Full transcript from the November 14, 2013, event “Toward a Transatlantic Renaissance: Ensuring Our Shared Future” where Assistant Secretary of State for European & Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland spoke to a packed house at the Atlantic Council Wednesday in her first public address in office, highlighting the importance of the transatlantic relationship and urging the United States and Europe to work towards a “transatlantic renaissance.”
Welcome and Moderator:
Executive Vice President,
Victoria “Toria” Nuland,
Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs,
Department of State
Location: Atlantic Council, Washington, D.C.
Time: 4:30 p.m. EST
Date: Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Federal News Service
DAMON WILSON: Good afternoon, everyone. I’m Damon Wilson; I’m executive vice president here at the Atlantic Council. It’s just a delight to welcome you today. This is the Atlantic Council; we are used to hosting prime ministers, presidents, foreign ministers, some of your own, but it actually takes Ambassador Nuland – it takes Toria to rock our house. We have a full house today, and we’re delighted to welcome you here to our conversation with Ambassador Nuland, toward a “Trans-Atlantic Renaissance: Ensuring our Shared Future.”
I particularly want to welcome you, Toria – welcome you to the Atlantic Council. We’re delighted to host you for your first public speech as assistant secretary on the heels of your recent visits to Europe. We’re delighted that you decided to come here to offer your thoughts on a vision for a trans-Atlantic strategy.
I think today’s turnout is a testament to the issues that are at stake, the issues on the agenda, but it’s also very much a testament to this remarkable woman. Ambassador Nuland is a true strategic thinker. A skilled negotiator, a diplomat for the future, a friend of democracy and an American patriot. But I think all of you who know her also know her as a humble, irreverent and fun friend and colleague.
I also want to welcome the tremendous turnout we’ve had among the diplomatic corps; thank you for being with us this event. There are too many of you to name this evening, but I just want to welcome you here, along with all the Atlantic Council board directors that have joined us today.
At the Atlantic Council – if you follow our work – the work that we’ve done with the National Intelligence Council – if you’ve listened to Matt Burrows, who is now on our team, Fred Kempe – we’ve been arguing that the world is, indeed, at an inflection point, very much like 1815, 1915, 1945 and 1989, times when actions of political leaders shaped history.
And today, we’re witnessing one of the most dramatic shifts in political and economic power since the 19th century. We agree with Toria – we agree with Ambassador Nuland that we are facing another inflection point now, and with the right leadership, the trans-Atlantic community has a second chance to shape that world. Our speaker today is a part of that right leadership.
I’m going to quote from her swearing-in ceremony, because it informs the conversation we’re going to have this evening. Today, as a trans-Atlantic community, we’re standing at another vital inflection point. Recovery should not be enough for us. What’s required is a trans-Atlantic 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. It’s a powerful message, it’s an important message, and frankly, it’s a clarion call to action for the Atlantic Council itself.
So as I turn to introduce Ambassador Nuland, I get the sense that almost everyone in this room actually knows her very well already. And while I like to think of Toria as my mentor, I think I share her as my mentor with half of Washington. We had the opportunity to work very – particularly closely together when she was deputy perm rep to NATO and I was serving in the office of NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson. In fact, we often shared a baguette lunch every Friday to strategize on key issues on the agenda.
But it was on 9/11, and frankly, the next 24 hours, as we worked hand-in-hand in advance of the alliance, invoking Article V, declaring the attack on the United States as an attack on all allies for the first time in the alliance’s history, that I’m left forever remembering Toria’s leadership, her resolve, her clarity, her calm, her determination. She was a source of inspiration, and something that I will never forget in my career.
Ambassador Nuland began as a Russia expert first, then she mastered Europe, and now she’s become a global strategist. She was sworn in only in September as assistant secretary for European and Eurasian affairs. Prior to that, she served as the State Department spokesman, where she faced a barrage of daily questions from the press corps. She served as special envoy for the conventional forces in Europe treaty, demonstrating her penchant for impossible tasks, and she served as the 18th U.S. perm rep to NATO, where she helped lead NATO towards a more global, more strategic outlook.
She served as principal deputy national security advisor to the vice president from 2003 to 2005, handling a global portfolio during tumultuous times. She also served as U.S. deputy perm rep during 9/11, of course, but also during NATO’s role in Afghanistan, the build-up there, as deputy to ambassador-at-large for newly independent states, and chief of staff to deputy secretary of state Strobe Talbott, where she played a pivotal role at a moment of transition in the former Soviet Union.
She served in Moscow. She served in Mongolia and China. Most importantly, she’s been a great manager, a great mentor, with troops scattered all around Washington. It’s a delight to welcome Ambassador Nuland to the Atlantic Council. I want to remind everyone that they’re encouraged to tweet this evening; we’ve set up a hashtag, #transatlanticrenaissance — #transatlanticrenaissance. Toria, over to you. The podium is yours. (Applause.)
VICTORIA NULAND: Thank you, Damon. We all love Fred Kempe, but it’s a special pleasure for me to be here under Damon’s leadership because, as you could tell, we’re not just friends and colleagues; we have strategized together. We have learned together. We have grown together for almost two decades, and for that, I thank you.
I am so pleased to be here in the brand new offices of the Atlantic Council. Under Fred’s leadership and thanks to the creative energy of two of my favorite Wilsons – both Damon and Ross – both collaborators and friends for many years – the Atlantic Council has had its own renaissance as a vital center of trans-Atlantic conversation on all the key global issues: from economics and energy, to the Middle East and Africa and Asia. You’re making it cool again to be a Europeanist again, and for that, this aging Europeanist thanks you.
It is no accident, as Damon said, that I wanted to give my first speech as assistant secretary of state for Europe and Eurasia at the Atlantic Council, because today I want to talk about the same thing that the Atlantic Council is talking about, about doubling down on the trans-Atlantic relationship.
I know, I know. Once every four years – or perhaps, around here, every four days – somebody in a position like mine shows up here to talk about why Europe still matters, and how important we are to each other, even as the headlines are all about the Middle East or some other troubled area of the world. Or worse, they come here to preach Atlanticism just as the news is full of gloom and doom about the fraying of trust between us, whether the issue of the day is Iraq or the financial crisis, or now, the NSA disclosures.
But none of these bouts of turbulence changes the fundamentals: America needs a strong Europe, and Europe needs a strong America. The greater the trans-Atlantic and global challenges, the more important it is that the United States and Europe address them together. No other nations will step up if we don’t; yet other nations will and do join us when we, as a trans-Atlantic community, lead the way and give collective action our shared seal of approval and our involvement and commitment. The world needs a community of free nations with the will and the means to take on the toughest challenges, and to work for peace, security and freedom wherever they are threatened.
