Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Support quality journalism
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
The Globe and Mail
Support quality journalism
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Globe and Mail website displayed on various devices
Just$1.99
per week
for the first 24 weeks

var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){console.log("scroll");var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1);

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg addresses a joint meeting of Congress as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) look on in the House Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 3, 2019.

CARLOS BARRIA/Reuters

The head of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization warned the U.S. Congress on Wednesday of the threat posed by “a more assertive Russia,” including a massive military buildup, threats to sovereign states, the use of nerve agents and cyberattacks.

“We must overcome our differences now because we will need our alliance even more in the future. We face unprecedented challenges – challenges no one nation can face alone,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said.

Saying “time is running out,” Stoltenberg also called on Russia to return to compliance with the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, from which U.S. President Donald Trump plans to withdraw the United States this summer.

Story continues below advertisement

“NATO has no intention of deploying land-based nuclear missiles in Europe,” Stoltenberg said. “But NATO will always take the necessary steps to provide credible and effective deterrence.”

In an interview later with Reuters, Stoltenberg did not elaborate on what those steps would be, saying NATO was looking into a wide range of options including arms control initiatives.

Stoltenberg delivered an impassioned defense of the partnership he called “the most successful alliance in history,” which has often been derided by Trump since he took office in 2017.

Members of Congress, who greeted Stoltenberg with repeated cheers and standing ovations, said they viewed his address to the joint meeting of the House of Representatives and Senate as a chance to reaffirm the American commitment to the NATO alliance despite Trump’s mixed signals.

Congress’ invitation to Stoltenberg to speak as the alliance celebrates its 70th anniversary in Washington was widely seen as a message to Trump about strong bipartisan support for NATO.

’GOOD FOR THE UNITED STATES’

The U.S. president has ruffled feathers among European allies by repeatedly saying NATO nations need to spend more on their militaries and ease the burden on the United States.

Earlier this year, before inviting Stoltenberg to Congress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a delegation of her fellow Democrats to Brussels, where they sought to reassure European allies that differences over Trump’s policies were mere “family squabbles” and that transatlantic ties remained strong.

Story continues below advertisement

Members of Congress have also introduced legislation expressing support for NATO or seeking to keep any president from withdrawing from the alliance without lawmakers’ approval.

Later on Wednesday, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence singled out Germany as not paying enough into NATO and criticized its decision to proceed with building the Russian-backed Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

“We cannot ensure the defense of the West if our allies grow dependent on Russia,” Pence said at a NATO event in Washington.

He also criticized Turkey’s pursuit of a Russian missile system that Washington sees as a threat to U.S. and NATO military security.

Stoltenberg met on Tuesday with Trump, who said NATO members had made progress on sharing the cost burden but suggested the allies may need to boost their budgets even more.

Stoltenberg said NATO member countries are adding billions to their defense spending – $41 billion in the last two years. He expects that figure to rise to $100 billion next year.

Story continues below advertisement

“This is making NATO stronger,” he said. “This is good for Europe, and it is good for America.”

Stoltenberg, the first leader of an international organization to be invited to address a joint meeting of Congress, said NATO has been good for both Europe and the United States.

“The strength of a nation is not only measured by the size of its economy or the number of its soldiers, but also by the number of its friends,” he said. “And through NATO the United States has more friends and allies than any other power. This has made the United States stronger, safer and more secure.”

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies