Hariri Center Director Michele Dunne and Senior Fellow Amy Hawthorne reflect on US policy toward the Middle East and North Africa in the two years since President Barack Obama promised to make it a top priority to support democracy and human rights in the region.
J. Peter Pham, director the Atlantic Council’s Michael S. Ansari Africa Center, was one of four experts invited to address a high-level international conference on the crisis in the Sahel region convened today in The Hague.
Rudolph Atallah, senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Michael S. Ansari Africa Center, testified at a House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing on “The Growing Crisis in Africa’s Sahel Region.”
On the heels of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s visit to the United States, Energy & Environment Program Associate Director Mihaela Carstei joins CTV to discuss the Keystone Pipeline project that would transport tar sands oil from Canada and the northern United States to refineries in the Gulf coast of Texas.
The Atlantic Council of the United States
NATO and Energy Security
Welcome and Moderator:
Robert F. Cekuta,
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary,
Bureau of Energy Resources at U.S. Department of State;
A. Wess Mitchell,
Center for European Policy Analysis;
Head of Energy Security Section in
Emerging Security Challenges Division,
Time: 12:40 p.m. EDT
Date: Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Federal News Service
IAN BRZEZINSKI: Good afternoon. Starting pretty much on time, and it’s a pretty full crowd, and that says a lot about the continued interest here in Washington on NATO, especially when you take NATO and energy security. I’m actually pleasantly surprised that we have such a full house.
My name is Ian Brzezinski. I’m a senior fellow here at the Atlantic Council. And welcome to our seminar “NATO and Energy Security: A Readout from Chicago.”
Let me first start by thanking the Embassy of Poland, and particularly Grzegorz Kozlowski and its ambassador, Robert Kupiecki, for making this event today possible. We’ve had a great relationship between the Atlantic Council and the Embassy of Poland, supporting a whole series of seminars and working dinners and such.
This effort today, our discussion today, is also a continuation of a kind of long series of activities and events the Atlantic Council has been sponsoring and promoting to foster constructive analysis and assessment of the issues and developments that led up to and now that constitute the aftermath of NATO Chicago Summit. These concluded a series of conferences we’ve done in cooperation with Allied Command Transformation on smart defense initiatives. It included a major conference in the Atlantic Council co-sponsored with the Chicago Council on Foreign Affairs right before the NATO summit. It included the Atlantic Council’s young leaders event during the summit in Chicago – in Chicago that brought to young leaders from both sides of the Atlantic the likes of Secretary Chunrol (ph), General Allen, who’s the leader and commander of ISAF, and a variety of heads of state.
This is also done with an in-house cooperation – another division of the Atlantic Council, which is our program on energy and environment, led by John Lyman and Mihaela Carstei. They explore economic and political aspects of energy security. And in fact, they have a publication that they did on Baltic energy security that I strongly recommend you take a look at. We have them out front with some of our other NATO-related publications.
NATO’s role in energy security, of course, is not new. I remember back in my teens, so I’ll date myself, when we had the debate in the 1980s across the Atlantic over Russia’s gas pipeline plans going into Western Europe. And some but not all recognized that – and understand that NATO has its own fairly extensive energy infrastructure, some 6,300 kilometers of pipelines that stretch from the Baltic all the way down the Mediterranean, from the Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy, Luxemburg, some 6,300 kilometers of pipeline and a whole set and whole array of strategic petroleum storage facilities.
Even more relevant today is the rising impact that energy-related crises are having on the alliance. I was struck, as I was preparing for this seminar, by an article by Professor Klare, Michael Klare of Hampshire College, where he talked about how in the past you had major conflicts occurring about once every 10 years that were either catalyzed or directly driven by disputes over energy, yet today we have a whole cluster of energy-related clashes and standoffs occurring simultaneously.
And the list he provides includes what we’re seeing in Sudan; the confrontation between China and the Philippines over the South China Sea; Egypt’s recent termination of natural gas flows to Israel; Argentina’s seizure of the – of YPF, leading to a standoff with Spain; Argentina’s standoff with the U.K. over the Falklands Islands and energy resources in that vicinity; and of course, the perennial issue of what’s going on the Straits of Hormuz.
NATO really got into the – started addressing energy security as a broader central issue back in 2008 at the Bucharest seminar. Just talking to Michael Rühle about that today. But in the concept – its Strategic Concept in 2010, it really codified, I think, the alliance’s shift from protecting solely – solely protecting territory to populations and thereby creating a security umbrella that extends beyond territory into some of the what are called soft security issues, including energy.
It tasked NATO to, quote, “develop the capacity to contribute to energy security, including the protection of critical infrastructure and transit areas and lines, cooperation with partners, consultations among allies on the basis of strategic assessments and contingency planning.” So it tasks the alliance to start playing a role in energy security. And that tasking, in a way, was reiterated in Chicago just this last month.
But tasking NATO is one thing; getting a consensus on it is another. And that’s what we’re going to be, in a way, discussing today as we address where is NATO headed in the realm of energy security and where it should be going.
And towards that end, we have three great speakers. We have, as a kick-off, Michael Rühle, who’s the head of the Energy Security Section in NATO’s – NATO Headquarters’ Emerging Security Challenges Division. If there’s an institution with an institution, it’s Michael Rühle in NATO. He’s been there since 1991. He’s had a number of very senior positions. He’s been long considered kind of an intellectual dynamo in the headquarters there. He’s – (inaudible) – policy planning units. He’s served as a head speechwriter.
And he brings experience also as an academic. He’s taught extensively on European security. He served as a fellow here in Washington, D.C., in my father’s institution, CSIS, a number of years ago. But most importantly, he is the point man on energy security. And when there was those taskings back in 2008 and 2010 and 2012 here, it’s – Dr. Rühle is the one who’s responsible for drafting those four documents around which consensus is supposedly going to be (sown ?).
After he speaks we’re going to have two comments, by – first by Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Resources at the Department of State Bob Cekuta. He directly oversees his bureau’s work on transparency and access to energy. He – prior to this position, he was deputy assistant secretary for energy, sanctions and commodities in the State Department’s bureau for energy and business affairs. He brings extensive economic experience, serving as a top economic officer in our embassies in Tokyo and Berlin. He’s also served in Albania, Austria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen. And interestingly, he also served – had a stint in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
Wess Mitchell, president of the Center for European Policy Analysis. He’s the co-founder of that organization. And in Washington and in Europe, he’s considered one of the top experts on Central Europe. He’s published extensively on U.S.-Central – U.S.-Central European relations and is actually a regular consultant, so to speak, de facto consultant to governments on both sides of the Atlantic. He’s a member of the advisory council to the Slovak Atlantic Commission, the Prague Center for Transatlantic Relations and the Atlantic Initiative in Berlin. He’s currently working on his second book, which examines 21st-century global geopolitical dynamics, which I assume probably includes energy security.
But also note that his organization, CEPA, has two big projects going on touching on energy security. One is the Central Europe Energy Horizons project, and the second is the U.S.-Polish energy dialogue, which I understand focuses very much on shale gas and the – and the effort to kind of help Poland develop its regulatory framework for that future market.
We’re going to kick off with Michael, and then we’ll have our two comments and an open discussion. Thank you, and thank you for joining us. Michael, the floor is yours.
MICHAEL RÜHLE: Thank you very much, Ian, for this kind introduction. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s a great pleasure to be here. I’d like to also thank Damon and the Atlantic Council for making this possible and, of course, the Polish Embassy who, I think, had the initial idea for this event. I would also like to thank those who have set up this room for giving me the opportunity to give my briefing standing, because according to an American study, men’s brains work 20 percent better standing. (Laughter.) I verified this; I proposed to my wife on my knees. (Laughter.)
The Chicago Summit is now behind us, and so NATO hopefully is in calmer waters again. And our diplomats are now busy studying the summit declaration and all the many other documents in order to distill the tasks that these documents contain for them. In some cases, they will probably need the Rosetta Stone to figure out what certain cryptic formulations actually might mean.
As far as energy security goes, however, I think no deciphering is needed. The short reference in the summit declaration to the confidential report on NATO’s role in the area of energy security is pretty straightforward. Now, the energy aficionados may have probably noted in the summit declaration kind of an optimistic tone on energy security and even some new elements. What it all boils down to this is the following: I believe that we have entered a second phase in the story of NATO and energy security. We have finally moved from discussions over if to the question of how. And this is an opportunity that we should not miss.
Ian already pointed out energy security has a history, a rather short and somewhat turbulent history in NATO. I think since the 1970s we’ve had in particular American observers suggesting to use NATO for energy-related contingencies, mostly at the time with a view to the – to the Persian Gulf. But these suggestions always fell on deaf ears at the time because allies could easily reject such ideas as a distraction from NATO’s main task of keeping the peace in Europe.
