Reflections

For NATO, Washington's Support Comes at a Price

Feb 17, 2017 | 01:38 GMT
For NATO, Washington's Support Comes at a Price
U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis cleared up the United States' stance toward NATO on Feb. 15 at a meeting in Brussels with the alliance's leaders.
(THIERRY CHARLIER/AFP/Getty Images)

The moment of truth has arrived for NATO members in Europe. After months of uneasy speculation about the new U.S. administration's commitment to the alliance -- which President Donald Trump criticized as obsolete throughout his campaign -- the organization's members got clarification on the matter from U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis. Addressing NATO leaders in Brussels on Wednesday, Mattis announced that the United States may scale back its commitment to NATO unless its fellow member states boost their defense spending. His comments came as little surprise. After all, this is not the first time the United States has urged the rest of NATO's participants to boost their defense spending, which by and large falls short of the required 2 percent of gross domestic product. And though Mattis' warning was worrisome for NATO members, who fear that Trump will make good on his intermittent promises to curtail U.S. support for...

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