“We need to co-operate in order to conquer,” Tzipi Livni told the 2015 Halifax International Security Forum Nov. 20 during a panel presentation.
The co-leader of Israel’s Zionist Union party and former foreign affairs minister was one of more than 200 delegates attending the annual event in Halifax. She was appearing on a panel entitled “Co-operate, Contain or Conquer.”
“Containment is not an option,” she said, discussing terrorist threats by various groups, and specifically the recent attacks in Paris by the Islamic State. “It’s about who we are and what we believe in. The free world needs to fight for its values.”
Also on the panel were Georgian Defence Minister Tinatin Khidasheli, Colombian Defence Minister Luis Carlos Villegas Echeverri and U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defence Robert Work.
Work suggested the panel’s title should be changed to: “Compete (against the two great powers, Russia and China), Co-operate (wherever possible), Contest (when certain states push back), Contain (whatever problems arise), and Crush (them – and ISIS fits in the last category.)”
Villegas reflected on Colombia’s recovery from having a crime-ridden economy to one that benefits its entire population. He said 15 years ago, it was No. 7 among Latin American economies. Today, it is third behind Brazil and Argentina, and it has improved its poverty level from 60 per cent of its people below the poverty line to less than 25 per cent today.
“Our GDP is four times greater today, and individual income has grown five times,” he said. “People said ‘No more violence and corruption.’ We’ve had good government, international co-operation and stressed reform in everything we’ve done.”
Khidasheli, her country’s first female defence minister, expressed pessimism about Russia’s actions, saying it does what it wants through occupation and aggressiveness in Georgia and Ukraine.
“Russia occupies 25 per cent of my country. Soldiers daily kidnap and kill peaceful people, troubling everyone as they wish. If there’s any hope or chance for any dialogue to succeed, Georgians would be the first to applaud, but I don’t believe there’s any solution.”
The three-day conference drew major government, defence and security officials from Asia, South America, western and eastern Europe, the Middle East, Japan, Mexico, United States and Canada.
Participants tackled a wide range of issues, from taking the fight to Daesh (ISIS) on the ground and on the web, to China’s growing military aggression, plus they discussed technology; refugee responsibility among nations; handling a diminishing Chinese economy; how modern Muslims are breaking tradition and moving forward; and the financing of terror and how to stem it.
Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, concluded. “We shared new and innovative ideas and, most importantly, established and renewed productive relationships. I think we’re all better equipped to deal with the challenges of tomorrow.”
Livni said her first trip to Halifax was beneficial. “The conference was held at a sensitive time” following attacks in Paris and Mali, she said, and “gave a wakeup call to the international community that ISIS is not only in the Middle East but here, too, and we cannot turn a blind eye. We need to fight physically for our values.
“They won’t stop until they win. We cannot let them win.”
The Halifax International Security Forum is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan organization based in Washington, D.C.