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'The world’s most complete partnership'
Solana, Obama, Barroso, and Reinfeldt at the White House in November 2009

'The world’s most complete partnership'

Published: 18 Nov 2010 13:49 GMT+01:00
Updated: 18 Nov 2010 13:49 GMT+01:00

On the eve of three important international summits, US ambassador to Sweden Matthew W. Barzun emphasises the importance of the transatlantic partnership as well as Sweden’s constructive role in promoting international engagement.

The United States and Europe together comprise the world’s most complete partnership – one characterized by common values, overlapping interests, and shared goals. Each is crucial for the other in facing the challenges and threats of the 21st century. This is why President Obama and my country attach such high importance to our participation in the NATO and the U.S.-EU Summits in Lisbon November 19-20, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Summit in Astana December 1-2.

With a strong transatlantic partnership, the United States and Europe are able to be much more effective in tackling global challenges which face us both: promoting economic growth and jobs on both sides of the Atlantic, working with developing countries on addressing climate change, confronting violent extremists who threaten peaceful coexistence around the world, preparing Afghan forces to take the lead on security, and preventing an Iran with nuclear weapons, to name a few. Moreover, this transatlantic relationship is not just about what we can do, but also about who we are: the values shared between America and Europe truly do unite us within a transatlantic community.

Challenges these days are often not confined within the borders of the transatlantic community. It is through the many partnerships we have within the context of the strong U.S.-EU relationship, and engagement through multi-lateral institutions such as NATO and the OSCE, that we are able to forge a comprehensive approach for dealing with the full spectrum of security, human rights, rule of law, and economic challenges that our community faces. These institutions are as important now as when they were founded, even as they require a forward-leaning vision for the 21st century environment.

The European Union is a global actor and a critical partner for the United States and Sweden is an important leader within the EU. With the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty last December during Sweden’s presidency, we look to the EU to play an increasing role in all of the most important economic and security issues of our time. U.S.-EU collaboration is comprehensive and intense, on issues from peace in the Middle East and Iran sanctions to combating trafficking in persons. At this first U.S. – EU Summit following the Lisbon Treaty, President Obama will underscore the centrality for the United States of our partnership with Europe. He will seek to deepen that partnership and to strengthen the impact of U.S.-EU coordination in economic recovery and growth, reduction of regulatory barriers to trade, and implementation of commitments from the G20 Summit in Seoul.

Our leaders will also lay the foundation for a substantive Transatlantic Economic Council meeting in December. The Summit will also focus on U.S. and EU efforts to coordinate assistance resources to meet the development needs of poorer nations, enhance joint efforts on counterterrorism and security, and work on critical global challenges such as Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

NATO remains the essential mechanism for U.S. security engagement in Europe and for U.S.-European security cooperation throughout the world. The 28 NATO member countries will adopt a new NATO Strategic Concept at the Lisbon Summit; one which recognizes and orients the Alliance toward new threats, establishes new partnerships while deepening existing ones, and sets forth in a concise and easily understandable way what NATO’s purpose is in the 21st century.

This new Strategic Concept will also help non-NATO members who are important partners in international security, such as Sweden, to work more effectively with NATO when they choose to do so. I welcome the fact that Prime Minister Reinfeldt and Foreign Minister Bildt will be among those from the many partner countries who are part of the ISAF mission who will join with the leaders of NATO member countries and President Karzai in Lisbon to chart a path forward in Afghanistan.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) will hold its first summit in 11 years in Astana December 1-2. The OSCE has matured from its Cold War roots to become a global forum intended to strengthen security across political-military, economic-environmental, and human dimensions. At Astana, of particular concern to the United States will be the human dimension of security, including how the OSCE can increase the role of civil society in protecting journalists and the freedom of expression.

I know that Sweden shares our strong concern in these areas, and we look forward to Sweden playing a constructive role in the summit. The United States also will look for new steps to enhance energy security, promote transparency and strengthen good governance across the vast OSCE space. Finally, at Astana the United States will look to strengthen core elements of Europe’s arms control measures, and develop an OSCE crisis response capability so that the international community can respond more effectively to tension between states.

The United States will look to do a great deal alongside our European partners in the coming weeks. To quote Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier this year in Paris: “A strong Europe is critical to our security and prosperity. Much of what we hope to accomplish globally depends on working together with Europe. We need European leadership in the 21st century.”

Paul Rapacioli (paul.rapacioli@thelocal.com)

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Your comments about this article

15:29 November 18, 2010 by svenskamerikansk
Sorry folks, but Barzun is a twit lackey blowing smoke for a for a feckless and incompetent administration. The Obama crew does not know up from down. For your own sake, believe none of this fluff.
19:06 November 18, 2010 by GefleFrequentFlyer
Ha ha ha! What are you smoking Matthew? NATO is a joke. Are you living in a cave? Preaching to Europe and Sweden the virtues of NATO? Are you completely unaware of the political tides inside Sweden towards this defunct promises-are-promises (and always broken) defense alliance? NATO allies talk a big game, but when asked for their guts, they turn as green as their uniforms.