Things really changed only a little later. After the Cold War ended and the process of NATO enlargement began, because the new allies were facing serious challenges of energy supply due to their dependence on networks that were developed in the Soviet era. For these allies, energy security was a matter of national security. So when some of them suffered a major gas cutoff in 2006, this also became an issue for NATO. The result was a debate among allies on how NATO could best contribute to energy security.
Now, this debate that emerged after the 2006 crisis was, in all honesty, a very acrimonious debate. And this was not altogether surprising, because allies come to energy and energy security from very different angles. If you look at the 28 NATO nations, it’s easy to see why. They – their concerns and their policies differ widely. Some are major energy producers. Some have the luxury of having many suppliers. Some have the not-so-great luxury of having only one supplier. So their views on what constitutes energy security and their own energy situation differ considerably. And so many allies in these discussions were quite reluctant to grant NATO a visible role in energy security, fearing that this could militarize what is predominantly an economic issue, and others were afraid that discussions in NATO on energy security might easily degenerate into pointless Russia-bashing.
So to cut a long story short, the mandate that NATO was finally given at the 2008 Bucharest Summit that Ian already referred to, this mandate was rather narrow and rather defensive. Energy security was accepted as a – as a legitimate role for NATO, but it was a heavily caveated role. In a way, energy security remained a stepchild of NATO’s agenda.
Now, the first indications of a real change – and Ian alluded to that already – came with the New Strategic Concept in 2010, because this concept gave a lot of consideration to emerging security challenges, including energy security. And in parallel, the Lisbon Summit Declaration reinforced the Strategic Concept’s message by tasking NATO to integrate energy security considerations into NATO’s policies and activities. It’s a kind of sentence that I’d never thought would fly, but somehow it slipped somebody’s attention, and so there it was.
So to be – to be perfectly clear, allied views had not changed fundamentally, but allies accepted that the defensive and restrictive Bucharest language was no longer the only benchmark for developing NATO’s role in energy security. The Strategic Concept clearly moved the goalposts.
Now, events since the publication of the Strategic Concept vindicated the forward-looking approach that this document had taken in 2010. Just a few examples:
First, we had the counterpiracy operation of NATO off the Horn of Africa, which brought home the role of naval forces in protecting energy shipments.
Second – Ian already mentioned that – Iran’s repeated threats to block the Straits of Hormuz kept the energy issue also on the international agenda, including its military dimension.
Third, we saw repeated attacks on NATO fuel supplies in Pakistan, and we witnessed Pakistan’s temporary closure of its borders for NATO supply lines into Afghanistan. Both developments highlighted the operational dimensions of energy.
Fourth, outside of Europe – fortunately outside of Europe – we had a number of terrorist attacks on energy infrastructures.
Fifth, we had the Stuxnet malware that had damaged the Iranian centrifuges that left – led to increasing concerns about cyberthreats to energy infrastructures.
Sixth, we had the Fukushima nuclear disaster, which severely influences the global energy debate.
Seventh, we saw the repeated use of gunboat diplomacy in Asia as states were defending claims for energy-rich territories in the South China Sea.
And finally, we saw the Arab Spring and NATO’s operation against pro-Gadhafi forces in Libya. And these developments involved some of the key energy suppliers for Europe. So they also reminded allies of the importance of energy security.
It’s impossible to say which factors influenced which country in what way, because these countries will never tell you. But I think, taken together, these – these developments influenced NATO’s approach to energy security in several important ways.
First, as I just pointed out, they vindicated the Strategic Concept’s emphasis on energy security and on threats to infrastructure and supply.
Second, they broadened the energy security discussions far beyond the European gas disputes and their related debates about individual suppliers using energy as a political tool.
Third, they demonstrated that supplying energy for military operations was more than just a logistical challenge.
And fourth, they also brought home the close interrelationship of energy security and other emerging challenges, such as cyber, terrorism, piracy and environmental change.
All this helped moving the issue of energy security from a discussion over principle to one of concrete implementation. The Strategic Concept’s emphasis on emerging security challenges has broadened NATO remit and the Chicago Summit confirmed this.
However, to repeat myself, I want to stress that it has not led to a fundamental change in allied attitudes. The unease of some allies about entrusting NATO with too visible a role in energy security remains, and so does the challenge of developing an agenda that takes all allies along.
Now, what would such an agenda consist of? The Chicago Summit Declaration and the reports – the report that we wrote for the heads of state and government contain some pointers in this regard. So allow me to mention just the most – what I consider the most important ones.
The first thing we must do, in my view, is to demystify energy security, and we must make it a regular discussion item in NATO’s internal consultations. If I may put it differently, energy security in NATO must be stripped of its stigma of being essentially about Russian gas supplies. As the nexus between energy and cyberthreats, terrorism, piracy, environmental change is becoming ever clearer, energy security should gradually lose its distinctive character and become one of several interconnected challenges that NATO will have to help addressing.
And I would venture that the creation of the division that I work in, the Emerging Security Challenges Division, in 2010 is one step in this direction. This division combines energy security, nonproliferation, counterterrorism, cyberdefense and strategic analysis under one institutional roof. And this should gradually lead to a more systematic debate among allies on future challenges as part of an alliance that looks beyond the day-to-day management of military operations.
Second, we must continue the dialogue with other organizations and the private energy sector. This will help us avoid duplications. It will also help us to better understand the perspectives and requirements of the energy companies and to tap their specific expertise.
Third, we must take a more systematic look at operational energy. The cost of providing energy for the military is growing, and NATO – since NATO’s missions involve long distances and a sustained presence, they require ever larger support structures. The more fuel that you need to transport, the more you increase the risk for your soldiers. So by promoting measures that reduce allies’ dependence on traditional fuels and by shrinking their logistic footprint, NATO can enhance its collective operational capabilities, and it can do so in line both with environmental protection requirements and the requirement to cut cost. At NATO Headquarters, we have just started with bringing together some of the key stakeholders for investigating the way ahead on this issue.
Fourth, we must give more emphasis on training and education. Energy and all that goes with it is a major driver of international relations. And Ian just took the examples that Michael Klare came up with, and I think they’re quite impressive indeed. And I think our diplomats and military officers should be given the opportunity to learn about these things. That’s why we will seek to push energy security onto the curriculum of existing training courses at NATO’s educational facilities, and we will also develop new courses that deal specifically with energy security. And we’re working in this regard closely with Allied Command Transformation here in Norfolk.
Fifth, we must develop tailored cooperation packages for interested partner countries. NATO’s partnership network is a unique asset. We’re connected now with countries almost around the world. And many of these partner countries are either energy producers or important transit countries. And I think it is in our own interest to give them a venue to make their voice heard and to support them with expertise wherever we can. To this end, we have started holding consultations on energy security with individual partner countries in the so-called 28 plus one framework, and we will continue to organize events for sharing best practices on critical infrastructure protection with partner countries, because generally, the infrastructure of some partner countries is considered to be more vulnerable than our own.
Finally, I believe that we must make energy security part of a broader debate about climate change and resource scarcity. Several NATO allies, including the U.S., the U.K., the Netherlands, have already taken steps to integrate climate change with the analysis of energy and other resources at various levels in their national bureaucracies. It might thus be only a matter of time until NATO will mirror such a development, because when it comes to identifying major security drivers of the globalized world of the 21st century, NATO cannot afford to have a blind spot.
Ladies and gentlemen, none of these steps will turn NATO into a premier energy security institution. Given the different views of allies, it would constitute a major success if they were to treat energy issues as a natural part of their discussions, just as cyberdefense and preventing proliferation have become regular items on NATO’s political agenda. Put it differently, much of NATO’s energy security agenda in the years to come will probably be determined by the need to preserve alliance cohesion rather than advancing geopolitical, and let alone, military designs.
And yet even such a modest role will only be possible if one condition is met: that the United States continues to keep energy security on NATO’s agenda.
As a maritime nation with a global security outlook, yet not being dependent on Eurasian energy suppliers, the United States can play the role of an honest broker between its NATO allies. For those allies who feel particularly vulnerable with respect to their energy situation, the United States is the key country to ensure that their concerns are indeed being taken seriously in alliance discussions.
More than any other nation, the U.S. can frame the issue as one of showing solidarity with less fortunate allies and thus prevent energy security from being marginalized. And more than any other nation, the United States can frame the issue as being a logical part of NATO’s 21st-century toolkit. In short, when it comes to firmly anchoring energy security on NATO’s agenda, the United States remains the indispensable nation.