I’m going to make you listen to this paragraph again, even as Damon gave it from my swearing-in, because I really do think it’s the core of the message that I came here to share with you tonight.
But today, as a trans-Atlantic community, we are standing at another one of those vital inflection points in our ability to continue to play that essential role, both at home and abroad. As our economies begin to emerge from five years of recession, recovery is not enough. What is required is a “trans-Atlantic Renaissance” – a new burst of energy, confidence, innovation, and generosity, rooted in those democratic values and ideals. We’ve got to be that beacon – that beacon of security, prosperity and freedom. That’s going to require confidence and investment at home and commitment and unity abroad. Together, we have to lead, or we’re going to see the things we value and our global influence recede.
So today, let’s talk about what the key elements of that trans-Atlantic Renaissance, should be, what we have to do together to make it a reality. At home, I don’t have to tell this crowd, the most urgent economic task is to strengthen the foundations of our democratic, free-market way of life. That means working together for an ambitious trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership that sets the global gold standard for openness and growth.
TTIP can be for our economic health what NATO has been for our shared security for more than 65 years: a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts. When we eliminate tariffs and non-tariff barriers to trade across the Atlantic, we will support hundreds of thousands of new and better-paying jobs. We will also strengthen our collective hand in the global conversation that we want to advance an open, rules-based public commons because that’s where our nations thrive. So TTIP is so much more than a trade agreement. It is a political and strategic bet we are placing on each other and on our shared future. We need to go all in on that bet, and I want to take this moment to commend the leading role that the Atlantic Council has been playing in building public understanding about TTIP and public support for it.
Together, we are also in the midst of a major advance in energy diversification and independence. If just five years ago, many of us worried almost as much about energy security as we did about our physical security, today that landscape has changed utterly. The EU has made wise decisions to demonopolize and diversify its markets. Member states are investing in renewables, in LNG terminals, in new pipelines and interconnectors, in shale gas and nuclear power, and the U.S. is also a major investor in many of these European projects.
For our part, America has increased its own oil production by 35 percent and our gas production by 25 percent. The United States is now the top natural gas producer in the world. But there is much more to do. To complete the map of energy security in the trans-Atlantic and Eurasian space, now is the time to be innovative and to be generous with each other. We have to spend the money to build the regional interconnectors, to buy each other’s technology, to share access to critical infrastructure, to export to each other, and to continue to help neighbors resist monopoly practices and political intimidation.
The energy renaissance could, in turn, unlock new opportunities in our 25-year-old project to build a Europe whole, free and at peace. With the discovery of significant gas resources off of Cyprus, the Cypriot Foreign Minister Kasoulides has publicly predicted that gas could play as important a role in healing the island’s divisions as the coal and steel industry played in 1949 between France and Germany.
The United States is impressed by the commitment of the two Cypriot sides led by President Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Eroglu over recent months to work together for a truly bizonal, bicommunal federation on the island. We also very much appreciate the support of Turkey and Greece for a mutually acceptable settlement between the parties. Today, both the leadership and the shared interest are in place for a comprehensive settlement; this moment must not be squandered. And a settlement will have benefits far beyond the island. It will also have a profoundly positive effect across the Eastern Med – and we know we need more good news in the Med – and on NATO-EU relations.
Two weeks before the EU summit in Vilnius, it’s also a historic moment for Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia. And I welcome their ambassadors here today. All three countries have made advances in rule of law, in democracy and market openness in order to meet the EU’s strict conditions for Association Agreements and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area. The United States welcomes these nations’ European choice and wants to see all three knitted into the European family with the kind of trade benefits and visa free travel the EU offers.
Ukraine, in particular, has three last steps to meet the EU’s though conditions – passage of judicial and electoral reform legislation, and the release of former Prime Minister Tymoshenko from prison for medical treatment. We join the EU in urging Ukraine’s leaders to make the right historic and choice for their 45 million citizens – to choose their children’s future over the grievances of the past.
We are also encouraged by the commitments that Serbia and Kosovo have made toward long-term reconciliation, under the patient mentorship of EU High Representative Cathy Ashton and with the full back of the United States. This process needs our continued support so that both countries achieve their goal of integrating fully into European structures. In another positive development, President Aliyev of Azerbaijan and President Sargsian of Armenia will meet later this month for the first time in almost two years.
They also have it in their power to launch comprehensive settlement talks, and we urge them to be bold and to be creative. And in Bosnia-Herzogovina, it is well past time for leaders to demonstrate courage and vision – to move past the petty power interests and to build a modern, unified nation worthy of the talents and aspirations of all three communities. If these leaders continue to block the country’s path to EU and NATO membership, Bosnia’s international partners, the U.S. included, should seriously re-evaluate our approach.
As we work to overcome old hatreds and grievances and to finish the democratic map of Europe, we must neutralize another poison that threatens too many of Europe and Eurasia’s young democracies, and that’s corruption. Popular confidence in elected government is dropping across Europe’s center and east because voters believe that their leaders feed their own interests first and those of their people second. Corruption is a pernicious killer of the democratic dream. Our stability and our renewal as a community will depend on more effective joint measures to battle this deadly threat.
And just as the original European Renaissance ushered in an age of greater humanism, intellectual openness and citizens’ rights, so must our work today for a trans-Atlantic Renaissance include defending and advancing the universal values that bind us as free nations. The quality of democracy and rule of law in Europe and Eurasia is deeply uneven today, and in too many places, the trends are moving in the wrong direction.
Too many citizens do not feel safe running for office or criticizing their governments, or promoting civil society. And in too many places, press freedom is stifled, courts are rigged and governments put their thumbs on the scales of justice. If, as a Trans-Atlantic community, we aspire to support and mentor other nations who want to live in justice and peace and freedom, we have got to stand with those in our own space who are fighting for democratic progress and individual liberties. Our democratic values are just as vital a pillar of our strength and our global leadership as our militaries are and as our economies are.
That said, hard security matters too, of course. As a former Ambassador to NATO, I am amazed how far our Alliance has come. In the past 20 years, we’ve gone from a ‘deployment-free zone’ to operations on three continents with almost 50 global partners that protect hundreds of millions of people – from Kosovo to Afghanistan to Libya to securing the Med and counter-piracy operations in the Indian Ocean. With our ability to plug-and-play with so many different partners, NATO has truly become the trans-Atlantic core of the international security community.
