Transatlantic Alliance Remains Vital to U.S. and Europe in Post-9/11 World, Concludes Council Task Force Led by Henry Kissinger and Lawrence Summers

Transatlantic Alliance Remains Vital to U.S. and Europe in Post-9/11 World, Concludes Council Task Force Led by Henry Kissinger and Lawrence Summers

March 18, 2004 10:43 am (EST)

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March 19, 2004 - In the year that has passed since the war in Iraq, the United States and its European allies have done much to repair their relations. Nonetheless, the partnership is still at risk. To revitalize the Atlantic alliance, Europe and America must forge new “rules of the road” governing the use of force, adapt NATO to meet today’s threats coming from outside Europe, and launch a major initiative to bring about political and economic reform in the greater Middle East.

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These are among the central findings of a bipartisan Council-sponsored Independent Task Force Renewing the Atlantic Partnership, chaired by former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger and former Secretary of the Treasury Lawrence H. Summers and directed by Council Senior Fellow and Director of Europe Studies, Charles A. Kupchan. The Task Force included American and European policy experts, senior policymakers, and business leaders. (See list below.) The group also consulted leading European policymakers during its deliberations.

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The Task Force concludes that the current rift in transatlantic relations is not solely a product of the war in Iraq, but that the war “brought these strains to a point of crisis.” The roots of today’s tensions extend as far back as 11/9, the day in 1989 when the Berlin Wall came down and removed the Soviet threat that had for decades brought the United States and Europe together; strains were exacerbated, in turn, by the events of 9/11 and the U.S.-led war on terrorism, which created diverging threat perceptions and priorities across the Atlantic. “What is surprising is the extent to which the terrorist attacks on the United States, and the reactions of Europeans to America’s response to those attacks, have transformed these differences into active confrontation,” says the report. The end of the Cold War, Europe’s continuing integration, and the new array of threats confronting the West continue to test the strength of the Atlantic partnership.

The Task Force sets out the following priorities for the transatlantic community:

  • Establish new guidelines for the use of military force, including agreement on “rules of the road” regarding preventive action. “Europeans could agree not to reject preventive action in principle, while Americans would agree that prevention would be reserved for special cases and not be the centerpiece of U.S. strategy.”
  • Develop a common policy toward irresponsible states that seek or possess weapons of mass destruction or that harbor or support terrorists. In dealing with these states, Europeans— who have traditionally favored negotiation or accommodation— should acknowledge “the need for credible threats.” And American leaders— who have favored containment and confrontation— need to realize that “threats do not in all cases produce acquiescence.”
  • Agree on the role of multilateral institutions by doing more to reach common policy positions; when the United States and European nations agree on policy objectives, the institutional framework for implementing them usually follow. “Europe will find international institutions much less effective if the world’s only superpower has stepped away from them. The United States loses support abroad when it is seen to be acting unilaterally.”
  • Build a common approach to the greater Middle East and close ranks on four critical issues: stabilizing Iraq, promoting reform in Iran and ensuring that Tehran does not seek to acquire nuclear weapons, facilitating political and economic development throughout the region, and advancing the prospects of peace in the Palestine-Israel conflict. “The United States needs to define more precisely its concept of a Palestinian state; Europe must take more seriously Israel’s concern for security.”
  • Revitalize NATO and adjust to new geopolitical realities by operating beyond Europe’s borders: “There needs to be a common understanding that NATO must increasingly concern itself with threats emanating from outside Europe if the alliance is to prove as central to the post-11/9 (and post-9/11) world as it was throughout the Cold War. … NATO, already demonstrating its value in Afghanistan, is a natural successor to the current international military presence in Iraq.”
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The Task Force also lays out five guidelines for restoring and deepening transatlantic cooperation:

  • The time has come to clarify the purposes and benefits of European integration: Europe’s leaders must resist the temptation to define its identity in opposition to the United States; American leaders must resolve their long-standing ambivalence about the emerging European entity. “As long as the EU frames its policies in complementary terms, Washington should continue to regard Europe’s deepening and widening as in America’s interest.”
  • No alliance can function successfully in the absence of a common strategy, or in the presence of competing strategies: “If the transatlantic relationship is to continue to mean what it has meant in the past, both sides must learn from their failures over Iraq.”
  • A common strategy need not require equivalent capabilities: “If the United States is the indispensable nation in terms of its military power, then surely the Europeans are indispensable allies in most of the other categories of power upon which statecraft depends.”
  • The maintenance of a healthy Atlantic alliance requires domestic political leadership: “Leadership is needed on both sides of the Atlantic to lower the rhetorical temperature by reminding Europeans and Americans alike of how much there is to lose from continued transatlantic tensions, and how much there is to gain from effective collaboration.”
  • Transatlantic economic cooperation reinforces political cooperation: Transatlantic commerce approaches $2.5 trillion per year and employs directly or indirectly some 12 million workers in Europe and the United States. “The prospects for sustained expansion will be much greater if the movement toward integrating global trade and investment continues to move forward.”

