NATO leader warns Congress about divisions in alliance

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday became the first NATO leader to address a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress.

"Through NATO, the United States has more friends and allies than any other power," Stoltenberg said. "This has made the United States stronger, safer, and more secure."

He came to Washington to celebrate NATO's 70th anniversary. So in a show of bipartisanship, Congress invited Stoltenberg to speak on the hill.

 "We have to be frank," Stoltenberg told Congress. "Questions are being asked on both sides of the Atlantic about the strength of our partnership. And, yes, there are differences."

The NATO secretary general credited President Donald Trump with compelling allies to spend more on defense, without noting that Trump also has questioned the value of the alliance and suggested that some members are freeloaders.

"Our alliance has not lasted for 70 years out of a sense of nostalgia or of sentiment," Stoltenberg said. "NATO lasts because it is in the national interest of each and every one of our countries."

In 2014, NATO nations pledged to spend at least 2% of their gross domestic product on defense. But five years later, less than half of member nations have hit that target.

"The United States alone accounts for the vast majority of NATO defense spending," Trump said. "And we really cannot rely on one nation to defend all."

With The Associated Press and Fox News.