James Mattis, America’s new defence secretary, has given NATO a warning

DURING his first month in office Donald Trump has often left allies concerned and confused. So when James Mattis, America’s new defence secretary, visited NATO’s headquarters in Brussels this week, he strove to calm anxious colleagues. Attending his first meeting of NATO defence ministers, Mr Mattis said that the administration strongly supports the alliance, which remains the “fundamental bedrock for the United States and the trans-Atlantic community”. (Previously, Mr Trump had described NATO as “obsolete” and not doing enough to fight Islamic terrorism.)

But Mr Mattis also stressed that the president is serious when he demands that other NATO members must spend more on defence. Otherwise, he warned, America might “moderate its commitment to the alliance”. This is hardly a new refrain from an American president. However, Mr Trump’s uniquely sceptical view of alliances raises the risk of ignoring it.

Mr Mattis did not go quite as far as his boss did, while a candidate, in arguing that America might honour its Article 5 commitment to collective defence only if the ally in need had paid its dues. But irresponsible as that...Continue reading

Souce: Europe http://ift.tt/2lnCRtF

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