But I’m also dismayed that allies expect that we’ll be able to sleep safely at night on the cheap and ever cheaper. Just five years ago, average defense spending among our allies stood at around 1.7 percent of GDP without the U.S. contribution. By 2012, it had dropped to below 1.4 percent – 1.4 percent. So, as we work to bring our combat troops home from Afghanistan and look towards a NATO Summit in the United Kingdom next fall, we need a renaissance in the way we think about collective defense and security.
That means spending smarter by spending more together on the most vital 21st century capabilities, from joint intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance, to deployable headquarters, to integrated strike capability. It also means staying sharp and deployable through an aggressive exercise schedule that keeps North Americans, Europeans and our global partners interoperable. And it means consolidating all that we’ve learned over the last two decades about training and support for third-country militaries into a permanent, standing training capability. If NATO, ideally in partnership with the EU, can train others more, we can deploy less.
But we all know that training alone is not going to be enough. When people ask me what NATO is for after we stop fighting in Afghanistan, I invariably hear the Ghost Busters theme song in my head: “Who ya gonna call?” The question for us is, will we be ready and willing to answer that call, whenever and wherever it comes next?
More broadly, the world counts on our trans-Atlantic community to bring creative solutions to the world’s most urgent problems, from climate change to countering terrorism, addressing poverty and hunger. As the president has said so many times, Europe is our global partner of first resort. Today, there is no place where our experience, our ideals and indeed, our resources are more needed than on Europe’s own periphery – an area that is also of vital national interest to the United States, across the Mediterranean, 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, prosperity and peace, or will tyrants and terrorists prevail?
So the investment that the trans-Atlantic community and other nations make now will have an impact on the outcome. From Libya to Tunisia to Egypt to Lebanon to Iran to Syria to our work to support Middle East Peace, the United States and Europe are stronger when we share the risk, share the responsibility and yes, share the financial burden of promoting positive change. But that too requires leadership, including making the case to our own people that our fates and those of our neighbors are intertwined. In today’s interconnected world, our strength at home and our strength abroad are a package deal.
And I firmly believe that when we can find common purpose with Russia, the whole world benefits. When we take nuclear and chemical weapons out of service together, we’re all better off. So we can’t stop working to find areas where we can bring Russia to the table. We should, for example, focus intensively in coming years on increasing two-way trade and investment between the United States and Russia, and indeed, between Russia and the EU by reducing tariffs and other barriers wherever possible, and by connecting our people and businesses at the regional level.
We should also focus on spurring educational exchange, innovation and entrepreneurship so that the next generation of Russians and Americans grow up as partners and friends, and they lose those zero-sum glasses of their parents. But even as we seek to build ballast and mutual benefit into our relationship, Americans will never sugar coat it when we disagree with the Russian Government’s treatment of its political opposition, of the free media, of NGOs, or of members of the LGBT community, not to mention some of its foreign policies. Nor can we fall victim to a false choice between our interests and our values. For us, those are also a package deal.
At this stage, no doubt some of you no doubt are thinking again about the wave of disclosures and allegations regarding the NSA, so let me return to that for a brief moment. We understand the difficulties the current situation has caused for our allies and our friends. The President is determined that we will get the balance right between our citizens’ security and their privacy. He has ordered two intelligence reviews, and we are also having intensive consultations on a bilateral basis with allies on this topic.
But make no mistake: the intelligence work that we do together – much of it jointly with allies and partners – has foiled terrorist plots on both sides of the Atlantic and kept all of us safer. So the work we do together now to restore trust and restore balance has to be coupled with also standing together to protect the gains we have made since September 11th, 2001, including the Terrorism Finance Tracking Program, the passenger name recognition program and the Safe Harbor arrangement. As Americans and Europeans know better than anyone, there can be no liberty without security, just as there can be no security without liberty. If we continue to work together, we can and will strengthen both.
In closing, let me go back to where I began: It should not be enough for us to simply recover as a trans-Atlantic community. We can and we must make the investments now in each other now and in our way of life to continue to play the leadership role that the world needs and expects of us in these complex times. America and Europe have each tried going it alone at various moments in our history, and the results are rarely good. We need each other to be our best, and we are at an inflection point.
Those who want to live in peace and freedom around the world are looking to us for a “trans-Atlantic renaissance.” I believe that renaissance is within our grasp. For almost seventy years the trans-Atlantic community has been the rock on which the world order rests. Our challenge, on both sides of the Atlantic, is to ensure that that remains the case. Thank you all for being with me tonight. (Applause.)
MR. WILSON: Thank you so much. That was just a fantastic speech, I think, to frame an incredibly heavy agenda. We’ve just heard from Ambassador Nuland an ambitious call for a trans-Atlantic renaissance. Just the meat with – I’m going to pull out a couple of items. TTIP can be for our economic health what NATO was – has been for our security; it’s an all-in bet in support of TTIP. Outlining the issues – the opportunities now from energy security, the opportunities of really resolving some of these conflicts that have been plaguing Europe for decades; tackling corruption head-on is something – a pernicious killer of democratic dreams. And democratic values just as vital a pillar as security and economics, a renaissance in security – a real focus on Europe’s own periphery and this common purpose with Russia.
I want to get into these issues in our conversation and bring in the audience thereafter, but let me start with where you began and ended, with this concept of a – of a trans-Atlantic renaissance. This is a pretty heady – a pretty ambitious call at a time when the pundits – and you read any newspaper magazine – are focusing much more on the economic malaise, issues of political leadership in Europe, not to mention the defense challenges that you outlined yourself, and now, the relationship that’s buffeted by the NSA revelations. How do you take this idea of an ambitious clarion call for a trans-Atlantic renaissance and pursue that against the reality – the backdrop of a sense of empty – an empty tank of gas in the trans-Atlantic partnership, from some perspectives?
MS. NULAND: You know, I don’t think we have any choice. I think our economic realities drive us to work together. I think the global challenges drive us to have to find common solutions. I think we have fallen victim too frequently in recent years to this sense of malaise, to this sense of, it’s all overwhelming out there, we don’t have the capability, we don’t have the will, we don’t have the money. The truth is that we are still doing a lot together out there in the world. The question is, are we doing it as effectively, are we doing it with as much unity? Are we – do we have the confidence in our own mission as free democratic powers to continue to do it?
So this is not just a clarion call for action and – it’s also a clarion call for confidence, because I think we deserve to have confidence in ourselves and in our model, but mostly in the power that we bring to the global table when we work together.
MR. WILSON: You’ve (in my part ?) – helped to reinforce – given us our mission statement for the coming couple of years, I think. I wanted to – you – I was struck how much time you spent talking about potential resolution of long held-up conflicts. You started with the situation in Cyprus; you dwelled on the opportunities in the Western Balkans, in the Caucasus, the focus on the eastern partnership coming up.
Many in this town and many in this audience had been worried that the idea of completing Europe, the idea of Europe whole, free as an American project was fading into the background. That’s not the message I just took away from what you just said. Play that out for us a little bit to help us understand how these pieces come together. There has been a sense that the EU’s not prepared to talk about enlargement, NATO enlargement’s not really on our agenda, but you just outlined quite a few roles and quite a few opportunities on some of these issues that have been stuck for quite a while.
MS. NULAND: Well, first of all, 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, we shouldn’t be satisfied with the democratic map of Europe. We’re not finished. I have to say, coming back to this intensity of a focus on Europe, for me, has been really interesting, because, as I tried to outline in the speech, some of the fundamentals that caused these conflicts to get stuck have begun to change. The realities under them have begun to change.
I think Cyprus is a prime example. There is wealth to be had for all the residents of the island if they can exploit the gas offshore together, but they’ll lose that opportunity if they can’t work together. The situation in Greece and Turkey has changed. There has been an understanding that a resolution of this might actually bring more benefit for both of the big neighbors. So that needs to be exploited and it needs to be supported by all of us who have seen this movie before, but I truly believe the fundamentals are better this time. So we have to not miss that opportunity.
I also have been really impressed, I have to say, with the Eastern Partnership. I think a lot of us in the United States didn’t – we understood the goal but we didn’t really understand how potent and persuasive the actual mechanisms of change the EU was offering – particularly to Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine – would be. You know, for Ukraine, for example, everybody’s watching: Will they make the right choice in the end game? But we shouldn’t underestimate the fact that Ukraine has passed 18 major pieces of structural change legislation in the last six months because the EU insists on it, and because the pull of visa-free travel and real trade benefits is so strong and will change the future for all those people.
MR. WILSON: You were just staying in Kiev, I believe.
MS. NULAND: I was just in Kiev.
MR. WILSON: Do you think we’ll get there in building this? I mean, we’re running the clock, yes?
MS. NULAND: You know, I’ve spent 25 years of my career being an optimist about Ukraine. I’m not going to stop being an optimist today.
One of the things that really struck me, Damon, I have to say, was how much the political conversation, the social conversation, the popular conversation has changed. All the major streams in Ukrainian society want Europe now, whether you’re talking about the business community, whether you’re talking about young people.
Even the vast majority of politicians understand that Ukraine will be richer, freer, stronger with Europe. It’s simply a question of whether some of those difficult issues can be overcome, some of the old grievances can be set aside in favor of the future. We hope Ukraine’s leaders make the right choice. Only they can make that choice, though.
MR. WILSON: Let me take that a step further. You talked a lot about, I think, common purpose with Russia and the benefits in the relationship when we find common purpose, yet for many of the countries in the Eastern Partnership this has been a bit of a tumultuous path as they face some challenges, whether it’s through bans on imports or other issues meant to influence decisions. We saw this in Armenia in particular. It’s happening in Moldova.
How do you think about achieving and pursuing what you laid out, this effort of the chief common purpose, against the backdrop of what the EU has been bumping up against with the Eastern Partnership?
MS. NULAND: Look, again, we can’t sugarcoat it. Whether you’re talking about bans on Moldovan wine, whether you’re talking about the situation on the Lithuanian-Russian border, whether you’re talking about the borderization in Georgia, you know, Russia is flexing its muscles vis-à-vis its neighbors.
We have a number of tools that we didn’t have in the past to make clear that this is not the best way to behave. You know, it was relatively controversial in this town when the administration supported Russia’s entry into the WTO and worked with Russia to get over the hurdle. Some of the behavior we’re seeing now is not compatible with international obligations but we have this WTO tool. The neighbors of Russia have this WTO tool and they’re starting to use it.
But on a more positive side, I think – you know, in our conversations with the EU and our conversations with Russia, we are all trying to make the case to Russian leaders, who are facing financial challenges and economic challenges of their own, that the trend in our neighborhood, whether it’s in the TTIP space or whether it’s in the Eastern Partnership space, is towards more open and flatter markets, more trade as a way of stimulating growth and making people more prosperous. We want that relationship with Russia too if we can work together on a bilateral investment treaty, on reducing barriers.
The EU has made the same kinds of offers to Russia that it’s made to other partners. It’s a question of whether Russia will walk through that door or continue to see things in zero sum terms.
MR. WILSON: Let me turn to pick up the TTIP issue that you raised, the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. I like the way you put it. We’re talking in similar terms here at the Atlantic Council. This isn’t just a trade deal but very much in strategic terms – I think you called it the potential to be the global gold standard – but it represents a political and strategic bet on each other and that we’re all in on that bet. That’s certainly music to our ears here at the Atlantic Council, but – and I know you aren’t running the negotiations. We’ve heard from –
MS. NULAND: Thank goodness.
MR. WILSON: – Mike Froman about that, but –
MS. NULAND: We’re grateful for Mike Froman, all of us.
MR. WILSON: Indeed, indeed. But talk a little bit about how you – I mean, this is going to be a hard slog at the end of the day. There’s a reason why this agreement doesn’t already exist. It’s been out – the idea of it has been out there for a while. What do you anticipate as the challenges? What’s the right way to help sort of bring this to a more rapid conclusion? What’s, in the environment, things that can help create the right – the right mood music, if you will? Is the NSA flap a completely temporary thing?
And as part of this – I think Boyden Gray joined us. He put out a report here at the Atlantic Council over a year – a year ago, calling for a trans-Atlantic – he called for an economic alliance, if you will – the precursor to what’s become TTIP. And do you see, at the end of the day, our crisis in the alliance as one of defense spending, intimately linked to economic growth? We’re not going to see much change there. Do you see these things as interacting, what we’re trying to do with TTIP and what our NATO agenda will be as well?
MS. NULAND: I think that was about 18 questions, Damon.
MR. WILSON: It was. I apologize. (Laughter.)
MS. NULAND: Look, I don’t think anybody should expect that we’re going to do TTIP overnight or that it – we’re not going to have our rough moments and choppy waters. As you said, it would have already existed.
But, you know, one of the things that’s been interesting is that in the U.S.-EU partnership, in the area of new technologies – green technologies, some of the nanotechnologies, some of the new things we’re doing with science – we’ve made a concerted effort as we get into new products, new regulations, to build them together so that we don’t end up with what we have in auto manufacturing or in agriculture where we have completely different standards on opposite sides of the Atlantic. And when you build it together, things move so much more quickly and efficiently across the Atlantic and everybody benefits.
