tv Wilson Center Discussion on Europe Security CSPAN November 22, 2020 4:33pm-6:07pm EST
elections made to certify the election results, the four member bipartisan board is required by law to certify the results by november 23, so far all of michigan's 83 counties have certified their result, but the rnc and estate republican officials have asked of the board to audit results from wayne county and detroit. watch live coverage of the meeting monday at 1:00 eastern on c-span. conversation on the history and future of the organization for security and cooperation in europe which has and north 67 europe american states, it was created in the early 1970's to provide security and action of rights. hosted by the wilson center, this is 90 minutes. i'm jane, the president and ceo the wilson center and
welcome you to this virtual conversation. europe holds and free the future of the -- the line was unintentional, but we did it. today's event is sponsored by our global europe around under the direction of our newly minted director, dan hamilton, who will take over managing this program for me in a little while. it's also sponsored by our kennon institute in partnership with the u.s. helsinki commission. dannon joins the wilson center after holding a variety of patients in the u.s. department of state, including notably, assistant secretary for european affair responsible for nato, the osce and transatlantic security issues of the nordic, baltic, and balkan affairs. he also retains an affiliation with and taught for a while at
johns hopkins. our conversation today marks an important milestone. 30 years ago today, the charter of paris for the new europe was signed by 34 european and north american countries symbolizing an end to the 40-year division of europe into two hostile camps. it formally signaled the end of the cold war and set the osce, or the csce, the conference on security and cooperation in europe, on the course of becoming the consensus based security group we now call the osce, the organization for security and cooperation in europe. here at the wilson center we're good at understanding history and how history shapes policy and we have a deep connection to the osce through our programs like the kennon institute and now our global europe program, through our former wilson center
fellows including ambassador wolfgang issinger, who is chair of the conference where i serve on his committee. through, among others, former helsinki commission chief of staff spencer oliver who is on this call and will participate later in the program and frankly through my role and the role of our first speakers as members of congress who remain close to the osce and i must say call out a former chairman of the helsinki commission, good friend of all of ours, steny hoyer. our speakers today will delve into the origins of the group but also the critical role-played by congress in the development of the principles undermining the helsinki final act in 1975, the charter of paris in 1990 and the creation of the osce. as i mentioned, having visited
the osce personally myself, somebody i'd like to recognize who i believe is on this call is lamberto danae, former secretary general of the osce. we are still involved with lamberto and he headlines a number of events at wilson center, it's very good to see you, my friend. but having said all that good stuff, while 30 years does call for celebration, the osce now faces significant challenges. freedom is still elusive for many europeans, that's not a secret. the continent is not fully at peace. that's also not a secret. and europe is again wracked by divisions in part exemplified by the current leadership crisis within the osce, about which we'll hear a lot. looking forward, what are the prospects for a more whole, free, and at-peace europe? what is the future of the osce? and what is the role and responsibility of the united
states which will be under new leadership in a very short period of time? to discuss these issues i am delighted that we will begin with two key members of congress who can speak to the constructive and bipartisan role that congress has historically and currently played with respect to the osce. to start us off will be my former colleague, senator ben cardin of maryland, who is in his third term as senator but prior to that served in the house, where i was, for a number of years where he represented maryland's third congressional district. ben has spoken at the wilson center many times, most recently in 2018 for an event titled "rule of law: a linchpin of u.s. foreign policy," he's been a commissioner on the u.s. helsinki commission since 1993, serving as chairman of the commission and the 111th and
113th congress. in 2015 he was named special representative on anti-semitism, racism and intolerance to the osce parliamentary assembly. our other speaker is republican congressman robert aderholt, who represents alabama's fourth congressional district and has been in congress since 1997. he's a member of the house committee on appropriations, serves as ranking member of the subcommittee on commerce, justice and science. he's been a commissioner on the u.s. helsinki commission since 2001 and we are thrilled to welcome him to the wilson center. so let's start with you, ben. for five to seven minutes of opening remarks followed immediately by congressman aderholt. ben: jane, first of all, thank you very much for this opportunity and thank you for holding this event. first of all, it gives me a chance to see some of my friends. it's great to have spencer oliver on the call and robert aderholt, my colleague from
alabama, the two of us have worked very closely together within the osce. and i'll start with that understanding. the osce and u.s. helsinki commission has operated in a very nonpartisan, bipartisan way since day one. so it's an area where we come together promoting the principles of helsinki and it has brought us together in the united states congress with a common mission to advance goals that are important to democratic states. so thank you for holding this event. it's a historic day. 30th anniversary of the charter of paris. let's go back a little bit in time if we might at least to start. 1975, when the helsinki final act was entered into, it was basically an initiative in which russia wanted to claim legitimacy as a democratic state and they're the ones who really wanted to have the commission
for security and cooperation in europe to show to europe that they were part of the democratic fiber of the continent even though they were not. and the years between 1975 and 1990 were years of struggle. i'm going to just fast forward a little bit to 1987. 1987 was my first year in the united states congress. my best friend at that time was steny hoyer who is chair of the u.s. helsinki commission. he asked me to get involved with the work of the u.s. helsinki commission in 1987. i did. the first issues i got involved with were basically soviet jews, trying to save soviet jews under the umbrella of the u.s. helsinki commission. i remember meeting with representatives of the soviet union and talking about these issues. it was a struggle. i had the opportunity to visit berlin, a divided city, to see the impact of the cold war and the division of europe. and recognize the damage that had been done.
perestroika came in 1987, 1988, 1989 with gorbachev where he was trying to move toward a more open society. and then in 1989, the fall of the berlin wall. paris came a year later. the second summit of the -- of the helsinki process. and it was a major accomplishment to get to 1990. but the years between 1975 and 1990 were years of struggle. they were years of trying to promote the principles of helsinki even though we were very far from reaching those goals. and i want to acknowledge up front the work of the frontline crusaders and on that, the founder of the moscow helsinki group in 1976, he spent 15 years in prison in russia as a result
his advocacy on behalf of human rights for the people of russia. he found a new home in the united states. he died this past september at the age of 96. but the point i bring up here with mentioning yuri's name is that the helsinki process was not just a dialogue among governments, but between governments and their citizens. and we should acknowledge the importance of civil societies because they're facing renewed repression in the osce region. so the paris charter was a major accomplishment. it was a major statement. something we can celebrate. that was the commitment that democracy as the only system of government for our nations. that was the statement of the paris charter. defending the free media from attack. deterring electoral misconduct through observation missions. and the premiere organization in the world defending human rights. and i'll just give you one example if i might of that advancement.
