Whole, Free, and at Peace:

The Work Ahead

Over lunch, Kurt Volker, Executive Director of the McCain Institute, delivered a keynote address. CEPA’s Brian Whitmore, Senior Fellow and Russia Program Director, provided the introduction. Ambassador Volker stressed that Western values must guide transatlantic policy. In the West, allies believe in certain fundamental rights: freedom, democracy, rule of law, human rights, and security. Countries have signed agreements and created international institutions designed to uphold them – even when they disagree. The Soviet Union, for example, signed the Helsinki Declaration during the Cold War from a position of strength, which should create the basis for managing disagreement between Russia and the West.


Ambassador Volker noted that today, the mission of making Europe “whole, free, and at peace” is incomplete: Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova do not enjoy the same freedoms as the rest of Europe. Moscow continues to spread the narrative that NATO threatens Russia and is not a defensive Alliance. Volker’s fundamental point was that NATO cannot rest on its laurels if it is to complete its mission. These narratives must be countered more assertively—particularly by European leaders. The upcoming elections in Georgia, for example, must be free, fair, and open. Most important, the Alliance should recall the fundamental rights that are valued and the institutions which are designed to uphold them.