So we want to use that example to, you know, convince folks that we’re going to be stronger and we’re going to do more together if we reduce some of these barriers. You know, the ones that are technical, the ones that grew up in industry for, you know, country-specific or market-specific reasons, ought to be relatively straightforward to work through. The ones that are cultural are harder. The ones that are cultural are harder, just as it’s been hard within the EU to have individual cultures while having a common culture. So we’re going to have to just dig in and work through it. I think we’re at the early stages.
You asked what will help. I think we need more organizations like the Atlantic Council, who are bringing stakeholders together who see how much their businesses will grow, who see how much opportunity will grow, how many more jobs will grow through this agreement to stand up for it, to explain it. We need more stories at the micro level.
When I used to do press work, I used to talk about explaining it to the kitchen table, explaining it to your mother. I am – we are challenging each of our ambassadors in the 28 EU countries to come up with concrete examples where a car will be cheaper, as Kerry said, in Warsaw. Hams will fly back and forth the Atlantic if we can do this, and to create constituencies. And we need to do that not just at the national level but at the regional level. So we encourage what you’re doing.
And obviously we’re not going to have more money for defense spending in the short term. Let’s hope that our economies begin to grow and we can do more with more over time. But that’s why we’ve got to spend smarter. And we’re talking to allies about whether – does everybody have to have everything or should we have more regional configurations? Should we buy more jointly, as we have already done, or in small groupings with the NATO platform or the EU platform in support? So all those things are needed.
MR. WILSON: I’d just add a word. You’re probably aware we recently put out, with Bertelsmann, a report on TTIP and the 50 states. And it essentially broke down the benefits per state. And we found that one conversation with a local paper in South Carolina leads to major stories about TTIP, because the numbers are quite compelling. So we’re now in the process of doing a second report that breaks down the benefits of TTIP by congressional district.
MS. NULAND: That’s great.
MR. WILSON: So we’re trying to do our part.
MS. NULAND: So can you do it by EP parliamentarians’ districts? I think that will be helpful too. That’s a challenge.
MR. WILSON: All right, we’ll look to our Europe counterparts to take that up. Indeed, it’s the right challenge.
I want to turn to the audience soon, but let me come back to the global agenda first. I’m not sure if folks in the audience are aware, but one of the innovations you’ve done as assistant secretary is you’ve actually appointed a deputy assistant secretary, a deputy in your front office, who not only has a portfolio as part of Europe and the south, but the Middle East, covering the Middle East from Europe. Explain what that means, the significance of that.
You pulled out the – you highlighted the imperative of working together on Europe’s periphery. Give us a sense of how you’re thinking about that challenge. Obviously you’ve done something bureaucratic to reflect that. But strategically, what are we aiming for here? What is the right trans-Atlantic role to play in assisting during a historic, tumultuous transition in this region?
MS. NULAND: Well, thank you for highlighting that, Damon. We have appointed, as one of our seven deputies in the European Bureau front office, Amanda Sloat. She covers Southern Europe, Greece, Turkey, but also our European Bureau’s relationship with the Near East Bureau. And what this means is she coordinates the support that we are seeking from European allies and partners in our common efforts in all of those North African and Middle Eastern missions that I mentioned, from Libya to Egypt to Syria to Tunisia to broader Middle East peace.
And when you sit in a head-of-state meeting these days between President Obama and anybody in the NATO-EU 34 or even beyond, or when you sit in one of Secretary Kerry’s bilateral with one of his counterparts, 80 percent of the conversation will be about the work we’re doing together in the broader Middle East, North Africa, to support the Arab Spring, whether it is trying to ensure that the assistance we give to Egypt is given against a common conditionality of continued reform, continued democratization, or whether it’s our efforts to provide humanitarian relief and a path towards a political solution in Syria, on and on and on – the work we’re doing in Libya to train a common-purpose force. I’m looking at some of the ambassadors in the first row who have had this experience – Claudio.
So we need to stay completely meshed with what the Middle East Bureau is trying to achieve. They have to be judicious and appropriate in the way ask our European allies and partners for help, not play kids soccer and have everybody chase the ball over here and then chase the ball over here, but look for where different allies have different strengths, and we want to help them do that.
MR. WILSON: Got it. Got it.
Let me – we’ve got an incredible audience of folks who have been working these issues forever. So what I’m going to do is call on you. We’ll bring a mic. Please introduce yourself and ask a question. I’ll try to group questions since we’ve got many already ready. Let me start here in the front row with Harlan and then I’ll come to this side.
MS. NULAND: Harlan, I’m just loving your purple hair. (Laughter.) And your socks are almost as great as Damon’s.
Q: Thanks. I like Damon’s but the one he was wearing yesterday even better.
Toria, it’s great to see you. Congratulations. You are – with you here, with Doug Lute (ph) at Truman House and Sandy as deputy secretary, that’s the strongest team we’ve had, so that’s really good.
MS. NULAND: Thank you.
Q: I want to put in phrase of a polite parliamentary question, a declaratory statement, which I’ve asked for a very long time, probably even when you were ambassador, and that is it seems to me one of the greatest stretches to the alliance is the absence of a public diplomacy campaign to try to sell the importance of the alliance to our domestic people.
Your talk today and probably Joe Biden’s two years ago at the Atlantic Council are the only really strong talks we’ve heard about NATO. So my questions really are: Why has NATO been so incapable of coming forth with a really good message when it needs to rally domestic people? And I don’t mean with propaganda but I mean with kind of the same things that you were talking about.
And what can we, the Americans, do to put together a better message, not only for our own publics but to stimulate NATO to make the case at a time when, you’re right, we’re not going to spend more money. We’ve got to do less, less with less. But the alliance is probably at least as important now as it was during the Cold War.
MS. NULAND: You can take a couple.
MR. WILSON: Yeah, I’ll take another one right here, please, on the left – Ed Joseph.
Q: Thank you, Damon. My name is Edward Joseph. I’m with Johns Hopkins SAIS, and I was most recently deputy head of the OSCE mission in Kosovo. And I was going to ask you a question about that region in Bosnia, but I was struck by Damon’s first question, which struck me as much more important to pursue, this one about empty tank.
And I know Europeans who are – your core message that you’ve given today is that recovery is not enough; a renaissance is what we need. But that assumes that there is a recovery, in fact, in Europe. And I know Europeans who are very worried that there is not a recovery, that the ECB policy is helping to cover sovereign debt issue and the balance sheet of commercial banks, but in fact there’s negligible lending and negligible growth. Italy, the fourth-largest debtor in the world, is in negative growth this year.
