Today 4th july we wish our American friends a happy Independence Day and take this opportunity to reflect upon the common values shared by the EU and the United States-including democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human rights-values that underpin the deep and longstanding relationship between Europe and the U.S.
In terms of values and interests, economic interactions and human bonds, the EU and the US are closer to one another than either is to any other major international actor.
Partnerships are an important vector of engagement in a polycentric world. Across the globe, many governments have devised a number of ‘special relationships’ in the framing of their foreign policy, with neighbouring and distant countries, as well as with some multilateral organisations.
The proliferation of partnerships over the last two decades exposes both the relevance of this trend and the great heterogeneity, and uneven value, of these relationships. This European Strategic Partnerships Observatory (ESPO) June 2014 paper examines the purpose and content of US ‘strategic partnerships’ with other countries worldwide.
Relations that the US has designated as ‘strategic partnerships’ must be understood within the broader context of the post-Cold War ‘American system’, which consists of a pantheon of relationships that include treaty-based multilateral and bilateral alliances, ‘major non-NATO allies’, ‘comprehensive partnerships’, bi-national ‘commissions’, ‘strategic dialogues’ and ‘regional architectures’. These categories are not mutually exclusive and often overlap.
The political, economic and military bonds between Europe and North America remain as important as ever in the defence of our common values shared by the United States and Europe, As NATO’s Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said …we agree that we have collective responsibility to defend what we have worked so hard to build over the last 70 years.
What does this mean in concrete terms?
A number of things. For example, a deep respect for everything that in today’s multipolar and multicultural world constitutes “otherness”, a respect resulting from a profound understanding of the positive values inherent in other worlds. At the same time the courage to step out of the world of pragmatic power considerations and to defend – non-violently – truth and justice wherever they are violated, regardless of whether this could put the most profitable commercial contracts at risk. Taking into account the initiative taken by our Foreign Ministers and to be always on the side of the good, To promote all manifestations of tolerance and understanding among nations and religious worlds.
In connection with security, NATO offered an umbrella of reassurance in which Western Europeans could build what has become the European Union. NATO and the EU cooperate on issues of common interest and work side by side in crisis-management, capability development and political consultations.
NATO has sustained a high operational tempo since the end of the Cold War, evolving from a static and traditional alliance into the world’s leading international organization for collective defense, cooperative security, and crisis management.
This era of high-intensity operations will come to a close with the end of the ISAF mission in Afghanistan at the end of 2014-16, but that does not mean NATO can rest on its laurels. Proliferating conflicts in the Middle East, aggressive Russian activities in Europe’s East, an increasing need to address 21st century security challenges.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen as NATO’s twelfth secretary general has played a critical leadership role in spearheading NATO’s modernization efforts, sustaining strong transatlantic support for the mission in Afghanistan, and, most recently, ably leading NATO’s response to the crisis in Ukraine.
The Secretary General highlighted defence reform and military cooperation as key priorities, offering NATO’s continued support to Ukraine as it strengthens democratic control over the defence sector.
Many, at that time, perceived NATO as a kind of Warsaw Pact twin, established so that democratic states could jointly protect themselves against the spread of Communist power, a twin that would lose its raison d’etre once the adversary had gone. They considered the establishment of some completely new pan-European security alliance, unless they were so naive as to believe that the new era, in which we were all democrats, no longer needed any security alliances.”
“The Washington Treaty, which established NATO, does not state that its purpose is defence against the Soviet threat, but rather the defence of democracy.”
In Havel’s view, in a speech delivered at Warsaw University on March 10, 1998 he says: the transformation of NATO does not consist in transforming a defensive alliance into something that is called a “security system”, but that makes no differentiation between the quality of the regimes in individual states, that perhaps is also prepared to safeguard the right of all kinds of dictatorial regimes to impose limitations on their own citizens.
On the contrary: it consists in strengthening an awareness of Euro-Atlantic democratic values, whose permanence and inalienable nature are the basic guarantee of a world free of war.
US security reassurances to its European allies helped these countries overcome insecurity – and potential strategic rivalry – among themselves, reduced their need to build their security against their neighbours and provided them with an opportunity to pool their resources and draw their militaries together in new ways.
“Yes, Europe is chiefly a ‘soft power’. But even the strongest soft powers cannot make do in the long run without at least some integrated defence capacities. The Treaty of Lisbon provides for the possibility that those Member States who wish to can pool their defence capabilities in the form of a permanent structured cooperation.”
Beginning in the 1970s, Washington started to employ the term ‘strategic dialogue’ with both Moscow and Beijing as a mechanism to balance competition with cautious engagement across the Cold War divide.
