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Quotable Quotes

HALIFAX INTERNATIONAL SECURITY FORUM
Quotable Quotes
2013

Government of Canada Funding Announcement Press Conference

“It is here, and only here, where international leaders gather annually on Canadian shores for bilateral security discussions and global conversations.. It is a platform where the conversation is held that steers the thinking of international security practitioners for the new year. ”
–Peter Van Praagh, President, Halifax International Security Forum

“Leading thinkers, policy makers and analysts from six continents are converging on Halifax to share opinions and debate solutions to issues that affect us all. These conversations will generate insights, perspectives and a broader understanding of the challenges and opportunities we face.”
–The Honorable Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

“The Halifax International Security Forum has gone from a simple idea, showcasing Canadian views on the world stage, to establishing itself as a premier event to discuss global security issues. International media now speak of it as the defence and security equivalent of the Davos Economic Forum. I am proud – and all Canadians should be proud – of what we do here in Nova Scotia for the cause of international defence, peace and security.”
–The Honorable Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Opening Press Conference

“This year, we gather not only against the backdrop of a challenging international environment but also in the shadow of a President assassinated 50 years ago today.”
–Peter Van Praagh, President, Halifax International Security Forum

“While we may find solutions to some of these problems in the next three days, it is more likely that we will, more modestly, gain insights that enable us to understand more fully, and make better decisions, together.”
–The Honorable Rob Nicholson, Minister of National Defense (Canada)

“There is no question that the most effective response is always found through like-minded peoples of the world working together. ”
–The Honorable Rob Nicholson, Minister of National Defense (Canada)

Keynote Address

“The challenge of global climate change, while not new to history, is new to the modern world. Climate change does not directly cause conflict, but it can significantly add to the challenges of global instability, hunger, poverty, and conflict. ”
–Chuck Hagel, U.S. Secretary of Defense

“The Arctic is a region of established nation-states. Engagement and cooperation with Canada and the other Arctic nations—Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia and Sweden—is a cornerstone of our strategy. Arctic nations have publicly committed to work within a common framework of international law and diplomatic engagement. ”
–Chuck Hagel, U.S. Secretary of Defense

Plenary 1: The West: Calculated Power or Complete Paralysis

“You can tweet a revolution; you cannot tweet the transition.”
–Mr. Ivan Krastev, Chairman, Centre for Liberal Strategies

“I am afraid the West is still strong enough to make more mistakes.”
–His Excellency Minister Moshe Yaalon, Minister of Defense, Israel

“No one can deny that at this very moment uncertainty is the most important feature in international relations. ”
–The Honorable Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, Minister of Defense, Kingdom of the Netherlands

“I think the West is in decline and the West is in retreat; I also think that nobody else is doing any better; so if we are confused and confusing, that is because the world is confused and confusing.”
–Ms. Rosa Brooks, Professor, Georgetown University Law Center and Schwartz Senior Fellow at the New American Foundation

Plenary #2: Bloody Autocracy, Religious Kleptocracy, Unstable Democracy: In Search of Better Choices for the Middle East (and Beyond)

“Political stability in Egypt will never occur only with a roadmap or document.”
–Ms. Heba Morayef, Egypt Director, Middle East and North Africa Division, Human Rights Watch

“You can’t assume that things are going to be the same in Egypt. You can’t predict what is going to happen next.”
–Ms. Heba Morayef, Egypt Director, Middle East and North Africa Division, Human Rights Watch

“Every minute, there is blood and every hour means a victim.”
–Mr. George Sabra, President, Syrian National Council

“For more than 40 years, we have been prevented from creating a real political life.”
–Mr. George Sabra, President, Syrian National Council

“I don’t think anyone in the world has any confidence in the Assad regime, in the Iranian regime.”
–Mr. George Sabra, President, Syrian National Council

“We can ignore the region, but the region won’t ignore us – which means we can’t ignore the region.”
–The Hon. Tim Kaine, Senator (D-VA)

“I don’t think we have yet grappled with why it was so difficult to get the American public on board with the notion that the US should take military action to punish the use of chemical weapons.”
–The Hon. Tim Kaine, Senator (D-VA)

“There is not a military solution to this [Syria]; the solution ultimately has to come from the table.”
–The Hon. Tim Kaine, Senator (D-VA)

“We’re not ready for democracy in the Middle East […] we prefer the relative unease of dealing with the dictator.”
–Mr. Leslie Campbell, Senior Associate and Regional Director, Middle East and North Africa Programs, The National Democratic Institute

“The most important example was how the international community dealt with chemical weapons in Syria. What about the victims, what about the criminal intent, what about the Syrian people?”
–Mr. Leslie Campbell, Senior Associate and Regional Director, Middle East and North Africa Programs, The National Democratic Institute

Plenary #3: If Democracies Won’t, Alternative Will: Reviving Global Responsibility

“The 20th Century was called the American century for a reason, the world needs American leadership.”
–The Hon. John McCain, Senator (R-AZ)

“Syria is a cultured, cosmopolitan, literate nation of people who are not inclined to, and would not receive radical Islam. To think that the Syrian people would embrace a bunch of Jihadists is damned foolishness. Syrian people want the same kind of things that we want.”
–The Hon. John McCain, Senator (R-AZ)

“I’m very concerned about Mr. Putin and his ambitions and his behavior.”
–The Hon. John McCain, Senator (R-AZ)

“Our values are our interests and our interests are our values; If we betray those values, then we don’t have any reason to have people follow us or respect us.”
–The Hon. John McCain, Senator (R-AZ)