So my question for you is, do you believe, fundamentally, that the European economy has turned the corner, or, given the well-known problems – I’m sure you know, Ambassador Nuland, the intractable differences between Germany and its partners – that in fact Europe is mired in a Japan-like situation that could last a decade or more? Thank you very much.
MR. WILSON: I’m going to quickly take one more right next to you and then we’ll come back to –
Q: Thank you very much. Hi, Toria. Good to see you, as always.
MS. NULAND: Thanks, Tolga.
Q: As a press member I’m glad to be able to ask a question to you. Hurriyet, Tolga Tanis. I had a quick question regarding the Turkey-U.S. bilateral relations just before the foreign minister visit next week, on Monday, in the town.
Since May – I mean, there a successful visit of prime minister to town on May – there was a meeting with the president here. But just after they met, this visit, after the protests in Turkey, the bilateral relations between Turkey and U.S. impacted in a different way, actually. And the administration was very outspoken to criticize the approach of government to the protest, and also the Syria issue and the Egypt issue and other regional issues, turning to other differences between two allies.
How will you define right now the current situation between two allies? And what will you say just before the visit of foreign minister to town next week? Thank you.
MR. WILSON: Thank you. So from public messaging on NATO to recovery to Turkey.
MS. NULAND: Excellent.
Well, Harlan, I couldn’t agree with you more that NATO needs to do better and come into the 21st century and marketing itself. I worry in particular that it’s only old farts like us who actually still remember what NATO is for.
Q: (Off mic.)
MS. NULAND: Exactly. Exactly. (Laughter.) And I worry about, you know, the 40-and-unders who really don’t understand the alliance.
I do think in the United States the Chicago summit really got a lot more Americans involved with the alliance and understanding that as strong as it needs to be among the 28 allies, that it is now this trans-Atlantic core of a much wider security community and it has this ability to plug and play.
But I do think, you know, with – the EU has courses in every university that teachers students how the EU works. We’ve sort of – that similar function has atrophied on both sides of the Atlantic with regard to the alliance. You know model NATO is a boutique sport for real nerds now. (Laughter.) So that I think is a problem.
I think it also – you know, you have to – you have to permeate above the noise, and part of that is done with pictures and images in today’s world, and I would like to see NATO do more to get onto member-state TV and global TV, in fact showing some of the good-news stories. When was the last time you saw positive images from Afghanistan when we know, those of us who visit a lot, that there’s a lot to show, or now what we’re doing in training with Libya. So we’ve got work to do.
On the economic recovery, all I can say to you is that Europe largely believes it has begun to recover and is continuing to make the structural changes at the EU level and at the nation state level that are necessary. There is obviously much more work that needs to be done. I saw Claudio levitate as you started talking about the Italian economy. In fact, when the prime minister was here not too long ago he spoke of pretty – pretty solid projections of Italian growth again next year. I said it for you, Claudio. You can pay me later.
AMBASSADOR CLAUDIO BISOGNIERO: (Off mic.) (Laughter.)
MS. NULAND: So, you know, that’s what we’re obviously looking for, some of the states that haven’t been growing to really turn that corner. But again, for Europe to have confidence in itself and for us to have confidence together in that – in that relationship – and I do believe that TTIP will help with some of the structural barriers to more growth, not just between the U.S. and the EU but within the EU itself, and will make the market more transparent and more open, if we do it right, and that’s what we should seek. And that’s partly why so many Europeans are in favor of TTIP. It’s less about us and about each other.
With regard – where were we? We were on Tolga and his – Tolga, your questions never change. I feel like I’m back at the podium. (Laughter.) It’s a week before a big visit and we have to have a scene-setter.
The alliance between the U.S. and Turkey is absolutely vital, not just for the two of us and our security but now as an engine around the turbulent region. And Turkey is a major partner on all of those tough issues that I mentioned. We’re not always going to see perfectly eye to eye on the tactics, but we always agree on the larger strategy. So it’s a matter of maintaining that open dialogue on what is to be done.
With regard to democratic developments inside Turkey, we are – we obviously stand on the side of those Turks who want more openness, more press freedom, want accountable government, will never be shy about saying that. And I think the beauty of our alliance is we can – we can be honest when we disagree.
MR. WILSON: Well, let me pick up another round. I’m leaning heavily on this side, so right here and Ambassador Kutalia as well. And then I’ll come back to this room, Minister Juana (ph).
Q: Hi, I’m Brenda Shaffer at Georgetown University. My research focuses on the South Caucasus. You mentioned, rightly so, the coming visit of President Sargsayan and Aliyev from Azerbaijan and Armenia, and the historical significance.
The U.S. policy on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has mostly been to look to the leaders of the region, look to the people of the region and think as if the ball is in their court. But actually if you look at the regional dynamics, Russia, every time there has been an agreement between the two sides, has derailed the agreement, preferring that there is divide and rule between these two countries.
What can the U.S. do now, when it has a more cooperative relationship with Russia, to actually lever that relationship and make it that this time there is a real peace in the South Caucasus and not just another blaming of the people in the region?
MR. WILSON: OK, we’ll stay in the region with Ambassador Kutalia and then bank to Minister Juana (ph).
MS. NULAND: So many friends in this room. Thank you all. (Laughter.) It’s really a wonderful community.
Q: Thank you, Toria. It was a great speech and very encouraging, particularly to hear again the concept of a “Europe whole and free and at peace,” which we were not hearing quite often in the last period of time. And I have a number of questions but I will ask only one. I will not ask a question about the NATO enlargement, et cetera.
My question is only about the “Europe whole and free and at peace” – peace element of this concept. While we have a problem of the Russia veto with the OSCE or U.N. engagement in terms of the peace process in the region, what is the – your strategy towards more increased U.S. role of maintaining peace or preventing things from the deterioration? Thank you.
MS. NULAND: You’re talking particularly in Georgia?
Q: In Georgia as well as in the European part of the crisis where there are a number of them.
MR. WILSON: Please. Back to the back, Minister Juana (ph), please. Back there.
Q: Good evening. It was such a wonderful speech and is like a NATO vitamin. (Laughter.) We all feel energized. Thank you so much for that great speech. And I’m really jealous because when Damon invited me to the Atlantic Council I have a much smaller crowd. (Laughter.) So I should look into my mailing list or try to improve my skills.
MR. WILSON: That was a private strategy session, Mr. Minister. (Laughter.)
