McConnell: U.S. and NATO Allies Must Stand Together Against Global Threats
‘I am encouraged by the progress the Alliance is making to become ‘fit for purpose.’ But more work remains to be done… The threats we face will require sustained European investments in modernizing their militaries and expanding their defense industrial bases, not merely a short-term infusion of emergency funds.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding national security:
“This week, NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg is in Washington at an important time for the trans-Atlantic alliance. The Secretary General deserves tremendous credit for his tireless efforts over nearly a decade at the helm.
“He has helped major allies wake up to growing threats from ISIS, Putin’s Russia, and the People’s Republic of China.
“He has skillfully managed disagreements among members who share values but sometimes have very different views.
“He has pressed Allies to meet their pledges to spend more on our collective defense, to modernize their militaries, and to contribute more to the collective security of the Alliance.
“I just met with Secretary General Stoltenberg this morning. I am encouraged by the progress the Alliance is making to become ‘fit for purpose.’
“But more work remains to be done.
“At the Vilnius Summit next month, I hope to see allies agree to set 2% as a floor for defense spending, not an aspiration.
“The threats we face will require sustained European investments in modernizing their militaries and expanding their defense industrial bases, not merely a short-term infusion of emergency funds.
“We will need greater coherence among NATO allies about how to confront the real and growing threat China poses to our collective security.
“And after seeing Finland join the alliance this Spring, I know the Senate hopes and expects to see Sweden become a NATO ally by the Vilnius summit.
“I believe Sweden’s leaders understand and respect Turkey’s national security interests. And I know it is in NATO’s interests to welcome this modern, high-tech economy into the Alliance.
“When Secretary General Stoltenberg spoke to a Joint Session of Congress in 2019, he reminded us of the way President Truman saw NATO’s purpose at its founding in 1949.
“‘We hope to create a shield against aggression and the fear of aggression; a bulwark which will permit us to get on with the real business of government and society; the business of achieving a fuller and happier life for all our citizens.’
“By and large, NATO has fulfilled that lofty objective.
“But we can only continue to do so if allies take seriously their obligations to invest in the hard power that has underwritten Western peace and prosperity for more than 70 years.”
Related Issues: Russia, National Security, War on Terror, NATO, China