Biden to NATO: ” We need each other”

2011 Awards Dinner - Biden

From Joe Biden, the White House:  I’m here tonight to talk about the importance of the transatlantic relationship and this 50th anniversary of the Council.   Five  decades, the Council has enriched the public debate on both sides of the Atlantic and, not incidentally, helped forge consensus not just among the political leaders, but consensus among the elites and the populations of all our countries to deal with some of the hardest, most difficult and divisive foreign policy issues we have faced and will continue to face.
You have been relentless, relentless champions of the critically important idea that is the essence of why you exist, the idea that American leadership, side-by-side with our partners in the Atlantic community, can and will meet all the great challenges of our day.  And we’ll do it together, because it’s much more difficult and sometimes not possible when we try to do it independently.  And that remains — that remains true for the future challenges we will face.
The Atlantic Council was born, as you all know, at a time of crisis in 1961, as the Wall that became the Cold War’s defining symbol was being erected.  American and Soviet troops faced off across the divided city of Berlin, and a young American President, confronting the greatest challenge of his time, declared, and I quote, “We seek peace, but we shall not surrender.”
He went on to say, “the Atlantic community, as we know it, has been built in a response to challenge.  Now, standing strong and prosperous after an unprecedented decade of process — of progress, the Atlantic community will not forget either its history or the principles which gave it meaning.”
Those words are as relevant, in my view, and I suspect the view of all of you in this room today in 2011, as they were when they were spoken in 1961.  America’s partners across the Atlantic remain our oldest friends, our — and collectively our closest allies.  And it’s hard to imagine — it’s hard to imagine a single threat or opportunity that we cannot address more effectively if we do it together.
As President Obama said not too long ago, he said, “Europe is the cornerstone of our engagement with the world and a catalyst for global cooperation.”  With no other region of the world does the United States share so many values, interests, capabilities, and goals.  That doesn’t mean we agree on everything.  God knows we’ve all attended those interminable conferences about whither NATO — (laughter) — God knows we’ve been declared dead so many times by the chattering class.
We obviously don’t agree on everything, even to this day.  But we agree on this, we need each other.  We’re stronger with each other.  And we can do more for the world with each other.

Excerpt from remarks by Vice President Joe Biden at the Atlantic Council’s 50th Anniversary Dinner

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