Breedlove Doesn’t Rule out Supplying Arms to Ukraine
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Breedlove Doesn’t Rule out Supplying Arms to Ukraine
~ “We in the West should consider all of our tools and apply them.” ~
BRUSSELS (March 22, 2015) – On the final day of the 10th Brussels Forum, General Philip Breedlove, SACEUR, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, said that small arms shipments to Ukraine are still an option. “I do not think that any tool of the U.S. or any other power should necessarily be off the table.”
Breedlove 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.
He went on to say, “we see diplomatic tools being used, informational tools being used, military tools being used, economic tools being used against Ukraine and so we in the West should consider all of our tools and apply them.”
Michele Flournoy, co-founder and CEO of Center for a New American Security and former U.S. undersecretary of defense for policy, said that the United States understands the economic constraints their European partners are working under, but that greater defense cooperation is needed. “It is critical to not only see our allies spend more on defense but to get more for what they spend,” she said. “This requires a much deeper conversation about how we’re going to divide up the labor, how we’re going to collaborate to field the spectrum of capabilities that we need.”
Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski introduced the defense cut theme in remarks before the panel discussion. “I’m proud that Poland reached the level of two percent of GDP devoted to defense already in 2001,” he said. “We are counting on our allies to undertake a similar effort. In our part of the world, we understand perfectly well that defense cuts can simply backfire quite fast.”
“In spite of disputes that emerge now and then, we should not cease in our efforts to strengthen the transatlantic trust, which is sometimes violated or questioned,” he said. “Geologists say that in over 200 million years, Europe and America, the continents will merge. But we should ask ourselves a question. Why wait so long? Today, we can unite Europeans and Americans.”
In remarks later in the day, U.S. Democratic Senator Chris Murphy addressed the recent controversy over a letter from some U.S. senators to the government of Iran. “A lot of critics of President Obama say that he is not leading in the world in the way we would like, that he’s not asserting American power in the way that we used to. The irony, of course, is that Congress makes it hard for him to do that,” he said, citing examples of unconfirmed ambassadors and vacancies at the U.S. State Department.
“And then we take steps that are counterproductive, we insert ourselves for the executive [branch] in trying to negotiate directly with foreign powers,” Murphy continued. We’re having a really important and in some ways problematic debate.”
During the final session on the state of the world in 2025, Estonian President Toomas Ilves expressed concern about the rise of populism in Europe, using the example from the recent Greek elections. “If you look at the parties, you have an extreme left Trotsky party together with an extreme right and even anti-Semitic party in a coalition in Greece, [which] does not bode well for the future of democracy more broadly.”
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 10th annual 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. For the 10th annual Brussels Forum, GMF is honored to feature four co-chairs who provide support and intellectual leadership to the discussions: Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, counselor and trustee, Center for Strategic & International Studies; Frank Friedman, CEO, Deloitte LLP; Herman van Rompuy, former president of the European Council; and Dr. Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the board of management, Daimler AG. GMF is joined in this initiative by our founding partners Daimler and the Federal Authorities of Belgium. We are also pleased to welcome Deloitte as a strategic partner, and BP, Chevron, The OCP Policy Center, and UPS as forum partners. In addition, we would like to recognize the support of our associate partners: the Asan Institute, Bank of America, Brussels Capitol Region, the Latvian Ministry of Defence, NATO, and the Wilfried Martens Centre. Finally, we appreciate the backing of our dinner program partners, AT&T, IBM, and Solvay. We thank Lufthansa Airlines Group as the official airline partner for Brussels Forum and recognize SpotMe as the creator of the official Brussels Forum app, BFconnect.
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