7 Oct 2010

U.S. National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones: There is no clear winner or loser in war against terrorism

U.S. National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones has given an interview to Interfax in the wake of a meeting of high representatives of 44 countries on security that took place in Sochi this week.

Question: General Jones, first of all thank you very much for finding time to talk to us. We know how busy your schedule is, but it is extremely important to hear your views and answers to some questions that we have for you. I would like to hear your views about the world combating terrorism and the world’s efforts to combat terrorism. Do you view the world being the winner or a loser in this struggle?

Answer: Well, I think you can make an argument both ways. I don’t think there is a clear winner or a clear loser. Obviously transnational threats that we discussed here in Sochi and the combination of crime, terror and narcotrafficking are working together forming a very insidious threat to our respective societies. And as the community of nations we have to unify our efforts to combat this very real and relatively new 21st century threat.
44 countries are coming together at this conference to confirm their concerns about this growing threat. This is a very positive indication that the world is not going to set back and simply let this threat develop and grow. And the result of this conference, I think, will be that we will work more closely together to be proactive and resistant to this common threat that we face. So, as a result I think this will be a very positive development for our collective security.

Q.: My second question is about the reset environment that was established after the decision to reset relations between our countries; whether it also impacted the relationship between the special services of the two countries and whether the Russian special services were able to help and work together with their counterpart in the United States?

A.: I think that the reset in our relationships has been very broad-based. It includes not only the positive work that the world has observed, for instance the agreement on the new START treaty, but it also includes the whole range of bilateral relationships and working groups that previously did not exist. The U.S.-Russia Afghanistan counterterrorist finance working group under the bilateral presidential commission is a good example of this kind of engagement.
Also in this commission we have a counterterrorism working group where intelligence information is shared. We cooperate against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. We know that Russia is very much concerned the flow of drugs into Russia. So, we are facing common threat together and working very closely. The reset which is now set - I think we do not have about it in the past tense any more, we talk about it in the present tense - we have set new bilateral relationships that are built increasingly on mutual trust and confidence and more common way of looking at the world.
This relationship offers a very open way for both sides to talk about areas in which we have disagreements. And this new relationship enables us to talk directly to one another to find the common ground in all those areas in which we do not see things exactly the same way.

Q.: Russia and the U.S. are in the final stage of the completion of the missile threat assessment. So, the question is how common, how unified, how similar those assessments are from the Russian point of view and from the point of the United States, namely how similar are positions towards Iran. And in the view of this threat assessment, do we have to expect any changes in plans on the missile defense?

A.: We are really close to finalizing the work on joint assessment of missile threats, and it will be completed by the end of the year. I think that this effort has produced many more areas in which we agree than we disagree. We made some slight different points of view that would be logical to expect, but generally the agreements far out way the disagreements. To me this is the question of logic, in terms of international self-interest. It is logical that Russia and the United States cooperate in the area of missile defense, it is logical to protect our societies against common threats that we not only see today, specifically with regard to Iran, or we have a common view essentially. We take the Russian decision to halt the sale of S-300 missile as an indication of this common view and the indication of Russia’s recognizing its responsibilities within the context of the world order and the security of nations.
Cooperative missile defense is logical and good for both our countries and we intend to continue to work together to find common ground on this.

Q.: And again about the Iranian nuclear problem. Do you it is still possible to find a diplomatic solution to this problem. And do you consider any possibility of finding any military solution to this problem?

A.: Our policy is expressed by our president: he said that the Iranian nuclear issue can be resolved by diplomatic means. The diplomatic door is always open to Iran; they know exactly what they have to do to walk through it. It’s been made abundantly clear. The world community has spoken on this issue. We have always said Iran is within its right to peaceful use of nuclear power for civilian purposes. But it has so far failed to convince us that this is its aim. And what we would like see Iran do is to abide by its obligations and convince the international community that it is not pursuing nuclear weapons. So, with Russia and with the international community we enacted some very hard-hitting sanctions to express global concern to Iran. We hope that these sanctions will convince Iran to embark on a different path.
They need to discuss their program with the P5 + 1 in Vienna. And they know that. It has been on the table for months, and they have not taken advantage of this.
With regard to the second part of your question, our president has never taken any options off the table for protecting international security. While we have no desire to see a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, which can be a byproduct of Iran’s failing to adjust its current course, or to see nuclear weapons technology exported to terrorist organizations, we hope that the sanctions will in and of themselves convince Iran to change its path.

Q.: There are some rumors in Washington that you are going to resign at the end of this year. Do you have any comments on that?

A.: Well, no, I do not have any official comment. I just want to say that I serve at the pleasure of the president, like all of us. At some point we all move back to society and go on with our lives, but I have not made any formal decision on that particular event. They are all rumors.