Tim Garden: Trust is the only way forward for Europe and the US

From a speech given at Indiana University by the former air marshal and professor of defence studies
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The Independent Online

Forecasting what the world is going to be like in this new century is an uncertain art. Crises, both natural and man-made, emerge so rapidly that predictions are upset almost as soon as they are made.

Over the past three years, we have all come to know what fanatical terrorists, who care nothing for either their own lives or those of their victims, can do to damage us and our interests. We have fought two wars, first in Afghanistan and next in Iraq. We have seen greater strains in the relationships between the old friends across the Atlantic than for nearly half a century. And we continue to see our troops injured and dying as they try to rebuild nations in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and still in Europe.

We face problems of international crime; of corruption; of poverty in much of the world; of declining natural resources, be it fish, oil or water; of environmental damage of which global warming is the most acute; of population growths in poorly governed regions; and of disease spreading through global travel.

Some of these factors make conflict more likely, and all of them need concerted action by the global community. Europe remains less effective when trying to meet the challenges at the hard end of security. The US could do more at the softer end. Neither approach on its own can make us safer. The international system is imperfect, but it is important. We need to re-establish the trust between Europe and the US after a very bruising period so that we can work together - old friends and new friends - to make the world a better place.