At the Munich Security Conference Panel, Klobuchar was joined by British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki
MUNICH - At a Munich Security Conference panel titled “East-West Relations and European Security Architecture,” U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) joined international leaders to highlight the importance of U.S.-European unity and cooperation on international security challenges, including defending Ukraine against Russian aggression.
“As Senator McCain once said: ‘There is nothing more liberating than fighting for a cause larger than yourself.’ And that is this NATO alliance, and that is democracy. For over 70 years, we have stood with Europe, and certainly you stood with us after 9/11,” said Senator Klobuchar. “I think that Vladimir Putin thought that somehow we would divide at this moment. But I see… that it is in fact uniting us and bringing us together.”
Klobuchar also emphasized America’s strong support for democracy and sovereignty throughout Eastern Europe, the need for American-European cooperation in defending Ukraine from continuing Russian aggression, and the important role international organizations like the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) serve in facilitating dialogue on issues of common ground.
Klobuchar was joined by Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs Liz Truss of the United Kingdom; President Sauli Niinistö of the Republic of Finland; and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki of the Republic of Poland. The panel was moderated by Jane Harman, former U.S. Representative (D-CA) and former President and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
In January, Klobuchar traveled to Ukraine with a bipartisan group of Senate colleagues to meet with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy and reaffirm the U.S.’ strong bipartisan commitment to a sovereign Ukraine.
Klobuchar traveled to Ukraine, the Baltic states, and Georgia in 2016 with the late Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to reiterate America’s bipartisan support for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), democratic values, and to focus on mounting international cybersecurity problems.
Harman: Senator Klobuchar, I have several questions to ask you about the way you operate in Congress. Now, number one, what is the importance of all these members being here? What comes out of this? Number two, should the US Congress be concerned about foreign policy, something that has not been at the top of the agenda? It's not at the top of most of our voters agendas. We're different from Europe. We don't have countries surrounding us, except for our friends, Canada and Mexico. We have oceans and we thought somehow we were invulnerable and then 9/11 happened. So should Congress reassert itself in foreign policy? That's my second point.
Klobuchar: Very good. Thank you Jane. It’s such an honor to be up here with these great leaders, I would say yes, yes, and yes.
I first want to mention President Zelenskyy's speech. I think a lot of people at this conference were thinking he should just stay home. Do it by video, maybe surrounded by troops, the show of it. And I think he made the right call. He wanted to directly speak to who he called his friends. It wasn't always comfortable. That is true. But when asked, ‘Well, what did you feel like when you left your country?’ He talked about so emotionally that it was left in the hands of his soldiers and his people and he knew that it was in good hands. And then the other piece of this was this voice standing up for democracy.
And you mentioned, Jane, Senator McCain, and his spirit is really with us not only because Cindy is with us, but so many members, dozens of members of Congress here, and it is still called the McCain delegation. And I traveled with him here several times.
And I was thinking this morning, the last time I saw him, when he was very sick at his ranch. My husband and I went there, and he couldn't really speak. He took out one of his books and he pointed to a sentence that said, “there is nothing more liberating than fighting for a cause larger than yourself.” And that is this alliance, and that is democracy. For over 70 years, we have stood with Europe, and certainly you stood with us after 9/11.
And I think that Vladimir Putin thought that somehow we would divide at this moment but, I see it - with all of its warts, democracy is never easy - that it is in fact, uniting us and bringing us together.
I look at these leaders on the stage. I think about the Prime Minister in Poland, way ahead of their time warning about this happening, hosting our American troops, and also taking in Americans from Ukraine. I think of the President of Finland with his 90% approval rating, being willing to navigate and continue to be the diplomat with Russia, while also sharing such a large part of the border.
And then I think of our foreign minister here. The last time a bipartisan group of us, Senator Shaheen is with us today, Senator Shaheen and Senator Portman led the group, and Republicans and Democrats together, as we were taking off from Kiev, there was a British plane bringing in arms.
As I look to the coordination going forward, what President Zelenskyy was so strongly calling for, I see first of all, yes, that coordination and continuing assistance, but I also see in the new world of cybersecurity and the like, what must be done as he threatens them in that way.
I see the sanctions which the Foreign Minister just referred to I thought well, in terms of the coordination that must come when it comes to sanctions on Putin directly, sanctions on the oligarchs, sanctions on the financial sector and different parts of the economy, as well as export controls. All of that is being discussed in detail, and we must be ready to go immediately, which is a lot of our bipartisan work.
And then I look to the fact that this coalition must stay strong and we must remember that what unites us is much stronger than what divides us. And that's where we're coming from today.