Thank you. (Applause.)
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Michael, thank you very much. That’s a great way to kick us off for this afternoon’s discussion.
Let me turn to Bob first, because you almost seem to kind of challenge the United States government to do what I think is a priority for U.S. policy, which is promoting the energy security agenda. So for our first comment, let me turn over to Bob.
MR. CEKUTA: Thank you. And I don’t think it’s necessarily a challenge. I think it’s actually a statement of fact. One of the things which has happened in the State Department – and Michael and I talked about this the other day – is that Secretary Clinton, as part of the general sort of review – her Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, which she ordered basically coming out of her own experience on the Hill, was the creation of a energy bureau. Now some of this – some of you know we’ve had special envoys for European and Eurasian energy. We’ve had special envoys for coordinating energy internationally, my old job in the economic bureau, other parts. And what the secretary’s really done is sort of brought all of this together in this new Bureau of Energy Resources.
And I think – I very much tried to listen to what Michael was saying, because a lot of this very much tracks with what the U.S. government is seeing and what our own experience has been. We go back to the 1920s, the 1930s in as far as diplomacy as being part of our energy – as far as energy being part of our diplomacy. We got to the ’70s and the OAPEC Arab oil embargo and the disruptions that came with the fall of the shah and the awareness of what happens when energy is not available. We remember the gas lines. There was – most of us, I think, remember gas lines. If you don’t, I want to know about it. But the – we see that impact that it had. We see the creation of the International Energy Agency, which was really set up as a way to coordinate among allies – because it was all OECD; we had Japan and some other countries have come in over the years – on how to keep stocks and use them. But the equations changed. The factors in the equation have changed, particularly, I think, over the last 20 years.
One of the biggest changes and something which we talk about energy security, we think about this – you know, and one thing I might try to suggest we need to do is broaden this event. And I know that’s kind of a dangerous concept if one’s talking about NATO. But energy security is not necessarily something that’s entirely country-based or even based with the region because so much of our energy comes from other parts of the world. We are still dependent on oil from the Persian Gulf. If there is a problem in the straits, we are all affected. That’s a fact that we need to be dealing with. It’s one of the factors of why we’re so concerned about the developments in Iran.
But we’re also need to be looking at the questions of what does the rise of China mean, what does the rise of India mean, not necessarily in terms of politics, but just in terms of buying oil, of buying gas. Their companies are now traveling around the world looking for and developing energy resources. Chinese and Indian companies are investing in the United States in the production of shale oil and shale gas. This is a new factor that needs to come into this.
We’re seeing two new technologies, which are – certainly in the United States, we’ve seen the development of unconventional gas and what this has meant in terms of U.S. in 2010 becoming the world’s largest – the world’s largest producer of natural gas. Now talking about exporting natural gas. OK, that’s good for us, but let’s think about this a second. How are we going to export gas? It’s going to be exported as LNGs, liquefied natural gas. That’s, again, changing this equation.
And we talked about the infrastructure and so forth. It’s not just going to be pipelines anymore, but the development of LNG and gas becoming a more global commodity. Right now we’re seeing gas price in the U.S. about two bucks, $2 a million Btu, in Europe about 9 (dollars), $10 a million Btu, in East Asia 15 (dollars), $16 a million Btu. OK, that has an impact.
You talked about the various factors that are going on – Fukushima, Daiichi and the Japanese response to the tsunami affect all of us, because that’s had an effect on demand. That’s had an effect on demand for gas and on oil. It’s driven up prices in other parts of the world. It’s created new supply needs and new trading angles on this. So again, we have a connection.
One thing that I think we – two things, I might add, that we’re looking at in the – in the U.S. government as part of the energy security equation that might add to what Michael talked about. One of them has a very definite impact, I think, on some of the work that you’ve sketched out, and that is the rise of new technology, certainly in terms of renewables. Also, things like smart grids, greater efficiency – these are things which we’re looking for in terms of countries and in terms of their development, but it also has a direct impact on what you were talking about with the military.
And one of the places I saw this very clearly was going out to Pearl Harbor, where – at Pearl Harbor and at Hickam, the military, in a very efficient military manner, has put in solar panels on every – on the roof of every housing unit. And in bing, bing, bing right down the rows. They did this quickly. They did it a lower cost, because they were able to get the economies of scale by doing this on a massive level and doing it very quickly. And you start saying: OK, what does that mean for the rest of us? And that is also, I think, one of the things which our own military is looking at and I think is also a piece of what you’re talking about with the NATO.
The other thing which was not mentioned is the question of there’s 1.3 billion people in the world out there who don’t have access to energy right now, and a very simple, almost high school-like definition of a security issue is when 1.3 billion people don’t have something that the rest of the world wants, we are probably going to have some sort of a security issue. And so this is one of the questions which we need to be looking at – looking at the new suppliers, the new – the other countries in this world that are going to be needing this and what this is going to mean.
And it’s going to – I think as you noted as far as NATO is concerned, things such as the operations off the Horn of Africa, we can’t necessarily think necessarily so much in terms of the old – you know, the classic geographic definition on some of these things because, again, things that happen outside that classic geographic definition can have an impact on our security, on what’s happening to us at home. So I think I probably should just stop there and take questions after.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Wess?
MR. MITCHELL: Well, let me just say thank you to Michael and Robert. I think they’ve given us a lot to think about and a lot to talk about. And also, I just want to applaud Ian and Atlantic Council for raising this issue. I mean, I think there’s a lot of issues in euro-Atlantic affairs that we talk too much about in Washington. NATO’s role in energy security is not one of them. I think we’re actually not talking enough about it. And as you can see from this conversation, I mean, just the target-rich environment of the things that we’re talking strategically and politically, there’s a lot of important work to be done.
You know, I would say I think it is important to look at this from the standpoint of the new member states, so to speak, of Central and Eastern Europe, something that Michael mentioned in his comments. And as I understand it from Ian’s, part of the value that I’m hoping to bring to today’s discussion is to encourage us all to look at it a little bit from the perspective specifically of the states in Europe that tend to be the most exposed.
And I think that that perspective is vital in a conversation like this, because the countries of Central and Eastern Europe – and by that, I mean the 10 member states – post-communist member states between the Baltic and Black Seas – have tended historically to be those states in the NATO alliance that are most – tend to be most subject to politically-motivated supply interruptions. They are, as Michael pointed out, some of the most geopolitically exposed member states in the alliance, have high levels of dependence on external sources of supply. But it’s also a region that is undergoing significant changes in the – in its energy landscape for the better.
And that would be maybe one of my biggest contributions to the discussion is to come in with a note of optimism, which is strange from a Central and Eastern European perspective, but just talk about some of the changes ahead in the Central and Eastern European energy landscape that I think bode well for the alliance as a whole in energy. I think the two trends to watch in Central and Eastern Europe, that if I were looking at it from the perspective of Warsaw or Prague or Bratislava, I would be thinking about in – keep in mind when assessing the Chicago summit, first of all, proliferating indigenous supply and, secondly, proliferating energy infrastructure. And I think that both of those trends have really strong implications for the NATO alliance on energy security down the road.
If you – if you look at what the Central and Eastern European energy landscape could look like within the next 10 years, it’s a very different landscape than today or 10 years ago – LNG terminals in both the Adriatic and Baltic Seas, nuclear reactors being constructed in the Czech Republic and Lithuania and eventually Poland, possible commercial quantities of Polish shale gas entering into the market, the stirrings of infrastructure to support the movement of shale gas across borders, increasing regional interconnectors – Hungary, in particular, has been a leader in this area, and eventually some prospect for kind of a regional market, a spot market and market prices for natural gas in Central and Eastern Europe and in Europe. I think those are – those developments, they’re not certain. But I think the broad trend is a Central and Eastern European energy landscape that will tend to make the region and Europe as a whole less vulnerable and more self-sufficient.
However, it’s also important to say that for now, the fact is that Central and Eastern Europe remains highly exposed, over-dependent on single source of supply. Nord Stream is operational now. We have renewed commitment to South Stream. We have dimming prospects for Nabucco. Oil is moving along the Druzhba pipeline through Slovakia and the Czech Republic. So the net assessment – I think the bottom line is that there’s a need for political, legal and security mechanisms over and above what are currently in place that mitigate near-term risks in the region and, I think, for Europe, but also that anticipate the changes to the broader European energy landscape that are coming down the line.
And against that backdrop, I think if I’m looking at Chicago summit and what the communique said about energy security from following the Chicago summit, let me just say what was positive, and it’ll echo a little bit of what Michael said, that the language in the communique is built around a correct diagnosis of the core problem, and that is the need for diversification of routes, of suppliers, of resources, interconnectivity. And NATO has a role to play in that.