that was the progress we made in combating human trafficking, .odern-day slavery area i say that because that was an initiative that started in the u.s. helsinki commission. we took it to the parliamentary assembly. it was adopted in the parliamentary assembly. and it led to legislation such as trafficking and persons report in the united states congress which is the premier document globally on evaluating how well each country is doing in fighting modern day slavery. one of the great accomplishments of the charter of paris was the parliamentary assembly, giving a legislative arm to the osce. i want to acknowledge once again spencer oliver the longtime secretary general of the osce parliamentary assembly. he really went up against the bureaucracies of our government and established the parliamentary assembly as an effective voice within the osce. we initiated so many of the
activities within the osce and we were not restricted as they are in vienna by the consensus rule. it's a proud record of accomplishments but there's still much room for improvement. as we talk about going forward, just acknowledge that the osce needs to be more open in the way it does business. it has to have greater access to nongovernmental organizations. they have an issue of how organizational work is done through consensus. they have on able to overcome those obstacles. but the principal problem within the osce today is not the deficiencies in its organization. it's the lack of commitment by the member states to the principles of helsinki. the principles of defending human rights of its citizens. principles of noninterference and sovereignty, territory of member states. so on this 30th anniversary of the paris charter, let's remember the key mission, to
to build, consolidate, and strengthen democracy as the only system of government of our nations. we all know we can do better. from the point of view of the united states, let me say, we recognize that we have challenges in our own country. and we recognize that helsinki process that every state can do better. and we welcome the active participation of other states as to how well we're doing in our own state. but make no mistake about it, we have countries that have done major violations to the principles of helsinki from russia to belarus to turkey to azerbaijan, to hungary. the list goes on and on. we are committed to a nonpartisan process to continue the great work that was started in 1975, that was really brought to height in 1990. we are committed to making sure as we transition from one administration to another, the
bipartisan work we have within the osce framework, within the helsinki process, will only be strengthened to advance the principle of democracy and democratic institutions. with that, jane, i turn it back to you. jane: thank you very much, ben. congressman aderholt. robert: thank you so much jane. it is good to be with you and thank you for the invitation to participate this morning and have the opportunity to participate with some of my colleagues from the osce. of course this sunday we just heard from who has been a mentor to me on the osce and has worked alongside him for many years and then of course it's good to see george, who will be joining us a little later. worked with him for several years as parliamentarian from georgia. and then of course our current secretary general, roberto montello and the former spencer oliver.
so secretary general for the osce parliamentary assembly. get to work with a lot of great people and of course not to mention all the staff, i see alex johnson on the call. it's a great organization to work with. but i have had the privilege of working with osce for almost 20 years. right after about my third term in congress i was table go, and oddly enough my first osce parliamentary assembly meeting was in berlin. that was my first exposure to it. probably a great place to have my first meeting and have my first -- and also my first time to berlin as well. as we talked about today and as senator cardin mentioned, it was
30 years ago that the leads of the participating states of what is now the osce met in paris, adopted the charter of a new europe which boldly proclaimed democracy as, let me quote, the only system of government for our nations. it also declared, quote, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms to be irrevocable. the charter was built upon, of course, the helsinki accord signed back in the mid 1970's, which provided framework for toe c as we know it today. it ceased from being an ongoing forum for negotiations and dialogue and instead it evolved into a dynamic structure with multiple institutions within the larger body. the participating states extolled the role that private citizens and nongovernmental organizations have in promoting
human rights, promoting democracy and also the rule of law. i think it's noteworthy in his speech to the summit, then-president george h.w. bush said we salute all those individuals in private groups in the west who showed that the protection of human rights is not just business of the government. it is religious leaders and ordinary citizens. and this really remains true today as we witness citizens working to further the cause of freedom and a lot of times they do this at a lot of personal risk. the osce of course is widely known as having one of the most comprehensive human right commitments in the world. and that's no small part due to the breadth of human rights commitments agreed on at this landmark summit in paris. and i'll be honest with you, when i came in, 2001, as a member of the osce, what
attracted me to the osce and to get involved was the involvement with human rights commitments. and human right commitments for people around the world. whether that be in their political freedoms that they had, but also their religious freedoms that they could worship as they choose. would not be persecuted or discriminated because of it. and what the final -- the helsinki final act, what it was for the integrity of the state, the charter paris is for fundamental freedoms. the fall of the berlin wall of course in november of 1989, the collapse of the soviet union in 1991, really gave the paris summit its landmark bookends. and after a long, tense decade and the cold war and really catastrophic fears of nuclear
war, really at that point gave way to hope of real security, lasting cooperation in europe and a post-war goal of europe being whole, free, and at peace seemed to be attainable. as we look back over 30 years, it's not hard to consider the unfulfilled promise of those euphoric days in paris or even consider whether the high water mark of the o.s.c. may have predated the formal creation in 1995. of course it goes without saying there are many regions within oh the osce footprint that remains where there is strife. where peace and democracy still hang in the balance. also compounding these matters are the leadership vacuum at the o.s.c. institution that was envisioned by the paris charter to resolve conflicts and restore confidence. but while our predecessors in
paris meeting, they had a very interesting time during their day, the conversations that took place without a pandemic going on and of course like we have never seen in our own lifetime. and just as no one participating in that charter could predict the collapse of the soviet union which at that time was only a year away, we cannot see the contours of the world that will emerge from the lockdowns we're seeing now and the disruption the coronavirus has brought to the entire world. i think the question will be is, will the post-covid era be marked by economic resurgence and spirit of cooperation by prolonged recession and conflicts, will we get another chance to revitalize the lofty aspirations that's contained in this charter? and whatever the future holds, i
believe that a revitalized o.s.c. will be a powerful asset for our leaders as they navigate in a new era and we continue to call upon all governments to respect the inalienable rights of the governed. with that, let me close and say thank you for allowing me to participate today and be a part of this. it's great to be with all of you today. jane: thank you very much, robert. i want to introduce the rest of our program and ask you both one question if i can keep you that long. but let me make an observation first and that is how refreshing from the vantage point of a weary american it is to see two members of congress in different parties not only engage their friendship with each other but the mission that they share of being very good stewards of the osce. let's just -- contemplate that for one second.