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The Task Force says it is convinced that its recommendations will appeal to a multi-party, pragmatic majority in all countries of the Western alliance. It also believes that leaders who embrace it will be rewarded rather than penalized by their publics.


HENRY A. KISSINGER, CO-CHAIR, is Chairman of Kissinger Associates, Inc., an international consulting firm. He was the 56th Secretary of State from 1973 to 1977, serving under Presidents Nixon and Ford. He also served as Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs from 1969 to 1975. He has since served on a number of U.S. government boards and commissions including the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board and the Defense Policy Board.

LAWRENCE H. SUMMERS, CO-CHAIR, is President of Harvard University. Dr. Summers has taught on the faculty at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He has served in a series of senior public policy positions, including Political Economist for the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, Chief Economist of the World Bank, and Secretary of the Treasury of the United States. In 1993 he received the John Bates Clark Medal, given every two years to the most outstanding American economist under the age of forty.

CHARLES A. KUPCHAN, DIRECTOR, is Senior Fellow and Director of Europe Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and Associate Professor of international affairs at Georgetown University. Dr. Kupchan was Director for European Affairs on the National Security Council during the first Clinton administration.

GIULIANO AMATO is a Member of the Italian Senate, Global Law Professor at the New York University Law School, and part-time Professor at the European University Institute in Florence. He held several ministerial positions in the Italian government and was Prime Minister twice. He also headed the Italian Antitrust Authority and was Vice-President of the Convention on the Future of Europe. He currently chairs an International Commission on the Balkans under the auspices of the Bosch Stiftung, the German Marshall Fund, and the King Baudouin Foundation.

REGINALD BARTHOLOMEW is Vice Chairman of Merrill Lynch Europe. His previous U.S. government career included assignments as Ambassador to Lebanon, Spain, NATO, and Italy, and as Undersecretary of State for International Security Affairs.

DOUGLAS K. BEREUTER is a Republican Member of Congress from Nebraska. He is the Chairman of the Europe Subcommittee of the House International Relations Committee, the Vice Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and the President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.

HAROLD BROWN is a Partner at Warburg Pincus and Counselor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He served as Secretary of Defense during the Carter administration and is President Emeritus of the California Institute of Technology.

RICHARD R. BURT serves as Chairman of Diligence LLC. He is also a Senior Adviser to the Center for Strategic and International Studies and Chairman of the American Committee of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. Mr. Burt was the U.S. Chief Negotiator in the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START) with the former Soviet Union. Prior to this, he was U.S. Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany (1985–89). Before Mr. Burt served in Germany, he worked at the State Department as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Canadian Affairs.

THIERRY DE MONTBRIAL is the Founder (in 1979) and President of IFRI (the French Institute of International Relations). He is also Professor of Economics and International Relations at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers in Paris. Professor de Montbrial was Director of the Policy Planning Staff in the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1973–79) and Chairman of the Paris-based Foundation for Strategic Studies (1993–2001).

THOMAS E. DONILON is Executive Vice President and Member of the Office of the Chairman at Fannie Mae. Previously, he was a Partner at the international law firm of O’Melveny & Myers. Mr. Donilon served as Assistant Secretary of State and Chief of Staff at the State Department during the first Clinton administration.

STUART E. EIZENSTAT was U.S. Ambassador to the European Union (1993–96), Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade (1996–97), Undersecretary of State for Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs (1997-99), and Deputy Secretary of the Treasury (1999–2001) in the Clinton administration, as well as Special Representative of the President on Holocaust Issues. He was Chief Domestic Policy Adviser and Executive Director of the White House Domestic Policy Staff in the Carter administration. He is the head of international trade and finance at Covington & Burling, a Washington-based law firm.

MARTIN FELDSTEIN is the George F. Baker Professor of Economics at Harvard University and President and CEO of the National Bureau of Economic Research. He is also President of the American Economic Association for 2004. From 1982 through 1984, he was Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers and President Ronald Reagan’s chief economic adviser.

JOHN LEWIS GADDIS is Robert A. Lovett Professor of History and Political Science at Yale University, where he teaches Cold War history, grand strategy, international studies, and biography. He was the 2003 recipient of the Phi Beta Kappa award for undergraduate teaching at Yale, and his most recent book is Surprise, Security, and the American Experience.

