McConnell on the NATO Accession Treaty for Montenegro
‘The Partnership for Peace, established in 1994, has given newly independent states a path towards developing capabilities that would bind them closer to the democracies of the West. It has given them something to strive for. And, through the use of Membership Action Plans, NATO is capable of setting forth the various reforms required for membership to those countries which aspire to join the alliance.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the NATO Accession Treaty for Montenegro:
“At the end of the Cold War, many wondered whether NATO could or should survive absent the glaring threat from the Soviet Union, which tied together a diverse coalition of Western countries. That Soviet threat held the alliance together through myriad issues and challenges of burden sharing, nuclear doctrine, and how to balance the roles of the European Union and a security alliance.
“The United States, as a global superpower was at times criticized for not paying enough attention to the alliance, and at other times for its heavy handed leadership. When the Berlin Wall came down, NATO was forced to evolve. At its core, the alliance is not only about defeating a common threat, but also about common values.
“When our nation was attacked on September 11th, NATO acted on September 12th and invoked Article 5 of the Washington Treaty for the first time in history — and NATO partners have worked to assist us in the War on terror since then. With Russia’s resurgence and quest for renewed great power status, NATO has given notice that it will stand up for Western democracies too — and has continued to do so.
“But let’s be clear. President Putin mourns the fall of the Soviet Union. He is intent on using all elements of national power to expand Russia’s sphere of influence. He is also threatened by the examples of representative democracies anywhere near Russia’s borders, and is accordingly trying to intimidate other nations from seeking entry into the alliance.
“The Partnership for Peace, established in 1994, has given newly independent states a path towards developing capabilities that would bind them closer to the democracies of the West. It has given them something to strive for. And, through the use of Membership Action Plans, NATO is capable of setting forth the various reforms required for membership to those countries which aspire to join the alliance. This is the path Poland took, and Romania, and the Czech Republic, and so many of our friends in Eastern Europe. Today, it’s the path Montenegro is taking.
“A positive vote on the NATO Accession Treaty before us tells those countries which complete NATO member action plans that this undertaking, while difficult, is not futile. And let us remember. We face a variety of threats in the world — from ISIL to the Syrian Civil War to China’s military buildup and territorial ambitions — and our European allies face many threats as well.
“NATO remains an incredibly valuable alliance. It is an alliance, however, that must be sustained. That’s why we ask our partners to meet their commitments to NATO by spending 2 percent of GDP on defense so the alliance can improve its capabilities. And that’s why we must meet our own commitments, including voting ‘yes’ on the Accession Treaty before the Senate today.”