Hailing NATO, Pompeo urges alliance to counter new threats

Jens Stoltenberg and Mike Pompeo standing at one side of group, speaking closely (© Francisco Seco/AP Images)
U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, center, talks to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg after a group photo with NATO foreign ministers in Brussels November 20. (© Francisco Seco/AP Images)

U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to a strong North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). He called on the 70-year-old alliance to increase defense investment and to adapt to face emerging security challenges such as terrorism, cyber threats and threats to energy security.

Speaking at NATO’s Foreign Ministerial meeting in Brussels November 20, Pompeo hailed the fall of the Berlin Wall 30 years ago as a triumph of NATO nations’ values over authoritarianism. But he warned that new threats have emerged, and the alliance must be ready to face an increasingly challenging security environment through close coordination.

“Thirty years later, we again face threats from authoritarian regimes, and again we must face them together,” Pompeo told ministers from 29 member-nations. “Russia, China, Iran — their value systems are simply very different from ours. They go in an opposite direction.”

Pompeo also told NATO representatives that there remains a risk of terrorist attacks from the remnants of the Islamic State and other groups, despite the destruction of the ISIS caliphate in March and the killing of leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in October.

But NATO has already begun to take needed steps, he said. Pompeo gave credit to allies for adding $100 billion in new defense spending by the end of 2020.

“NATO is indeed the most critical strategic partnership in recorded history,” Pompeo said. “We’re committed to working with our NATO partners to build a strong, stable, prosperous alliance, a free Europe, and a free world that benefits all of our people.”