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U.S.-German Relations in a Changing World
Speech by H. E. Richard R. Burt, Ambassador of the United States of America to the Federal Republic of Germany
At the Konrad Adenauer Foundation St. Augustin
November 12, 1985

We live in an age of unrelenting change, more rapid and more radical than any past generation could have imagined. Ours is a time of excitement, promise, great hopes for the future. But history rushes on at a pace that sometimes bewilders and frightens us. Whatever we learn is outdated before we can apply it. Every day brings its novelty or its crisis.

It is our task to understand this changing world, and to learn how we can live together in it, using our powers to achieve mutual prosperity rather than mutual destruction. The British historian, Arnold Toynbee, argued that great historical advances always result from great challenges, that only societies capable of surmounting these pressures prevail. Change is certainly the great challenge of our age, the challenge we must meet if we are to advance. We should be equal to that challenge. After all, it is we; Europeans and Americans-the children of Europe-who have made this a world of change. It was we who created a society which learned to welcome change, rather than resist it; who invented the historically unique notion of "progress"; who abandoned old ideas in favor of a new "enlightenment"; who eventually defined our history in terms of a whole series of revolutions--the "industrial revolution", the "scientific revolution", and now the "information revolution".

We have built our civilization on change, and carried it to every corner of the globe. And it is change that defines the principal questions we must ask about international relations today. What has changed in the world? What is changing now-and how do we respond? How do we bring about change where it is needed? How can we preserve what should not change? These questions are not theoretical. The period immediately after World War II was certainly one of Toynbeean challenge: the West met that challenge, and we advanced to a new era in international relations. In my opinion, we are living through another period of challenge. The nature of the challenge may not be as obvious today, but the decisions we make may be as important for our two countries as those of forty years ago.

I have previously described relations between the United States and the Federal Republic as a "mature partnership". This partnership means we must make many decisions together, and act on them together. It means, frequently, an extended process of dialogue and debate. We are partners, not twins, and partnership does not mean an end to competition or disagreement. I see my own role primarily in terms of this dialogue. It is my task, as a spokesman for my country in Germany, to bring major issues into the open, to make sure we can discuss them fully and honestly. Eventually, perhaps, a series of speeches like this one may be required, each exploring more deeply one of the primary themes of our relationship.

Today, however, I will range more widely, to suggest an agenda for our dialogue. I will comment briefly on the history of our relations, and then attempt to define more clearly my concept of the "mature partnership". I will suggest it is a natural outgrowth of our common history, and an appropriate, indeed necessary, framework for dealing with the problems we face today and tomorrow. Finally, I will examine the most pressing current issues arising from change, or the lack of it, in the developing world, in the industrialized West, and in relations between East and West; and suggest how these changes give content and purpose to our partnership.

The Historical Background:
Two hundred years ago, both America and the German states were relatively weak outsiders in the international system. In both countries, towering figures of the Enlightenment, such as Immanuel Kant and Benjamin Franklin, espoused common ideas which still seem dangerously radical to some; open trade, humane behavior even in war, the notion that the welfare and happiness of human beings are more important objectives than the power and prerogatives of the state. Our first treaty, signed two hundred years ago between the fledgling United States and the emerging Kingdom of Prussia, reflected those ideas, and because of that, our relations began well.

But we drifted apart. Both nations saw themselves as exceptional, as models for the rest of the world. Unfortunately, the models turned out not to be very similar. In America, 18th century rationalism developed into an individualistic, decentralized democracy. In Prussia and later Imperial Germany, rationalism led the state increasingly to stifle individualism and personal initiative.

Geopolitical differences also drove us apart, even though Germany and the United States exerted increasing cultural, economic and technical influence on each other throughout the 19th century. Wilhelm II's ill-considered reach for a global "place in the sun" frightened both the United States (which had its own ambitions) and others with whom we had close ties. As a result, we fought World War I on opposite sides.

American intervention was decisive, but not sustained. Soon the United States withdrew into inglorious isolation. The new Weimar Republic revived old German democratic traditions which had never died out-but other, darker traditions had also maintained their vitality. The U.S. applauded German democracy, and provided Germany considerable economic aid. But economic support was not enough. Under mounting internal and external pressures, the Weimar regime collapsed. Naziism triumphed, and brought a new orgy of violence.

