Post Asia Trip, Obama Meets NATO Allies In Portugal
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NATO: NPR's Ari Shapiro reports.
ARI SHAPIRO, Host:
In the conference call for this NATO summit, White House spokesman Ben Rhodes began with what might sound like a bit of boilerplate diplomatic-speak.
BEN RHODES: Our relationship with our European partners is a vital cornerstone of our engagement with the world.
SHAPIRO: Nicole Bacharan, of the Institute of Political Science in Paris, describes the U.S.-European relationship, right now, as cool.
NICOLE BACHARAN: Cool in the sense of cold. There is no human warmth there. Europe has to fight to be relevant right now. And I think Europeans need to hear that.
SHAPIRO: That's not easy to hear for a group of countries that have been at the top of the pyramid for centuries.
(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)
BACHARAN: Yeah, but I think Europeans need to walk down from the pyramid and look at the real world.
SHAPIRO: General Doug Lute is the president's special assistant for Afghanistan and Pakistan.
DOUG LUTE: As a result of the surge in international resources over the last year, it is possible now to begin a responsible transition to Afghan security lead, across the 34 provinces in Afghanistan.
SHAPIRO: Juan Zarate, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, worked on national security in the Bush White House.
JUAN ZARATE: This is a high wire act for the administration in some ways, because we've got to certainly signal our resolve, get others on board with us. But the president clearly doesn't want to signal that this is a lasting conflict, for which we're willing to invest blood and treasure.
SHAPIRO: Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright helped write the principles for NATO'S new strategic concept.
MADELEINE ALBRIGHT: I think people have really tried to push themselves to realize that this is not a strategic concept for tomorrow or the weekend, but one that is supposed to last a longer time - maybe a decade.
SHAPIRO: NATO was founded on the idea that an attack on one member is an attack on all. But most NATO countries today are not threatened by invading armies. Instead, the danger comes from terrorists or cyber attacks.
ALBRIGHT: The bottom line is you can say cyber security, but in terms of trying to sort out what that really means is something that needs to push you into the future; energy security, a variety of issues. So I actually think the point was to push the ambassadors, and then the ministers and the heads of state, to think ahead.
SHAPIRO: Ari Shapiro, NPR News.
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