Senators Dan Sullivan (R., Alaska) and Tammy Duckworth (D., Ill.) said on Meet the Press Sunday that they think NATO expansion into Asia is inevitable over the next decades.
The program’s anchor, Chuck Todd, noted that the communiqué that was produced in the 2023 NATO summit in Vilnius had more than a dozen mentions of China, while last year’s communiqué produced in Madrid had only one. Additionally, the leaders of Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and the Republic of Korea all joined the NATO leaders in Vilnius as a sign of growing cooperation.
Responding to a question posed by Todd, Sullivan said he thinks NATO expansion is inevitable, adding: “I think it was a positive summit. I think there was a lot of progress. It wasn’t just the mention of China several times — almost 20 times in my count — but Chuck, you probably saw the leaders who were there . . . the prime minister of Japan, prime minister of Australia, the president of Korea.”
“Our Senate delegation had the opportunity to meet with those leaders, and I think that was a really strong signal with regard to NATO,” Sullivan added.
Duckworth agreed with Sullivan and said, “It already has started . . . with our successful AUKUS agreement between the UK, Australia, and the United States.”
“I travel extensively throughout the Indo-Pacific, and I will tell you, our Asian allies are looking very closely to what has happened with Ukraine and realize that there is a greater need to participate themselves in NATO as well as NATO allies coming back into the Indo-Pacific region,” Duckworth said.
Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has not only expanded NATO by pushing countries such as Finland and Sweden to join, said Duckworth, but “he’s actually strengthened the resolve of countries like Japan and Korea and Taiwan.”
“He’s in fact united the world in a way against what he’s doing there,” Duckworth said.
When asked to characterize Joe Biden’s presidency with respect to NATO, Sullivan had a mixed assessment: “I give President Biden credit for keeping the unity, revitalizing Nato [by] setting out the framework for this war of aggression, which was we’re going to provide significant military assets and intelligence, but we’re not going to commit U.S. troops.”
However, he also argued that Biden has been to slow to give Ukrainians the weapons systems they need. Sullivan has been pushing for the transfer of F-16s to Ukraine for a long time, but the Biden administration, he noted, has started the ball rolling on that only very recently.
Additionally, Sullivan criticized the White House and House Republicans for agreeing on a deal that does not increase defense spending enough when one considers inflation.
“The current budget shrinks the Army, shrinks the Navy, shrinks the Marine Corps. That’s the wrong message to send,” he said.
Source : National Review