In the end Hitler succeeded only in reawakening America from its vain dream of isolation, so dooming himself to utter defeat. By 1945, though we Americans continued to believe in our uniqueness, and in the value of the American model, we recognized that there was no cheap or easy way to preserve and promote our values in the postwar world.

After only brief hesitation, Americans responded to the crises of the postwar world by turning from isolationism to active engagement symbolized by the Marshall Plan, Point Four and, most important, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. We abandoned the ill-conceived Morgenthau Plan, recognizing that a viable Germany was required both to revive the prosperity of Europe, and to redress the balance between East and West. Under a new bipartisan foreign policy leadership, America committed itself without reservation to the restoration of Germany and Europe.

Of course it was you, the Germans, who gave life to the new Germany. 1945 represented a decisive defeat for those forces in German society which regarded Western civilization as an alien and hostile force. The Federal Republic was established as a new, liberal, federal, and democratic state, an integral part of the West. Its Basic Law incarnates and guarantees these principles. Germany's postwar generation, abandoning the concept of "Zwischenkultur", played a leading role in turning Europe from a devastated battlefield into a common enterprise of peace and stability. During Konrad Adenauer's time, this generation led the way to a postwar political revolution in Western Europe: Franco-German reconciliation, creation of the European Community, German entry into NATO. Germany became an engine of economic vitality for all of Europe and a linchpin of stability in the Western political system.

In the early postwar era, our two countries worked out a comfortable relationship, based on close personal ties between the leaders on both sides. But the relationship that worked well in the 1950's was by the 1970's taken somewhat for granted, and failed to evolve. Inertia went together with a dwindling of the personal ties built up by the first postwar generation. Distracted by pressing concerns within our own societies, we failed to see that below the surface there remained much lack of understanding. For some people, especially the young, the threat to the Federal Republic's independence, territorial integrity and system of values seemed distant. To them, our long-standing ties began to seem irrelevant, restrictive, even dangerous.

In the 1970's, Americans also increasingly questioned their international role, and our self-doubt was matched by increasing German doubts about American strength and will. We saw the world changing in ways that we believed required Europeans to be less parochial, and justified Europe's playing a larger role outside its own region. But many in Germany saw only an effort to shift to their shoulders the costs and risks of carrying out what were still American policies, unilaterally determined. In a monograph written only a few years ago one of my distinguished predecessors, Ambassador Martin J. Hillenbrand, expressed uncertainty about the future of the U.S.-German relationship.

The Mature Partnership:
In 1985, I can with confidence take a much more optimistic view. In the last few years, much has changed. The United States has recovered its confidence, without relapsing into isolationism. The renewal of American self-assurance has been matched by increasing German awareness of the Federal Republic's strength, stability and international responsibilities. We both recognize now that we must work harder to understand each other's societies and each other's needs. More than ever before, we are on an equal footing. More than ever, we are in a position to develop fully that new set of relationships which I call the "mature partnership".

Let me define what I understand by a "mature partnership". Nothing in the concept implies that our relations will be weaker or more distant. It is however a new kind of partnership, different from what we had in the fifties. It is a more balanced partnership, with more symmetrical rights and responsibilities on both sides.

America for its part has demonstrated increasing readiness to share power and responsibility. NATO's 1979 decision to deploy intermediate range missies in Europe, for instance, was the first nuclear deployment decision made on an Alliance-wide basis, after extensive consultation. This year, the intense exchanges between our governments in preparation for the Geneva meeting showed once again that President Reagan sees improved East-West relations as a collective, not a unilateral responsibility.

We take Germany and its interests seriously. Americans try hard to understand developments inside Germany, because we recognize these can affect our vital interests. We also accept as healthy the rising sense of a German national identity, of German national interests compatible with but by no means identical to those of the United States.

The citizens of the Federal Republic for their part have begun to recognize that their nation is no longer a small, weak state, but rather once more a leading member of the international community. Germany is, of course, a European power. The major German role in the European Community and among the European members of NATO is firmly established. In both frameworks, successive German governments have done much to ensure that all the major countries of Europe work together on common problems. But regional responsibilities do not have to mean parochialism. Germany's worldwide role does not conflict with its European goals.

