Travel Diary: Europe -- An Essential Partner in Addressing Global Security Challenges

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Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton traveled to Germany and Bulgaria on February 3-5, 2012. In Munich, Germany, Secretary Clinton held bilateral meetings with her European and other counterparts and participated in the 48th Munich Security Conference. This annual event brings together global leaders to discuss common security challenges. In her address to the Conference, the Secretary reaffirmed the fundamental importance of the transatlantic relationship and Europe's role as an essential partner in addressing global security challenges.

"Europe is and remains America's partner of first resort. I have now traveled to Europe 27 times as Secretary of State. President Obama has visited 10 times. And wherever America is working to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, to fight disease, to help nations on the difficult journey from dictatorship to democracy, we are side by side with our friends in Europe," Secretary Clinton said.

The Secretary continued, "Today's transatlantic community is not just a defining achievement of the century behind us. It is indispensable to the world we hope to build together in the century ahead. Here in Munich, it is not enough to reaffirm old commitments. The world around us is fast transforming, and America and Europe need a forward-leaning agenda to deal with the challenges we face."

In Munich, Secretary Clinton also met with women leaders, with whom she discussed the first-ever U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security. Secretary Clinton said, "...The national action plan represents a fundamentally different way for the United States to do business. It is really trying to lay out a new approach in our diplomatic, military, and development support to women in areas of conflict, and to ensure that their perspectives and that considerations of gender are always part of how the United States approaches peace processes, conflict prevention, the protection of civilians, humanitarian assistance."

The Secretary traveled to Sofia, Bulgaria on February 5, to meet with senior Bulgarian officials and discuss a range of issues, including democratic transitions in the Middle East, our ongoing support for Afghanistan, energy security, and our bilateral cooperation in international law enforcement. After her meeting with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, Secretary Clinton said:

"The prime minister and I just had a very productive meeting. It underscored the depth and range of the partnership between us. As NATO allies, Bulgaria and the United States work side by side around the world to address critical issues, from ensuring a successful transition in Afghanistan to keeping the peace in Kosovo, to diversifying and securing our energy supplies, including in the nuclear sector. We are partners in helping to advance Bulgaria's energy independence and security and in protecting the beautiful Bulgarian environment.... Our excellent cooperation has helped to deter, detect, and stop trafficking in nuclear and other radioactive materials. Our joint counternarcotics investigations have seized over $3 million in illegal assets. Our law enforcement partnership has led to the arrest of hackers conducting international fraud schemes. I want to commend the law enforcement arms of the government, as well as the government itself -- for being a very effective leader in these kinds of efforts, addressing critical problems that affect, not just Bulgaria and the region, but indeed the world."

In Bulgaria, Secretary Clinton held a roundtable with young Roma professionals. During their discussion, Secretary Clinton said, "...One of the pieces of unfinished business is the full integration of the Roma people into the societies and nations where they reside. For too long, Roma citizens have been marginalized and isolated, prevented from contributing their talents and participating in their societies. This is a critical matter of human rights, and it affects millions of men, women, and children across the continent."

You can read more about the Secretary's travel on



Ashim C.
February 7, 2012

Ashim C. in India writes:

What this report says Secretary Clinton has said clarifies US foreign policy and explains US strategic relations. Importantly there is a hierarchy of strategic partners with NATO partners of Europe at the top of ladder. This is fine and understandable. Many European states qualify for the honour as they have partaken in millitary campaigns of US in Iraq and later in Afghanistan. There are similar partners of USA in South East Asia and Pacific region and probably some other are sitting on fence for similar honours along the Silk Route, which Secretary is working on. But for the time being, probably Silk Route countries are not as important as say China, which rescues USA every now and then financially for not only huge commercial gains in return and extracts tacit approval of it's economic and foreign policy which do not quite synchronise with US positions in South Asia generally and Afpak region particularly, South East and Pacific region and many other places elsewhere. There may be compulsions and even a great deal of wisdom in pursuance of this policy but scope of the policy deviating from principles and core values that USA has always stood for cannot be overlooked. This also obstructs realisation of ultimate foreign policy goals and probably also some of the immediate goals and economic interests of US economy. This dilemna will not change till US decides to take short term economic and commercial hits and follows a principled economic and commercial policies of inclusive growth in greater parts of developed countries in all continents and greater part of emerging economies. Without this happening- one's sense is- USA will not be able to stabilise Afghanistan and withdraw from Afpak region.

United States
February 8, 2012

Zharkov in the U.S.A. writes:

I would have posted a comment on this topic except that the Patriot Act, the NDAA recently enacted, and Homeland Security have chilled my desire to speak freely on any official website run by this government.

District Of Columbia, USA
February 9, 2012

Anna in Washington, D.C. writes:

@ Ashim C. in India --

I agree with your analysis. I think you hit the nail on the head. The U.S. needs to pursue inclusive economic growth. Short-sightedness will cost us in the long term.

I also want to say that even as the U.S. focuses more on the Asia-Pacific region, it cannot ignore its European allies. I'm glad to hear the Secretary talk about this, and say how important this partnership is.

Ashim C.
February 10, 2012

Ashim C. in India writes:

@ Anna in Washington.

I thought USA does not ignore Europe. One has to look at the direction of export of Europeans countries to realise this. But European exports to USA have quality and high technology content unlike some other countries. What they export can be sourced from, I guess, 60 other countries around world and or alternatively manufactured in USA itself. China thrives because of US and European patronage yet it functions contrary to basic western values. Why not, therefore, distribute this patronage among nations more equitably if US economic diplomacy finds that unavoidable. If technologies based waste and clean energy technologies like solar technology is shared with countries in South Asia, US solar energy industry shall not only get the benefit of advantages of scale reduce cost but really empower many developing countries to save fossil fuel bills, reduce CO2 emmissions and enable those countries to source goods and services from USA and Europe without any controversy. It seems US policy planners do not get country specific micro inputs.

Secretary Clinton Delivers Remarks at the Munich Security Conference
Secretary Clinton Speaks With German Foreign Minister Westerwelle
Secretary Clinton, Defense Secretary Panetta, and NATO Secretary General Rasmussen Participate in the Munich Security Conference
Secretary Clinton and Bulgarian President Plevneliev Arrive at the Bulgarian Presidency Building
Secretary Clinton Meets With Roma Business and NGO Leaders
Secretary Clinton Tours the Boyana Church in Bulgaria
Posted by DipNote Bloggers
February 6, 2012


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