European Affairs

Major Items on a Short-List of Issues for U.S. and Europe Until 2009     Print Email

Daniel Fried, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Remarks in April 2007 at Center for National Policy, Washington, DC (excerpts)

The transatlantic relationship is better than it often sounds. I won’t gloss over European skepticism of America in general and this Administration in particular. It exists. America is criticized at the same time for excessive materialism and ideological fixations; for having no values and being too religious; for weakening the hand of the state and giving the state too much power; for being too puritanical and for being too frivolous. Anti-Americanism is nothing new…Yes, we have some disagreements with Europe and had a major disagreement in the run up to the Iraq War. Yes, there has been talk in Europe about building a counterweight to the United States, and, yes, there has been ambivalence in Washington about working alongside Europeans.

But we have in fact managed to put most of this behind us on the level of government, and we are working shoulder to shoulder around the world. The list of the issues we are tackling together is long. There is a long list, but I want to pick out three major items on a short list of things that at least my piece of Condi Rice’s State Department wants to try to accomplish in the time this Administration has left.

  • The first is in Kosovo, where we are finally advancing final status, supervised independence for Kosovo, which we want to implement this year.
  • The second is in Afghanistan. NATO has taken on responsibility for security there, part of NATO’s ongoing transformation into an Alliance with global reach and global missions. We want to see Afghanistan unambiguously on the road to lasting peace and security.
  • The third is in Russia, a country with which we have complex relations but with which we want to and must cooperate, through realistic appraisal of the possibilities, as well as problems, of our partnership…[On Russia, Secretary Rice, who has long been a specialist about that country], has developed an informal, practical formula as a guide. We cooperate with Russia wherever we can, but we push back when necessary. We should, in other words, not hesitate to work together with Russia where our interests overlap, despite differences we may have in other areas; and we should not hesitate to defend our values and our friends where differences exist, despite our interest in cooperation. We should not, to use the terminology of the 1980s, tie ourselves in knots about “linkage,” but we should make progress on separate tracks.


This article was published in European Affairs: Volume number 8, Issue number 2-3 in the Summer/Fall of 2007.

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