Washington, D.C. – Ahead of the Warsaw Summit, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued the following statement reiterating the importance of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO):
“As leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) gather in Warsaw today, the NATO alliance is more essential than ever to U.S. and transatlantic security.
“NATO member states face a diverse set of challenges. NATO’s territorial defense mission must now contend with threats emanating from both Russia on its eastern flank and from terrorism and failed and failing states on its southern flank. The Alliance must continue to develop new tools to deter and defend against information, hybrid, and energy warfare. And NATO must continue its mission to advance and defend a community of democracies with shared values that will welcome any new members meeting its high standards.
“In the wake of the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union, the Alliance must re-affirm its role as the preeminent institution for security, stability, and prosperity in Europe. In particular, NATO frontline states and other vulnerable partners, including Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova, must be reassured that the United States and other allies will stand by them in the face of Moscow’s aggressive policies.
“This message can be sent by a strong signal from Warsaw that the Alliance is transitioning NATO’s force posture into a permanent forward defense among NATO frontline states, such as Poland and the Baltic nations. It is also important to ensure that NATO does not return to business as usual with Russia, because of its ongoing aggression against and occupation of Ukrainian territory. Economic sanctions against Russia must be kept in place and intensified and NATO engagement of Moscow – including through the NATO-Russia Council – should not occur until Russia fulfills its commitments to Ukraine and the international community.
“The Warsaw Summit will also provide an opportunity for European allies to redouble their financial and military commitments to the Alliance – from stepping up European contributions to new NATO deployments positioned in Poland and the Baltic nations to meeting NATO’s longstanding benchmark of spending at least 2% of gross domestic product on defense.
“NATO remains essential to U.S. national security and the preservation of our fundamental values. I urge President Obama to use this opportunity to reiterate to our closest allies that the United States continues to stand with them as we face shared challenges and that we continue to be thankful for the many NATO allies who have contributed to our shared defense, especially by supporting NATO’s mission in Afghanistan, with many paying the ultimate price. We must ensure that the world’s most successful military alliance continues to protect our security and helps maintain the prosperity of our citizens for generations to come.”