The United States’-Dutch relationship is grounded on four “shared priorities”: national security, trade and investment, stewardship of the planet (climate change) and shared values. E ach one is equally important to the health and continuity of the bilateral relationship. Ambassador Broas takes a deep dive into each and explains how each nation supports these priorities and stands behind them.
The Dutch are the third largest investor in the United States. There is a compelling need for the EU and US to pass the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), for multiple reasons: job creation, lower tariffs, regulatory consistency, elimination of protection and subsidies, and increased competition.
The Dutch have been trading with the US for 400 years, starting with Native Americans when the Dutch settled Manhattan island in New Amsterdam. Our trading and investment relationship with the Netherlands has thrived in spite of wars and competition from Asia and elsewhere. Although a healthy trade and investment relationship between countries increases the likelihood of peaceful relations between them, TTIP appears to be losing steam and time is running out on the Obama administration. However, the EU and the US remain interested in pursuing passage before President Obama leaves office. TTIP will create tens of thousands of new jobs on both side of the Atlantic.
The success of COP21 in Paris has awakened the world, and the naysayers are now beginning to come around. China, India, and the other major polluting countries (including the U.S) are all signing on to the COP21 agreement. All governments and private industry sectors are now more motivated than ever to protect the environment for future generations, and additional job creation.
As Secretary Kerry and President Obama have said, climate change is a national security problem. The effects of carbon emissions are being felt and seen around the globe. Seas are rising, rivers and lakes are drying up, glaciers are melting, beaches are eroding, and land is disappearing. Scarcity of water in the developing world is causing populations to migrate, increasing hostility.
Europe’s effective management of the influx of refugees, after proper screening, has become vital to the survival of Europe and the EU. Europe must manage its borders with efficiency and humanitarian equity. People are fleeing their countries to escape war and not to commit terrorism. While the EU needs to remain as safe as possible, it must continue to work with the refugee organizations and members to encourage countries in adopting a sensible and safe plan to give these people a second chance at life.
How can these first world nations come together to protect their borders but still help save groups at war? Ambassador Broas offers insight on why fear cannot keep the borders closed, how they can keep the “bad guys” out, and how important it is to create a stronger, safer, and more welcoming nation for those in need
The Netherlands and the US are partners in NATO, the Afghanistan, Iraq and Syrian coalitions, and other alliances around the world. It is critical for these two countries to keep a dominant militarily force to maintain a strong Europe against potential foes (Russia, China, Iran). NATO and Dutch-American military cooperation are essential to preserving a safe and peaceful Europe from continuing threats from Russia and its allies. NATO has provided a shield against wars in Europe for 70 years since it was formed in 1945.
All NATO members must pay their fair share to support NATO. Threats from ISIS and the Middle East and the recent terrorist attacks in Europe remind us that even with NATO, Europe must remain on alert to protect its citizens and way of life. Only through our continuing vigilance and strong alliances can we continue to resist these threats.
The Dutch are the world’s experts on water management. Over half of the country is below sea level. With a highly sophisticated network of dams, dikes, dunes, canals, surge barriers, and controlled flooding, the Dutch manage internal and external water threats with unparalleled expertise and efficiency. Ambassador Broas has worked with the top Dutch water management engineers and safety officials, and he is making plans to bring this expertise to the United States, to the private sector and the public sector. As we learned after Hurricane Katrina and Sandy, our coastal zones and towns and properties are not prepared for violent storms and rising sea levels. The U.S is reactive. It needs to become proactive, like the Netherlands, and be prepared to protect its coastlines, cities, and citizens. Climate change is delivering a double punch: rising seas and more violent storms. Sandy was instructive, and ultimately destructive. We are fools to sit back and let this happen again. Another Sandy is coming, it’s just a matter of when and where.