as many of you on this call know, i served there with both of them for nine terms and left in 2011 because the toxic partisanship was just, for me, too hard to take, so i came to the oasis of the wilson center where we are nonpartisan and we try to reflect, you know, views from both sides. the interesting thing is members of both parties choose to appear on our forum. i'm happy to be where i am but i'm also happy you're both where you are. keep taking your vitamins. let me mention who else will be on this program. following -- one question to both of you and turning this program over to dan to manage, we will have two europeans. we will have robert ridberg who serves as deputy minister of foreign affairs for sweden, the
incoming osce chairing officer and following him will be, he's been mentioned, george tsereteli, who served as president of the osce since november 2017, previously he was vice president of the assembly first elected in the 2012 annual session in monaco and subsequently re-elected in the 2015 annual session in helsinki. following them, our dear friend bob zellig will be back for one of his enormous number of appearances at wilson center events. bob was president of the world bank from 2007 to 2012. he was u.s. trade representative from 2001 to 2005. deputy secretary of state from 2005 to 2006. but most important for this purpose, from 1985 to 1993 he served as counselor to the
secretary of the treasury and -- jim baker and undersecretary and he was also undersecretary of state under secretary jim baker. jim baker had virtually every role in government, as bob did, as well as white house deputy chief of staff. for sure, bob was in all the rooms where it happened. when all these arrangements were put in place. and he's still a very act i -- active chronicler of not just u.s. politics but all things related to this topic. i only have one question, it interests me a lot, ben mentioned it more, i think, but you did too, robert. the osce is based on the concept of consensus. how refreshing is that in today's fractured world? one of the things that is so interesting is, russia is, was, is, a member of the osce. however, as i mentioned earlier
and i know we'll discuss, the osce is undergoing a leadership crisis. so my question to both of you is, to quote former secretary of defense donald rumsfeld, the concept of consensus quaint? do we have to get over it and move to some other governing idea for the osce? >> it is unique that we have this consensus requirement in every decision made within the o workedvienna, but it has over its history. it is still the most effective regional organization in the world. it has a proud record of accomplishments. i would argue also that the bureaucracy in vienna leads to inefficiencies within the osce. there's bureaucracies created in vienna that have little to do with even the good connections to the capitals.
so there are problems in how it operates. we would like to see something short of consensus particularly when it comes to administrative decisions being made within the osce, so it would operate more effectively because we have seen, as we have seen in the united states senate when we tried to operate by unanimous consent, one senator can hold up the whole process for a long time. and we have the same problem within the osce framework. i think it's time to look for ways that we can make the organization more efficient. to have faster decisions made. but i would not try to throw out completely the consensus process. by the way, the united states has been one of the defenders of consensus because recognizing of course we're across the ocean from europe so we want to make sure our voice can be heard. i do think it's time to look at reforms within the osce process that it can operate more efficiently than it does today.
jane: robert? robert: i would just echo what ben says. there is a -- i think one of the key points he is mentioned is historically it has worked overall. and that has been the tradition in vienna and i think overall it has been -- it's been a good plan in how it has been carried out. as ben rightly mentioned, there are probably some things from the bureaucratic level that could be revised in that regard. but i don't see any reason for the overall process and especially for those here in the united states that we should go ahead and discard this consensus concept. jane: ok. thank you both. before turning this over to dan and the rest of all this, let me just mention that we will have a
panel at the end, following a few questions for bob, and that's how we'll include spencer oliver who has already been recognized, ambassador bill a wilson center global fellow who served two terms from january, 2003, to 2006, and june 1999 to 2001 as head of the osce mission to moldova and finally alex johnson who serves as chief of staff of the u.s. helsinki commission for the 116th congress. prior to that he served from 2007 to 2015 as policy advisor to the commission. so. thank you both to members of congress. please keep working together. please make us proud. and please keep coming back to the wilson center. bob: jane, let me also welcome our european friends on this call, we appreciate their extraordinary friendship and period of during this
time. jane: thank you, ben. thank you, robert. over to you, dan. dan: thank you to the members of congress and the members of the helsinki commission who are participating. let's turn to our european colleagues. minister, could you join us for your brief remarks. >> yes, thank you. senator cardin, congressman aderholt, dear friends, thank you first of all very much for this invitation to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the charter of paris. robert: a true milestone in european cooperation and center piece of european security. it gives me great pressure to -- pleasure to celebrate together with the wilson center and the helsinki commission that over the years have been such a strong voice in support of human rights and democracy in europe. your engagement is a clear
example of the value of the transatlantic link which is essential for the security in europe in defense of our common values of democracy and human rights and cooperation of military and other security matters. looking back 30 years when the charter of paris was adopted, there was a strong sense of hope. we saw an opportunity to build international cooperation based on respect for democracy and human rights for everyone in europe. after decades of communist and soviet rule, millions of people in europe were finally getting the freedom to choose their political leaders and states were given the opportunity to independently decide if or which security arrangement they wanted to belong to. the foreign minister takes on
the role of chairperson in a month and a half. 28 years since we, sweden, last held that office. today's political landscape could not be more different from that of the early 1990's. today, where democracy and fundamental rights are being systematically challenged, also within the o.s.c. region, it's hard to believe that back then the end of history was predicted and the spread of liberal democracy was seen as unstoppable. that said, developments over the past three decades show that given the chance, people choose freedom over tyranny and cooperation over conflict. the european security order with the helsinki final act and paris
charter at the center provides a framework for achieving this. it is no coincidence that nearly all serious challenges to our security stem from situations where the fundamental principles of helsinki and paris are not respected, be it violations of ukraine's territorial integrity or the lack of respect for democracy and human rights that have led to the protests in belarus this autumn. the osce has the means to support participating states to live up to their commitments from helsinki and paris. we had to specifically address different bases of the conflict cycle in our region. a special monetary mission to ukraine is one such. the offer by chairman inhofe and
lindsay toister facilitate genuine dialogue in belarus is another example. but without genuine political will from those involved in conflict, progress is hard to reach. this is why defending the european security order and its fundamental principles will be a priority for the swedish 2021 chairperson of the osce. we see it as essential to build on principle agreed by all in order to achieve security for all. in short, we want to go back to basics. two other priorities is to strengthen the comprehensive concept of security and to contribute to solving the conflict in our region. they are in many ways part and parcel of our commitment to the security order.
the priorities are interlinked as there can be no sustainable security without equality between women and men, respect for democratic law and the universal enjoyment of human rights. one of the first exhibits we are planning for next year is an expert level meeting on anti-semitism in vienna in the beginning of february. this meeting with the chair's personal representative on combating anti-semitism rabbi baker will have a leading role, could also provide useful input to the forum on holocaust remembrance and combating anti-semitism which will be hosted by the prime minister in september, 2021. in conclusion, dear friends, we dialogue,at through
inclusion, and respect for agreed principle, the osce can make a real difference and the charter of paris is essential for the osce. thank you. dan: thank you, minister. those great remarks are appreciated very much. let me turn right away to president tsereteli. out towant to shout robert monello who is with us, the chairman of the assembly. president tsereteli, please. george: thank you. thank you, dan. thank you very much for this invitation. i'm very much pleased to take part in this important discussion with this distinguished participants. i'd like to welcome our old friends.
oliver.y happy to see i see several old friends. it's very, very special role. and of course leaders of our assembly, current and previous. george: good friends, senator cardin, robert aderholt. we just concluded a few minutes ago marking the 30th anniversary of the charter of paris and ben cardin also delivered his remarks there. we agree that this visionary document, which during incredible upheavals of the early 1990's includes some of the strongest principles adopted by the osce participants. it took us working tooth toward together toward the
fulfillment of universal equality and democracy based on human rights and freedoms, social justice and equal security for all our countries. the united states in particular through active engagement of members of congress has tried to live up to that vision by reinforcing political and military dialogue across the osce region. it has been an essential supporter of democracy, rule of law and great respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. overall american engagement has strengthened security and promoted stability throughout the area. despite that, in 1990, we should remember that leaders who signed the document were fully aware of the challenges that lay ahead. they knew that eliminating the threat of major war did not rule out the possibility of conflict in europe. just to quote u.s. president george bush at the time, as all
political divisions disappear, other sources of tension are emerging. abuses of minorities and human rights continue. 30 years later, geopolitical confrontation remains commonplace. as we have seen most recently in ukraine and georgia, it's a formidable challenge. there's problems in commitment in the human dimension. and in this exceptional year we have seen the disruptive power of international and transnational challenges. populationsries and the covid-19attle pandemic, we still need to protect our citizens against the threat of viability extremism and terrorism, find ways to safely manage migrant and refugee issues and address climate change. all this should lead us to reflect in depth on the history
and role of our organization. given the current leadership crisis mentioned previously and o.s.c. executive structures which is a byproduct of gradual breakdown. we must urgently find ways to reinvigorate the organization and promote effective multilateral cooperation. having been a member of the parliamentary assembly for over a decade, i remain convinced that we must continue to fully explore the potential of parliamentary diplomacy as an inclusive and constructive tool to break political deadlock. as we have done in the past we must remain outspoken in our commitment for more transparency and accountability within the osce as a way to make the organization stronger and more effective. in order to consolidate this over the last three decades, we parliamentaries have an important job to do.
i know the members of the helsinki commission are fully committed to this endeavor. supportpport -- their lens consent -- lends considerable weight to our work and we are very much thankful for this through events such as this one or participation in our meetings and missions in the field to help sig can raise the visibility of the entire organization. we continue to give and call for high level political attention to the work which is crucial through debate -congress and joint work with the state department and other parts of the administration. and this serves as an inspiration for more countries to hold their governments accountable and push for the full implementation of the committee. as a word of conclusion let me again thank the helsinki cardin, alexenator
johnson a great supporter of the work of osce parliamentary assembly. and thanks for carrying this important work on behalf of all our countries. thank you. dan: thank you so much. we appreciate those words. given the time and i know people's constraints, i'm going to turn now directly to bob zellig. jane already introduced bob who is one of those people you don't need to introduce but i think the point that jane made at the end of her introduction, bob, that time, 1990's, 1989-1990, was a time where a lot of puzzle pieces had to be put together. you were the one, really, frankly, who was in a lot of piecesooms where those had to be sorted out. i wonder if you have reflections on that time and also about the future and over to you.
bob: thanks, dan. it is a pleasure to be here with representative aderholt and senator cardin and my longtime friend jane harman. particularly i want to thank both jane and members of congress. i totally agree with jane. not only do i want to thank you for your tireless work for u.s. internationalism but as i've seen over the decades, if there are ways democrats and republicans can at least work together on these and see each other across the aisle it makes a huge difference in getting things done. i compliment both of you in particular. so i want to offer just a quick word on the past and observation for today. the charter of paris was the culmination of two years of intensive diplomacy to bring the 40-year-old cold war to a peaceful end. to put this in the larger historical context you could compare it to the congress of vienna in 1815 after their french revolution and napoleonic wars, or the treaty after world
war i, because europe never settled the issues after world war ii in 1945. we had the long delay and the cold war. just consider the strategic context in 1989-1991. we were unifying the democratic germany while trying to reassure neighbors east an west of future security. many people forget the critical determination that gorbachev made on accepted the united germany in nato was based on the principle that countries would be free to choose their alliance. it's a point president bush made in june of 1990 and gorbachev accepted. we also wanted to create an opportunity for countries that suffered in eastern europe to move beyond the place in histy -- history where it had been referred to as the lands between germany and russia, to become part of a unified, democratic europe. also to reassure security from
from the atlantic to the urals with a landmark conventional agreement which had a huge reduction in troops, verification, often overlooked by historians but quite important to assist the soviet union, later russia, the former soviet union, to its transition. and end of its empire, while respecting its concerns for security development and political ties. supporting the e.c.'s transition into what is today the european union, with political and monetary union, while encouraging the e.c. to expand to the east and have ties with the united states. and as jane mentioned from the start, recognizing the trans-atlantic connection with the u.s. and canada, in parts through changes of nato and the institutionalization. so as senator cardin mentioned, history is important, the united states had recognized the roles in the last 15 years of the cold war, in trying to encourage human rights, more open to society, serving as a rallying point for courageous dissidents.
as the congressman mentioned engaging civil society in formal , diplomacy. in december of 1989 so, this is right after the wall came down, secretary baker gave a speech in berlin that outlined the path for german unification. but it was done so in the context of necessary changes in europe in nato, in u.s.e.c. relationship and the csce. at that time we envisioned that , c.s.c. could be an umbrella body to help build the institutions of democracy. so we were just feeling our way but there were ideas of election monitoring, critical rule of parliamentary assembly. as we have seen even today the , legislators of all these countries, be fundamental political support, the principles of economic freedom, forum for negotiating security disputes, a link to the civil society, and, importantly from the u.s. perspective, to reinforce the strong interest of congress. because nothing lasts long in u.s. policy unless you have congressional support.
but even if the countries were paris, the charter of the old ghosts of europe were reawakening in the balkans. i think this is a caution not only for them but for today, which is, the work of diplomacy and democracy is never done. it's an ongoing mission. so today, the ties between the united states and europe have frayed. we actually have the united kingdom leaving the european union. yet in facing the fundamental questions of the future of free societies, i think the european union, the u.s., the other non-european union members in europe, united kingdom, we all have a tremendous amount in common. my own sense is that president biden is going to face a very demanding domestic agenda, pandemic, inclusive economic recovery, future biological security, climate change, immigration, the racial tensions. but a creative policy could
actually connect each of these with an international agenda and in doing so, rebuild ties with allies and partners. just to take an example. if next year is the year i hope of vaccines and medical treatments, well, it's not enough to rejoin the w.h.o. you're also going to have to extend its role, which you can do with some of the international finance institutions like the world bank to the developing countries. or, as president bush 43 launched an h.i.v. aid initiative with the help of congress, which was a game changer for sub-saharan africa. we're also seeing that these virus breakouts are becoming more frequent, greater economic cost, because of changes in the wildlife-livestock-human connection there. so there will be a need for preventive action. in carbon, i believe it's important for the u.s. to join the paris accord, but one will have to go beyond that. this is ultimately a challenge for the biggest economies in the world, if you can get 10 or 12 of them to really focus, you're going to make a huge difference.