TIMOTHY GARTON ASH is Director of the European Studies Centre at St. Antony’s College, Oxford University, and a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He is the author of many books and articles on contemporary European history and politics. His latest book, Free World: America, Europe, and the Future of the West, will be published by Random House in the fall of 2004.

G. JOHN IKENBERRY is the Peter F. Krogh Professor of Geopolitics and Global Justice at Georgetown University. In July 2004, Ikenberry will become Professor of Public and International Affairs in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Plitics Department at Princeton University. He has previously held posts on the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff during the first Bush administration and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. During 2002–2004, Professor Ikenberry is a Transatlantic Fellow at the German Marshall Fund. He is the author of After Victory: Institutions, Strategic Restraint, and the Rebuilding of Order after Major Wars, which won the 2002 Schroeder-Jervis Award presented by the American Political Science Association for the best book in international history and politics. He is also the reviewer of books on political and legal affairs for Foreign Affairs.

JOSEF JOFFE is Editor of Die Zeit in Hamburg, Germany. He is also an Associate of the Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard and a Research Fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. Previously, he was Editorial Page Editor of the Süddeutsche Zeitung in Munich. He has held visiting appointments at Johns Hopkins University, Harvard University, Princeton University, and Stanford University.

ROBERT KAGAN is Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He writes a monthly column on world affairs for the Washington Post, and is a Contributing Editor at both the Weekly Standard and the New Republic. Kagan served in the State Department from 1984 to 1988 as a member of the Policy Planning Staff, as principal speechwriter for Secretary of State George P. Shultz, and as Deputy for Policy in the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs. He is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

SYLVIA MATHEWS is Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Before joining the Gates Foundation, Mathews served in the Clinton administration as Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget. Mathews also served as Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, and as Chief of Staff to Secretary of the Treasury Robert E. Rubin.

ANDREW MORAVCSIK is Professor of Government and Director of the European Union Center at Harvard University. Dr. Moravcsik has served as a trade negotiator at the U.S. Commerce Department, as Editor-in-Chief of a Washington foreign policy journal, and on the staff of the Deputy Prime Minister of South Korea.

ANDRZEJ OLECHOWSKI is a leader of Civic Platform, a centrist Polish political party. He was Minister of Foreign Affairs (1993–95) and Minister of Finance (1992) of Poland.

FELIX G. ROHATYN served as U.S. Ambassador to France from 1997 to 2000. Prior to that, he was Managing Director of the investment banking firm Lazard Freres & Co., LLC, in New York, where he had worked for nearly fifty years. Ambassador Rohatyn also served as Chairman of the Municipal Assistance Corporation (MAC) of the State of New York, where he managed negotiations that enabled New York City to solve its financial crisis in the 1970s. He has served as a Member of the Board of Governors of the New York Stock Exchange and as a Director of a number of American and French corporations. He is a Trustee of the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Currently, Ambassador Rohatyn is President of Rohatyn Associates LLC in New York.

BRENT SCOWCROFT served as Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs for Presidents George H.W. Bush and Gerald Ford. A retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant General, General Scowcroft served in numerous national security posts in the Pentagon and the White House prior to his appointments as Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. He also held a number of teaching positions at West Point and the Air Force Academy, specializing in political science. General Scowcroft serves as a Director on the boards of Qualcomm Corporation and the American Council on Germany. He also serves on the University of California President’s Council on the National Laboratories.

ANNE-MARIE SLAUGHTER is Dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. She is also President of the American Society of International Law. Prior to becoming Dean, she was the J. Sinclair Armstrong Professor of International, Foreign, and Comparative Law and Director of Graduate and International Legal Studies at Harvard Law School.

DANIEL K. TARULLO is Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center. During the Clinton administration he was, successively, Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs, Deputy Assistant to the President for Economic Affairs, and Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs.

LAURA D’ANDREA TYSON is on the Board of the Council on Foreign Relations. She is also Dean of London Business School. Dr. Tyson served the Clinton administration as the President’s National Economic Adviser, and also as a member of the President’s National Security Council and Domestic Policy Council. Prior to her appointment as National Economic Adviser, she served as Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

STEPHEN M. WALT is Academic Dean at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where he holds the Robert and Renee Belfer Professorship in International Affairs. He previously taught at Princeton University and the University of Chicago. Professor Walt is the author of The Origins of Alliances (1987) which received the Edgar S. Furniss National Security Book Award, and Revolution and War (1996), as well as numerous articles in international politics and foreign policy.

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