U.S. President Joe Biden voiced a strong commitment to European security at a NATO summit on Monday, describing the alliance’s collective defense clause as a “sacred obligation.”
“NATO is critically important for U.S. interests in and of itself. If there weren’t one, we’d have to invent one,” Biden, on his first overseas trip as U.S. president, said at a meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels.
“I just want all of Europe to know that the United States is there,” said Biden, speaking shortly before he and Stoltenberg joined other NATO leaders for a meeting of the alliance’s North Atlantic Council.
Biden’s full-throated support for NATO and European security offered a marked contrast to his predecessor, Donald Trump, whose criticism of the alliance left many members wondering whether they could rely on the United States.
“Article 5 we take as a sacred obligation,” said Biden, referring to NATO’s collective defense pact.
Biden cited Russia and China among challenges facing the alliance.
He also touched upon defense spending among allies, the subject of frequent haranguing by Trump who complained other NATO members were not investing enough in their militaries. But Biden’s tone was quite different: He said some members have already hit their targets and “others are on the way.”
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