Nikkei Asia
June 7, 2022

Create a NATO for the Pacific, U.S. senator proposes

The U.S. should push back against China’s efforts to expand its sphere of influence by creating a “Pacific NATO,” a senator has proposed.

Sen. Ben Sasse, a Republican from Nebraska known as a prominent critic of Donald Trump, blasted both the former president and the current Joe Biden administration as “weak isolationists” in a speech last week.

America, he argued, should play a decisive role on the global stage and ensure it remains a superpower in 2030.

“Let’s build a NATO for the Pacific,” Sasse said in his address at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California last Thursday….

Sasse hailed the Atlantic military alliance’s achievements through the Cold War to the present day. “NATO in Europe has been the greatest treaty organization in history. It held the line against the Soviets, and it’s now holding the line against bloody [Vladimir] Putin,” he said. “But as Chairman Xi [Jinping] looks to expand his sphere of influence, we need a new military alliance centered far out into the Pacific.”

Sasse was one of seven Republicans who crossed party lines to vote for convicting Trump during his second impeachment trial of February 2021. In last week’s speech, he also proposed expanding the U.S. defense budget to $1 trillion, up from the $773 billion request for fiscal 2023, and advocated making America’s security guarantee to Taiwan explicit.

“No more strategic ambiguity,” he said.

Sasse noted that military partnerships need to be paired with economic ones as well. “Pacific NATO should be a free trade zone, too. Trade is a win-win because when Americans compete, we win.”


“We need an Asian NATO,” Chuck Todd, host of Meet the Press, said in conclusion. “It’s pretty clear we need one.”

Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill, a Democrat from New Jersey and a blue team member in the war game, agreed that there is an opportunity to reach out to allies to strengthen ties.

“…I’m wondering now, as we look at what’s just happened with Ukraine, if some of our allies in the region are more willing to form a stronger partnership with each other and with the United States to ensure that they don’t face some of these threats,” the former Navy helicopter pilot said.