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Revitalizing Transatlantic Relations: Bridging the Divide

Mitchell B. Reiss, Director of Policy Planning
Remarks to the German Council for Foreign Relations
Berlin, Germany
May 11, 2004

Released by the Office of Policy Planning

Thank you very much for that kind introduction. I am grateful to the German Council for Foreign Relations, and to Prof. Dr. Eberhard Sandschneider in particular, for inviting me to speak to you this evening in the Council's magnificent home.

Let me say right from the outset that I am a convinced Atlanticist, just like my boss, and just like his boss.

We believe in the utility of partnerships, especially the transatlantic partnership. We cannot imagine any replacement for the relationship that we have developed over more than half a century, even though we all realize that new circumstances require us to adjust that relationship.

And we have no doubt whatsoever that we can, and are, getting on with that adjustment. Let me quote what Secretary Powell had to say in a recent speech:

NATO was never just a military alliance. It's been a compact of political principles, too. And that's why NATO can now transform itself from an alliance devoted mainly to the defense of common territory into an alliance devoted to the defense of common interests and ideals. And that's why it can apply its irreplaceable experience in common defense to dealing with new kinds of threats.

All that said, I think we can agree that 2003 will not be remembered as a banner year for the Atlantic Alliance. A host of reports and opinion polls bear that out. But before we lock ourselves into conclusions about our joint future, we need to come to a more sophisticated way to read this alliance's vital signs.

Appearances can deceive; this we all know. The storm of negative media commentary over Iraq has suggested some sort of malignant growth within the alliance. But the image of 26 NATO leaders demonstrating unity in the fight against global terrorism speaks to the alliance's ongoing vitality. How do we know which signs and signals to heed, and which to discount?

After all, there've been predictions of doom and despair since NATO was formed in 1949. And they have all proved wrong. This evening I'd like first to distinguish between the real and the false sources of division and cohesion within transatlantic relations. Then I would like to share with you my prescription for how we can move forward, together, to build a strong Atlantic Alliance for the 21st century.

Sources of Division: Real or Apparent?

Those who worry about the transatlantic relationship point to four distinct sources of division: personality, philosophy, policy, and structure. Let me address each one.

Personality
Far too much of what passes for foreign policy debate these days focuses largely on personalities. If only President Bush and the European leaders understood each other better, liked each other more, this thinking goes, all would be right with the world. Often conversations about concrete policy differences end up focusing on personalities. Almost always there is the sense that all our policy differences would disappear if only the personalities changed. Or, expressed more crudely, a President Al Gore never would have launched the war to defeat Saddam Hussein and liberate Iraq.

This is nothing new, really, and it hasn't improved with age. In some ways, last year's disharmony across the Atlantic seems all too familiar on the grounds of personality analysis - or what passes for it. After all, over twenty years ago, hundreds of thousands of Europeans also took to the streets to protest an American president. Ronald Reagan was depicted as a reckless cowboy, or worse, who would plunge the world into a nuclear war.

Today the cover of Der Spiegel depicts President Bush as a modern-day Rambo, complete with rippling muscles and bandoliers. The President is portrayed repeatedly as an American naïf who sees the world through a black-and-white lens. And unlike Reagan - and much worse in the European mindset - President Bush is an overtly religious man. Reagan spoke only of an evil empire and people took it to be a figure of speech. President Bush speaks of an entire axis of evil and they suspect he means it literally.

And it's worth pointing out that the President's religiosity, his optimism, his moral certainty, are all traits that make President Bush, and indeed any American politician, popular domestically. These are traits that many Europeans find objectionable.

But is this really the essence of the transatlantic problem? Is this really about personalities? If so, this would be good news for European critics of American foreign policy. The solution would then be simple - wait until a new, supposedly more "sensible," American president comes along to make things better. But such analysis is fundamentally flawed, as superficial in its own way as are European caricatures of President Bush.

Philosophy
A second and more important source of division is philosophical.

A recurring theme in transatlantic discussions is that the United States and Europe increasingly do not share the same world view. We do not see international institutions the same way. And we do not view the use of force the same way.

Robert Kagan has identified this divide in his book, "Of Paradise and Power." Simply put, America is from Mars, Europe is from Venus. Kagan describes a broad ideological gap between the U.S. and Europe because of Europe's unique historical experience of the past fifty years, culminating in the past decade with the creation of the European Union.

The European desire to exercise power through transnational negotiation and cooperation stands in contrast to the Bush Administration's view that international law is often unreliable; and that the defense and promotion of a liberal order still depends on the possession and use of military force.

Kagan's analysis is helpful in illuminating the different prisms through which Europeans and Americans view world politics. That said, I do not share all of Kagan's analysis, and I share none of his determinism, which largely writes off the prospect of future transatlantic strategic cooperation. In fact, even Kagan has recently reevaluated the importance of a strong European partner to the success of American foreign policy.

So I wouldn't exaggerate the significance of these philosophical differences. They're not as extensive as some claim, and they're not as directly relevant in policy terms as some imply. After all, German soldiers lead the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Kunduz, Afghanistan. How do all these philosophical differences stack up against that fact, and against other examples of cooperation - indeed, of partnership?

Policy
A third source of tension within the Alliance is real differences over policy.

When we think about policy disputes, the Iraq war overshadows all the rest. The war in Iraq was clearly a watershed issue. There is no need to belabor the point here. But now we all have a stake in getting Iraq right. Making sure that the Iraqi people have a real chance to live in dignity, peace, and freedom. Chancellor Schroeder and Foreign Minister Fischer understand this. So do President Bush and Secretary Powell.

Beyond the decision to go to war in Iraq, we have other policy differences. Divisions over Kyoto and the International Criminal Court run deep. It's important to note that these two issues - Kyoto and the ICC - highlight the constitutional role of Congress in U.S. foreign policy-making. Regardless of who's in the White House, regardless of his support for Kyoto or the ICC, the U.S. Senate would simply not ratify either one.

In the case of Kyoto, during the summer of 1997, before the Kyoto Protocol had been finalized, the Senate voted 95-0 to assert its opposition to any treaty that might endanger the U.S. economy and spare developing countries from the constraints imposed on the developed world. In the case of the ICC, when President Clinton signed the Treaty on Dec. 31, 2000, he stated that the Treaty was fundamentally flawed and he would not forward it to the Senate for Advice and Consent to Ratification. He went so far as to recommend that his successor not forward the Treaty to the Senate. Clearly, these are differences of policy, not of individual personalities.

Structure
To be sure, differences over personality, philosophy, and policy have long been elements of the transatlantic relationship. Never before have they added up sufficiently to wreck the alliance, and in my view, they still do not do so today. Things are different, sure. But in a fundamental way, as the French say, plus ca change…..

What is new is a cluster of structural divisions -- shiftings of the transatlantic tectonic plates, so to speak. It is these structural changes in the international system and underlying trends in both America and Europe that, to my mind, are the most important and least analyzed sources of our difficulties. These include the current nature of the international system, an enlarged and more integrated European Union, generational change in Europe and America, changing European demographics, and the variable psychological and political impact of 9/11.

First, the fall of the Iron Curtain marked the end of what I call "reflexive Atlanticism." The Cold War's conclusion - from the collapse of the Berlin Wall to the demise of the Soviet Union - changed profoundly the nature of the international system and the nature of the transatlantic relationship. A shared fear of the Soviet threat was the glue at the core of the transatlantic relationship. With the end of the Cold War, Europe no longer needed to rely on the United States as the guarantor of its security. In the absence of a common enemy, many observers in both Europe and America openly questioned whether the Alliance could survive the end of the Soviet Union.

The bipolar world that had grown out of the debris of World War II became a unipolar world. But rather than welcoming this fact, unipolarity itself appeared deeply disconcerting to many Europeans, many of whom felt demoted from partner to subordinate. Former French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine captured the sentiment best when, during the Clinton Administration, he described the United States as a "hyper-puissance" whose unilateralism posed one of the world's great problems.

For those Europeans who feared American domination, the key question was how to restrain the United States. But this was not the only question being asked at the time. Others feared American disengagement. The question then was not whether America could be restrained from acting, but whether America could be persuaded to act at all.

It was this ambivalence - on both sides of the Atlantic - that characterized much of the debate over the Balkans, for example. With its major enemy gone, the United States seemed relatively content to cash in its "peace dividend" and focus on domestic issues. For many in the United States, Bosnia was a purely European problem.

Eventually, America did join the Europeans in fighting and nation-building in the Balkans, as well as in enlarging NATO's membership. However, these new projects, not nearly on as grand a scale as facing down the Soviet threat, took much less commitment. Many doubt that these projects provide a strong enough glue to keep the U.S. and its European allies together.

A second structural factor is the new European identity. "Europe" is evolving as an independent actor with its own priorities. While the European Community had developed impressively since its founding in the early 1950s, it was the end of the Cold War and the spur of German unification that led to Maastricht and a single European currency. The creation of the euro, long envisioned by Europe's federalists, encouraged greater policy coordination in areas as diverse as justice, home affairs and foreign policy.

In terms of both membership and competencies, the European Union has now matured into a significant diplomatic force in international relations. The United States is consumed with global challenges, whether it be the war on terrorism, the Middle East or the Korean Peninsula. For Europe, the question is not only how to engage on this global agenda, but also how to tackle two additional, immense projects simultaneously: widening - how to integrate new members - and deepening - how to develop more effective means of action. These dual challenges of integrating new members and new policies will likely remain the main focus of European energies for some time to come.

In sum, the European project will absorb time, attention, and resources. Europe's interests are indeed global, but our concern is that its capabilities may not match its vision.

Third, the postwar generation in Europe and the United States is leaving center stage. The impact of the passing of the generational torch cannot be underestimated. In the 1980s, the governing elite in western Europe and the United States all shared the historical experience of World War II and the Berlin Airlift. The Europeans had positive feelings toward the United States, rooted in America's wartime bravery and power, as well as in its post-war generosity and beneficence.

The Americans shared a perspective of the world, in which the transatlantic alliance was the pivot. We believed that our relationship was the key to making the world better, freer, and more prosperous.

In contrast, the generation in power today in Europe consists of the so-called "sixty-eighters," who came of political age while protesting the Vietnam War and what they viewed as American imperialism. At the same time, one hears a growing number of voices in the United States questioning the centrality of the Atlantic Alliance to U.S. policy interests. The passing of time may lead us increasingly to view one another as less "special."

Fourth, Europe is facing a triple challenge of demographics, immigration, and integration. The graying of Europe means that ever-fewer workers will have to support an increasing number of retirees. Assuming that low fertility, longer life spans, early retirement ages, and generous pension and health systems continue, old-age dependency spending will overwhelm every other area of European public expenditures. Some projections indicate that, by 2030, basic pension payments and increased health care costs for the elderly will put net governmental financial liabilities in Germany, France, Italy, and Spain at close to 200% of GDP. I realize that addressing this challenge is a priority for the German government, as it is for all European governments, which understand that the current social contract is unsustainable.

Increased immigration is one answer to Europe's demographic crisis: the labor shortage and job vacancies will attract workers from outside Europe. However, this is not a welcome solution in many countries, some of which are beginning to feel overwhelmed by their current immigrant populations. EU member states are struggling, as all of us do, with the challenge of integrating immigrants into their societies. That challenge will remain even without any new immigration.

The United States needs Europe to be successful in meeting this triple challenge. The alternative would spell disaster in domestic and foreign policy terms. Should reforms be insufficient, the resulting higher social costs and significant drag on Europe's economic productivity is likely to mean reduced spending on foreign and defense policy. From building deployable military forces to contributing to international humanitarian and relief efforts, European governments will be strapped for resources. Europe is a huge force for good in the world and we want to see you continue to play that role. European engagement could disappear, however, depending on what social policies you pursue.

Let me be clear. A weak Europe is obviously not in Europe's best interests. It is not in America's best interests, either.

Fifth and finally, 9/11 created a new reality for America. The terrorist attacks against the United States of September 11, 2001 ushered in an unanticipated era for U.S. policymakers. The benevolent and confident superpower of the 1990s became the assertive and worried superpower of the 21st century. The United States recognized the tremendous power at its disposal and set out to use it. After a decade of feeling relatively secure, Americans perceived a clear threat and a sense of urgency to act against it.

Europeans were sympathetic after 9/11, because they saw the attacks as unprovoked and Americans as victims. They also felt a direct connection to 9/11, given that many who died in the attacks were European and that the terrorists involved in those attacks were radicalized in Europe. The remarkable wave of solidarity and sense of cohesion evident throughout Europe in the days and months after 9/11 led many observers to speak about the depth and strength of transatlantic bonds. We all remember that NATO invoked, for the first time in its history, Article 5, the mutual defense clause. And we know that the Europeans proved willing to support without question the U.S. war against Afghanistan, both sending troops to participate in the later stages of the military campaign and playing a significant role in the post-war reconstruction.