For the United States in the past – you know, Ian mentioned a minute ago what the conversation has been like on the United States and energy security in the past – the old saying: Happiness has multiple pipelines. I think now happiness has multiple pipelines, suppliers and interconnectors. And that’s a good thing. I think also from the energy – from the NATO summit, the Energy Security Center of Excellence in Lithuania is not a small thing. It’s a positive step that could replicate for NATO some of the energy – in energy security what the Center of Excellence in Estonia has done for cyberdefense.
Of the three main issues that were raised on energy security in the communique, energy efficiency of military forces, protecting infrastructure and developing outreach, I think from the prospective of the most exposed member states, infrastructure is especially the critical point to be discussed. Overall, I think you could say of Chicago that it sustained the momentum from Lisbon and maybe from Bucharest and signaled that NATO is committed to defining a stronger role for itself in energy security.
I – that’s where my optimism or the positive things I have to say about the summit probably stop. I think that there was a lot lacking at Chicago that point to where the discussion is going to have to go. And I think the central issue is just a clear answer to central dilemma that has always faced NATO on energy, and that’s where specifically does NATO fit as an institution in an energy landscape that’s already crowded with a lot of institutions and actors. And until that question is answered, I think NATO’s role in energy security may continue to increase and may even be useful, but it’s hard to argue that it’s going to truly be strategic. There’s more to be said from a Central and Eastern European perspective. I’m going to stop there and maybe go into discussion.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Great. You know, when I listen to our – my three colleagues, I think back to an article – I think it was written in 1996 by Daniel Yergin – which wrote out kind of the framework for energy security. And he talked about diversification of supply, developing resilience – that’s the ability to take a hit, a cutoff of supply and to keep on functioning, information management – awareness, so to speak, of what are developments in energy markets and energy flows, managing globalization as the world shifts from energy markets that are less regionally compact and separate to one that’s more integrated, and then big emphasis on protection of supply chain and critical infrastructure.
And we seem to have touched on each one of those. But the one that seems to be – get the clearest emphasis in NATO documents is protection of critical infrastructure. And Michael, tell us – I mean, 2008, the document came out. But are we at a point now where NATO is really going to do something – how to put it – directly involved in critical infrastructure? We talked about its current role in helping countries develop their critical infrastructure protection capabilities – seminars, sharing of best practices. But do you see critical infrastructure protection becoming an operational responsibility or mission set for the alliance? Do you see – in terms of supply chain, do you see the alliance eventually getting into contingency planning for the – ensuring that certain straits around the world are open as we deal with, increasingly, a globalized market? Or is that just too far down the pipe for the alliance?
MR. RÜHLE: Yes and no. (Chuckles.) It is an issue especially, I believe, in the maritime domain. And I think the maritime angle is the angle where NATO’s, let’s say, traditional military capabilities can be put to good use in terms of infrastructure protection. And I think the maritime documents that are currently being developed are the most outspoken in this respect, compared to other documents.
No in the sense that all allies are very clear that critical infrastructure protection is a national responsibility. And so I think the – they are not too keen on – many may not be too keen to have NATO play a larger role there. That’s why we have focused very much on creating an environment where best practices can be exchanged on critical infrastructure protection. As I said earlier, some of our partner countries’ infrastructure is, I think, more vulnerable than our own. And if we can channel expertise from NATO, expertise from the private sector and bring it, let’s say, to the partner countries, enhancing – enabling them to enhance their resilience, then I believe this is – this is, for the foreseeable future, the most – the most interesting way to go.
Since 9/11 I’m always – I’m less categorical about saying something can be done or cannot be done, because I would never have believed that before 9/11 we would ever end up in Afghanistan. So if you have an energy 9/11 of whatever kind that could be, everything we discussed now may be, you know, yesterday’s news. So you could – you can foresee a game-changing event that will suddenly propel NATO into the forefront of critical infrastructure protection. But I – under normal circumstances, I don’t see that role.
MR. BRZEZINSKI : Bob, is the U.S. government satisfied where NATO is on energy security, or are we trying to push a more – a more involved role for the alliance, perhaps in the promotion of measures to enhance resilience, perhaps in its sharing of information, in its coordination of energy policies?
MR. CEKUTA: I think, actually, Michael put his finger on something that’s important there: the crowded energy security – the crowded institutional landscape that’s there. I think to a great extent what we see often in the U.S. government is there is the work that goes on in the political-military traditional security sphere, which often concentrates on these questions about NATO. On the economic side, we don’t often think as much about this as we probably should be. The issue may be the same, and we may be dealing with host governments at the same time on the same thing. But in terms of the – of NATO as the focal point or the – or the vehicle on some of this, we may not be thinking so much.
Much of what it is that we do do in terms of the energy security discussions really does take place – and I think especially with the – with the partner countries in NATO, most – probably three-quarters of which are also in the International Energy Agency, and the work that goes on in Paris and that front. It tends to be very focused on the work of – energy ministries, economic ministries are the ones that tend to be represented around the table. So you end up with a sort of bifurcation, maybe, of some of this discussion.
And what we sometimes, I think, seem – think happens is that the actual – where these pieces sort of meet is often very much at the top. I mean, when you look at the discussion that took place in the G-8 last month up at Camp David, there were parts of the – of the G-8 leader statements that focused on questions which could be defined as energy security in terms of the availability of oil in cases of what may be going on regarding Iran, in terms of the questions of energy and its need for – the role it plays in economic well-being, in the terms of transparency, in terms of engagement with non-Western, nonindustrialized countries, in terms of the climate piece. And so I think in some ways what we may need to be doing is a little more integration, and in some other ways, just within our own ministries and our own – and our own institutions, in terms of how we actually do engage on this and sort of see what the different pieces are, how people can play together and get a better synergy going forward.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: And maybe to follow up, but is there anything that we’re pushing within the alliance right now that we’re not getting consensus on?
MR. CEKUTA: On energy?
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Yeah.
MR. CEKUTA: (Chuckles.)
MR. BRZEZINSKI: I mean, do you – would the U.S. government want NATO to start thinking more proactively about access, supply chains, supply routes?
MR. CEKUTA: I mean, much of that I think, again, goes back to sort of – I mean, there is the questions in terms of what those supply chains are, the access, the particular points. And then you start getting out again, as we said earlier – what are the parts, you know, the straits, the Persian Gulf, other parts of the world, and at what point can – how far can NATO sort of go on some of that, that kind of discussion. And that’s something I know that is often not terribly easy to get consensus among the different members when you’re trying to get at that.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Wess, you talked about some of the positive dynamics under way: the shale gas discoveries in Poland, of course, and in Romania, the increasing connectivity between the central European energy market and the West European market. Right now the central Europeans are probably the more assertive NATO allies when it comes down to promoting the alliance’s role in energy security. Well, as the Poles start getting energy-rich and – are they going to lose their fervor – (laughter) – or are they going to become even more concerned about how NATO can protect their newfound wealth?
MR. MITCHELL: Well, I think that’s a great question. It points to the central issue that I think we’re all going to grapple with on energy security in Europe in the coming years, which is that shale gas really does have the potential to be a game changer. And I think it’s going to defy a lot of the categories that we – and how we traditionally think about energy security in Europe. It’s far from a foregone conclusion. Even, you know, the most optimistic estimates on shale gas there are codicils and caveats and problems that we’re going to face. But I think on balance – and to tie it into the discussion we’re having here, I think on balance, it’s a trend that will help address this problem of political divisions in Europe. It’ll – it will – on energy security more than it deepens them. And what I mean specifically by that is as you have some prospects for regional indigenous sources of supply, I think by definition, energy security in Europe becomes less about politics and more about markets. And that’s precisely what we want it to be about. And I think as it becomes more – less about politics, it becomes less divisive within the NATO alliance.
So in some ways, you know, if you’re looking at it from a Polish perspective, I can’t imagine the Poles waking up and, because of shale gas, being less in favor of a strong NATO voice on energy security. But it may change the way we think about what NATO is – what role it can play in energy security. Infrastructure, just the proliferation of infrastructure in Poland and the rest of central Eastern Europe is a – is a largely underexamined or unexplored area of new reality for the alliance. I mean, we’ve seen in recent days in an extraregional sense just how vulnerable infrastructure can be as an Achilles’ heel outside of Europe. I mean, in the – on the Horn of Africa, all it takes is three guys with a motorboat and an RPG, and you can put $100 million of oil at stake. And back during the Georgia war, closer to home in Europe, you had even rumors that the BTC pipeline was being bombed – caused the price of oil to drop by like 10 bucks in a day. So I think just the proliferation of infrastructure alone in Poland will probably, on balance, tend to make the Poles even more – you know, more strongly in favor of a NATO role.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: One thing that strikes me is that NATO does have some civil emergency preparedness capacities that it never really seems to be using fully in Europe. And Michael, I’m just wondering, is there any thought about tying – is it the Euro-Atlantic Crisis Response Center – into energy security? It’s kind of linking the military capacities and these quasi-civilian capacities the alliance has to prepare for, you know, response capacities to a blowing-up of an oil refinery or damage done to a well or damage done to a reactor.
