NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has taken the time to contest the French president’s bombshell diagnosis of the bloc, saying that Europe can’t rely on the EU alone, and singing the praises of the US.
Stoltenberg couldn’t resist debating Emmanuel Macron’s famous Economist interview, arguing that his organization is far from being dead. Or, at the very least, that its brain is still alive.
“European unity cannot replace Transatlantic unity as we need both,” he told reporters on Tuesday. One has to understand that “especially after Brexit, the EU cannot defend Europe.” Stoltenberg also kindly reminded that over 80 percent of NATO’s military spending will come from “non-EU allies.”
Macron sent shockwaves through European elite circles in early November when he said that the bloc is experiencing “brain death.”
The US isn’t into defending Europe, which makes Article 5 of the NATO charter – which stipulates that an attack on one ally is an attack on all – all but meaningless, he argued.
Naturally, Stoltenberg had some words on this. Washington, he opined, “is not leaving Europe,” it is actually increasing military presence with more troops, more exercises, more US investment in military infrastructure.
“We’re doing more together than we have for decades,” he asserted.Previously, the politician has bragged about NATO’s impact on Europe, citing the accession of Eastern European nations as an example. For them, joining the bloc was the “first step to integration in the Euro-Atlantic family,” “a driver of democracy and reform” and “a step to greater prosperity.”
His words may not sit well with the first and last Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev who recently recalled how Western leaders celebrated the Warsaw Pact demise and NATO’s enlargement, but have never thought of “how it will be perceived in Russia.”
Moscow, for its part, has repeatedly said that NATO enlargement and troops’ build-up close to its borders are a worrying trend and shall be countered respectively. That said, Russia is always ready for dialogue, the Kremlin reiterated on several occasions.
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