NATO's future. Since the world is now a cooperative concern, responsibility for global stability challenges fall on both the U.S. and Europe. NATO's future role needs to be clearly defined, and NATO should identify an harmonious agenda that continues to build on NATO's constructive role in the Balkans. The process of NATO expansion was a positive and tremendous motivator for reform in the post-communist states, and that process should continue.
Private sector. Today the bilateral strategic relationships between the U.S. and Poland, Hungary, and other Central European countries are the strongest they've ever been. That's why President Bush is visiting several of these countries this month, and that's why missile defense systems are being contemplated for placement in several of these countries. But the commercial relationships with these countries remain at a low level, and America should find many more opportunities for economic ties. It should be easier for the citizens of these countries to travel to the U.S. for tourism, education, or commerce. Allies and friendships in commerce must have better access to each other's countries for a stronger partnership.
The Europeans themselves are moving toward greater unity with the selection of Poland and Ukraine as hosts of the 2012 European Soccer Championships. This major European event will create a new major highway through these countries, and with the building of new stadiums, U.S. companies should look to assist in these projects. Russia, with its enormous energy reserves, will be more prosperous and ought to see the benefit of cooperation with Europe to diversify and improve its economy as a credible free country with reliable rules of law. As President Reagan vouched concerning our missile defense system: we can share aspects of the defense system with a cooperative, trustworthy Russia.
As we face, adapt, and decide our future action against present day threats, let us learn from Ronald Reagan's resolve to advance freedom. Based on shared values, let us build respectful, strategic alliances, expand beneficial interaction and private investment, creating more jobs, and always choose to stand strong together for freedom as we nurture the growing trees of liberty and plant new groves in Eastern Europe. The United States must have a dynamic, strategic agenda befitting a great power.
George Allen is the former governor and senator from Virginia and Chairman of the European Affairs Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He is currently the Reagan Ranch Presidential Scholar for Young America’s Foundation.