MR. RÜHLE: In theory, yes. I mean, NATO has the capabilities to – that could come into play in practice. These capabilities were used mainly in natural catastrophes – in floods, for example, in Ukraine. So at this stage, I think the possibility is there, but it depends, of course, on the country in question whether it requests NATO support. And I think in many of these issues, coming back to the issue of infrastructure and national responsibility, I think most countries feel that they can competently handle their – the issues. Again, it’s slightly different with partner countries, which often have, I think, a less developed crisis response system. But issues like oil spill and so forth are issues where NATO could indeed have a mitigating role.
But if I may come back to one point that was said earlier both by Wess and Bob, I agree with Wess’ point about energy security getting a different flavor the moment that Central and Eastern Europe is no longer as vulnerable as it is today. I’m not saying that they will become less interested in the subject in NATO, but it will change the tone of the conversation. And I would think that to be a good thing. I mean, why not – for once, we have a security problem that solves itself. (Chuckles.)
And back to what Bob said, I think indeed that the U.S. just pushing for more energy security in NATO will not do the trick, indeed. I think the U.S. general – what I’m appealing to is the U.S. general role as a driver of NATO’s agenda more broadly. Energy security as a stand-alone issue will always look a bit odd. If you – if you bring it into the broader notion of NATO becoming a 21st-century alliance, looking at nonproliferation, looking at cyberdefense and things like that, then I believe you have a much higher chance of really, you know, bringing everyone along. And the fact that we’re looking, for example, at cyberthreats to energy infrastructure, SCADA systems and so forth, I think is one way of normalizing energy security, mainstreaming energy security in NATO’s broader agenda. So in my view, by pushing all these subjects, the U.S. also pushes energy security, but not as a stand-alone item, which I think may fall short of what, in the end, you would like to achieve.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: OK, let me open it up to the floor here and ask my colleagues that when I give you the microphone, please tell us who you are and what your affiliation is, and if you have a point or a question, keep it brief and to the point, please.
Q: I’m Simonas Satunas from Lithuanian Embassy. And thank you so much all – you on the panel and Polish Embassy – this stuff , because you can imagine, it’s very important for the Baltics. And like Wess said, still probably you would like to have more energy like a topic of the politics, but we in the politics would like to have vice versa, to have the energy the topic for the market – rather, from the politics, what we were starting to do that in the last probably already 20 years.
So when you look at the Baltics, what we are trying in the last maybe 10 years to become from energy island, which was called for many years, to energy lab. And as you can see, we do a lot in LNG and nuclear and in interconnection. So we did a lot with the European Union and interconnecting the Balts to the – back to the European Union grids and then creating new generation capacities. But – and actually, we are really very happy to have that topic in NATO. It probably will have a little bit different angle, and my question would be can you maybe comment – and yesterday a lot of – now in this Chicago Summit Declaration – and yes, Lithuania is in the front establishing NATO center of excellence in energy security. But when you talk about energy security, should we talk more maybe about energy safety? Because I mean, the critical energy infrastructure, this is the not only supply question but the safety of the facilities in the NATO countries and also around the NATO countries.
So can you also a bit maybe discuss safety versus security topic in the discussion within NATO? On any front, energy security discussion in NATO is very good, and just the only thing what would left to keep that on agenda. And this is really critical, what you said about the U.S. leadership in this. Thank you.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Is it Wess?
MR. MITCHELL: Sure. I think it’s a great question. You know, the way that I would look at this is I would see energy safety as one of a variety of very important issues that are – that are not receiving enough attention, that are – that will need more attention as we see developments like those in Lithuania with interconnectors, nuclear, nonconventional gas – and elsewhere in Central and Eastern Europe. That’s – you know, you start to run into kind of some of the core questions related to NATO and EU and who really should address these things.
On something like energy safety, I think it may speak to Michael’s point a minute ago, if I understood him correctly, about a philosophy that understands that there are political divisions in NATO on energy security and starts small. So you build with small – not – I don’t mean this in a demeaning way, but you build with – you start with what is accomplishable rather than the big political things that will tend to divide the alliance. And maybe in that sense it fits on the NATO agenda. I would speculate, though, that, you know, those smaller things, while important – and I think we saw some of those mentioned, some things like that in Chicago – I think that they – it’s important not to mistake those things for the progress on the truly strategic issues that are core to the alliance about the role that NATO has to play on energy security.
And you know, I think it’s something that, if I’m looking at the communique – and this is a small thing, but I think the small things matter – energy security is item number 52 on the communique, out of 65. And by the way, if I – you know, from a Central, Eastern European perspective there were a lot of other things that were important to the most exposed member states in the alliance. And they were all near the bottom – I mean, CFE and BMD. But at 52 – these are small things. They’re symbolic. But they send a signal. It was outranked by some things on the – on the list that probably are a lot less strategic.
And ultimately, you know, if you’re – if you – if you end up with a statement that’s down near sort of the – sort of a thank-you to the city of Chicago – (laughter) – you know, I think it –
MR. : You’re not from Chicago, I take it. (Laughter.)
MR. MITCHELL: Beautiful place, and I’m glad they hosted the summit. But I think the deeper point that I would simply say is you’re right that things like that should be raised. I simply think, though, that, you know, maybe in a cumulative sense they start to amount to progress. But over time there’s a larger question related to the strategic matter.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Bob, or – ?
MR. CEKUTA: You know, I think – I mean, part of this, I think, does come back. And it may be incumbent on the member governments to try to figure out how best to address these questions, because I think when you talk about this question – and this is a very – we sometimes lose this, I think, as Americans, the difference between safety and security. And I think sometimes – at least for me, dealing with some other languages, we find out that they’re really the same word. And you know, trying to sort of get this through Japanese or something, and you – and you realize how difficult this can be.
But these questions, you now, may really be the point of – for the – for the member governments to start trying to think where can these be best addressed. There are things that are important, but is it something to take on in a NATO context? And I think, you know – Wess’ point is good. You know, take on discrete steps.
I mean, even when we would talk about, you know, the protection of infrastructure, there’s a tremendous difference – as we have unfortunately learned in some other parts of the world – in an attack on a pipeline versus an attack on a pumping station versus an attack on a refinery. Some things, as we have learned in certain countries – an attack on a pipeline can be repaired very quickly. It’s not good; you don’t want to see it happen; but something can be done quickly. A pumping station or a GOSP or some other sort of more technical facility could take you a lot longer, can have much greater ramifications for the population around it.
And so these are the sorts of things that – maybe the question of how exactly – and this is probably the diplomat in me coming out from having, you know, dealt with different fora – which – you know, these are the problems you identify to NATO. And do you try to solve it in NATO? Do you identify to NATO, try to resolve it through other fora that maybe focus more on internal security matters that are, you know, not military? Are these economic questions? How do you actually do this? But I think part of this is trying to get the different elements of governments aware, thinking about this and trying to look at all the different tools that are out there and can be – can be brought to the equation.
MR. RÜHLE: I totally agree with what Bob said. I think that you’re moving into the area of, let’s say, regulations, norm-setting, standard-setting. I think that’s not what NATO would be – the traffic at NATO could not bear that. And this kind of gets back to what Wess said earlier about the crowded field of actors. If you – if you worry about, let’s say, the safety of a power plant next to you, or something like that – completely hypothetical, of course – then this is not something that you are – would gain much from bringing this into NATO. I mean, you can of course inform your allies that this is a worry, but what should they do?
So I think it’s very important that we choose the correct framework, as Bob was saying. We have to – we have a number of frameworks to choose from, but we have to choose the correct one. And I think that – I’m intrigued by the – by the word safety, indeed, as opposed to security. But I think it would be a bridge too far for NATO to venture into that subject. That’s just my guess from the previous discussions we’ve had.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Dieter?
Q: Thank you. Dieter Dettke, Georgetown University. My question is about the Arctic. And here’s a great potential source of energy – oil, gas – huge consequences for transportation, and huge potential source of conflict too. I mean, you can already see some sort of militarization of the area – Canada, Russia, the U.S.
