Rep. Malinowski Remarks on Co-sponsoring HR 676, a Bill that Would Prevent US Withdrawal from NATO

January 22, 2019
Press Release

It's crazy that we have to be introducing this bill. But it is, unfortunately, both necessary and urgent, for three reasons.

I believe it's necessary, first of all, because NATO is so important to our security. No alliance in history has done more to prevent war, and no alliance is more rooted in the values America champions, than NATO. Ever since the end of the Cold War, it has been our paramount interest in Europe to strengthen NATO and to extend it -- an effort I was part of when I served in the State Department and the NSC in two administrations. By the same token, it has been Russia's paramount goal to weaken and divide NATO. If we were to do anything to weaken or divide it ourselves, or, God forbid, to leave it, we'd be doing our enemies' work for them. 

The second reason I believe it's necessary is that I take the president of the United States seriously. President Trump has made no secret of his disdain for NATO and his willingness to consider leaving it. He's been consistent from the earliest days of the campaign through the first two years of his presidency. It's part of his world view. His approach to the world seems to be the opposite of John F. Kennedy's: We will pay no price, bear no burden, meet no hardship, support no friend, oppose no foe, unless someone pays us to do it. And if NATO allies don't pay us to protect them, he doesn't see the point of NATO. The blood of their soldiers spilled alongside ours in every conflict we've waged since World War II does not seem to count.

The final reason this bill is necessary is that Congress is now the only check we have. In his first two years, the president was surrounded by advisers like Generals Mattis, McMaster and Kelly, Ambassador Haley, even Secretary Tillerson, who pushed back when he suggested abandoning America's commitments around the world, or siding with our foes over our friends. They're all gone now. We're all that's left. It is urgent and essential that the Congress play its constitutional role, and take this action, especially with the 70th anniversary NATO summit coming up in Washington in April. In these unsettled times, we have to be an alternative voice for America in the world.