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Secretary Albright On Europe's Future

Why We Should Care

By Douglas Waller


(TIME, June 9) -- During her travels with President Clinton last week, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright sat down with TIME's Douglas Waller to discuss the future of Europe. Excerpts:

TIME: What was going through your mind as you sat through the ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Marshall Plan?

Albright: It's very personal. I am a child of the divided Europe. The Americans had invited all the countries in Europe to join the Marshall Plan, and the Czechoslovaks actually accepted the invitation. Jan Masaryk, the Foreign Minister, was summoned to Moscow after he had accepted. My father was his chief of staff. Masaryk came back from Moscow and said, "I now know that I am not the Foreign Minister of a sovereign nation." I had thought while I was sitting there what a long distance we have come. The Soviet Union is no longer. We have just completed a historic signing in Paris of the NATO-Russia Founding Act. And the Czechs are a vibrant sovereign nation.

TIME: Do you think we will ever see a unified Europe with a single currency?

Albright: The trend is clearly towards a unified Europe. The single currency...may or may not happen. But I don't think that is the measure of whether there is a unified Europe.

TIME: Why should Americans care if Europe is integrated?

Albright: We should care because twice in this century Americans fought and died in Europe because there were national conflicts, border conflicts, power surges by one country or another. We feel better when Europe is united and democratic. It's frankly a huge, good market. Stability brings trade, and trade brings jobs.

TIME: With the Soviet Union no longer the enemy, is the threat to Europe now itself? Is that the real reason we need to keep and expand NATO?

Albright: I think that's partially it. We have seen that the enemy is instability. It is chaos. But it is also what we call the global threats, which are terrorism, international drug trafficking, environmental problems, arms-proliferation issues. What is being created here is a unified mechanism to deal with the internal threats and with external threats, which are similar for them as they are for us.

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