Q: Thank you so much. And it’s good to remember the good old days when NATO, EU and the OSCE were working together, when Lord Robertson, Javier Solana and myself at that time, chairing the OSCE. We were working in synchronization.
And this would be my comment and my question to you, Toria: It is obvious that there is a natural temptation when the world is changing for each nation and each conglomerate of nations – speaking of the EU – to basically to have an independent analysis of the consequences of the changes in the world.
And I believe that a resynchronization of the way in which we see the changes in the world needs to be done. And I think that instead of – but not instead; as a complement to the natural pivot of America towards Asia, which is a natural consequence to a shift in the world, this is something that the EU should do.
MS. NULAND: Rebalance. We want to have in Asia what we already have in Europe. I have to just –
Q: I would really ask you to consider the possibility for Europe and America to pivot together towards Asia, towards Eurasia, and of course towards the greater Middle East. Most of the challenges to our security and our prosperity will be coming from this tectonic fracture zone of the world, which will continue to be there after we leave Afghanistan and everything else.
And I think that a beginning of strategic thinking together on the way to the European elections of next year – we’ll have a new team in Europe, starting next summer. We’ll have our summit in London in early September. You’ll have midterm elections sometime next fall. I think we could really resequence and start to pivot together.
And my question is, as we are doing in Romania with the Aspen Institute and with other friends in Europe and in the U.S., we are rethinking about a new Silk Road strategy. And I think that one of the pieces of the greater puzzle will be for the U.S. to look into the older new Silk Road strategy of a few years ago with fresh eyes, as we’ll be trying to convince our European friends and allies to look to a European new Silk Road strategy as part of the greater Middle East strategy, because as we leave Afghanistan and as we’ll be seeing, this is also a way to talk to Ukraine, hopefully being at a history – at a meeting with history in the next few days. I strongly believe this is something quite important, and this is something I will – I will press very hard.
And the last point and last question, there is a lot of criticism justified that we’re not spending enough on defense. There will be a European Council on the defense industry in December. I strongly believe that we should look into what I would call a smart power trans-Atlantic toolkit – smart power trans-Atlantic tool kit – because we’ll be needing all our hard and soft power together to solve the tremendous challenges we’ll have in the greater Middle East. We’ll need to stay together and put our resources, hard and soft, into a smart way into a trans-Atlantic smart power tool kit that I think we should start working together.
Thank you very much. And great speech – vitamins. Great. (Laughter.)
MR. WILSON: Should I bring this back to your or collect a few more?
MS. NULAND: I think my brain is going to explode.
MR. WILSON: Yes, all right. (Laughter.) The Caucasus.
MS. NULAND: So let me start where Minister Juana (ph) ended up, a trans-Atlantic tool kit. Let me just say for this audience – not that you need to hear it, but in case you still wonder – the United States supports a strong European defense. We support a strong NATO. We think they are mutually reinforcing.
I would agree with you completely that with only one set of forces and limited resources, we need to do a better job of ensuring that the capabilities initiatives we’re running, whether they’re in the EU or whether they’re in NATO, are simpatico and mutually reinforcing. So what we want is more Europe in the defense sphere. We don’t care whose flag is on it, or label is on it, just so that we’re sharper and better together. So, yes.
And I would say that in terms of strategic conversation, it’s interesting – again coming back to intense focus on Europe after a little bit of a period away for me. I’ve been in a couple of rooms with EU foreign ministers where Secretary Kerry has joined, and that sort of intensity of conversation and friendship and partnership that EU foreign ministers have because they see each other every month reminds me of my time on the NAC, where we sort of all lived and breathed together.
And so what we’ve tried to is – Secretary Kerry is quite interested in joining that grouping whenever it’s convenient, at the end of a meeting, et cetera, to leverage that synergy that you already have together, in addition to what we do at NATO and what we do in the trans-Atlantic dinner structure.
So I think we are having – starting to have that strategic conversation, whether it’s about the broader Middle East, with all of us in the room, or key countries in the room who are the biggest contributors to the effort. And I agree with you that that’s extremely important.
We have talked about the need for Europe and the United States to work together on our relationship with Asia, our relationship with China in particular. And I do believe that this rebalance is not about one region versus another. It’s about the fact that in Asia we don’t have as mature a set of security and economic structures as we have in Europe, and frankly we need them with those partners as well.
Over to the Caucasus, I guess I would say to Ambassador Katelia (ph), even as we continue to plod forward in the Geneva process, in the five plus two process on Transnistria, I am an optimist in hoping that association agreements with the EU, the DCFTA are really going to change the landscape for your countries such that if you are an Abkhaz, it’s going to look increasingly attractive to be a Georgian; if you’re a Transnistrian, it’s going to look increasingly attractive to be a Moldovan, and that that is going to have a profound effect on the aspirations and the quality of the conversation we can have in those multilateral frameworks. So maybe I’m too optimistic, but I really do think what the EU has done here has larger knock-off benefit.
With regard to Armenia and Azerbaijan, I have to tell you I disagree violently. I think that it’s partly because big neighbors have been overinvolved that the conflict has not been solved, and I think if there is will and drive in Baku and in Yerevan to get this done, no big neighbor is going to be able to stop it. And that’s what we want to see when these leaders launch a new process in a week.
MR. WILSON: (Off mic) – let me pick up Anders (sp) right here and try to get a few more back here. Please. Oh, nope? You’re OK? All right, then let’s – well, let me stay in this corner, then. Sorry, Anders (sp), I thought I had caught your eye. (Laughter.)
Q: (Name inaudible) – with the Republic of Moldova. The U.S. is moving towards a TTIP. At the same time – (inaudible) – a country from Eastern Partnership, Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia, are going to sign a DCFTA of European Union. So what’s your opinion about the convergences of these two processes? And what do you think about the future possible scenario, perhaps, to sign a free FTA agreement between U.S. and those countries from Eastern Partnership that will have in 2014 a DCFTA with the European Union? Thank you.
MR. WILSON: Thank you. This gentleman right here, please.
MS. NULAND: More women, Damon. (Chuckles.)
Q: Thank you. I’m another one of the regulars in the press briefings. So congratulations. Thank you, Toria, for doing this, and congratulations for the swift transition you are making to a new role.
I want to ask about the hot issue of the day, the NSA and Snowden affair. How much damage do you think, how much real damage it has done to U.S. relations with the trans-Atlantic partners and with Russia? And how much time, and what specific action may take to overcome the fallout? Thank you.
MR. WILSON: All right. And I – the woman right here, and then the far back, and we’ll try to collect this.
