Slavish U.S. Congress Hails NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg as if He Were a War Hero
April 3, 2019 (EIRNS)—Almost as distasteful as the speech given today by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg before a joint session of the U.S. Congress, was the slavish response by those members of Congress, who greeted Stoltenberg as if he were the hero of a grand war, finally returned home. Even before Stoltenberg spoke, he was met with a standing ovation of several minutes, including cries of “hoorah” and other joyful noises. At various points during his speech, Congress members stood again to offer more ovations, and a lengthy one at the end.
This was not a speech that deserved such adoration. Much of it was taken up with platitudes about the strength of the Alliance, its historic role in combatting aggression, being the longest lasting and most successful alliance in history, responsible for creating the conditions for “peace and prosperity” throughout Europe. What? And now, more than ever, Stoltenberg insisted, the NATO alliance is needed “to defend each other, protect each other, and to keep our people safe.”
He was forced to admit that there are “serious issues and serious disagreements” within NATO, stating, however, that member nations have gotten President Trump’s message that they have to contribute more money, and bolster their own defenses. In the end, he said, NATO has always been able to unite “around our core task.... We must overcome our differences now, because we will need our Alliance even more in the future.”
Why? Because “the global balance of power is shifting.” Threats coming from cyber space, artificial intelligence, quantum computing and big data “could change the nature of conflict more fundamentally than the Industrial Revolution.”
But above all, he warned, there is “a more assertive Russia.” Stoltenberg then ran through the litany of Russia’s “crimes”—“annexation” of Crimea, a “massive military buildup from the Artic to the Mediterranean and from the Black Sea to the Baltic,” the Skripal case, support for Assad’s government in Syria; many cyber attacks on NATO allies and partners, “sophisticated disinformation campaigns,” and finally, “attempts to interfere in democracy itself.” Russia has violated the INF Treaty and deployed new missiles in Europe, he charged.
While insisting that NATO isn’t seeking to isolate Russia, Stoltenberg boasted that the alliance has embarked on “the biggest reinforcement of our collective defense in decades,” with more combat-ready troops deployed “in the east of our Alliance.” NATO has tripled the size of its Response Force and increased the readiness of its forces, while bolstering support for Georgia and Ukraine, and preparing to welcome North Macedonia as its newest member. And, he remarked, “NATO’s door is always open.”