Examination of Witnesses (Questions 260-279)|
Mr Robert Cooper and Mr Richard Crowder
30 JUNE 2008
Q260 Lord Hamilton of Epsom: And
timescales for implementation?
Mr Cooper: I think that is for discussion
Q261 Lord Hamilton of Epsom: It is
something we could call for?
Mr Cooper: Yes. It is always good if
you are going to make a commitment, the more precise you make
it the more real it is and, therefore, putting in deadlines is
a good thing.
Q262 Chairman: Would that be best
in the Strategy or would it be a good idea if, together with the
Strategy the Council adopted, a document instructing that by a
certain date something of that sort should be developed?
Mr Cooper: Yes.
Q263 Chairman: Both ways are possible,
are they not?
Mr Cooper: There are many different ways
of doing that. It will depend. In the end when you try and draft
these things they fall into a natural shape. It depends how much
detail you want to go into in the different areas. I have one
particular personal fetish in the area of capabilities and that
is whenever we try and do anything there are several things we
find we have not got, and one is helicopters, which everybody
is now working on very hard, both in this part of Brussels and
in the other part of Brussels and down at SHAPE as well. The other
thing we always find is in very short supply is policemen and,
indeed, more general civilian capabilities. That is partly because
policemen were never designed to be deployed abroad. One of the
things that I hope Member States will consider when they look
back over the past five years is whether there might not be merit
in having national programmes for deploying civilians abroad.
That is something which has to be looked at on a country-by-country
basis because everybody has different systems. Indeed, I think
the UK has already taken steps in this direction and I believe
Finland has done the same as well. If everybody thought this was
a good idea there would be merit in everybody having a look at
their national systems.
Q264 Lord Hamilton of Epsom: How
would you do that? Would you dual-hat existing policemen and give
them a liability to be deployed abroad?
Mr Cooper: Again, this is a national
question because the police are all within national systems. For
example, it would be useful if police forces recognised that serving
in a mission abroad, which is often doing rather difficult things
in a rather challenging environment, was something which ought
to be regarded as career enhancing and to equip people for promotion,
for example. At the moment the tendency is that if you go abroad
when you are a policeman everyone is surprised when you come back
and I do not think it necessarily does you that much good.
Q265 Lord Anderson of Swansea: Out
of sight, out of mind.
Mr Cooper: Yes. Often the jobs that they
are doing abroad are very challenging indeed and they take a lot
of responsibility and that ought to be recognised.
Q266 Chairman: It is sometimes suggested
that this can be done so well by people who have Gendarmerie or
Cabinieri, but it is not only that sort of policemen who are needed
and, therefore, in the UK and other places we really need to think
rather hard about this difficult problem.
Mr Cooper: Exactly. We ought to recognise
now that this is not something which is just an accident that
has occurred once or twice, it is now a regular feature of life
and we need to organise ourselves for it better than we do at
Q267 Chairman: It is something which
we are pursuing obviously in the case of the Afghanistan situation.
Mr Cooper: Exactly.
Q268 Lord Hannay of Chiswick: If
I understood you correctly, you are positing for the sake of this
discussion a European Security Strategy which is not much changed,
the actual core document, with some form of accompanying document
which, as it were, updates and brings within the scope of it some
of the things that have assumed greater prominence since 2003,
like climate change or energy security and so on.
Mr Cooper: Climate change is the obvious
Q269 Lord Hannay of Chiswick: In
that context it does strike me, and also that of effective multilateralism,
that it will be very important that the European Union tries to
find a way out of the difficulty in actually implementing and
applying "Responsibility to Protect", a way which tries
to de-intoxicate that from the belief that it is a military intervention
mechanism rather than a how to stop states failing mechanism,
and only if they have totally failed an intervention mechanism.
I do not know what you think, but it seems to me that since acceptance
of "Responsibility to Protect" happened after 2003,
it would be good if some references to that could be made. Of
course, the other big issue for 2009 which may be quite difficult
to accommodate but quite important is the whole business of multilateral
nuclear disarmament and the input that a new American President
now seems very likely to make to that and on which the Europeans
certainly do not have a lead role to play, but unless they want
to be dragged along behind it without making any effort at all
it seems it is about time they started thinking about it in a
more purposeful way.
