WORLD NEWS

Kissinger says calling Europe quote not likely his

Jun 27, 2012, 4:36 PM

Associated Press

WARSAW, Poland (AP) – “Who do I call if I want to call Europe?”

Variations of that question have been attributed for decades to Henry Kissinger, but the former U.S. secretary of state says he doesn’t think it originated with him.

The 89-year-old, who served as America’s top diplomat under presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford in the 1970s, said Wednesday that he thinks an Irish foreign minister first used the expression in describing a meeting between the two.

“I am not sure I actually said it,” Kissinger told an audience that included diplomats and academics. He then drew laughs when he added, “But it’s a good statement so why not take credit for it?”

Kissinger’s remarks came during a public discussion held alongside Poland’s Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski.

The telephone number quip has been repeated often to describe the lack of a single foreign policy across a continent made up of nations with divergent interests.

Despite attempts at greater unity, including the creation of a foreign policy chief, a role now held by Catherine Ashton, European nations still struggle to find common ground on a range of issues. The key dilemma now is finding a way out of the financial crisis in the eurozone.

“Now we have a kind of telephone number, but it isn’t really absolutely clear if America wants to deal with Europe who exactly the voice would be,” Kissinger said, noting that in addition to Ashton there are other EU leaders speaking for the bloc as well as the foreign ministers of the 27 member-states.

“It’s relatively easier now to get answers to technical questions. But I would say that even if a telephone exists and even if they answered it, the answer is not always very clear,” Kissinger said.

“Europe has the capacity to be a superpower, but Europe has neither the organization, nor, so far, the concept, to be a superpower,” he added. “And that, for the European idea, is a challenge.”

For his part, Sikorski said he believes that the EU has actually achieved unity and influence on economic matters _ but should now seek greater commonality on foreign policy and defense.

“On trade matters Europe really does speak with one voice, and there we are a superpower,” Sikorski said. “We are the largest economy on earth, and when we regulate Microsoft, Gazprom, we really matter, because we speak with one voice.”

The discussion took place in English, a language Sikorski mastered to near perfection after a period of exile and study in Britain during Poland’s communist era.

The German-born Kissinger couldn’t ignore the linguistic achievement.

“May I point out that my Polish hosts are carrying hospitality to considerable extremes by producing a foreign minister who speaks English better than I do?” he said.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

World News

President Joe Biden walks towards members of the media before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn...

Associated Press

U.S. military airdrops thousands of meals over Gaza, many more airdrops expected

U.S. military C-130 cargo planes dropped food in pallets over Gaza on Saturday in the opening stage of an emergency humanitarian assistance.

2 days ago

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who reportedly died in prison on Friday, Feb. 16, 2024, i...

Associated Press

Alexei Navalny, galvanizing opposition leader and Putin’s fiercest foe, died in prison, Russia says

Alexei Navalny, the fiercest foe of Russian President Vladimir Putin, died Friday while incarcerated, the country's prison agency said.

18 days ago

Britain's King Charles III and Queen Camilla leave The London Clinic in central London, Monday, Jan...

Associated Press

Britain’s King Charles III has cancer and is receiving treatment

Britain's King Charles III has been diagnosed with a form of cancer and has begun treatment, Buckingham Palace announced Monday.

29 days ago

A resident flees an encroaching forest fire in Vina del Mar, Chile, Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024. Officia...

Associated Press

At least 46 reported dead in Chile as forest fires move into densely populated central areas

Intense forest fires burning around a densely populated area of central Chile have caused at least 46 deaths, Chile's pesident said Saturday.

1 month ago

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with a payload including two lunar rovers from Japan and the United Arab ...

Associated Press

Unmanned Japanese spacecraft successfully makes soft landing on moon

Japan became the fifth country in history to reach the moon when one of its unmanned spacecrafts successfully landed on the lunar surface.

1 month ago

Associated Press

Israeli Cabinet approves cease-fire with Hamas; deal includes release of 50 hostages

Israel’s Cabinet on Wednesday approved a cease-fire deal with the Hamas militant group that would bring a temporary halt to a devastating war.

3 months ago

Sponsored Articles

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

...

Canvas Annuity

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.

Kissinger says calling Europe quote not likely his