On Monday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Deadline: White House,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said that it’s “a straw man” to draw a line between the Afghanistan exit and the situation with Russia and Ukraine because these are “different situations” and argued that anyone who doubts America’s commitment to NATO can look at the U.S. putting troops on heightened alert so they can be part of NATO’s response force in Europe.
Host Nicolle Wallace asked, “I want to ask you about the stakes, and they’ve been described by other folks who have worked in government as being ones that will be read around the world about America’s resolve as it pertains to China and Taiwan and sort of going down the line and drawing a direct line between the exit from Afghanistan. I wonder if you can speak to those concerns.”
Kirby responded, “Yeah, I think this is, to some degree, driving a stake through a straw man. I mean, these are all different situations, and anybody who would question our resolve and our commitment to our NATO allies, I think can look no further than just the simple decisions that we’ve made here today to place an additional 8,500 troops here in the United States on a heightened alert posture in case they’re needed, to do what? To go bolster and be part of the NATO response force itself. So, we are very committed to this. This is a treaty alliance. We take our Article 5 commitment seriously, that’s an attack on one is an attack on all. And so, this is, I think, a very strong symbol of our strength and our commitments in the security space.”
Kirby later commented on Taiwan and China by stating, “I think, look, I mean they are — these are two completely different scenarios. I mean, we are committed to the One China Policy. We have made that very clear. It has been committed to by bipartisan administrations for more than the last 20 years, and that includes making sure that we can help Taiwan defend itself through the Taiwan Relations Act. Nothing’s going to change about our commitment to making sure that Taiwan can continue to defend itself. And if there is a comparison, it’s not a perfect comparison, but we’re also trying to help Ukraine defend itself. Just over the weekend, Nicolle, we delivered another three sets of packages of arms and ammunition and material to help Ukrainian armed forces in their own self-defense and there’s more coming and we’ll be talking about that in coming weeks, I’m sure.”
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