Defense Secretary James Mattis on Wednesday said the time has come for North Atlantic Treaty Organization members to put up their fair share for their own protection and stop burdening America with the costs of defending Europe, Western Journalism reports.
“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.”
As if to underscore the stakes, Mattis spoke one day after Russia announced new exercises along part of its border with Europe. Russia also recently deployed a nuclear-capable missile, which the U.S. claims violates an arms control treaty.
Mattis delivered his ultimatum during a closed-doors meeting with NATO defense ministers in Brussels. Copies of his remarks were shared with the media.
President Donald Trump has often criticized NATO and its members. Mattis carried that message to the Europeans on Wednesday.