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Viewing cable 09SANTIAGO331, VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN'S MARCH 28 MEETING WITH PRIME

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09SANTIAGO331 2009-04-07 20:08 2010-12-13 12:12 SECRET Embassy Santiago
VZCZCXYZ0003
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSG #0331/01 0972057
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 072057Z APR 09
FM AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4766
INFO RUEHXQ/ALL EUROPEAN UNION POST COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
S E C R E T SANTIAGO 000331

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/07/2019
TAGS: OVIP BIDEN JOSEPH PREL ECON PGOV SOCI EU
SUBJECT: VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN'S MARCH 28 MEETING WITH PRIME
MINISTER JOSE LUIS RODRIGUEZ ZAPATERO

Classified By: Ambassador Paul Simons for reasons 1.4 (b/d).


1. (U) March 28, 2009; 9:20 am; Vina del Mar, Chile.

2. (U) Participants:

U.S.
Joseph Biden, Vice President
Antony Blinken, National Security Advisor to the
Vice President
Brian McKeon, Deputy National Security Advisor to
the Vice President
Dan Restrepo, Senior Director, Western Hemisphere
Affairs, National Security Council
Craig Kelly, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary
of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, U.S.
Dept. of State
Brian Harris (notetaker), Political/Economic
Chief, U.S. Embassy Guatemala City

SPAIN
Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Prime Minister
Bernadino Leon, Secretary General of the Presidency
Nieves Goicoechea, Deputy Secretary of State for
Communications
Trinidad Jimenez, Deputy Secretary of State for
Latin America
Maria Solanes, Presidential Counselor for
International Affairs

3. (C) Summary: During a bilateral meeting on the margins
of the Progressive Governance Leaders Summit in Chile, Vice
President Joseph Biden and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis
Rodriguez Zapatero discussed the need for a strengthened
relationship and greater collaboration between Europe and the
United States. Vice President Biden pledged increased
consultation with Europe and called on Spain and other
European nations to follow through on commitments with
action. He also criticized the lack of consultation prior to
Spain's withdrawal from Kosovo and requested Spain consult
the United States earlier and in a more transparent fashion
in the future. Zapatero defended the decision to withdraw
but allowed that Spain could have consulted earlier with the
United States. End Summary.

--------------------------------------------- -------
Expectations and New U.S. Approach to Foreign Policy
--------------------------------------------- -------

4. (C) PM Zapatero opened the meeting by congratulating Vice
President Biden on the election victory and saying it had
raised expectations in Spain and throughout Europe for a new
relationship with the United States. Vice President Biden
thanked Zapatero and added that expectations may be too high,
and President Obama knows that high expectations have more to
do with the failures of the previous administration than with
his new administration.

5. (C) Vice President Biden added that we want to change our
foreign policy paradigm. We know that most of our challenges
lie beyond the scope of the United States to confront alone
and that President Obama genuinely wants engage in dialogue
with partners around the world to develop consensus around
solutions. We know what the pillars of our policy are, but
unless we listen and work with our partners, it will not
matter much.

6. (C) Vice President Biden went on to say that Spain and
the United States have worked as great partners in Iraq and
we need to enhance the cooperation between our two countries.
The relationship has not been all positive in recent years
but there was no reason why it could not change instantly.

7. (C) Zapatero responded that managing the relationship
between the United States and Spain under the Bush
administration was easy for him. Whatever position the Bush
Administration took, he would take the opposite and see his
domestic poll numbers increase. Sarcastically, Zapatero said
"for that I will always be grateful to the Bush
Administration." Now, however, Spain, and Europe in general,
want a change in the relationship with the United States.
Europe is a group of countries that the United States can
trust. We share the same general outlook and, to a great
extent, the same strategic interests. Europe wants to see a
United States that shares decision making on global issues
and listens to everyone, rather than pushing a single
dogmatic view as with the Bush administration. Europe is the
world's greatest debating club which--despite numerous
cultures, 27 countries, and 20 languages--can still reach
consensus. Were Europeans to be a little bolder, they would
have a great impact on world affairs. Now Europeans want to

contribute to reinvigorated U.S. leadership by helping to
contribute the best ideas and principles to help solve global
challenges.

8. (C) Vice President Biden said that for eight years the
doctrine of "my way or the high way" had been ascendant in
American foreign policy and that he had long spoken against
this in the Senate. In his recent speeches at the Munich
Security Conference and at the North Atlantic Council he had
been a consistent proponent of collaboration and consensus
building. However, consensus building can have the drawback
of leading to the lowest common denominator. Working
together, Europe and the United States must reach agreement,
then implement plans and enforce the rules of the road.
Despite being an ardent Atlanticist, Vice President Biden
noted that Europe has been reluctant to act to enforce the
rules to which Europeans have ascribed. The Obama
administration brings good news and bad news for Europeans.
Unlike the Bush administration, the Obama administration will
genuinely consult and listen to its European partners.
However, once a decision is reached, the Obama administration
will be more aggressive in asking Europeans to follow through
on its commitments.

9. (C) Vice President Biden said regular Americans in places
like Peoria and Albuquerque do not like being a superpower,
they want others, such as Europe to help lead. When the idea
of a European military force separate from the NATO command
structure emerged, many in the Bush administration railed
against it. However, Vice President Biden said he had been
supportive of the idea and did not view it as a threat. In a
light moment, when Zapatero said that the European Defense
Force would happen, Vice President Biden extended his hand
and said "I bet it won't." Vice President Biden said we
view the U.S.-European relationship as an axis of world
stability and we need to work together to strengthen it.

------
Kosovo
------

10. (C) Vice President Biden said that we want to genuinely
collaborate with Spain, but changing a relationship was
difficult, and required reciprocal changes. For example,
when Spain unilaterally withdrew its mission to Kosovo, we
would have appreciated advanced warning and collaboration.
The decision is a sovereign one for Spain to make and one
that the United States respects, but we should discuss it in
advance.

11. (C) Zapatero responded that there must have been a
misunderstanding. Spain made the decision to withdraw a year
ago and could not maintain participation in the mission once
Kosovo declared its independence and was recognized by
numerous nations. Spain is a fractious country with Basque
(ETA) terrorist organization that has killed over 900
Spaniards in an effort to split from Spain. Any hint that
the Spanish government would support the dissolution of a
country into regional components would be sensitive
politically and could embolden separatists. Therefore, Spain
could not continue to support a mission to Kosovo. However,
Zapatero allowed, Spain could have conducted more
comprehensive consultations with the United States ahead of
its withdrawal.

12. (U) The Office of the Vice President has cleared this
message.
SIMONS