Sunday, December 31, 2006

Bildt Comments

Carl Bildt, who in October became Sweden’s foreign minister in the new centre-rightist government of Fredrik Reinfeldt, has resumed posting to his blog.

A recent post links to Bildt’s speech (.doc) to the International Institute for Foreign Affairs in Stockholm earlier this month. The message of the speech is mixed, combining “optimism about the possibilities of globalisation with pessimism concerning the dark clouds gathering on the more immediate horizons of the neighbourhood of Europe.” Excerpt:

Being Minister for Foreign Affairs in Sweden today is not the same as it was yesterday.

We are living at the beginning of a major paradigm shift of our own. We are in the midst of a new phase of accelerating globalisation. We see the darkness at the edge of Europe’s strategic horizon. And we see how states are weaker and more tentative when confronted with all these new developments.

Naturally, national foreign policy still has a role to play. We have a role in developing cooperation in the Baltic Sea region and northern Europe, which will become ever more important. We must safeguard our national interests even in an age of internationalism.

But even so, these are not the crucial tasks.

The crucial tasks lie in strengthening European cooperation which can make us, together, the force in the service of peace, freedom and reconciliation that the world will be in ever more desperate need of.

They lie in safeguarding the ideas of the open society, open economies and the open world against those forces that want to turn back the clock.

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