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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 February, 2005, 16:49 GMT
Will the US gain Europe's support?
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has ended an eight-day tour of Europe and the Middle East.

Ms Rice called for Europe and America to develop a common world agenda on Tuesday in Paris during her first major foreign policy speech.

Following meetings with Nato foreign ministers on Wednesday Ms Rice said that they had held their "best" discussion on Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein but the BBC's Europe correspondent says that deep differences still remain.

Was the trip a success? What did you think of Ms Rice's speech? Did she address the most important issues? Can the US open a new chapter in its relations with Europe?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

Is anyone else sick and tired of hearing "Europe doesn't need America" and "America doesn't need Europe"? It may be true that right now we don't need each other, other than for political approval, but there will be a time when we will need to rely on each other. If a natural disaster, such as the tsunami, were to wipe out a portion of the States or Europe, I hope we wouldn't all be too stubborn and hard-headed to claim we don't need each other. I seriously doubt either side would turn down aid because "we don't need you."
Suzanne, Atlanta, US

The citizens of Europe will not allow their elected leaders to join the fray now
Chris Johnson, Saint Louis, MO, USA
I doubt there will be much support other than words. The US ran roughshod over some very good advice and unnecessarily alienated many European nations. The biggest reason is that the citizens of Europe will not allow their elected leaders to join the fray now, at least, if they want to be re-elected.
Chris Johnson, Saint Louis, MO, USA

Judging from the overwhelming majority of comments from the European perspective.... NO, not in my lifetime. I guess the question the US should now ponder is whether it should even bother trying. After all, two World Wars and the Cold War are now history, and Europe no longer needs the US. For its part, the US has not needed Europe since the late 18th Century. Of course, we should always try to remain cordial, and our alliances should remain intact.
John, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Europe's support for what? This freedom thing is really about rewriting history: war in Iraq was never a war for freedom but a war to protect the world from WMD that did not exist, thanks to the brilliant work made by the UN. Expending freedom, as Bush says, sounds like Napoleonic ideology to Europeans. Nice but dangerous. Only killing millions will come out of it. We've been through all that already, no thanks, George Napoleon Bush!
Dominique, Paris France

The US needs Europe a whole lot more then Europe needs the US. Here in America we have used up most of our natural resources, are addicted to mid-east oil (hence our invasion of Iraq and soon to be Iran), and our manufacturing base has moved to China. We have nothing much more left but our military and a very arrogant president. The EU and China are the next two super-powers in the making and our government and people here had better wake up to that fact while there is still time.
Randy , Los Angeles CA, USA

Europe is doing very well thank you. The dollar is week against the Euro and the British pound. This is a big problem for America and Bush is just taking the country deeper in debt.
Annie, England

First, Europe must prove that its sole goal isn't to defend every tyrant and oppressive regime on the globe. For once, let them show that they care as much for peace and security as they do for their pocketbooks.
Jeff Batha, Sulymanya, Iraq

Apparently many in Europe and America have forgotten the lessons learned from WWI and WWII. They have forgotten what life was like before the fall of the Berlin wall, before the USSR dissolved. No, American democracy is not the only form of government available, but it is what we know. It is what we feel is fair and inclusive. This administration is doing what it feels is in its best interest. Why is it not okay for them to do that, but every other nation in the world can?
Jeff, Lees Summit ,MO, USA

I really don't think that US and European countries will mend fences until there is a shared threat to unite them again. It's all about mutual interest. Europe doesn't perceive Iran and Syria and Al-Qaeda as a real threat as where America (at least Bush) does. I'd submit that if there were major attacks in Berlin, Paris, Brussels and elsewhere, Europe would see eye-eye with the US to a certain degree and work together with them again.
Conor, Chicago

There are too many individual interests in Europe, so why get involved?
Mike Daly, Miami, FL - USA
I could care less if we get Old Europe's support. Name something that Old World Europe has done to benefit the world. Europe couldn't even keep their back yard in order - asking the US for help in Bosnia and then turning around making deals with Saddam in Iraq in the 90's. There are too many individual interests in Europe, so why get involved? The future is really between the US and Asia - specifically Japan and China. Europe is an after thought and if you ask me incredibly jealous of the US success. I think many people will say the same thing about an American - but when was the last time you heard a German or a Frenchmen say that they made a mistake?
Mike Daly, Miami, FL - USA

