Click here for the full text.
Warsaw, Poland 
                                                                 June 15, 2001

Remarks by the President of the United States 
in address to Faculty and Students of Warsaw University 

(...) Today, I have come to the center of Europe to speak of the future of Europe. Some still call this "the East" -- but Warsaw is closer to Ireland than it is to the Urals. And it is time to put talk of East and West behind us.

Yalta did not ratify a natural divide, it divided a living civilization.  The partition of Europe was not a fact of geography, it was an act of violence.  And wise leaders for decades have found the hope of European peace in the hope of greater unity.  In the same speech that described an "iron curtain," Winston Churchill called for "a new unity in Europe, from which no nation should be permanently outcast." 

Consider how far we have come since that speech. Through trenches and shell-fire, through death camps and bombed-out cities, through gulags and food  lines men and women have dreamed of what my father called a Europe "whole and free."  This free Europe is no longer a dream.  It is the Europe that is rising  around us.  It is the work that you and I are called on to complete. 

We can build an open Europe -- a Europe without Hitler and Stalin, without Brezhnev and Honecker and Ceaucescu and, yes, without Milosevic. 

Our goal is to erase the false lines -- our goal is to erase the false lines that have divided Europe for too long.  The future of every European nation must be determined by the progress of internal reform, not the interests of outside
powers.  Every European nation that struggles toward democracy and free markets and a strong civic culture must be welcomed into Europe's home. 

All of Europe's new democracies, from the Baltic to the Black Sea and all that lie between, should have the same chance for security and freedom -- and the same chance to join the institutions of Europe -- as Europe's old
democracies have. 

I believe in NATO membership for all of Europe's democracies that seek it and are ready to share the responsibilities that NATO brings. (Applause.)  The question of "when" may still be up for debate within NATO; the question of "whether" should not be.  As we plan to enlarge NATO, no nation should be used as a pawn in the agendas of others.  We will not trade away the fate of free European peoples.  No more Munichs.  No more Yaltas.  (Applause.)  Let us tell all those who have struggled to build democracy and free markets what we have told the Poles:  from now on, what you build, you keep.  No one can take away your freedom or your country. (Applause.) 

Next year, NATO's leaders will meet in Prague. The United States will be prepared to make concrete, historic decisions with its allies to advance NATO enlargement.  Poland and America share a vision.  As we plan the Prague
Summit, we should not calculate how little we can get away with, but how much we can do to advance the cause of freedom.  (Applause.) 

The expansion of NATO has fulfilled NATO's promise.  And that promise now leads eastward and southward, northward and onward. 

I want to thank Poland for acting as a bridge to the new democracies of Europe, and a champion of the interests and security of your neighbors, such as the Baltic states, Ukraine, Slovakia.  You are making real the words: "For your freedom and ours." 

All nations should understand that there is no conflict between membership in NATO and membership in the European Union.  My nation welcomes the consolidation of European unity, and the stability it brings. We welcome a greater role for the EU in European security, properly integrated with NATO.  We welcome the incentive for reform that the hope of EU membership creates.  We welcome a Europe that is truly united, truly democratic, and truly diverse -- a collection of peoples and nations bound together in purpose and respect, and faithful to their own roots. 

The most basic commitments of NATO and the European Union are similar: democracy, free markets, and common security.  And all in Europe and America understand the central lesson of the century past. When Europe and America are divided, history tends to tragedy.  When Europe and America are partners, no trouble or tyranny can stand against us.

Our vision of Europe must also include the Balkans. Unlike the people of Poland, many people and leaders in Southeast Europe made the wrong choices in the last decade.  There, communism fell, but dictators exploited a murderous nationalism to cling to power and to conquer new land. Twice NATO had to intervene militarily to stop the killing and defend the values that define a new Europe. 

Today, instability remains and there are still those who seek to undermine the fragile peace that holds.  We condemn those, like the sponsors of violence in Macedonia, who seek to subvert democracy. But we've made progress.  We see democratic change in Zagreb and Belgrade; moderate governments in Bosnia; multi-ethnic police in Kosovo; the end to violence in southern Serbia. For the first time in history, all governments in the region are democratic, committed to cooperating with one another, and predisposed to join Europe. 

Across the region, nations are yearning to be a part of Europe. The burdens -- and benefits -- of satisfying that yearning will naturally fall most heavily on Europe, itself.  That is why I welcome Europe's commitment to play a leading role in the stabilization of Southeastern Europe. Countries other than the United States already provide over 80 percent of the NATO-led forces in the region. But I know that America's role is important, and we will meet our obligations.  We went into the Balkans together, and we will come out together. And our goal must be to hasten the arrival of that day.  (Applause.) 

The Europe we are building must include Ukraine, a nation struggling with the trauma of transition.  Some in Kiev speak of their country's European destiny. If this is their aspiration, we should reward it.  We must extend our hand to Ukraine, as Poland has already done with such determination. 

The Europe we are building must also be open to Russia. We have a stake in Russia's success -- and we look for the day when Russia is fully reformed, fully democratic and closely bound to the rest of Europe. Europe's great institutions -- NATO and the European Union -- can and should build partnerships with Russia and with all the countries that have emerged from the wreckage of the former Soviet Union.

Tomorrow, I will see President Putin, and express my hopes for a Russia that is truly great -- a greatness measured by the strength of its democracy, the good treatment of minorities and the achievements of its people. I will express to President Putin that Russia is part of Europe and, therefore, does not need a buffer zone of insecure states separating it from Europe.  NATO, even as it grows, is no enemy of Russia. Poland is no enemy of Russia. America is no enemy of Russia. (Applause.) We will seek a constructive relationship with Russia, for the benefit of all our peoples. 

I will make the case, as I have to all the European leaders I have met on this trip, that the basis for our mutual security must move beyond Cold War doctrines.  Today, we face growing threats from weapons of mass destruction and missiles in the hands of states for whom terror and blackmail are a way of life. So we must have a broad strategy of active non-proliferation; counter-proliferation; and a new concept of deterrence that includes defenses sufficient to protect our people, our forces, and our allies; as well as reduced reliance on nuclear weapons. 

And, finally, I'll make clear to President Putin that the path to greater prosperity and greater security lies in greater freedom.  The 20th century has taught us that only freedom gets the highest service from every citizen -- citizens who can publish, citizens who can worship, citizens who can organize for themselves -- without fear of intimidation, and with the full protection of the law.

This, after all, is the true source of European unity. Ultimately, it's more than the unity of markets.  It is more than the unity of interests.  It is a unity of values.

Through a hard history, with all its precedents of pain, Europe has come to believe in the dignity of every individual:   in social freedom, tempered by moral restraint; in economic liberty, balanced with humane values. (...)