Rice calls for new chapter in relations with `Old Europe'

THE US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, called last night for a "new chapter" in US-European relations, which would set aside differences over Iraq and push forward Washington's "freedom" agenda. In her first major policy speech since she took office last month - a speech pointedly made in Paris - Ms Rice said the world stood on the threshold of an "era of great opportunity".

"So much is changing in our world. So much is changing in the Middle East," she said. "We are just beginning to see what freedom can achieve." Speaking at the National Foundation of Political Sciences in Paris - Science Po - the alma mater of the French governing class, including President Jacques Chirac, she promised that the new Bush administration was ready to make a new start in its relations with Europe.

"America stands ready to work with Europe on our common agenda and Europe must stand ready to work with America," Ms Rice said. "After all, history will surely judge us not by our old disagreements but by our new achievements ... It is time to open a new chapter in our relationship and a new chapter in our alliance."

In a speech flagged as the keynote of her eight-day European and Middle East tour, Ms Rice went on, however, to spell out a thoroughly American, and neoconservative, vision of what the new European-US unity might achieve. "This great alliance, which has had a really glorious past, now can have an even greater future in sustaining an effort on behalf of those who are seeking to liberate themselves from tyranny and to build democracy," she said.

There was no hint in her speech of whether those pro-active efforts to spread freedom and democracy across the world should be peaceful or military. Ms Rice took as her example, on several occasions, the elections in Afghanistan and Iraq - both of which followed US-led invasions, But she also praised the recent democratic revolutions in Georgia and Ukraine.

She referred in passing to Iran and Syria as countries that should make their attitude to terrorism "clearer".

Ms Rice also praised France and said close US-French relations had survived the incandescent dispute between the countries over the legality of the Iraq war. But there was nothing in her speech to suggest that the Bush administration was prepared even to listen to President Chirac's doubts about the wisdom of a full-frontal attempt to spread the gospel of freedom, which might be interpreted in many parts of the world as a form of cultural imperialism.

Ms Rice said the US and Europe must move beyond their old military alliance, "a partnership based on common threats" and make a new partnership based upon "common opportunities" to create the benefits of freedom "beyond the transatlantic community". Despite her gesture in choosing to speak in Paris, and at Science-Po, she made several references to what conservatives in the US regard as a French willingness to appease terrorism and tyranny.

Terrorists in Iraq, she said, regarded democracy as a "policy of evil ... To our common enemies, liberte, egalite et fraternite are also evil policies." Ms Rice was having talks with President Chirac last night.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Image from a flyer at the CPAC event where Nigel Farage will be speaking
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...

Recruitment Genius: Photographic Event Crew

£14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developers - .NET / ASP.NET / WebAPI / JavaScript

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Solicitor - City

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower