House Speaker Ryan in Europe: NATO ‘Must be Strengthened’ is determined to exploit weakness and opportunity wherever it may surface.

As they seek to expand their sphere of influence in the Middle East, they continue to challenge the sovereignty of our allies in Eastern and Central Europe. Their aggression has also taken on other forms. Russia interfered in our elections, and they are interfering in elections here in Europe as we speak.

We have learned a thing or two about their tactics. And we commit to sharing those lessons learned with our allies so you can be better prepared.

So let’s be clear: The actions of Russia are not the actions of a friend. We cannot allow a provocateur in Moscow to threaten our allies or interests. This is a direct affront to the post-Cold War global order.

And by ‘we,’ I do not just mean the US and Britain. To truly combat Russian aggression, we need a strong NATO alliance—and we need that now more than ever.

Our delegation has just come from Norway, and later this week we will visit two more key NATO allies: Poland and Estonia.

Please let there be no ambiguity here: NATO is essential. It has been and remains critical to the safety and security of the United States, Great Britain, and the world.

And it must be strengthened. Member states should follow the lead of the US, UK, Poland, Estonia, and Greece and contribute two percent of their GDP to defense spending. And we should enhance our lines of communication to ensure NATO countries receive the most timely, actionable information possible.

Excerpt from Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s remarks at Policy Exchange in London, April 19, 2-17.

Image: Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, March 3, 2016 (photo: Gage Skidmore)