Defense Secretary James Mattis on Wednesday issued an ultimatum to NATO while meeting with member nations for the first time in Brussels: Pay more, or the U.S. will “moderate its commitment” to the organization.
“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,” he said during a closed-door meeting, according to remarks provided to reporters traveling with him. “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.”
During his presidential campaign, President Donald Trump had repeatedly called on NATO members to pay more for their self-defense in Europe. Only five of 28 member nations had met a requirement to spend at least two percent of their GDP on defense: the United States, the United Kingdom, Estonia, Poland, and Greece.
NATO members France and Germany currently spend 1.78 percent and 1.19 percent respectively, according to the NATO figures.