Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke today at the 47th Munich Security Conference. The Secretary said:
"I want to make remarks on two important subjects briefly. First, America's enduring commitment to Europe and European security and then how we view the recent upheaval in the Arab world. The events unfolding on Europe's doorstep remind us that in today's interconnected world, rapid change is the new norm. The past several years have been difficult on both sides of the Atlantic. The United States face down the most serious financial crisis since the 1930s. We have broken the back of the recession, but we are still challenged by high unemployment in debt.
"In Europe, the financial crisis has caused deep pain and anxiety about the health of the Euro-zone. And I know that from time to time, on your side of the Atlantic, critics worry that America is preoccupied with its domestic problems or distracted by Afghanistan and other global issues.
"On our side, critics fear Europe's fiscal difficulties and political constraints will prevent it from remaining a robust partner in promoting global security. But the contents of my inbox tell a very different story. They show a strategic partnership between Europe and the United States that has never been stronger.
"On the economic front, the ties between us run deep. The transatlantic economy accounts for more than half of world trade, and when it comes to investment, the numbers are higher still. Now, these figures will change over time. And emerging markets are, indeed, promising. But our partnership is proven, and it must endure if we are to promote sound market-driven economic policies in countries around the world, level playing fields, and fight protectionist forces in an increasingly globalized economy.
"This is crucial work because strong economies are the ultimate foundation for our security and leadership. We are also working together to fight poverty, disease, and hunger. The United States and Europe together are responsible for nearly 80 percent of all international development aid. And this, too, is an essential component of common security. We have seen over and over again that healthy prosperous societies are more likely to be good partners, and of course, we work together to secure peace.
"In Afghanistan, nearly 40,000 Europeans serve alongside U.S. troops and those of 47 other nations in the International Security and Assistance Force. Together we are striving to build a durable peace by training Afghanistan's police and army, and it is a strategy that is beginning to bear fruit. And we are stretching beyond traditional military solutions. In so many aspects of our partnership in Afghanistan, we see a difference.
"On Iran, Europe and the United States joined together to give Tehran a clear choice: Meet your international commitments to demonstrate that your nuclear program is peaceful, or face increasing pressure and isolation. And last year, Russia joined us in voting for tough Security Council sanctions, an important precedent that we intend to build on.
"In many other regions, we are also cooperating -- preventing violence during the referendum on Southern Sudan, curbing piracy off the Horn of Africa, taking a unified stance on Belarus to support free and fair elections, defending civil society where it is under pressure, imposing sanctions on those responsible for human rights violations, promoting economic growth and democratic governance in the Western Balkans, and working to integrate the region more deeply with the EU and NATO remains a shared goal. In all of these ways and many more, our relationship with Europe is, as President Obama put it, the cornerstone of our engagement with the world and a catalyst for global cooperation.
"But we are not standing pat. Our relationship continues to evolve. We've been working together to modernize and enhance the European security architecture, an effort that culminated with the approval of NATO's new strategic concept in Lisbon last year. As Secretary Gates has noted, now that the strategic concept has been approved, we are reviewing its implications for the U.S. force structure in Europe. Ultimately, our decision will be guided by a fundamental principle: We will maintain the necessary balance of forces and capabilities to meet our enduring commitment to Article Five. And we will maintain our ability to protect ourselves and our allies, not just against traditional threats, but also new ones such as cyber attacks, terrorism, and weapons of mass destruction."
Read the Secretary's full remarks here.