Pentagon Chief's Ultimatum To NATO: "Boost Military Spending Or The U.S. Will Cut Its Support"

Tyler Durden's picture

Ahead of Jim Mattis' first official trip to Brussels as the new head of the Pentagon, NATO members were on edge to see if America's new Defense Secretary would push the same agenda which Trump had vocalized during his presidential campaign, namely that he would withdraw US support of NATO unless its member states boosted their spending in support of the international military organization.

To their disappointment, he did and in an ultimatum to America's allies, Mattis told fellow NATO members Wednesday to increase military spending by year's end or risk seeing the U.S. curtail its defense support, a move which AP dubbed was "a stark threat given Europe's deep unease already over U.S.-Russian relations."

“Americans cannot care more for your children’s future security than you do,” Mr. Mattis said in his first speech to NATO allies since becoming defense secretary. “I owe it to you 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 went further than his predecessors in apparently linking American contributions to the alliance to what other countries spend.

“If your nations do not want to see America moderate its commitment to this alliance, each of your capitals needs to show support for our common defense,” he said.

Echoing Trump's demands for NATO countries to assume greater self-defense responsibility, Mattis said Washington will "moderate its commitment" to the alliance if countries fail to fall in line. He didn't offer details, but the pressure is sure to be felt, particularly by governments in Europe's eastern reaches that feel threatened by Russian expansionism.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, left, and the secretary general of NATO,
Jens Stoltenberg, in Brussels on Wednesday.

The reason for Mattis' - and Trump's - and displeasure is shown in the chart below. According to the NATO charter, member countries must allocate at least 2% of their GDP toward the organization (among other reasons, so that each country can defend itself without relying too much on other members). However, of 28 NATO members, only five meet this requirement.

Which is why, as the AP reports, the entire alliance seemed to hang on Mattis' every word Wednesday. Officials crowded around televisions at the NATO meeting in Brussels to watch the retired general's initial appearance with Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. Defense ministers clustered around Mattis as he entered the meeting room.

Citing danger from Russia, Mattis told the closed meeting of ministers they must adopt a plan this year that sets dates for governments to meet a military funding goal of 2 percent of gross domestic product. He called the funding increase a "fair demand" based on the "political reality" in Washington, an apparent reference to Trump's past criticism of NATO as "obsolete" and his much-touted "'America First" mantra.

Mattis did not say how the United States might back away from its obligations to NATO members, though there are several steps the Trump administration could take short of refusing to come to the aid of an ally under attack. That would be an abrogation of its treaty responsibilities, but the United States could reduce the number of American troops stationed in certain European countries or raise the bar for what it considers a military attack.

Noting the threat posed by the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, Mattis said: "Some in this alliance have looked away in denial of what is happening." "We have failed to fill gaps in our NATO response force or to adapt," he added.

In recent months, Trump has challenged the alliance to take on a greater share of military costs, even rattling European nations by suggesting the U.S. might not defend allies unwilling to fulfill their financial obligations as NATO members. Mattis didn't go that far, and Wednesday's focus appeared to be on simply increasing military funding if not fully reaching the target. Still, just that demand may prove to be very controversial as many European governments face hostility to more military spending, especially as their slow economic recoveries force belt-tightening elsewhere.


The United States is by far NATO's most powerful member, spending more on defense than all the others combined. It devoted 3.61 percent of American GDP last year to military spending, according to NATO estimates — a level that has somewhat tapered off in recent years. Germany, by contrast, spent 1.19% of its overall budget on defense. Ten countries commit even less, and seven — including Canada, Italy and Spain — would have to virtually double military spending to reach the target. Luxembourg would require a fourfold increase to get close. None of these spending expansions are realistic, absent a substantial increase in these countries' budget deficits, which could result in political instability at a very sensitive time, especially for Italy.

Along with the U.S., the other countries that do reach NATO's benchmark for military spending are Britain, Estonia, Poland and, inexplicably, debt-ridden Greece.

British's defense chief, Michael Fallon, said Mattis appeared to welcome a British proposal to create a road map for increased spending. "An annual increase that we're asking them to commit to would at least demonstrate good faith," he said.

One NATO official characterized the mood in the heavily fortified compound as tense and said allies were waiting to see if the message Mattis presented on Wednesday differed in tone from what Mr. Trump has said. In one important way, the defense secretary amplified the president’s previous statements. Though Mattis acknowledged “concern in European capitals about America’s commitment to NATO and the security of Europe,” he said allies must do more to reach their commitments to spend 2 percent of their G.D.P. on their militaries.

No longer can the American taxpayer carry a disproportionate share of the defense of western values,” he said.

Asked about Mattis' ultimatum, NATO chief Stoltenberg said allies need time to develop plans. Many are already talking about increasing commitments, he said. "This is not the U.S. telling Europe to increase defense spending," Stoltenberg said, noting that allies committed three years ago already to increase spending over the next decade. He said: "I welcome all pressure, all support, to make sure that happens."

ACtually, this is the US telling Europe to increase its defense spending, at least until such time as the consequences of such a spending boost catch up with NATO, and Washington, and Trump relents on his demands.

