He said is part of a more fundamental struggle between democratic ideals and “an older, more traditional view of power.” He warned against “complacency” in the face of what he called Russia’s violations of international law in taking over Crimea.
His speech referred to international norms and bodies like the United Nations and NATO to resolve conflict. He urged Europeans to bolster NATO in this moment of testing. He reiterate that Russia cannot be forced out of Crimea with military force, but that it would have to be done with costs that would cause pain to Putin’s economy.
He said that the United States would stand with its NATO allies, which Ukraine is not, although they must be permitted the right to chose the direction of their society.
Once again military action was taken off the table as an option. Full text below compliments of the Kyiv Post:
Good evening! Goede avond. Bonsoir. Guten abend. Thank you, Laura, for your kind introduction and for your outstanding work—reminding us that our future will be defined by our young people.
Your Majesties, Mr. Prime Minister, and the people of Belgium—on behalf of the American people, we are grateful for your friendship, we stand together as inseparable allies, and I thank you for your wonderful hospitality. I have to admit, it’s easy to love a country famous for chocolate and beer.
Leaders and dignitaries of the European Union; representatives of our NATO Alliance; distinguished guests – we meet here at a moment of testing for Europe and the United States, and for the international order that we have worked for generations to build.
Throughout human history, societies have grappled with the question of how to organize themselves – the proper relationship between the individual and the state; and the best means to resolve inevitable conflicts between states. And it was here in Europe, through centuries of struggle—through war and Enlightenment, repression and revolution—that a particular set of ideals began to emerge. The belief that through conscience and free will, each of us has the right to live as we choose. The belief that power is derived from the consent of the governed, and that laws and institutions should be established to protect that understanding. Those ideas eventually inspired a band of colonists across an ocean, and they wrote them into the Founding documents that still guide America today, including the simple truth that all men—and women—are created equal.