Top US Diplomat for Europe Calls for a “Transatlantic Renaissance”

Swearing-in Ceremony for Victoria Nuland, Sept. 18, 2013Secretary of State John Kerry: [I]n Brussels, Toria helped guide NATO through a very critical and uncertain time when Article 5 was invoked in September of 2001 , and later as the only female representative in the North Atlantic Council. Her presence was so strong and her intellect so forceful that the other permanent representatives took to calling it Snow White and the 27 Dwarves. . . .

Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland:  The ups and downs of the transatlantic community have shaped my professional life – the fall of the Berlin Wall, the bloody Bosnia and Kosovo wars, the birth of the euro, the enlargement of NATO and the EU, the invocation of Article 5 on September 12th, 2001, our transatlantic challenges together on Iraq and Afghanistan and Libya, and the financial crisis on both sides of the Atlantic. Every step of this journey has underscored my conviction that America needs a strong Europe and Europe needs a strong America.

But no experience was more formative for me than August 1991 when, as a young political officer in Moscow, I stood in the rain in a crowd of 250,000 Russians from all walks of life who had assembled around the Russian White House to say no to coup plotters who wanted to take them back to the dark days and to say yes to leaders who promised more freedom, more choice, and more say in how they lived and were governed. The memory of those days is a regular reminder to me that the universal values that bind the transatlantic community and undergird all that we do together are a beacon to people everywhere always, and we are safer, stronger, and richer as nations and as individuals when we stand with those who fight for those values across Europe and Eurasia and globally.

Today, as a transatlantic community, we’re standing at another vital inflection point. Recovery should not be enough for us. What’s required is a transatlantic renaissance, a new burst of energy, confidence, innovation, and generosity rooted in our democratic values and ideals. When so much of the world around us is turbulent and unmoored, we have to be that beacon. Together, we must lead, or we will see the things that we value and our global influence recede.

At home, that means we have to work together to revitalize the foundations of our democratic free market way of life. That means working for an ambitious Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership that sets the global gold standard for openness and growth. It means investing more in our young people, in entrepreneurship, in energy diversification and independence. It means pushing back hard against the dangerous erosion of universal rights and freedoms in many parts of Europe and Eurasia and standing together with all those fighting for democratic progress and their individual liberties. It means funding, equipping, and training our militaries to be ready to defend our freedom and advance our security interests wherever they are needed. And it means finishing the work of a Europe whole, free, and at peace, taking down the remaining walls, unfreezing the remaining conflicts.

And abroad, there is no place where our generosity and our experience and our ideals are more needed today than on Europe’s own periphery, an area that’s also of vital national interest to the United States just across the Med in the struggling nations of North Africa and the Middle East. It matters to all of us how the Arab Spring turns out. Will the preponderance of people there eventually live in freedom and peace, or will tyrants and terrorists prevail? The investment that the transatlantic community and other nations make now will have an impact on the outcome, but this too is going to require leadership, including making the case to our own people that our fates and those of our neighbors are intertwined. . . .

We are at an inflection point. Those who want to live in peace and freedom around the world are looking to us for that transatlantic renaissance, and I believe it’s within our grasp. For almost 70 years, the transatlantic community has been the rock on which the world order rests, and our challenge now on both sides of the Atlantic is to ensure that that remains the case.

Excerpts from remarks at Swearing-in Ceremony for Victoria Nuland as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.

Image: Swearing-in Ceremony for Victoria Nuland, Sept. 18, 2013 (photo: Department of State)