Meanwhile, despite the sharpness of his demand, Mattis appeared to recognize Europe's worries and its leaders' desire for clarity on America's commitment to NATO. In a brief public statement, made while standing alongside Stoltenberg, Mattis called the alliance "a fundamental bedrock for the United States and for all the trans-Atlantic community."

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buzzsaw99's picture

eurotards don't give a flying fuck about their children's security. in fact, they would like the usa to import millions of muzzie rapists and terrorists the same way they do.

Escrava Isaura's picture

US needs NATO more than Europe does, because that makes Russia more worried of Europe than Europe is about Russia. Also, Russia doesn’t have the men power to invade Europe.

Geez, the Russians couldn’t hold to Afghanistan.


caesium's picture

The Russian education system is less broken than the American equivalent. Young men can earn good money outside the MIC.

Mustafa Kemal's picture

"Geez, the Russians couldn’t hold to Afghanistan."

The failed before and the British twice before that. But they got out, we havent.

A Nanny Moose's picture

Ghengis Khan + Afghanistan = #Winning.

Put that in your juice box and suck it.

dogismycopilot's picture

Genghis Khan was so brutal that even the Muslims were afraid of him. He conquered Afghanistan by building hundreds of towers of human heads 90 feet tall. His brutality has never been matched. He waged total war.

Escrava Isaura's picture

Because US is the real deal, meaning, the real empire. How can you tell?

That brings up my second point: Because US currency is the world’s currency, meaning, US can crash any nation without physically invading them, just by destroying their currencies and their main exports pricing power. Also, once they invade, they can stay there as long as they want or feel the need too.

So, now you’re probably wondering: How did we get here?

US, and well as England, are Anglo Saxons creations, meaning, its culture identity is dominated by conquest and strong elements of tribal (followers) and lordship (owners). These owners define this culture in biblical terms to keep its followers on course, meaning, go to church and don’t question authority.   

Anyone, or any nation that step outside these perimeters will be marginalized.


AtATrESICI's picture

Fuck all of the freeloading fucks. No more FREE SHIT... FU...

buzzsaw99's picture

pull out of germany altogether.

HRH Feant's picture
HRH Feant (not verified) Feb 15, 2017 9:04 PM

Fuck NATO / OTAM. It is a waste of US Taxpayer money.


Mattis & Stoltenberg are mathematically illiterate retard sandwich eating trolls. NATO can blow me for more dollars, and Mattis & Stoltenberg can lick my balls in deference to my intellect & intelligence over their own.

Mustafa Kemal's picture

"can lick my balls in deference to my intellect & intelligence "

Master, you sure have a prosaic way with words

LetThemEatRand's picture

Russia is only a threat because the MIC tells us they are a threat.   NATO should be disbanded tomorrow and our military support for other countries ended.  Nothing would happen except Americans would have a huge amount of money back in their pockets.

Escrava Isaura's picture

Sorry, that money would never make to the real US economy if they were to close NATO.

Second, US military industrial complex would be facing a depression if they close NATO. Disbanding NATO won’t happen. Trump, as a shrewd businessman, just want to have others pay for NATO because NATO has a function: How do you think fortunes and power are created? By exploiting others, right?



captain-nemo's picture

It is really quite ironic when you think about it. Here we have the elite Europe who basically want a borderless world. Meanwhile they are letting in hostile muslems by the millions every year, who openly has proclaimed they are there to take over Europe.


So the question is. Why do they need NATO at all? 

me or you's picture

EU is broken and falling apart. 

ebworthen's picture


WTF are we doing putting M1 Abrams tank battalions in Europe for?

Are they going to be shooting at Muslim terrorists streaming across the border?

To Protect "Europe" from the "Russian Threat"?

Give me a fucking break! 

We are the invaders!

me or you's picture

HAHAHA! Bingo! Those tanks are there to occupy EU not to protect them from the Russians.

small axe's picture


and how about all those Marines in Okinawa 70 plus years after the end of WWII...time to move on with new thinking. US strategy is stuck in 1952..

frank further's picture

Dozens of foreign bases could be closed.  End imperialism!

caesium's picture

More German women were raped by allied troops in the first year of occupation than by Muslim immigrants in the last fifty years.

Mustafa Kemal's picture

Apparently, the Russians were big into it. I know a Latvian woman who lived through that war and if you mentioned a Russian, spittle would come out of her mouth and she looked like she could kill. After that, I never mentioned russians and she always was a sweet little old lady.  Her Latvian husband was as strong as an ox, at 80.

me or you's picture

It would take the Russians just a afternoon to roll from Poland all the way to England

WTFUD's picture

Estonia 2%! What's 2% of 3 gross crates of rotting fish?

frank further's picture

No more American lives and treasure for the feckless Euros.  Twice is more than enuf!  It's all yours, Vlad, but I don't why you'd want the pussies.

pitterrier's picture

I will not mortgage by children's future for discount landscaping. The illegals have got to go. All of them, end of story.