This solidarity proved superficial, however, because it was not based on real agreement of what had occurred. For the first time in at least a half-century, Americans felt vulnerable. They felt the attacks showed the unique threat against the United States and the need for unwavering U.S. leadership to meet that threat with all possible means, even if this meant sometimes striking preemptively. As President Bush wrote in the September 2002 National Security Strategy: "[W]e will not hesitate to act alone, if necessary, to exercise our right of self-defense by acting preemptively against such terrorists…." Many Europeans shared the same threat perception as Americans, but not all did. And few Europeans saw military preemption as a correct means of dealing with the threat.

The post-9/11 transatlantic consensus shattered when the Bush Administration's focus shifted to Iraq. For us, Iraq was a continuation of the global threats that emerged throughout the 1990s: the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the inability of international institutions to prevent this proliferation, a rise in actual terrorist attacks against the U.S. military and U.S. embassies, and failing states that could serve as incubators for exporting terror.

For us, Iraq represented a coalescence of threats that could no longer be addressed by classical deterrence, especially after 9/11. Any one of these threats alone would be worrisome, but it was the potential for a deadly combination of them that was truly alarming.

In contrast, most Europeans believed we were waging a completely new war. They saw the war against terrorism as being about 9/11-like problems, and as being about Al-Qaeda. We saw, and we still see, the war on terrorism as being about problems potentially much worse than 9/11, and concerning actors not limited to Al-Qaeda. Many Europeans assert that we agree on the diagnosis of the problem, but disagree fundamentally on the solution. I'm not so sure we really agree on the diagnosis.

In sum, we have real challenges facing us in transatlantic relations. The underlying and shifting geopolitical realities I have enumerated cannot be wished away. Indeed, they are already upon us. The question is not whether they exist, but what we do about them.

Dealing With The Challenge

There are several ways we can, and should, deal with this challenge. But, first, let me warn about three approaches I believe are sure to fail.

One option would be for us to focus chiefly on consulting more. Some Europeans have told me that they feel shut out of Bush Administration decision-making. They argue that if they were let into that process, rather than just being notified of the end result, they would be more likely to share our perspective. I'm all for consultation. I meet regularly with my European counterparts on trips to Europe and back in Washington, and I value our discussions. But consultation in and of itself is not a sufficient solution. The transatlantic discord over the past 18 months did not result primarily from a lack of dialogue, but rather from real differences over policy.

A second false path is to believe that the strength of the transatlantic economic relationship can solve our foreign policy disputes. You are familiar with the statistics: in 2001, Europe accounted for half of the total global earnings of U.S. firms. Europe invests more in the single state of Texas than the United States invests in all of Japan. Transatlantic commerce today approaches $2.5 trillion a year. My view is that this economic relationship can act as a shock absorber to help get us past the potholes and speed bumps along the road, but by itself will not be sufficient to ensure a healthy transatlantic relationship. Economic interdependence will not bridge current divisions.

A final shortsighted approach would be for the United States and Europe to stop viewing each other as essential strategic partners. Rather, Europeans and Americans would cooperate a la carte, focusing solely on areas of agreement. We could continue to cooperate in the Balkans and Afghanistan, but we would keep contentious issues, like Iraq, off the common agenda.

The transatlantic relationship is, of course, much larger than Iraq, and Europeans and Americans cooperate on an impressively long list of global issues from Sri Lanka to HIV/AIDS.

That said, we can't simply ignore our disagreement over Iraq, given how central it is to U.S. foreign policy and the reality that it will remain a core concern for U.S. administrations for some time.

Some U.S. policymakers would embrace coalitions of the willing over long-standing alliances. I couldn't disagree more. More importantly, nor could the Secretary of State. In the words of Secretary Powell, "one of diplomacy's main jobs is to arrange coalitions so that one's power and one's reputation are multiplied….And the epitome of this principle is a formal alliance."

The problem with coalitions of the willing is that you have to reinvent the wheel each time and that is costly. From where I sit, it is far preferable to work with a core set of allies. Institutions matter. NATO matters. The European Union matters. The patterns of cooperation, the shared values and history, all that we have already accomplished together, mean that NATO, the preeminent transatlantic organization, and the EU, the preeminent European organization, are much more than the sum of their parts.

