Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center
November 16, 2016
The history of the past two centuries indicates that democracies are less likely to fight wars among themselves. So more democracy is good for the people of the world, but it’s also good for our national security. Which is why America’s closest friends are democracies — like Greece. It’s why we stand together in NATO — an alliance of democracies.
In recent years, we’ve made historic investments in NATO, increased America’s presence in Europe, and today’s NATO — the world’s greatest alliance — is as strong and as ready as it’s ever been. And I am confident that just as America’s commitment to the transatlantic alliance has endured for seven decades –whether it’s been under a Democratic or Republican administration — that commitment will continue, including our pledge and our treaty obligation to defend every ally.
Our democracies show that we’re stronger than terrorists, and fundamentalists, and absolutists who can’t tolerate difference, can’t tolerate ideas that vary from their own, who try to change people’s way of life through violence and would make us betray or shrink from our values. Democracy is stronger than organizations like ISIL.
Here in Europe, even with today’s challenges, I believe that by virtue of the progress it has delivered over the decades — the stability it has provided, the security it’s reinforced– that European integration and the European Union remains one of the great political and economic achievements of human history. (Applause.) And today more than ever, the world needs a Europe that is strong and prosperous and democratic.