Secretary of Defense and former Marine Corps General Jim ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis issued an ultimatum to NATO allies and warned that if they refused to boost their defense contributions to the allience, then the US would alter their relationship.
From Breaking 911:
I owe it to you all 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 said. “America will meet its responsibilities, but if your nations do not want to see America moderate its commitment to the alliance, each of your capitals needs to show its support for our common defense.”
The statements came during a closed-doors meeting with defense ministers from other NATO countries, and provided to media traveling with the defense secretary to Brussels. It marks an escalation in Washington’s long-running frustrations that many NATO countries do not spend at least 2 percent of their gross domestic product as they have pledged. President Donald Trump often made that point during his upstart run for the White House, at various times calling the alliance “obsolete” while grousing that all of its 28 members need to pay “their fair share.”
Mattis, a retired Marine general, recalled Wednesday that when he was NATO’s supreme allied commander of transformation from November 2007 to September 2009, he watched as then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned NATO nations that Congress and the American people “would lose their patience for carrying a disproportionate burden” of the defense of allies.
That impatience, Mattis added, is now a “governmental reality.”
“No longer can the American taxpayer carry a disproportionate share of the defense of western values,” Mattis said. “Americans cannot care more for your children’s security than you do. Disregard for military readiness demonstrates a lack of respect for ourselves, for the alliance, and for the freedoms we inherited, which are now clearly threatened.”