As the Cold War ended, US officials began to use both ‘partnership’ and ‘strategic dialogue’ as part of a new diplomatic vocabulary. Together with allies, the George H.W. Bush Administration initiated a ‘strategic dialogue’ between NATO and the Warsaw Pact and created the North Atlantic Cooperation Council in December 1991, a consultation forum initially between NATO and nine central and east European countries.
The Clinton Administration took this concept further, proposing the creation of the Partnership for Peace in 1993.
Since the end of the Cold War US officials across different administrations have progressively, although not particularly systematically, sought to extend the American system, while adjusting its modalities to the new and different challenges of the evolving international order.
While the Clinton Administration did not purposefully employ the term ‘strategic partnerships’, President Clinton did on occasion use the phrase ‘new partnerships’ to explain America’s turn from Cold War structures. His administration announced that it was ‘embarking on a period of construction to build new frameworks, partnerships and institutions – and adapt existing ones – that strengthen America’s security and prosperity’.
The ‘new partnerships’ framework was premised on the assumption of continued US global leadership; a post-Cold War definition of threats that ranged beyond narrow military/security issues to encompass economic, environmental and societal challenges; and a strong sense that democracy, human rights and the rule of law were ascendant values that should be promoted and, wherever possible, anchored by cooperative and supportive structures and initiatives.
New partnerships were viewed as a means not only to sustain and enhance US global leadership, but also to harness the combined assets of a wider community of nations to tackle a range of issues that no country, not even a superpower, could tackle effectively alone.
While the George W. Bush Administration was far more inclined to the unilateral use of American power, after 11 September it realised that it would need partners in what it called the Global War on Terror.
As we know, the Taliban government of Afghanistan refused, which essentially transformed the terrorist act by a nonstate organization into an act of war by one state on another. Under international law, this more than satisfied any preconditions for U.S. forces to invade Afghanistan in search of al-Qaeda and to confront the Afghan government.
This was the beginning of the formal war on terror, where the full weight of the U.S. security establishment was engaged. An attack by one state on another state would be considered an act of war under international law, but the 9/11 attack was carried out by a nonstate actor upon a state—a murkier area in international law that led to debates over whether this was an act of war or an act of criminal violence.
As the state of Afghanistan harbored the training camps and base of operations for al-Qaeda, U.S. policy makers held Afghanistan responsible for the heinous acts precipitated by this particular NGO.
This is consistent with a principle in international law called sovereignty. The principle of sovereignty asserts that a government has the primary responsibility for its territory and that others cannot impinge on that sovereignty, which also means that a government has primary responsibility for any act that originates on its soil—whether by the government or by a nonstate actor.
The demands of large-scale, multi-year operations in both Afghanistan and Iraq necessitated the creation of a whole set of partnerships. The Bush Administration used ‘strategic partnerships’ and ‘strategic dialogues’ as important elements of US statecraft, particularly
After 9/11, President George W. Bush based his foreign policy on the belief that Middle Eastern terrorists constituted a uniquely dangerous opponent, and he launched what he said would be a long war against them. In some respects, it appeared that the world was back in the realm of history. But the Bush administration’s belief that democracy could be implanted quickly in the Arab Middle East, starting with Iraq, testified to a deep conviction that the overall tide of events was running in America’s favor.
Successive US administrations have recognised that alliances rooted in military defence are insufficient to cope with a range of broad challenges facing the US and many other countries. ‘Armed forces will remain a central pillar of U.S. national security portfolio’, notes Jones, ‘but they must be part of a more sophisticated tool kit’.
‘There is no one-size-fits-all approach to partnership’. The United States takes an eclectic approach to partnerships. ‘Partnership takes many different forms, all of which bring their own benefits’, notes US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns (ESPO June 2014).
A strategic partnership is ‘more than just a grandiose phrase, and it is not merely an abstraction’, former US Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott noted in Bucharest in 1998 when signing the US-Romanian Strategic Partnership. ‘Rather, the strategic partnership refers to a systematic pattern of joint effort on behalf of shared goals’
Other trends have prompted Washington to expand its array of partnership mechanisms. One trend, noted among others by Joseph Nye, is the transition of power underway among states. Other countries are growing in influence and power relative to the United States.
While the US remains predominant and able to employ a broad spectrum of power resources as no other, there is no question that a host of emerging states is asserting new influence.
In response, the US has sought to sustain and enhance existing alliances and strategic partnerships with Europe and Japan; forge new ones with the rising democracies of Brazil and India; complement progress in strategic arms control with efforts to establish a broader-based relationship with Russia; and upgrade and broaden its strategic dialogue with China.
A second trend, as Nye notes, is the diffusion of power away from all states towards non-state actors. The Obama Administration has been energetic in its efforts to deal with this phenomenon in part by turning to ‘strategic partnership’ mechanisms that go beyond traditional government to- government engagement to reach foreign citizens directly.
Secretary Clinton made good on that approach in her travels by spending as much time meeting with students, civil society activists and regular citizens as she did meeting with government ministers.‘Strategic dialogues’ involving US and foreign civil society actors are increasingly an element in Washington’s formal strategic partnerships.
The Obama Administration has been even more explicit and more active in using the vocabulary of ‘strategic partnerships’ to advance its vision of what former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called a ‘multi-partner world’. While the administration has maintained the counter-terrorism-driven rationale for partnership offered by its predecessor, it has embedded this element in a far wider approach to partnership in which the need for collective action in the service of common interests is taken as a given.
In fact, the worldview expressed in the administration’s core documents – the 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance (DSG); the 2014 and 2010 Quadrennial Defense Reviews (QDR); the 2010 Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR); and the 2010 National Security Strategy – is premised on the belief that shared norms help shape outcomes in the international system, and if the United States can foster shared norms through more effective partnerships, those norms in turn can shape choices by other international actors in ways conducive to American values and interests.
The 2010 QDR points to an “international system” ‘in which the United States will remain the most powerful actor but must increasingly cooperate with key allies and partners if it is to sustain stability and peace […] The ability of the United States to build the security and governance capacity of key partners and allies will be central to meeting 21st century challenges […] and […] can help reduce the need for large and enduring deployments of US forces in conflict zones’.
President Barack Obama built his foreign policy on the conviction that the “war on terror” was overblown, that history really was over, and that, as in the Clinton years, the United States’ most important priorities involved promoting the liberal world order, not playing classical geopolitics.
The administration articulated an extremely ambitious agenda in support of that order: blocking Iran’s drive for nuclear weapons, solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, negotiating a global climate change treaty, striking Pacific and Atlantic trade deals, signing arms control treaties with Russia, repairing U.S. relations with the Muslim world, promoting gay rights, restoring trust with European allies, and ending the war in Afghanistan.
The United States will work with our European allies to uphold the global order. Russia’s actions threaten peace and security we built after fall of Berlin Wall. Nobody wants a return to Cold War Europe.
Since the Cold War, NATO has provided a framework in which new democracies emerging from the Soviet fold could find the security they required to develop their own societies and integrate more fully into the European mainstream. It has also dealt with a range of unanticipated crises and threats, including in the Balkans, in Afghanistan, and in Libya.
The European Union´s role in promoting democratic political reform in central and Eastern European countries in the 1990s, and Balkans, just as many people in the transition and post-communist societies saw democratization as an aid to recovering national independence, freedom both from authoritarian rule and from political domination by the Soviet Union. Countries that have joined the EU have developed positively, economically and politically.
Twenty-five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, whether one focuses on the rivalry between the EU and Russia over Ukraine, which led Moscow to seize Crimea; or Sunni radicalism in the Middle East it appeared that the world is ones more back in the realm of history. The United States and the EU, at least, find such trends disturbing. But, such that as in ukraine doesn’t just divert time and energy away from those important questions; it also changes the character of international politics.
Both United States and the European Union would rather move past geopolitical questions of territory and military power and focus instead on ones of world order and global governance: trade liberalization, nuclear nonproliferation, human rights, the rule of law, climate change, and so on. Indeed, since the end of the Cold War, the most important objective of U.S. and EU foreign policy has been to shift international relations away from zero-sum issues toward win-win ones.
Joint democracy inhibits some dyads from acting on the aggression endemic to international interaction.
US President Barack Obama in Polan june 2014, said he expects Russia to undertake several actions to de-escalate the situation in eastern Ukraine. Russia has a responsibility to engage constructively with the Ukrainian government in Kiev to prevent the flow of militants and weapons into eastern Ukraine,” President Obama said.
Since the Ukraine crisis began, the United States, in the context of the alliance, has sent more F-16 fighters to Poland and F-15 fighters to the Baltics. US president Obama in Poland, renews commitment to the defense and security of Europe and proposed as much as $1 billion in additional spending, US security reassurances to its European allies.
Russian officials say that NATO should have been disbanded at the end of the Cold War, and that the accession of new Allies from Central and Eastern Europe undermines Russia’s security. NATO was not disbanded after the Cold War because its members wanted to retain the insurance policy that had guaranteed security and stability in the transatlantic area and beyond. As the London Declaration of 1990 (available here) makes clear: a new, promising era.
The United States and European Union must send strong signals to Moscow that punishing Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine for pursuing their European ambitions has consequences for our relations.
On 27 June Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova took a big step toward closer ties with the EU as they signed Association Agreements at the European Council meeting in Brussels. This is a symbolic moment for all three countries. Both the US and The EU will be at Ukraine’s side for democracy, prosperity and stability.
The Association Agreements will significantly deepen political and economic ties with the EU in the framework of the Eastern Partnership. As the EU has expanded, these countries have become closer neighbours, and their security, stability and prosperity increasingly affect the EU’s. Closer cooperation between the EU and its eastern European partners is very important for the EU’s external relations.
Europe has entered a new, promising era. Central and Eastern Europe is liberating itself. The Soviet Union has embarked on the long journey toward a free society. The walls that once confined people and ideas are collapsing. Europeans are determining their own destiny. They are choosing freedom. They are choosing economic liberty. They are choosing peace. They are choosing a Europe whole and free. As a consequence, this Alliance must and will adapt
In this regard perhaps the most unique US strategic partnership is not with another country but with the European Union. The US-EU partnership is among the most complex and multi-layered economic, diplomatic, societal and security relationship that either partner has, especially if it is seen to encompass the relationships the US maintains with the EU’s 28 member states as well as its Brussels-based institutions.
In terms of values and interests, economic interactions and human bonds, the EU and the US are closer to one another than either is to any other major international actor.
A vast range of operational dialogues, institutionalised exchanges and stakeholder networks reach deeply into each other’s societies. Yet while US officials increasingly work directly with EU institutions, their experience has been that the Treaty of Lisbon and other EU innovations have done little to reduce the EU’s institutional complexity or render the EU a united or coherent actor on many issues within or beyond Europe.
In theory, these forces do not recognize the political boundaries of nation-states, yet national borders define political arenas and are the dominant form of political geography in theory and in practice. Political relations are defined by the modern nation-state system. Thus national boundaries organizepolitical life, but economic life spans those boundaries.
The expansion of globalization means that economic production and consumption choices in one nation are increasingly influenced by similar choices in other nations. Theory comes from reflection on what happens in the world and there has been much to reflect upon recently as a spur to thinking about emerging and persisting structures.
They are acutely aware that despite continual institutional rejiggering in Brussels, at the end of the day all policy-making in the EU still depends on the consent of member states, which remain sovereign, and that the US continues to need strong bilateral relationships with individual EU member states.
The US and the EU have sought to address these deficits in part by launching negotiations on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which is intended to include free trade in goods across the North Atlantic but to go beyond traditional agreements to encompass services, investment, alignment of regulatory differences, and to create a ‘living agreement’ by which the two partners can work more effectively in the future.
To strengthen Europe politically and economically, VP Biden, during his Europe visit, called on US and European leaders to work toward a continent-wide energy market, notably for natural gas, that can be less dependent on Russia’s gas and oil supplies. And he urged completion of the agreement now under negotiation among North American and European governments to deepen economic, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
To this point, Europe must find a way of dealing with this new, revisionist Russia, even as it faces the growth of political forces with ties to Moscow and seeks to lessen its own energy dependence. Europe will inevitably continue to have strong economic interests in Russia, as well as a need to cooperate on key strategic issues, such as Iran. The United States, too, must figure out how to deal with Russia while remaining engaged on strategic matters.
Sweden´s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt has long been at the center of European efforts to develop a coherent EU foreign policy, including towards Russia.
On july 8th 2014 Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, will discuss , At the Atlantic Council, his views on European Union and transatlantic relations with Russia, as well as recent developments within the EU and the impact on EU foreign policy.
According to the U.S. Department of State, “Friendship and cooperation between the United States and Sweden is even mach strong and close.” As a partner in NATO’s ISAF, Sweden has long been a supporter in the promotion of global peace and freedom. Through their past efforts in Kosovo and Libya, and presently in Afghanistan, where over 500 Swedes currently serve, Sweden has been an ally and a friend.
There is also substantial investment in the United States by Swedish companies, so it is important that we work to strengthen our relationship in order to ensure future cooperation. In Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren (IL-14) today announced the formation of the 112th Congressional Friends of Sweden Caucus whose mission is to preserve and promote the economic and cultural ties between the United States and the Kingdom of Sweden.
It is my hope that the Friends of Sweden Caucus will continue to grow as we work to promote the ties between the United States and Sweden.” said Mr Hultgren.