Ambassador William S. Farish
On: The Transatlantic Relationship Today
15 July 2002
“It has been exactly one year since I arrived in London to take up the post of United States Ambassador to the Court of St. James’s. And what a year it has been. The horrific attacks of September 11 changed us, and our world, forever. It was difficult for Americans overseas to watch it. We felt a world away, not just an ocean.
But, if we had to be away from home during such a crisis, we could not have chosen a better place to be than here, among our greatest friends, the government and people of the United Kingdom. Support for America and Americans in our hour of need came pouring forth – from the Royal Family, from Her Majesty’s Government, from emergency workers, from every kind of group and association, from untold numbers of individuals. That support showed the world the strength and depth of the transatlantic relationship.
But in recent months, as the war on terror has ground on, some of our focus has returned to other business. And questioning that relationship has again become a popular pastime. As I will discuss tonight, the transatlantic relationship is alive and well, and it remains critical, for all of us, on both sides of the pond. But like any relationship, this one must evolve if it is to thrive in a changing world.
Today, thanks to the relative peace and stability Europe enjoys, there is less that the United States and Europe have to do together in Europe. And there is more, much more, that we can and should do together beyond Europe. The end of the Soviet threat has given us the chance to redirect some of the huge political, economic and military capital we once devoted to survival. We can afford to evolve from being great partners in Europe, to being great global partners beyond Europe. And we look forward to working even more closely with a European Union that grows even more capable.
In any period of major change, and in any evolving relationship, rough patches always come with the smooth ones. And it’s human nature – or at least some humans’ nature – to focus on the rough patches. As always, we in the transatlantic partnership must strive to ensure that our inevitable differences don’t keep us from pursuing our broader common interests together. And we must strive to ensure that our partnership remains relevant to the challenges of today’s world. We must work together to set out a broader agenda for the transatlantic partnership in what Secretary of State Colin Powell has termed the “post-post-Cold War world.”
The “post-post-Cold War world” began September 11. The horrific attacks of that day woke the world to a new and unifying threat – a threat of terrorism, of weapons of mass destruction, and of the link between them. It is a global threat. But today’s opportunities are global as well. And the transatlantic response must be global too.
The response to September 11 offers a model for transatlantic cooperation. For the first time in its history, NATO invoked Article Five, the Collective Defence Clause of the North Atlantic Treaty. Until recently, NATO surveillance planes patrolled the skies over the United States. Allies have sent ships around the world, and put forces in harm’s way in Afghanistan. NATO allies have provided over-flight rights, access to ports and bases, and refueling assistance in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Sixteen of the 19 NATO allies are in the Afghan theatre.
The EU and its member states have also responded vigorously in other, non-military ways: agreeing on a common arrest warrant, tightening money-laundering laws, and intensifying the sharing of law-enforcement and intelligence information. Domestically, they have rounded up terrorist cells, frozen terrorist assets, and improved aviation and border security. Together with Japan and Saudi Arabia, the U.S. and the EU are leading the effort to rebuild Afghanistan, mobilizing initial pledges of $4.5 billion.
But the challenges we face extend beyond terrorism. We must work together to counter disease, illegal drugs, trans-national crime, human trafficking, and environmental degradation. We must fight Third-World poverty, and promote sustainable development. We must work together to integrate other countries and peoples into arrangements that will sustain a world consistent with the interests and values that Europe and America share – values of democracy, and of peaceful conflict-resolution. By doing so, we promote peace, prosperity and justice.
This evening, I would like to cover six of the major items on what we see as the common American-European agenda.
First, America and Europe must complete the consolidation of a Europe whole, free and at peace. This means continuing the enlargement and adaptation of anchor institutions like NATO. The EU is engaged in a similar process. NATO has an essential role to play in helping democracy take root and maintaining stability in European regions, such as the Balkans, long beset by political and social upheavals. November’s Prague Summit will mark a crucial step in the effort to adapt and shape NATO for the new century. Collective security complements, but does not replace, NATO’s traditional focus on collective defence. Both are important elements of NATO’s future mission.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe is also making important contributions to conflict prevention, crisis management, and human rights. We welcome an increasingly strong and effective EU. We would like to see a successful European Security and Defence Policy that adds to defence capabilities and that is “NATO-friendly.” As President Bush said recently, “When Europe grows in unity, Europe and America grow in security. […] In all these steps, Americans do not see the rise of a rival, we see the end of old hostilities. We see the success of our allies, and we applaud [their] progress.”
