From Philip Gordon, U.S. Department of State: From the earliest days of his Administration, President Obama has prioritized the re-establishment of strong transatlantic relations. He put this goal into action by developing three objectives that have guided our engagement with Europe: (1) enhance transatlantic partnerships to address global challenges; (2) work together to complete "unfinished business" in Europe, including the extension of stability, prosperity, and democracy to the Balkans, Caucasus, and Europe’s east; and (3) set relations with Russia on a more constructive course, cooperating where we have common interests while speaking frankly about areas of difference. . . .
Now in early 2012, the global financial crisis is foremost in the minds of policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic. We remain confident about Europe’s ability to resolve its economic challenges. From a security perspective, we will have to adapt creatively to this new economic reality by finding ways to make our collective defense spending smarter and more efficient. We support NATO Secretary General Rasmussen’s emphasis on "smart defense" and hope allies will back initiatives that help ensure security while minimizing costs. Even in this period of budgetary constraint, the United States remains committed to a strong Europe, the collective defense of our NATO allies, and to building and maintaining the capacity that allow us to work together globally. . . .
Over the coming months, I look forward to continuing the dialogue with my European counterparts about the many challenges facing the transatlantic alliance. Whether the issue is the security transition in Afghanistan or the continuing violence in Syria, it is clear that the United States has no better partner than Europe.
Philip H. Gordon serves as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs. Assistant Secretary Gordon is on travel to Brussels, Belgium and Moscow, Russia February 14-18, 2012. (photo: Hürriyet)