Stoltenberg not directly addressed President Donald Trump’s criticism of NATO and his push for an “America First” unilateral method to the world from the beginning of the speech after which broadened it to the touch on commerce and financial relations, one other level of pressure between the Trump administration and Europe.
“Once we stand collectively, we’re stronger than any potential challenger — economically, politically and militarily,” mentioned Stoltenberg, the primary NATO chief to deal with a joint assembly of Congress.
“We want this collective energy, as a result of we are going to face new threats,” Stoltenberg mentioned. “We want a method to cope with uncertainty. We have now one. That technique is NATO.”
“Questions are being requested on each side of the Atlantic concerning the energy of our partnership. And sure, there are variations,” the NATO chief acknowledged, itemizing local weather change, commerce and the Iran nuclear deal. “Open dialogue and completely different views isn’t an indication of weak point. It’s a signal of energy.”
‘Most troublesome downside’
“Trump is regarded extensively in NATO capitals because the Alliance’s most pressing, and sometimes most troublesome, downside,” mentioned the February report by Harvard’s Belfer Heart for Science and Worldwide Affairs and its Kennedy Faculty based mostly on interviews with present European and North American leaders, former senior officers, teachers and journalists.
The report notes “Trump’s open ambivalence about NATO’s worth to the US, his public questioning of America’s Article 5 dedication” which mandates that members come to the protection of any nation within the alliance that is been attacked, in addition to his “persistent criticism of Europe’s democratic leaders and embrace of its anti-democratic members and continued weak point in failing to confront NATO’s major adversary President Vladimir Putin of Russia.”
All these components, wrote the Harvard examine’s authors, Nicholas Burns, a former Undersecretary of State appointed by President George W. Bush, and Douglas Lute, a former US ambassador to NATO from 2013 to 2017, “have hurtled the Alliance into its most worrisome disaster in reminiscence.”
The NATO chief threaded his 39-minute handle, which was repeatedly interrupted by applause, with references to shared sacrifices of blood and treasure. He famous that whereas there have been moments of deep disagreement throughout the alliance earlier than — Stoltenberg cited the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 — “the energy of our alliance is that we have been capable of unite round maintaining our folks protected.”
“We have now overcome our disagreements prior to now and we should overcome our variations now, as a result of we are going to want our Alliance much more sooner or later,” Stoltenberg mentioned.
CNN’s Michael Conte contributed to this report.