Thomas R. Pickering
Under Secretary for Political Affairs
U.S. Department of State
French American Chamber of Commerce
Washington, DC, November 3, 2000
America's Stake in Europe's Future
Thank you, Greg, for that kind introduction. I am honored to receive the Thomas Jefferson Award in the company of so many distinguished business and diplomatic leaders whom I respect and admire. This award means a great deal to me.
I would like to thank the French-American Chamber of Commerce and the other sponsors, who include the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Corporation, Lockheed Martin, The British-American Business Association, The European-American Business Council, and The German-American Business Association. Thank you all for this esteemed award.
I would also like to express my pleasure at being with Ambassador Philon, Ambassador Conzemius, the Irish Charge d'Affaires Kenneth Thompson, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce Ludolph, and the other distinguished members of the diplomatic and business communities who have joined us today.
It is humbling to be associated with Jefferson's passionate advocacy for close ties with France and strong transatlantic relations. Of course, during Jefferson's time, communication across the Atlantic was a little bit different than it is today.
After Jefferson's predecessor as Ambassador to France, Benjamin Franklin, arrived in Paris, some time passed before the President -- a man named Washington -- realized he had not heard much from Franklin. "How long has it been?" he asked an aide. "A year," was the reply, to which Washington exclaimed, "We must write him a letter!"
Now we communicate at the touch of a button. But what do we communicate--what values, what substance?
In today's world we are all flooded with information. But information itself is not understanding. Swift means of travel and communication can simply mean that misunderstandings and prejudice travel more rapidly than twenty years ago.
The very closeness of the transatlantic partnership makes it especially vulnerable to such misunderstandings. And the potential for misunderstanding is apparent as we discuss what kind of U.S.-European relationship we should build for the 21st century.
Some argue that the transatlantic relationship was simply held together by a common threat. Now that the threat is gone, they say, we are drifting apart.
Others are complacent. They seem to take our partnership for granted. And still others appear to be arguing for a division of labor whereby Europe sticks to its own business on the continent while the United States addresses concerns all around the globe.
The vitality of this debate is emblematic of the vitality of our relationship. There are serious voices in this debate. And the concerns they express need to be taken seriously. But because each in its own way fails to appreciate America's stake in Europe's future, they offer false choices.
The reality is that transatlantic ties are today just as important as they were during the Cold War. Our freedom, prosperity, and security on both sides of the Atlantic are inseparable.
When Europeans and Americans agree, we are a powerful force for good in the world. When we are at odds, neither America nor Europe is effective in getting the job done.
The end of the Cold War has not loosened our relationship, it has liberated us from the need to focus narrowly on a common external threat.
We are free to define our Community by what we are for, no longer by what we are against.
Our vision is a simple one: we want a Europe whole and free in partnership with the United States as part of a new Atlantic Community which is a force for progress in the world. Our answer to the changes of the past decade and the challenges of the future is not that we should do less together; it is that we can -- and we must -- do more together.
Above all, we want a partnership that is no longer focused primarily on what Americans should do for Europe but one whose raison d'etre is what America can do with Europe to pursue our common values and interests.
It should be a partnership that is more equal and more global. It should be a Community in which our European partners can count on us and we can count on them.
Over the past decade we have been building this new Community, which now reaches beyond our traditional post-war partners in Europe's western half to encompass Europe's democracies in the continent's eastern half.
Together with our European friends and allies, we have adapted the key institutions and we have begun to fit them to the new universe we face -- NATO, the OSCE and the U.S.-EU relationship -- which form the bedrock of our partnership. Although much work remains to be done, we have given ourselves strong new partners and flexible new tools.
As we set about our task, our principle enemy is complacency. If America or Europe turns inward and away from the obligations of leadership, we will watch our gains unravel with 21st-century speed.
"Our liberty is endangered if we rest on our achievements," President Kennedy reminded us back in l963, "For time and the world do not stand still. Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past are certain to miss the future."
We must tune our partnership to new times. We can give life to the promise of this New Atlantic Community if, together, we tackle the challenges that face us -- in Europe, across the Atlantic, and around the world.
Our first challenge is in Europe itself. Our effort to build a Europe whole and free is guided by a new conception of European security, based not on divided defense blocs, but instead on political, military, economic, and cultural integration.
This means doing for Europe's East what we did for Europe's West after World War II: supporting young democracies, upholding standards of human rights, lowering barriers to trade and commerce, and creating a spirit of common security that can make conflict unthinkable.