This then is how I understand the mature partnership. As Ambassador Hillenbrand has said, echoing Toynbee, "we live in a time of new and complicated challenges which may well elicit dynamic and creative responses of a kind we cannot yet anticipate". I add, that it is particularly the task and the responsibility of our two countries, working in partnership, to respond in a dynamic and creative way to the challenges of change in today's world. Let me now turn to this process of change, and the agenda I believe it sets for our partnership.

Change in the Developing World:
Change is fastest, most brutal, most destabilizing, and yet also most promising, in the developing world. That world includes those astonishing success stories we call the "newly industrialized nations": Brazil, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea and so on. At the other extreme, we find nations which are literally starving, whose peoples cannot, as yet, see any hope for the progress and prosperity we have taught them to regard as the birthright of all people everywhere.

The Federal Republic has made, and continues to make, major contributions as a donor of aid in the developing world-often, as in Pakistan, coordinating its efforts with ours. This sort of aid is extremely important for humanitarian purposes.

But as a practical matter, only more trade and more investment will ever help the developing countries progress beyond the point where they constantly need aid. We need to intensify our joint efforts to foster trade, especially by fighting protectionism both in the developing world and in our own countries. We must encourage the developing countries to accept foreign investment that can build modern institutions and productive enterprises. Particularly important here is our common recognition that the enormous burden of international indebtedness, especially in the developing world, must be dealt with more effectively. That is the aim of the recent set of proposals presented by Secretary Baker in Seoul, which are now under active worldwide discussion.

However, balanced development requires attention to the political as well as the economic aspirations of the peoples of these nations, and to the legitimate security concerns of states threatened by external aggression or subversion. For historical and geographic reasons, there are deep-seated disputes throughout the developing world which have generated conflict, and which have the potential to produce even more conflict in the future. The Soviet Union has shown itself only too willing to exploit these grievances for its own ends.

Ever since Lenin, the Soviet Union has claimed that the West is guilty of exploiting the disadvantaged all over the world. Many in the West have accepted this analysis. But in 1985, it is difficult to sustain the Soviet argument. It is the West, particularly the United States, that is working for peaceful political solutions to conflict in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, South Africa and Central America. It is President Reagan who has called for negotiated solutions in the most immediately dangerous cases-Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Cambodia, Angola, Ethiopia. Today it is the Soviet Union and its allies which are openly exporting violence and exploiting local conflicts--through proxies or directly-to advance their interests all over the world.

Perhaps that is why Soviet-style models are no longer very appealing in the developing world-indeed, there has been widespread rejection of such models. Many leaders, seeing the economic progress and increased security of those who have adopted free market methods, now realize they must motivate, not drive their peoples. We see this perhaps most vividly in China. Nowhere do our geopolitical interests run more parallel than in China, even as we compete commercially. We both have much to gain from the success of that country's bold new experiment.

To survive and prosper, the United States and the Federal Republic must work together to encourage this trend, to spread throughout the world the democratic, humanistic values we share. We must be aggressive-not in the military, but in the human sense. We must not be afraid to recognize that our societies really are more dynamic, more vital, more able to respond to new opportunities and challenges than those constructed on the Soviet model.

Already, the Federal Republic has taken a leadership role in political development, especially through the political party Stiftungen, which have done much to spread democratic values. The new Spanish and Portuguese democracies owe much to German help. The Federal Republic has also been a leader in several areas where the stresses of change have created political problems challenging us all. The Federal Republic's role in support of Turkey is an outstanding example of such leadership. I believe you can do even more. Germany's economic and social success offers the developing world an attractive model--and Germany is less associated with memories of colonialism than many other Western nations.

Humanitarian aid, development aid and security assistance all have a role to play in our common policies. We must be prepared to help defend the territorial integrity of states whose independence is vital to the West. After World War II, Germany very properly focussed on its own reconstruction and political development, and on the building of a new Europe in which Germany could take its rightful place. Today, that work has largely been completed. In the 1980's, German security and prosperity are as dependent as that of other European nations and the United States on developments outside Europe. Indeed, Europe-including Germany-is closer than America to many of the world's trouble spots, and more dependant than America on international markets and external sources of supply.

