Stoltenberg to Macron: NATO’s Not Dead Yet

The NATO secretary-general shoots back at the French president, praising the U.S. commitment to the organization and warning of a divided Europe

In an interview with the Economist out this week, French President Emmanuel Macron had a stark warning about the future of trans-Atlantic cooperation: “What we are currently experiencing,” he'); return false;" target="">told the magazine, “is the brain death of NATO,” thanks to the United States’ waning commitment to the organization. He called, instead, for more pan-European unity.

In a speech on Nov. 7, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg shot back, declaring before an audience in Germany that “any attempt to distance Europe from North America will not only weaken the trans-Atlantic alliance, it is also risking dividing Europe itself. European unity cannot replace trans-Atlantic unity.”

The transcript of Stoltenberg’s remarks is below.

… Standing in the vibrant city of Berlin today, it is hard to imagine how different the world looked just a generation ago.

A city divided. A country torn in two. A continent frozen in the depths of a Cold War.

So, therefore, it is even more important to remember the bravery of countless men and women, in East Germany and across Central and Eastern Europe, who stood up against oppression and fear.

Germany understands better than most of the other countries in our part of the world the value of freedom and democracy. And Germany’s history shows the importance of a strong bond between Europe and North America.

Our trans-Atlantic alliance was created in 1949 as a “shield against aggression,” founded on our solemn pledge to protect and defend each other. One for all and all for one.

In 1955, NATO extended this pledge to West Germany. A remarkable gesture of trust, so soon after the end of the Second World War—offering a former adversary a stake in our shared security. Not to repeat the mistakes of the past, but committing to build a unique area of peace and prosperity, together.

Because NATO has always been much more than a military alliance. It is a political alliance, an unprecedented promise to preserve peace, prevent conflict, and uphold our values. This is true multilateralism. Germany has for decades been firmly anchored in our trans-Atlantic alliance, which has created the framework for this country’s security policy at every critical juncture. From Chancellor [Konrad] Adenauer’s Westbindung to Chancellor [Willy] Brandt’s Ostpolitik. And eventually paving the way for Chancellor [Helmut] Kohl to reunite Germany and deepen European integration.

This story of reconciliation is reflected in so many families, including my own. My grandfather was a prisoner of war who became a friend of Germany. My father served in the Norwegian Brigade in 1950 in Schleswig-Holstein. And he became a great admirer of Germany. And I am proud to continue this family tradition.