It means redefining relationships in ways that erase, and not replace, old divisions. And, it means creating the conditions by which Europe's democracies can fully integrate into the European and transatlantic mainstream.
We need to keep working in Europe's southeast corner. Europe will not be secure until we transform this region from a primary source of instability to a fully integrated part of the European and transatlantic mainstream. As the President put it earlier this year, we must de-Balkanize the Balkans.
The swearing-in of Vojislav Kostunica as the democratically elected President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was an extraordinary victory for the people of Yugoslavia, who have clearly voted for democracy and a future in Europe over dictatorship, repression, and isolation.
Along with our European allies, we look forward to engaging President Kostunica's government and have worked quickly to bring Yugoslavia into the UN and the Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe. President Kostunica has affirmed adherence to the Dayton Agreement for Bosnia and to United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 on Kosovo.
A democratic Yugoslavia can provide a new basis for strengthening regional cooperation and advancing democratic and economic development throughout the region. We expect Yugoslavia to meet the same standards on human rights, rule of law, and cooperation with the international community as others do.
We have come far, but we face very real risks and tensions. Key to the success of this effort will be doing our part to consolidate the democratic changes in Belgrade.
We want the people of Yugoslavia to know that there is a democracy dividend. Important elections will be held throughout the region, including in Yugoslavia, in the next 60 days. We are working in close collaboration with our European allies so that these elections are a vote for Europe and a vote for democracy.
Europe is leading the partnership today in southeastern Europe. Our allies and partners contribute more than 80 percent of the ground forces conducting peacekeeping operations in the region.
They are providing humanitarian and reconstruction assistance to the region in the form of "quick-start" projects worth more than $2.2 billion dollars that are earmarked to rebuild infrastructure, reopen borders, and disarm local militias. EU members have contributed 60% of the funds for Kosovo this year.
We welcome these contributions as part of a more balanced partnership, where the U.S. does not always carry the biggest burden.
Another major challenge in Europe is to continue to develop a strong and sustainable partnership with a democratic Russia. Over the past few years, we have pursued two fundamental goals with respect to Russia.
The first is to encourage the efforts of the Russian people to transform their political, economic and social institutions.
The second is to make the world safer, through cooperation on reducing Cold War arsenals of weapons of mass destruction and encouraging stability and integration in Europe and the world beyond. We want to welcome Russia to its rightful place as a part of Europe and as a partner of the entire transatlantic community. Each of these goals are very much works in progress.
On Chechnya, the international community must remain engaged and urge Russia to begin a dialogue that can restore peace and stability in a region where loss of life, brutality, and fear are the norm. There is no military solution to Chechnya.
President Putin has stated his commitment to democracy, the free market and protection of human rights, and we have all made clear our desire to work with his government to fulfill this commitment.
There is also more work to be done at NATO. Our goal is to build a NATO that can make, keep, and build peace in the 21st century. We want an alliance that is broader, more flexible, committed to collective defense, and able to meet the full spectrum of threats.
The military campaign in Kosovo underscored gaps between the United States and Europe's military capabilities. The European Security and Defense Policy initiative and NATO's Defense Capabilities Initiative are answers to the problem. A stronger European military contribution will make the Alliance stronger, lift some of the burden from the U.S., and make the U.S.-European relationship much more of a partnership in this arena.
We have unfinished business in Europe. But the 21st century partnership we are developing is as much about what we together, can and must do in the wider world to meet a range of challenges no single nation --not even a hyperpuissance -- can meet alone.
When we pull together, the transatlantic community is the drivewheel of progress on every world-scale issue. When we pull in different directions, we are the global brake.
We bear a special responsibility to lead multinational efforts towards global financial stability and sustained world growth based on open markets.
The well-being of our citizens is increasingly influenced by legal and illegal flows of money and weapons, technology, toxins and terror, drugs and disease. We characterize these phenomena as global, but their impact is also very seriously local. They are impersonal forces with very personal consequences.
Criminals trafficking in illicit weapons, drugs and human lives recognize no national borders. They turn our citizens into targets of opportunity and our public places into stalking grounds.
Together, we are making a difference. The new Europe brings real resources to the foreign policy table, making some of our most important strategic initiatives possible.
Together, we are preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and fighting criminals, terrorists and drug traffickers wherever they may be.
Together, the U.S. and Europe account for ninety percent of all the humanitarian aid in the world -- and we are coordinating our efforts to make the money we do spend more effective.
Together, we are fighting AIDS in Africa, easing poverty in South Asia, and ensuring food security worldwide.