but you also have ways to bring in the developing countries. when i was at the world bank, we explored how soil carbon could be great for absorbing carbon and helping african agriculture. forestation, adapting for island states and the need to work with the european union on cybersecurity, data, i.t. issues. both for a sense of our security in the world, but also for some fundamental issues of privacy and human rights. can we come up with a framework on this that respects national differences while also dealing with the fundamentals? and then there's also all this work can be the foundation for the ongoing dangers, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, russia. i personally think that this cooperation could provide the basis for the largest challenge, which is dealing with the rise of china. because while we're celebrating the events in europe of 1989, 1990, it's important to
recognize that that's when the cold war ended, it ended in europe. it didn't necessarily end in asia. 1989 was the year of tiananmen square. so 30 years on, i think u.s., europe and partners around the world will still need an active diplomacy, critical from the support of congress, and historically my sense is americans have always seen nationalism and internationalism as two sides of the same coin. not necessarily at all in conflict. and i think the challenge for president biden, supporters in congress, americans in general will be how can we make that work, including through institutions like the osce. so thank you for all your efforts. >> thank you so much, bob. i know you have a few minutes. let me engage on that. jane might want to come back in. jane, do you have a question already you want to comment or should i proceed? jane: why don't you proceed. i have a question but you go
first. daniel: [laughter] ok. well, bob, i think the context is, at the time of all of this happened, the u.s. would be -- was what i would call a european power. it was comprehensively, as you even said, engaged in all of the different pieces of that puzzle. and was active in helping the europeans with all the coalitions they were putting together. we were a source of reassurance for many. through a huge transition. it's important to remember, i think, that we had to manage the collapse of two empires simultaneously. soviet union and yugoslavia. one we did relatively well, the other one not so well. and that's the balkans. tomorrow is the signing of the 25th anniversary of the date and peace accord signing. but all of this has changed the context if we reflect -- i would argue the u.s. seems to be drifting away from being a
european power to just a power in europe. more selectively engaged, less comprehensively engaged. do you think there's a trend there that we need to be watching out for that goes beyond any particular administration? or do you think a case could be made for the u.s. having to play just as powerful a role as it did in the past? bob: it's interesting, henry kissinger, he's made a point that he's a concern that will europe develop a strategic perspective or will it just become a peripheral part of eurasia? and he's not saying that in a critical way. suggesting, and it has been from my experience is
, while now and then it's a challenge for north americans to deal with european politics, the ultimate result is better. if europe can step up and play a role. so i think the debate that you're seeing right now within europe about the future of the european union, i took part in a session just yesterday with european commission and parliamentary people about trying to look beyond today to kind of their own strategic outlook, i think that's healthy. i think the united states should encourage that. and while i certainly wouldn't have taken the trump administration's approach, some of the shock effect of trump has perhaps broadened europeans to realize the responsibilities they'll have to assume and maybe that can be constructive. having said that, i think in the bigger picture, as i try to suggest with my remarks, if you think about the real challenges facing the world, whether it's transnational issues or the future of free societies or china, the united states, and i would always look at this from a north american concept with canada, mexico and the u.s., but our most natural partner will be the european union and britain. and so in the larger scheme of
things, i think it's going to be not important that you are going to get total agreement. but to recognize the fundamentals of which the osce is a wonderful bedrock representative. because those are going to be the big issues that determine the 21st century. and my own guess, jane may have a better sense of this, or ben, but i think the biden administration's going to take this approach. and the challenge of course is expectations could become so high they're going to be hard to reach. but i suspect on issues that are on the domestic agenda, pandemic, economic and immigration issues for us, with central america, for europe with africa and the middle east, with climate change issues, these will offer possibilities to leverage the domestic agenda internationally. and this isn't to ignore the traditional agenda. it's to complement it. but i said on a different call last night with bob gates, you
know, when we've lost 240,000 or 250,000 people to covid, which is more than we've lost in korea, vietnam and world war i combined, i think we've got to consider that a security issue. jane: you know, bob, your optimism is contagious. it's lovely. and you've seen a lot, done a lot so far. i'm not writing you off. by the way, dan, let me suggest, i'll ask a brief question. i think ben is still on the call, he might have one too. ben woulduld like -- like to do that. we'll stay on time. i promise, i promise. but my question, bob, is that i was in ukraine in 2015. i was an observer of the election. on a delegation led by madeline albright. had a same time, the osce
mission there, wolfgang issinger was setting up round tables around the country trying to broker participation and inclusion. and while this is all going on, the russians were meddling in eastern ukraine. is there, optimist bob, is there really hope that the u.s. and russia, and europe, can co-exist in this organization called the osce and maybe even rebuild some sense of cooperation? jane, i'm both a realist and an idealist. you have to co-exist. there's something called geography which means they're going to be in the neighborhood. i don't turn a blind eye. i frankly -- the issue i think is most important there is the question of interference in elections and cybersecurity. to me that was the fundamental national security issue that neither the obama administration or the trump administration acted forcefully on. but can you find sort of workable arrangements as you're trying to build foundations for the future? i hope so. i mean, i think one has to take
this sort of step by step, not starry-eyed. in the case of ukraine, look, ukraine's future is going to be determined fundamentally by ukrainians. what i mean by that is the political system dealing with corruption, economics, and here again we need to broaden our concept of security. there's ways that u.s. and europe can help. there is ways the international financial institutions can help. ultimately it still has to be done by the people of these countries. my own sense is that the russian behavior with ukraine probably enhanced ukrainian nationalism more than any other step. but ultimately it will be up to the ukrainians, but what i've seen, whether i was in government or the world bank or outside is there's a combination of moral support, sharing experience, you know, encouragement that people can often underestimate, but this is where, again, i can't emphasize enough the role of congress and parliamentary assemblies. all you had to play -- you've had to deal with domestic politics but you're also dealing
on the international scene. you have to go home to your voters, you have to deal with issues at home. but you can also help people understand how they can do these things. a lot of the end of the day, whether it's the situation in ukraine. we have a new president in moldova who actually used to be someone at the world bank, these are step by step actions. and frankly i'll just come back to the basics that the u.s., european union, and the u.k. will have to be critical players if we want this sort of free society system to continue to not only survive, but i hope to expand. daniel: let me, since senator cardin, and the congressman are still here, if i can just ask them briefly just to comment on what they've heard. but also just to push a little bit. i think everyone has made a strong point about the core principles, helsinki, the charter of paris are still
viable. a few of you referenced another major effort helsinki has done, the framework for conventional arms control in europe. it was the greatest demilitarization of the continent. and it was under the auspices, all sorts of different agreements, and those pillars have eroded. the open skies treaty, the c.f.p. treaty, the vienna document, which is about confidence building, those have all eroded. is there a case to be made, despite the differences with russia, that have been mentioned, to push that again? to see what can be done so we don't have accidents, miscalculations, militaries bumping into each other again? senator, do you have a comment on that? maybe congressman? senator cardin: i do. let me follow up on bob. what i always enjoyed with my meetings with bob is that he really engaged the democrats and republicans and listened to us in order to try to get things done. and i think you're going to find the same thing under a biden administration. he's going reach out to both
democrats and republicans. bob recognized that we could advance american values by working on the global scene and i think joe biden shares those same values. he recognizes that u.s. involvement globally is going to be in the united states' interest. so what you're going to see in a biden administration, i believe you're going see, you're going to see a president that will embrace those allies that share our values. but he'll engage all of the countries. but it will be anchored in our values. theh by the way are helsinki final act values and reinforcing the charter of paris. so that's where i think you're going to see the engagement. so when you talk specifically about arms control and the fact that new start expires at the end of the year and we could be left with a situation with no major arms agreements with russia, that's a frightening thought. i think you're going to find that he will engage russia, it
will be based upon our values, the helsinki final act values, and that there will be working with our allies to reinforce our strength in those discussions with russia. so, yes, i am optimistic that we'll see progress made on the global scene. maybe because -- i'll just give you my editorial comment here. the trump administration has been so extreme in its failure to engage in the global community, particularly for our allies, that i think you'll see a rebalance in american foreign policy, which will work to the benefit of security and cooperation between europe and the united states. daniel: thank you. congressman, do you have a comment? >> let me just say it's encouraging to hear senator cardin from the aspect that biden will be -- will work with both parties.
