Josh Hawley Says US Military is Too Weak to Let Sweden, Finland into NATO. He’s Wrong

Aug. 3, 2022

Tuesday morning, I visited Omaha Beach in northern France and the nearby Normandy American Cemetery, where almost 10,000 American souls are memorialized for their defense of freedom during World War II. Contemplating such awfulness made my stomach queasy.

But over lunch, I read of Missouri U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley’s plan to vote no on allowing Sweden and Finland into NATO. That made me want to vomit.

His logic is that the that America cannot walk and chew gum at the same time when considering the threat China poses. Hawley should have more faith in the American people and our system of government.

The senator’s stated desire to leave Sweden and Finland to Russian President Vladimir Putin can only mean he would reluctantly provide half-hearted assistance to the United Kingdom or other NATO allies in the face of Russian aggression. Senator, you trust Putin far more then I do.

The only time Article 5 of NATO has been implemented was in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States. Europe came to our defense. If China ever attacks the U.S. and we call for help, NATO will respond again. What’s wrong with having two more friends?

As a diplomat, I worked closely with NATO allies in both Iraq and Kosovo. They joined our military efforts because they shared our values. Without exception, they respected our leadership. Those efforts were neither perfect nor flawless — but at least we all showed up in the fight against tyranny.

Senator, your vote whether to ratify or amend a treaty is among your most sacred responsibilities. Please don’t treat it as an opportunity to cater to your “America first” base. Have you never read the English poet John Donne?

“No man is an island entire of itself,” he wrote in 1624. “Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

I’m all for “America first” — first among the nations, not just first among ourselves. Senator, you’re pushing your upcoming book about manhood. Now it’s time you man up and stand up for American leadership.

Those souls at Omaha Beach did, and they should not have died in vain.

Stephen R. Hemphill was a senior adviser for justice at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad from 2004 to 2005. He lives in Liberty.

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