It is also important not to forget that those who are fighting Soviet power today in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Angola, Nicaragua and elsewhere are people who want freedom. They are on the right side of history-more and more often, democracy is succeeding. El Salvador is a notable example of this success, and also of our inclination to undervalue the achievements of those who are struggling for democracy. Strangely, now that the people of El Salvador have repeatedly risked their lives to go to the polls, have given a decisive rebuff to the partisans of violence, their country is no longer an object of media or public interest in many Western countries.

This reflects, perhaps, a natural reluctance to become involved in the costly and dangerous job of promoting the security of friendly nations elsewhere in the world. There is a tendency here to leave that job to the United States and to those European nations having traditional ties with the developing countries. Admittedly, Germany must focus its primary security effort on itself and on Europe. But the question of how a strong, stable and prosperous Federal Republic can better contribute to global peace and stability deserves continuing reexamination.

Change in the Industrialized World:
Let me now turn from the developing nations to the industrialized West, and examine some of the challenges and opportunities that change poses for us within and among our own societies. Here too there are problems which demand our common attention and which can only be solved if we act vigorously in partnership with each other.

Perhaps the most fundamental economic and social issue of our era is the challenge of high technology. Never has scientific change come so quickly, never have new discoveries flowed from our laboratories at such a rate. The information revolution (itself the consequence of new technology) lets discoveries spread instantly. The result is sudden shifts in competitive strength, rapid entry of new firms into static markets, dramatic changes in the demand for labor, capital goods and services.

And yet, would we have it otherwise? We worry ceaselessly about the problems new technology brings--but we are ready enough to accept the benefits. Indeed, we can no longer imagine what the limits of human progress may be. Technology offers us unprecedented opportunities for greater prosperity and security. It creates new jobs, new opportunities for satisfying work, a new freedom both in the workplace and in our personal lives. It gives us the luxury of choice--today all the talk is of new lifestyles and mid-career changes of profession. By shaking up vested interests, technology gives new opportunities to disadvantaged groups and nations.

Nowhere is the speed of change and its impact upon lifestyles and economic activity more apparent than in the field of information technology and all that is associated with it: telecommunications, microchips, microcircuits, high-speed computers. Here, technology lets us do things undreamed of a few years ago. In the United States, the telecommunications revolution has brought more economic activity, a better life for our citizens, and positioned us better to solve our social problems. But to realize the potential of these new technologies fully, one must first lift the dead hand of monopoly and of government.

The entire West, but most of ail Germany and the United States, have a shared technological future. We must learn to live together in it. We must cooperate, first, to create the technology of the future. Our work together in the manned space program, most recently during the D-l Shuttle mission, is an outstanding example of this cooperation. I was in Oberpfaffenhofen on youth day-it was exciting for me to see the excitement among the young scientists there, to sense an atmosphere that we have not felt since the heady days of the first Apollo moon landing in 1969. And I know how much the astronauts captured the imagination of the people of the Federal Republic during their seven days in orbit. Upcoming German participation in the recently announced D-2 Mission and in the Space Station, and ongoing bilateral cooperation in numerous other less-publicized space projects, makes the Federal Republic a very important research partner for the United States. We have joint research and development projects in many other areas too, and we must initiate still more. The Strategic Defense Initiative, for example, represents a cooperative effort through which we accomplish more together than either of us can alone. Cooperation among European nations is equally important. Author Bruce Nussbaum, in his provocative book The World After Oil, points out that Europe and Germany in particular, because of its continued dependence on heavy, high-energy industries, may well fail far behind the United States and Japan in such pivotal new technologies as robotics, bioengineering and telecommunications.

The danger is there, but I sense here in Germany a new spirit of determination not to be left behind. I saw that when I visited the Berlin Innovation and Founders Center of the Technical University in Berlin. I see this determination in Eureka, a project which we in America welcome. In our view, Eureka can mean increased European contributions to our common pool of technological knowledge, increased competition to stimulate American firms, a reduced government role in the economies of our countries. We wish it well, provided it helps break down the barriers between us, rather than erecting new ones.

