NATO has Shaped World History for the Better
‘I am proud the Secretary General could be here with us in Washington as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization celebrates its 70th anniversary this week… This proud history of alliance and solidarity has paid huge dividends to NATO’s member states and to the world. NATO, with American leadership, kept the peace and created the conditions for an unprecedented period of prosperity for the United States and its allies.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s remarks at this morning’s joint session of Congress:
“First, I want to take a moment to thank NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg or his remarks at this morning’s joint session of Congress. I am proud the Secretary General could be here with us in Washington as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization celebrates its 70th anniversary this week. It’s no exaggeration to say that over those seven decades, with steady American leadership, NATO shaped world history for the better.
“This proud history of alliance and solidarity has paid huge dividends to NATO’s member states and to the world. NATO, with American leadership, kept the peace and created the conditions for an unprecedented period of prosperity for the United States and its allies. It has deterred major Soviet and Russian aggression, preventing a third World War. When communism’s iron curtain fell over much of the world, we stood together for democracy.
“When the post-Cold War transformation could have roiled Eastern and Central Europe, we stood together for stability. When brutal killers trampled human rights in the Balkans, we stood together for innocent lives. And when terrorist fanatics killed thousands of Americans on September 11th, we stood together for freedom. NATO allies remain with our troops in Afghanistan to this very day.
“It’s essential that we keep the alliance healthy and strong. The threats we face are numerous. Not least among them – in a kind of ‘throwback’ to the alliance’s founding – is an assertive Russia that has barely even pretended to honor international commitments, brazenly violated arms control agreements, invaded and occupied Ukraine and Georgia, and conducted cyber operations and so-called active measures against NATO allies. As President Trump has made clear, keeping NATO strong means all allies must commit to NATO’s collective security. For our own part, after years of President Obama’s defense cuts, the United States has turned the corner on defense spending, investing more in readiness and modernization.
“We need to sustain that progress. But of course NATO allies must live up to their promises to invest in their own defense. This isn’t about meeting an arbitrary budget number, but about building real capabilities that are needed to meet real requirements identified by the alliance’s military commanders. And, as the Secretary General has pointed out, our allies are starting to follow our lead. They’re on track to contribute an additional hundred billion in defense spending.
“There are also other ways NATO must adapt to meet the threats of the 21st century. It is essential the alliance follow through on the reforms championed by former Secretary Mattis. NATO must modernize its capabilities, address interoperability challenges, enhance military mobility across the Continent, and improve the speed at which it makes decisions. But for today, I just want to thank the Secretary General for his address this morning. Every American should be proud of what his presence in this Capitol building represents about our nation’s vital role in NATO, and NATO’s vital role in the world.”
Related Issues: War on Terror, America's Military, National Security, Russia