Heading into crucial NATO and U.S.-E.U. summit meetings in Lisbon this week, President Obama has written an op-ed in the International Herald Tribune on the importance of the American-European relationship. (Though the New York Times company owns the Herald Tribune, the Times did not include it on their regular opinion page today. Fortunately, The Atlantic Wire trekked all the way across the Internet for it.) Here's the full op-ed and our highlights below:
EUROPEAN ALLIES ARE CRUCIAL TO THE WAY WE ENGAGE WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD
[O]ur relationship with our European allies and partners is the cornerstone of our engagement with the world, and a catalyst for global cooperation.
With no other region does the United States have such a close alignment of values, interests, capabilities and goals. With the largest economic relationship in the world, trans-Atlantic trade supports millions of jobs in the United States and Europe and forms a foundation of our efforts to sustain the global economic recovery. ... As we have seen in the recent security alert in Europe and the thwarted plot to detonate explosives on trans-Atlantic cargo flights, we cooperate closely every day to prevent terrorist attacks and keep our citizens safe.
THE GOAL IN LISBON: FIGURE OUT AFGHANISTAN
We will align our approach so that we can begin a transition to Afghan responsibility early next year, and adopt President Hamid Karzai’s goal of Afghan forces taking the lead for security across Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
REAFFIRMING THE NATO PARTNERSHIP
As we move forward in Afghanistan, NATO will also transform itself in Lisbon with a new Strategic Concept that recognizes the capabilities and partners we need to meet the new threats of the 21st century. This must begin by reaffirming the lifeblood of this alliance--our Article 5 commitment that an attack on one is an attack on all.
REFORMING STRUCTURES, BUILDING MISSILE DEFENSE
Even as we modernize our conventional forces, we need to reform alliance command structures to make them more effective and efficient, invest in the technologies that allow allied forces to deploy and operate together effectively, and develop new defenses against threats such as cyber attacks. Another necessary alliance capability is missile defense of NATO territory, which is needed to address the real and growing threat from ballistic missiles.
ON THE NUCLEAR ISSUE
We can work to create the conditions for reductions in nuclear arsenals and move toward the vision I outlined in Prague last year--a world without nuclear weapons. Yet so long as these weapons exist, NATO should remain a nuclear alliance.
EUROPEANS AND AMERICANS--NATURAL AND ENDURING ALLIES
For more than six decades, Europeans and Americans have stood shoulder to shoulder because our work together advances our interests and protects the freedoms we cherish as democratic societies. As the world has changed, so too has our alliance, and we are stronger, safer and more prosperous as a result. That is our task in Lisbon--to revitalize our alliance once more and ensure our security and prosperity for decades to come.