From the Department of State: I am certainly aware that some have suggested that the centrality of the relationship between the United States and Europe has somehow diminished as a result of the many far-flung, global challenges the United States is facing today and the simultaneous rise of new powers. In my opinion, this view is not only fundamentally mistaken, but the opposite is the case. It is precisely because we are faced with such a daunting global agenda that we need to cooperate with our European allies to the degree that we do.

Some of the concerns that have been voiced stem from the fact that President Obama’s election was greeted with such high expectations around the world. Compared with those often unrealistically high expectations, our cooperation with Europe might not be so impressive: we must admit that differences still exist and that not all the world’s problems would be solved in a year. A more realistic assessment, however, I think reveals that the United States and Europe are working extraordinarily well together even on problems such as Iran, Iraq, climate change, closing Guantanamo, and the Middle East that so divided us in the past…

Let me also say a brief word about our approach toward Russia and how it fits in with our broader conception of cooperation with Europe. Our strategy is simple: Where we have common interests with Russia, we shall seek to cooperate. Where we have differences, we will not hesitate to voice them. This is the essence of the “reset” with Russia and it has paid dividends.

Excerpts from Remarks before the Council on Foreign Relations by Philip H. Gordon, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs. (photo: AFP)