NATO Secretary General Pitches US On Need For European Support To Counter China In Talk At Heritage Foundation

Micaela Burrow / Daily Caller News Foundation

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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said NATO is an essential player in America’s bid to outpace China’s global threat in a speech at the conservative Heritage Foundation on Wednesday.

In opening remarks at the event, Heritage President Kevin Roberts argued that support for Ukraine shouldn’t come at the expense of U.S. border security. Stoltenberg countered that by underscoring NATO’s importance to the United States in winning the greatest challenges since the Cold War.

Stoltenberg is on a tour of the United States to rally support for the Biden Administration’s requested $60 billion in funding to support Ukraine’s resistance to the Russian invasion. The funding is currently stalled due to a Republican feud with the Biden Administration over border policy.

“The China challenge is not something the U.S. can do alone. And you don’t have to, through NATO,” Stoltenberg said. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Terrorist Caught Illegally Crossing The Border Was Allowed To Roam Free For Nearly A Year, Memo Says)

The Biden Administration holds China as the most significant long-term challenge to U.S. security and ability to operate globally, while arguing Russia presents a major near-term challenge.

NATO has thrown its weight behind supporting Ukraine, which is not a NATO member, in an effort to quash Russia’s resurgent threat to the alliance.

As of Oct. 31, the Biden Administration had committed more than $44 billion in security assistance to Ukraine on top of $27 billion in economic and humanitarian aid, according to the Ukraine Support Tracker. Following Ukraine’s failed counteroffensive, however, some conservatives, including Heritage’s president, have doubled down on their skepticism regarding continued U.S. support.

“Heritage strongly supports the NATO Alliance and its mission,” Roberts said. But a few sentences later, he added, “We will not support further funding for Ukraine unless it is military only, matched efficiently by European nations, is transparent and accountable and follows a clearly articulated strategy for victory,” Roberts said.

His comments follow former President Donald Trump’s statements at a Las Vegas rally expressing his belief that NATO’s European members would not come to America’s aid if it were attacked. Although NATO countries boosted spending levels under his presidency and since the Russian invasion, a couple of major players lag conspicuously behind, data shows.

Stoltenberg argued that China mounts an equally significant threat to the whole NATO alliance, although NATO is not meant to counter China. China presents a global challenge, leveraging power in supply chains and technology that directly influence Europe.

“We are not a global alliance, but we must work with global partners,” Stoltenberg said.

Dependence on China for critical infrastructure — like ports and railways — strategic materials and 5G telecommunications, among other things, makes Europe vulnerable. Europe cannot make the same mistake with China that it made with Russia, when it passed off reliance on Russian natural gas as a commercial problem with no impact on national security, Stoltenberg said.

“Under President Trump and since then, NATO has gone a long way in helping European allies fully appreciate the challenges posted by China and respond to it,” he said.

Stoltenberg met with House and Senate leaders from both parties on Tuesday and will visit a Javelin weapon’s factory in Alabama later Wednesday, he said.

“The United States must balance these threats and does not have the luxury of ignoring the Pacific, let alone the Middle East, to focus exclusively on the Atlantic,” Roberts said in his opening remarks.

“We don’t have the luxury of saying we will only talk about China or we will only talk about Russia. This is one part of the challenge,” Stoltenberg said later during the question-and answer portion with Victoria Coates, a former Trump Administration national security advisor.

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