News

President Bush Reaches Out to Europeans

Multimedia

Audio

During the first international trip of his second term, President Bush is holding a series high level meetings with European leaders, including French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. Daniel Hamilton, director of the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins University, says the main goal is to set up a new list of priorities in American-European relations.

"I think the challenge is to create enough of a positive agenda for the relationship in a number of areas where we could work together so that we can deal with the more negative issues in the relationship in a different way — in a more manageable, businesslike way."   High on the agenda, says Professor Hamilton, should be promoting democracy along the eastern border of the enlarged European Union.  "In Europe, the revolution in Ukraine and earlier in Georgia, have opened up a whole new vista of positive transatlantic cooperation in what one might call wider Europe."

Jeff Anderson, director of the Center for German and European Studies at Georgetown University in Washington, agrees that the Ukrainian precedent should encourage old and new allies to foster peace and stability beyond their own borders. 

"The so called New Europe, particularly Poland, played an extremely important role as a mediator in helping to resolve the Ukrainian crisis. I see this as a very positive sign.  One would hope that diplomats on both sides of the Atlantic would be trying to build on these successes," says Mr. Anderson.

But analysts point out that America and Europe look on many key issues in a radically different way.  They disagree on the strategy to cope with Iran's nuclear threat, on the sources of terrorism, on the application of international law and on the environment.  Over strong U-S objections the European Union recently announced plans to lift the arms embargo on China. Ivo Daalder of Washington's Brookings Institution says that in all these cases Europe has largely ignored America's interests, just as America has ignored Europe's.

"Europe has changed in dramatic ways. One, it is assertive. It has stood up and said: We don't care, frankly, whether you disagree with us. We are going to do it anyway. Second, Europe is larger and more united than ever. It is on the verge of adopting a constitution that will give it an even stronger voice in foreign policy and a more united voice than it had in the past," says Mr. Daalder.

But both sides of the Atlantic seem to realize that a permanent breakup could seriously weaken their role in world affairs. John Hulsman of the Heritage Foundation says Americans and Europeans are still each other's best-matched partners.

"There is simply nowhere else in the world that I can find five or six great powers to work with on any given issue at any given time. And that's the point: We are stuck together by common interests, by shared values. Despite all the tensions and all the differences, talking to a European about liberty is still very different from talking to anybody else in the world," says Mr. Hulsman.

After her recent trip to Europe, U-S Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said America's European allies are "ready to look beyond any disagreements that we may have had in the past to our common future."  But analysts note this may require more than polite diplomatic language and the symbolism of high-level handshakes.  Europeans clearly want to be included in the decision-making process concerning global affairs.  They show they no longer consider themselves junior partners in the transatlantic team.  In fact, say analysts, both sides look at one another with very similar expectations — they want a proof that their partners are ready to reckon with their distinct outlooks and interests.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs