Bush Europe Trip to Strengthen Transatlantic Alliance
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 19, 2005 President Bush will begin a trip to Europe on Feb. 20 to reaffirm the importance of the Transatlantic Alliance in American policy.
In his radio address today, the president stressed what brings Americans and Europeans together. He said people on both sides of the Atlantic believe in freedom and democracy.
"We do not accept a false caricature that divides the Western world between an idealistic United States and a cynical Europe," Bush said. "America and Europe are the pillars of the free world. We share the same belief in freedom and the rights of every individual, and we are working together across the globe to advance our common interest and common values."
As Bush prepares to go to Europe, there are many encouraging signs around the world. The Palestinian elections, Ukrainians refusing to accept rigged elections, progress in Afghanistan and the success of Iraqi elections at the end of January all point to the progress of democratic ideas around the world.
"In Europe, I will talk with leaders at NATO and the European Union about how we can work together to take advantage of the historic opportunities now before us," he said.
Some European countries most notably France, Germany and Belgium opposed U.S. action in Iraq. But the election has shown that the Iraqi people want democracy and are willing to work for it, Bush said. And Europe is helping.
"In these elections, the European Union provided vital technical assistance," he said. "NATO is helping to train army officers, police and civilian administrators of a new Iraq. And 21 of our European coalition partners are providing forces on the ground."
Bush said there is room for disagreement even among the best of friends. "But at the dawn of the 21st century, the deepest values and interests of America and Europe are the same: defeating terrorism, conquering poverty, expanding trade and promoting peace," he said. "On both sides of the Atlantic, terrorist attacks on our cities and civilians have shown that freedom has dangerous enemies, and that the key to a lasting peace is the advance of human liberty."