‘It’s Not A Hypothetical!’: Ned Price Called Out By Reporter For Refusal To Talk NATO Expansion

(Screenshot/State Department)

Dylan Housman Deputy News Editor
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State Department spokesman Ned Price was called out by a reporter during a press briefing Thursday for his refusal to be transparent about American plans for NATO expansion.

Price was asked by the Associated Press’ Matt Lee how the United States would support Sweden, and potentially Finland, in the event that the two countries apply for NATO membership. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde on Wednesday and discussed NATO’s open-door policy, and the two Scandinavian countries reportedly have intentions to seek NATO membership.

Price didn’t provide specifics about whether the U.S. would guarantee those two countries’ security if they apply for membership and repeatedly referred to the question as a “hypothetical” that didn’t need to be addressed yet.

“Obviously they haven’t yet applied for it, but it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion,” Lee replied. “So the idea that it’s a hypothetical question, in the realm of hypothetical questions, it’s less of a hypothetical than … some very very tiny country launching a lunar expedition. This is something that is clearly going to happen.”

“This will remain a hypothetical until it’s not a hypothetical,” Price reiterated. He said that neither country has put forward a “firm intention” to seek NATO membership.

Lee continued to press on the word “hypothetical,” pointing out that many observers see it as a foregone conclusion that the two countries will apply to join the alliance.

“It’s right now 2:14 p.m., it’s also a hypothetical that it’s going to be 2:15 p.m.,” Lee argued. “You obviously are making plans for this very likely eventuality, so you’re just not prepared to discuss what those are?”

“You are putting this in terms that are more certain that what we’ve heard from our Finnish and Swedish partners,” Price replied.

Some experts have worried that Russia could threaten military action against Finland and Sweden if they apply to join NATO, but before they are accepted and are guaranteed protection by the alliance. Price said the U.S. does not have intelligence indicating Russia will attack Finland or Sweden if they apply for NATO membership.

Price was asked a follow-up question by another reporter, and referred back to Lee as he began to answer it, prompting the AP reporter to shout an interjection.

“This goes back to Matt’s hypothetical,” Price began before being cut off. (RELATED: Biden Spokesman Ned Price Defends Hypocrisy On War Crime Investigations Because The US Can Investigate Itself)

“It’s not a hypothetical, you just said that they discussed it!” Lee shouted, before beginning to chuckle at Price’s commitment to his talking point.

Price said Blinken and Linde discussed NATO’s open-door policy and “various possibilities” before switching to another subject.