Simultaneously, we must find ways to ensure a free flow of technology between our two societies, and to other societies in desperate need of what new technology has to offer. We must improve access to information sources, promote exchanges of scientists, facilitate joint ventures, encourage licensing arrangements, modernize rules governing patents. Yet we must, at the same time and with equal vigor, insure that we are not threatened by the fruits of our own genius. Soviet efforts, often clandestine and criminal, to secure Western technology for its own military buildup, are a comment on the vitality of our societies and the lack of creativity in theirs. These efforts must be frustrated through common action. And we must also cooperate in the management of technological change. I have already suggested some of the social advantages which technology brings. But there are also disruptive side-effects. Occupations and whole regions can be left behind, good jobs can be lost. With high unemployment rates, the tax burdens needed to maintain the social safety net become a drag on economies and an obstacle to the very growth needed to produce new employment. Rising anger among those who feel left out creates new tensions in society.

We can solve these problems. America's economic recovery, and similar signs here, demonstrate the viability of a growth strategy based on the free market, deregulation and reduced government intervention-reinforced by policies that stimulate venture capital and technological development. In the United States, over the last decade, we have created over 16 million new jobs-more than 8 million of them in the last three years alone. But if our societies have proved uniquely capable of generating change and growth, we are all facing today the pressures these changes generate, and in particular the pressure for protection against foreign competition.

The Reagan Administration has firmly resisted protectionist pressures in the U.S. It has worked steadily to negotiate reductions in foreign trade barriers. It has sought to improve the competitiveness of American products and services by keeping inflation low, eliminating unnecessary regulation, and encouraging productivity increases. Recently, the U.S. has agreed to participate in joint action that has affected the value of the dollar.

The Federal Republic has a leading role to play in the struggle to maintain free trade. Protectionism is in part a response to policies and practices that are seen as unfair. Genuine international cooperation is required to deal with that unfairness, because without real progress, public anger in America and elsewhere will eventually mean victory for the forces of protectionism. Chancellor Kohl, like President Reagan, has worked against protectionism. We believe the Federal Republic must continue to take a leadership role. There is an urgent need that more be done to reform the Community's policy on agriculture. And I believe both countries agree on the importance of holding a new multilateral trade round within the GATT framework in 1986, in order to deal with some of the most abrasive problems.

Change in East-West Relations:
So far, I have been suggesting how we can deal with what is changing in the world. I must now turn to an area in which, unfortunately, change is still more a goal than a reality--relations between East and West. To bring about positive change in these relations is perhaps our greatest common responsibility. If we are to meet that responsibility, we must be energized by a common vision and guided by a common strategy.

The American vision is one I think you share. It is a vision of Europe reunited-as President Reagan said in Strasbourg, "The United States is committed not only to partnership with Europe, the United States is committed to an end to the artificial division of Europe."

This is not a Utopian vision. We see the world as it is, and recognize that the way to positive change is a long and hard one. But already, after the bitterest and most destructive conflict in history, Western Europe has created a unity that comes close to our vision of the world as it should be. There was a time when Franco-German reconciliation seemed as impossible as the resolution of the East-West conflict appears today. But it was achieved. We believe East and West can also be brought together. But to do that peacefully will take time. What we seek, after all, is nothing less than a basic change in how the Soviets treat their own people and the peoples of Eastern Europe, and in fundamental Soviet attitudes toward the use of force.

There are those who attribute the division of Europe simply to the presence of foreign military forces, and equate Soviet and U.S. forces in this respect. This kind of thinking demonstrates little historical awareness or moral insight. Soviet forces are not deployed to defend Eastern Europe, but to occupy it. American forces are not deployed to occupy Western Europe, but to help defend it. When Europe no longer wants our help, we will go home. When the Soviet Union adopts a similar attitude, the division of Europe will be overcome. It is this change in attitude that we must seek to effect.

Generating such large changes must be a step-by-step process. It is not enough to have a vision. We must also know how to achieve our vision. We must have a strategy for East-West relations--and if that strategy is to be effective, it must be a shared one, one that we have worked out together. That is the essence of the mature partnership.

There are three elements that could together form a strategy for overcoming the divisions between East and West -- realism, strength, and dialogue.

Realism demands that we recognize, even as we try to bridge them, that real differences between our systems underlie the conflicts between us. We cannot wish away the differences between West and East. We must not succumb to the moral relativism which, out of fear, tries to pretend they are of no significance.

Realism demands that we not be impatient. We must understand that often the pace of change will be maddeningly slow. Many problems have to await their time, before they become susceptible to resolution. It was only through patience that we achieved the Austrian State Treaty of 1955, or the Quadripartite Agreement on Berlin, to cite just two examples.

