Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) said in advance of this month’s NATO summit in Chicago that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has “confounded its skeptics.”
Kerry’s panel held a hearing today on the future of NATO, calling it “a fundamental element of our national security, and its organization demands critical analysis in order to meet the evolving threats of our national security.”
“One thing is pretty clear about NATO – it has already confounded its skeptics,” Kerry said. “From Bosnia to Kosovo, from Afghanistan to Libya, the Alliance has demonstrated an ability to adapt to the post-Cold War security environment. Obviously we’ve had our challenges in both Afghanistan and Libya, but we have learned from them.”
Ranking Member Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) did not show up to the hearing, but asked that his comments be placed in the record.
“We need to work with our European friends – we all understand that this is a time of austerity, it’s a time of austerity for everybody – but we’re going to have to set priorities. We’re going to have to decide what is really important and what, perhaps, is less important,” Kerry said. “We have to be clear that even before the financial crisis, NATO was seriously underfunded, and as we emerge from the financial crisis, we all have to commit the resources necessary for the core security interests.”
President Obama met yesterday with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in the Oval Office in order to discuss preparations for the May 20-21 summit.
The White House said they agreed that the summit would focus on three topics: Afghanistan, defense capabilities, and partnerships.
“They discussed their expectation that allies would be in a position to announce progress on a number of key capabilities initiatives, including on missile defense,” the White House said.