Tuesday, February 08, 2005


And it is no secret that the United States and France have sometimes disagreed in the past about how to proceed on a common aga.

The good news is that while France and the United States have disagreed from time to time and everybody has paid attention to that, the United States and France have continued to cooperate on a wide, wide range of efforts. I sometimes say that U.S.-French relations are far better in practice than they are in theory because if you look at what we do -- we've done on Lebanon, if you look at our cooperation in Afghanistan, if you look at the Kosovo work that we've done, earlier in Bosnia-Herzegovina and in the Balkans more generally, if you look at the Proliferation Security Initiative -- I can go on and on and on -- the fight against terrorism, the intelligence and law enforcement work that we do together, this is a deep, broad, active relationship that is very effective on behalf of world peace.

When we disagreed, we still disagreed as fris. And as long as we remember that we have not just common values, but a common future built on those values, I think we are going to see an even stronger relationship, if you will, a kind of rebirth of energy in the U.S.- French and the U.S.-European relationship because we have great things ahead of us.

If I could just close with a personal reflection in this regard, I was lucky enough in 1989 -- and by the way, I said in my speech at one point it was my first visit to Paris. My first visit to Paris was actually in 1979 on my way to language training in Russia.

And I love coming here. But I was here in 1989 for the bicentennial.

It was a remarkable year. And I was lucky enough to be the White House Soviet specialist at the of the Cold War. So I got to participate in the liberation of Eastern Europe, the unification of Germany, the beginnings of the peaceful breakup of the Soviet Union -- things that I never thought I would see, let alone have a chance to participate in.

Do you know, I realized that I was just lucky enough to be harvesting good decisions that had been taken in 1946 and in 1947 and in 1948 and in 1949 when those leaders, at the of World War II, faced a dizzying array of threats, strategic threats to the progress of freedom and liberty. When you think about the fact that in 1946, much of Europe lay in ruins, and there were real concerns about the importation of communism into Europe from the Soviet Union; if you think about in 1947 there were civil wars in Greece and Turkey; in 1948 we experienced the Czechoslovak crisis and the collapse of that democratic government; in 1948 the Berlin crisis split Germany for what seemed to be permanently; in 1949 the Soviet Union exploded a nuclear weapon five years ahead of schedule, and the Chinese Communists won the civil war -- now, how did they do it? How did they form NATO? How did they support a united Europe?

How did they move forward on an aga that, 50 years later, produced the circumstances in which Germany could be unified, the rest of Europe could be freed of tyranny, and we could be talking about a NATO that includes not just France and Germany and the United States, but Poland and the Czech Republic and Slovakia and the Baltic States.

How did they do it? They did it because they remained united as an alliance of values.

And I know it looks really hard to talk about the spread of freedom and liberty into places where it has never been. I know it looks really hard when we see the pictures from Iraq of the suicide bombers to think that the Iraqi people are going to build a free and stable, democratic state. I know it looks hard when we look at Afghanistan and how far it has to go. But this last month or so -- a little more than that -- has been something else. How could you not be impressed with the Rose Revolution in Georgia and the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, and the Palestinian people going to elect a leader who says that it is time to give up the armed intifada and live in peace in Israel. And how could you not be impressed by the Afghans, really in a very underdeveloped society, standing along dusty roads to vote, where women used to hide their faces and couldn't even have medical care without a male relative, and now they stand, and they vote, and they run for office.

And how could you not be impressed with the Iraqi people and their facing down fear?

So much is changing in our world. So much is changing in the Middle East. And if we in this great alliance put our values and our efforts and our resources to work on behalf of this great cause, we've only just begun to see what freedom can achieve.

Thank you very much. (Applause.) MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Madame Secretary.

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