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Imprimer cette page 17th-03-2007 00:00

The United States and Europe : how can we face the changing world order ?

First, allow me to thank Harvard University, the Kennedy School of Government and the Minda de Gunsburg Center for European Studies for welcoming me here today. I had the pleasure to share a moment, a little while ago, with Dean ELLWOOD and Professor Joe NYE, and I would like to thank Mary Jo BANE, Academic Dean of the Kennedy School, for her introduction in this magnificent Forum in which I now have the privilege to speak.

I would also like to offer my very special thanks to the directors of the Center for European Studies, and of course its founder, my very good friend, Professor Stanley HOFFMANN, who so kindly presented me. And I must say that one of my best wishes would be to stay a couple of weeks more in order to be sure that I could be present for his courses on Camus, who is one of my favorite authors. You don’t know how lucky you are ; you better go and listen to him.

I would like to pay tribute also to the Harvard professors who are among us this evening, and to the students for whom this forum was created.

All of us here know that we are standing at a major crossroads in the evolution of our planet.

In the past few years, our world has changed. Globalization has profoundly shaken the great international balances. It’s a formidable challenge for all of us: it is a risk, but also an opportunity.

If we want to remain in control of these changes, we must better analyze them and better understand them together. That’s what I propose to you today: Let us leave out our certainties by the wayside, see the world as it is, and together move forward toward greater justice and peace.

In difficult times when we don’t know exactly where to go to, I think it’s very important to take some distance and try to look at things in a different perspective. I remember when I was the age of many of you, a little more than twenty, in 1975, I had just finished my Political Science in Paris, and I was hesitating which way to go. So I asked my father and he told me: “I think the best you should do is go to Harvard.” [laughs], but he added something. He told me: “here is a ticket. You are interested in foreign relations: go to South Asia.” It was the end of the Vietnam War, it was the withdrawing of the American soldiers from Vietnam, and he told me: “just go there, look around the countries, meet the people, you’ll have a better idea of what kind of a world it is.” So I went there and I found out that very little people knew that De Gaulle had made a speech in 1966, the Phnom Penh speech. Everybody forgot what he said at that time. And twenty years after, the Americans were doing exactly the same mistake that we’ve made, exactly the same. So I thought: “well, I’m going to be a career diplomat.” And I never came here. And for me a big, big pleasure to be here. Because I think, maybe, together we won’t make two times the same mistake.

1. The lack of a world order is the real threat today.

We should not just consider the crises of the world, which are numerous, but look at the global international system, because in many ways it might be easier to change the system than to change the behavior of each of the actors of the system. In the past, we had two great spheres of influence, the West and the East. We had two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union. The balancing point in this power relationship might have been unstable and dangerous, but it existed. Today this balancing point no longer exists. The center has disappeared.

In today’s world, there’s nothing imposing order on the disorder of the planet.

Certainly there are multilateral institutions. But they can’t work to their full extent to establish true global governance. Nations’ commitments within these institutions are not always on a par with the stakes. Unilateral decisions call their legitimacy into question. Yet make no mistake: The sum of individual interests does not add up to the general interest. The legitimacy of multilateralism will be built by States on behalf of the values that transcend us.

It’s true that some countries have more influence than others. But none can impose a new world order on their own.

Can’t the United States play this role despite everything? Indeed, it remains the leading power; it alone has all the necessary attributes: military strength, economic power, the capacity for technological innovation, the attractiveness of its way of life. Throughout the 20th century, it was also able to construct an economic and cultural model, and forged an ideal of modernity that inspired the admiration of the rest of the world. For us America represented the camp of freedom. You were the guarantors of human rights. And personally speaking, after having lived in the United States and come to love your country, I want to tell you that America remains a dream for many people throughout the world.

But now let’s take a clear look at things: The war in Iraq marked a turning point. It shattered America’s image. It undermined the image of the West as a whole. It is time for the United States and Europe to regain together the respect and admiration of other peoples.

The world disorder is aggravated by a sense of deep injustice.

Our world is experiencing unprecedented technical progress. It is creating more wealth, offering more opportunities than ever. This presents an opportunity for all those-countries, nations, businesses, individuals-who have the necessary assets to profit from these upheavals.

But for many others, this shift means growing inequalities, new risks and heightened fears.

These fears exist in Europe, and notably in France, where some are afraid of a challenge to our model of social justice.

In the area of social rights and legal norms, globalization did not bring various rules closer together: Competition is occurring on a global scale but it is asymmetrical. New commercial balances are leading to outsourcing and endangering the social entitlement programs of developed countries.

These risks strike first at those who are the weakest, those who have no education and no skills, those who have no access to world culture. I want to say this to you, you are the elite of international education. You have a responsibility toward all those who did not have your good fortune. Harvard is something people dream about. And I know that Harvard is doing its best to offer help, commit itself to remedying the world’s disorders.

But these risks are also beginning to affect the middle classes, who feel increasingly fragile, with some growing impoverished. If globalization is to end with the disappearance of the middle classes or a confrontation between the poorest and a minority consisting of the very rich, then it is time to react. Diversity is key to society; balance is key to society. No people will tolerate growing inequalities in the long term.

What’s true on the national scale is true on the planetary scale. Globalization is destabilizing some developing countries, undermining their economies. Consequently, it is heightening ethnic and religious tensions. It is threatening the planet’s natural resources and its balance.

This is the world we live in: a world that is more complex and more unstable than ever. This global disorder is neither superficial nor temporary. It is perpetuating deep imbalances.

Economic and demographic imbalances, first of all, that are sparking more and more massive migrations. This is a major challenge, not just for developed countries but also for the countries of the South themselves, which are faced with the risk of losing a significant part of their youth, sometimes the most skilled, or threatened with instability by the passage of more and more numerous migrants. That’s why it is so important to build partnerships with those countries, making it possible to better control migrations while actively promoting co-development. Nor should we neglect the importance of new strategic challenges such as the fight against pandemics, the protection of global assets, energy security and the access to natural resources, particularly water.

Global disorder is also engendering security imbalances. The aggravation of crises nurtures terrorism. The attacks of September 11 marked the advent of a new era of hyperterrorism. The resolution of regional crises is crucial to our security. We know they directly or indirectly fuel the terrorist threat, as is the case both in Iraq and with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Finally, global disorder is causing power imbalances that are challenging the nonproliferation regime.

Today, nuclear proliferation is threatening to reach a new threshold. The temptations are legion: they are strategic, with States seeking to turn their territories into sanctuaries; they are political, for acquiring the bomb is still perceived as an element of status on the international scene; and they are economic, with networks making large profits from trafficking.

Faced with this situation, international instruments are now insufficient. They remain essential pillars of peace and collective security in the world. But they are also colliding with the difficulty of control and the insufficiency of norms themselves. We must preserve and strengthen them. The survival of the international system of non-proliferation and security is based on its credibility: this presumes the ability to constantly adapt to the challenges we are faced with.

Faced with this global disorder, we have a choice: either we maintain the competition among our States, or we resolutely embark on the path of cooperation. Competition among our States is in no one’s interest. The only possible road is that of cooperation.

2. In this path toward a new world order, I strongly believe, the United States, France and Europe have more duties than others do.

Why? Because we are democracies imbued with the ideal of universalism. Because we are wealthy countries. But also because we have common interests: fostering international society, sharing our commitment with more and more countries.

First, it is our duty to work together.

Because our destinies are linked, our friendship is profound.

Our histories are intertwined, from Yorktown to Omaha Beach, from Rochambeau and Lafayette defending American independence to the Marshall plan enabling a liberated Europe to regain prosperity and democracy. Today we again stand united to defend our values and our way of life, particularly as we confront the threat of terrorism.

Europe is the United States’ only global ally.

This is true on the political level. The things that draw us together are stronger than the ones that divide us. We share fundamental values: democracy, human rights, the same concept of the role of the individual in society.

It’s true on the economic level. Europe is the leading destination of American investments and the leading investor in the United States.

And it’s true with respect to security: our cooperation in the field of intelligence is exemplary.

It is up to us to build a partnership of equals. It is in Europe’s interest for the United States to be powerful yet open. It is in the US’s interest to have a Europe that is not submissive but strong and responsible. Europe is America’s partner, not America’s rival. It’s when we act together that we are most effective. This can be seen in the case of Lebanon: from the adoption of resolution 1559 to the resolution of last summer’s crisis, it was our joint action that was the key to the solution of the situation.

To achieve this, we both have to make an effort.

Europe is not assuming all of its political responsibility. I see today two crucial needs for Europe:

The first is to re-establish a true common project and to adopt a new founding text.

The second is for Europe to assume its role as a military power. As disastrous as force is when used alone, it is equally disastrous to have a policy with no force behind it. A European Defense is no substitute for NATO. By strengthening it, we are strengthening Europe’s abilities to contribute to the world’s security and to bear its share of the burden. We saw this last year in the Democratic Republic of Congo when Europe guaranteed the security of elections and thus contributed to the stability of a country that’s so key to the continent. Inversely, the adjustment of NATO’s role, essential since the collapse of the Soviet Union, must leave room for the affirmation of European Defense.

America, for its part, must better take into account the world’s realities.

We’ve seen this in the latest major crises: in a world of asymmetrical conflicts, a military campaign of a few months may be followed by endless years of crisis. The military should more than ever be part of a peace strategy that is, of course, essentially political. We don’t believe that democracy can be imposed by force.

The United States’ true strength is not its army. It is its ability to embody progress and modernity; it is its mastery of cutting-edge technologies; it is the attractiveness of its land and its culture to the rest of the world. On the diplomatic level, it should be its ability to exert renewed influence, to share its demands for democracy with more and more countries. It is by building a consensus through dialogue that the greatest possible number of States will come to accept our political choices and that they will have the best chance of success. Yes, the modern form of power is both influence and the ability to act together. Let’s bring others along in our wake. Let’s show that we have strong proposals and strong convictions. There is no power in standing alone. There is only organized, shared power.

So what do we need to do? In order to be effective, our cooperation must serve a system of world governance that gives room for everyone.

We are two nations that share humanist values and the same aspiration for the universal. We must set an example. Let us be the pioneers of a new international ethic; let us defend strong principles: First the respect for rights, including in the fight against terrorism, because security, in the long run, is inseparable from justice. Frustrations and inequalities nurture conflicts. The best response democracies can make to terrorism is remaining true to their values. The second principle is the respect for different identities. They lie at the heart of all tensions. More effectively taking them into account is a moral condition, but our security hinges on it as well.

The third principle is the use of force in a legal framework and the primacy of collective security. It is this condition alone that guarantees the legitimacy of an action and a lasting solution to crises. We’ve just seen this in Lebanon: It was by backing a UN resolution, with the agreement of the parties and the support of all the members of the Security Council, that a bolstered UNIFIL was able to have an effective presence in Lebanon.

On the strength of these principles, we will be able to reestablish a more effective international governance, through renewed multilateralism. This is true in the political sphere.

It implies more representative decision-making bodies. I remain convinced, in particular, that the enlargement of the Security Council is essential to the strengthening of its legitimacy. Better taking into account the weight of Japan, Germany, the major emerging countries and Africa is a guarantee that our collective decisions will be better accepted by all.

That also implies decision-making bodies that are more mobilized in crisis management. I think it would be useful to have a monthly meeting of security council members, at the ministerial level, to bring responses to current crises.

More broadly, we need instruments that are on a par with the stakes:

The UN needs the true clout of an armed peacekeeping force. Today nearly 100,000 blue-helmeted soldiers are deployed throughout the world. The UN Secretariat, like all the world’s armies, needs a permanent military staff. In the long run, a real UN army must be our objective.

That is how the international community will be able to fully assume the collective responsibilities imposed upon it. To prevent humanitarian tragedies and face emergencies, we must implement the “responsibility to protect” that the UN recognized at the behest of France. I am thinking in particular of the Darfur tragedy, which is threatening to draw all of East Africa, and perhaps beyond, into a destructive, dangerous conflict.

We must also apply these principles to economics and development in order to humanize globalization.

At the world level: This is why I proposed the creation of a World Economic Council, in order to better structure the dialogue between the major international economic bodies to ensure consistency and a common ambition: that of a more equitable system of trade. To meet the Millennium Goals on health, water, education and infrastructures, we must also go farther in the establishment of innovative means of financing that alone can make it possible to procure the resources that we will never obtain from State budgets. That is what France has done with the solidarity contribution on plane tickets, which it wants to serve as an example and a precedent. This pilot project deserves to be extended. It’s a matter of respect, dignity and justice.

On the European level: Europe is today the leading provider of aid. It is Europe that has the longest experience of cooperation, particularly in Africa. Now we want to go farther. In the area of peace and security, which are the prerequisite for development, Europe has established a European facility for peace that is enabling it, notably, to be the leading contributor to the financing of the African Union force (AMIS) in Darfur. In the area of trade, France wants new economic partnership agreements between Europe and developing countries, particularly in Africa, that serve their interests. It is up to us to take into account the specificities of the countries concerned. And it is up to us to help them comply with the rules of the WTO.

3. Among the emergencies of the world today, finding a collective solution to the crises in the Middle East is, I believe, a necessity, a necessity if we want to maintain our global equilibrium. And this will be my second point.

The Middle East today is being torn apart by a series of crises and fault lines that threaten to join together. They bring together all the factors of instability: civil and regional wars, terrorism, proliferation risks, the displacement of refugee populations. Our top priority should be building a lasting peace in the region.

Make no mistake: the various crises playing out in the Mideast have their own logic but are linked. Because they have their own logic, we should deal with them separately. Because they are linked and could become linked even further, we must deal with them simultaneously. Indeed, the risk is that those whose interests don’t lie with peace will exploit them, establish new ties between them and make them even more dangerous for the international community.

That is why I would like to share some of our trains of thoughts beginning with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In this conflict, the principles and elements of a solution are clear: the renunciation of violence, the creation of two States living in peace and security, are and will remain the point of departure of any viable approach. But to move forward, we must go farther on three elements.

The first is the absolute need for international reengagement within a precise framework. Because the parties cannot succeed alone. Neither the United States nor Europe is doing enough.

