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Mattis: NATO Allies Must Raise Defense Spending Or U.S. Will “Moderate Its Commitment”

February 15, 2017

On Wednesday, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis told North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies at his first NATO defense ministers’ meeting in Brussels that if they fail to begin increasing their defense spending by the end of the year that the United States would “moderate its commitment” to the intergovernmental military alliance.

Making statements in line with President Donald Trump’s opinions on the United States’ involvement in NATO, Mattis said that the ultimatum was a “fair demand” because of the “political reality” of Washington and that American taxpayers should not held so fiscally responsible for defending the other 27 nations.

“No longer can the American taxpayer carry a disproportionate share of the defense of Western values,” Mattis told the NATO allies. “Americans cannot care more for your children’s future 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.”

Secretary Mattis assured the alliance that the United States would cooperate with the group, but warned that if the other members did not increase their spending that the U.S. would “moderate its commitment.”

“America will meet its responsibilities, but 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.

Earlier this month, President Trump vowed that the United States would remain committed to its NATO allies but reiterated previous statements he had made about the importance of the other members contributing an appropriate amount financially.

“We strongly support NATO,” Trump said at the headquarters of US Central Command in Florida. “We only ask that all of the NATO members make their full and proper financial contributions to the NATO alliance, which many of them have not been doing. Many of them have not been even close. And they have to do that.”

Specially, Trump was referring to 23 of the 28 countries that currently do not met the alliance’s goal of nations contributing 2% of their GDP on defense.