To me these three approaches - to turn our alliance into a consultative marathon, to depend on dollars and Euros to do what volition and political responsibility cannot, or to split our alliance - all are recipes for disaster.

So How Should We Move Forward?

Let me suggest another way. Let's start with what we can agree upon:

We can agree to get past the acrimony and bitterness of the past year -- the intramural squabbling, the public spats, the private snubs. We can agree to talk candidly about what really matters. We can agree to let the historians deal with the past, while we focus on the future. We can agree to leave to the academics and theologians the battle of the "isms" - unilateralism vs. multilateralism.

We can agree on a deal: We will not interpret the European desire to achieve a unified position as an excuse for inaction, if not outright opposition aimed at checking U.S. power. And Europe should not interpret the U.S. desire for action as an opportunity to provoke divisions in Europe.

We can agree to remind ourselves - and our publics - of how much we do cooperate:

  • The unprecedented transatlantic cooperation in the Global War on Terrorism;
  • Afghanistan, where roughly 6,000 troops comprise the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force and where our allies are helping extend Provincial Reconstruction Teams outside of Kabul;
  • Iran and the agreement the EU-3 forged in October, in close coordination with the Bush Administration;
  • Libya, where a joint Anglo-American initiative has led that former terrorist sponsor to agree to give up its WMD.
  • The Balkans, where we will soon announce a successful end to NATO's mission in Bosnia and welcome a new EU operation, or in Kosovo, where transatlantic cooperation remains key to our common goal of a multi-ethnic Kosovo.
  • And yes, even in Iraq, where NATO is supporting the Polish-led division and close to 30 European countries have contributed nearly 15,000 troops to Operation Iraqi Freedom. France, Germany and others are committed to helping reduce Iraq's debt burden; and
  • Finally, we can agree to remember that our bitter dispute over Iraq is but three years old. Our common values, however, are 300 years old - going back to the Enlightenment itself.
Next, we can agree to tackle a set of common interests. Indeed, we already have an outline of the common interests we share - and the common threats we face - in this new century. The newly agreed European Security Strategy defines Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), terrorism, and failed states as the top three threats facing Europe. The ESS has many similarities to my own Administration's National Security Strategy. These are the top threats facing the United States as well.

The tragic bombings in Madrid on March 11 were a painful reminder for all of us about the nature and continuing threat terrorism poses. Those attacks, rather than dividing our transatlantic coalition, can strengthen our resolve to fight this scourge together. One example of our renewed commitment is the Declaration on Terrorism issued by NATO Foreign Ministers on April 2.

Given this reality, how can we not work together? How can we explain to our publics that we prefer to go our separate ways in the face of these existential threats? Because we don't like each other? Because we prefer to put personal petulance ahead of the public interest? Because we prefer to follow a narrow selfish path rather than forge a common purpose?

President Bush has already made clear his preference. Last November in London, the President laid out his vision of "effective multilateralism." "My nation welcomes the growing unity of Europe," the President said, "and the world needs America and the European Union to work in common purpose for the advance of security and justice." Only by working with European partners through NATO, the European Union, and the UN can we meet the threats of the 21st century.

And there is much work to do. The United States and Europe need to do what we have always done - work together to address the great challenges of our time in Europe and beyond.

Although we have acknowledged the common threats we face, we have not yet developed a common strategy for tackling these challenges. To be candid, we have not yet really even begun to have an in-depth conversation on actions to combat terrorism, halt WMD proliferation, and address failed states, much less begun to coordinate our policies.

Where many of these threats come together is the region the United States refers to as the Greater Middle East and our European friends call the Wider Middle East. The U.N. Arab Human Development Reports bear witness to the relative decline and desperation in the region. It is widely agreed that the best answer to the problems in this region lies in the promotion of greater liberty, greater freedom, and greater dignity, especially for the region's female population.

Here, transatlantic cooperation is much more encouraging. Last November, President Bush launched an ambitious new initiative to promote reform in the region. Speaking at the 20th anniversary of the National Endowment for Democracy, the President stated: "If the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish, it will remain a place of stagnation and anger and violence for export."

The EU is undergoing a similar rethinking of its policy toward the region. I applaud the joint Council-Commission workplan on strengthening the EU's partnership with the Arab World, approved by all member states last December. The Commission and High Representative Solana concluded that "it is necessary to raise the level of ambition in Europe's relations with the Arab World…" I appreciate the EU's stated willingness in its April interim report to work together with us in this area and look forward to the EU adopting its new strategy toward the region at its June summit.

