NEW YORK (Nettavisen): A recent survey published in Politico is very good news for NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, and shows that NATO now has a historically high level of support among the Americans.
As many as four out of five of those questioned now believe that the US should either maintain or increase its commitments to NATO, while fully 73 percent of those questioned also want to give Ukraine NATO membership.
– Dangerous time
Stoltenberg says he is very happy about the American support, just a few years after President Donald Trump threatened to leave the alliance.
– This confirms the picture we also see in Europe, namely that there is strong and growing support for NATO, and that is because we live in an uncertain and more dangerous time. And then it is obvious that we must stand together. The US also benefits from a strong NATO, no other major power has 29 friendly allies like the US has in NATO. And I am also happy that they have a strong cross-party support for NATO in the USA, and that was also something that was clearly expressed when both Republicans and Democrats invited me to speak in Congress in 2019, says Stoltenberg to Nettavisen outside the UN building in New York City.
– It just shows that Nato has always been important, but it is clear that in a more dangerous time, it becomes even more obvious that we need to stand together.
Also NATO’s own investigationfrom before the summit in June, shows that Nato now has a record turnout.
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– Putin does not succeed
– To what extent do you think Putin will be able to succeed in creating discord within Europe and NATO in the long term with his ongoing hybrid warfare?
– I don’t think he will succeed. The brutal measures and the fact that he is now using gas as a weapon, energy as a weapon, it imposes costs on us, and it means that millions of people in Europe have to pay higher electricity bills and many are hit hard.
– We see it in Norway, but we see it to a much greater extent in many other NATO countries. And it is painful for many, but at the same time we do not see any tendency for NATO countries to back down in terms of giving their support to Ukraine, quite the opposite. The support is stepped up, says Stoltenberg.
– And that is because people understand that it is dangerous for us if Putin wins. And this is about Ukraine’s security, but also our security. And we are now paying a high price in European NATO countries in the form of increased price increases and increased energy prices. But Ukraine pays a price that is not measured in kroner or øre, but in human lives lost.
– So unfortunately it is the case that we have to stand by it, because the alternative would be to pay an even higher price in the form of increased uncertainty and increased risk of war, says Stoltenberg to Nettavisen.
Criticizes Listhaug for “Putin tactics”
– Putin has succeeded in one thing: uniting NATO and strengthening agreement on US commitments in NATO. I don’t think any future president, not even a Republican, will change our commitments to NATO and Norway, said the new US ambassador to Norway, Marc Nathanson, last week. Does Stoltenberg share that opinion?
– I am very confident that the US will stand by its NATO commitments, regardless of who is elected president at the next presidential election.
– And that even applies to a possible Donald Trump in a comeback?
– You have to remember that even under President Trump there was disagreement on many issues, for example the Iran agreement, the climate agreement, the distribution of burdens within NATO and defense spending. But the US increased its military presence in Europe and the US Congress also expressed massive unanimous support for NATO, and they also invited me to address the Congress. So yes, there was a lot of disagreement and a lot of questions when Trump was president, but there was also strong cross-party support for NATO in the US.
– Do you fear that Nato secrets were found at Donald Trump’s home in connection with the search by the FBI.
– I do not want to go into that, what type of documents these are, this is now an internal American process, so I therefore have nothing more to say about it.
Washington Post wrote last week that the US Department of Justice, in a subpoena to Trump dated May 22 this year, was also looking for NATO documents marked S/NATO – which stands for «NATO-classified intelligence»at Trump’s home.
– I will not go into what type of documents. There is an extensive legal process going on here, and it should take its course without me getting into it.
– Is the seizure something that worries the NATO leadership?
– Again, no matter how this question is asked, I will leave this to the American authorities, says Stoltenberg to Nettavisen.