Let’s keep the Quartet format but give it a real power to take initiatives. We need an international conference as soon as possible that together with the parties will establish the framework for a resolution, with which the moderate Arab states in the region must be associated, particularly Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan.

Let us fully restore the aid to the Palestinians. What Europe is doing currently with the temporary international mechanism cannot be a lasting solution. We must resume direct assistance to the Palestinian National Unity Government as soon as it is inaugurated. We must also resume aid to cooperation projects in order to reestablish the conditions for real development.

Let’s set also a timetable. It should include short-term elements, to help rebuild trust by giving the parties a chance to show their good faith: the release of Corporal Shalit; the resumption of Israel’s payment of tax revenues to the Palestinians; a halt to rocket fire. It must also set a medium-term deadline: Together let us propose to the Palestinians and Israelis a fixed date for the creation of a Palestinian state. Around this date, which should be rather close, a true political dynamic would be established. The international community could offer guarantees for Israel’s security with an international force in exchange for an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank.

The second element is the need to better take into account the realities on the ground: We must help Mahmoud Abbas and give a chance to supporters of peace by facilitating changes within Hamas. That is why, for example, France supports the Mecca agreement on a Palestinian national unity government. I was among the first to recall the three principles of the Quartet after the Palestinian elections in 2006, and we will remain vigilant with respect to the composition and actions of that government. But the most important thing is to launch and nurture a process that leads Hamas to evolve and to accept these three principles.

The third element is the creation of a regional dynamic. That presumes the stabilization of the immediate environment of Israel and Palestine, that is, progress with Lebanon and Syria. A sovereign Lebanon with stable, controlled borders is a guarantee for security for the whole region. Syria must assume its responsibilities and make the necessary gestures toward the international community. After that, it will be up to us to give it a full role to play, notably in the framework of a renewed partnership with Europe. A comprehensive, lasting settlement must indeed include a settlement of the Israeli-Syrian aspect of the conflict in accordance with Security Council resolutions.

In Iraq, the situation has deteriorated too much to hope for an immediate settlement. But it would be even more dangerous not to establish a framework for ending the crisis. For my part, this framework should include two tracks:

First, we must be clear on a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops. I believe that it should take place within a year, during the year 2008. That will allow Iraqis to feel that their future is in their hands and put them back on the path of national sovereignty. To eliminate the spiral of failure, we must begin by reestablishing real political prospects.

The second track involves a triple mobilization to bring about these political prospects: a mobilization by the Iraqis themselves, which must involve a crucial national reconciliation, notably by offering a power-sharing agreement to all those who renounce violence and by completing the process of constitutional reform. States in the region, from Turkey to Iran, from Syria to the Gulf States, must be mobilized in support of this process to ensure Iraq’s territorial integrity. And finally, there must be an international mobilization, when the time comes, with an international conference. The United States should of course play a central role in this. But Europe too must assume its responsibilities.

Finally, the overall vision required for this region demands a full accounting of the Iranian challenge, which does not involve proliferation only.

An Iran with a military nuclear capability is unacceptable. But this crisis is also rooted in Iran’s desire to assert its regional power, its national pride and its concern for security. That is why the solution can’t be a military one. To the contrary, it means recognizing Iran’s role in the region and establishing a stability process among all the countries in the zone that permits dialogue and guarantees peace and economic development.

That is why the approach we’ve taken is political, combining dialogue and firmness. That is the point of UN resolution 1737, adopted unanimously in late December: the sanctions set forth in the resolution respond to the Iranian refusal to suspend its sensitive nuclear activities. If Iran makes a gesture to suspend enrichment, the Security Council can suspend the sanctions. The path of dialogue remains open and, for us, remains a priority.

In this new phase, it is essential for the international community to remain united: this is one of the achievements of the work undertaken four years ago by the Europeans. More than ever, it is the condition underlying the legitimacy of our action and thus its long-term efficacy. The United States has a major role to play to end the crisis. My conviction is that when the time comes, it will take place through the engagement of a real bilateral dialogue with Teheran.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In the profoundly new world that is taking shape, we need a resolutely new diplomacy.

Never has there been so much instability. Never have the threats been stronger. But never, perhaps, have solutions been so close.

Today’s diplomacy must be one of action and results. Diplomacy can no longer be founded just on “hard power” and force. But neither can it be founded only on “soft power,” the power to influence and convince. Diplomacy must now be based on “building power.” Goodwill, imagination, solidarity.

Yes, the United States and Europe have a particular responsibility when it comes to crafting lasting solutions to the challenges of our time. Let us gain strength from the ties of friendship between our two nations in finding the answers expected by so many people. Let’s place the transatlantic relationship in the service of a new world order that has room for everyone. Together let’s act as builders to move toward greater peace and towards greater justice.

Thank you.


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