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NATO Head Calls on Allies to Increase Defense Spend, Russia Ties

Defense News reports that “in a confident appearance at a debate organized by the German Marshall Fund think tank on Tuesday, new NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg spoke about his aims to persuade NATO countries to boost defense spending and to build a constructive relationship with Russia.”  

“’There is no contradiction between being pro-collective defense and a strong NATO and pro-engagement with Russia. We need a strong defense to be engaged with Russia. NATO and Russia are here to stay. We’ll have a relationship with Russia. The question is not whether, but what kind of relationship,’ he said. ‘A strong alliance and increasing defense spending in real terms create the fundamentals for relating to Russia in a cooperative way.’”  

“’In the past, we [NATO and Russia] looked at each other with suspicion, relied on deterrence, and talked to avoid misunderstandings and escalation. We can see echoes of that now,’ he warned. ‘The alternative is a relationship based on the rule of law and not the law of the strongest, on common interests and not illusions.” Here, he put the ball firmly in Russia’s court, saying: “To get there, Russia would need to want it and make clear steps to make it possible.’”

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