Together, we are promoting nuclear safety in Ukraine and Russia. We are engaging North Korea to prevent missile proliferation and enhance regional stability. We are working together to bring a peaceful transition to democracy in East Timor.
The momentum towards an elusive Middle East settlement in particular owes much to the constant, consistent, patient joint efforts of the United States and its European allies.
Each of us has been a member of a global team using our individual political and diplomatic channels to convince all the parties that their people would benefit infinitely more from peace, than from continued violent confrontation. Recent developments in the region are tragic because the goal was within sight.
However, all members of the team need to reenergize and redouble our coordinated campaigns to first stabilize the situation and end the violence, and then help the parties reengage.
We need to encourage the parties to implement the agreements made at Sharm el-Sheikh, including the formation of a fact-finding committee.
We also need to use our contacts in the region to prevent further escalation of violence. Moreover, Europe and the US can work together to help diffuse tension in a manner that avoids unhelpful fingerpointing.
Our common efforts around the globe may well be the unsung story of our partnership. Our task now is to make this dimension of our partnership more operational so that we can act more effectively and quickly together in fast-breaking crises; identify and manage our differences before they impair our ability to work together; and, better anticipate and prevent emerging threats.
The challenges we face in and beyond Europe are daunting; but our partnership can give us the wherewithal to tackle them -- if we understand the nature of our third challenge -- that between Europe and America.
One hears these days complaints that somehow we are drifting apart, no longer engaged with each other as we had been during the Cold War. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Our societies are not drifting apart; they are interacting with each other as never before. More than 14 million workers on both sides of the Atlantic owe their livelihoods to our $1.4 trillion commercial relationship.
European companies are the largest foreign investors in 41 of the 50 states. And, American companies continue to invest about as much in Europe as they do in the rest of the world.
Each of our societies provides a frame of reference for the other. Increasingly, domestic leaders on either side of the Atlantic are learning from the experiences of their transatlantic compatriots. The attendance and sponsorship of today's lunch is only more evidence of that fact. In recent years we Americans have profited from the experiences gained from German environmental planning, Danish models of workforce development, and British enterprise zone concepts.
Our economies and societies are now so intertwined, in fact, that our domestic rules affect not just our own economies, but also those of our economic partners.
The citizens of our new Atlantic Community are interacting so closely that we have already transcended what one might call "foreign" relations. We have moved into a sort of transatlantic domestic policy arena, in which specific social and economic concerns often leap over formal borders and override national policies.
This new closeness can cause some frictions, as on issues such as food safety, bananas, and beef. Through the U.S.-EU relationship we have taken a number of steps to deal effectively with some of the difficulties created by our greater economic integration.
Cooperation by the U.S. and EU competition authorities, as well as the recent data privacy agreement, are just two examples that demonstrate we can work better together. Our regulators are sharing ideas and information much more frequently, and mutual recognition agreements will help to ensure transparency to everyone concerned.
We have an early-warning system in place to flag potential problems. The joint dialogue we have initiated on biotechnology is connecting our scientists to develop joint recommendations.
Our transatlantic dialogues with business, consumer and environmental stakeholders have made the decision-making process more accessible and transparent. They have also been a vibrant source of advice and counsel for the United States and the European Commission. In this context, let me express our appreciation to the leadership of French participants such as Bertrand Collomb, CEO and Chairman of LaFarge, and EU chair of the Transatlantic Business Dialogue (TABD).
All of the above underscore the key contributions that are being made outside of the government. During the Cold War, national governments were central agents of change. In this new Transatlantic Community, such leadership need not and cannot come from national governments alone.
The active engagement of private individuals, business and philanthropic organizations, as well as leadership from the US Congress, European parliaments, the American states, and European regions will be essential to build a 21st century transatlantic partnership worthy of those who forged our original alliance a half-century ago.
Looking out at so many distinguished people here today, I am confident that there are many leaders on both sides of the Atlantic who are ready, willing, and able to lead the way.
The bottom line: our partnership does real things for real people. It generates jobs. It stimulates investment. It reduces the threats we face from crime, terrorism, proliferation, drugs and disease. It increases our security and cuts the cost to the American taxpayer of achieving that security.
Perhaps more than with any other part of the world, our relationship with Europe is what one might call an empowering relationship. When it works, it enables Americans and Europeans to achieve goals we could not achieve alone, and to be a powerful force for progress on almost any issue.
In this new century we can be confident that our new Atlantic Community can and will make our citizens safer and more prosperous, and our democratic community larger and stronger. Thank you.
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