Mr Cooper: I do not know how one should
describe our role but it is not negligible because where the European
Union has been able to get its act together in the context of
NPT Review Conferences, for example, it has quite a lot of impact
because we represent states ranging from Ireland to Britain and
France. Something that commands consensus in the European Union
at the very least attracts a lot of attention from parts of the
non-aligned movement, for example, and can become the focal point
for a consensus. In that multilateral context the EU is not a
negligible actor at all. On the whole, what either of the US potential
presidents is going to do takes them much more in the European
direction and ought to assist the process of creating the large
consensus that is very important. All of those developments seem
to me to be very welcome indeed.
Q270 Chairman: "Responsibility
Mr Cooper: It seems to me it is a little
bit like the phrase, "human security", that somehow
the phrase has taken on a life of its own. In a way, it is what
we do. We do our best to try and catch states before they fall.
It was what we were doing in the case of Kenya where there was
a very major effort mounted by the European Union and the US together
to try and prevent the last elections from bringing about a collapse
of the state. I do not think there is a problem with the substance,
it is somehow that the language has become
Q271 Lord Hannay of Chiswick: Yes,
but surely you need to unpack the language a bit, do you not,
and get away from a kind of acronym which simply gets people behind
barricades shooting at each other and gets them to thinking seriously
about how it should be done. After all, as an important player,
as you rightly say, in somewhere like Kenya we should have our
say also and try to move the debate away from this because it
damages one of our objectives, which is effective multilateralism.
If every time somebody talks about "Responsibility to Protect"
nothing happens and everybody just says, "Oh well, it's completely
useless and we can't do that", then we are damaging one of
the pillars of our own Security Strategy.
Mr Cooper: Yes.
Q272 Lord Anderson of Swansea: Presumably
even if the word has to be redefined, because the concept is now
in greater currency, there would have to be some response in a
new Security Strategy.
Mr Cooper: I do not want to commit myself
because I would like to see what the debate is going to be like
on that. When the existing Security Strategy was drafted the word
that caused more attention than anything else was
Q273 Chairman: "Pre-emptive".
Mr Cooper: The concept did not actually
cause that much difficulty and if you read the document carefully
you can see the concept is still there. The word caused enormous
Lord Hannay of Chiswick: It is just Article
Q274 Lord Hamilton of Epsom: I have
trouble with the words, I must say. I do not man the barricades
against Lord Hannay on this, but it has an awfully open-ended
sound to it to me and it then says to me that if you find it necessary
this "Responsibility to Protect" takes you into Chad
but it does not take you into Zimbabwe. That is the worry I have
about it. Why do you think Chad is more worthy of being saved?
I know why it is, but under that umbrella I do not see you can
really differentiate between one or the other.
Mr Cooper: The trouble with real life
is that one is faced everyday with particular problems and you
do your best.
Q275 Lord Hamilton of Epsom: Yes,
exactly, but inevitably you pick and choose and that is the world
we live in. I would like to move on to terrorism. The question
is whether it should be added into the document? I hate asking
that question because I do not think anything should be added
into your document at all. Do you think that the reaction to terrorism
has been covered? Do you think people are aware of the threat
really to our cities in Europe?
Mr Cooper: This is a personal view, I
have not been so involved and Richard probably knows better than
I do the debates that have taken place so far. Personally, I thought
this was a good moment to have another look at terrorism because
it is the kind of thing where if you do not have a major incident
for 18 months then everybody tends to forget about it. Secondly,
it does seem to me that there is a sort of secular trend that
there is going to be more, the means for terrorism is more and
more available and, like it or not, there is going to be more
and we do need to take it seriously on a continuous basis. Thirdly,
it is an area where there is an underlying difference of approach
between Europe and the USA which needs to be resolved and therefore
it would be a good thing for us to clarify our ideas on this in
advance of a new American administration. You do not find people
in Europe use the phrase "war on terrorism", it is clearly
seen in different terms from the USA. However, that said, I am
not familiar with how the debate has gone so far.
