McConnell: Senate Must Act Swiftly on Sweden, Finland NATO Accession
‘I know from my conversations with the leaders of Finland and Sweden that they are sober about the threats we face, committed to building their own defense capabilities, and serious about their responsibilities to contribute to our collective security… [W]ith Finland and Sweden at the table, I look forward to important deliberations about the capabilities we need as an alliance and the steps we must urgently take to defend ourselves against growing threats from...adversaries.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding foreign policy:
“Yesterday, a day after the House overwhelmingly passed a resolution welcoming Finland and Sweden’s application to join NATO, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee discharged the treaty protocols required to ratify their accession, without objection.
“I’m grateful to Ranking Member Risch, Chairman Menendez, and our colleagues on the Committee for taking this swift bipartisan action.
“The Senate is now one step closer to fulfilling its role in an historic process that will further strengthen the most successful military alliance the world has ever seen.
“Bringing these strong, modern countries into NATO will not just strengthen the alliance. It will make America more secure.
“I hope the Democratic Leader will waste no time in bringing these protocols before the full Senate.
“I’ve been a strong advocate for American global leadership and our transatlantic partnerships my entire career. They’ve made possible the unprecedented era of peace and prosperity Americans have experienced in my lifetime.
“NATO is at its best when allies share the burden of our collective security. When we all have skin in the game. NATO allies recognized in 2014, after prodding by American presidents from both parties, that they needed to invest more in capabilities to keep pace with growing threats.
“During the previous Administration, current member states made progress towards this 2% pledge. Finland, for its part, already spends 2% of its GDP on defense. And Sweden has the same target in its sights.
“For years, both countries have participated actively in NATO exercises. They’ve cultivated professional fighting forces, invested in cutting-edge interoperable technologies, and built robust military-industrial bases with strong connections to our own.
“I know from my conversations with the leaders of Finland and Sweden that they are sober about the threats we face, committed to building their own defense capabilities, and serious about their responsibilities to contribute to our collective security.
“Together, they’ve set an example that many current treaty allies would do well to follow. And with Finland and Sweden at the table, I look forward to important deliberations about the capabilities we need as an alliance and the steps we must urgently take to defend ourselves against growing threats from Russia, China, and other adversaries.
“Mr. President, I know from my visits with our Swedish and Finnish friends that they hope for rapid accession to NATO. They’re ready to get to work alongside us as allies. With war raging on the European continent, I share their sense of urgency, and I urge the Democratic Leader to call up the necessary Senate votes without delay.
“But that can’t be the Senate’s last word on how America and our allies face down a dangerous world. We need to take urgent action on the National Defense Authorization Act.
“Russia is laying siege to a sovereign neighbor. China is flexing a rapidly modernizing military. And reckless pariah states like Iran and North Korea are doubling down on developing dangerous weapons.
“It’s past time to take America’s own defense requirements more seriously.”
Related Issues: Russia, Senate Democrats, China, Iran, NDAA