Secretary General in Washington: through NATO, the US has more friends and allies than any other power

  • 31 Jan. 2024 -
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  • Last updated: 31 Jan. 2024 17:11

On Wednesday (31 January 2024), Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg delivered a speech at the Heritage Foundation in Washington D.C. He emphasised that in a world with rising security threats, NATO Allies must ensure robust deterrence, prepare for enduring competition with China, and invest more in defence.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC

Mr Stoltenberg underlined that NATO has implemented the “most robust collective defence since the Cold War,” with more forces at higher readiness and more capabilities to protect citizens and Allied territory, “not to start wars, but to prevent them”. On support to Ukraine, the Secretary General stressed that Allies “need to remain decisive and strong.” “Ukraine must prevail and it can, but it needs our continued help.” The Secretary General warned that “if we cannot stop Russia’s cycle of aggression in Europe, others will learn the lesson that using force against America’s interests works”.

On China, the Secretary General outlined the importance of eliminating “harmful dependencies on critical China raw materials and products.” Drawing the parallel with European reliance on Russian oil and gas, Mr Stoltenberg added “dependencies make us vulnerable.” The Secretary General reiterated “through NATO, the US has the support of 31 Allies and a vast network of partners.” The Alliance is working more closely with partners to make national forces more interoperable and increase cooperation on issues of shared interest, including China.

Lastly, Mr Stoltenberg pointed to the importance of increased defence investment to keep the Alliance strong. The Secretary General welcomed increased spending from all Allies, “adding an additional 450 billion dollars.” Allies recently have agreed to purchase 120 billion dollars’ worth of weapons from U.S. defence companies. “What Allies buy keeps American businesses strong. So NATO is a good deal for the United States,” said Mr Stoltenberg. Looking forward to July, the Secretary General underscored the Washington Summit “will be an opportunity to send a powerful message of unity and resolve in this challenging century.”

Later today, the Secretary General will travel to Troy, Alabama to visit the Missiles and Fire Control Facility of Lockheed Martin. He will conclude his trip by visiting the headquarters of the US Special Operations Command in Tampa, Florida.