NATO to consider naming new headquarters for late Sen. John McCain

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Say what you want about the politics of late Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain, but there was no question that he was a fierce supporter of the global military alliance known as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

McCain was such a firebrand for NATO, in fact, that the organization is now reportedly considering a proposal to name the new headquarters building in Brussels, Belgium, in honor of the late senator.

According to CNBC, the idea was first put forward by Tom Tugendhat, a conservative member of the U.K. Parliament who expressed the idea in a letter to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

“There can be no more fitting tribute to his career and the values that Sen. McCain espoused — but also no better message for NATO to send at this time of global tension — than to name its new headquarters building after the American statesman,” wrote Tugendhat, who serves as the chair of the British Parliament’s foreign affairs committee.

Proposal endorsed

The proposal to rename the NATO headquarters building after McCain was endorsed by three previous NATO secretaries general: Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Lord George Robertson ,and Javier Solana.

In a letter to the editor for The U.K. Times, the three men wrote: “Despite his being a U.S. Senator, across Europe we all felt that John McCain III was one of our own.”

“We urge NATO to repay this lifetime of service to its mission by naming its new Brussels headquarters after Senator McCain,” the former NATO leaders added.

The idea has also received the support of Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who tweeted, “There was no greater support of NATO than [McCain]. I am drafting a Senate resolution supporting the naming of new [NATO] HQ after him [and] calling on [the U.S. mission to NATO] to support this move.”

Proposal received and considered

Oana Lungescu, spokesperson for NATO, said NATO had received the request to name the headquarters building in honor of McCain and noted that the proposal “will be considered carefully.”

Though current NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg has not spoken directly to the proposal yet, he wrote of McCain after his death: “He will be remembered ‎both in Europe and North America for his courage and character, and as a strong supporter of NATO.”

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Meanwhile, as NATO considers honoring McCain with a headquarters building named after him, The Hill reported that there is a discussion among the U.S. Senate to rename the Russell Senate Building in McCain’s honor as well, though it is unclear if that effort will garner bipartisan support.

Sen. McCain was certainly a rather vociferous defender of the NATO alliance — and it seems that NATO wants to repay McCain for that support with an honor that will live on in perpetuity.

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