A new chapter will open the day the US administration will evidence by new attitude and acts their understanding of the mistakes made. A few words of apology to the world for deep misconduct would help clear the way and would bring some comfort that they might not do it again. Short of that, how is it possible for European and US "partners" to candidly cooperate on US unilateral, illegal agendas? May be Nato should invade Iran or Syria?
Michel , Geneva

America and Europe need to step back and remember the stronger times in their alliance. The Soviet threat was very real then, and the terrorist threat is very real now. We must stay united or terrorism will win.
Nate, USA

If you want to weigh in your input and be taken seriously, you need to show you are committed
Sean, US

The current mood in America when asked about Europe is that since WW2, Europe is quick to ask American forces to rush into danger, but not their own. So why should they have equal say in how things are run? If you want to weigh in your input and be taken seriously, you need to show you are committed, and Old Europe simply hasn't.
Sean, USA

Europe doesn't need America. Why should we support America and end up targets to terrorism that only exists because of America's trampling of other countries and vile hypocrisy in its foreign policy and domestic actions? America is yesterday's news, the future is Europe.
Patricia, Henley, UK

Patricia, Henley: America is not the cause of terrorism and America is not the only country being targeted. Have you forgotten the number of British people that were killed in the World Trade Center? Have you forgotten the Bali bombings? How quickly you forget when you get the chance to spout your political views. Terrorism is a problem for the whole world. I don't agree with everything my president does or is doing, but at least we're trying, and I applaud your fellow countrymen who, unlike you, realize that something must be done by the world and not just the US.
Bill, USA

I think that it is very important for the US to try to get the support of the EU and Nato because that will set a precedent for the next four years with Bush in office. It is time for the US government to stop working unilaterally. And to work on mending the hurt diplomacy that occurred in Bush's first term.
Joshua Myers, USA

As demonstrated by Ms Rice's visits to London, Rome, Paris etc. Europe is made up of many differing states, as is the US (without the federalism). Until the US realises that there is not going to be one single voice or opinion in Europe for a very long time to come, they cannot achieve the pan-European support they seem to crave. As the indications are that they will do whatever their leader decides to do anyway, it seems a pointless waste of time. Charming, yes. But pointless.
Sue, Wokingham

The US doesn't need Europe's support
Paul, Stourbridge, England

The US doesn't need Europe's support. The Europeans have proven themselves to be a whiny complaining bunch, far too eager to pocket payouts from evil regimes than do something to help world peace. The US and the UK have done well without them, long may it continue!
Paul, Stourbridge, England

Does it matter? It is not about getting Europe's support. It is whether or not Europe will be left behind. It is simply an opportunity for Europe to avoid the painful impact when the bottom rushes up to meet her.
Michael, USA

The whole point of an alliance is to jointly achieve shared goals following a shared ideal
Chris, Sheffield, England

The whole point of an alliance is to jointly achieve shared goals following a shared ideal. I do not see such commonality between the US and Europe so why should the US expect support? Why won't the US be honest and do what they want to do without attempting to legitimise their actions by demanding Europe's blessing?
Chris, Sheffield, England

Underlying the conciliatory tones, there is a growing political and cultural divide between Europe and the USA. Just one example is USA's threatening stance towards Syria and Iran, while remaining apart from European diplomatic initiatives. Clearly no lessons have been learned by the Bush administration. Europeans preference for diplomacy and international consensus decision making and the unilateralist approach of the USA is keeping us apart. It needs to be addressed, if the 'transatlantic alliance' is to work.
Philip Walker, Valence, France

What's this common agenda? Is it Bush's agenda by any chance? After all he is about the only person in the world who goes around saying that democracy needs to be spread throughout the world.
Anonymous

