Remarks by Ambassador Timken at the German Marshall Fund
December 12, 2005
prepared for delivery)|
I am very happy to be here this evening. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the board, the staff, and the members of the German Marshall Fund for the active role you all play in shaping transatlantic relations. Transatlantic relations are not just about governments talking to each other. I am convinced that a strong network of policymakers, researchers, journalists, nonprofit leaders, and business leaders is one of the cornerstones of transatlantic partnership.
Over the years, the German Marshall Fund has been instrumental in building that network of people and organizations. I am especially appreciative of the ongoing efforts of the German Marshall Fund to educate the next generation of American and European leaders on the importance of the transatlantic relationship and to encourage them to work together on a broad range of international and domestic policy challenges.
I am also convinced that, as Karen Donfried, GMF's Director for Policy Programs in Washington, recently told the congressional House Committee on International Relations, "more unites us than divides us." In fact, I would say "far more" unites us.
This is indeed what Sue and I have learned since we arrived in Germany almost 4 months ago. We have talked to many interesting and generous people in our travels throughout this country. We have met people from all levels of German society and from all walks of life. As a result of all these meetings with government officials and regular citizens, I know that the German-American relationship is vital, healthy, and strong.
The ties that bind Americans and Europeans are not just connections based on political and economic interests; they are also ties that connect us in the most personal way. Europe remains central not just to American foreign policy and trade, but to our very idea of who we are. As we all know, a large percentage of us Americans have European ancestry including my wife and myself.
Hurricane Katrina, like 9/11, showed that we don't just share interests. There is a people-to-people solidarity across the Atlantic that the toughest disagreements not break. I like the way President Bush put it back in February in his speech in Brussels. He said: Quote. "The alliance of Europe and North America is the main pillar of our security. Our trade is one of the engines of the world's economy. Our example of economic and political freedom gives hope to millions. Our strong friendship is essential to peace and prosperity across the globe - and no temporary debate, no passing disagreement, no power on earth will ever divide us." End quote.
of State Rice's trip to Berlin earlier this week highlighted the importance of
the German-American element of the transatlantic partnership.
All of those meetings were constructive and open dialogues. As Secretary Rice said in the press conference with Chancellor Merkel, it is important and indeed proper in democracies that when issues come up that they are debated. It is also proper that friends be able to talk about issues of concern.
me also say that in all these meetings, there was agreement on the broad agenda
of issues and challenges that the world faces. These challenges include:
am convinced that the U.S. and Europe, with Germany at its core, are indispensable
to each other if these daunting challenges are to be met. We can work together
as partners to make the world more democratic and prosperous.
We were also happy to see that the promotion of a better understanding of the United States in the German public and a better understanding of Europe and Germany in the United States was also written into the coalition agreement. That is a pretty good endorsement of what the German Marshall Fund is all about.
For 33 years, the German Marshall Fund in Germany, especially through its grants and fellowships, has been an active participant in this process.
The bottom line is that we are allies, not adversaries. We may sometimes disagree, but those disagreements should not prevent us from carrying out the critical work we have to do. We have responsibilities to assume and issues that face us around the world; we're going to be more effective if we work together. Let's work together as we have in the past, to meet today's challenges.
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Diplomatic Mission to Germany
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Updated: April 2006