Most of all, realism demands that, whatever our image of the Soviet Union, we recognize that the Soviets see themselves locked in perpetual competition with us. If we fail to compete successfully, either where the Soviets force competition, or where the differences between our systems generate conflict, then we undermine the possibilities for cooperation even on those points where our interests are close enough to make cooperation possible.

Much has been written about linkage. It has sometimes been asked whether genuine East-West cooperation on arms control is possible while the Soviet Union engages in aggression and adventurism around the world. We ourselves impose no mechanistic linkages between these two issues. President Reagan sets a high priority on both arms control and peaceful resolution of regional conflicts, and he will pursue progress on both in Geneva to the fullest extent possible.

But the lesson of the 1970's is that Soviet challenges in the developing world must be responded to vigorously and successfully, lest Western public support for arms control and other forms of East-West cooperation be undermined. The détente of the early 1970's died on the battlefields of Angola, Ethiopia and Afghanistan. New cooperative efforts will be hard to sustain, if our peoples perceive a successful Soviet global effort to undermine Western influence and interests. Thus those who have a high stake in East-West cooperation in Europe-and no nation has a higher one than Germany-have an equal interest in supporting vigorous responses to Soviet misbehavior elsewhere.

The second element of our common strategy must be strength. I do not simply mean military strength. That is not the only kind of strength we require, or even the most basic kind. We must maintain the strength of our values, our institutions, our economies. To do that in an era of rapid change is not easy. But military strength is important. The Reagan Administration has taken major steps to restore America's defenses. The Federal Republic, too, has in recent years exercised an increasing leadership role in efforts to strengthen common Western defense-a role I believe deserves wider recognition.

Under two successive governments, the Federal Republic played a major part in the formulation and implementation of the NATO decision to deploy a new generation of intermediate range nuclear missies. It was Helmut Schmidt who first called the Carter Administration's attention to the dangers posed by the SS-20. Germany had a large role in formulating the NATO response to that danger. It was Chancellor Kohl's government that took the tough and courageous steps needed to implement that decision. I know from my own experience as Chairman of the NATO Special Consultative Group how important Germany was in the negotiating efforts. The decision of the Dutch Parliament a few days ago to deploy cruise missiles, and the deployments already carried out in Germany, the U.K., Italy and Belgium, would never have happened without this historic exercise of German leadership. The Federal Republic has also played a major role in strengthening NATO's conventional defenses and modernizing its defense concepts. The Kohl-Reagan communiqué of November 1984 may in this regard be the most important document setting out alliance defense objectives since the definition of flexible response in 1967. The Kohl-Reagan declaration led within days to a NATO Defense Ministers' decision endorsing a stronger conventional defense effort, designed to reduce NATO's reliance on the early use of nuclear weapons.

One must also call attention to the German government's recent decision to extend the period of military service. It was a courageous decision, but also an absolutely necessary one. At a time of growing Warsaw Pact capabilities, and while we seek to give new impetus to negotiations in Vienna on conventional force reductions in Europe, nothing is more essential than to maintain our existing troop levels while enhancing their capabilities.

Finally, of course, it was Chancellor Kohl who, in a policy statement to the Bundestag on April 18, 1985, offered the warmest, most unqualified endorsement of President Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative, calling the American research program "justified, politically necessary and in the interests of overall Western security." Last month, the Federal Security Council reendorsed this statement as an expression of the entire government's policy. And it was Chancellor Kohl and other German leaders who first directed American attention to the issue of allied participation in this research program, and made us realize the potential for cooperation. I am confident that our two governments will soon reach an agreement that will permit us both to benefit to the maximum extent from cooperation on SDI.

The final element of a common strategy is dialogue, in these days just before the Geneva meeting, dialogue is much on our minds. We are pursuing negotiations with the Soviet Union aggressively, at all levels, on every subject that divides us. We must do that in a realistic way, designed not to produce empty propaganda "victories", but real progress toward the lessening of conflict. Negotiation is an integral part of our common effort to achieve peace. There is no contradiction between dialogue and defense. Indeed, unless we maintain a strong defense capability, there is little reason for the Soviets to carry on a dialogue at all. But the Western allies--especially the United States and the Federal Republic-must agree on what this dialogue is intended to achieve.

It is to seek workable agreements that President Reagan is going to Geneva in a few days. We expect no miracles there. It was five years ago that President Reagan proposed substantial reductions in armaments on both sides. We put down serious proposals, and as a result, the Soviets have finally come up with concrete proposals of their own. The United States responded quickly and positively to these new Soviet ideas-we have accepted Mr. Gorbachov's suggestion to reduce nuclear arms by fifty percent. But a 50% reduction will still leave more than enough weapons on both sides to reduce our civilization to rubble. Arms control is only one aspect of the process of bringing about peace. It is equally vital to do away with the conditions that may lead to the use of these weapons. President Reagan's proposals for U.S.-Soviet efforts to end regional conflicts are thus particularly important. Every aspect of our dialogue with the Soviet Union will require a great deal of firmness and patience. It will require that we demonstrate, over and over, our will and our capacity to protect our fundamental interests. The President's Strategic Defense initiative has already served us well as one such demonstration--more than any other single factor, it was SDI that brought the Soviets back to the bargaining table in Geneva, and it probably played a role in prompting them to make new arms control proposals.

The Federal Republic too has for more than a decade played a leading role in promoting change through dialogue in the East-West relationship. You have shared our frustrations at the slow pace of progress, and the frequent setbacks. For our part, we fully support the continuing efforts of Chancellor Kohl's government to expand and deepen relations with Eastern Europe and the GDR, and to overcome step by step the barriers dividing East and West, while at the same time preserving Western strength, Western values and the principled rejection of a permanently divided Europe and Germany.

By combining these three elements--realism, strength, and dialogue--l believe we can have a powerful strategy for bringing about positive change in East-West relations. And I think there is a great deal more Western consensus about this strategy than we sometimes realize.

If our cooperation faces any threat, it is that arising from parochialism on both sides, from a yearning to simplify an over-complex world. In America, that takes the form of leanings toward isolationism and unilateralism. In Europe, there is sometimes a tendency to view all problems from a limited regional perspective, to shrug off events and challenges elsewhere in the world. Thus, for example, Americans sometimes feel Europeans are too little concerned about the very real threat of Soviet expansionism in Central America and other regions of the world. Meanwhile Europeans fear Americans may forget how vital European security is to our own safety.

This sort of parochialism takes many other forms. One is the temptation to accept a divisible détente, in which we ignore Soviet challenges elsewhere, in hopes that by so doing we can facilitate East-West cooperation in Europe. Another temptation is to seek a division of labor between the United States and the other Western allies, by which realism and strength are our responsibilities, dialogue Europe's. Some in Europe find it morally comfortable and economically attractive that the United States bears the risks and costs of defending Western interests, while Europe builds economic bridges to the East. Some see no responsibility beyond providing a moral check on their friendly but blundering superpower ally, softening American harshness, and serving as models of what Western, humanitarian societies ought to be like. There was a time when America was willing, with some grumbling, to accept this division of labor. But Europe has become too big, too progressive, too stable and secure-and has too much at stake--to leave all the difficult tasks to the United States.

The truth is that parochialism in Europe and unilateralism in America are attitudes that feed on each other. The threats of American withdrawal represented by the Mansfield Amendment and more recent manifestations of the same attitude undermine confidence here, and could, if pressed, lead Europeans to look elsewhere for support, or seek security through pacifist policies. On this side of the Atlantic those who seem to regard the presence of American troops as an obstacle to overcoming the divisions of Europe thus feed resentment and unilateralism in the United States.

I have spoken on a great many subjects today, though no doubt I have also omitted many that you would consider important. I have repeated, perhaps too often, that we must work together, cooperate, coordinate our efforts in dealing with every facet of a complex and dangerous world. We must cooperate as peers-that is the meaning of the "mature partnership". And the cooperation of which I speak is not a pious hope for the future. It has begun to exist. There is very little that the United States does in the world without informing the Federal Republic, without seeking the views of your government, without seeking your support. The cooperation of which I am speaking goes on at every level, every day, in a quiet and intimate fashion that makes few headlines but which accomplishes a great deal.

It can accomplish a great deal more. Our partnership can reshape the world, if we make it into a habit and an integral part of our decision-making processes. This is our challenge.

Source: Special Pamphlet. U.S. Embassy Bonn.

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Updated: September 2002