“We have to make NATO really fit for the future, but to do that you need to feed it.”
–The Hon. Alexander Vershbow, Deputy Secretary General, North Atlantic Treaty Organization

“Projecting values means projecting confidence – if we wait, we are sending the message to allies and enemies alike that we are not prepared to make that difficult decision.”
–The Hon. Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

“It is the transition process to democracy that we need to fund, encourage and support.”
–Mr. Liam Fox, Member of Parliament, House of Commons, United Kingdom

“When you agree to international law, and you say you’ve drawn red lines, and they are crossed, and when they are crossed you refuse to do anything your enemies become emboldened and your allies become less sure.”
–Mr. Liam Fox, Member of Parliament, House of Commons, United Kingdom

“The cold war didn’t end, it was won.”
–Mr. Liam Fox, Member of Parliament, House of Commons, United Kingdom

Plenary #4: From India to the Americas: The Trials and Tribulations of a New Pacific Order

“The world in the future needs American Leadership.”
–The Hon. Kevin Rudd, 26th Prime Minister and Member of Parliament, Australia

“We’ve got to make it work in Asia. It’s our place. Last time Europeans came barreling in they colonized the whole place.”
–The Hon. Kevin Rudd, 26th Prime Minister and Member of Parliament, Australia

“The peace with China is heavily dependent on the future of peace within China”
–The Hon. Kevin Rudd, 26th Prime Minister and Member of Parliament, Australia

“I am optimistic with the future of Africa.”
–The Hon. Rodrigo Hinzpeter, Minister of National Defense, Republic of Chile

“We have constructed a good relationship with China based on interests, rather than values […] but at some point we have to figure out how we talk with China, not just about interests, but also about values. This will have a great benefit to the world.”
–The Hon. Rodrigo Hinzpeter, Minister of National Defense, Republic of Chile

“You see 2014 as the end of the war, we [India] see it as the beginning.”
–Mr. MJ Akbar, Editor-in-Chief, Sunday Guardian

“The West has looked at India through the lens of the British Empire.”
–Mr. MJ Akbar, Editor-in-Chief, Sunday Guardian

“The word that is emerging as most important is not conflict – India does not want conflict [...] the new word is containment, not conflict. This is a much more nuanced game. Everyone is going to play all sides.”
–Mr. MJ Akbar, Editor-in-Chief, Sunday Guardian

“One world order won’t work in diverse Asia Pacific, which has 3 communist countries.”
–Dr. Masashi Nishihara, President, Research Institute for Peace and Security, Japan

“The US should put its own House in order.”
–Dr. Masashi Nishihara, President, Research Institute for Peace and Security, Japan

Plenary #5: Robot Wars: The Technology Strikes Back

“The drones will not change the nature of the world, the human will still be key.”
–General Jean-Paul Paloméros, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, North Atlantic Treaty Organization

“Most policy makers are not digital natives and have very little connection to technology.”
–The Hon. Jane Harman, Director, President and Chief Executive Officer, the Woodrow Wilson Center

Plenary #6: Arctic Encounters: Hot Commodities, Cold War

“We know that the weather is changing and the ice is opening up and that’s why we are on top of it.”
–The Hon. Rob Nicholson, Minister of National Defence, Canada

“The area is so vast and climate so challenging, when it comes to an oil spill or a cruise ship in trouble, we will need to work together, all of us.”
–The Hon. Nicolai Wammen, Minister of Defense, Denmark

“NATO has a role for situational awareness – NATO has some role already, but we don’t foresee a military role.”
–The Hon. Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Iceland

Plenary #7 – Free Radicals (With Return Tickets): Boston, Nairobi and the Future of Terrorism

“As a society, we have to send a strong signal that if you are to use violent means to reach your goal, this is not acceptable. We will ensure that we take preventative action.”
–The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety

“One terrorist attack is too many and we ought to take everything we have to prevent it.”
–The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety

“We never exaggerate when it comes to security. You have to prepare yourself for the worst, always. This is a principle of providing security to society.”
–H.E. Pedro Morenés, Minister of Defense, Kingdom of Spain

“Terrorism is any activity that can destroy the society we want to lead.”
–H.E. Pedro Morenés, Minister of Defense, Kingdom of Spain

“Counterterrorism has been a cash cow and legitimacy cow to the Arab rulers. And that needs to end.”
–Mr. Farea al Muslimi, Yemen’s Colleague, Resonate Yemen

“We should not underestimate the geopolitical changes effecting the terrorists themselves.”
–The Hon. Arnaud Danjean, Chair, Subcommittee on Security and Defence, European Parliament

“Now the frustration is big, is huge, and I don’t know if we rightly dealt with the situation in Egypt.”
–The Hon. Arnaud Danjean, Chair, Subcommittee on Security and Defence, European Parliament

Plenary #8 – WMD: Whose Moral Dilemma?

“The only thing worse than weapons of mass destruction is people who are willing to use them.”
–The Hon. Kurt Volker, Executive Director, the McCain Institute for International Leadership

“We have to be practical and realistic of what the Iranian regime is prepared to accept.”
–The Rt. Hon. Andrew Murrison, Minister for International Security Strategy, United Kingdom

“Nobody has clean hands in the Middle East.”
–H.E. Hussain Haqqani, Senior Fellow and Director for South and Central Asia, Hudson Institute

“What we need to do is try to create the conditions for further nuclear disarmament.”
–Mr. Camille Grand, Director, The Foundation for Strategic Research

Press Releases

Canada Unveils New Defence Policy

WASHINGTON, DC – Canadian Minister of National Defence Harjit S. Sajjan released Canada’s new defence policy yesterday, entitled Strong, Secure, Engaged. This policy announcement is the…

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