NATO on Trial at the New Heritage Foundation
State of the Union: The scene at the address from NATO’s secretary general, in front of a skeptical audience at the Heritage, demonstrated the headwinds for the cause of open-ended war.
On January 31, the Heritage Foundation hosted an event called “NATO Secretary General on Modern Needs of the Alliance 75 Years After Its Founding.” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was present to deliver a message on how NATO is a vital security organization for not just the United States, but the world.
Dr. Kevin Roberts, the president of the Heritage Foundation, opened the event with a short speech to contextualize Stoltenberg’s upcoming remarks: “It’s time for our NATO allies to step up to the plate so that NATO, this great and noble organization of security and peace, can flourish.”
He emphasized the need to address the “elephant in the room,” Ukraine. Roberts said that the United States should never put a foreign border ahead of its own, and that endlessly funding the war in Ukraine was not feasible, especially if U.S. military funding continues to not be matched by NATO European nations. “Our constitutional and moral obligations,” he said, “compel us to prioritize the interests of the American people.”
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, a former prime minister of Norway, began his own speech by stressing that “these are dangerous times,” highlighting Russia and China as significant threats to international security. He claimed that China poses itself as the most serious long-term challenge to global peace, as the communist nation seeks to dominate and bully their neighbors and enemies. Nevertheless, Russia, Stoltenberg said, is the “most immediate threat” to the United States and its allies.
Part of combating Putin’s desire to expand Russia’s “sphere of influence” is, according to Stoltenberg, a continued collective effort to support Ukraine to the end of the line. He said,
We need to remain decisive and strong in our defense and support of Ukraine. Make no mistake—that is where we are being tested right now. Ukraine must prevail, and it can, but it needs our continued help.
He added, “Supporting Ukraine is not charity. It is an investment in our own security…. Supporting Ukraine is in America’s own interest.”
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He finished his speech by declaring that, “NATO is an incredibly powerful idea that advances U.S. interests and multiplies America’s power…. NATO makes the U.S. stronger and all of us safer.”
Of course, it is to be expected that the secretary general of NATO would defend the organization he works for, but the online audience for the talk especially did not seem to take his comments lightly. “NATO and the US are the aggressors. This warmongering idiot is talking rubbish,” one user wrote in the Live Chat. “Nobody wants to fight in your wars anymore,” said another. “NATO can go straight to hell and take the WHO, UN, and their masters in Davos right with them!”
There seems to be a breakdown of communication between NATO and the taxpayers who so disproportionately support it. Stoltenberg’s comments and the crowd’s response show little movement toward an accommodation.