Europe from America

Article published on Nov. 14, 2009
community published
Article published on Nov. 14, 2009
European state of mind Craig Kennedy President of the German Marshall Fund of the United States Politics in the European Union are inherently filled with conflict and tension, but this obscures the fact that a truly continental mindset transcending nationalities and nationalism is emerging.
It may not yet have the coherence one finds in the United States, but there is a growing sense among both young and old of what it means to be European and for what Europe, as a political concept, stands. For those outside Europe, and especially in the United States, this new sense of “Europe-ness” can disappoint and even aggravate. Indeed, this emerging commitment to an independent “European path” in international affairs may cause serious problems for the transatlantic relationship. But given the history of tension and conflict throughout the continent, the world, nevertheless, is better off because of this growing sense of unity.

Freedom triumphs

Paula Jon Dobriansky

Former US undersecretary of state for democracy and global affairs during President George W. Bush’s administration

The day the Berlin Wall fell, news reports that throngs of people – young, old, German, international – were at the Berlin Wall, painting it with word “Freedom” and tearing down bits of the old Cold War concrete and iron edifice, were most memorable to those of us watching and listening in the West. For me, what happened in Berlin that day was also something profoundly personal. It was the end of a journey, which began with my father’s lifelong struggle for human dignity and freedom, begun in the 1950s. My father, Dr. Lev Dobriansky, a wellknown Ukrainian-American leader and author, was, of course, desirous of seeing an independent Ukraine take its rightful place among the European family of nations. He was a patriot of freedom and human dignity and had instilled in me both an unshakable conviction that human beings desired above all else to be free and that this profound yearning for freedom and dignity will triumph over tyranny. Over the decades, both before the Wall fell and thereafter, common American and European values have provided a strong foundation on which we have built effective and durable structures to give substance to our cooperation. Freedom triumphed. We have been and remain crucial partners in establishing a Europe that is whole, free and at peace. While the end of the Cold War was a major step toward that goal, subsequent history has shown us that it was not the final step. We continued to work together to secure peace in the Balkans. Significantly, our partnership extends well beyond Europe. We are allies every day in the fight against terrorism and are cooperating globally in areas ranging from humanitarian assistance to international trade to climate change to nonproliferation. We also share the world’s largest economic relationship. If greater integration has been the hallmark of developments in Europe during the past 10 years, greater integration has also been the hallmark of relations between the US and the EU. The goals agreed to in the New Transatlantic Agenda of 1995 remain constant – promoting peace, democracy and development throughout the world, expanding world trade, responding to global challenges and building bridges across the Atlantic. In the twenty-first century, our relationship will not only continue to endure but grow. I know the importance of our strong and historic bond of shared values and objectives, which underpin our transatlantic relationship, and am committed to its future.

Europe’s common quest

Michael Adams President,

Fairleigh Dickinson University President-Elect, International Association of University Presidents

At Fairleigh Dickinson University, we prepare students to become world citizens who understand the opportunities and dangers of living in an increasingly interconnected world and who can collaborate with those from different countries and cultures. But skeptics claim that national bonds supersede all other considerations and that we will always live in a world divided by “us” and “them”. I tell them there is hope. I tell them there already exists a place where fierce, national rivalries have been diminished, where broader expressions of citizenship are being formed, and where a generation is growing up comfortable balancing national roots and supranational commitments. That place is Europe. The formation of the European Union is a rare, magical development in the history of humanity. Fierce rivals who had only recently torn each other apart pledged to unite to further their common concerns. As the European Union grew and evolved, specific rights and duties developed that spread beyond national interests. At the same time, distinctive cultural traditions continue to thrive, proving that integration does not lead to the destruction of local variety. The spirit of compromise and cooperation underlying the European Union holds promise for those who seek to come together to overcome the problems that plague all people. Just as political and economic considerations drove European nations together, today, global challenges and crises compel us to think outside our nations and to consider the entire planet. And while we may not need or desire a formal planetary union, we most certainly need a global consciousness. Toward this goal, the European Union offers us an inspiring example of unity. It also builds a bridge to a future where world citizens can join together in a common quest for security, liberty and justice.