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04/09/2009

Obama in France

President Barack Obama, April 3, 2009, Strasbourg, France
 
[Excerpts] 

We find ourselves at a crossroads…for we’ve arrived at a moment where each nation and every citizen must choose at last how we respond to a world that has grown smaller and more connected than at any time in its existence. 

We’ve known for a long time that the revolutions in communications and technology that took place in the 20th century would hold out enormous promise for the 21st century – the promise of broader prosperity and mobility; of new breakthroughs and discoveries that could help us lead richer and fuller lives. But the same forces that have brought us closer together have also given rise to new dangers that threaten to tear our world apart – dangers that cannot be contained by the nearest border of the furthest ocean. 

Even with the Cold War now over, the spread of nuclear weapons or the theft of nuclear material could lead to the extermination of any city on the planet. And this weekend in Prague, I will lay out an agenda to seek the goal of a world without nuclear weapons. 

We also know that the pollution from cars in Boston or from factories in Beijing are melting the ice caps in the Arctic, and that that will disrupt weather patterns everywhere. The terrorists who struck in London, in New York, plotted in distant caves and simple apartments much closer to your home. And the reckless speculation of bankers that has now fueled a global economic downturn that’s inflicting pain on workers and families is happening everywhere all across the globe. 

The economic crisis has proven the fact of our interdependence in the most visible way yet. Not more than a generation ago, it would have been difficult to imagine that the inability of somebody to pay for a house in Florida could contribute to the failure of the banking system in Iceland. Today what’s difficult to imagine is that we did not act sooner to shape our future. 

Now, there’s plenty of blame to go around for what has happened, and the United States certainly shares the blame. But every nation bears responsibility for what lies ahead, especially now, for whether it’s the recession or climate change, or terrorism, or drug trafficking, poverty, or the proliferation of nuclear weapons, we have learned that without a doubt there’s no quarter of the globe that can wall itself off from the threats of the 21st century. 

The one way forward – the only way forward – is through a common and persistent effort to combat fear and want wherever they exist. That is the challenge of our time – and we can not fail to meet it, together…. 

It was 61 years ago this April that a Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe helped to deliver hope to a continent that had been decimated by war. Amid the ashes and the rubble that surrounded so many cities like this one, America joined with you in an unprecedented effort that secured a lasting prosperity not just in Europe, but around the world – on both sides of the Atlantic. 

One year later, exactly 60 years ago tomorrow, we ensured our shared security when 12 of our nations signed a treaty in Washington that spelled out a simple agreement: An attack on one would be viewed as an attack on all. Without firing a single shot, this Alliance would prevent the Iron Curtain from descending on the free nations of Western Europe. It would lead eventually to the crumbling of a wall in Berlin and the end of the Communist threat. Two decades later, with 28 member nations that stretched from the Baltic to the Mediterranean, NATO remains the strongest alliance that the world has ever known. 

At the crossroads where we stand today, this shared history gives us hope – but it must not give us rest. This generation cannot stand still. We cannot be content merely to celebrate the achievements of the 20th century, or enjoy the comforts of the 21st century; we must learn from the past to build on its success. We must renew our institutions, our alliances. We must seek the solutions to the challenges of this young century. 

This is our generation. This is our time. And I am confident that we can meet any challenge as long as we are together. 

Such an effort is never easy. It’s always harder to forge true partnerships and sturdy alliances than to act alone, or to wait for the action of somebody else. It’s more difficult to break down walls of division than to simply allow our differences to build and our resentments to fester. So we must be honest with ourselves. In recent years we’ve allowed our Alliance to drift. I know that there have been honest disagreements over policy, but we also know that there’s something more that has crept into our relationship. In America, there’s a failure to appreciate Europe’s leading role in the world. Instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive. 

But in Europe, there is an anti-Americanism that is at once casual but can also be insidious. Instead of recognizing the good that America so often does in the world, there have been times where Europeans choose to blame America for much of what’s bad. 

On both sides of the Atlantic, these attitudes have become all too common. They are not wise. They do not represent the truth. They threaten to widen the divide across the Atlantic and leave us both more isolated. They fail to acknowledge the fundamental truth that America cannot confront the challenges of this century alone, but that Europe cannot confront them without America. 

So I’ve come to Europe this week to renew our partnership, one in which America listens and learns from our friends and allies, but where our friends and allies bear their share of the burden. Together, we must forge common solutions to our common problems. 

So let me say this as clearly as I can: America is changing, but it cannot be America alone that changes. We are confronting the greatest economic crisis since World War II. The only way to confront this unprecedented crisis is through unprecedented coordination…. 

I know it can be tempting to turn inward, and I understand how many people and nations have been left behind by the global economy. And that’s why the United States is leading an effort to reach out to people around the world who are suffering, to provide them immediate assistance and to extend support for food security that will help them lift themselves out of poverty. 

All of us must join together in this effort, not just because it is right, but because by providing assistance to those countries most in need, we will provide new markets, we will drive the growth of the future that lifts all of us up. So it’s not just charity; it’s a matter of understanding that our fates are tied together – not just the fate of Europe and America, but the fate of the entire world. 

---
 
Hot Spots will return in three weeks.
 