So can you – question for Michael Rühle in particular – has your office done some work on the Arctic and the potential consequences of competition, cooperation there? Is that maybe – you mentioned the 28 plus one. Is that a potential subject for the NATO-Russia Council? Would be a good subject, right? I mean, NATO-Russia Council shouldn’t exhaust itself just talking about missile defense and going nowhere. So is that a potential avenue for, you know, your activities in the future? Thank you.
MR. RÜHLE: Thank you. I think at this stage the answer would probably be no, because those who – those countries who border the Arctic are all NATO nations except Russia. They all basically tell us to stay out. Why do they do that? First of all, I think they feel that, at this stage at least, they do pretty well in handling these issues and settling them in a peaceful way. Even they – as you say, they sometimes focus also more on – in military terms on this region.
At the same time, I think it’s an issue where NATO’s image as an institution that is not exactly making Russia terribly happy comes in. So you’d like to – if you want to sort something out bilaterally or in the Arctic Council with Russia, you may actually do something that’s quite counterproductive if you suddenly bring NATO into the picture, given the animosities that are clearly there.
But the third point is that, indeed, the first major briefing on the Arctic was given by – at NATO in the council some years ago by the Norwegian foreign minister, who in a – in a briefing that was very much appreciated by the allies basically said, at this stage it’s a low-tension region; let’s keep it that way. I read into it – but this is just my interpretation – bracket – open bracket – if it gets worse, we’ll tell you – close bracket. (Chuckles.) So that – he was happy with the fact that NATO had sort of a watching brief on this region.
And let me tell you, from a previous incarnation as a speechwriter, how difficult this was when we had a major conference in Reykjavik on the Arctic – on the High North. And the then-secretary-general said, I want to publish an op-ed piece for the regional press in the north, you know, the northern allies. We wrote several drafts, and in the end we decided it was best not to publish anything, because whatever we would say was wrong. If we say we do more, people get nervous. If we say we do less, people get nervous. If we say we do what we always do, it’s boring. So we decided not to publish anything on the High North; was actually the best strategy. And probably, for the time being, that’s all one can say about it.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: That gentleman here in the green.
MR. : (Off mic.) (Laughter.)
Q: Sorry. It’s Michael Brenner, the Energy Institute at the University of Texas. A question for the panel, particular for Michael, who sort of sketched out a formidable agenda under the sort of heading of energy security. I think it might be instructive if you could identify and indicate sort of one or two sort of concrete issues, circumstances, sort of problems in which sort of NATO’s engagement might provide some value added, compared to the way they’re being approached now.
Let me suggest two, perhaps: Turkey’s ambitions to be an energy transit hub for oil, natural gas from the Caspian basin, Central Asia, Kurdistan and the various multiple political complications associated with it; and the other, to maximize benefit from expanding Iraqi development and production, which after all are places, if I recall, we did make a modest investment recently. Thank you.
MR. RÜHLE: Very briefly, Azerbaijan – which of course is closely intertwined on the Turkish issue – has, over the last year or two, I think accelerated its efforts to work more closely with us on energy security. We are still in the process of trying to find the added value we can provide, because it doesn’t make sense to disappoint partner countries, especially if they – if they are important energy producers like Azerbaijan. But there you already have I think a certain pattern of a country that is orienting itself Westwards, in a sense of its exports, also moving closer to NATO on energy security.
The second, Iraq – well, the training mission in Iraq has ended. But the Iraqis were very interested in participating in some of our events on best practices on critical infrastructure protection, because this is of course a major issue in this country. So they are – both with respect to the Caucasian element of energy supplies, as well as with the Middle Eastern element, I think NATO can offer some added value.
But I would never sort of boast and say that, you know, we do phenomenal things that you just must have. I think these are – these countries make a simple judgment. They see NATO as a security – a security supplier, if you will. And even as partner countries, which do not fall under Article 5 or any of these beautiful things, they feel more comfortable, I think, having close relations with NATO. And being a partner also enables you to have what I mentioned earlier, these so-called 28 plus one meetings – you can go to the NATO Council or to other committees and basically tell the allies what your situation is, what problems you see and so forth. So it is a bonus that partner countries see and, I believe, make increasing use of.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Sure. Up here.
Q: Thank you very much. I’ve been called a lot of things, but never the guy in green. (Laughter.) Teal, earlier, but not green. (Laughter.)
Thank you, Ian. My – I’m Steve Shapiro, a council member from New York. And my – I’m thrilled about this panel, and I’m thrilled that the people here are the – those who are here are here, because my concern is with respect to the aggressive use of energy as a – as a tool of state power, and fully insufficiently discussed. I – my – I believe that the discussion is stuck in the kinetic concept and not a full understanding of energy as a nonkinetic weapon.
And I’ll just offer an example of when, sitting in the tank at Europe Command not long ago and having this discussion directly with the – with the top brass there, the question – the answer – the answer to the question came back, well, energy policy is a Washington issue – as if we were talking about where to drill or how to deliver energy. This – so they understood this as an energy policy question and not as a security question.
When speaking with General Craddock when he was supreme commander, sitting in a small hut in Pristina with the Black Hawks revved up and ready to go, he confided that he had declared, for NATO purposes, energy to be a weapon of mass destruction. And when he – to me he said that. (Chuckles.) And when that was brought to Admiral Stavridis’ attention, his answer was, well, Craddock said a lot of things. So it’s plainly a different point of view with respect to that.
So I think part of the issue is that the cloak of commerciality over energy is – fools us. We’ve – we so believe in commercial behavior and capitalism, that even if it’s state capitalism and even if it’s used aggressively, it still falls in the “that’s a good thing” category. And this – the discussion we’re having today is beginning to crack that or to go through that cloak. But I’m not sure it’s gone far enough.
I mean, just for example, you mentioned cyber. And your office is fantastic in that there’s a new-threats office. But look at how long it took DOD to link cyber to kinetic – to equate the two. NATO has yet to issue its own statement with respect to that. And when you travel through the Baltics, as I’ve done on behalf of Admiral Stavridis, and the ministers there ask the question, which of these attacks constitute an Article 5 attack?
If you take down my economy or a sector of it or my airport with cyber, or you shut down a city with energy, is that Article V? Or is it simply tough commercial behavior that we say, gee, that’s tough, you should get tough back? So anyway, it’s a long-winded question, but you – but there’s a – as we say, target-rich environment, there is a lot of issues wrapped up in that. And I wonder if you could address – Michael, I think you’re the right person to start that answer, because –
MR. RÜHLE: In fact, your reference to cyber is very good because it makes it easier to contrast energy with it. Cyber is an issue that is closer, I would say, to the core business of NATO. It has semikinetic effects. We’ve experienced it many times, cyberattacks. The headquarters itself in Brussels is under attack a hundred times a day. That’s sort of normal. But I think everybody accepts it as being a high-priority issue because it’s in the discussion, it’s one of – one of the most important – frequently discussed issues at this moment in the international security debate, so for NATO it was not too difficult to put this – you know, to internalize this.
And in fact, we do have a cyberpolicy. We are bringing the various cyberaspects of NATO under a centralized authority. We’re setting standards for the nations because we felt that the nations have very uneven cyber – levels of cyberprotection, depending on the money they spend.
Q: An understatement.
MR. RÜHLE: Yes. Well, OK. (Chuckles.) But we try to address that.
And we are also defining cyberstandards that will draw ever more partner countries into this. So we are already setting standards on cyberdefense which will be, in a way, followed by a huge crowd of countries outside NATO as well. So there is a – I think NATO is kind of producing a new cyberdefense reality out there.
But on energy, it’s not quite so easy, because on cyber, we’re all vulnerable, almost, let’s say, to similar degrees. On energy, the situation is quite different. Some countries do not feel vulnerable at all, and others feel highly vulnerable. So that’s why it’s much easier to – let’s say, to – (inaudible) – cyber into NATO’s agenda than energy. And I think this is – that’s why I’m happy for your – for your question, because it shows the difference. Cyber affects all of us; energy, only some at this stage – (snapshot of 2012 ?).
Q: But you’ve got yourself a problem, of course, with vulnerable partners who are NATO members entitled to Article V defense.
MR. RÜHLE: Indeed, and that’s why – and that’s – exactly. That’s why enhancing resilience on cyber but also on energy infrastructure is important, and that’s why NATO is addressing both.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Bob.
MR. CEKUTA: I’m actually going to disagree, which is probably – that’s a – that’s a good question as you actually start getting some splits within the panel. I would disagree entirely with the statement that energy doesn’t – energy security doesn’t necessarily affect us all. I think if the lights suddenly went out here and we had to walk down 10 stories or 11 stories, you start realizing fast how it affects you. And I think, in some ways, that’s part of the problem. It’s ubiquitous to us. It’s not ubiquitous to the world.
