Lecture by Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen
The George Washington University, Wednesday, 27th of March, 2002
President Trachtenberg, Chairman Manatt, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I must start by thanking you for bestowing on me this honor of a Doctorate of Public Service.
A prestigious honor from a prestigious school.
I thank you also for your words of welcome and proudly accept this degree - not only on my own behalf - but as the representative of a country with long-standing, close ties of friendship with your great nation.
As Prime Minister of my country, I was graciously invited by the President of the United States, Mr. George Bush, to visit the United States. This invitation was given immediately after I was elected to head Denmark’s new government and, the day before yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting with Mr. Bush in the White House.
It was an excellent occasion for me to express in person the sentiments, which Denmark demonstrated in a spontaneous and emotional way in the wake of the cowardly attack on your country on 11. September. You may have seen pictures of the many candles, flowers and notes of sympathy strewn on the sidewalk in front of the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen in those dark days, which followed.
Since then, our support for your strong and just response has been very concrete. Denmark is actually taking part in the Operation Enduring Freedom, as well as in the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.
As you may know, we have shared with you the grief of having taken casualties in Afghanistan. A few weeks ago, three Danish soldiers were killed clearing mines in Kabul. Even as the ultimate sacrifice of our soldiers saddens us, we know it was not in vain. Their mission of protecting us from the evil of terrorism will be completed. We honor their memory and pray for the safe return of their fellow servicemen.
Our common values and destiny
I am convinced that reaction in my country and the rest of Europe was so strong because - to us - the United States of America represents a cause even more than a country.
We share deep common roots and values. Indeed, many of your citizens have their own roots in Europe. The Enlightenment that shaped Modern Europe was the same Enlightenment that formed the basis of your Republic.
George Washington, the soldier and statesman, for whom this University is named, embodies that spirit.
Today, we all cherish and protect the same principles of justice, freedom and Human Rights. And we fight for them together, sometimes side-by-side, as in Kosovo.
My countrymen feel a deep admiration for the position your country has achieved in the world. No other nation matches the military, economic, technological and cultural reach of the United States.
And we are fortunate indeed that such an awesome power is wielded in a benign and generous way.
Our shared values point Europe and North America towards a common destiny. And I am not among the skeptics in that respect.
We must - and do - depend on each other. We have no choice but to act in concert in our unpredictable and sometimes dangerous world.
Once a neutral, self-effacing nation, Denmark became a founding member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the most effective alliance in history. Here we invested our destiny and gained in strength and confidence.
During the Cold War, instead of shivering on our side of the Iron Curtain as we faced the threat of Communism, we stood together and prevailed. European democracies felt the warmth of American protection and support - as twice before in the bloody history of the Twentieth Century when, from the trenches of World War One through to Omaha Beach and Berlin in World War Two, American GI’s fought and bled together with their European comrades-in-arms.
For us, in Europe at least, times have changed. The fight against those old totalitarian regimes belongs to our past.
Now you deserve our support. In this era of globalization, destructive forces have appeared in new guises and new threats have appeared on the horizon. Global terrorism threatens our values and our very way of life. And, not at all discouraged, we must make it our common destiny to prevail again. And so we shall.
Our Euro-Atlantic zone of freedom, security and stability
The interest of Europe is best served by America maintaining its strong and sustained engagement overseas.
“No man is an island” we say. And in today’s inter-connected world - with knowledge-based economies and high technology communications - this could not be more true. Old-style isolationism is no longer a viable option for the United States, or for any of us.
The post-war Marshall Plan stands as a proud example - a beacon in history illustrating man’s humanity to man.
Having given of her best in war, America came to the aid of exhausted, war-torn Europe. Without your generous economic aid our reconstruction could have stumbled and fallen before it even had begun.
Of course, we know that this was not all altruism on the part of America. This great gesture of solidarity also served to stabilize a free Europe and stimulate trade and growth between our nations. To the benefit of all, including the American donor.
But even so, this in no way diminishes the generous gesture made at a time of greatest need.
The Marshall Plan paved the way for stability and economic growth in Western Europe. In the wake of the Marshall Plan the United States and the Western European countries established the transatlantic defense organization, NATO, and some of the Western European countries started a closer economic cooperation which has now become the European Union with 15 member-states.
