Virginia Reps. Good, Cline Vote Against Resolution Expressing Support for NATO- Updated
Bearing Drift colleague D.J. McGuire wrote about yesterday’s vote in the U.S. House: Nearly One-Third of House Republicans Vote Against NATO | Bearing Drift….
Just over three years ago, the House of Representatives voted to prevent then-President Donald Trump from pulling the U.S. out of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Twenty-two Republicans voted against it.
Trump has since left office (but not the arena, sadly); NATO is coming together to help Ukraine fight off Russian aggression; and the House is voting again – this time on a non-binding resolution “to uphold the founding democratic principles of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization”…
… and the Republican “no” votes rose to 63.
Once we get over the shock of so many Republicans voting against supporting the alliance that is working to save Ukraine from unprovoked Russian invasion, we see on the list those Virginia representatives who voted against it: Bob Good (R-5th) and Ben Cline (R-6th).
Good’s vote isn’t a shock; Cline’s vote, as my congressman, is a disappointment.
The NATO vote took place on the day Ukrainian President Zelenskyy addressed the UN Security Council after the horrors of Bucha were revealed to the world showing bodies of citizens on the streets who were killed by Russian soldiers. Even now, more stories of atrocities are coming out from other Ukrainian cities that had been occupied by Russians.
The NATO resolution was highlighted in yesterday’s U.S. House Schedule where the agenda noted that Virginia “Rep. Gerry Connolly has legislation calling on the U.S. to uphold founding democratic principles of NATO, establish Center for Democratic Resilience at NATO HQs.”
All Democrats voted in support but an astounding 63 Republicans voted against: Final Vote Results for Roll Call 115 (house.gov)
Here is the text of H.Res.831:
This resolution reaffirms unequivocal support for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as an alliance founded on democratic principles.
The resolution also calls on the President to use the voice and vote of the United States to adopt a new Strategic Concept for NATO that is clear about its support for shared democratic values and committed to enhancing NATO’s capacity to strengthen democratic institutions within NATO member, partner, and aspirant countries.
Finally, the resolution calls on the President to use the voice and vote of the United States to establish a Center for Democratic Resilience within NATO headquarters.
The vote was 362 yes, 63 no.
Included in the GOP group that joined Good and Cline were these interesting players: Lauren Boebert (CO), Madison Cawthorn (NC), Matt Gaetz (FL), Marjorie Taylor-Greene (GA), Paul Gosar (AZ), and Jim Jordan (OH). I’ve said it before: many electeds now act like activists.
The fact that so many Republicans felt comfortable voting against the resolution is troubling. NATO came to America’s defense when we were attacked on 9/11 and Article 5 was invoked for the first time (Article 5 says an attack against one NATO member is considered an attack against all). NATO is a unity of nations that has stood for 72 years in solidarity against the bullies of the world.
However, Ukraine is a NATO partner but not a member although its government had applied in the past. Because they are not a member, NATO’s Article 5 does not apply and that is why NATO nations cannot put boots on the ground (or aircraft in the sky) without risking a full-fledged war with Russia (and possibly their friends).
Vladimir Putin desperately needs to draw NATO and the US into this war to distract from his own military’s humiliation. It is critical that Western leaders remain disciplined even in the face of mass atrocities. If you don’t believe things can get worse, read The Guns of August.
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) April 5, 2022
Ukraine’s proximity to Europe has spurred NATO to do what they can to stop Putin before he ends up on their doorsteps. From the New York Times:
If Russia succeeds in taking over Ukraine and keeping bases in Belarus, as many experts now expect, its forces will extend from the borders of the Baltics and Poland to Slovakia, Hungary and northern Romania, making it significantly harder for NATO to defend its eastern flank.
And only a thin corridor some 60 miles long between Lithuania and Poland separates Russian forces in Belarus from Kaliningrad, the Russian territory on the Baltic Sea that is stuffed with missiles easily capable of flinging conventional or nuclear warheads into the heart of Europe.
Republicans who voted no for yesterday’s NATO resolution are reminiscent of isolationists during World War II. Sadly, most from that generation are now gone so cannot warn about repeating history. The least anyone can do is pick up a dang history book.
UPDATE: Ben Cline posted a response to why he voted against the NATO resolution Friday afternoon on Facebook. I’ll have more on this in a follow-up post.
“This week, the House considered House Resolution 831, a resolution regarding the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, also known as NATO. The resolution, a copy of which can be found above, resolved that the House take four actions. The first two, which I support, are for Congress to 1) reaffirm support for NATO and 2) reaffirm support for Ukraine in its war against Russian aggression. Had the resolution ended there, I would have voted for it.
“Unfortunately, the second two recommended actions distract from the first two by injecting politics into the historic military alliance. By urging NATO to 3) ‘adopt a new Strategic Concept for NATO’ to ‘strengthen democratic institutions within NATO member, partner, and aspirant countries, the resolution is encouraging NATO to formally involve itself in the domestic politics of its member nations. The resolution also 4) encourages NATO to create a new ‘Center for Democratic Resilience,’ a new political bureaucracy within NATO which will implement this new ‘Strategic Concept’ and pull resources away from the military mission for which NATO was originally created. Because I could not support these last two controversial action items, I voted against the resolution.
“The NATO alliance must remain strong so that when it becomes necessary for NATO to act militarily, it is not weakened or divided by internal politics. Instead, NATO must be clear in its military mission and effective in securing a swift and decisive victory for America and our men and women who are sacrificing on the battlefield.”