Mattis delivers Europe with a pay up ultimatum but NATO is not “obsolete”

STEPHANIE LECOCQ

(L-R) British Defence Minister Michael Fallon, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, US Defence Minister James Mattis, attend the second day of the NATO Defense Ministers council at Alliance headquarters, in Brussels, Belgium, 16 February 2017. Nato defense ministers are gathering for a two-day meeting.

Mattis delivers Europe with a pay up ultimatum but NATO is not “obsolete”


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US Defense Secretary Mattis has delivered an ultimatum to NATO Allies, calling them to increase military spending or face Washington’s “moderate” commitment.

The 66-year old so-called “mad-dog” Mattis is a renowned marine with an understanding of its significance in Europe.

“If your nations do not want to see America moderate its commitment to this alliance, each of your capitals needs to show support for our common defense,” Mattis said. European member states of NATO have committed to a 2% GDP expenditure on defense, which so far only four states other than the United State adhere to: Britain, Poland, Estonia, and Greece.

However, this is less than calling NATO “obsolete,” as President Trump did during his campaign trail. And the recognition that NATO is “a fundamental bedrock for the United States, and for all the transatlantic community,” released some tension.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reiterated the need for increased expenditure, while the German Defense Minister, Ursula von der Leyen, recognized that Washington was a “fair point.” U.K’s Defense Secretary Michael Fallon called for a commitment to an annual increase from each member as a sign of “good faith.”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said making sure members met their obligations was his “top priority,” and that, despite an increase in spending in 2016, more needed to be done.

NATO’s members with the biggest economies spend well below 2% of their GDP: France spends 1.78%, Turkey 1.56%, Germany 1.19%, and Italy 1.11%.

 

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