U.S., Europe Must Forge Broader Alliance, Says State's Fried

Assistant secretary speaks in Paris about advancing freedom in Middle East

America and Europe must work together to support democratic development throughout the broader Middle East, just as they supported the democratic aspirations of pro-democracy movements in central and Eastern Europe, says the State Department’s Daniel Fried.

Speaking in Paris September 1, the day after attending a commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the founding of Solidarity in Gdansk, Poland, Fried said the Polish people “achieved democracy through their own efforts, but they had support from abroad,” including from Western Europe, America, and even Pope John Paul II.

After freedom was achieved for most of Europe, said Fried -- the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs -- Americans accepted the status quo in the Middle East and were willing “to tolerate oppression for the sake of stability.” But President Bush has frequently pointed out that “decades of failed policy in the Middle East” did not bring stability or safety, Fried noted.

Now Europe and America, just as they did during the Cold War, must “forge an alliance of common values, pushing beyond our borders to meet and join with reformers in the broader Middle East,” Fried said.

He disputed claims that democracy can only take root in certain cultures. “This is nonsense: democracy answers universal human needs and can take root in all cultures and religious traditions,” he said.

Fried noted that in the Arab press and media “Arabs are engaged in an intense dialogue about democracy.”

“Though it has occurred in different times and in different forms, the advance of democracy is a historic experience that America, Europe and the Muslim world are beginning to share,” he said.
He cited democratic advances in Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and other Middle East countries, including Iraq.

“Whatever our differences, Europe, America and the nations of the Middle East must support Iraqis as they build their institutions of freedom,” Fried said. “And those of us who are willing must stay by their side to provide security until Iraqis themselves can meet those needs.”

Initiatives such as the Forum for the Future, the Broader Middle East and North Africa initiative, the European Union’s Barcelona Process, and the Middle East Partnership Initiative help support economic and political reform, he said.

He concluded by quoting from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s remarks at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques-Sciences Politiques de Paris in February. Europe and America, she said, “have an historic opportunity to shape a global balance of power that favors freedom – and that will therefore deepen and extend the peace. And I use the word ‘power’ broadly, because even more important than military and indeed economic power is the power of ideas, the power of compassion, and the power of hope." (See related story.)

Fried spoke to a French audience interested U.S.-European-Middle East dialogue, according to a State Department staff member.

Fried’s remarks in Paris

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