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.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs