~ Breedlove: Clear Russia Planned Crimea Action ~
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BRUSSELS (March 23, 2014) – On the final day of the ninth Brussels Forum, U.S. Congressman Michael Turner, a member of the U.S. House Armed Service Committee, outlined his proposals for a response to the Russian annexation of Crimea.
“I think a very appropriate response,” he said, “Would be to give MAP [NATO Membership Action Plan] to Georgia, to put a full diplomatic press on the issue of resolving the conflict between Macedonia and Greece, to look at a Dayton II, if you will, to resolve the constitutional issues of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and offering membership to Montenegro.”
“Those are the types of responses that I think would have Putin looking at a world that’s different than he had wanted or intended, but I think certainly it could be an outcome from his consequences.”
Turner spoke at Brussels Forum, an annual conference on transatlantic relations organized by the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) and attended by heads of state, officials from the EU institutions and member states, U.S. officials, congressional representatives, parliamentarians, and academics.
General Philip M. Breedlove, the U.S. Supreme Allied Commander for Europe, said that there was little doubt that Russia had anticipated action in Crimea for some time. “Part of the plan I believe was to create strategic ambiguity,” he said. “Russia tried to get a local face in Crimea with local militias, but there was a thin veneer of locals in the front and a lot of men in green behind,” he continued, referring to Russian troops in unmarked uniforms.
In the same session, Milo Djukanovic, the prime minister of Montenegro, said that his country is committed to pursuing a future within the EU and NATO. “Montenegro is very well ready not only to use the benefits of NATO,” he said, “But are ready to also take the responsibility for security.”
A later session on the differences between “hard” and “soft” power illuminated different approaches to conflicts between state and even non-state actors. Gitte Lillelund Bech, public affairs manager at Advice and former Danish defense minister, said that the military is changing what it sees as its role. “The military doesn’t just think of itself as hard power,” she said. “They do development and diplomacy too.”
General John Allen, a foreign policy fellow at the Brookings Institution and former allied commander in Afghanistan, agreed that the use of hard power alone is not sustainable. “The soft power application of resources takes the enemy off the battlefield and reduces the hard power we have to face.”
At the final session, on global transitions, Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt said that the world and it challenges have changed radically in the last 25 years. “The biggest challenge has everything to do with the interconnectedness of the world, and the battle over cyberspace will be critical,” he said. “This week we saw the battle for control of Crimea and the battle for control of Twitter. Which one is going to be the most important in the long run?”
The winners of the fourth annual Brussels Forum Young Writers Award were also announced. Alexander Gaus, a research associate, and Wade Hoxtell, the head of operations, both at the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi) in Berlin, won with their essay “Connecting Security and Development: Towards a Transatlantic Strategy in Fragile States.”
Brussels Forum is an annual high-level meeting of the most influential U.S., European, and global political, corporate, and intellectual leaders to address pressing challenges currently facing both sides of the Atlantic. With over 50 countries represented and more than 400 attendees, the ninth edition of Brussels Forum include heads of state, senior officials from the European Union institutions and the member states, U.S. government officials and Congressional representatives, parliamentarians, academics, and media. GMF is joined in this initiative by our founding partners Daimler and the Federal Authorities of Belgium. We are also very pleased to welcome as strategic partners BP, the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Latvia, the OCP Policy Center, Lilly, Bank of America, and the Government of Montenegro. In addition, we would like to recognize the support of our forum partners Deloitte, Brussels Capital Region, Chevron, Solvay, NATO, ApexBrasil, Asan Institute for Policy Studies, the Permanent Representation of Lithuania to the European Union, and Wilfried Maartens Centre for European Studies. Finally, we appreciate the backing of our dinner program partners IBM, Japan Foundation, and the Ford Motor Company. GMF also thanks Star Alliance, the official airline network for Brussels Forum.