Skip to Content

Brussels

‘Americans cannot care more for your children’

“Americans cannot care more for your children’s future security than you do,” Defence secretary James Mattis said in his first speech to NATO allies in Brussels.

Published: February 16, 2017, 7:01 am

    Read more

    Mattis openly warned allies on Wednesday that Donald Trump’s administration would “moderate its commitment” unless members met their spending pledges. “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,” he said.

    “I owe it to you to give you clarity on the political reality in the United States and to state the fair demand from my country’s people in concrete terms.”

    Mattis also called for a fixed date plan to meet 2 percent spending. The “milestone dates” set for this year would track NATO member contributions, he said.

    “America will meet its responsibilities,” Mattis told NATO defense ministers, but he made clear that American support had limits.

    The US spends more of its gross domestic product on defence than any other NATO member — 3.61 percent, or $664 billion in 2016. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in response that any non-compliance with the treaty was of “serious concern”.

    The mood in the heavily fortified NATO compound was tense, one NATO official said. It soon became clear that Russia looms large as Donald Trump’s defence secretary warned the US will no longer “carry a disproportionate share of the defence of western values”.

    Certain NATO partners are worried about the Trump administration’s thawing relations with Moscow.

    Figures released a day earlier show that military spending among European NATO countries and Canada had increased 3.8 percent in 2016 — around $10 billion.

    “This is significant, but not enough,” Stoltenberg said. “We have to continue to increase military spending across Europe and Canada.”

    NATO countries spent a total of $892 billion in 2015, while Russian military spending in 2015 rose to 66 billion dollars, the SIPRI institute in Stockholm said.

    In response to Russia’s referendum on Crimea in 2014, Barack Obama reversed US troop withdrawals from Europe and began the biggest deployment since the end of the Cold War. During the previous administration, NATO agreed to send four multinational battalions to Poland and each of its three Baltic state members.

    But while Mattis mentioned Crimea is passing, he also pointed to the Islamic State’s hold over parts of Iraq and Syria, saying that “some in this alliance have looked away in denial of what is happening”.

    “Despite the threats from the east and south, we have failed to fill gaps in our NATO response force or to adapt,” he added.

    Ahead of the meeting in Brussels, the New York Times reported that Moscow had deployed a new type of cruise missile, to heighten fears of a “possible violation” of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty.

    Stoltenberg expressed his concern over news of the new Russian cruise missile that “violates a landmark arms control treaty” but did not offer explanations regarding NATO’s troop deployment on Russia’s border.

    It appears that the Micheal Flynn story too may be about to fade from the news cycle, after it was revealed that The New York Times presented “alternative facts” or fake news about Flynn. Mattis brushed off the Flynn resignation as mainstream reporters tried go gain anti-Russian mileage from it.

    CNN’s Jim Sciutto reported that the FBI was not expected to pursue charges against Michael Flynn because of his conversations with a Russian ambassador, even though Flynn was forced to resign because of a media storm supposedly ignited by these telephone discussions.

    Instead the new Trump administration is prodding NATO to step up efforts to counter terrorist threats from North Africa and the Middle East.

    NATO will set up “as soon as possible” a hub with 100 staff at the alliance’s Joint Force Command in Naples, Italy, which will coordinate intelligence on crisis countries like Iraq and Syria, Stoltenberg said.

    Trump is expected to visit NATO headquarters in May when the alliance holds its leaders’ summit meeting.

    Meanwhile Jean-Marie Guéhenno, CEO of International Crisis Group, an independent conflict resolution organisation, warned NATO’s European members before the meeting in Brussels: “NATO is about North America’s engagement in Europe, and Europeans, working with Canada, must take the initiative in proposing a vision adapted to the 21st century.

    “Otherwise, they run the risk that a president who has little time for the Continent will see his European allies simply as adjuncts to an ‘America First’ strategy — and blatantly ignore their interests.”

    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.

    Americas

    ‘US may be wrong on number of Russian nuclear warheads’

    US calculations of the number of nuclear warheads stored in Russia may be wrong by an order of thousands, said former Secretary of Defense William Perry. Washington does not have accurate information about it, he says.

    US House votes bill against military action against Iran

    WashingtonLast month the US House of Representatives voted unanimously for an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019 (H.R. 5515) that says no statute authorizes the use of military force against Iran.

    Tech billionaire’s wife on a crusade against white men

    Melinda Gates, the wife of the American co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates, one of the richest spouses in the world, is on a crusade against white men.

    Majority of US foreign ‘train and equip’ projects a failure

    America's efforts to train soldiers in other parts of the world where they have committed their own treasure, are not going too well. The majority of these Global Train and Equip projects are failures.

    US Conservative pundit blasts Trump’s Iran obsession as tensions escalate

    Conservative American pundit Ann Coulter has blasted President Donald Trump for treating Iran as an existential threat to the United States.

    Chaos as ‘Caravan’ of illegals reach US from Mexico

    As illegal immigrants gathered at the US border to begin scaling the San Diego "wall", they shouted "Gracias, México!", thanking the Mexican government for allowing them to travel from Central America to the US border.

    Trump advisor Bolton coordinated US strike on Syria with Israel

    WashingtonIsraeli media reported that John Bolton spoke with his Israeli counterpart, Meir Ben Shabbat, to coordinate the US-led attack on Syria early on Saturday morning.

    Trump vows to bomb Syria – Russia threatens retaliation

    In a tweet today, United States President Donald Trump said that Russia vows to shoot down missiles targeting Syria and comments: “Get ready Russia, because they will be coming”. Military experts now talk about a situation more explosive than the Cuban Crisis of 1962. The geopolitical analyst Manuel Ochsenreiter tells FWM that the harsh rhetoric in any case has destroyed the diplomatic mechanisms that helped prevent escalation during the Cold War.

    Trump calls Black Caucus member ‘low-IQ individual’

    President Trump has described a Congressional Black Caucus member as a "low-IQ individual". The US president spoke at a campaign rally for Pennsylvania special House election candidate Rick Saccone.

    Half of new Democratic hopefuls are former CIA or other operatives

    WashingtonThe Democratic Party in the United States is looking to capture a majority in the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm elections. But as many as half of their new representatives will be former CIA and other intelligence operatives.

    Go to archive