I did not know until recently that NC Sen. Thom Tillis attended the NATO summit in Vilnius, and I did not know his views on transatlantic allies actually matters, until I came across this paragraph:
…He’s the co-chair of the NATO Observer Group, a caucus he reestablished with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) in 2018 to inform senators outside defense committees about the spending practices and military plans of allies. That makes him, in a sense, among the most important lawmakers that NATO members must keep happy.
|Sen. Tillis, at the Table, 4th on left|
As an official observer, he attended meetings both public and private, reassuring NATO officials, but making demands and later defending both NATO and Ukraine in public statements:
"...This summit is another one of several summits that I’ve been to that will be successful, and I’m very optimistic about the future and I’m absolutely optimistic about bipartisan support and Congress for supporting the Ukraine effort for as long as it takes.”
--Tillis, giving a press briefing three days ago in Vilnius
This position seems far afield from NC conservative orthodoxy in the trumpian age -- which became bizarrely deferential to Russia, hostile to Ukraine, and invested in smashing NATO and being pugnaciously obnoxious to Europe. So I wonder about the party that birthed Tillis, and which so recently censured him at their state convention for undoctrinal opinions about LGBTQ rights, immigration, and the gun-culture.
Looks like that Party got its answer. Tillis is carving out a role for himself that defies the Jesse Helms DNA. Internationalist Tillis. Transatlantican Tillis. I'm impressed.
(What? I'm impressionable.)