes on Senator Menendez's questions, so I'm sure you will get responses to those for the subcommittee.
Let me thank you both very much, again, for being here today, and for your willingness to serve in these two very critical positions. And we hope for a very speedy confirmation.
Thank you all very much.