Strengthening the Transatlantic Alliance: An Overview of the Obama Administration's Policies in Europe

By Gordon, Philip H. | DISAM Journal, November 2009 | Go to article overview

Strengthening the Transatlantic Alliance: An Overview of the Obama Administration's Policies in Europe


Gordon, Philip H., DISAM Journal


[The following are excerpts from a statement before the Subcommittee on Europe of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Washington, D.C., June 16, 2009.]

President Obama, Secretary Clinton, and I are committed to reinvigorating and deepening the traditional relationships of confidence and trust we share with Europe. Europe is eager to reciprocate and increase the breadth of our close relationship, one that is based on shared values, including an enduring commitment to democracy, transparency, accountability, respect for human rights, and the rule of law. Today, I will highlight some examples of what the United States (U.S.) and Europe have achieved and what our policy objectives are going forward. To do that, I will touch on three strategic priorities for the Administration in Europe: European engagement on global challenges; a Europe that is whole, free, and at peace; and a renewed relationship with Russia.

Many of our European partners are among the most prosperous, democratic, and militarily capable countries in the world. Working with our European allies both bilaterally and multilaterally will remain critical to success in tackling the many global challenges we face together. The U.S. cooperates with Europe on all of the most important global challenges, including restoring growth and confidence in the world financial system, fighting poverty and pandemic disease, countering terrorism and nuclear proliferation, advancing peace in the Middle East, promoting human rights, and combating trafficking in persons. Still, there are other areas where our cooperation with Europe needs to increase. We can and must do more to address challenges like ongoing operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, instability in Pakistan, Iranian and North Korean nuclear weapons programs, energy security, and climate change.

   As President Obama has said, The United States is ready to lead,
   and we call upon our partners to join us with a sense of urgency
   and common purpose.

Critical Partnerships

One of the Administration's most important priorities will be to continue the historic American project of helping to extend stability, security, prosperity, and democracy to all of Europe and Eurasia. The objective of all Presidents since World War II, both Democratic and Republican, has been to work with Europe to realize a joint vision of a Europe whole, free, and at peace. One of the ways the United States seeks to further this goal is through our critical partnerships in Europe--which include the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the European Union (E.U.), and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization

In April, NATO, the most successful alliance in history, celebrated its 60th Anniversary. Allies initiated a discussion of the Alliance's future and tasked the Secretary General to launch a review of NATO's Strategic Concept to insure that NATO is both prepared and equipped to meet the new security challenges of the 21st Century, including extremism, terrorism, proliferation, insurgency, failed states, piracy, and cyber threats.

Also at the Summit, Allies welcomed Albania and Croatia as NATO's newest members, reinforcing the message that NATO's door remains open. The United States joined Allies in welcoming France's return, after over 40 years, to the integrated NATO military command structure. France's full participation in NATO is a symbol of a renewed European commitment to NATO. Finally, Allies selected former Danish Prime Minister Rasmussen as the next Secretary General of NATO, to lead the reform of the Alliance so that it retains the flexibility and resources required to meet the new challenges of our time.

The United States also remains unequivocally committed to our Article 5 commitment; we will not waiver from the enduring premise that an attack against one is an attack against all. …

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