With increasing challenges from China and Russia, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg cautioned that a strong alliance among member countries is more “vital than ever.”
In an interview with Margaret Brennan during an Atlantic Council event, he said, “What we’ve seen is Russia and China are moving nearer and nearer.” They train together, they work together, and they are more united in their support than the United Nations.
"We are ready to engage in political dialogue, but we're also ready to respond if Russia chooses and armed conflict, confrontation. So we are ready for both options."
– #NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberghttps://t.co/on5uzROtqD via @CBSPolitics
— NATO ACT (@NATO_ACT) January 30, 2022
His remarks continued, “They are cracking down on democratic criticism in their jurisdictions. We, the people who believe in the rule of law, democracy, and freedom of the press, must band together to defend these ideals.”
NATO, the Strength of Russia and China
As NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stated, the alliance is critical for European security and a wellspring of global stability.
The NATO secretary-general noted the United States and its 29 other member countries collectively constitute 50 percent of the world’s economic strength and military capability, a strength required to compete with superpowers such as China and Russia.
While Russia’s military capabilities are comparable to those of the United States, the sheer quantity of China’s population, 1.4 billion people, as opposed to the United States having around 330 million people, contributes to the countries’ capabilities.
China is on its way to becoming the world’s largest economy, surpassing the United States.
They already have the highest defense spending budget in the world. They are at the forefront of numerous technologies, including portions of A.I. and aspects of quantum mechanics; they will also have the largest fleet in the world when they are finished with it.
NATO’s founding premise of “one for all, all for one,” according to the secretary-general, helped to make the post-World War II coalition the “strongest alliance in history.”
However, even though NATO can raise a military force of around 3.5 million soldiers and civilian employees, the alliance has come under fire for refusing to rely on this force posture to dissuade Russia from invading Ukrainian territory.
Both NATO and the United States declined to send soldiers to Ukraine because the country is not a member of either organization. Nonetheless, an expanded force presence has been formed in the adjacent Baltic countries as a preventative measure.
“We need to make it clear that if Russia does what it did to Georgia in 2008 and then to Ukraine in 2014, then the whole Alliance will respond” – NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told Russian media today. #StandWithUkraine #Georgia pic.twitter.com/PoPCvVDxRa
— Nodar Rukhadze (@xonoda) January 29, 2022
Nations such as the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada have given extra military supplies and defensive weapons to Ukraine to assist the country in defending itself against a potential Russian invasion.
As part of that assistance, NATO also pledged to strengthen Ukraine’s cyber defenses. It vowed to slam Russia with crushing penalties if it violates Kyiv’s territorial integrity in the future.
The United States and NATO have declared they are awaiting Russia’s choice to pursue a diplomatic solution or engage in belligerent measures.
Stoltenberg said in a statement on Friday, “we are prepared to engage in political conversation with Russia, but we are also prepared to respond militarily if Russia chooses to engage in a confrontation.”