Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger spoke to the Atlantic Community's partner organization, the World Security Network:
The Atlantic Community editorial team summarized his main arguments from the video interview above:
Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger has a different view on the transatlantic relationship than most--he's optimistic and believes that "we the Europeans" do not wish to live in disharmony with our American friends. While his children may have violently criticized certain American policy decisions, they are also deeply involved in American culture. Many young Europeans are delighted when they have a chance to study or live in the United States. We share the same fundamental values.
As we look at a new President, regardless of who that is going to be, there will be some kind of a honeymoon--a renaissance--of the transatlantic relationship. There will also be great willingness by European leaders to respond positively to whatever initiatives the next administration may propose. However, we shouldn't leave the initiatives to America. We Europeans should consider our own responsibility to develop strategic initiatives. We should explain to our American friends what our priorities are, and what we expect of them, and not just wait until they tell us what they expect of us. That is the kind of mature relationship that we should aspire to, where we give and take, and where America also gives and takes. That does not mean that American leadership is contestable, in fact for a long time to come, for military reasons, for political reasons, and for other reasons, the West will need to be led by America, but the West will be a better place if a stronger and more self-confident Europe can play a bigger role and carry a larger share in the common endeavor.
Wolfgang Ischinger is the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Court of St. James. Since early August 2007, he has also represented the European Union in the Troika negotiations on Kosovo.
This video interview was conducted by the Atlantic Community's partner organization, the World Security Network.