It was President Bush who started hurling accusations of supporting terrorism at European democracies that refused to go against the will of their people. Now he needs our help so he can send his troops on the friendship offensive. What's going to happen once he decides that Iran or North Korea need to be invaded and Europe refuses to support him? Are we going to start the whole freedom fries thing again?
Christine, UK

Does this mean French fries are back on the menu?
Obi, Manchester, UK

The Bush administration continues to be as unilateral as ever
Dario, London

It is extraordinary how the US pretends to just move on and start a new chapter in the transatlantic alliance without really addressing what caused the downturn in relations in the first place. The Bush administration continues to be as unilateral as ever. The transatlantic alliance has been terribly damaged... at least in the eyes of European public opinion... and a PR speech by Ms Rice is not really going to change this.
Dario, London, United Kingdom

Clearly global warming should have been on the top of the topics discussed by Rice. Climate change will make everything else irrelevant.
Karel Herman, Bristol

The alliance between the US and the UK since WW2 has made the world a safer place. The arms race has ended with Russia becoming a democracy. Dictatorships through out the world are disappearing. Some people have had freedom from world war for to long as they have lost the plot on the US/UK world peace strategy.
Richard Davie, Burntisland, Fife

It is hard for Europe to accept mending fences when the new US administration has not yet shown through actions that it is trustworthy.
K, Helsinki, Finland (US citizen)

Let's hope that the US will respect Europe's policies
George Bethanis, Athens, Greece
Rice's visit and speech in Europe was clearly the product of the increasing anti-Americanism in the European countries. A mere speech though will not be able to bring enough good gesture for both the EU and the US to fully and unconditionally cooperate. US foreign policy towards the Middle East I believe is too aggressive when compared with Europe's, and if we Europeans follow it, it's going to be we who are going to suffer the consequences. Let's hope that the US will respect Europe's policies rather than ignoring them completely in the future.
George Bethanis, Athens, Greece

Somehow I get the feeling that "work together" actually means "do what we say"...
Mark, Worthing, England

What did our Secretary of State say that was offensive? I listened to the entire speech plus the question and answer period. I found the speech generous and her position open to European ideals. I have a fear that the people responding on this page neither listened to nor watched her speech.
Diana Downey, Michigan, USA

Our ties should be stronger than our ephemeral leaders
Xavier, France
Ms Rice is right about something. The last four years of division should not jeopardise the long history of collaboration between the US and Europe. Our ties should be stronger than our ephemeral leaders.
Xavier, France

A new administration, a new face at the State Department, and a new opportunity to make a fresh start for everyone. Dr Rice truly does speak for the President, and many European capitals need to realise that this is about as good as it is going to get. They need to get to grips with this new America, and stop the griping and derision. Dr Rice is offering the hand of friendship - and it is now that Europe will reveal its true colours. I hope they make the right choice and stand by our ally.
Ferdinand Moe, Telford

Words are cheap and I am sceptical. She should be judged on what she does not what she says. Let's see if she actually delivers or whether this is more soft soaping from the White House.
Duncan, UK in US

The issue with me and many Americans is trust. We were led into a war that has cost the lives of many and a financial burden that we will bear for decades. The WMD debate has passed and the question now is, are we as world, safer from the actions of the Bush Administration? If Rice's agenda mirrors Bush, then can the world's leaders really begin the healing process with the US and begin the development and spreading of democracy throughout the world?
Barney Huang, Los Altos, Ca, USA

The new Bush administration is trying to mend fences and work with old allies
Brian Quinn, Pittsburgh, USA
I agree, it is time to put old differences behind us. It is fast becoming clear that the new Bush administration is trying to mend fences and work with old allies. However, it seems that, and the comments posted on this page prove it, that every time America offers a hand in a conciliatory, appeasing or otherwise friendly manner it is slapped away. The general consensus is that the world needs to work together to solve problems and move forward. I hope that the naysayers and America-bashers open their eyes and ears while America is truly trying to relate to old allies.
Brian Quinn, Pittsburgh, USA

The US will continue to aggressively pursue the war on terror by attempting to transform the Middle East into a democracy regardless of Europe's position. Europe wants to be an equal partner with the US, but it is too divided to act decisively. Closer ties between the US and Europe? Europe has not yet achieved close ties with itself.
Les Matthews, Houston, USA

Whether we Europeans agree or disagree with the Americans, at some point we are going to have to work together to eradicate terrorism, poverty and prejudice. Now is a better time than any to begin that process!
Joe, Hereford, England

I fail to see what is so earth shattering about her speech. She says that "the US and Europe have not always seen eye to eye" as though Europe is a single country. Or does she imply that Europe comprises primarily of France and Germany? Not seeing eye to eye on everything is a healthy state of affairs not an obstacle between friendly nations. It's her boss who has translated informed, differing opinion into something close to evil and treacherous. Also what exactly does "America stands ready to work with Europe on our common agenda" mean? What exactly is this 'common agenda'? Is this code for liberty and democracy as defined by Bush? If so then the not seeing eye to eye situation can only get worse.
Clive, Milwaukee, USA

The government of each nation has to make up its mind on what action to take
Andy Kelly, Manchester, UK
I'd like to see how this mutual "standing ready" idea works with Bush's line that "you're either with us or against us". Europe is not a nation and cannot be relied upon to reach a unanimous decision. The government of each nation has to make up its mind on what action to take (especially whether or not to go to war). It is not only Europe and America but also the rest of the world, i.e. the United Nations that need to take part in the war against terror, disease, poverty and climate change.
Andy Kelly, Manchester, UK

She could have saved everyone a lot of time and money if she had just handed out copies of Bush's inauguration speech. Nothing new there either but the same old we lead, you follow mentality. Unless she is very lucky, relations between US and the rest of the world are likely to further deteriorate.
Marc, London

I believe what Ms Rice is currently doing will help prevail peace and understanding in the world. Contrary to many people's view that she may not bring about peace with her new post, Ms Rice, I believe, will soothe the complications that the US foreign policy has long been suffering from, and contribute to global peace at large.
Mesfin Awoke, Trondheim, Norway

All the more reason to form a United States of Europe to counter the USA's political and economic monopoly.
Martin, Northern England

Ms Rice has made a smart move. Her whirlwind trip along with the hope of lasting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians have given her a golden opportunity to shine in her new position. Ms Rice struck the right chords in her speech showing her charm and tenacity. This is just the real beginning of her test of character as Secretary of State. However her real challenge will be to maintain impartiality between the Israelis and the Palestinians, a very tall order considering the very close relations between the United States and Israel.
Pancha Chandra, Brussels, Belgium

It is certainly true that Europe and America, as great civilising cultures, must work together on the great cultural issues of our day. It is also true that we compete in many arenas. I hope that Europe and America can agree on a reasonable dividing line between areas of mutual importance and areas of legitimate competition, but the Franco-German positions of the last few years offer little evidence to support that hope.
Sam, Delaware, USA

Sounds like she wants everyone to follow America's foreign policies irrespective of how controversial they are. Well in my opinion we should judge each case on its merits and not just because of the 'special relationship'.
James D, Birmingham, UK

US Secretary Rice is now preaching what Bush-opponents have been saying all along. But, the once-preventable damage is done. America must now regain trust from the world, and I can't say that will come too soon with the present US administration still in force.
Pete, Winston-Salem, NC, USA

This speech is certainly a conciliatory gesture, but the reality is that nothing has changed. The US will continue to act aggressively towards its enemies, while the Europeans will keep their pacifist and anti-American agenda. These two conflicting views of the world will continue to react like oil and water.
John C, New York, USA

It's about time, the USA and Europe mended fences. It is also time for America to realise that it is one of the countries on this planet and not the only country. So, unilateral behaviour won't get it very far in its lofty goals of "spreading liberty and freedom".
Mukundan, Jharkhand, India

Well, I'd love to take this on face value as I feel strong ties between the US and Europe are vital for global stability. However, this is probably similar to Bush's promise to reach across party lines. Willing to cooperate, (provided you see it our way.) I truly hope I am wrong though.
Sam, Arlington, VA





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