US DEFENCE Secretary James Mattis warned Nato states yesterday to raise their military spending or Washington will “moderate its commitment” to them.
Speaking at his first Nato defence ministers’ summit in Brussels, the former general gave the other 27 members of the Western alliance until the end of the year to do so.
Mr Mattis called it a “fair demand” based on the “political reality” in Washington.
“No longer can the American taxpayer carry a disproportionate share of the defence of Western values,” he said.
“Americans cannot care more for your children’s future security than you do.”
US President Donald Trump vowed to make European nations shoulder more of the burden of Nato spending during his election campaign last year.
And last month he even called the cold war alliance “obsolete.”
Britain has lobbied hard for higher arms spending.
But Mr Mattis appeared to break with Mr Trump’s policy of detente with Moscow, mentioning Crimea’s 2014 vote to rejoin Russia in a list of threats to the West that also included Isis.
“Despite the threats from the east and south, we have failed to fill gaps in our Nato response force or to adapt,” he claimed.
Meanwhile an anonymous official claimed that Russia had deployed a new type of cruise missile last year, in breach of a 1987 treaty.
Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg and hawkish US Senator John McCain both seized on the claim as evidence that Russia constitutes a menace to the West.
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