NATO ‘the Most Consequential Alliance in History,' Biden Says in Poland

US President Joe Biden called the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) the “most consequential alliance in history” during a meeting with his Polish counterpart, Andrzej Duda, in Warsaw on February 21.

Biden is in Poland following a visit to Ukraine, just days ahead of the anniversary of the launch of Russia’s invasion of the country.

He said: “We have to have security in Europe…It’s the single most consequential alliance, I would argue, maybe the most consequential alliance in history – not just modern history, but in history."

“A year later [after the Russian invasion began], I would argue NATO is stronger than it’s ever been. As I told President Zelenskyy as we spoke in Kyiv yesterday, I can proudly say that our support for Ukraine remains unwavering," Biden added.

Biden’s comments come after Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the United States and other Western allies of Kyiv of starting the war in Ukraine, repeating claims about the build-up to the 2022 invasion during his address to the Federal Assembly on Tuesday. Credit: Andrzej Duda via Storyful

Video transcript

JOE BIDEN: I was here last year. And we visited the base where Polish and American troops were, and standing side by side, showing our strength and determination. The truth of the matter is the United States needs Poland and NATO as much as NATO needs the United States because there is no way in which-- for our ability to operate anywhere else in the world-- and our responsibilities extend beyond Europe.

We have to have a security in Europe. It's that basic, that simple, and that consequential. So it's the single most consequential alliance, I would argue maybe the most consequential alliance in history, not just modern history but in history.

And so I made it clear that the comments of the United States and our allies as part of the commitment is real and that, a year later, I would argue NATO is stronger than it's ever been. As I told President Zelenskyy when we spoke in Kyiv yesterday, I can proudly say that our support for Ukraine remains unwavering.

And as I told my Russian counterpart not-- well, it's a while now. I said, you're seeking the Finlandization of NATO. You're going to get the NATO-ization of Finland. And it turns out I didn't know Sweden was coming along as well.

But all kidding aside, I think we're in-- if we keep our head and we are focused, I think we're in a better position than we've ever been. And I want to thank you, President, for how Poland has supported Ukraine. It's been extraordinary, Mr. Prime Minister and Mr. President , what you've done, truly extraordinary.

Last year when I was here watching people come across the border, and the feeling that those little children-- the looks on their faces, those mothers who left behind husbands and fathers, it was just incredible the way you welcomed-- what is it, 1.6, 1.7 million Ukrainians you've welcomed?

And we reaffirmed our ironclad commitment to NATO's collective security, including guaranteeing that the command headquarters for our forces in Europe are going to be in Poland, period. And we're also launching a new strategic partnership with plans to build nuclear power plants and bolster Poland's energy security for generations to come.

And Mr. President, the connection between Polish and American people is extremely strong and deep. I was kidding with the president. I was-- as a young man, I was born in a coal town of Scranton, Pennsylvania, northeastern Pennsylvania-- in an Irish Catholic neighborhood.

Then when coal died, we moved down to Delaware to a town called Claymont, Delaware, which was a working class town. But everyone in town was either Polish or Italian. I grew up feeling self-conscious my name didn't end in an S-K-I or an O. But all kidding aside, the connection between--

I was telling the president, the pride, the overwhelming, demonstrable pride that the Polish-Americans feel about Poland and the role you're playing now, we were talking about it. It's extreme.

- Yeah.

JOE BIDEN: It is-- you would be-- if you haven't seen it, you should come and see it. And so there's a lot of challenges that we have to face. But I'm confident we can do it together and develop our partnership even further as we meet the challenges we're about to face.

I'm absolutely confident in that. So it's a delight to be back. And I'm anxious to get our discussion going. Although the president and I solved all the problems in the other room a moment ago. There's nothing left to solve. But all kidding aside, this is a critical, critical, critical, critical relationship for the United States. And we thank you for all the cooperation and help.