NATO and the EU created the framework for freedom, peace and prosperity in Western Europe. Now we are about to extend this zone of stability to the new democracies in Eastern Europe by enlargement of both NATO and the EU.
And Denmark can play its part. In the second half of this year we assume the Presidency of the European Union. My ambition is that, by the end of this year, we will be ready to include ten new countries from Central- and Eastern Europe in the EU and seven new countries in NATO.
A few, short years ago the vision of a free and undivided Europe may have seemed but a dream. But in the fairytale land of Denmark we know that dreams can come true. We have long advocated the accession of our neighbors, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania into our closest community.
These Baltic nations, once unjustly trapped in the vast Soviet sphere, can finally “come home”.
But we must not forget the new, democratic Russia. If there is one thing the Cold War taught us, it is that cooperation is better than confrontation. Russia can only benefit from stabilization in Europe. Seize the moment and the rest will follow.
Hopefully, the United States and Europe will finally succeed in creating a European region of 450 million inhabitants enjoying freedom, peace and increasing prosperity – after centuries of war and conflict.
From an American perspective, the process of European integration has one overriding significance: America gains by a Europe more at peace with itself. More prosperous. More self-confident. And thus in a position to become a stronger partner in pursuing our common global destiny.
A common effort for global security and prosperity
And yet - Europe and America cannot rest on their laurels. Having enlarged the Euro-Atlantic institutions to encompass the whole of our continent, we should expand further still.
The United States, Europe and the other democracies cannot isolate themselves from more disadvantaged areas of the world. No one can seriously entertain such a vision in our interconnected societies.
Following the tradition of the great American statesmen who launched our Alliance and the Marshall Plan, we should join forces to:
· Confront the evil of terrorism, the new global security threat
· Increase multilateral Free Trade as a means to promote global growth, and
· Help spur sustainable development and a sound environment in the developing world by striking a Global Deal between the developing and the more advanced countries.
The first action, taken right after September 11th, was to activate NATO’s pledge of collective defense by all in case of an attack on one of its members. Some were surprised that a promise made for Europe was turned around and kept for the United States. But this shows that the Alliance’s relevance has not disappeared with the Cold War.
The potential of the Alliance in the defense against terrorism must be improved. But the Alliance has its limits. Other and new forms of cooperation must be developed in the fight against terrorism.
Immediately after 11th of September, we joined forces in the United Nations. EU leaders at a special Summit decided upon new security initiatives. They aim for better cooperation between our law enforcement agencies. That means:
better sharing of intelligence,
a common European arrest warrant,
smoother extradition procedures and
enhanced measures against money laundering.
The United States can count on improved cooperation with European authorities. Acting together, in full solidarity, we can do a better job.
In the coalition, European soldiers are fighting alongside U.S. servicemen. More of our resources are being devoted to intelligence gathering and investigation.
Finally, but not least, we should realize the threat of weapons of mass destruction that are in the hands of a ruthless dictator or might fall in the hands of terrorists.
We must be ready, willing and able to counter such threats properly. Terrorism has many faces.
Our great nuclear physicist, Niels Bohr, whom I am told gave a lecture here at GW in 1939, took part in the Manhattan Project. He was aware of the terrifying power of these weapons of mass destruction, and he knew such weapons had to be kept away from Hitler, or any other dictator.
Niels Bohr was right. Ruthless dictators should be denied weapons of mass destruction. Iraq, for instance, must allow the resumption of UN arms inspections without restrictions and limitations.
- Free Trade
Again: terrorism and poverty have become global threats to our values. History tells us that mutual trade is the most efficient way to growth and prosperity.
We must therefore enable the poor nations to benefit from free trade.
In the 21st Century, people, goods, services and capital move around more rapidly than ever. Trade in the new global and interdependent world secures peaceful cooperation among nations. I would like to quote a great French thinker, Bastiat, who once said: “If goods don’t cross borders, soldiers will”.
Europe and the United States share a long-term interest in the development of world trade. We must make sure that we avoid protectionism. We all stand to lose if we yield to the temptation to promote national goals in ways harmful to those of others.
In the present grave international situation we need solidarity and strong leadership in favour of a break-through by 2005 in the new round of trade negotiations decided in the World Trade Organisation.
Multilateral Free Trade is the most effective strategy available to ensure sustained growth of the economies of the developing world. We must aim at opening our markets for their products, notably
Tariffs must be further reduced. Product standards, quotas and distorting subsidies are still too widely used.
I firmly believe that one of the best ways to help the poor countries is to integrate them fully in the new global economy, and help them earn their own income.
When trade advances, poverty retreats. A new global trade pact could lift hundred of million lives out of poverty.
That should be our goal.
- A Global Deal
The fight against poverty and misery in the developing countries has a direct link to the prevention of conflict and terrorism. The advanced and developing countries should join forces and strike a Global Deal.
The principle of such a Global Deal should be “give and take”.
The more advanced nations should provide the developing countries with better opportunities for economic growth and social stability.
We should do so through the creation of a global free trade space and through increased development aid and investments.
However, the peoples of the developing countries cannot benefit from trade and aid if they are miserably governed, suppressed and prevented from free exchange of information, news and ideas.
They need resources to fulfill their need. They need freedom to fulfill their ambitions.
Liberty, openness and opportunity are the conditions for development. This is the reason why we should aim for a Global Deal:
In return for better market access for all goods - except arms, and increased aid and investments, we are entitled to demand from the developing countries that they improve their governance. That means, democracy, rule of law, respect for Human Rights and liberty to free exchange of information and news across borders.
Good governance clearly also implies that these countries desist from policies which play into the hands of international terrorists or directly help such forces.
Both the advanced and the developing countries should commit themselves to a sustainable development, that is a global development where economic growth goes hand in hand with protection and improvement of the environment.
This Global Deal should be concluded at the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in September.
We are in this together and I welcome the recent pledge of president Bush to increase U.S. foreign assistance. We would encourage the U.S. to do even more as we follow up the Johannesburg Summit.
Denmark wants a deal that is truly global. In my opinion, there is no such thing as a Global Deal without the United States. As President of the EU during this Summit, I will give such a Global Deal top priority.
The Global Deal could be seen as a comprehensive Marshall Plan of the 21st century. A plan which could pave the way for freedom, peace, stability and increasing prosperity on our globe. A plan which could replace despair and darkness with hope and light for hundreds of millions people.
The advantages of working together
Ladies and gentlemen,
This is my vision of Global Goals for the 21st century.
I subscribe to the view that America and Europe are in a position to do great things together.
However, I am well aware of the debate which is going on here about the necessity - or even the desirability - of joining forces with the Europeans.
This could partly be due to the fact that many Americans no longer identify themselves with “the old country” in Europe.
Some see our community as a spent force and worry that Europe would slow down or encumber America’s ability to act. Others want Europe to concentrate all of its energies on unfinished business in the Balkans and leave the larger agenda to the U.S. Still others seem to think that NATO’s new tasks should lie entirely beyond its traditional area of responsibility.
Some say, “let Europe look after Europe’s problems.”
In summarizing these schools of thought, I may be doing them an injustice. But some of the underlying arguments do appear rather exaggerated.
However, the widening gap in defense spending and military-technological capability between the two sides of the Atlantic really is a valid point.
I agree that we Europeans have to do more in the area of “hard” military power, both inside and outside NATO. It should be noted that Denmark has been among the first Allies to implement defense reforms and introduce new capabilities enabling us to participate actively in international military operations.
We should, however, remember that more than military power is needed to solve the long-term problems connected to conflict and crisis. We should all contribute to the “soft” power efforts in conflict prevention and crisis management.
It is clear to me that whatever Europe or America can accomplish on their own can be greatly enhanced by standing together - by acting together.
“Together we stand - divided we fall” is not just a cliché.
This is my commitment to the values and destiny we share beyond the pursuit of the interest of the day.
September 11th has brought us closer together.
We must commit ourselves to our global goals.
We must dedicate ourselves to our common cause.
We must underline what unites us across the Ocean rather than what sets us apart.
I thank you for your attention.