Fierce Congressional Debate Erupts Over If Tactical Nuclear Attack Would Trigger NATO Article 5

On Thursday, a group of Republicans introduced a bill in the House and Senate that would reaffirm NATO’s Article 5 does not override congressional war powers. The effort was led by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Reps. Chip Roy (R-TX) and Warren Davidson (R-OH).

"I introduced a resolution reasserting that Article 5 of the NATO Treaty does not supersede Congress’s responsibility to declare war or authorize military force before engaging in hostilities," Paul wrote in Responsible Statecraft.

fierce congressional debate erupts over if tactical nuclear attack would trigger nato article 5
Via The Star

NATO’s Article 5 outlines mutual defense commitments of the 31-member alliance but does not automatically mean the US must intervene militarily if a NATO ally comes under attack.

"For decades, many legislators have incorrectly interpreted Article 5 as an obligation that unquestionably commits the United States to provide military support should a NATO ally be attacked," he wrote.

Article 5 states: "The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defense recognized by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force."

Paul noted that while NATO members are required to assist each other in the event of an attack, military action is not mandated. "Furthermore, Article 11 of the NATO Treaty states that the provisions of the Treaty are to be carried out in accordance with each country’s respective constitutional processes," he wrote.

Meanwhile, from the neocon side of the GOP, a response:

The legislation Paul introduced would express that Article 5 does not "supersede the constitutional requirement that Congress declare war or authorize the use of military force prior to the United States engaging in hostilities.”

The bill was cosponsored in the Senate by Mike Braun (R-IN), Mike Lee (R-UT), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), and Josh Hawley (R-MO). Hawley was the only senator to vote against Sweden and Finland joining NATO. Explaining his reasoning for the vote, Hawley said he wants the US to focus on building alliances in the Asia Pacific, as he is a major China hawk. Paul voted "present" on admitting Sweden and Finland.

In the House, the Article 5 legislation was cosponsored by Reps. Dan Bishop (R-NC), Troy Nehls (R-TX), Harriet Hageman (R-WY), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Andrew Clyde (R-GA), Matt Rosendale (R-MT), and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA).

Authored by Dave Decamp via June 25th 2023