Kaeako's picture

Absolutely ridiculous. What they're asking is military expenditure on the order of some 400 billion from the other NATO members. For what? Russia allocated around 50 billion in dollar terms last year. NATO spending, even without the USA, already dwarfs Russian spending, in an era where conventional warfare between major powers is unthinkable. Absolutely ridiculous.

Dilluminati's picture

Look its time for countries to start and carry their weight and make a commitment to Nato.

For way to long we carried that weight and we need to be smarter in this century.

It is not as if we are asking for something more, we are asking they honor an existing agreement and we should stop pretending there is an agreement if they don't honor one.

I'd like to see larger reserves in Europe of standing soldiers with feet on the ground within nato.

It would assist in character building of young soldiers and address some of the employment challenges while providing a deterent to agression and stand as a ready unit to respond to the muslim terrorists whom have embedded themselves in Europe.

Free Man's picture

The US shouldn't even be part of NATO. Let the Europeans fund every penny of it.

sinbad2's picture

The only country that wants NATO is the US, the Europeans are press ganged into NATO.

Wild E Coyote's picture

Not really. Nobody in US or Europe wants NATO, except the politicians paid by NATO directly or indirectly.  


WTFUD's picture

You seem to be indicating in your comment that NATO's a Hedge-Fund of sorts! Yes it's the biggest one in the world who's Fund of Funds Superfund unfortunately only increases in direct correlation with 'bombs dropped'.

king leon's picture

Then Do us a "BIG" favor and take your Navy,tanks and your US missile shield and FUCK OFF HOME. If you want a war with Russia then you fund it and fight it from within the US.

sinbad2's picture

The Europeans will now cut military expenditure, and hope the US follows through on its threat.

Savvy's picture

The entire planet would be de-fucking-LIGHTED if the pentagon cut off every penny to NATO.

Dragon HAwk's picture

And Exactly How does a Broke Europe.. Spend more on Something?

Wild E Coyote's picture

Governments in Europe's eastern reaches that feel threatened by Russian expansionism.

Really? I have always thought that Eastern Government have learned the trick to get free support with aid and IMF loans.

Just scream about Russian threat and the US Super Heroes will come with a bag full of hard currency. 

WTFUD's picture

There are few Sovereigns in Europe; ask the Troika.

Youri Carma's picture

Please cut the NATO support today! But they won't, it's all the usual talk without substance.

onmail1's picture

Dismantle NATO
A money Hog

other option is to prepare for WW3
and get doomed by nukes

America first for america
Europe first for euroPeons

Let them rot

TAALR Swift's picture

How is NATO relevant to Canada or Iceland?

When were the UK or Slovenia last attacked by the Russian boogeyman? 

Vassal state tributes?

VW Nerd's picture

American and European defense contractors (mega corporations) want your taxpayers' money.  Cough up the dime, chump!

dogismycopilot's picture

Jesus Christ, some good news, finally. 

Course Michael Moore will come out for Mad Dog next.

Fireman's picture

Moar's what USSA does and will continue to do until it is finally stopped!

NATO, North Amerikan Terror Organ; that limp appendage dangling from the Pedophile Politburo in Natostan capital of USSA's flaccid vassal Brussels, seat of the infamous albeit collapsing EUSSR. Kill NATO and the I$I$ "backed" Saudi Mercan IOU petroscrip toilet paper dollah gets flushed from the global Ponzi sewer of the Potemkin Village USSAN "economy" of slaughter for profit of the zero 1% as the allah detritus of USSA'S Middle East judaic wars rapes and and pillages its way across a Europe betrayed by the hag in Berlin.  Meanwhile the emasculated pedophile pawns in Natostan huff and puff at Mr Bear's doorstep but that is all these cretins will ever do. It is all over bar the inevitable bankrupt collapse of €uro landia and the long awaited civil war reloaded in Slumville USSA but don't expect shill and globalist clown Trump EVER to abandon the NATO mobster crime syndicate, not EVER until the filth collapses upon itself like the entire EUSSR globalist project. The fast approaching elections in France and perhaps Holland are the last chance for stopping the insanity.


Onward to the co££ap$€ of worthless Pentacon protected fiat filth!





captain-nemo's picture

The long version of the Norwegian response

According to the mainstream media and foreign minister i Norway, there was nothing new in Mattis speach.  He just repeated what earlier American politicians had said , which is that America expect each country to spend 2 % of GDP on NATO. The Norwegian finance minister said that their budget for this year is far away from 2% and there is no plans to change it. The Foreign minister said that Mattis didn't say what would happen with countries that didn't pay their 2% of the share. She therefore said that she didn't believe there would be any consequences for those countries that didn't pay up.

The short version

Samo samo. Nice speech, want more money. bla.bla.bla. Nothing to worry about. Business as usual. Move along. NATO is saved.


Norwegian media is off course notorious liers but if this is true, nobody seems to have been impressed by Mattis speech over here. They all expect it to go back as it was.  

shutterbug's picture

PLEASE .... CUT the support. NOBODY with a working brain-cell wants the NATO any longer.

That relic has outlived it's purpose for many years and needs to die off.

monad's picture

Bring the troops home. Spend that money to clean up DC and every state capitol.