Defense

McCain: NATO key to stopping ‘Russian misbehavior’

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Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Tuesday that a strong North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), an organization President-elect Donald Trump has promised to reexamine, is crucial to stopping future Russian aggression.

“And the best way to prevent Russian misbehavior is by having a credible, strong military and a strong NATO alliance,” the Armed Services chairman said to reporters during a visit to Estonia, according to Reuters.

“I think the presence of the American troops here in Estonia is a signal that we believe in what Ronald Reagan believed, and that is peace through strength,” he said. 

{mosads}McCain stopped in Estonia during a swing through the Baltic States with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). Both senators have been highly critical of Trump’s warming to Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

Trump previously suggested during his presidential campaign that the U.S. would not defend NATO allies unless “they fulfill their obligations to us.” 

Lithuania’s former ambassador to the United States told Reuters that the Baltic states fear Trump and how his administration could handle the U.S.-Russian relationship.

“There is fear in the Baltics about the incoming Trump administration’s relationship with Russia, that sanctions against Russia will be weakened or called off, and not strengthened as the Congress would want,” Zygimantas Pavilionis told the news outlet.

McCain said that to his knowledge, the United States would not end sanctions issued against Russia following its 2014 annexation of Crimea.

“That is certainly not the case today as I know it,” McCain said.

Tags baltic states Donald Trump Estonia John McCain Lindsey Graham NATO Russia

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