June 10, 1997 - Issue: Vol. 143, No. 80 — Daily Edition105th Congress (1997 - 1998) - 1st Session
IF NATO IS EXPANDED, OUR ALLIES MUST PAY MORE OF THE COSTS
(Extensions of Remarks - June 10, 1997)
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[Extensions of Remarks] [Pages E1159-E1160] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] IF NATO IS EXPANDED, OUR ALLIES MUST PAY MORE OF THE COSTS ______ HON. BERNARD SANDERS of vermont in the house of representatives Tuesday, June 10, 1997 Mr. SANDERS. Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a few observations today about the European Security Act (H.R. 1758), which authorizes United States taxpayer dollars to prepare the Baltic States for NATO expansion. [[Page E1160]] Let me begin with a quote by former United States Secretary of State, Lawrence Eagleburger, from the Bush administration, commenting on NATO expansion and the Baltic countries: If we ever think of bringing the Baltic countries into NATO we ought to have our heads examined. First place, it would be a real threat--threat maybe not but a real challenge--to the Russians. Think about the commitment to defend them--we couldn't do it even if we were the only superpower in the world, which we seem to be. First of all, Russia clearly perceives that the expansion of NATO into the Baltics would be an aggressive, wholly unjustifiable move by the United States. On May 22, 1997, President Boris Yeltsin's spokesman, Sergei Yastrzhembskii, stated that if NATO expands to include Former Soviet Republics, Russia will review all of its foreign policy priorities and its relations with the West. Since the cold war is over, why are we militarily provoking Russia? Second, how much more are we going to ask United States taxpayers to ante up to defend Europe in an expanded NATO with a still undefined mission? The total price tag is estimated at anywhere from $27 billion to $150 billion over the next 10 to 12 years. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the cost of NATO expansion will be between $60.6-$124.7 billion over 15 years. Don't forget that we have already paid $60 million through the NATO Enlargement Facilitation Act in order to assist Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovenia in bringing their Armed Forces up to NATO standards. Lastly, I am also concerned about reports that several of the prospective new NATO member states have been involved in arms sales to terrorist countries. For example, Poland has made five shipments to Iran of T-72 tanks, equipment and trainers, Slovenia sent M-60 tanks to Iran, and Bulgaria sent North Korea 15 tons of explosives. After four decades of the cold war and trillions of United States taxpayer dollars allocated to compete in the arms race, many of our constituents understand that it is not the time to continue wasting tens of billions of dollars helping to defend Europe, let alone assuming more than our share of any costs associated with expanding NATO eastward. Mr. Speaker, in the words of New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, ``We [get] nothing for NATO expansion but a bill.'' ____________________