Beyond the EU initiative, Germany has been particularly active in this area. This past February at the Munich Conference on Security Policy, Foreign Minister Fischer called for a transatlantic initiative to tackle the challenge of modernization and stabilization in the Middle East. He declared that: "[T]he Middle East is at the epicenter of the greatest threat to our regional and global security at the dawn of this century: destructive jihadist terrorism with its totalitarian ideology."

Later that same month, in Washington, Chancellor Schroeder and President Bush committed our countries to promoting freedom, democracy, human dignity, the rule of law, economic opportunity, and security in the Greater Middle East. Your Ambassador to the United States, Wolfgang Ischinger, has recently said that "the litmus test of our ability to forge a new transatlantic consensus will be how we handle the issue of the greater Middle East."

We agree. Working together on transforming the Greater Middle East should be a critical step on the way to rebuilding a transatlantic consensus forged by working with a common purpose on a matter of global importance.

What does the Bush Administration mean when it talks about a GME initiative?

  • We know reform can't be imposed from the outside; the best ideas for change will come from the region.
  • We know that despite the efforts of some courageous individuals, change in the region will not come about by itself; the reform effort needs outside encouragement and support.
  • We know there is no one-size-fits-all reform plan for all the countries in the region; we will have to tailor our policies to local conditions.
  • We know supporting reform in the region is not a substitute for our engagement in the Middle East Peace Process. But the reverse is true as well: reform, dignity, and freedom in the Middle East cannot wait until there is full peace between Arabs and Israelis.
  • And we know fundamental change won't happen overnight; this is a generational challenge.
Already we are seeing signs in the region that our efforts are having an impact. Indigenous calls for reform include the Arab Business Council conference in Aqaba in December; the Sana'a conference on democracy and human rights in January; the Alexandria Bibliotheca's conference on Arab reform and the Beirut Civil Forum, both in March.

We have strongly encouraged Arab League members to issue a credible call for reform at their Tunis summit, now rescheduled for later this month. A number of Arab leaders have told us of their intention to do just that.

My colleagues and I are working on how best to implement the President's strategic vision for broad transformation in the region. We need the cooperation and help of our European allies. We welcome your ideas.

We should build upon our existing engagement in the region. We can learn from each other. There is much the United States and the EU can do on their own, but when we combine resources, we bring a dynamism, a legitimacy, and a strength that cannot be matched.

You in Europe have had much experience with spreading democracy and nation-building. Through NATO, we have been active in the region through the Mediterranean Dialogue. The EU has also been engaged in the Mediterranean rim through the Barcelona process.

But the EU itself has acknowledged it must go further and develop a stronger relationship with the Muslim world. Just as we are working hard to do so on our side, I encourage you to redouble your efforts to refocus your programs, including Euro-Med, to work in partnership with countries in the region on issues, in the words of British Foreign Secretary Straw, "that really matter: good governance, the rule of law, and transfer of expertise."

We also remember what European officials have told us: The Greater Middle East is on Europe's doorstep and Europe's Muslim population has more than doubled in the last three decades. What is a foreign policy challenge for the United States is a challenge with both foreign policy and domestic political implications for Europe.

Next month our leaders will be gathering in Sea Island, Georgia; Dublin, and Istanbul for the G-8, US-EU, and NATO summits. With our G-8 partners, we are discussing a number of key initiatives: a finance and development structure to advance economic reform, and a structure patterned after Germany's Stiftungen and our own National Endowment for Democracy to advance political reform. We are considering ways to tackle the problem of literacy. And we are exploring the option of creating a new forum to institutionalize our dialogue on reform with the countries of the region. At Dublin, we are looking not only to see how the US and EU can help advance this agenda, but how we compare "best practices" -- including how best the US can learn from your experience with the Barcelona process. On the security side, NATO is beginning discussions with countries in the region about a new program focused on practical cooperation in common areas of interest, such as counter-terrorism and civil emergency planning.

I mention these summits not to remind all of us of the calendar, but to remind all of us of the challenge -- and the opportunity -- ahead. If we succeed, our hard work will be just the beginning. This is a long-term goal that will require patience, persistence and partnership.

Are we up to this? The transatlantic record forged over half a century would answer in one word -- "Yes."

Thank you very much.


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