The US President Barack Obama said yesterday that the United States needs a strong and united Europe to preserve world order, and urged his European allies to increase military spending in order to fight ISIS and other threats. He announced at the same time that he is sending 250 additional US military personnel to Syria. These personnel include members of the special forces that specialise in fighting terrorists.
Obama is visiting the German city of Hanover where a summit attended by five countries was held. The summit was attended by Obama, Chancellor Angela Merkel, the British Prime Minister David Cameron, the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and the French President Francois Hollande. Five essential issues were discussed at the summit; the war on terrorism, the conflict in Syria and Ukraine, the refugee problem, and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership that is being resisted by Europeans.
The US president called on Europe to stay “strong and unified” at a time when Europe is facing an unprecedented crisis on several fronts, including the risk of Britain exiting the EU and the escalation of the populist movements. Obama said in a speech that he delivered at the Hanover Industrial Fair in northern Germany that “the United States and the world require a strong, prosperous, democratic and united Europe” and pointed out that the old continent is at a decisive moment in its history.
After visiting Britain last weekend to warn of the consequences of its exit from the European Union, Obama chose to emphasise his message in Germany and focussed on the importance of Europe’s unity at a time when Europe is facing unprecedented scepticism since it was established in the aftermath of World War II. Obama said “Perhaps you need an outsider, somebody who is not European, to remind you of the magnitude of what you have achieved.” Obama recalled the wars and conflicts that have bloodied the continent less than a century ago as a result of national rivalries.
He continued by saying “The progress that I described was made possible in large measure by ideals that originated on this continent in a great Enlightenment and the founding of new republics. Of course, that progress didn’t travel a straight line. In the last century — twice in just 30 years — the forces of empire and intolerance and extreme nationalism consumed this continent. And cities like this one were largely reduced to rubble. Tens of millions of men and women and children were killed.”