You're just another utopian Obama carpetbagger. The appointment process of these ambassadorships is are the only joke bigger than the ones that warm the seats. Nothing in your resume even suggests that I give a moment of thought on your wild ideas relating to strategic security.

Fess up, the White House had to write this drivel for you. Wanna know how I know? You not once mention the biggest security threat to europe/Sweden: Islamic Fundamentalism. I should have known better though, because for some demented reason, that "I Word" is taboo in your Utopia.

Keep parading around your dopey boss to these summits, see what it reaps. The rest of the world's leaders have you half brained fools behind the 8 ball.
22:02 November 18, 2010 by edb
Wow...so many words, but so little to say. Do either of you actually have a point? "Don't believe Obama!" OK...so should I believe you? You can't seem to write very well. Are you smarter than you write?

How about an actual argument? Capable?
22:57 November 18, 2010 by GefleFrequentFlyer
Sure edb, I do have a point.

The point is, that the Obama administration thinks that they can send their puppet on world tours, and, upon the presence of the supreme leader, and the ensuing showering of words in a golden cadence will win over the hearts and minds. Just like he tried to do in India, and he went trying to hammer out a trade agreement with the South Koreans when he didn't even do his homework at home and have a proposal (agreed to by congress) to present to the bargaining party BEFORE he hopped on his jet. He honestly thought he could talk his way through it. I'd like to say it's a rookie mistake, but I rather believe it's arrogance.

And, about NATO. Nobody in the US military chain of command has strategic plans that rely on NATO member involvement. Because they know they won't come if the calvary comes running over the hill.

NATO is extremely unpopular in Sweden, as it is one of the Sweden Democrats main issue points. We're talking about a country that can't even form the Nordic Battle Group, and Matthew is trying to sell them on NATO? Get real.

The fact is,US ambassadorships at posts worldwide historically are just political kickback to friends of the president. Experience or intelligence need not apply. Barzun is just another campaign worker that prostituted himself to Obama so he could live the life of Reilly for a few years. Shame you didn't get the Paris post, huh? What more could you have done? Shake down a few more teachers at fundraisers? I'd like to see the names of those "small dollar" donations. Don't like to play that game anymore? Figured so.
03:00 November 19, 2010 by Zhorka
When choosing his suit did Reinfeldt want to visually stress his feminine hips?
15:38 November 19, 2010 by hipersons1
Gosh GefleFrequent Flyer,

Seems like you scan a lot of headlines in the IHT, but also seems like you have no idea what you're reading. Obama's popularity in Europe is at 78%, according to the German Marshall Fund's Transatlantic Trends survey. Some 58% of Europeans and 54% of Americans believe that transatlantic relations are in a good place. So is the "golden shower" you reference even needed?

India...the visit was wildly popular and US-India ties are about the best they've ever been. This is not my view, but rather that of the Indian government and media.

"Didn't do homework" on the Korea FTA...are you serious? All the homework was done a few years ago when Bush negotiated the deal. It just wasn't ratified by the ROK legislature. Now Seoul is on board, and yes, the President has problems with the Senate. But that's just the normal process...the Executive negotiates the deal and the Congress is then asked to approve. A rookie mistake by the President? Or a rookie misunderstanding of the process by you?

US military doesn't rely on NATO?? 40,000 ISAF troops in Afghanistan, Danes and UK in Helmand, Scandinavians and Germans holding the North. Them's pretty big numbers to be ignoring, pardner!

US ambassadorships "worldwide" as gifts to supporters? Nothing new here, but care to guess what percent go to career diplomats? Less than a third -- a bit less than "worldwide." And if you think for a minute, you'll notice very distinguished non-career appointees, as well as some very undistinguished career appointees! Of the former, Kennard in Brussels, Huntsman in China, Rice at the UN, Daalder at NATO, Susman in London...these are all pretty accomplished people. What makes you think "Matthew" is any different?
19:10 November 19, 2010 by GefleFrequentFlyer
Hipersons,

You are aware that Obama's European popularity has no bearing on anything, and adds nothing to this article or your argument.Popularity is no measure of job performance. Michael Jackson is still wildly popular in Sweden. Means nothing though.

When the president leaves the confines of the White House, he is expected to get something done. Of course, Obama has no idea how to govern, and compromise (as evidenced by the disastrous 2 years) and couldn't get the Senate to agree to ANY trade agreements as he scrambled to leave town after voters torched his party in the elections. He's found himself in a jimmy trying to promote US exports and create US jobs while asking trade partners to bend over for the US. Not going to happen like that. He leaves the sausage making to his partisan cronies in congress and wonders why he can't get anything done. That IS a rookie mistake.

Curiously, Obama BROUGHT american business leaders to India with him to "do business", as if to say "all trade will be run through the white house" like they couldn't grow business if the White House was not involved. The goal is simple: reduce barriers, allow the US to compete, and they will. He doesn't get that. All of these rookie mistakes degrades his credibility, and makes the US not relevant. Not good for America.

No, the US military does NOT rely on NATO. Not until this year ( year 9 of the conflict in Afghanistan) have German troops ( the largest NATO contingent) have been allowed to engage in actual combat. To even suggest others are fighting (The UK gave up several key battles this year to the US forces, the Swedes fired their first shot (singular) in anger in August and interrupted their fika) is a complete joke. How many times have american presidents appealed to euro leaders to meet troop request requirements only to be snubbed by presidents and parliments? More that a few if my memory serves correct.

People are still waiting for Obama to turn his "popularity" into progress, but the intelligent observer knows that is a pipedream.
19:35 November 19, 2010 by lux.veritas
'The world's most complete partnership of bloodthirsty power grabbing sociopaths'

They don't give a crap about you or me; unless we are bleeding on some battlefield for them and their cronies to occupy, pillage, rob and control. Or paying taxes for the privilege of bolstering their friends in the weapons, banking and pharmaceutical corporations. They should be in prison, at best.
08:13 November 20, 2010 by miss79
thumbs up lux!
10:52 November 20, 2010 by Great Scott
This picture reminds me of a shark with litle fish that swim under or around it for protection, the shark feeds on its prey and the little fish feed on the sharks sh!t.
19:12 November 20, 2010 by edb
Gefle Dude,

Didn't you spout some gibberish about the White House sending him out and then golden showers blah blah blah popular with the adoring masses? Then Hipersons' remark about the fact that he's already super popular is most relevant.

The Germans are not the biggest NATO contributors. US is, followed by UK. Fairly simple fact checking would have let you score a point there. Oops.

Shocked, shocked to hear that business leaders went with the Prez to India? What are YOU smoking? These days, too many of such trips have business dels along for the ride...see press on Reinfeldt to China, e.g., or Cameron to China.

Agree with HiPeeps that you read the headlines but seem clueless about what the actual story means.
16:53 November 23, 2010 by nitrousox
I used to have a lot of respect for Sweden. However, after they called to arrest Julian Assange, and looking at the photo in this article it is clear to me that Sweden is nothing but America's bitch in Europe like Holland, the UK and Spain. Fascism is back!
11:16 November 24, 2010 by marianne667
Screw that partnership!!
14:02 November 26, 2010 by A Little Worried
Once again the comments provide infinitely more insight into the world around me than the article. To be honest, I read only the title of the article and then jumped straight to the comments. Why would I read the article? I simply cannot believe anything I read from the MSM any longer when concerning geopolitics or finance. At least when reading the comments I can trust that people are accurately representing their views and thus see where society is at on the given issue.

PS: I know this is a translation newspaper, but has anyone claimed responsibility for writing this article? I find that most articles about geopolitics and finance in any MSM sites no longer even say who wrote them, or simply that a group wrote it such as CNN Wire Staff. Weird, huh?
12:34 November 28, 2010 by lux.veritas
It is unfortunately naive to expect northern, north western and democratic region MSM's to provide accurate, balanced, complete or honest news.

A current example is Korea. It is only alternate news sources (not necessarily north Korean sympathetic) that have clearly indicated that it was south Korea that was doing a military exercise near disputed area with live ammunition before north Korea retaliated (I do not take sides in this commentary).

Another very interesting aspect not recalled or taught easily about history is that the US were blockading Japan prior to its retaliation on Pearl harbour (the US Navy sometime prior to the incident had removed its best and newest vessels). Independent non-aligned historians and thinkers concur it was likely a deliberate ploy to get Americans excited about joining the war.

Interestingly and little publicised war that US bankers and elite such as the Rockefellers, Ford, IBM where helping the Nazi side due to their interest in eugenics and population control. Also the Rothschild's funded both sides in the Napoleonic wars.

This is documented in black and white with hard evidence. Some of the richest well respected families are nothing better than genocide war criminals the corrupt court and law system will never hold accountable. If you are rich or powerful enough you can help kill millions for profit and laugh all the way to the bank. We are nothing more than free range cattle to the self-styled elite, but refuse to acknowledge this.

To 'A Little Worried'. There are plenty of alternate news and educational that provide honest and bias free analysis; although be clear that the truths we seek will dispel any sense of patriotism, nationalism or confidence in government or the powers that be. Statistically speaking, after natural causes; governments and or in conjunction with self-styled elite, have killed either by war, experimentation, assassination, neglect, poisoning over 200 million people in the 20th century alone, and they are still doing so whilst robbing people and showing complete incompetence, ethics, moral or humanity. These are facts we simply refuse to entertain for the repercussions.
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