WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Heritage Foundation President Kay Coles James released the following statement Wednesday in recognition of NATO’s 70th anniversary. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visited Heritage last year to discuss NATO’s influence and value in the 21st century:
“This week we proudly mark 70 years since the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Twelve founding members came together in Washington, D.C., on April 4, 1949, to sign the Washington Treaty. In the seven decades since then, NATO has made significant contributions in defense of freedom and the principles that we as Americans hold dear.
“Since its creation in 1949, NATO has done more to promote democracy, peace, economic prosperity, and security in Europe than any other multilateral organization. NATO continues to form the backbone of security and stability in Europe, and serves as the cornerstone of America’s greatest strength, our alliances with likeminded nations.
“Ravaged by two world wars and faced with the existential threat of the Soviet Union, European democracies allied with the United States and Canada created a security alliance with collective defense at its core. The success of NATO during the Cold War set the stage for the toppling of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and the subsequent flourishing of democracy, economic freedom, and liberty in the free, sovereign nations of Eastern Europe. In the decades that followed, NATO allies stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the United States in tackling the scourge of terrorism, sacrificing alongside U.S. service members in some of the most dangerous places on earth.
“Today, NATO is as indispensable as ever before. Russia continues to undermine peace and stability through its aggressive actions, and seeks to destabilize the very pillars of our democracies. The North Atlantic region must stand together in meeting the myriad challenges we collectively face. A strong, vibrant transatlantic partnership with the NATO alliance at its core is, and will remain, essential for ensuring peace, prosperity, and geopolitical stability in the 21st century.”