On Friday, November 18, leaders from more than 40 countries gathered at the Halifax International Security Forum to discuss what’s next in “Arab Spring” nations, implications of the global financial crisis, the future of NATO, and other top issues affecting international security today.
The event was kicked off by Halifax International Security Forum President Peter Van Praagh, who introduced Canadian National Defence Minister Peter MacKay and U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Read the excerpts from their speeches below, or watch the videos to hear their thoughts on how all democratic nations must work together in this age of austerity to overcome threats to peace, economic opportunity, and global security.
“Now more than ever, democratic nations and people with democratic values must work together in new ways to promote international security. Greater cooperation and innovative ideas are needed—not only to make better use people yearn for freedom, create economic opportunity, and promote lasting peace that benefits people everywhere. That’s what we mean by international security. That is the mission of Halifax.”
“This forum comes at a difficult time when we must define how we can do defence and security differently. That’s why we must find ways to be more productive, more agile and more nimble. Most of us struggle to decide the how and that is the raison d’être to this forum, to bring people together in an informative, intelligent and calm way to discuss these important and sensitive issues and to learn from each other.”
“The reality is that the United States military alone cannot be all things to all nations. We will sharpen the application of our resources, better deploy our forces in the world and share our burdens more and more effectively with our partners. And frankly, all our allies need to do the same.”
In this “state of the world” discussion, participants weighed in on what we’ve learned since 9/11—and how we are using our knowledge to enhance security and increase global security strategies. From the conversation, it is clear one issue above all others remains unresolved: Have we won the “War on Terror,” or is the threat as real as ever?
Opening this year’s Forum, panelists discussed today’s post-9/11 world, how that day’s events have impacted strategic military and diplomatic decisions over the last decade—and how it will continue to affect decisions of countries around the world.
“Our approach [to global security] has changed by the way we’ve elevated development. The biggest lesson is to recognize global responsibility.”
The Hon. Darrell Dexter, Premier of Nova Scotia, Canada
Welcome Remarks on Behalf of the U.S. Congressional Delegation
The Hon. John McCain, Senator, United States
The Hon. Mark Udall, Senator, United States
Ms. Mary Fetcher, Founding Director, VOICES of September 11th