Brian Trumbore


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-04/09/2009-      
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Hot Spots

04/09/2009

Obama in France

President Barack Obama, April 3, 2009, Strasbourg, France
 
[Excerpts] 

We find ourselves at a crossroads…for we’ve arrived at a moment where each nation and every citizen must choose at last how we respond to a world that has grown smaller and more connected than at any time in its existence. 

We’ve known for a long time that the revolutions in communications and technology that took place in the 20th century would hold out enormous promise for the 21st century – the promise of broader prosperity and mobility; of new breakthroughs and discoveries that could help us lead richer and fuller lives. But the same forces that have brought us closer together have also given rise to new dangers that threaten to tear our world apart – dangers that cannot be contained by the nearest border of the furthest ocean. 

Even with the Cold War now over, the spread of nuclear weapons or the theft of nuclear material could lead to the extermination of any city on the planet. And this weekend in Prague, I will lay out an agenda to seek the goal of a world without nuclear weapons. 

We also know that the pollution from cars in Boston or from factories in Beijing are melting the ice caps in the Arctic, and that that will disrupt weather patterns everywhere. The terrorists who struck in London, in New York, plotted in distant caves and simple apartments much closer to your home. And the reckless speculation of bankers that has now fueled a global economic downturn that’s inflicting pain on workers and families is happening everywhere all across the globe. 

The economic crisis has proven the fact of our interdependence in the most visible way yet. Not more than a generation ago, it would have been difficult to imagine that the inability of somebody to pay for a house in Florida could contribute to the failure of the banking system in Iceland. Today what’s difficult to imagine is that we did not act sooner to shape our future. 

Now, there’s plenty of blame to go around for what has happened, and the United States certainly shares the blame. But every nation bears responsibility for what lies ahead, especially now, for whether it’s the recession or climate change, or terrorism, or drug trafficking, poverty, or the proliferation of nuclear weapons, we have learned that without a doubt there’s no quarter of the globe that can wall itself off from the threats of the 21st century. 

The one way forward – the only way forward – is through a common and persistent effort to combat fear and want wherever they exist. That is the challenge of our time – and we can not fail to meet it, together…. 

It was 61 years ago this April that a Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe helped to deliver hope to a continent that had been decimated by war. Amid the ashes and the rubble that surrounded so many cities like this one, America joined with you in an unprecedented effort that secured a lasting prosperity not just in Europe, but around the world – on both sides of the Atlantic. 

One year later, exactly 60 years ago tomorrow, we ensured our shared security when 12 of our nations signed a treaty in Washington that spelled out a simple agreement: An attack on one would be viewed as an attack on all. Without firing a single shot, this Alliance would prevent the Iron Curtain from descending on the free nations of Western Europe. It would lead eventually to the crumbling of a wall in Berlin and the end of the Communist threat. Two decades later, with 28 member nations that stretched from the Baltic to the Mediterranean, NATO remains the strongest alliance that the world has ever known. 

At the crossroads where we stand today, this shared history gives us hope – but it must not give us rest. This generation cannot stand still. We cannot be content merely to celebrate the achievements of the 20th century, or enjoy the comforts of the 21st century; we must learn from the past to build on its success. We must renew our institutions, our alliances. We must seek the solutions to the challenges of this young century. 

This is our generation. This is our time. And I am confident that we can meet any challenge as long as we are together. 

Such an effort is never easy. It’s always harder to forge true partnerships and sturdy alliances than to act alone, or to wait for the action of somebody else. It’s more difficult to break down walls of division than to simply allow our differences to build and our resentments to fester. So we must be honest with ourselves. In recent years we’ve allowed our Alliance to drift. I know that there have been honest disagreements over policy, but we also know that there’s something more that has crept into our relationship. In America, there’s a failure to appreciate Europe’s leading role in the world. Instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive. 

But in Europe, there is an anti-Americanism that is at once casual but can also be insidious. Instead of recognizing the good that America so often does in the world, there have been times where Europeans choose to blame America for much of what’s bad. 

On both sides of the Atlantic, these attitudes have become all too common. They are not wise. They do not represent the truth. They threaten to widen the divide across the Atlantic and leave us both more isolated. They fail to acknowledge the fundamental truth that America cannot confront the challenges of this century alone, but that Europe cannot confront them without America. 

So I’ve come to Europe this week to renew our partnership, one in which America listens and learns from our friends and allies, but where our friends and allies bear their share of the burden. Together, we must forge common solutions to our common problems. 

So let me say this as clearly as I can: America is changing, but it cannot be America alone that changes. We are confronting the greatest economic crisis since World War II. The only way to confront this unprecedented crisis is through unprecedented coordination…. 

I know it can be tempting to turn inward, and I understand how many people and nations have been left behind by the global economy. And that’s why the United States is leading an effort to reach out to people around the world who are suffering, to provide them immediate assistance and to extend support for food security that will help them lift themselves out of poverty. 

All of us must join together in this effort, not just because it is right, but because by providing assistance to those countries most in need, we will provide new markets, we will drive the growth of the future that lifts all of us up. So it’s not just charity; it’s a matter of understanding that our fates are tied together – not just the fate of Europe and America, but the fate of the entire world. 

---
 
Hot Spots will return in three weeks.
 
Brian Trumbore