And I think when we look at this and we talk about, well, why energy sort of became – (inaudible) – factor in the discussion in NATO was the concerns in Central and Eastern Europe, yes, and also probably in Western Europe to an extent; I was posted at our embassy in Berlin in 2006 and – so lots of sort of throat-clearing, and going oops, this – we have – we have a problem.
We’ve had those problems before. I mean, as I mentioned earlier, we had them in the ’70s. They were very dramatic. And we talked about gas lines, and we kind of forgot about that.
Last year a OPEC member that produced 1.7 million barrels a day stopped producing, largely due to internal reasons, but – oh, by the way, there was an international boycott, there was a no-fly zone, NATO did have a role. And it also turned out well, thanks to the heroism of the Libyan people and the outside help.
Energy was not a factor in the decision, but it was affected by that decision. Because of that decision, and also other conditions that were prevailing in the international markets at the time, the members of the IEA, after a lot of discussion, decided to release 60 million barrels of their oil stocks, partially to sort of – and this was the same time the Saudis and some others within OPEC had also decided to increase their production. So there you sort of see a – even in recent history. It wasn’t no gas lines three blocks long, but it does come together.
The question, though, I think, again comes back to this point. And this is – this may be the – you know, I hate – I’m not going to use the word architecture, but the – you know, sort of those questions of how institutions do fit together to help governments use them and how you sort of bridge the groups within the government, because the econ wonks like me will instantly go, oh my God, energy is basic to everything. Energy security I would define as the assured access to energy at an affordable price. And I’m not sure that we – maybe it’s too broad of a definition, but I think it’s probably a good way to look at it.
The question becomes, can – what can NATO do on that? You know, at certain points, how do they enter in the equation, and how do other parts of the government work on that? Their NATO partner governments, their NATO member governments, the partner governments seem to be acting on it. But it becomes a question of really how. But I do see a definite connection there.
MR. MITCHELL: Well, as the guy on the panel who works on Central and Eastern Europe, I mean, I appreciate the question. It’s demonstrably true. I mean, the premise is demonstrably true, and it’s not talked about enough. It’s talked about less and less. I mean, the – I would say the aggressive, the assertive, deliberative use of energy as an implement of state power, I mean, as in – it’s an asymmetric power asset, so it’s hard to counter, but I would argue only really for political reasons in a NATO context. It’s not hard to counter if NATO chose to speak with one voice; it’s something that the NATO alliance could effectively address as a group of very prosperous nations that, if speaking with one voice, there’s a large neighbor to the east that would have to listen.
I think it speaks to the obvious kind of central role for NATO on energy security that arguably relates to its core functions under Article III and Article V – you know, self-help and collective defense. NATO spends money studying the effects, the potential energy effects of trade winds. I don’t mean this as a criticism, but we look at things like the potential energy effects or potential of trade winds, but we don’t take on the most obvious thing in the room that the alliance could be used against.
And I think the – you know, what has to be said analytically and in analytical terms, is that part of that is driven by deep divisions among the member states. There are members of the NATO alliance that act as de facto enablers of that problem by not showing a willingness to address it through effective NATO channels.
I saw a Swedish think tank a couple of years ago, had a report that looked at the number of politically motivated supply cutoffs over the last two decades, and it was something like three dozen different identifiable instances, and that’s leaving aside those cases that are, you know, of questionable provenance. But I think it speaks to this issue that Michael raised of U.S. leadership being key.
MR. : Well, then, what happens on the issue of resilience? I mean, here you’ve identified this long list of over a dozen politically motivated cutoffs. Lithuania, I think, I would argue, has experienced that. Ukraine, I would argue, experienced that, and the aftershocks went deep into Western Europe. What is NATO’s role in developing, fostering, promoting, setting policy standards in the realm of resilience? For example, strategic petroleum reserves? I mean, I know that’s an –
MR. : IEA.
MR. : – IEA – not requirement, but –
MR. : It is a –
MR. : Oh, it is a requirement.
MR. : It is a requirement that all members have to have 90 days’ stocks.
MR. : Stocks. Should the alliance be getting in that? Because those stocks involve its interests too. Bob, is that – is resilience a role for the alliance?
MR. CEKUTA: I think – again, I’m – maybe I’m drawing a difference here between the alliance and the organization. The question for the allies is, I would argue, that definitely you have to be working together, and this why we had this requirement within the IEA that was established, what, back in 1974 – ancient history. And part of the reason for that – and you hear this from the state – the new executive director of the IEA who used to be the Dutch minister of economy – no one is secure unless we’re all secure. That kind of sounds like another organization.
And the reason for that is that because of the global market, the – energy doesn’t – it doesn’t get necessarily divided off for our countries by border; it’s what you – what you need to buy. And so it’s a – it’s a market function. So if one country is somehow boycotted or unable to get it or something, it’s going to have a consequence across the board. And we’re seeing this right now due to decisions that have been made by some governments around the world on their stance on certain types of energy. That can have a certain bumper car effect.
I think, again, this comes to the question of how governments themselves see the best way to address that. And some of this may be, you know, the need for some communication among some of these agencies on some of this – on some of these institutions, on some of this.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Michael.
MR. RÜHLE: In fact, this latter point is very, very valid. We are – the whole – if you look at emerging challenges more broadly, at cyber – we already talked about that – you realize that NATO in itself, let’s say as a – as an institution where you usually have dialogues between the departments of defense and the foreign ministries, it’s not – it’s not going to – going to do the trick if they – if you’re not able to also deal with, for examples, ministries of the interior – and of course, also, private industry, because when you talk about software, you need to talk to the private sector as well. And I think we are in the process of sort of breaking these traditional stovepipes and talk to the interior ministries and talk to the software companies and so forth.
This will – if we – if we move down that path, I think it will also have a very beneficial effect on energy because we are talking, although not regularly enough, I would say, with the EU, with the energy agency and the OSCE and others.
What I found interesting is that none of these other institutions sees us as a threat. When I got into this, I thought they will say, oh no, NATO, what are these guys doing here? You know, we’re doing economic issues, we’re doing soft stuff, we don’t do military kinetic stuff. But ironic – or actually surprisingly, they are very – they were actually quite happy to talk to us because we all – as Bob was saying, I mean, we all are interested in energy security, and – even if we use sometimes different tools to achieve the same goal.
So while at this stage, I think NATO could not sensibly put forward – I mentioned this earlier – you know, regulations on stocks and stuff like that, I would argue that in – by talking to other organizations, we could, over time, have a dialogue on stocks or similar things. It’s just at this stage, I think we’re too soon, we’re too young in this – in this game to venture on what many will perceive their turf.
MR. : (Inaudible.)
Q: Camilo Ierino (ph) from the Embassy of Spain. I have two closely related questions. The first one could be addressed to Mr. Mitchell or Mr. Rühle. Always speaking about energy security, of course, what is the relationship between NATO and European Union, since the European Union has been working also in this field for many years? And then to Mr. Cekuta, almost three years ago, following a proposal from the United States, we established a trans-Atlantic energy council between the European Union and the United States. One of its working groups is addressing specifically energy security. What do you expect from this working group?
MR. : I’m going to start with the first point. On – we have relations with DG Energy in the EU. And it centers mainly around critical infrastructure protection. We invite DG Energy people to our events and vice versa so we have a basic idea what the other institution is doing. The – I think of course the EU has a real energy policy, although one could argue that it doesn’t always work as intended. But I – it’s in this – in this respect, it’s, of course, far ahead – it will always be far ahead of NATO.
But what NATO has is a partnership network, which is, of course, far bigger than the EU’s. And so we are trying in a way to combine our respective strengths to the best effect for all – for all nations involved. Most of the NATO allies are EU members in any case. So it’s largely a critical infrastructure issue. And through our partnership network, we bring countries into these frameworks which, I think, would be more difficult for the EU to address.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Bob.
MR. CEKUTA: On this question of the trans-Atlantic energy council, the person who’s really best positioned to answer that is Ambassador Morningstar – Richard Morningstar, who was, A, our ambassador to the EU a number of years ago and has been sort of running this piece of the work for the U.S. government over the years and actually help set up that council.
I think what it is we’re trying to do with that is to get into a discussion with the EU and the whole of the EU on the various aspects of energy security and the different things that can be taken into account, whether in terms of the access to the pipelines, other things that need to be sort of moving, because, again, this question – one of the things I think which we haven’t talked about here – because it’s not really – it’s a – not a NATO issue, it’s a sort of EU or European issue – is the question of the barriers that exist within Europe on sort of – the in terms of transmission, in terms of energy – an energy market or energy markets. And this is something which has been an involving piece as well within Europe in terms of trying to think about how it is that they’re going to deal with these or how Germany is going to deal with France and so forth.
You know, we’ve talked about Central and Eastern Europe, but the old EU members have a piece in this – well, energy was not traditionally a part of the – of the EU discussions, except for atomic energy, going back to EURATOM. So I think in terms of your question what is we’re trying to do, essentially it’s a broader discussion on all the different aspects of energy that – in terms of a trans-Atlantic piece, but also within Europe itself and how these need – how these need to fit together.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: I’m going to give the last question to Grzegorz, our sponsor, and then I’m going to give a moment – a chance for our speakers for some closing remarks.
Q: Thank you very much, Ian. And in referring to what you just said earlier, I will have to ensure you that Poles will never lose fervor in keeping their energy security in NATO. (Laughter.) Thank you very much, all the speakers, for being here today. And especially thank you very much, Michael, for accepting our invitations to fly from Brussels to Washington.
And I would like to have one question to you, because talking about progress within the next couple of years in NATO, how do you see within those list of six issues – how do you see the strengthening of cooperation with the private sector? Is it feasible? What is your view on that? Because you describe that you would, I mean, have such a dialogue, I would say in closing.
MR. RÜHLE: I think the private sector has a – two kinds of interests when – for dealing with NATO. They have – on the one hand, through us, they get access to a whole group of partner countries all, let’s say, in one package, so it’s a matter of convenience. And second – and this is more tricky – I think the private sector is very much interested in NATO’s, let’s say, strategic analyses of certain regions – of our – these are things which we cannot easily share, obviously. These are intelligence issues. I’ve often talked to people from the big oil companies, and of course they get intelligence from various sources themselves, mainly from their own nations, but they would be much interested in seeing what is the collective assessment of NATO, of developments in a certain place.
This is something that we need to discuss further because it’s – it – at this stage we couldn’t share these sort of things. But I believe we have to – we have to work a little more on that, because otherwise it would be a rather one-dimensional or a one-way street, and I think we shouldn’t let this become one. We like to work with the private sector because they have enormous expertise and they bring this expertise often for free to the NATO table, to the – to the – to share with partner countries. So I see this as a – as a – as a – as something we need to work on further.
And as I said earlier, when you look at other threats such as cyber, where working with the private sector is becoming almost a daily habit now at NATO, I think it’s only logical to assume that what works in cyber will also work, albeit along different lines, with – on energy security. I think NATO today has to be connected far better with the commercial sector than it used to be in the past.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Thank you. Since it’s now almost 2:00 and I promised our speakers I would get them out at 2:00, I’d like to give them a chance for a kind of a last remark. And I’d like to kind of frame that with a – with a question.
You know, at the Chicago summit in the paragraph 52 or 54, which would address energy security, the council – North Atlantic Council was tasked to refine NATO’s role in energy security in accordance with Bucharest and Lisbon declarations. And it says: We task the council to produce a further progress report for our next summit. Sitting in your shoes, aside from language, declaring a commitment to energy security, what are the one or two things you’d like to see the alliance actually do, an exercise, a tangible step, a capability, a development that you would like to see it achieve prior to that summit?
Should I start with – maybe I’ll work down the angle here, starting off with Bob.
MR. CEKUTA: OK. I think actually I want to come back – you know, this discussion just now in terms of the private sector, I think that’s one of the things that we have to sort of bear in mind in this discussion. And because the two – these pieces are not necessarily fitting well together, or maybe they’re fitting well together, it’s just that there’s no – there’s not necessarily been a conscious connection between the two here. Our energy security has largely been developed by the private sector or state-owned oil companies to a certain extent or state-owned enterprises. And we look back at the three things in the communique – access, diversification, interconnectivity – a lot of that really comes from the private sector.
The question, I think, for us – yeah, and I think if were – yeah, to me, we’d try to think about this in terms of NATO is, how do you translate that into this aspect, which is so basic to our economic and our national well-being, that is so basic to being able to move our vehicles around within NATO? How do we indeed find a way to help ensure that access, that it will be there when we need it, take into account what NATO can’t do – we’re not looking to NATO to develop oil stocks or something like that – but to sort of get a sensitivty or maybe rekindle in a positive sense the sensitivity of what energy does indeed mean to the overall security well-being of the members?
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Maybe just kind of to push you a little bit more, you were almost hinting at, in terms of the question I was giving, what you would like to see accomplished; you’d like to see a real interface develop between industry and the alliance. NATO has that – a fairly robust relationship between defense industry and the alliance.
MR. CEKUTA: Yeah.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: But maybe there’s a need for an institution to be established where NATO can become more aware and can also help shape and provide risk analysis – not risk analysis, but insights into their – into the risks posed geopolitically. That kind of interface – that kind of intersection, exchanging of views could be quite useful.
MR. CEKUTA: Yeah, I think that exchanging of views and I think also the exchanging of information regarding technologies and how the energy world is changing, because that is something that is really an amazing development, which we’re not talking about here today, but is under way right now.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Wess?
MR. MITCHELL: Well, you know, Ian, I think that my answer to that question would be, you know, if I – my magic wand would be that – would be greater explicitness about collective security in Europe on energy security and in crisis response, number one, and, number two, expanded maritime capabilities for the global commons.
And you know, I think in a lot of ways one of the things that we’re still kind of preparing for collectively as an alliance and as a society is that this 21st century will be an energy century. It’s – the great trend is towards the commodity thirst. I mean, the rise of Asia, rising markets are going to completely change the energy landscape as we know it in ways that we’re not prepared for at all. And I think, you know, the – there are embedded elements of instability in the status quo energy landscape inside and outside of Europe as we know it that will come to the fore, whether we’re prepared for it or not. It’s, you know, Straits of Hormuz, Horn of Africa, Straits of Malacca, South China Sea. Those global chokepoints are going to matter a lot more.
And I think, you know, maritime in a lot of ways, as Michael said, is where it’s at – you know, coping mechanism for a crisis. And that’s – that must be a role for NATO. That’s not a script that’s going to write itself. I think it requires U.S. leadership. There’s a lot that NATO can’t do about energy security. I mean, it shouldn’t be there for the broader legal and regulatory framework. But when the question comes up, who protects the pipelines, who protects the member states, who protects the global commons, I think the answer has to be NATO.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Great.
MR. RÜHLE: Well, since the next summit is probably around 2014 – I’m just guessing – so it’s not that far away, I have to be much more modest, although I agree with what both – (chuckles) – speaker said – two things I would be very happy about is if we have achieved – would have achieved by 2014 regular discussions, brainstormings on energy more broadly as a driver of international security developments.
At this stage, I still feel that if you – if you suggest energy as a discussion item, you basically suggest that nations have to go to the dentist. You know, they say: Oh, does it really have to be now? And ah, you know, and I – (laughter) – it’s not that they don’t think it’s important, but they don’t – they don’t see it as something that sort of comes natural. If that would be changed by 2014 – and who knows what’s happening in the energy world; it may well change – that would be very helpful.
By the way, just as an aside, one of the best briefings we’ve ever had, according to all nations actually, was the briefing we had in the – in the political committee by the senior economist of the IEA. Everybody said that that’s brilliant; we’ve got to have this again. So they’re – you know, nations are not oblivious to this.
The second thing we’d like to do and should do until 2014 – a full integration of energy scenarios into our military scenario planning. I mean, we have integrated cyber, we have integrated all kinds of, let’s say, quote, unquote, “exotic” issues. In our scenario creation, I think energy should also play a bigger role there, because this would be commensurate with the real life.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Well, you took the words right out of my mouth. I was going to add scenarios. I think that would be a real achievement by the alliance, if it could get consensus to agree on that. And it would be an important signal to the international community about NATO’s readiness to do that.
With that said, we’ve hit 2:00. Let me thank our speakers for joining us today. It’s an – it’s an important issue. It’s clearly a growth area for the alliance, and I think we’re going to be hearing a lot more about this subject between now and 2014 or 2013 if there’s a summit done. Thank you very much, gentlemen. (Applause.)
MR. : Thank you.
MR. : Thank you.
On May 30, the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center will release a new issue brief, The Kaleidoscope Turns Again in a Crisis-Challenged Iran, a discussion of Iran’s upcoming presidential elections.
From June 13-14, the 2013 Wrocław Global Forum will bring together over 350 top policy-makers and business leaders to explore the region’s impact as an actor in Europe, as well as its crucial role in the transatlantic partnership and on the global stage.