Second, as I mentioned earlier, America and Europe must reorient our focus and our energies beyond Europe. Americans want to know we have European partners in confronting global challenges like terrorism; weapons of mass destruction; the threat posed by an Iraq with such weapons; humanitarian tragedies in Africa, and narco-terrorism in Latin America.
Third, we must do more together as equal partners. America and Europe must try to bridge the growing gap in military capabilities between the European members of NATO and the United States. I am not suggesting that the United States should do less. Hopefully, Europeans will do more, individually and collectively.
We know that a more capable and independent Europe will sometimes disagree with us. But we have faith in the core values we all share, and in the fact that we are all working toward the same basic goals. And we also know the value of having a strong partner.
Fourth, America and Europe must work together to integrate Russia further into Western institutions and norms. There have been several important steps in that direction, such as the NATO-Russia Council; Russia’s joining with the U.S., the EU and the UN in the Madrid Quartet working on the Middle East; and Russia’s increasing role in the G-8. Russian entry into the WTO would be another step.
On a similar note, we share an interest in seeing China develop in a peaceful and stabilizing way, both internally and as a rising world power. We are encouraged by Beijing’s entry into the WTO and its cooperation in the war against terrorism. In dealing with China, the U.S. and Europe must reinforce our core message and send clear signals on the need, for example, for trade liberalization and for the protection of universal human rights. Fifth, America and Europe must lead the way to completion of the Doha Development Round. Whatever transatlantic trade disputes crop up or continue, we must keep the larger prize in view. The successful launch of the Doha Round showed what Europe and the U.S. can achieve when we cooperate to advance common interests in opening markets, restoring global economic growth, and reducing poverty.
The Bush Administration is aggressively promoting trade as a way to integrate more nations into a more stable, prosperous and equitable international order. Europe is our chief commercial rival and our chief partner in the international economic policy-making arena. And as such, Europe shares responsibility for the health of the international economic system.
Of course, trade disputes are inevitable in the $2 trillion transatlantic economic relationship. But, bound by internationally agreed rules, the U.S. and Europe must take the high ground. We must set an example by making sure that bilateral trade disputes don’t spiral out of control.
Finally, the U.S. and Europe must show the world, now more than ever, the vital importance of consultation on all issues of common concern, and on all levels. Look at our record. The recent fruits of successful consultation and cooperation are there for all to see: · in Afghanistan, where we are successfully prosecuting the war and promoting reconstruction; · on the sub-continent, where we have helped damp down the prospect of war; and, · in the Middle East, where we are working in the Quartet to promote the Palestinian reforms that should help pave the way toward realizing our common vision of a Palestinian state and Israel living side by side in peace. Everyone recognizes that the status quo in the Middle East is unacceptable.
Unfortunately, some people look at all this and see only the differences between us. Some Europeans accuse the U.S. of “unilateralism” and “arrogance.” Some Americans accuse Europeans of protesting U.S. predominance while refusing to do more to close the military gap or to exercise greater global leadership. Complaints about trade flow both ways.
We have been here before, and we will be here again. Especially at this moment in history, with the over-arching Soviet threat gone, it’s natural that differences over other issues are more exposed. What’s more, this President and his Administration believe in speaking in strong and clear language.
We will always have differences. Sometimes we can bridge them. Sometimes, we simply must agree to disagree. Sometimes, our disagreements stem from significant differences of outlook or policy. And sometimes, our differences mean we must act on our own.
Disagreements within Europe do not necessarily threaten the viability of the EU. Disagreements between the U.S. and Europeans do not necessarily weaken the transatlantic bond. History has taught us that there is virtually nothing we can do alone that we cannot do better with our allies and partners in Europe. As Secretary Powell has said, “When America and Europe separate, there is tragedy; when America and Europe are partners, there is no limit to our horizons.”
The course of the age-old friendship between the United States and the United Kingdom offers a model for true success in progressive partnerships. It’s a model of old friends, forming new friendships. As Prime Minister Blair noted recently, of course there will be issues on which each side feels pressure from its own interests. But, as he said, “our relationship is very; very strong on overall strategy […] it’s in fantastic shape. […] And it is fundamentally in the interests of [the United Kingdom] to stand alongside America, and America to stand alongside us.”
It will come as no surprise to you that I agree with the Prime Minister.
The stronger the bonds between friends, the stronger the world we all share.”