IMAGE CREDIT: AFP / Thomas Kienzle
MUNICH — Vice President Mike Pence spoke at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, and reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to NATO, despite the rhetoric coming out of the White House, including calling NATO “obsolete.”
“Today, on behalf of President Trump, I bring you this assurance: The United States of America strongly supports NATO and will be unwavering in our commitment to this transatlantic alliance,” Pence told the crowd at the Munich Security Conference in his first trip abroad as vice president. “We have been faithful for generations — and as you keep faith with us, under President Trump we will always keep faith with you.”
This was Pence’s first international trip since the inauguration.
Pence also talked about Russia, a topic that has been in the news recently with reports of contact with Russia throughout the transition by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
“In the wake of Russian efforts to redraw international borders by force, rest assured, the United States, along with the United Kingdom, Canada, and Germany, will continue its leadership role as a framework nation in the Enhanced Forward Presence Initiative and we will support other joint critical actions to support this alliance,” Pence said. “And know this: The United States will continue to hold Russia accountable, even as we search for new common ground, which as you know, President Trump believes can be found.”
Those comments echoed a speech that UN Ambassador Nikki Haley made at the UN against Russian aggression. They are in contrast to the lack of comment about it that has come out of the White House.
Pence also talked about NATO defense spending, saying “But Europe’s defense requires your commitment as much as ours. And, to be ready if and when that day comes, in Article Three we vowed in that treaty to contribute our fair share to our common defense. The promise to share the burden of our defense has gone unfulfilled for too many for too long and it erodes the very foundation of our alliance. When even one ally fails to do their part, it undermines all of our ability to come to each other’s aid.”
Pence also met with various world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The two spoke about NATO, Ukraine, and fighting International terrorism. Pence will speak in Brussels on Sunday before returning to the Untied States early next week.