Mr Crowder: The only point I would add
to that is there might need to be more of a focus on home-grown
terrorism compared to five years ago.
Chairman: If one looks at the French White Book
where in a sense they look at security in this sort of way, this
might be one of the inputs which the French looking in your direction
Lord Anderson of Swansea: The Director of Chatham
House in his inaugural speech made that distinction. For us terrorism
is a domestic issue needing all the sensitivity it requires; for
the US it is a foreign policy matter dealing with nasty individuals
in far away places.
Q276 Lord Hamilton of Epsom: It is
quite interesting even with home-grown terrorism, the degree to
which they are cued into the Internet, the information they are
getting and the encouragement to commit an atrocious act does
come from abroad.
Mr Cooper: It is both national and international.
Q277 Lord Anderson of Swansea: My
question follows Lord Hamilton's. Clearly WMD is going to arise
in the document and the question, therefore, is posed whether
the 2003 document, together with the document on non-proliferation,
in your judgment is adequate and whether there will be a need
for amending in any way and, if so, in what way?
Mr Cooper: I do not think we have done
badly on WMD. I find the extent to which the EU is conscious of
WMD as a challenge and a threat and is active on the subject is
very different now from five years ago. We have also done perhaps
better at WMD than we have on terrorism in identifying the things
that can be done well at a European level. We have quite a lot
of programmes designed to help support the IAEA in different ways.
We are the principal contributor to something called the Nuclear
Security Fund which helps ensure that countries have got adequate
security systems, adequate safeguards, adequate administrations
Q278 Lord Anderson of Swansea: So
you are content effectively?
Mr Cooper: One can always look at these
things again, but what we have done with WMD is we have had five
years of activity and rather than rewrite the 2003 paper on WMD
we have had a continual six month process of updating the priorities.
During this Presidency there is going to be another look at the
EU dual use list on export controls, which I am told the US takes
round when it is visiting countries in Central Asia and says,
"Here is a model piece of legislation. If you could do something
like this, this is a good example of it". That needs continuous
updating because technology moves on. Dealing with WMD is a matter
of continuously taking small steps and the EU is quite good at
that and we have been doing that for five years.
Q279 Lord Hannay of Chiswick: Could
you speculate briefly about where we are likely to be by December
with the Iranians given that that will undoubtedly affect the
way in which people address all these issues? You have just been
to Tehran, I think. Secondly, on this nuclear area, there is the
small picture stuff which you have talked about, which the EU
is very good at, the incremental stuff, and there is the big picture
stuff which we talked about 10 minutes ago about the possible
American input to a renaissance of multilateral nuclear negotiations
which is absolutely fundamental to whether or not the 2010 Review
Conference turns out to be a fiasco or is a step back on the road
to more effective non-proliferation.
Mr Cooper: That is absolutely vital and
in my mind it links in a little bit to the subject of Iran. We
find that when Iran is discussed in the IAEA Board, for example,
it is still somehow seen as being a north/south question, but
that is ridiculous because the people who are going to suffer
are going to be the south, the north can look after itself. Therefore,
the right moves by the USA to promote real international consensus
on this are vital in terms of everybody understanding that proliferation
is a problem for them and it is not us trying to deny people technology
or anything like that. Those all go together and they go with
the Iranian case specifically to try and get away from the Third
World reflex. We have not made progress with Iran in the last
three years and it would be very surprising if we made progress
between now and Christmas while they are waiting for the new US
administration. We went to Tehran for all kinds of different reasons,
to continue to demonstrate that we are serious about seeking a
negotiated solution, and I think that we somehow got through quite
well to some of the people in the government who seemed to listen
to us. If you looked before Solana's first meeting they put out
a press statement saying that they totally rejected everything
he brought with him. After the second meeting they put out a press
statement saying that perhaps his visit had opened a path towards
negotiation. I do not build too much on that but, nevertheless,
he seemed to have made some impact there. Where we did make some
impact was in the wider Iranian public because we held a press
conference that was like nothing I have seen. You would have had
to have a press conference for Madonna or somebody to see something