Q: Thank you. Back to the western Balkans. Mrs. Nuland, you mentioned all the disputes except one, the name dispute between Macedonia and Greece. And can you tell us what will be your role into the solution and whether you’ll be, I hope, not just statement, United States supports mutual acceptable solution.
MR. WILSON: And then all the way in the back, where we have the gentleman who’s been waiting. All the way back, there.
Q: Hi. I’m Anchuman Apti (ph) from Voice of America Afghanistan Service. You briefly spoke about Afghanistan. My question to you is going forward post-2014, how will you work with the European allies, you know, to make Afghanistan peaceful and stable? And will you expect the European allies to do more going ahead? Thank you.
MR. WILSON: Toria, let me go ahead and pick up right here. I think Ambassador Yakobashvili – and I think we will – yep.
MS. NULAND: You’re going to have to remind me – (off mic) – all these questions, because I’m – (off mic) –
Q: Thank you. I wanted to ask a general question, which I will, but your answer triggered me Georgia issue. (Laughter.) It’s rather disappointing to see that occupation is now substituted by borderization. I think the high time to bring occupation on the table as a term.
I partly agree with you that the Eastern Partnership may change the landscape, but not in the present South Ossetia, but in Russia’s attitude toward its neighborhood, and then we will have a solution, not because we need to convince Abkhaz or Ossetians. They’re easy to be convinced, but the problem is Russia.
Now a more general question. Is everybody here in this room – I think I am right – expects some sort of a U.S. leadership in the region, and you are our last hope. (Laughter.) So my question is what are the areas that you personally will take a leadership to achieve? Or to paraphrase, what do you see as your legacy when you move forward to higher posts? (Laughter.) What will be your legacy in this particular job?
MR. WILSON: Her first public office. (Laughter.)
Q: What do you want to see, in other words?
MR. WILSON: All right, we’re – even though Ambassador Nuland comes to us from the spokesman’s office at State, we’re having her have a déjà vu moment here. (Laughter.) From TTIP’s relationship with DCFTAs and the potential for that connection to NSA to the Macedonia resolution, Afghanistan, U.S. leadership.
MS. NULAND: OK.
MR. WILSON: Just a couple of those. Just a couple of those.
MS. NULAND: Just a few comments. (Laughter.)
MR. WILSON: And – as we close down here.
MS. NULAND: Thanks for asking the TTIP-Eastern Partnership question. Again, as you can tell, I’m an optimist. I truly believe that if we can, as a U.S.-EU community, open borders, flatten barriers to trade, and we can exploit what’s on offer in the Eastern Partnership to flatten barriers, open borders, markets for the Eastern Partnership countries, we have an opportunity for a greater, more vibrant market from Los Angeles to Donetsk. And if we can convince Russia to join with us in this open market trajectory and work with the EU on barriers to trade and work with the U.S. on barriers to trade, then that open market vision can stretch from Los Angeles to Vladivostok. So that’s what we have to work for. I think the elements are there, which is why I’m calling for a renaissance in thinking about it.
On the NSA, we have not been shy in saying very clearly that what Snowden did was damaging. I also made the point here that we understand that it has put our allies, our partners in a very difficult position, particularly those with whom we work most closely on intelligence. So we are in intensive conversations in intelligence channels and political channels to work through those issues, but we’re also extremely gratified that we have seen, particularly in Europe, our major allies stand up and say, we will work through this problem, we need to work through this problem, but we need to ensure that it doesn’t poison and infect other things that we’re trying to do together, whether it’s the TTIP or whether it’s PNTR and other things. So that is a very important stake in the ground that we’ve all put together, and we’re committed to it.
With regard to Macedonia, I have in the past, particularly in 2008, before the Bucharest summit, put a lot of my own personal elbow grease into trying to solve the name issue. I remember having Prime Minister Gruevski and Greek leaders in my living room when I was at Truman Hall trying to settle the issue. I believe there are two or more formulations that ought to be able to work for both sides. It’s a matter of dialogue, leadership and choice between them to choose, and you know the benefits that are on the table if Macedonia can – and Greece can come to agreement. So obviously, we’ll support the Nimitz process. We’ll continue to be cheerleaders for a resolution. But only you can make that final – can make a decision what’s going to be appropriate.
With regard to where I will put my own efforts, I think it’s kind of perilous to predict legacy with eight months in the job, not to mention arrogant. (Chuckles.) I think I laid out for you all the issues that we as a Europe and trans-Atlantic team believe are important. I will work personally on all of these issues, as will Secretary Kerry, as will the president, as will the fabulous Karen Donfried, our new senior director for Europe, who I’m blessed to have a very old and dear friend in that job. So I think you’ll see us work on that.
I use the “B” word with regard to your country because of the new issue of fencing. You know that we’ve used the “O” word plenty of times before and will continue to do so.
MS. WILSON: So Ambassador Nuland, Toria, I want to just – we were – we’re running the clock, so I want to be – I know there are just many, many questions out there. But we’ll have to conclude right now.
I just want to pick up on the point that Tomori (ph) left us on and that you were just closing with, this issue of leadership. And I just want to underline what I heard tonight. I think it’s pretty significant. I think many of us in this room have been hungry and eager to hear a coherent vision and a strategy for the trans-Atlantic relationship. And that’s what I think you offered us, a vision on how the United States and Europe can be – first of all, recognize the fact that we’re entering an important inflection point, but not just sit back, think about how we work together, to double down, as you put it, to shape that world that we’re moving into, and not just through a recovery but through a renaissance.
You’ve laid out a strategy and an agenda that actually informs that strategy. You’ve put issues back on the table which, frankly, we haven’t heard a lot of discussion about for a while. I’m leaving this buoyed with a sense of an agenda, a sense of leadership on this issue. And I certainly am taking away many ideas for what we need to be doing here at the Atlantic Council on some of the issues that you outlined for our work.
But on behalf of Fred Kempe, who is in Europe right now – yes. Yes.
MS. NULAND: Before you end, can I just say –
MR. WILSON: Yes, please. Please.
MS. NULAND: – one thing before I let Damon wrap this up. Just to say as I look out on this room, there are so many friends, colleagues, partners, smart people who we have worked with for decades. We’re going to need everybody if we’re going to lift this thing up and have this renaissance. So I hope you will – I appreciate the fact that everybody came tonight, and I hope you will stay in close touch with us and be our partners in working this vision and selling it.
MR. WILSON: You have been tremendously generous with your time, but more importantly with your thoughts.
Please join me in thanking Ambassador Nuland on her inaugural speech here. Thank you very much. (Applause.)