i mean, the difference that we have seen in past times and i think we've seen now is our nation is very divided. and i think it's more so divided than we've seen. we go back to the 2000 election, and between bush and gore, and it indeed was very divided then. but i even think it's even a different level today. mr. aderholt: so i think it's going to take somebody to come in there who wants to work with both parties, listen to both parties, and really make them says, bob z cardin ellig that they are listening. and whether that be on domestic issues and certainly on international issues. and to respect those positions that have been in the past. so it's encouraging to hear, you know, i have not had a chance
like ben has, and even jane has, to work with biden. but i of course have talked with him before and find him very engaging, whether you're a democrat or a republican. and i certainly hope that's a signal for things to come. daniel: thank you so much. i know a number of you have to leave now. so i want to thank you for participating in this conversation and encourage to you continue if you can. but i realize the constraints on people's time. thank you again for joining us. what we'd like to do is just continue the conversation but now bring in a number of other voices who have also had great experience with the osce. jane has introduced them already. ambassador william hill. spencer oliver, and alex johnson. each from their own vantage point of -- have a very deep engagement with organization.
and if we think about these broader political comments, some of it does come back to the organization itself. what is the future of the osce per se? and so i'm sure you've accumulated comments now and if george can stay with us, george, if you want to come back in the conversation, having heard now some other things, but let me try to move a bit -- push you all a bit to think about future. we talked about the core frame of this building security within societies, as critical to the osce. i think there's agreement on that. we've discussed this whole potential of coming back to the arms control framework which was a major accomplishment and role of the organization as well. but now is sort of in tatters.
but let me just challenge you to think about something else. which, and i want to shout out to an important mentor of mine, john cornbloom, who was our ambassador also of the osce and played a major role in a lot of transitions that happened to get the organization to where it is. we discussed a lot about future -- what are the deeper trends going on? i want to shoutout also to helen who i think might also be on the , call because she's an election monitor, volunteer for the osce. she's been very engaged and that's exactly the kind of thing the osce does, have people like helen who go out in the field and do this type of work. but if you think about the origin of why helsinki came about in 1975, it was because the east and west were stuck. we were not being able to manage the confrontation, the differences in any way that was useful. and that's why the helsinki accord in essence, if you want to boil it down, was not among countries that agreed on much.
it was an agreement on principles that would guide their disagreements. how to guide their behavior as they disagreed on things. it was a common platform, but it was nations of uncommon cause, not nations of common cause. and i wonder today whether one couldn't make a similar case that what we're facing are some very deep changes in the nature of security, driven by all sorts of innovative changes that challenge sort of even the territorial notion of security. it is about the digital revolution. it's changing the connections and thinking about how societies are connected and disruptions to those links are as much security as thinking about tank armies and territorial security. that sort of connection of security within societies is what the osce has done best. so shouldn't there be a new type of discussion of basic
principles on issues guiding this new digital transformation we're going through? i don't see it happening anywhere else. maybe that's something that can happen. so let me put that thought out to you. but i welcome any comments you might have. go start with you briefly? realizing we have 25 minutes and four people now to speak and we'll go back. thank you. spencer: thanks very much. it's interesting to listen and to know that so many old friends and colleagues are on this call. particularly want to shout out to john and helen who i've known for a long time. we used to cross swords in the initial days of the creation of the helsinki commission. and the helsinki commission has played an enormous role in the development of the osce, the c.s.e. and the osce and still
today is one of the best and most important institutions in itself in the osce. but the osce in s in trouble. is in trouble. i think that's one of the purposes of this discussion. part of the reason is it's dysfunctional. the consensus rule, it which as people know i've harped against for a long time, not to abolish completely the consensus rule, because i think it's necessary at the highest levels for governments to participate and to participate in order to protect their own national interests and their own security interests, but when you have the consensus rule applied to the approval of staff and budgets, it has brought about an abuse of the system in such a way that there's -- that's the reason there are no heads of any institutions. because it has been used in a way to find employment for
people in vienna or elsewhere and not really taking into account the need for the political level engagement of the osce. the charter of paris and are great documents and if everybody adhered to them, the world would be a much better place. we could probably never negotiate them again, probably never get agreement on some of the things that are in there. particularly in human rights. but i think that people need to think about what they need to do to -- in some way unlock the bureaucratic strangle on the osce. because people complain, i know there's an interesting manifesto which i signed on to about what need to be done to the osce to
improve it. but the main things that needs to happen is we need to have, if you want to have political level people in the -- at the top of the osce and participating at the political level, you have to be able to function like a political organization. not a bureaucracy that's deadlocked because of the consensus rule over minor items like personnel and budget. and that's what -- one of the things that needs to be addressed i think in order to move forward. i think we all need to -- i think everybody needs to recommit to and has to on several occasions recommitted to all the provisions of the helsinki final act and the charter of paris. but the dysfunction is really in the administration side of the osce and that's something that needs to be addressed. i could go on for a long time about some of these issues but i won't. but i commend you for bringing together this very distinguished group of people. i recognize a lot of old friends and colleagues from days in which i was engaged with both the helsinki commission and the parliamentary assembly. so, thank you very much for including me.
daniel: alex, can i turn to you? because it's sort of a direct -- you're in the current position where you're balancing the u.s. issues with the congress and the osce. some of these issues of budget, administrative structure and the political nature of the organization all come together. i just wonder if you have reflections on that and how you have to manage all of that and the tension -- there's a tension there between being effective, being a platform for dialogue, but also being a platform for accountability. and i wonder how you think about that. alex: thank you so much, dan. and it's such an honor to join so many folks who mentored me over the years in terms of my own knowledge and engagement in the osce. first i want to offer greetings from chairman hastings of the helsinki commission, who as you all know was once president of the osce parliamentary assembly
and worked closely with many of you. and extends his regards to everyone. before i get to the functionality point that you asked about, dan, i wanted to quickly mention that right now, and i think a perspective i can offer here is that one of a young person who watched the wall fall. and who is a part of a generation that among which there are a number of people who are currently willing to accept the economic leverage and -- of political leaders and others who are trending autocratic right now. this of course lends itself to spencer's point that many of the commitments and principles established in the paris charter, we would not be able to negotiate them today. and additionally, as senator cardin mentioned, the biggest problem is noncompliance with those commitments. we are seeing so many challenges in terms of trend lines that all the colleagues here have
previously mentioned and we need to really go about the process of finding mechanisms and solutions to allow for the operations of the osce to manage faithfully and continue and then have the political ,eterminations, of course operate in that same fashion. the commission has done its part in terms of convening hearings, briefings and even taking a look at this unique year of the pandemic to reflect on human rights at home. so, chairman hastings set forth and worked with partners on the commission to convene a series of hearings that reflected not only on this global movement around racial justice, but a number of other questions about how the united states was looking at media freedom or other questions. so, it's very important that we ourselves as a nation try to adhere to those commitments and then build that dialogue and continue to move forward together as participating.
daniel: thank you. bill, ambassador hill, you had so much experience with the organization, but i know you're thinking about the future too. and ways to keep it relevant. so, can you take us to the future, how do we make the osce continue to be relevant given the function that's been mentioned, the political tensions that we're facing, what is its role really? william: well, thanks, ben. and thanks to the wilson center for having me on. it's great to find so many people with whom i've worked, for whom i've worked. i worked in the c.s.p. during the times of great disagreement. leading -- starting in the mid 1980's, early 1980's, and through the good times of cooperation and then watched harder times come again. i find agreement with much that's been said, with what bob
zellig has said about the history or spencer and alex, making very good points about how you manage the institution. but the point is that in 1975, when the final act was signed, in 1990, when the paris charter and the treaty on conventional forces in europe was signed, the csce, the future osce, was dealing with key questions of security, both military, political and human security in all of europe or the euro atlantic area. and i know from having over 30 years of experience of trying to call the attention of senior policymakers to the importance of work in an institution, if the institution does not offer the opportunity and the ability to address important questions, you know, the policymakers will be called elsewhere. their time is limited. and if the participating states
bring only what are viewed as peripheral issues to the institution, the institution itself will be viewed as peripheral. i think the current crisis in europe and north america, the pandemic, and the ongoing uncertainty, the collapse of the post-cold war era after the russian annexation of crimea and the war offers an opportunity and a necessity to rethink european-euro atlantic security. why is europe important to us? it still is. asia's become more important but europe is still our main partner. and it's important what sort of system governs europe and how all european nations deal with their own security. and new issues have arisen. and the osce is really the only body in which you can get an all-european, all-euro atlantic solution to these. you can't do it in the e.u. there are important nations left
out. you can't do it in nato. there are important nations left out of nato. you can't do it in the nato-russia-czech council because there are still important countries that don't take part in that. so the osce really is the european forum, all-european, euro atlantic forum, in which you'll deal with questions of how do you adjust a new system? how do you develop a new system of political and military security that takes into account technical advances in the military and the change in the geopolitical landscape in europe? and we're going to have some we dealnversations when with this because there are nations there that have very different views from us. russia certainly. but the issue of turkey and its relationships with its neighbors right now. this is a serious question. these are issues that are going to have to be -- and can really only be productively taken up in
-- if you include everybody. you have to bring the important issues to the table. we as the united states -- and you also have to listen to the other countries who bring in questions that at first we're going to be reluctant to entertain. we're not going to be receptive initially to their point of view. but it's in that dialogue as started in geneva in 1973 that you eventually get agreement on a broad set of principles and practical arrangements that might take us into a new order. the post-cold war order that was structured at the charter of paris worked well for 25, 30 years. the principles remain and we will still aspire to them. but it's time to negotiate a new order, and i think that's the opportunity for the osce, if our political leaders are willing to take it.
and with a new administration coming in in the u.s., lessons learned from the pandemic, i think it's an ideal time to seize that opportunity. daniel: thank you, bill. we have limited time and i don't want to neglect our audience. but apologies to the audience. if you have a question, i can try to weave it in. you would need to send a question to my email. firstname.lastname@example.org. email@example.com. for any question, i'll try to weave in. but i would like to continue the conversation as we go ahead. i don't want to pick on roberto but i see that he's here. so i want to -- if roberto is -- if you're able, you've been listening patiently. i know you're in the middle of all of this. the secretary general of the osce parliamentary assembly. they today also did a major event, i know, and you're really in all of this.
what do you make of this? what's the future? because it's your job on the line. [laughter] roberto: thank you, dan, and thank you to the wilson center. in a conversation which features my current boss and my former boss and mentor, everything would call for me to sit in religious silence and take notes and listen. but as you call on me to say a few words, i will take it. daniel: it's a private event. you're free to speak. roberto: thank you very much. with george and spencer, i should only sit in religious silence. and learn. but you're giving me the opportunity to say that. i think this conversation, the informality of it allows know what spencerto say , just mentioned, the critical issues that are in the organization is very much on target. indeed spencer mentioned the fact that there is a difficulty with the misuse of the consensus rule in the organization.
especially when you come to the issues of appointment of leadership of the organization, administrative decisions. since i have been secretary general, i have encountered two leadership crises. in 2017, during our annual session in minsk, i had four empty chairs, witnessing the fact that the organization could not find consensus on the leadership of the organization and now again, since july 17, we do not have leaders in the four main top jobs of the organization. when i was confronted with this second leadership crisis, i thought, what can the osce parliamentary assembly do? i think the osce parliamentary assembly has learned from spencer and from other leaders in the past that one of the challenges of these organizations is the lack of political attention. i think and i've been privileged, thanks to spencer
taking me to many councils before, to talk to ministers during the ministerial meeting and i've noticed in the minister sometimes a lack of understanding of where they were. normally the ministerial meeting of the osce takes place in between a nato summit and the following week there is an e.u. council meeting. so you would -- if they are ministers who come to the meeting, read a statement prepared by ambassadors and then engage in bilateral meetings that have very little to do with the matters that are dealt with within the osce. and therefore the osce game, let's say, is very much left up [indiscernible] and ambassadors, some capitals. but there is little attention from the political leadership. i thought the parliamentary assembly, a plethora, 323 members of parliament who are political leaders in their countries, they have influence in their own national assemblies and in their leadership, they should get engaged and they should step up, especially in
this moment where there is lack of leadership in the osce. and that's what we did since the osce leadership crisis. our members have started to be speaking up more, have been trying to engage the ministers and i think we've done a great job in getting our members to engage on all the dossiers of the osce. we couldn't have our annual session, our normal forum where the parliamentarians engage on the three dimensions of the osce. of we did a series parliamentary dialogues on all of the issues that are now very at the center of this pandemic crisis. what we want to do with this operation, i called it operation -- [indiscernible] the former secretary general, spencer oliver mentioned the manifesto. it's a call for action, for a common endeavor of all the osce
family. i call this an operation lazareth from the idea that something is not so revigrated and need to be reinvigorated. what we want to do is engage and get the attention of ministers on what they signed on many years ago. spencer said that none of the agree at thee now osce would be agreed upon right now. given the current geopolitical situation. so what we want to do is exactly that. go back to the roots of the organization and speak at the highest level, trying to get the attention of ministers on what are the values of these organizations. and as somebody who is working the field, has worked at the very grassroots in the organization, i worked in the balkans in the 1990's, i have seen with my own eyes the benefits that this organization actually delivers on the ground. i've seen many people who have enjoyed the work of the osce missions and institution building and conflict
prevention and reform of law enforcement and reform of the judiciary. so this organization does a lot of good work but nobody knows about it. so what we need to do is keep on doing this good work, probably a lot of it is done in silence. but also call the attention of the ministers and that's what we try to do with this manifesto. and i think our president will present this manifesto to the ministers at the ministerial council meeting on the third of december and there we will start a series of conversations in the different areas of the osce portfolio and i hope to engage many of you, of course, in the call to keep talking about the organization and strengthening of the organization. thank you very much. --m sorry for being too daniel: thank you, roberto. i think if you need a partner audience in the united states, we're happy to be part of that conversation. let me -- we only have a couple minutes. really just brief. i want to weave in three different questions i've gotten. but they all kind of point in the same direction. we talked about the political
role of the osce but some would say its most important contributions have been in its field missions. that it's not what happens at vienna, it's what happens out in the conflict areas. and that role it played through conflict prevention, monitoring, all of those kinds of things have really been where it's made its biggest difference, if you think about all of the issues i tried to raise earlier. but it's challenged now. this special monitoring mission in ukraine doesn't really -- isn't able to fulfill its full mandate. the osce frankly was sidelined nagaro-karabahk crisis. some would say maybe now there's a role for the osce going forward, now that there's some sort of armistice, if you will. but maybe not. it wasn't a good day for the osce after working out for
decades and then suddenly russia and turkey frankly came in and ignored the organization. then there's a question about the osce and belarus. it was mentioned was made of an offer to sort of get engaged but so far it's been limited. so it's very difficult. we only have -- and it's even more difficult because we have three minutes. so let me turn to anyone on that panel who wants to take this on. the future of the field missions, its relevance in a nagaro-karabahk where really the credibility of the whole organization is on the line if it's not relevant to exactly the issues it says it's working on? not a bashful group usually. but -- so i'm going -- alex, not a bashful group usually. but -- so i'm going -- alex, please. alex: of course i would defer to ambassador hill who actually of course led a field mission in moldova.
daniel: i'll give you each a minute. one minute. alex: quickly. i wanted to say the field missions are where the osce matters in our lives. it's where many europeans see the tangible impact and connection between the political commitments and the functioning of their institutions. and the important thing is i hope more americans also recognize and get engaged, including civil society and other subnational actors, to take a look at how the osce can be a platform for addressing a number of issues and securing that high level political commitment to move forward in a trans-atlantic manner. the challenge, as you said, how a number of key conflicts were cut out of negotiations, where the osce was not able to be active really speaks to the crisis of the abuse of the consensus rule in some instances to block even the consideration of field operations in for for example, the office that was closed, of course blocked by azerbaijan. so there needs to be a refresh and a serious look at how we can ensure that nations that want to have field operations are able
to have them and that there continues to be robust national support and funding for their continued operations. daniel: thank you. bill? william: i would add if a head of mission doesn't have united support from headquarters from the major states at headquarters, you're not going to get anything done. i wrote the proposal for the minsk conference, we were supposed to have a peace conference between azerbaijan and armenia. they signed the document and in 1992 -- and then never came to the conference and we -- they ended up at war. these things happen. it's not just the osce. the united nations. you have to keep trying and as part of this, you have to put a good mission in the field that can do a lot and you have to work hard to maintain unity in the headquarters that sends the mission out so that the head of mission has political support and is able to overcome political resistance which there
will be in the states. that's a realist view but the fact that it's difficult and the fact that not all of them work the way we thought they would isn't a reason for not doing them. because you still can do a lot of good. daniel: ok. spencer, bring us home. one minute. do you have anything to add? spencer: i agree with all of the previous speakers here just before me. but i think that there needs to be some attention given to osce reform, this is like -- kind of like -- i sound like a bad record. but there really does need to be some political attention to reorganizing the institutional structures of the osce if you're going to make it work. and it's worth trying to do because the charter of harris and the helsinki final act are documents which are extremely valuable. they've made a great contribution to peace and
security throughout the region. and there's no other place where you have 57 countries sitting around the table where everybody's equal. i think that's the important ingredient for the osce, as bill said. there's no other place quite like it. but at some point, they have to rise above the more minor issues like whether or not someone's going to get a second level job at some institution and holding up the whole budget unless you get it. that's what happens. that's why the osce's now in deep trouble. because that has become the main function of a lot of the people in vienna, is trying to get some advantage for themselves or their colleagues. and that's a mistake. i really don't think we need a permanent council. i would rather go back to the annual review meetings and ministerials where some public attention is played -- is brought to bear on on the accountability of people who
made commitments under the helsinki final act. you need a secretary general, you need a secretariat. parliamentary assembly is a god-send for the organization and the field missions, as alex pointed out, are where the real work is done. but at some point, the field missions have got to be acceptable to the host countries, otherwise it's not going to work. but they need political-level support and political level encouragement to make it work. so, i'm hopeful but we're in a deep ditch so we have to stop digging and start building. daniel: ok. good words to end on. it's a sober reflection of the accomplishments and the challenges that we have. want to thank you all for joining us today. i want to thank our audience for sticking with us and participating. this web cast will be posted on the wilson center site and i
hope it receives some additional attention. but thank you all for continuing with us. alex, thank you and the helsinki commission for co-sponsoring with us today. and my colleagues at the wilson center and everyone else. so thank you again. hope you have a good day. good weekend. take care. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2020] holds atic council discussion on u.s. relations with russia on monday at 11 a.m. eastern on c-span. podcast, to c-span's the weekky talking about the history of presidential transition. weekly where the you find your podcasts. with coronavirus cases
increasing across the country, use our website c-span.org/ coronavirus to follow the trends, track the spread with interactive maps and watch updates on demand any time at c-span.org/coronavirus. irs commissioner testified before the house ways and means committee. he discusses his agency's response efforts amid the pandemic. members question the commissioner about the irs audit, the backlog in processing tax returns, and agency operations for the next tax filing season. [gavel pounds] >> good morning. all called to order the subcommittee on oversight.