Germany, U.S. defend NATO after Macron brands transatlantic alliance brain dead
Following Macron’s remarks, Washington and Berlin underscore the importance of a strategic partnership within the alliance
WASHINGTON – The US and Germany reaffirmed the importance of NATO’s strategic partnership and rejected the views of French President Emmanuel Macron, who said the alliance was “brain dead”.
“I believe that NATO remains important, perhaps historically, one of the main strategic partnerships in human history,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaking in Leipzig..
“I don’t think NATO has brain death,” said German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas..
Before that, German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauern said that Germany plans to reach targets for defense spending by 2031..
German Chancellor Angela Merkel noted that Macron chose harsh words, and said that she did not share his opinion on cooperation in NATO.
“This is not how I see the state of cooperation in NATO,” she said at a press conference in Berlin, speaking with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg..
According to Macron, European countries can no longer count on the United States to defend its allies.
“We are currently witnessing NATO brain death,” the French leader told The Economist, noting that the US decision to withdraw troops from northeastern Syria came as a surprise to many NATO members..
Turkey, also a member of the alliance, took the withdrawal of American troops as a signal to start a military operation in the region and ousted the Syrian Democratic Forces, which were allies of the United States in the fight against the Islamic State, from the border regions..
Pompeo said the US will continue to enforce the Washington-mediated ceasefire in the region and hold accountable those who violate human rights..
“We are investigating reports of war crimes and will continue our humanitarian mission there,” the secretary of state said Thursday..
Pompeo is in Germany for events marking the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. US officials say his visit highlights the need to continue and strengthen the transatlantic partnership..
Macron’s comments were welcomed in Russia.
“Gold words. Truthful and reflective. A clear definition of the current state of NATO, “Maria Zakharova, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, wrote on Facebook.
The EU recently launched its own multibillion-euro defense plan to jointly develop and deploy military assets after years of spending cuts that have forced the European military to rely on Washington..
However, now many are questioning the military potential of the EU..
“The European Union is unable to defend Europe,” Stoltenberg said in Berlin.