On March 30, 2004 — just over 19 years ago, then-Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) concluded a United Sates House of Representatives statement with a strong admonition regarding the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and US involvement in it.
In conclusion, we should not be wasting US tax money and taking on more military obligations expanding NATO. The alliance is a relic of the Cold War, a hold-over from another time, an anachronism. It should be disbanded, the sooner the better.
Paul’s statement was made in opposition to a resolution (H.Res. 558) being considered on the House floor that day that welcomed “with enthusiasm” the addition of seven new members to NATO and encouraged consideration of adding more nations to NATO. The addition of these new nations all near the Russian border — Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia — made 2004 a big year in NATO expansion.
Regarding the addition of the seven new members to NATO in 2004, Paul made this particular warning:
The expansion of NATO to these seven countries, we have heard, will open them up to the further expansion of US military bases, right up to the border of the former Soviet Union. Does no one worry that this continued provocation of Russia might have negative effects in the future? Is it necessary?
This comment is prescient considering that such expansion of NATO and US military bases is a contributor to Russia’s decision last year to send its military into Ukraine, an development to which the US and several NATO nations have responded with a fervor of warlike declarations and actions.
The addition of more nations near Russia to NATO continued since 2004. Albania and Croatia were added in 2009, Montenegro was added in 2017, and North Macedonia in 2020. With the addition of Finland this week, 12 nations since 2004 have joined NATO — the same number of nations as founded NATO in 1949. NATO membership now comes in at 31 nations. And there is momentum to add more, including Sweden potentially quite soon.
Read Paul’s statement here.
After leaving the House of Representatives in 2013, Paul founded the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. Paul is chairman of the institute that is tasked with advocating for a peaceful foreign policy and the protection of civil liberties in America.