Op-Eds

Kinzinger-Djou: Expanding NATO to Asia-Pacific Region

Opportunity to Strengthen Alliance & Counter a Rising China

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Washington, DC, July 14, 2021 | Maura Gillespie (202-225-3635) | comments
This week, Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and former Congressman Charles Djou (R-HI) penned an op-ed for The Economist on the need to expand the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
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Washington, DC – This week, Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and former Congressman Charles Djou (R-HI) penned an op-ed for The Economist on the need to expand the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to democratic countries from the Asia-Pacific region. Doing so would strengthen NATO and help to counter a rising China that has grown increasingly assertive and authoritarian.

As they argue, NATO has to adapt in order to succeed, and that requires rethinking membership in the alliance as well as the defense strategies of regional security in Europe and bilateral security in the Asia-Pacific region. Below is an excerpt from the op-ed with links provided to the fully published piece in The Economist.

Charles Djou & Adam Kinzinger on the Need to Expand NATO to Asia”

| By: Adam Kinzinger & Charles Djou | July 14, 2021 | The Economist |

“When NATO was established in 1949, its purpose was to defend Western Europe from the Soviet Union and the communist bloc. It was a time when protecting countries in the North Atlantic area was the same as defending Western democracy. Today NATO continues as history’s most successful and enduring alliance. Although the Soviet Union no longer exists, the commitment of its members continues, while democracy and democratic values have spread far beyond the limited physical geography of Europe.

“However, in the 21st Century NATO must tackle not only security challenges in the West, but also issues that span the globe.


“Wherever China believes it has national interests, it will increasingly challenge and undermine Western ideals of civil liberty, rule of law and democracy. As China’s economy and military strength grows over the coming decades, America by itself (let alone any other democracy) will not be able to compete one-to-one against it. Collectively, however, likeminded democracies can defend our shared values. The multilateral approach of NATO remains the best vehicle for such collective security.


If a new NATO extends its reach to include experienced democracies globally, then it may peacefully resist creeping global authoritarianism. A united West will give illiberal leaders pause before trying to undermine democratic ideals. Australia, Japan and South Korea all have democratically elected governments, market economies and healthy government institutions. The new NATO should start expansion by inviting these three countries into the alliance. In the long term, the organisation could look to others, such as New Zealand, as well as Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines and India, should their democracies meet NATO requirements.”

 

The entire op-ed can be read in full here. And all of Congressman Kinzinger’s op-ed pieces can be found on his website here.

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