Thursday, February 16, 2017

Trump’s Empty ‘Ultimatum’ to NATO - Defense One

Trump’s Empty ‘Ultimatum’ to NATO - Defense One: Defense Secretary Mattis just called for Europe to increase defense spending or else...what exactly?

President Donald Trump’s “ultimatum” to NATO is, at best, as clear as mud and, at worst, an empty threat that will harm U.S. security interests. It’s a vague call for European member nations to increase their individual defense spending, which is the same thing four previous defense secretaries under President Barack Obama said every time they traveled to Europe for this thrice-a-year meeting of national security heads.

In Trump’s message, delivered by Jim Mattis during his first trip to Brussels as defense secretary, is a threat: pay up, or else. But what else, exactly? All Mattis said is that if European members states don’t do more, America will “moderate its commitment to the alliance.”

So: Washington thinks Europe isn’t taking the threat to NATO seriously enough. It says pay up and do more. If not, Washington threatens to defend the rest of NATO less? How does that make America safer, again?