This is what makes the transatlantic
relationship unique: When we agree, we are the core of any effective global
coalition; when we disagree, no global coalition is likely to be effective.
"Smart power" - as Joe Nye so appropriately called it - is the synonym for what we need today: new concepts, a revitalised alliance and particularly renewed American leadership in the world.
"Smart power" is George Marshall's vision in a nutshell. "Smart power" is the key to serving America's interests, to serving Europe's interests and - I would argue - to serving the world's interests. To use "smart power," America - with its global reach - needs allies; and Europe - for its global contributions - needs America.
In that sense, to redesign the transatlantic agenda for a global age, let me look at three main elements for our common future:
- a more sustainable world
- a safer world
- a more just and open world.
In all three areas, I see "modern
Germany" and "modern Europe" as America's ideal partner:
First: creating opportunities for a more sustainable world.
Climate change and energy security are the keywords here - topics which directly determine whether we can live safely in tomorrow's world.
Here, the US and Europe can and must be pioneers. We are among the most innovative economies; we have top technology, top researchers, top universities; we have the two most integrated markets worldwide. Together, we must turn the tide and jointly tackle the twin challenges of climate change and energy security.
My vision is a "transatlantic climate bridge" that brings together like-minded people and institutions here and in Europe. The "MIT Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems" is an excellent example of joint action.
Element number two: seeking opportunities for a safer world.
The new world order - or: disorder, for that matter - sets one very clear task: we must define security much more broadly than we have ever done before.
We must strengthen common global awareness of ever increasing interdependence - and therefore of the constantly increasing need for more cooperation.
Of course, the EU's ability to project stability is interlinked with the efforts of NATO. EU and NATO are working closely together to stabilise the Balkans, especially Kosovo. And NATO's Bucharest summit last week reaffirmed that the door remains open to those willing and able to join.
A safer world also means that America and Europe must engage with Russia.
Without Russia's cooperation, many pressing issues we are facing around the world will be harder to resolve - Iran, the Middle East, arms control are just a few examples.
Modern Germany's and Europe's responsibilities do not end at Europe's borders. As a nation and as a continent in an ever more interdependent world - and as a partner of America -, we must do all that we can to tackle the world's problems.
I have talked about a sustainable world, a safer world. But if we proclaim these visions for our new transatlantic global agenda, we must add a third element as a vital ingredient: a more open and just world.
It is true: our values as democracies, the openness of our societies and our economies remain the foundation of our success. Together we stand for the rule of law and respect for human rights - at home and abroad, and especially in the fight against terrorism.
We also share a major interest in further advancing a rules-based system of open global trade through the reduction of barriers to trade and investment - amongst ourselves and with the rest of the world. This is a core transatlantic project.
But let's not deceive ourselves: In Europe and in the United States, there are siren songs of protectionism coming from left, right and centre. I see this with great concern. As we all know: Siren songs are very tempting - and very dangerous.
Nonetheless, cooperation pays off, politically and in the bank accounts of the people. This is the right course: engagement, dialogue, institution building, global governance.
On a broader scale, globalisation with all its benefits and challenges needs rules and regulation - like it or not. This is the only way to break the divide between winners and losers.
We must enable the key institutions to provide effective global governance. Global governance must be good governance! Global governance must also be just governance.
I have tried to give you some of the reasons why I think we can.
In this new world - 60 years after George Marshall's speech - perhaps more so than ever. Yes, different circumstances require new concepts and new leadership. But one truth remains: Together, we as transatlantic partners and friends - the United States, Canada and Europe with modern Germany at its heart - together we can make our world a more sustainable, a safer, a more just and open place!
This is a shortened version of Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier's speech which was given at the "Conference on Germany in the Modern World" at Harvard University on April 12, 2008. The full text is available here.
Frank-Walter Steinmeier has been German Federal Foreign Minister since November 22, 2005 and Deputy Chancellor since November 2007.